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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘families’

Hekdesh Benvenisti Suing to Evict 9 Arab Squatter Families from Eastern Jerusalem

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The Hekdesh Benvenisti submitted this week eviction suits against nine Arab families in the Kfar HaShiloah (Silwan) neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. To date, the association has sued 72 Arab families it wants evicted, based on the fact that the entire neighborhood belongs to Yemenite residents who settled there in the early 1920s.

Kfar HaShiloah is located on the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley, above the outlet of the Gihon Spring opposite the City of David.

The Hekdesh Benvenisti is an association established in 1899 for the purpose of building the Yemenite neighborhood. According to Daniel Luria, the executive director of Ateret Cohanim-Israel, the Ateret Cohanim NGO assists the Hekdesh facilitate acquisitions in the area, which has been conducting a legal campaign against the Arab squatters who took over the Jewish-owned homes following the 1949 armistice, when the Jordanian Legion governed eastern Jerusalem. The bulk of these Arab families took over the properties in the 1950s and 60s, and today there are some 80 Arab families there.

The Hekdesh went to court after the squatters refused the offer of money to vacate the Jewish properties.

Currently there are more than 50 Jewish families living in the area, some in homes purchased from Arabs, some in Beit Yonatan, an apartment building in the neighborhood, owned by Ateret Cohanim. Last year an Arab family was evicted from what used to be the century-old Yemenite synagogue, and the building has undergone renovations, complete with a glow-at-night star of David on the rooftop. Two additional apartment buildings have been redeemed over the past year, and are also being renovated to accept future Jewish families.

The Jewish residents of the area are often attacked by the Arabs, in many cases requiring intervention by police and Jewish security personnel. The process of removing the Arab squatters promises to be lengthy, but the association expects big rewards in terms of establishing a major, thriving Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.

In 2014, White House spokesman Josh Earnest described the new, legal occupants of Kfar HaShiloah as “individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.” Prime minister Netanyahu was “baffled” by the criticism, deeming it “un-American.”

Attorney Avraham Moshe Segal, noted that “various courts, led by the Supreme Court, have determined that the Hekdesh is the exclusive owner of these lands, and we expect that the courts’ rulings be honored precisely.”

JNi.Media

Israel Warns Google, Apple: New Game on Gaza War Could Endanger IDF Soldiers

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called on Apple and Google to remove a new “free to play” game from their online stores, called “Liyla and the Shadows of War.”

The minister contends that the mobile app is being used to incite players to kill IDF soldiers, by having them take on the role of a girl in Gaza during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, ‘Operation Protective Edge.’

The Israel Defense Forces are seen as “the bad guy” in the game, and are portrayed as particularly cruel and filled with murderers.

Erdan has warned both Google and Apple that the game could endanger the lives of IDF soldiers became of the incitement it generates. But neither company has responded to his concern.

Gaza resident Rasheed Abueida, the creator of the game, says it’s based on “actual events” and calls it a “cry for help.”

The promotional kicker line on the game’s website says, “When you live in a war zone and death is hunting everyone, things will look different and choices become harder. Face your fate in an unjust war to survive with your family from the shadows of war.”

Reviewer Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer, is quoted on the site as saying, “Liyla is a brave personal game about the invasion of Gaza, both an exploration of what games can communicate and a plea for help from someone actually affected by the reality the game sketches.”

Abueida explains on the site that he made the game because he is a father of two children, and “I can’t imagine my life without them, but in Palestine nobody is safe.

“When the war started in Gaza and I saw the images of the killed kids in their parents hands I was shocked, I had a weird feeling, it’s a combination of sadness, fear, empathy and anger. All what I was thinking of is ‘What if this happened to me.’ I have chosen to share those feelings in a game to deliver a message of how we are living as Palestinians under this situation. It’s not just a Game, it’s a case and call for help.”

The game won the Reboot Develop Indie Award in the category of “Visual Excellence,” according to the website.

Under “Resources” the site lists the Human Rights Watch “World Report 2015: Israel/Palestine Events of 2014” and the “Gaza Emergency Situation Report” released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Neither was an example of professional objectivity.

Also listed is a link to ABC News, which leads to an article by Middle East correspondent Matt Brown, beginning with the sentence, “An Israeli military spokesman says the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) should have been able to tell that four boys it killed on a Gaza beach last week were not Hamas operatives.”

