Thursday, December 31, 2015

Are BBC News reports on Palestinian deaths accurate and impartial? - by Hadar Sela

...In both these examples we see that BBC reporting erases from audience view the fact that the deaths of Palestinians came about because they were carrying out violent acts. Not only is such reporting obviously inaccurate and misleading in that it fails to inform audiences of the full circumstances of the incidents but the failure to include key information also raises concerns about the impartiality of such reporting.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
30 December '15..

As noted here earlier in the month, the BBC refrained from reporting on many, if not most, of the terror attacks against Israelis which took place during December. But on occasions when the corporation did cover violent incidents resulting in the deaths of Palestinians, misleading, inaccurate or incomplete reporting was evident.

Here, for example, is how the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell portrayed events which took place on December 24th in a report for the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’. [emphasis added]

“This was in different parts of the occupied West Bank; three Palestinians shot dead, apparently while carrying out attacks. One stabbed two security guards at the entrance to an Israeli settlement. Another is said to have tried to attack soldiers close to Hebron with a screw driver. Another tried to run a car into a military post close to Jerusalem according to the Israeli military. There was a fourth Palestinian man killed in clashes with Israeli troops….”

Notably, Knell qualifies (unnecessarily) her accounts of the first three incidents, but not the last one. Here is a report from the Jerusalem Post relating to that fourth incident in which, according to Knell, a Palestinian man was simply “killed in clashes”.

“Separately, during a Palestinian riot that broke out in the Kalandiya refugee camp, the IDF killed a Palestinian gunman, Bilal Omar Zayed, 23. The soldiers had entered the camp to arrest two Palestinians for their suspected involvement in a shooting attack against Israelis.

The Palestinian gunman fired at the soldiers while they were in the camp, an army spokeswoman said. Soldiers returned fire, and it is believed that Zayed was killed at this point. After the exchange of fire, a large-scale disturbance ensued in which local residents threw rocks and fire bombs, wounding two soldiers.”

Did BBC audiences receive an accurate impression of the circumstances of that incident from Knell’s portrayal? Obviously not. Clearly too, in her account of the first three incidents, Knell’s focus is on the attackers rather than the victims.

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USA Today Provides Rare Look at Anti-Israel Terror - Sean Durns

...Yet, in a one-sentence paragraph Rubin reports “root causes” other media—mesmerized by Palestinian claims about “the occupation,” “humiliation” and “frustration”—have missed or omitted. In eight short paragraphs she provides readers with Israeli perspectives and essential facts, frequently diminished or missing in much lengthier coverage. Sometimes, less is more. And in this case it certainly was.

Sean Durns..
CAMERA Snapshots..
30 December '15..

Writing for USA Today, special correspondent Shira Rubin provides readers with a brief, but surprisingly direct report on the recent terror attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis—and the effects of these attacks on every day Israeli citizens (“In Jerusalem, living on edge is new normal,” Dec. 24, 2015). Surprising because such “start with the basics” coverage is comparatively rare.

The USA Today article begins by doing something not frequently done by major dailies such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others—quoting an Israeli civilian, in this instance a teacher named Talia Malek—who speaks about news worthy developments without equivocation.

Describing Malek’s use of public transport in Jerusalem to get to work—amid three months of “near daily attacks by Palestinians”—Rubin provides readers with an important perspective, one often missed.

“‘This is our city, this is our country, and we need to show that we cannot be intimidated,’ Malek says about her daily trips.

While noting Malek’s defiance in the face of terror, Rubin also quotes her concerns:

“Co-existence in Israel is possible… but this current situation reminds us that Palestinians see us as their enemy….And the moment that they have the chance they will—literally—stab us in the back.”

The USA Today article provides details about the recent terror attacks, noting that 20 Israelis and an American student have been killed.

In contrast to other recent coverage noted by CAMERA (for example, “AP, NYT Headlines Cast Palestinian Attackers as Victims, Ignore Dead Israelis,” December 24), Rubin evidences no problem with distinguishing attackers from victims.

If not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is - by Judith Bergman

...Remember how far Israel has come -- how the story of Israel's rise to the top of the world once sounded like an impossible madman's dream to every Jew on the planet, never sounding more far-fetched than when the Nazi extermination camps were liberated a little over half a century ago.

Judith Bergman..
Israel Hayom..
30 December '15..

When Israel was ranked 18th out of 188 countries and territories in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index a few weeks ago, it didn't make nearly big enough of a splash. Since 2013, Israel has climbed from number 19 on its way to the coveted top 10 First World democracies (the very high human development group).

According to the 2015 Human Development Report, titled "Work for Human Development," the Human Development Index is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

A long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy. Knowledge level is measured by mean years of education among the adult population. Standard of living is measured by gross national income per capita (expressed in constant 2011 international dollars converted using purchasing power parity rates).

