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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Two Israeli Arabs Indicted For Attempting To Join ISIS

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Nazareth (TPS) – The Israeli State Attorney’s Office indicted two Israeli Arab men at the Nazareth District Court on Thursday for having ties with ISIS. They are charged with attempting to join the group in Syria, as well as with the illegal trade of weapons.

Mahmoud Abdelfatah, 24, a resident of Nazareth, is charged with contacting a foreign agent and supporting a terror organization. According to the indictment, Abdelfatah had been supporting the Islamic State since 2014, and regularly visited radical Islamic websites. He plotted to travel to Turkey under the guise of being on a honeymoon and then cross the border to Syria and fight with the jihadist group in Raqqa, the city declared by the group to be its capital.

According to the indictment, Abdelfatah had been in regular contact on Facebook with another Israeli Arab, who identified himself as Mahmoud Abdullah from Jerusalem. Abdelfatah met him at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, and later Abdullah updated him that he had crossed the border into Syria where he was fighting with Islamic State.

The second man who was indicted is Ashraf al-Rabii, a 23 resident of Shfaram, who is charged with possessing an illegal weapon as well as supporting a terrorist group. Al-Rabii was an avid reader of Islamic State propaganda and aspired to fight for the group in Syria. He also owned a non-licensed pistol and sold bullets to others.

The case was investigated by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israeli police. The prosecution has asked the court to keep the suspects in custody until the end of court proceedings against them.

There have been many recent cases of Israeli Arabs arrested for attempting to join Islamic State. More than 40 Israeli Arabs have joined the group in the last two years, according to the Shin Bet.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jerusalem In 20 Years

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

What specific actions can be taken on the ground now to ensure a united, Jewish Jerusalem? What would a practical political program for Jerusalem’s coming two decades look like? How would it take shape, and by whom?

These were some of the questions dealt with by a forum of experts at a recent day-long conference organized by KeepJerusalem in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. The conclusions The threats are significant; change must start from the informed grassroots; Chaim Ramon’s separation plan must be blocked; and a large umbrella municipality and much more construction are necessary.

What is not a good idea is former Justice Minister Chaim Ramon’s proposal to simply delete Arab-populated neighborhoods from the Jerusalem municipality borders. Though it appears logical at first glance, it has been shot down by local Arab leaders, military figures, and many in between on both left and right.

Left-wing spokesmen consider it “racist” and “immoral,” and say it will lead to poverty and neglect in the Arab neighborhoods.

Those on the right wing of the political spectrum say the Ramon plan would significantly worsen both security and demographics, and would whet the international community’s appetite for further Israeli withdrawals.

IDF Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen objects largely from philosophical-historical aspects. He first notes Ramon’s dismal record in foreseeing the consequences of diplomatic processes. In 2006, several months after the disengagement/expulsion from Gaza, Ramon said, “I believe there will be quiet. But even if there is war, it will be the IDF with all its capabilities against 3-4,000 Hamas men with nothing! If they form any kind of threat, we will conquer the West Bank in 24 hours.”

HaCohen reminds us that in the decade since then, Israel has fought three wars against Hamas in Gaza, with varying degrees of success, leaving a tremendous Hamas weapons arsenal largely intact.

HaCohen says that at issue is not merely a military or diplomatic question of war and peace: “The Arabs in this land have dreams that encompass more than just having food on the table. They have national and religious dreams, and these cannot be negotiated. The goal of ‘end of conflict,’ to which some people on our side raise their sights, is not on their agenda.”

Militarily, HaCohen notes, “what was is not what will be. The ‘state’ is not the only entity with power; ammunition and weapons are found in every corner, with no control over them. This is also why talk of a demilitarized state is simply irrelevant… To thwart terrorism, Israel must remain inside these neighborhoods, not outside them.”

One element of the plan for Jerusalem that must be immediately implemented, HaCohen urges, is that of a city police task force that will enact a proactive, comprehensive strategy in the Arab neighborhoods: “There are Arab groups acting against Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. The police basically take the passive approach, hoping to achieve something that resembles ‘quiet’ – while in fact many areas in the city have become almost inaccessible to Jews, such as the route to Mt. of Olives. There is no comprehensive strategy. The prime minister must appoint a commander for this campaign.”

