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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

By Gilberte Jacaret

A Palestinian terrorist shot dead an Israeli couple in an attack on their car near Nablus on Thursday night, between Elon Moreh and Itamar.
Jerusalem Post, October 1, 2015

The Israeli couple killed were identified as Eitam and Na'ama Henkin from the West Bank settlement of Neria. (photo credit:Courtesy)
Their four young children survived without injury in the bullet-riddled vehicle.

Magen David Adom paramedics and soldiers pulled the children out of the car near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik.

The boys, aged four months, four years, seven and nine years, saw their parents shot dead in front of them.

The victims were identified as Eitam, 31, and Na'ama Henkin, 30, from the settlement of Neria, in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. Eitam's mother Channa, who is from the United States, heads the Nishmat seminary for women in Jerusalem.

The couple will be buried in Jerusalem's Har Hamenuchot cemetery

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had just finished addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, told reporters, "This is a difficult day for the State of Israel."

P.M. orders new steps against terror
Violence continues Sunday across the West Bank, East Jerusalem; Palestinian teen killed in clashes as speculation increases of Third Intifada.
Ynet, Oct. 3, 2015, Somfalvi, Elior Levy

Amid escalating acts of violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday night that he had ordered new steps meant to prevent terrorism after a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Defense.
"We are waging a war to the death against Palestinian terrorism," said Netanyahu. "I've ordered a series of additional steps in order to prevent terror and to deter and punish the attackers."

Police in clashes with Palestinians in Hebron this week. (Photo: MCT)

The prime minister said that the new steps include the expedited destruction of perpetrators' homes, the extension of administrative detention for offenders, additional security forces in Jerusalem and the West bank and limiting Palestinian access to the Old City and Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu's comments came after several particularly severe security incidents including an attack in Jerusalem Saturday night during which a Palestinian killed two Israelis, leading many to speculate regarding a Third Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also threw his hat in the right Sunday, with a call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the recent spike in tensions.
Abbas told the UN leader that Jewish settlers were provoking the Palestinians with the IDF's protection by blocking roads in the West Bank as well as the entrance the al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. He asked for some form of international protection for the Palestinians.
Ban told Abbas that he would call Netanyahu and relay Abbas' warning that the situation could get "out of control."
Meanwhile, violence continued throughout the day Sunday, leading to the death of an 18-year-old Palestinian, Hazifa Saliman, after clashes with police in Tulkarm, just inside the West Bank opposite the city of Netanya.
According to the Red Crescent, at least 77 other Palestinians were wounded throughout the day in various incidents and clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
An Israeli border police soldier was lightly wounded by an explosive device at Rachel's tomb earlier in the day, and was taken to the hospital for treatment before being released.
Some 250 Palestinians also threw rocks and firebombs at security forces as they burned tires in Abu Dis, just East of Jerusalem.
IDF troops also clashed with stone throwers near Ramallah and in both cases, security forces responded with crowd-control measures.
Palestinians also claimed Saturday that Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles with stones along route 60. A 15-year-old Jewish resident of the settlement of Psagot, just East of Ramallah, was arrested Saturday when police caught him throwing stones at a Palestinian vehicle.
His detention was extended and an appeal was rejected, leaving him in jail for the remainder of the holiday.

Another 40 settlers blocked Shiloh Junction on Sunday, throwing rocks at passing Palestinian vehicles. No injuries were reported from the scene.

Yoav Zitun, Elisha Ben Kimon, Noam 'Dabul' Dvir, Omri Ephraim and Yael Freidson contributed to this report.

Analysis: Palestinian rebellion underway
Jerusalem Post, 10/05/2015 08:55 Arab-Israeli Conflict By YOSSI MELMAN

Any incident, even the most marginal, can turn into a strategic mega-terror attack that will draw an Israeli response which will send the situation spiraling out of control.

