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April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Arab Officials Destroy Food Supplies Delivered by Israeli Truck to Hebron

Friday, March 20th, 2015

It’s not clear who the unlucky store owner was, but wise was he for not fighting Arab officials who ransacked an Israeli delivery truck in Hebron this week (March 16).

A mob of Palestinians swarmed to watch the spectacle, most occupied with their cell phones, arms extended to record the event for posterity and the Internet.

Boxes of Tnuva milk were flung to the ground, their precious white nutrient spilling all over the street. No Arab babies will grow strong teeth and bones from that spilt milk this weekend – but the wildly cheering crowd could have cared less.

Other goods in a riotous montage of reds, yellows and greens also were splattered as their packaging split when they struck the rough street around the truck.

It seemed to be a straightforward enough sight: “Arabs in Hebron broke into an Israeli delivery truck and destroyed all the packages within, tossing them onto the street to the wild cheers of the crowd,” reported the Elder of Zion blog, who sourced the report from FajerTV.

But according to commentators on the blog, local merchants already long ago restricted deliveries to Palestinian drivers, using Palestinian trucks, and shipments made only after payment received in full. The first, according to a local source, was “due to security reasons,” and the second “because collecting debts in the PA by Israelis is practically impossible.”

The Israel Electric Company has also discovered the reality of that second issue; in fact power to a number of PA communities has been shut down due to the millions of shekels owed to the company by the Palestinian Authority, which has been impossible to collect.

More than one commentator agreed this week that regardless of why Israeli goods are boycotted, a lack of supplies will “still be portrayed as ‘Those dastardly Israelis are intentionally starving the so-called ‘Palestinians’ … Just like you-know-who did to you-know-who…’ “

Another commentator suggested as a solution that if Israel ever decides to transfer funds to the PA, such monies should be given by “filling a food truck with the cash and driving it slowly through Hebron.”

Obama ‘Threatening to Abandon Israel’ at UN Security Council

Friday, March 20th, 2015

President Barack Obama appears to be “rushing to the United Nations” to force a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Fox News reported Thursday night. It’s another nail in the coffin replacing the trust Israelis once had in American presidents, a commentator observed.

In an interview on the cable television news network, U.S. Army Lt.-Col. Ralph Peters (res.), said Obama seems to want to “pick a fight – a deadly fight potentially – with Israel.”

Peters, clearly upset, told the interviewer he could not understand why Obama appears to be aligning the United States with radical Islamist nations against the sole democracy in the Middle East. “Our policy is off the rails,” he said.

Obama’s staff, he maintained, “overplayed their hand so badly that the Israeli people, even those who don’t much like Bibi (Netanyahu), turned this from an economy-based election to a security-based election. Obama’s accommodation with Iran at any cost is very frightening.”

Although most U.S. politicians consider the Iranian nuclear deal to be a policy issue, Peters correctly noted that in Israel, “it is a matter of survival.

“And that’s what this election told us, that the people of Israel, for the first time ever, fear an American president,” he concluded.

However, Fox News journalist Megan Kelly reported in a separate segment that the White House does not see it the same way. She quoted President Obama as saying that he sees “no path to a peace agreement,” and added that the president is “now threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations.”

The comment referred to Obama’s threat to consider the option of not using America’s veto to block a UN Security Council resolution to grant statehood to the Palestinian Authority, possibly along the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 border.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded: “You can’t force the people of Israel, who just elected me by a wide margin to bring them peace and security — to secure the State of Israel — to accept terms that would endanger the very survival of the State of Israel.

“I don’t think that’s the direction of American policy,” he said. “I hope it’s not.”

Kelly interviewed Netanyahu about the issue on her Fox News TV program, The Kelly File, late Thursday night.

Netanyahu Explains Aim for ‘Achievable’ Solution on MSNBC

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is again making headlines, this time over his vision for an “achievable” solution for Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu told MSNBC‘s Andrea Mitchell in his first interview since his re-election for a fourth term, “I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. I haven’t changed my policy… from six years ago.”

That, despite his statement earlier in the week in which he said flatly that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be established during his fourth term as prime minister.