Longtime Jerusalem affairs expert Nadav Shragai also participated in the KeepJerusalem conference. Among his other objections to Ramon’s plan, he says it would lead to an acute demographic deterioration in Jerusalem: “The city has undergone two types of division over the past decades. In 1948, a fence was erected down the middle – and the city lost a full quarter of its Jewish population, people who didn’t want to live on the border. Then, several years ago, the partition wall was built. Some 90-100,000 Arabs were left ‘outside’ the wall, and within a short time, 70-80,000 Arabs moved to the Jewish side, because they didn’t want to lose their rights; those who remained in fact suffered, and became more hostile.”

Shragai agrees that a new status should be granted to some of the capital’s Arab neighborhoods: “They should become independent local townships – not part of Jerusalem, but still a part of the state of Israel. They can be like Mevaseret Zion or like Abu Ghosh, and they will then be able to govern themselves and provide services that until now they have not fully received, such as sanitation, kindergartens, and the like.”

Alternatively, or possibly simultaneously, it was proposed to finally implement the government decision of 1998(!) to create an umbrella municipality of Jerusalem and its Jewish suburbs. These would include Givat Ze’ev, Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Beitar Illit, and perhaps also Mevaseret. Clearly this would improve the demographics and also enable the development of Jerusalem as a large, modern super-city, with all that entails.

The wall-to-wall objections to the Ramon plan appear to render it null and void, shot down before it even hits the ground. Far from bringing on complacency, however, it must spur us – especially here at KeepJerusalem – to continue to work on strengthening Jerusalem from within. More Jews continue to leave the city annually than arrive (though at a lesser rate than in previous years), and jobs and apartments must be made available to keep them here.

Large-scale construction throughout the city – and especially in the “new” neighborhoods in the liberated parts of the city such as Ramot, N’vei Yaakov, East Talpiyot, and more – is essential. The way to do this is for the government to take hard decisions and stand by them, even in the face of expected international finger-wagging. With the world currently distracted by Brexit and Trump-Clinton, now is the time to take our future into our own hands.

A perfect example of how not to do it is the announcement following the terrorist murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel: Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that 42 new apartments would be built in Kiryat Arba – when in actuality he was simply recycling an old, frozen housing plan for domestic PR purposes. A more appropriate response to the recent terrorism would have been the announcement of totally new housing plans for hundreds of units in places such as Pisgat Ze’ev, Gilo, Kiryat Arba and elsewhere.

On an optimistic note, as this column was being written, Netanyahu confirmed plans to build 760 new housing units in Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. And the population of Yerushalayim is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country: 2.4 percent in 2014, compared to 2 percent nationally. In addition, the Jewish rate of growth is quickly nearing the Arab rate. The city’s Arab birth rate was 2.7 percent in 2014, compared with 3.2 percent a decade ago, while the Jewish birth rate is 2.2 percent, nearly double what it was a decade ago.

 

To take part in the critical efforts to keep Jerusalem Jewish and united, via updates, bus tours of news-making parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website at www.keepjerusalem.org. 

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Suicide Bomber Turned ‘Peace Activist’ Refused Entry into Israel

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Shifa al-Qudsi was 24, a beauty technician from Tulkarem, when she was planning to blow up a supermarket in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya. Back in 2007, while still in Israeli security prison, she told Judith Miller that although the suicide vest that was stuffed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and various metal fragments, weighed close to 40 pounds, it felt “like roses on my shoulders. I was even more eager to do it after I put the vest on. Many would have died. No fence in the world would have stopped me.”

With that kind of a self professed reputation, is it any wonder that the same Shifa al-Qudsi was refused entry into Israel Thursday, when she wanted to attend the world premiere of a new documentary titled “Disturbing the Peace,” in which she appears.

According to the official press packet, “Director Steve Apkon’s documentary conveys a universal story about the human ability to see beyond the narratives which we tend to accept as reality, and challenging convention in the struggle for freedom.” In essence, the film’s protagonists liberate themselves from the war stories that no longer serve their purpose, because, let’s face it, most Israelis are not buying the Arab peace offers — in favor of an alternative narrative and a new vision which sees Israel giving up through peaceful means what it has been refusing to abandon in battle.

The special screening will take place Thursday at the Jerusalem Film Festival at 2:15 PM, by al-Qudsi’s brothers and sisters in arms who have not been barred by Israel’s visa authorities. The screening will be followed by Q&A with Stephen Apkon Apkon and the “Combatants for Peace” activists who appear in the film.