The Human Development Report put Israel's HDI value for 2014 at 0.894. This is just below the average of 0.896 for countries in the very high human development group (the top 10 countries in the Human Development Index, such as Denmark and Switzerland, which were ranked third and fourth), but it is above the average of 0.880 for countries in the OECD.

According to the report, between 1980 and 2014, Israel's HDI value increased from 0.750 to 0.894, an increase of 19.2% or an average annual increase of about 0.52%. The figures make more sense if viewed in the different categories: Between 1980 and 2014, Israel's life expectancy at birth increased by 8.3 years (from 74.1 years to 82.4 years), mean years of schooling increased from 9.8 years to 12.5 years and expected years of schooling increased from 12.6 years to 16 years. Israel's GNI per capita increased by about 111.6% between 1980 and 2014 (from $14,498 to $30,676).

There are several areas where Israel outdoes both the very high human development group as well as the OECD. The Human Development Report lists Israel as having the highest labor force participation rate (63.4% versus 60.3% in the very high human development group and 59.7% in the OECD). Israel also has a lower total unemployment rate (6.9% versus 8.3% and 8.2%). It has the lowest long-term total unemployment rate (0.8% versus 3% and 2.8%) and the lowest youth unemployment rate (10.5% vs. 18% and 16.5%).

Funnily enough, and entirely unsurprisingly (considering how much Israelis talk) Israel also has a higher number of mobile phone subscribers per 100 people vs. the very high human development group and the OECD -- 121 vs. 119.8 and 110.4.

Behind the dry numbers is a story of almost unfathomable success that many Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora all too often forget, as they complain about the standard of living here in Israel. The truth is that building a modern and prosperous country takes time and Israel's development has been nothing less than miraculous in the 67 years since it was re-established as the modern State of Israel. We compare extremely well to other First World democracies, especially considering that the founding fathers and mothers of modern Israel had absolutely nothing and had to pull themselves up from complete devastation and near annihilation a mere 70 years ago -- no more than a short breath in the context of world history.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More PLO messaging in Christmas report for BBC WS radio - by Hadar Sela

...The corporation asserts that its audiences “can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world” and that its priority is to “build a global understanding of international issues”. A media organization committed to doing that could not have systematically avoided informing its audiences about the incitement fueling a wave of terror attacks and violence which has been going on for over a hundred days.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
30 December '15..

In addition to the politicised Christmas Eve feature produced by Yolande Knell for the BBC News website on December 24th, she also reported from Bethlehem for BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newshour’.Newshour 24 12

In that item (from 30:00 here) Knell recycled themes and interviewees seen in her other report, focusing on a low-key Christmas and economic hardship in Bethlehem. Once again audiences were not informed of the Palestinian Authority’s instructions to municipalities to dampen this year’s celebrations or the Council of Churches’ similar dictate.

Setting the scene in his introduction, presenter Tim Franks failed to adequately clarify to listeners exactly which party has been initiating the acts of violence seen over the last three months, using passive language to promote a false sense of equivalence and – through use of the ‘Israel says’ formula – implying that the BBC cannot independently confirm that most of the Palestinian casualties were either terrorists killed in the act or violent rioters.

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Gaza and what manipulative, highly-politicized foreign aid can buy - by Arnold Roth

...Understanding why so much misery goes on for so long in Gaza despite the phenomenal sums of money that have been channeled into countless relief efforts, special funds and emergency humanitarian appeals, remains Mission Almost-Impossible. Chronic distortion of facts is an essential part of the whole sad and endless process.

The red carpet is constantly out for visitors to Shujaiyeh 
neighborhood, Gaza City. This non-Photoshopped photo is from nearly
a year after the destruction [Photo Credit: Dan Cohenvia 972Blog]
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 December '15..

Gazan suffering. It's a vastly potent issue that drives much of the passion on the Palestinian Arab side.

With bitter wintery weather setting in fast, why are so many Gazan Palestinian Arabs still waiting for homes destroyed in 2014's summer battle with Israel to be reinstated and/or replaced?