There are also two videos on the page, one from Qatar-based Aljazeera, “Israeli strike kills children on Gaza beach,” and the other, a 67-second report from a Palestinian Authority-generated news source, TOMO, “Israel-Gaza conflict: another UN school hit by Israel, at least 16 dead.”

“Facts” are graphic images of the war that are part of the game. The game uses sounds from freesounds.org, and the melodic music, “Cold” by Jorge Mendez.

The skewed way in which so many residents of Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian Authority view the events of the summer of 2014 is displayed in all its tragedy and misery in this game.

The biggest tragedy of all is the destruction caused by the vicious Hamas leaders of Gaza who used them all as human shields, who forced them into bloodshed and war, and who then prevented them from fleeing to safety even when Israel did its best to allow them safe passage out of the combat zones.

It is Hamas who has misdirected and outright stolen their supplies to create more instruments of war, rather than the homes and hospitals and neighborhoods for which they were intended. And it is Hamas who has held them hostage and prevented them from doing anything else with their lives, other than working as slaves for the cause of hatred and death, from the very youngest ages to the grave, sometimes in a collapsed tunnel, and sometimes in a teenage attempt to murder a Jew.

“Sadness, fear, empathy and anger?”

Understandable, and matched by the endless frustration of those on the other side of the security barrier who have done everything possible to create the reality of a reasonable co-existence with their Arab neighbors.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Unites Congressional Democrats, Republicans, in Overriding Veto Damaging 9/11 Families

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby was in the middle of his daily press briefing Wednesday when a reporter informed him that the House had just joined the Senate in overriding the presidential veto on a law permitting the families of 9/11 attacks victims to sue Saudi Arabia should it turn out that the Kingdom was involved in carrying out those attacks. The reporter wanted to know if the Obama Administration, as it had warned would happen, had been approached by any foreign government threatening to “pass legislation that could affect the sovereign immunity of the United States and U.S. officials abroad?”

As expected, Kirby admitted he was not aware “that any government has expressed an intention to do so since the President’s veto. Before the President’s veto, though,” he noted, “some of our European friends — who are less likely to have been affected by the intent of the law itself — have expressed concerns about the issue of sovereign immunity surrounding the law. … France being one of them.” But no country like, say, Saudi Arabia, has so far stated its intent to seek anti-American retribution.

Possibly because Saudi Arabia is not interested in alienating the American public even more at this stage of the game, when the Iranians are running roughshod along its borders and the only reliable protection for the Saudis comes from the US.

However, as Kirby pointed out, the new law, now officially on the books, is forcing the US’ European allies “to rethink the whole issue of sovereign immunity. We didn’t make that up. That was communicated to us by other countries.”

Is the State Dept. expecting diplomatic difficulty with Saudi Arabia as a result of the veto? In Kirby’s view, “it goes beyond just Saudi Arabia. It goes to a larger concern that we have had about this idea of sovereign immunity — not just for diplomats but for our troops, for US companies that operate overseas.”

Possibly. What was most poignant about this vote was the fact that Congressional Democrats clamored to support the veto override, signaling to their voters that they are not captives of an irrational White House on this and other issues. Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat whose 10th Congressional District actually includes Ground Zero, was adamant in attacking the president’s arguments.

“Despite the overblown rhetoric of some critics of this bill, JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) will not pose a threat to American military personnel or diplomats,” Nadler told the house. Debunking Kirby’s fretting, he added, “They would be absolutely protected if another country passed legislation mirroring this bill because JASTA applies only to governments. To the extent that a foreign government might pass broader legislation that would make American personnel subject to liability, that country would not be reciprocating. It would be engaging in a transparent and unjustifiable act of aggression.”

Nadler also noted that, despite Obama’s exaggerated fears, “the economic, diplomatic, and military strength of the United States makes such action unlikely, and any rogue state inclined to target US interests can already do so. We must not hold justice for the 9/11 families hostage to imagined fears.”

Over at the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cast the only vote in favor of Obama’s veto. No Democrat argued in favor of Obama’s version of reality before the vote. The Senate voted 97-1 Wednesday to override the veto.

The White House was irate, obviously, and spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One following the Senate override, “I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.”