Al-Qudsi was arrested in a dawn raid at her home in April 2002, having been turned in by an Arab informer in the terrorists’ ranks. She was convicted and served six years in prison. After her release she joined the “Combatants for Peace,” a group of Arabs and Israelis who have served in the IDF and in terror organizations. “We – serving our peoples, raised weapons which we aimed at each other and saw each other only through gun sights – have established Combatants for Peace on the basis of the following principles,” their website states:

1. “We believe that the conflict cannot be resolved through military means by either of the parties.” (check)

2. “We call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, based on the border of June 4, 1967, alongside Israel. The two countries will prevail side by side in peace, security and good neighborly relations.” Or, in other words, we insist that the agenda of one side (the terrorists) will be accepted over that of the other side (folks who served in the IDF). Totally evenhanded.

3. “Our direction is that of nonviolent struggle and we call on both nations to join us to achieve peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. We urge the political leadership to take bold steps to commence serious negotiations to end the conflict and desist from taking unilateral steps aimed at placing obstacles in the face of this goal and prolonging the conflict, including the construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, whose purpose is the perpetuation of the conflict and the blocking of any chance of real peace.” In other words, we’d like to have peace all around, but do remove those half a million pesky Jews from the homes where they’ve lived for the past four or five decades.

With so much peace and love, how could Israel refuse entry to Shifa al-Qudsi who merely asks the Jewish State to continue her unconsummated suicide bombing through non-violent action?

Which is why Combatants for Peace leaders Udi Gur and Mohamad Awedah released a statement saying, “Israel’s limiting visa policy for peace movements consistently encumbers the Palestinian voice calling for the end of the conflict from being conveyed to the Israeli public. Combatants for Peace Palestinian members’ voices are critical and non-violent. The Israeli public deserves to hear that change is possible, as Shifa’s process illustrates, and the attempt to silence her is meant to tear the two nations apart and bring despair — but we believe there is another path, the path of hope.”

And that “hope,” as always, is the hope of seeing the Jewish State disappear eventually from the map of the Middle East, as it will be swallowed up by the already existing three Palestinian states of Jordan, the PA and Hamas-Gaza.

JNi.Media

IDF Kills Ramming Terrorist During Raid of Homemade Weapons Shop

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A security force comprised of IDF, Border Guard and police, that had raided and captured a weapons making facility in the town of Al-Ram, north-east of Jerusalem, identified a speeding vehicle that was approaching them in a manner that suggested a terrorist intent. The force, which felt that their lives were at risk, opened fire. One of the passengers in the ramming vehicle was killed and another injured. A third man was arrested and taken for a Shabak interrogation.

David Israel

Rumor: AIPAC Meddling in GOP Platform to Tone-Down Pro-Israel Language

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Alan Clemmons, a member of the GOP Platform committee, who on Monday wrote on his Facebook page that he was “honored to propose a strong Israel Plank of the GOP Platform” (See Lori Lowenthal Marcus’s report in today’s Jewish Press), also mentioned that “unfortunately, the saga is not over. The rumor is that AIPAC is trying to recruit surrogates on the Committee to oppose and weaken our strong Israel Plank language tomorrow when it comes before the full committee for approval.”

Last week, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that “AIPAC pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform.” According to the WFB, “AIPAC-backed changes to the 2012 platform included the removal of support for an ‘undivided’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the removal of language calling for the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” ostensibly to insure a balance on Israel between the Democratic and the Republican platforms.

AIPAC’s success in weakening the 2012 pro-Israel language left some Republicans angry, according to sources who told the Free Beacon that the fight over the platform’s Israel language is likely to renew next week in Cleveland.

AIPAC denied working to cool down the pro-Israel language in the 2012 GOP platform.

But Jeff Dunetz, writing for The Lid, reported Monday that he “was able to contact another person involved with the committee who [confirmed] that they too heard that AIPAC is working on a full court press to roll back the 2016 GOP language.”

Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, who told the Jewish Press‘ Lori Lowenthal Marcus on Monday evening that AIPAC “is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States,” and that “Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC,” also told Jeff Dunetz that he is “personally familiar with a number of instances where AIPAC lobbied against Israel’s clear interests and stated policies in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Clemmons, who posted a link to the Dunetz story on his Facebook page, called on his fellow registered Republican Jews: “If you know any Platform Delegates please send them a note to STAND STRONG FOR ISRAEL!!!”

At this point, these are only rumors based on last week’s story about AIPAC and the 2012 GOP platform language. It should be said that, even if AIPAC denies the new rumor, which they probably will, their involvement in preventing a war between the GOP and DNC over who is more pro-Israel is understandable. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have attempted to make Israel the battlefield where the two sides in this election would fight each other, and no one in their right mind would want this — especially not a political PAC investing in ongoing, day in and day out pro-Israel lobbying.