A Border Policeman uses pepper spray on a Palestinian man during clashes near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The experts in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF, as well as media analysts, continue to argue over the definition. What should we call the violence? Intifada? Not an intifada? Grassroots terror? Stone intifada? The sad truth is that the name doesn't matter. What's important is the reality, and no less important - the recognition of that reality.

And the reality is that the West Bank and Jerusalem are burning. They have been burning for several months, even for as long as a year.

The Palestinians are on a path to confrontation. There are already clear signs of an uprising. It started with stone-throwing - an average of more than 100 incidents a month. And stones can kill, as we have seen on a few occasions in the past year, including in the latest incident in Jerusalem on Rosh Hashana eve. It continued with the addition of Molotov cocktail throwing - about 10-15 incidents a month. And most recently, there has been increased use of firearms and knives, as in the case of the murder of the Henkin family and the attack on Saturday in Jerusalem's Old City.

In short, the situation is extremely volatile. Any incident, even the most marginal, can turn into a strategic mega-terror attack that will draw an Israeli response which will send the situation spiraling out of control.

We can only imagine the horror scenario that would have developed if the Henkin's four children were killed along with their parents, or if Iron Dome were to miss a rocket from Gaza that lands on a southern town and causes multiple injuries. These are scenarios that could lead to an Operation Defensive Shield 2 or Operation Protective Edge 2. Not to mention what would happen if Jewish extremists were to carry out another terror attack like the murder of the Dawabshe family in Duma.

The Israeli government continues to stick to the status quo as if nothing has changed. Some government ministers - chief among them Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked - have attacked the government for not doing enough. Meaning, they are blaming themselves for this helplessness without taking responsibility.

At most, they offer solutions which are akin to offering chicken soup to a dead man or Tylenol to a cancer patient. Such as to increase the number of checkpoints or to prevent Palestinian cars from traveling on certain roads (which is a bad idea that will make it easier for terrorists, who will know that every attack is an attack on a Jewish car). These are the tactical solutions of the small-minded. There is no willingness to deal with the bigger picture - the strategic reality.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended his hand and offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet and start negotiations without pre-conditions. But we've already been in this movie. Abbas and the Palestinian leadership do not believe Netanyahu. They remember the Netanyahu that speaks in favor of the two-state solution, and later, prior to elections, takes it back, and has now once again gone back to the starting point. The Palestinians have had enough of these suggestions or minor "good will gestures." They want to know where the negotiations will lead.

Abbas and the Palestinians have also contributed to the situation. They did not take advantage of the settlement freeze some five years ago. Just like Israel, they are not willing to compromise. However, it is still a mistake for the Israeli government to take the position that there is no solution to the situation.

It's clear that the status quo is dying, one way or the other. It may be a massive Palestinian uprising or the resignation of Abbas, or the Palestinian Authority dismantling itself, or announcing the canceling of the Oslo Accords, as Abbas has threatened, or all of these things together, at the same time.

What Putin's Syrian strategy means for Israel
Analysis: Russian president seeks to enhance his country's influence in the region through his alliance with Assad: A dangerous gamble, but Israel need not worry for the moment.
Ynet, Sept. 30, 2015, Ron Ben-Yishai

Monday's speeches at the UN General Assembly meeting revealed the true desires of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.
The US president wants to end his time in office without another war and without having to send more US troops to fight on foreign land.
He doesn't want to resolve conflicts but to prevent them by diplomatic means, and if he can't prevent them – he'd like to handle them in a way that minimizes the damage. He sees the US as a world leader and its number one superpower – for one, because it's military is the largest and most advanced in the world, but mostly because its recovering economically, while rivals Russia and China are slowly deteriorating.
Putin has totally different goals. Besides his known ambition to return Russia to its tsar-glory days, an ambition held by communist leaders in their time, he also wants to gerrymander the world into spheres of influence. For instance, eastern Ukraine is mine – western Ukraine is yours, Syria is mine – Saudi Arabia is yours, and so on.