Some digging around by reporters for the Wall Street Journal today offers surprising insights: "Politics Slows Rebuilding in War-Ravaged Gaza Strip | Political differences among Gulf Arab states play large role in who gets aid" [Rory Jones and Abubakr Bashir | Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2015]

It frames the question in terms of the very different fates experienced by a pair of Gazan brothers and their two adjoining residences. They are Abdelraziq Harara, 53, and and Jihad Harara, 65, two Palestinian Arab everyman-like unknowns who happen to have lost their neighboring Gaza homes in the storm of war that swept over them in July 2014. That's when the densely-populated Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City became the center of fierce fighting involving the terrorists of the rocket-rich Hamas regime and the IDF. More than 140 Hamas rockets had been fired in the general direction of Israel from the Harara brothers' neighborhood in the 12 days commencing July 8, some of them reaching well into Israel's centers of population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and .Israel's patience got stretched thinner and thinner. Then it ended. At that point, Israel took some extraordinary preliminary measures before commencing a much-needed counter-offensive. Starting on July 16, 2014, and with the intention of minimizing the loss of civilian lives,

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Only Palestinians are 'martyrs' - by Abdullah al-Hadlaq

...Why, when Palestinian terrorists and murderers holding knives and rocks are killed by Israeli soldiers, who are forced to open fire in cases of legitimate self-defense, do these debased Arab media outlets twist the truth and call the Palestinian terrorists "shahids"? By what right did they earn that exalted rank, while being murderous terrorists and criminals? The accursed Arab media outlets that warp and make things up, glorify the murderers and terrorists as well as Palestinian crimes, and give them, exclusively, the title "shahid."

Abdullah al-Hadlaq..
Israel Hayom..
29 December '15..

I will open with greetings for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, whom I view as true friends. As a writer and journalist from Kuwait, who is following the current wave of Palestinian knife and rock terrorism and Palestinian crimes against IDF soldiers and innocent Israelis, I can only express my support for every civilian and military action the free and independent State of Israel takes for the legitimate defense of the lives of its citizens and its land.

I am baffled by the international community's silence in the face of the crimes committed by Palestinian terrorists against the Israeli people. I am equally baffled by the international community's outcry against Israel's legal right to defend itself and its soldiers and against Israel's legitimate right to live and stand strong.

The Arab media has become afflicted with stupidity and delusion and has lost its ability make true distinctions. The words "wisdom" and "reason" are no longer part of its lexicon. It has become debased and mentally challenged. It considers the victims of battles in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. "casualties," whereas the Palestinian terrorists killed in the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank are dubbed "shahids" (martyrs). This same media, which is biased in favor of a group of people called "Palestinians," neglects every human, Arab, or Muslim issue and associates shahada (a martyr's death in the name of belief) with them only.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Turkey and Israel: A Rickety Handshake - by Burak Bekdil

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

Burak Bekdil..
MEF/Gatestone Institute..
23 December '15..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palestinian Student Movement Use of Pictures of Murderers as Christmas Ornaments - by Sean Durns a recent December 15 meeting with British and Australian politicians, the PA Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, and PA Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, denied that the PA and Fatah glorify terrorists. Regarding PA incitement to violence and memorializing murderers, perhaps Charles Dickens, the famous Victorian-era author, said it best in A Christmas Carol: “An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”

Sean Durns..
CAMERA Snapshots..
28 December '15..

Shabiba, a Palestinian Arab student group that belongs to the Fatah movement, decorated a Christmas tree with pictures of murderers and terrorists.

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an organization that monitors Arab media in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, Fatah posted pictures “of the tree along with members of its student movement on its official Facebook page.”

The majority of officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) belong to Fatah. The PA was created as part of the 1990’s Oslo diplomatic process which allowed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), previously designated a terror group by the United States, Israel and others, and its ruling Fatah party to relocate from Tunisia and establish limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As part of Oslo, PA officials are required to prevent incitement to anti-Jewish violence, as well as attacks themselves.

Terrorists whose images were adorned by Fatah on the tree include Fathi Shaqaqi, the founder of Islamic Jihad, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist group responsible for more than 1,000 attacks and Abu Ali Mustafa, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another U.S.-listed terrorist organization and one that rejected the Oslo accords.

A picture of Muhannad Halabi also was hung proudly by Fatah as a Christmas ornament. Halabi murdered 2 Israeli civilians, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennet, during an Oct. 3, 2015 terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. Before he was killed by Israeli police, Halabi also stabbed Bennett’s wife Adele and their 2-year-old child, who both survived.

In a Facebook post prior to the attack, Halabi stated that he was committing the attacks in response to PA claims that Israel was going to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As CAMERA has documented (“Incitement over Temple Mount Leads to Palestinian Violence, Again,” Sept. 16 2015), this libel has been used on numerous occasions to incite anti-Jewish violence.

CAMERA has noted other efforts by Palestinian Arab leadership to honor Halabi, such as the PA ministry of education planting trees in his name and the PA Bar Association awarding him an honorary law degree (“’Moderate’ Palestinian Authority Honors Murderers with Trees and Law Degrees,” October 15).