David Israel

GOP SubCommittee Endorses Groundbreaking Pro-Israel Platform

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

On Monday, July 11, a GOP Platform subcommittee overwhelmingly passed an historically powerful position in support of Israel.

The language of the proposed plank compares Israel’s vision to that of America’s, rejects dictating terms of any peace agreement by those not living in the region and calls for the termination of funding for any entity which attempts to do so.

The language was hammered out over the past several months by the Iron Dome Alliance and several like-minded groups, and introduced and shepherded through the subcommittee by member delegate Alan Clemmons, South Carolina State Representative.

Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, spoke with the JewishPress.com Monday evening.

When asked how the strikingly strong pro-Israel language was adopted so easily (in a 14 – 2 vote) by the subcommittee, Ballabon explained that “this is where the GOP base is” and that, combined with “the force of the truth from Alan Clemmons” won the day.

Reached early Tuesday morning in Cleveland, Clemmons explained that the strongly pro-Israel platform language which includes respect for Israeli sovereignty and endorses an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital express American support for Israel.

“I believe the full Platform Committee will adopt this strong statement of support of Israel and her citizens this morning to give Republicans a platform that truly reflects their opinions about America’s greatest ally,” Clemmons told the JewishPress.com.

Ballabon also credited the simplicity of the proposed language, which is “spare, direct, and is what every conservative I know believes in,” with paving its way to passage.

The three-paragraph long plank is entitled: “Our Unequivocal Support of Israel and Jerusalem.”

The first paragraph lays out the common values shared by Israel and the U.S. building to a crescendo which calls support for Israel “an expression of Americanism” and the strong desire of Americans for a relationship with “no daylight between America and Israel.” It also recognizes Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state” and calls for the American embassy to be moved to the capital “in fulfillment of U.S. law.”

The second paragraph commits America to ensuring Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over all adversaries, and supports Israel’s right to defend itself in conventional warfare as well as against legal, economic and cultural warfare. It labels the BDS movement anti-Semitic and calls for “effective legislation to thwart actions intended to limit commercial relations with Israel.”

The final paragraph addresses the establishment of a “comprehensive and lasting peace int he Middle East, “to be negotiated among those living in the region.” It opposes “any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so.”

For those who despaired of liberation from the tried and failed “Two State” mantra which seemed to have an impenetrable lock on “pro-Israel” American organizations, the proposed plank is a breath of rarefied air.

And for those who believed that the idea of Two States is the official policy of the Israeli government, you were wrong. There is no such language in the official government guidelines, as reinforced in the prime minister’s statement of inauguration.

As Ballabon put it, the organization which most Americans think of as most firmly pro-Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States. But the newly-proposed plank has not “dropped” the Two State idea, it simply hands the decision making over to Israel.

Rather than weaken the more committed, pro-Israel party to line up with uniform but mediocre support, the idea was to dump the idea of the lowest common denominator and instead have a “race to the top.”

Further, Ballabon explained, Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC. Iran Sanctions and then the aftermath of the Iran Deal contributed to what was already a growing disenchantment with AIPAC. Ballabon’s distaste for the Israel Lobby is not hidden. He says it has “lots of money but its ideas are bankrupt.”

And while Ballabon was not a confirmed Trump supporter before this GOP Israel plank effort, he said the New York businessman’s Israel policy advisers have been “totally on board” with this effort in a way that was extraordinary.

Ballabon, who has long been a political and media strategist and Jewish community activist, said he has “never seen such a strong Israel policy team as is Trump’s.” He was, he says, “underwhelmed by both Romney and McCain’s Israel policy advisers.”

Tuesday, July 12, the full GOP Plank committee will meet to decide on all the language agreed to by its various subcommittees, including the new Israel Support language proposed by the GOP Platform’s National Security and Defense Subcommittee.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Tamar Yonah Show – Does Jerusalem Really Belong to Israel? [audio]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The truth hurts, but it must be stated. Hear the lowdown on Jerusalem’s status, and what we should honestly say when the world asks us about it.

Shifra Hoffman from www.VictimsofArabTerror.com and www.Shuva.net joins Tamar and talks about security for Israel and how dogs can help. Also, Uri Kelman and his family are soon to move to Israel on Aliyah, but he still has to sell his cars and wrap up last minute details before his flight. How will he manage it?

Lastly, Tamar quotes from an amazing book, “The Prime Ministers,” on the brilliant answer former Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave to the British press when asked a sensitive question. Read about it yourself HERE.

Tamar Yonah Show 10Jul – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

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