Russia's military made a fresh effort to crush Daesh and other terrorist groups by launching its first airstrikes against them from an airbase in Iran, in a move which reinforced the two powers' collaboration in Syria and was met with strong reservations from Washington.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the Daesh terror group could be behind the overnight bombing of a wedding in Gaziantep, in a statement published Sunday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The president wished a speedy recovery to 94 people who were wounded in the bombing that shocked the mostly-Kurdish populated city in southeastern Turkey. The blast killed at least 30 people, according to the province governor.
Russian use of Iranian air base shows Moscow's renewed military might
Russia's use of an Iranian air base to bomb rebel targets across Syria for the first time this week has allowed Moscow to show off sophisticated weaponry as it seeks to cement ties with Tehran and expand its influence in the Middle East. While the tactical effect was unclear, Russian President...
Isis child suicide bomber kills 51 at Kurdish wedding
Hannah Lucinda Smith, Istanbul
August 22 2016, 12:01am, The Times
At least 51 people have been killed and 69 injured after a suicide bomber aged between 12 and 14 targeted a Kurdish wedding party in southern Turkey.
The child bomber, believed to be an Islamic State follower, detonated his device on Saturday evening as crowds of revellers danced in the streets of Gaziantep, a city close to the border with Syria. It is the deadliest attack in Turkey this year.
The bride and groom, who have been named as Besna and Nurettin Akdogan, were injured but are in a stable condition in hospital. The death toll looks set to rise...
Mourning families gathered outside a medical centre in Gaziantep yesterday. The suicide attack was the deadliest in Turkey this year and the death toll may riseSEDAT SUNA/EPA
UN Watch Briefing
Latest from the United Nations Vol. 603 | August 18, 2016
The op-ed below by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer appears in the latest edition of The Jerusalem Report by By Hillel C. Neuer.
The aid workers aiding Hamas
The UN and NGOs that have been infiltrated by terror organizations must mend their ways or have their funding frozen
Accused Hamas agent Mohammed El-Halabi, the Gaza director of the giant Christian aid group World Vision, appears in court, August 4.
The UN featured him on its website as a "humanitaran hero."
The arrest of Palestinian humanitarian officials in Gaza from two separate international organizations - charged with siphoning aid resources to support Hamas terrorism - along with allegations about at least two other entities raises troubling questions about the culture within the United Nations and non-governmental agencies that allowed such crimes to take place.
First there was the announcement by Israel's Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on August 4 that Mohammed El-Halabi, director of the Gaza branch of World Vision — a billion-dollar Christian aid agency — was indicted for systematically diverting tens of millions of dollars in aid money to Hamas.
According to the Shin Bet, El-Halabi admitted to being a lifetime Hamas member who was dispatched in 2005 to infiltrate World Vision.
El-Halabi had a good chance of being accepted because he had already worked for UNDP, the UN Development Agency — where he also helped Hamas — and because his father, Khalil al-Halabi, holds a senior post at UNRWA in Gaza which he, too, uses to support Hamas.
Once in World Vision, El-Halabi employed a sophisticated apparatus for transferring funds and resources to Hamas. Over several years, El-Halabi helped Hamas construct terror tunnels, pay their salaries, and build military bases.
In addition, according to the charge sheet, in 2014 Halabi recruited a Palestinian aid worker from Save the Children, a major NGO based in the UK, to join Hamas' military wing.
After the revelations, Australia and Germany froze their funding to World Vision, and the organization suspended its Gaza operations. Save the Children, for its part, is "making inquiries into this matter."
The 30-page document failed to mention Hamas once. Discussion of damage to Gaza buildings omitted that Hamas used them for rocket launching against Israeli civilians, deliberately jeopardizing Palestinian civilians.
How can we expect UNDP to remedy internal "processes" when its leaders openly broadcast a see-no-evil approach to Hamas terror?
The latest arrests ought to be a wake-up call. Palestinians deserve to be helped, but Hamas — an organization that exults in murdering Jewish children — is the opposite of humanitarianism.
If the UN and NGOs fail to correct their ways, taxpayers in the US, Canada and Europe should do it for them, by demanding a permanent freeze to the funding of terror.