Why Gaza Remains, and Must Remain Isolated - by Jonathan S. Tobin

...The people of Gaza have reason to complain about the situation, but their complaints should be directed to their Hamas rulers, not Israel and Egypt. They should not accept being governed by terrorists that have imposed both Islamist tyranny on their domestic lives and an unnecessary state of war with neighboring countries. Of course, these Islamist terrorists are only interested in fomenting violence and keeping an iron grip on power in the Strip, not bettering the lives of its people. But since they may be powerless to overthrow a violent though bankrupt and incompetent Hamas government and the international community will not countenance an invasion of the Strip by either Israel or Egypt to impose a regime change, an unpleasant status quo remains in place.

Image by © Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Corbis
Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
28 December '15..

It’s a sad story, and the New York Times played it for all its worth. A Palestinian tried to swim over the border between Gaza and Egypt and was gunned down by Egyptian border guards. 28-year-old Khalil Hassan may or may not have been mentally ill but his desperation to leave Gaza was evident by his behavior. And it is that desperation that is serving to reignite the debate over the isolation of the Strip. But while this is a tragic human interest story there’s more to the discussion than a rehearsing of the usual litany of Palestinian woes and criticism of supposedly hard-hearted Egyptians and Israel. One may sympathize with the people of Gaza to a certain extent, but the semi-blockade that exists around its borders isn’t an expression of arbitrary hostility toward them. The reason that Gaza’s borders are sealed is about terrorism, not inhumane behavior.

Gaza is a tiny, overcrowded area with little infrastructure to support the needs of its people. Many subsist on handouts from UNRWA — the United Nations agency that is specifically dedicated to helping the descendants of the 1948 Palestinian refugees — though its efforts are geared toward keeping them dependent and homeless so as to keep their grudge against Israel alive rather than helping them. The relative isolation of the Strip and the still largely unrepaired damage from the war with Israel that Gaza’s Hamas rulers waged in the summer of 2014 add to the distress. Moreover, there are the feelings of claustrophobia that results from living in a small place that can make anyone stir crazy, a feeling that the residents of tiny Israel also often share though their circumstances are somewhat different.

But though we may have sympathy for the people of Gaza it doesn’t necessarily follow that we must conclude that its isolation must be lifted. Not even the unhappy fate of Khalil Hassan is reason enough to change anyone’s mind about the necessity of keeping its borders shut until it is governed by an entity that isn’t dedicated to destroying one neighbor — Israel — and toppling the government of another in Cairo.

There are two basic elements left out of the Times account of this incident and virtually every story in the international press about the plight of Gazans and the blockade.

One is that, contrary to most of the propaganda generated by the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Virtually every day, including during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas last year, there are convoys of food and medicine that enter the Strip from the Jewish state. Gaza may be poor, but its people are not starving or lacking medicine. Even the restrictions imposed by Israel that prevented the entry of building materials into Gaza have been eased since last year, although it is clear that — just as the Israelis feared — the concrete that has been allowed in has been used for the most part to rebuild Hamas fortifications not the homes of Palestinians. Moreover, those who need more advanced medical care than can be found in Gaza have the option of applying for entry to Israel. The Jewish state has admitted countless Palestinians who have gotten the benefit of the country’s excellent medical service.

Interestingly, the Hassan story revolves around his unsuccessful effort to get into Egypt for better medical care. If that is the case, then perhaps the Egyptians are even more wary of terrorists entering their country in the guise of medical patients, something that has happened numerous times at Israeli checkpoints with resultant casualties that can be credited to a willingness to treat Palestinians humanely.

But that brings us to the main point that is left out of the discussion about Gaza’s isolation: terrorism.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Breaking the Silence on “Breaking the Silence.” - by Tuvia Book

...I am proud of our state of its open democracy. I think that there is a way and space to speak and have an opinion on what happens in the state and in the IDF. The way is not through lies or financial support of foreign countries and organisations and dragging the name of the State of Israel, its army and its citizens through mud.

Tuvia Book..
Times of Israel..
28 December '15..

I'm also breaking the silence. My name is Tuvia Book I also served in the Israel Defense Forces and I am also sick of hearing all the talk around me and I can’t keep silent any more and so I’ve decided to break the silence.

I served in Lebanon, in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. I was a soldier in a front line combat unit. I served for many years in Milluim (reserve duty). I went through rigorous training and took many courses in the army. I participated in numerous military operations in all areas of our state and beyond her borders, and I have to declare that I never received an “illegal order.” I never took part in any activity that deliberately harmed innocent civilians. Every briefing I participated in before going out on a mission, no matter how small or large, stressed the importance of guarding the values of the IDF. I am extremely proud of my own service and all of those who served with me. I was privileged to be with the best of best of the people of Israel.