Obama and Putin at the UN (Photo: EPA)

In order to realize this idea, Putin has recently increased his involvement in Syria. Bashar Assad gave the Russians what his father Hafez refused to his last breath. The Russians used to have one dock in the port of Tartus in Syria's Alawite enclave, and now they have the entire port, as well as an air base north of Latakia.
Now the Russians have a permanent strategic anchor in the eastern Mediterranean – just like the US and NATO have their presence in Turkey. Moreover, Putin has exploited Assad's and the Iranians' distress to make himself a major player in the Middle East, just as the United States' influence in the region is waning.
Meanwhile, Iran is working to turn Hezbollah into an independent producer of weapons and munitions. This is so that they may prevent Israeli bombings of weapons convoys making their way through Syria, thus escalating tensions. It's reasonable to assume that the Iranians are doing this with approval from the Russians, who do not currently want any regional conflicts with Israel.
Putin is creating an axis in which Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Russia are up against the pro-Western axis of the Gulf states and Egypt, and he has yet to say his last word on the matter. He made an intelligence-based alliance with Iraq, supposedly to combat ISIS, but the Islamic State isn't the main story here. Russia, as a global superpower with crucial influence in the Middle East, that's the story.
Regarding ISIS, Putin's intentions are very simple: We'll give Assad anything he needs, so that ISIS has to fight for its existence and can't increase its power in the southern Caucasus region (and we'll give the same to the Iraqis and Iranians if need be).
He'd prefer it if the fanatical Chechen Muslims, who are loyal to ISIS, returned home in coffins, and not as experienced fighters that the Russian military has to fight against in the Caucasus, Pakistan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and other Muslim Russian republics.
Therefore, the Russian involvement in Syria is an important strategic point for Putin, as well as targets that can be considered "systemic", which are related to Syria's security and economy, as will be made clear.
What we did in '73
Putin is currently doing for Assad what Nixon's US did for Israel during the Yom Kippur War, 42 years ago.
The Syrian military's equipment was outdated and ineffective even before the civil war started. Now, after four years of war, half of it is gone and significant percents aren't usable. These include fighter planes, armored troop carriers, and tanks.
In the past few weeks, Russia has given the Syrian military sophisticated and accurate arms, which will help it target rebel forces. These are replacing the inaccurate artillery batteries Assad is still using, as well as the surface missiles that only sporadically hit their targets (much like when the US gave Israel anti-tank missiles in 1973, so that the Egyptian advancement towards Be'er Sheva could be halted).
Assad currently controls less than a quarter of Syria's original territory, but that's enough for the Russians. They can implement everything they want to in the confines of Shi'ite-Alawite "little Syria", which spans from the Latakia coastline to Damascus. That gives Russia a corridor to southern Lebanon.

A Russian base in Syria (Photo: AFP / CNES 2015 DISTRIBUTION AIRBUS DS / 2015 IHS)

They don't need more than that to maintain a large military base, which could be used for all types of purposes, most of all to stick a finger in the Americans' eye. They could also use this as a bargaining chip to achieve their goals in Ukraine.
The Russians are smart. They aren't going to send Russian soldiers to fight ISIS, but they'll make sure Assad can do it. If they expand structures and storage spaces in two Syrian military logistics facilities near Latakia, it's not in order to bring in Russian tank brigades, but in order to facilitate new tanks, airplanes, and arms for use by Assad's forces.
Israel should understand this and try to use it to its advantage. We have to remember: Just as the Americans remember their failed interventions in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, so the Russians remember their humiliating retreat from Afghanistan in March 1989.
Putin won't repeat the same mistake, so he won't be sending Russian troops to fight ISIS on the ground. He'll only be supplying Assad with weapons, and the Iranians will pay him for it (after the economic sanctions are removed).
The Iranians will also probably soon become the Russian arms industry's number one client, perhaps compensating Russia somewhat for the financial damages it has suffered due to the Ukraine-related sanctions imposed on it by the Europeans and the Americans.
Putin winking at Israel
In his UN speech, Putin gave a determined, aggressive, and even bold and creative appearance, which caused many in the media and diplomatic worlds to start heaping praise onto him.
But we need to keep in mind that the Russian involvement in the Middle East, as well as the strategic game Putin is playing (in which he's currently gaining small victories) isn't over yet.