Hillel C. Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch in Geneva.
Palestinians: The "Country" Where Crime Is an Official Job
by Yves Mamou
August 7, 2016 at 5:30 am
- "[W]hoever was imprisoned for five years or more is entitled to a job in a PA [Palestinian Authority] institution. Thus, the PA gives priority in job placement to people who were involved in terrorist activity." – Yigal Carmon, president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), in testimony to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, July 6, 2016.
- Â In 2016, not less than $300 million (between 7% and 10% of the budget) was allocated to prisoners, their families, and to "martyrs' families."
- In June, an independent report commissioned by the Britain's Department for International Development concluded that by enabling the PA to pay salaries to terrorists, British aid to the PA had made anti-Israel terror "more likely." DFID dismissed the report.
- Â Palestinian society is totally built and organized on the basis of "resistance". It is a society where jobs, fame and money go to people who are in, or who have spent years in, Israeli jails. There, legitimacy goes to people who are considered "martyrs."
In this small piece of land, headed by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), every killer of a Jewish Israeli citizen is called "martyr." This word "martyr" means that each time a Palestinian stabs a Jew, he accomplishes an act of pious virtue. And because the killer is a good Palestinian Muslim, his family becomes eligible for regular payments from the Palestinian Authority's "martyr's fund." This fund is used financially to compensate Palestinian prisoners and the families of "martyrs."
After a 17-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Tarayra, stabbed to death a sleeping 13-year-old Israeli girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, in her bed in the town of Kiryat Arba, the terrorist's house was decorated with Fatah and PLO flags. No doubt the family will be soon on the list of payments from the Palestinian "martyr's fund."
According to an analysis by Bloomberg's Eli Lake:
"The origins of these payments goes back a long way. Before the Palestinian Authority was established in the 1990s through the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization paid the families of 'martyrs' and prisoners detained by Israel. That practice became standardized during the Second Intifadah of 2000 to 2005. The Israelis even found documents in the late Yasser Arafat's compound that showed payments to families of suicide bombers."
The money the Palestinian killers make is not small change. Evelyn Gordon reported in Commentary:
"The PA has for years paid above-market salaries to the perpetrators of anti-Israel terror attacks. The salaries range from 2,400 to 12,000 shekels a month ($600 USD to $3,000 USD) and are paid for the duration of the perpetrator's jail sentence in Israel (people killed while committing attacks get other benefits). The lower figure is roughly equivalent to the average – not minimum – wage for people who actually hold jobs in the West Bank, and about 40 percent higher than the average wage in Gaza; figures at the higher end of the range are the kind of salaries most Palestinians can't even dream of. In short, the PA has made terror far more lucrative than productive work."
Yigal Carmon, president and founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), submitted testimony to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 6, 2016. He gave interesting details.
First: the payments are highly structured by law. "This financial support for prisoners is anchored in a series of laws and government decrees, chiefly Laws No. 14 and No. 19 of 2004, and Law No. 1 of 2013..." According to these laws, the PA must provide prisoners with a monthly allowance during their incarceration, and salaries or jobs upon their release. They are also entitled to exemptions from payments for education, health care, and professional training. Their years of imprisonment are calculated as years of seniority of service in PA institutions. It should be noted that whoever was imprisoned for five years or more is entitled to a job in a PA institution. Thus, the PA gives priority in job placement to people who were involved in terrorist activity."
Technically, the PA transfers the funds through two PLO organizations:
- Â The National Palestinian Fund, which transfers moneys for the prisoners and released prisoners (further to be disbursed by the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs).
- Â The Institute for Care for the Families of Martyrs, which transfers moneys for the families of martyrs. What are the amounts?
Families of "martyrs": The PLO's Institute for Care for the Families of Martyrs... allocated just under $173 million for families of martyrs and the wounded within the homeland and outside it. The Institute's operating expenses comes [sic] to about $1.5 million. ... The budget also states that the Institute provides allowances "without discrimination" -- in other words, also from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and so on.
In 2016, not less than $300 million (between 7 and 10% of the budget) are going to be allocated to prisoners and families and to "martyrs' families."
The United States and the European Union, which finance the Palestinian institutions year after year, deliberately close their eyes to the "martyr's fund" to which they contribute.
PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake, speaking at a rally in November 2013, defends the use of EU aid money to pay "salaries" to imprisoned terrorists, saying "The Europeans want their money that comes to us to remain clean -- not to go to families of those they claim to be terrorists. [They] need to renounce this occupation mentality."
(Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)
But things might begin to change. Warning signs are in the air.
1) The recent Report of the Middle East Quartet (European Union, United States, Russia and the UN) does not talk money but "incitement to terror" -- which is exactly the same thing.
"Continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, and incitement to violence are greatly exacerbating mistrust and are fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful resolution."
The Quartet added:
"Palestinians who commit terrorist attacks are often glorified publicly as "heroic martyrs." Many widely circulated images depict individuals committing terrorist acts with slogans encouraging violence."
High-rise construction leaps in Israel
IDF continues pounding Hamas targets into night Ynet|Last update: 22.08.16 , 00:08
As tensions mount in wake of rocket fired from Gaza into Israel, IDF continued a combined artillery and air assault on Hamas targets into the night; IDF: 'Hamas is the sovereign power in the Gaza Strip and it is therefore responsible.'
Israel strikes 50 times in Gaza after rocket attack
Israeli official urges calm as Hamas blames Jewish state for escalating violence; 2-5 people lightly injured in raids
BY JUDAH ARI GROSS AND TAMAR PILEGGI August 22, 2016, 9:53 am
The Israel Air Force conducted 50 airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip late Sunday night, following a rocket fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists earlier that day, but was not seeking an escalation in hostilities, an Israeli official said on Monday.
"There were approximately 50 airstrikes within two hours. There is no intention to escalate the situation further, and that is basically where the situation falls at this time," a senior military official told The Times of Israel.
Palestinian security sources in Gaza said several targets in the northern Strip were struck by Israeli fire, and that a reservoir in Beit Hanoun was damaged. Israel also hit a base belonging to Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in nearby Beit Lahiya, witnesses said. Palestinian health and security sources said between two and five people were lightly wounded by Israel's retaliatory fire.
Palestinians look at a water tower that was first damaged during the 2014 Gaza war and appears to have again been struck by Israeli fire on August 21, 2016 in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip.
(AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)
This was the second Israeli bombardment of the day. Immediately following the rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on Sunday afternoon, Israeli aircraft and tanks also targeted Hamas installations in the northern Gaza Strip.
After the late-night airstrikes, the Islamist Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip blamed Israel for escalating tensions in the Palestinian enclave.
"The escalation shows Israel's desire to change the status quo in the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Sunday night.
"We hold Israel responsible for the escalation in the Gaza Strip and we stress that its aggression will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or dictate the terms of resistance," Zuhri said. The Hamas spokesman was speaking hours after the terror group paraded missiles through the streets and threatened renewed violence against Israel.
On Monday, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told Israel Radio that Israel was not interested in an escalation of violence with Hamas, but said the army would "respond appropriately if necessary."
The response marks the most intense Israeli reprisal attack on Gaza since the sides fought a bloody war in 2014, and could signal a shift in policy by newly installed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
The rocket fire was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other small Islamic State-linked Salafist groups, but Israel says it holds Hamas — the Strip's de facto rulers — responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza and routinely responds to such launches with strikes against the terror organization.
The rocket launch on Sderot on Sunday struck inside the border town, but caused no casualties or damage. It landed between two homes on Hanehalim Street, near Sapir College and the city's train station. Locals said it was "a miracle" that nobody was injured.
Palestinian members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, display Qassam home-made rockets during an anti-Israel military parade on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP / SAID KHATIB)
The attack was the second serious rocket strike from Gaza since Liberman took office in May, following a strike that hit an empty preschool in July.
The IDF said it was the 14th rocket launched from Gaza into Israel in 2016.
On Sunday night, a Hamas official told Israel Radio the group was not interested in a renewal of violence. But earlier, Hamas held a large rally in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, parading rockets through the streets and threatening to renew fighting if Israel did not lift a decade-old blockade on the enclave.
Israel says the blockade, also imposed by Egypt, is necessary to keep Hamas and other terror groups from re-arming or rebuilding military infrastructures used in previous wars with Israel.