I am proud of our state of its open democracy. I think that there is a way and space to speak and have an opinion on what happens in the state and in the IDF. The way is not through lies or financial support of foreign countries and organisations and dragging the name of the State of Israel, its army and its citizens through mud.

There is room to criticise the IDF, but the criticism should be made fairly and honestly. Namely, to provide all known information and sources to the IDF’s investigative bodies, who do their job honestly and faithfully to investigate every case that steps out of the borders of the commands and spirit of the IDF.

The NGO “Breaking the Silence” which receives financial support from international organisations, some of whom openly deny Israel’s right to exist, does not work that way. A large part of its claims are anonymous, with no identifying information, nor are they delivered to the IDF’s investigative bodies, rather transferred directly to international bodies hostile to Israel and the IDF. The organisation does not cooperate in investigating its claims, preferring to spread these malicious stories unchecked abroad.

Jerusalem explosives lab not newsworthy for the BBC - by Hadar Sela

...This recent discovery of a Hamas-run terror cell in Jerusalem clearly does not fit into that narrative either and so – like the many previous stories concerning Hamas’ attempts to strengthen its infrastructure outside the Gaza Strip – it has not made BBC headlines.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
28 December '15..

Had the British security services uncovered an explosives laboratory in the suburban apartment of a man recruited by a designated terrorist organisation, it is difficult to imagine that the BBC would have ignored the story.

The Times of Israel reports:

“The Shin Bet uncovered a large Hamas terror cell, among whose members were Israeli citizens, which planned to carry out suicide bombings and other terror attacks in Israel, the security service revealed on Wednesday.

The Shin Bet, alongside the IDF and Israel Police, have thus far arrested 25 Hamas operatives, the majority of them Al-Quds University in Abu Dis students, who they suspect were preparing to attack Israeli targets, the agency said in a statement. The arrests were carried out over the past few weeks.

The service also uncovered a makeshift laboratory in Abu Dis, in east Jerusalem, which was being used to create the explosives necessary for bombing attacks. It said the cell was controlled by Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip.”

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.

Surprise! The new Palestinian superhero - PMW

Samir Kuntar who murdered a four-year-old Israeli by smashing her head with the butt of his rifle, is the newest PA - Fatah hero and role model

PA-Fatah Poster at rally commemorating Kuntar in Nablus,  
with symbols of both the PA-funded Prisoners Club and Fatah
Text on poster under Kuntar's picture: 
"The Martyr (Shahid) of Palestine and Lebanon, 
the heroic freed prisoner Samir Kuntar" [PA TV, Dec. 21, 2015]
Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik..
Palestinian Media Watch..
24 December '15..

Samir Kuntar is a Lebanese terrorist who in 1969 infiltrated Israel and murdered four Israelis. Kuntar murdered his youngest victim, four-year-old Einat Haran, by repeatedly smashing her head with his rifle butt.

After being released from Israeli prison in 2006, Kuntar joined Hezbollah and was planning terror attacks against Israel when he was killed in Syria last week.

Child-killer Kuntar is the newest Palestinian Authority-Fatah superhero.

The following are 15 statements by PA and Fatah officials glorifying Kuntar and his “heroic” act of murder:

"The Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs established a house of mourning for the most senior of Arab prisoners, Martyr (Shahid) Samir Kuntar, who Israel assassinated... Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake stated: 'Martyr Samir Kuntar is a Palestinian symbol...We gather today in honor of Martyr Kuntar, in order to accompany him to his wedding (i.e., Martyr’s funeral) as a Martyr, in the name of all the Palestinian people, and in order to emphasize to him and to everyone fighting for Palestine - you will remain present throughout our lives. We will not forget your heroic acts and sacrifice, and we will talk about you with all future generations. We will tell them: Kuntar rubbed the nose of the occupier in the dust here.’”[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 22, 2015

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Moshe Arens at 90: 'There is no shame in being a strong nation' - by Shlomo Cesana

...The one-state option is only viable if Israel comes to the conclusion that the peace process is over, Arens says. "I don't support the notion of a Palestinian state, and certainly not the notion of uprooting Jewish communities. You ask if I think the land is sacred? Yes, the land is sacred. "I think the Jewish people have a very deep connection with the Land of Israel, and not only in the context of the 1949 armistice lines. That's all they are -- cease-fire lines. Our connection to Israel runs through to the Jordan River. When it comes to cutting out the heart of the biblical Land of Israel, I don't want to do it. Other solutions must be devised."

Shlomo Cesana..
Israel Hayom..
25 December '15..

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli Air Force commanders past and present came together this week to celebrate former Defense Minister Moshe Arens' 90th birthday.

An aeronautics professor who held key positions in the Israel Aerospace Industry, a three-time defense minister, foreign minister, ambassador and Israel Defense Prize laureate, Arens, a lifelong Likud member, was the first Israeli official dubbed "Mr. Security."