For speculations as to what act of the Senate Earnest was referring to, check out this website, which tried to figure it out (White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done). We went to Wikipedia (so you won’t have to) and dug up possible embarrassing things Joe may have been thinking about, although, to be fair, most of them were attributed to the president, not the Senate:

On February 24, 1983, a special Congressional commission released a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during World War II. That sure was embarrassing, but the shameful stuff didn’t happen in 1983, obviously.

On April 18, 1983, the US Embassy was bombed in Beirut, resulting in 63 dead. Then, on October 23, 1983, simultaneous suicide truck-bombings destroyed both the French and the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 US servicemen, 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. That was horrifying and embarrassing, especially since at that point President Ronald Reagan decided to cut and run — a point not mentioned often enough in those stories glorifying him as a brave commander-in-chief.

Finally, on October 25, 1983, American troops invaded Grenada, possibly to show the US could still defeat somebody. Yes, that was pretty embarrassing.

Of course, Earnest was not referring to any of the above. He was merely responding to a reporter who had told him that Wednesday’s veto was the most overwhelming since a 1983 95-0 veto override. President Reagan vetoed a land bill that gave a few acres to six retired couples who had paid good money for it only to find out later that, due to a surveying error, it was still government property.

No Saudis were harmed in the commission of that other veto.

JNi.Media

Obama Vetoes Bill Letting 9/11 Families Sue Saudi Arabia

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

President Obama on Friday vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, helping families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia. The bill enables the families to sue the Kingdom should it be shown to be legally liable, having supported the attack. Out of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists, 15 were Saudi nationals.

Obama released a statement Friday, saying he bears “deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.”

However, the president explained, the 9/11 bill is sure to “invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States — which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack.”

Yes, he actually used that as his argument: it’s going to cause a mess in the courts system.

A group named 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism released a statement Friday saying it is “outraged and dismayed” over the president’s veto, arguing that his reasoning is “unconvincing and unsupportable.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she supports the bill. Her spokesman said in a statement that “Clinton continues to support the efforts by Senator Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to secure the ability of 9/11 families and other victims of terror to hold accountable those responsible. She would sign this legislation if it came to her desk.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Obama’s veto was “shameful,” adding in a statement: “That President Obama would deny the parents, spouses and children of those we lost on that horrific day the chance to close this painful chapter in their lives is a disgrace.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said earlier last week that he believes ” the votes are there for the override.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), who co-sponsored the bill, is on the record as promising to help override a veto.

This is the 12th veto by President Obama in his eight years in the White House, and none of his first 11 have been overturned. His predecessor, President GW Bush, used his veto power 12 times and was overturned four times. Out of President Bill Clinton’s 36 vetoes, two were overridden; President GHW Bush had 29 vetoes (in one term) and lost only one.

JNi.Media

Empowering 9/11 Families: The President Should Get Out Of The Way

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

As it now stands, President Obama intends to veto a bill passed unanimously by the Senate and House that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts based on its government’s alleged involvement in the attacks.

Despite evidence of such involvement, the Saudis have previously been immune from legal action in the United States pursuant to a 1976 American law recognizing the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which bars suits against foreign governments in U.S. courts.

While the previous law granted such immunity to foreign governments for terrorist attacks committed off American soil, the new law would carve out an exception for such acts carried out on American soil. The previous law was at the heart of a $655 million U.S. jury verdict against the PLO and the PA for terrorist acts committed In Israel, which was recently vacated by a federal appeals court. The court reasoned that the Constitution requires terrorist acts to have been committed in the U.S., or to have specifically targeted Americans overseas, for Americans to sue in U.S. courts.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday that he anticipates the president will veto the legislation but that it hasn’t been presented to him yet. Mr. Earnest went on to explain that the new law was “objectionable” because it “opens the United States to the risk of being hauled into courts in countries around the world.”

New York Senator Charles Schumer, one of the prime movers of the legislation, said he thinks there would be enough votes to override a presidential veto.

It is certainly not an idle concern that there could be adverse repercussions for the U.S. should the new law actually take effect, but that risk should be trumped by the prospect of justice for 9/11 class victims. Additionally we must not forget that the U.S. is still a major power with significant leverage around the world. Further, if in practice the cases brought in U.S. courts are based on compelling rather than circumstantial evidence, the chances of retaliation might be diminished.

There is also something buried in the law that should have some impact. A belatedly added provision would allow a president to bring about an indefinite halt in any case brought against a foreign government if the Department of Justice can demonstrate that the administration was engaged in good faith settlement negotiations with a defendant country.