A Palestinian member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, takes part in a anti-Israel military parade on August 21, 2016 in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)
Launches from Gaza are infrequent and usually carried out by small fringe groups, at times without the approval of Gaza's Hamas rulers and even at times as a means for pressuring the group by raising tensions between it and Israel.
Sweden: The Silence of the Jews
Part IV of a Series: The Islamization of Sweden
by Ingrid Carlqvist • August 16, 2016 at 5:00 am
- "It pains me to have to admit this but anti-Semitism is not just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it is routine and commonplace. Any Muslims reading this article – if they are honest with themselves – will know instantly what I am referring to. It is our dirty little secret. You could call it the banality of Muslim anti-Semitism." — Mehdi Hasan, The New Statesman.
- "There isn't much of a desire to do anything about it [the problem of anti-Semitism]. It should also be said that the so-called interfaith outreach work... achieves almost nothing. A couple of old bearded men get together and agree on some dietary thing they've got in common, but it doesn't solve the fact that anti-Semitism mainly comes from Muslim communities these days. ... that that's taught in many mosques and many Muslim schools..." — Douglas Murray, British commentator.
- The question that arises is, are the elites of Sweden in general suffering from a case of Stockholm syndrome? Are we encouraging our adversaries to Islamize Sweden, which in the long run, might result in the abolition of freedom of religion, forcing Jews and Christians to live as dhimmis [subjugated citizens] in humiliation?
- Â If by allowing hundreds of thousands of Muslims to settle here -- people much more hateful of Jews than the average German during the Nazi era -- are we not in fact paving the way for another Holocaust?
In January 2009, an Arab mob in Malmö pelted a peaceful Jewish demonstration with bottles, eggs and smoke bombs. The police pushed the Jews, who had a permit for their gathering, into an alley.
One of the most visible effects of Muslim mass immigration into Sweden is that anti-Semitism is very much on the rise in the country. Swedish Jews are being harassed and threatened, mainly in the Muslim-dense city of Malmö, where in January 2009, the friction deepened during a peaceful pro-Israel demonstration. Demonstrators were attacked by pro-Palestinian counter demonstrators, who threw eggs and bottles at the supporters of Israel. The mayor of Malmö at the time, Ilmar Reepalu, failed to take a clear stance against the violence, and was accused of preferring the approval of the city's large Muslim population to protecting Jews. He remarked, among other things, that "of course the conflict in Gaza has spilled over into Malmö."
Germany to tell people to stockpile food and water in case of attacks
Reuters|Published: 21.08.16 , 19:08
Following two attacks last month, Germany has instructed its citizens to prepare emergency supplies of food and water in case of a major, wide scale attack or catastrophe; this is the first time such an order has been issued since the Cold War.
BERLIN - For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the German government plans to tell citizens to stockpile food and water in case of an attack or catastrophe, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported on Sunday.
Germany is currently on high alert after two Islamist attacks and a shooting rampage by a mentally unstable teenager last month. Berlin announced measures earlier this month to spend considerably more on its police and security forces and to create a special unit to counter cyber crime and terrorism.
"The population will be obliged to hold an individual supply of food for ten days," the newspaper quoted the government's "Concept for Civil Defense" - which has been prepared by the Interior Ministry - as saying.
The paper said a parliamentary committee had originally commissioned the civil defense strategy in 2012.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the plan would be discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday and presented by the minister that afternoon. He declined to give any details on the content.
People will be required to stockpile enough drinking water to last for five days, according to the plan, the paper said.
The 69-page report does not see an attack on Germany's territory, which would require a conventional style of national defense, as likely.
However, the precautionary measures demand that people "prepare appropriately for a development that could threaten our existence and cannot be categorically ruled out in the future," the paper cited the report as saying.
It also mentions the necessity of a reliable alarm system, better structural protection of buildings and more capacity in the health system, the paper said.
A further priority should be more support of the armed forces by civilians, it added.
Germany's Defense Minister said earlier this month the country lay in the "crosshairs of terrorism" and pressed for plans for the military to train more closely with police in preparing for potential large-scale militant attacks.