At 90, Arens has a unique perspective on life, politics and Israel's future.

When looking to Israel's future, one must also look at its past, he says.

"And looking back we've made amazing progress," he says.

"The State of Israel was a country fighting for its life, a poor country, budgeting for every citizen. Today Israel is very strong militarily, and economically it's a rich country. That's nothing to be ashamed of. We're a high-tech state with robust exports.

"Between the [1948] War of Independence and the [1973] Yom Kippur War, we felt we were fighting for our lives. Until that glorious victory [in 1973] we were under the constant threat of an attack by an Arab coalition, and we needed 48 hours to call up the reserves and counter the attack. This threat no longer exists. The Arab armies are deterred. Some of them no longer exist, and we have peaceful relations with Egypt and Jordan, including close defense ties. No one can predict the future, but if we look at where we were and where we are today, there's definitely reason to be optimistic."

BBC yet again politicises Christmas in Bethlehem report - by Hadar Sela

...Yolande Knell’s selective portrayal of Christmas in Bethlehem is clearly designed to promote a political agenda and there is no reason to be surprised about that given her past record and her openly displayed identification with such political causes. Amazingly for a media organization supposedly committed to accurate and impartial reporting, the BBC continues to countenance her annual exploitation of Christmas for the opportunistic force-feeding of its audiences with trite anti-Israel delegitimisation.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
27 December '15..

The Christmas season inevitably brings with it opportunistic, politicised messaging from the BBC’s Jerusalem Bureau and this year was no different. Apparently short on fresh ideas, Yolande Knell casts local residents in the role of nativity story figures in her report titled “Christmas in Bethlehem: Hopes and fears for the future” (December 24th, BBC News website Middle East page) – a device she previously used in her 2011 seasonal report.

Including both text and video clips, the report promotes the themes of a low-key Christmas and economic hardship for Bethlehem residents. No mention is made of the Palestinian Authority’s instructions to municipalities to dampen this year’s celebrations or the Council of Churches’ similar dictate.

The surge in Palestinian terrorism that began in mid-September and which has obviously had an effect on the tourist industry in the region receives minimal coverage in Knell’s account, although when it is mentioned she portrays it as equivalent “Israeli-Palestinian violence” and – in line with PLO messaging – downplays the incitement fueling that violence. Instead, Knell focuses more on what she terms “protests” and “clashes” whilst erasing the agency of Palestinian rioters and terrorists sabotaging their own community’s all-important tourism industry.

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The Cost of Collaborating with Iran, and There is a Cost - by Ben Cohen

...As more evidence regarding this shameful agreement emerges, the underlying theme that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted will be resonate even more strongly. More immediately, the AMIA scandal gives us an important glimpse into how the Iranians negotiate. What they don’t do is compromise. Instead, they present a mixture of threats, ideological venom and faith in the reluctance of Western leaders to take military action as a negotiating strategy. That’s why any country that declares a conflict with the Iranians satisfactorily resolved – whether that’s the AMIA issue or Tehran’s nuclear ambitions – has reached that conclusion in spite of the facts, not because of them.

Ben Cohen..
26 December '15..

Next month marks the first anniversary of the death of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine federal prosecutor who spent a decade investigating the 1994 Iranian-backed bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. In that massacre, 85 people were murdered and hundreds more injured.Nisman’s lifeless body, readers will remember, was discovered in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment on January 18, 2015 – the night before he was due to elaborate on his formal complaint against the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in front of the Argentine Congress. Nisman had concluded, based on the mountain of evidence that was available to him, that the main purpose of Fernández de Kirchner’s 2013 “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with the Iranian regime was to abandon the demand for six Iranian suspects in the AMIA bombing to be extradited, thereby paving the way to restored relations between Buenos Aires and Tehran.

The Argentine President made one spectacular miscalculation in all of this. At no point did it occur to her that Daniel Scioli, the candidate she chose to succeed her in the presidential election this year, would end up losing the ballot. But that’s exactly what happened. With the victory, in November, of the pragmatic Mauricio Macri, all of Fernández de Kirchner’s bets regarding the future of the AMIA investigation have been made redundant.

There is a lesson here for politicians that goes far beyond Argentina’s borders. Very basically, the lesson determines that while colluding with Iranian terrorism may deliver short-term gains, in the long-term there are no benefits yielded and quite a few costs to boot.

In the case of Fernández de Kirchner and her principal cohorts, among them her foreign minister Hector Timerman, those costs could conceivably include a jail sentence. Securing the MOU with Iran required Argentina’s leaders to lie about the circumstances of the AMIA bombing. At the time, anyone with even superficial knowledge of the atrocity and its tortured aftermath knew that they were lying. Now it can be proven.