To be sure, this provision could enable the executive branch to unilaterally render insignificant a piece of legislation unanimously passed by the Senate and the House. However, since many who voted for the law are said to have misgivings over the retaliation issue, the way the legislation now reads is probably the most realistic way forward.

Editorial Board

White House: Obama to Veto Bill Empowering 9/11 Families to Sue the Saudis

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

President Obama intends to veto a bill which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

“The president does plan to veto this legislation,” Earnest said, reiterating, “I do anticipate the president will veto the legislation when it is presented to him. It hasn’t been presented to him yet.”

According to The Hill, this could be the first time Congress would be able to override an Obama veto. Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Administration to leave the bill alone for the sake of the 9/11 victims’ families, and for the sake of their reelection come November. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the veto would ignite a showdown between the White House and Congress that would damage the president and make him less effective on the serious issues, namely the fight over the budget in the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote in both the House and Senate.

Earnest cautioned that “this law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” and added that “the president will continue to explain his opposition to this legislation … up until Congress decides whether to override his veto.”

The Saudi dominated, six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced on Monday that the proposed law “contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” possibly assuming this sovereign immunity includes the right to plot an attack on major civilian centers of the host country.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani also said in an unveiled threat that “such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism.”

JNi.Media

Reflecting on 9-11 and Remembering the Victims and Heroes of 9-11 and their Families

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and heroes of 9-11 and their families, as we approach this fifteenth anniversary of 9-11 (2001), and the fourth anniversary of the ‘Benghazi 9-11’ (in 2012). We join all those who lost loved ones in grieving for the irreplaceable lives that were destroyed, and pray for comfort for those left behind.

This is also a time for reflection.

In the wake of 9-11, almost the entire nation felt a sense of unity – black, white or red, we were all one. The nation felt overwhelming gratefulness to the firefighters and police officers who risked and in many cases lost their lives trying to rescue citizens trapped in the burning towers, and we were firmly determined to stamp out radical Islamist terrorism. Americans also newly understood the terror that innocent Israeli citizens have been subjected to for decades, since before the State of Israel was reborn.

Where has all this gone? Today, we are beset with divisiveness. There are racial movements that preach hatred of the police – the very same people who risked their lives to rescue fellow citizens on 9-11. As occurred in San Bernadino with fatal consequences, Americans have become afraid to report suspicious terror activities for fear of being accused of bigotry or “Islamophobia.” Israel is condemned on college campuses and even by certain churches for defending her citizens from terror attacks. Al Qaeda offshoots such as ISIS perpetrate terror attacks in various parts of the world almost every day.
Iran planned the 9-11 attacks and then joined in an alliance with al Qaeda to finalize the plot and carry out 9-11; trained the 9-11 terrorists; and provided a flight simulator in Tehran for the 9-11 terrorists’ flight training.

And, we are feeding the hand that bit us. Yesterday’s hearing before the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill painfully reminded us that the U.S. administration has been sending billions of dollars to Iran, including extraordinary amounts in cash that will no doubt be used to finance more terror.

ZOA previously summarized and publicized Iran’s key role in and complicity in 9-11, documented by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in its Findings of Fact in Havlish v. bin Laden, et al – a case brought by 9-11 victims against al Qaeda, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah and other Iranian and Iranian-backed entities, after years of investigation, prompted by information initially uncovered by the 9-11 Commission.

Briefly, Iran planned the 9-11 attacks and then joined in an alliance with al Qaeda to finalize the plot and carry out 9-11; trained the 9-11 terrorists; provided a flight simulator in Tehran for the 9-11 terrorists’ flight training; along with Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, arranged travel and visas for the 9-11 terrorists and accompanied the 9-11 terrorists on flights; and helped al Qaeda terrorists and their families escape from Afghanistan after 9-11.

On 9-11 this year, let’s pray for comfort for those who were forever bereaved by this tragedy; work towards restoring a sense of unity in our nation; once again honor our police and other first responders; understand and support Israel’s struggle against the same Islamist terror that has too often struck us in America; make sure that no more funds are sent to Iran or any regime that supports terror; and determine to finally stamp out radical Islamist terror.

Morton A. Klein

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/reflecting-on-9-11-and-remembering-the-victims-and-heroes-of-9-11-and-their-families/2016/09/11/

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