PM Netanyahu and President Putin (Photo: AP)

Russia's economy is declining, and the Middle East, as we know, is a place where unpredictability is one of very few constants. Putin might go back home with his tail between his legs, just like the Americans did with Iraq and Afghanistan, and like Israel did after the First Lebanon War.
What does all of that mean for us? It seems that the new situation, with Russia being more and more intertwined with Syria, is more of an opportunity for Israel than it is a risk. Putin also made this clear when he said – and this is a far-reaching statement – that Israel had legitimate interests in Syria.
It means that Putin sees us as a legitimate partner for determining the future of the region, which Russia aspires to lead.
Russia sees us as a partner even though Putin quickly condemned Israel's airstrikes in Syria. That condemnation was meant to send the message: You Israelis are partners, but there are rules to this game, and you'll have to respect them.
It's likely that as a result, and as a result of the agreement between Putin and Netanyahu, Israel will try to avoid future airstrikes against Assad's weapon convoys to Hezbollah. After all, Russia is the one giving Assad those weapons, and it has a clear interest in drawing Israel, a local power, to its side, distancing it from the Americans.
The bottom line is that Russia will probably serve as a stabilizing force in Syria, but what's less appealing is that it will legitimize an Iranian entrance into the country, under its supervision. As I said, it's unknown what will come out of the complex regional stew Russia is cooking. Putin doesn't know if his gamble will pay off, either. But as of now Israel needn't be too worried about Russia's increased presence in the region.

Germany's Sharia Refugee Shelters
"Bulk of Migrants Cannot Be Integrated"
by Soeren Kern • October 1, 2015

  • Christians, Kurds and Yazidis in the shelters are being attacked by Muslims with increasing frequency and ferocity.
  • "I fled from the Iranian secret service because I thought that in Germany I could finally live my faith without persecution. But in the refugee shelter, I cannot admit that I am a Christian, or I would face threats... They treat me like an animal. They threaten to kill me." — An Iranian Christian in a German refugee shelter.
  • "We have to dispense with the illusion that all of those who are coming here are human rights activists. ... We are getting reports of threats of aggression, including threats of beheading, by Sunnis against Shiites, but Yazidis and Christians are the most impacted. Those Christian converts who do not hide their faith stand a 100% probability of being attacked and mobbed." — Max Klingberg, director of the Frankfurt-based International Society for Human Rights.
  • "We are observing that Salafists are appearing at the shelters disguised as volunteers and helpers, deliberately seeking contact with refugees to invite them to their mosques to recruit them to their cause." — Hans-Georg Maaßen, head of German intelligence.
  • Police are urgently calling for migrants of different faiths to be housed in separate facilities. Some politicians counter that such segregation would go against Germany's multicultural values.
  • The bulk of the migrants who are arriving here cannot be integrated." — Heinz Buschkowsky, former mayor of Berlin's Neukölln district
  • alt.

In the past two months alone, dozens of violent brawls and riots between different groups of migrants have erupted in Germany's refugee shelters.

Muslim asylum seekers are enforcing Islamic Sharia law in German refugee shelters, according to police, who warn that Christians, Kurds and Yazidis in the shelters are being attacked by Muslims with increasing frequency and ferocity.
Muslim migrants from different sects, clans, ethnicities and nationalities are also attacking each other. Violent brawls — sometimes involving hundreds of migrants — are now a daily occurrence.
Police say the shelters, where thousands of migrants are housed together in cramped spaces for months at a time, are seething cauldrons ready to explode. The police are urgently calling for migrants of different faiths to be housed in separate facilities.
Some politicians counter that such segregation would go against Germany's multicultural values, while others say that separating hundreds of thousands of migrants by religion and nationality would be a logistical impossibility.