Last week, previously unknown recordings of Timerman’s telephone conversations with local Jewish leaders were released into the public domain. No-one quite knows how the recordings surfaced, but it’s reasonable to believe that with Fernández de Kirchner out of the presidential palace, and with President Macri’s new government declaring that it regards the MOU with Iran as null and void, whoever unveiled them has figured that doing so will not result in a knock on the door in the middle of the night – or a bullet in the back of the head.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Let Yoni Zarka serve in the IDF - by Judith Bergman

Israelis from all walks of life have already embraced Yoni Zarka. Let the IDF come out and embrace him, ‎too. Let Yoni serve.‎

Judith Bergman..
Israel Hayom..
25 December '15..

Meet Yoni Zarka: a 32-year-old new immigrant from France with a singular, ‎passionate dream -- to defend the people of Israel by serving in the Israel Defense Forces. ‎

Zarka wrote to the IDF as soon as he arrived in Israel in February. For three months, he called the army every day and sent ‎letters. They told him they were considering his request. But in the end they told him he was too old to ‎enlist in the IDF. The oldest age to enlist is 27. This was after he signed up for Tzedek Lochamim, an association of soldiers preparing for elite commando ‎units such as Sayeret Matkal and the Shayetet 13‎ naval commando‎s, and took part in it for a month, where he was among the mere 10% of participants who completed the massive trek in the preparatory program. Zarka has twice completed Ironman triathlons -- 4-kilometer swim, 80-kilometer bicycle ride and 42 kilometers of running -- ‎and is in better shape than the vast majority of 18-year-olds signing up for service. ‎

Zarka's last resort has been to camp outside the IDF Induction Base at Tel Hashomer, outside Tel Aviv, braving the rain and cold and spending 11 nights sleeping on the pavement in his sleeping bag -- a dangerous endeavor in the current security situation. The soldiers at the ‎base love him and have taken care of him like one of their own, sharing their food and beverages with him. ‎

On Monday, he had the chance to present his case to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ‎promised to look into it and respond within a few weeks. Until then, he says he will not budge ‎from his spot outside the base.‎

I asked him where he finds the strength to go on with his campaign. He almost laughed at my question.

‎‎"That is so very easy! I am a Zionist. All my strength comes from that -- only that. Zionism is inscribed upon ‎my heart. If I give up on the army, it's as if I am giving up on Israel," he tells me.

‎"I once asked my mother why I was named Yoni. She took out a film, told me to sit down and watch it. ‎After the film, I cried. The film was about the Entebbe operation, in which Yoni Netanyahu [the prime minister's brother] was killed while ‎fighting to rescue the Jewish hostages."

Friday, December 25, 2015

When Breaking News is Broken - by Yarden Frankl

...Press TV cannot be regarded as a credible media outlet, but seeing the headlines that ran in the mainstream press, one has to wonder if attempts to confuse victims and their assailants in this conflict are having an impact.

Yarden Frankl..
Honest Reporting..
24 December '15..

News breaks fast. In the rush to be the first to cover a breaking news story, the media will put up headlines on their websites without taking the time to fact check and make sure that they have the story right. Even if the article underneath the headline has all the relevant information, a bungled headline skews an entire story.

Case in point:

Two Israelis were killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. This fact should not be difficult to sum up in a headline when it is clear exactly who were the victims and who were the perpetrators.

However, one of the first headlines to appear was this one from the Associated Press:

Why were these Palestinians killed? Were they the ones stabbed? This headline does not tell readers the basic facts of the incident.

Many other news outlets like the New York Times and Time magazine ran the AP’s headline and spread the misinformation around the world:

CNN didn’t just leave the word “Palestinians” out of their headline. While the AP and others at least identified the attackers and victims in the article, CNN apparently decided that the identity of the terrorists was not important and ran the article without mentioning “Palestinians” once. The terrorists are just identified as “attackers.” While “terrorists” may well be “attackers,” that word does not give readers any additional information.

UNRWA to BBC: “Use the Words ‘Israeli Occupation’ in Coverage of Christmas in Bethlehem”

...Notably, Gunness did not ask BBC to use the words “murder, persecution and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Palestinian areas and throughout the Middle East,”

Hillel Neuer..
Times of Israel..
25 December '15..

I urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to condemn the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for breaching its neutrality promise under the 2015 UNRWA-U.S. Framework for Cooperation after spokesman Chris Gunness today urged the BBC to politicize its news coverage of Christmas by using the words “Israeli occupation.”

Demand use the words in its coverage of in . Amazing lack of context needs correction RT

Notably, Gunness did not ask BBC to use the words “murder, persecution and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Palestinian areas and throughout the Middle East,” as documented before the UN in compelling testimony by Father Gabriel Naddaf, who noted that “Israel is the only Mideast country not persecuting Christians.” Those words do not interest UNRWA or Gunness.

Ambassador Power should also condemn UNRWA for violating UN resolution 46/182 (1991), by which UNRWA is obliged to provide humanitarian services in accordance with the principles of “neutrality and impartiality.”

Israel's homegrown enemies by Caroline Glick

...In recent years, as the movement to delegitimize Israel from the Left has gained momentum, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has taken to referring to Israel as “the one and only Jewish state.” To Zionist ears, his constant refrain often sounds grating. Why bother mentioning the obvious? But today his characterization of Israel rings true. Indeed, it is a reminder of what we can lose, and what we must do everything we can to defend. We have but one Jewish state; we will never have another one. Warts and all, Israel must be defended from all of its enemies. Jewish terrorists, like Palestinian terrorists, are not victims. They are enemies of the state. Their apologists – like apologists of Palestinian terrorists – are also enemies of the state. We must fight and defeat them all with equal determination.

Caroline Glick..
Column One..
24 December '15..

ailants threw a firebomb into the home of the Dawabsha family in Duma. The mother, Reham, and the father, Saad, along with their 18-month-old baby Ali were killed. Four-year-old Ahmed was critically injured.

Authorities immediately alleged that the assailants were members of a Jewish terrorist organization.

The accusations were widely disregarded by members of the national-religious camp, and by the Right, more generally. But following news that Jewish suspects were arrested for the crime earlier this month, those early allegations ring truer than before.

The Right had good reason to raise an eyebrow at the allegations. The IDF, the Shin Bet and state prosecutors have a long history of open discrimination against the Right.

In 2001, 14 years before the Dawabshas were murdered, then-attorney-general Elyakim Rubinstein retracted five-year-old indictments against members of Eyal.

Eyal was a phony terrorist group put together in 1994 by a Shin Bet agent provocateur named Avishai Raviv. Its purpose was to demonize the national-religious community. As the most outspoken critics of the Oslo peace process with the PLO, the national-religious community was targeted for demonization.

Raviv and his colleagues had for years sought to entice members of the community to carry out acts of politically motivated violence. And when all else failed, he formed a fake terrorist group and invited reporters to film its fake swearing-in ceremony.

The Shin Bet’s history, along with IDF Central Command’s longstanding policy of portraying alleged Israeli vandalism of Palestinian property as the moral equivalent of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, has led many law-abiding citizens on the Right to take allegations regarding Jewish terrorist cells with a grain of salt.

But this week we learned that this time the allegations may well be true. Just as bad, this week we discovered that not only do Jewish terrorists exist, they have supporters.

Wednesday night Channel 10 broadcast a video of young people dancing at a recent wedding in Jerusalem. The wedding was of friends of the men recently arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of the Dawabsha family. Rather than dance around the bride and the bridegroom, as is the custom at Jewish weddings, wedding guests held up rifles, guns, Molotov cocktails and knives and danced around a photo of baby Ali Dawabsha.

The message was clear. The guests at the wedding weren’t waiting for indictments or a court verdict.

They were sure their friends murdered the Dawabshas – including their baby – and they supported the murder.

Here is the place to note that the suspects are innocent until proven guilty. The film is not evidence of guilt.

But the video does show that Jewish terrorists have supporters and those supporters believe that child killers are heroes.

How are we to relate to this state of affairs? How are we to respond to the increasingly sure knowledge that there are Jewish terrorists and that those terrorists have supporters? Among those supporters are hundreds of people who have tried to shift the discussion from the act of terrorist murder the suspects are alleged to have committed to a discussion of allegations made by their attorneys, that since their arrest the alleged Jewish terrorists have been tortured by their investigators.

How are we supposed to react to those who rush to every open microphone and accuse the state of torturing the terrorist suspects, rather than consider, for a moment, what these men are suspected of having done? How are we to react to people who, even in the presence of evidence insist that the state is completely evil and the suspected terrorists are simply victims of discrimination? Those who blithely accuse counterterrorism investigators of torturing terrorist suspects while ignoring evidence and the nature of the crime itself, are terrorism apologists. In behaving as they do, they serve as the moral equivalent of anti-Zionist leftists from Breaking the Silence and its sister groups who libel Israel internationally.

Both groups of terrorism apologists use anti-Jewish rhetoric to harm the Jewish state. Both groups libel Israel with false allegations of torture that neither would dare to raise against any other country.

There are of course difference between the two groups.

Breaking the Silence and sister groups like B’Tselem are funded by foreign governments.