Netanyahu maintains there is no real contradiction between the two. The difference, he said, is in the changes on the ground.

If the United States chooses not to veto a vote at the United Nations declaring the Palestinian Authority an independent sovereign state, that will not change the reality, Israel’s prime minister said.

“First of all, that state would become a terrorist state. Iran says that they will arm the West Bank the way they arm Gaza.

“We withdrew from Gaza… and just a few months ago thousands of rockets were fired on our heads. We don’t want it to happen again.

“I think the (Obama) administration has said time and time again the only way to achieve peace is a negotiated solution – you cannot impose peace – and in any case, if you want to get peace, you’ve got to get the Palestinian administration to abandon the pact with Hamas and engage in genuine negotiations with Israel for achievable peace.

“We also have to make sure that we don’t have ISIS coming in to that territory,” Netanyahu pointed out. “It’s only two dozen miles away from our borders — thousands of miles away from yours,” he reminded Andrea Mitchell.

“So we need the conditions of recognition of a Jewish state and real security in order to have a realistic two-state solution – and I’m talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable,” he said.

“To make it achievable, then you have to have real negotiations with people who are committed to peace,” he added. “It’s time that we saw the pressure on the Palestinians to show that they are committed too.”

But the reality has changed. A unity government was formed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group, which is allied with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

Daesh, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror organization, already has cells in Gaza. So does Al Qaeda. And operatives from both groups have been discovered and arrested on both sides of the 1949 Armistice line, also known as the “1967 border.”

Attacks have been perpetrated also in those areas against Israelis by operatives from other terror groups, including those affiliated with Hamas and – yes – even Fatah, the faction led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

With Israel’s survival on the line, can it still depend on America? Netanyahu said he has no doubt.

The prime minister was interrupted with a question about his relationship with President Barack Obama when he began to talk about the “unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States.”

Without missing a beat, Netanyahu replied, “I think that was reflected in the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel.

“We can have differences,” he went on, “but we have so many things to unite us; and we have a situation in the Middle East [that] is very dangerous and presents a common challenge to us.”

Has Obama called yet to congratulate the prime minister? (By this time, according to the PJ Tatler, the American president had already been on the phone to say ‘mazel tov’ to: Turkey’s newly-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and in the following regime, newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani; Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin; Afghanistan’s newly-elected President Ashraf Ghani and runner-up Abdullah Abdullah; and new Chinese President Xi Jinping.)

EU Pushes Israel to Negotiate ‘Peace’ as PA Heads to ICC

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

The European Union is pushing Israel to get back to work on reaching a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority as its leaders prepare to sue Israel for “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.

The pressure comes on the heels of an historic vote in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was elected for a fourth term, the only person to be so chosen other than Israeli founding father David Ben Gurion.

Late Wednesday night, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini spoke with Netanyahu and congratulated him on his re-election. She confirmed the “readiness of the EU to work with the new Israeli government on the mutually beneficial bilateral relationship as well as the peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” according to a statement sent to media on Thursday. Mogherini and Netanyahu “agreed to work together for the security of Israel and that of the region,” the statement added. The EU foreign policy chief stressed the need for the relaunch of peace negotiations “with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu stated firmly in this campaign that he would no longer attempt and in fact would work to block the establishment of an independent PA state as long as he is in office, due to the security risks such a move now clearly presents to Israel’s citizens at home.

Somehow this message has not been absorbed by the leadership of the European Union.

“The EU is committed to working with the incoming Israeli government on a mutually beneficial relationship as well as on the re-launch of the peace process,” Mogherini said in a statement earlier Wednesday.

“We are at a crucial moment with many threats all over the Middle East. The EU staunchly supports a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the interest of the Israeli people, of the Palestinian people, and of the whole region. We are at your side, you can count on us,” Mogherini assured.

She called on Israel’s “bold leadership” to reach “a comprehensive, stable and viable settlement of a conflict that has already deprived too many generations of peace and security. It’s time to turn this page and I’m confident that we can work together with the international community for a solution that will guarantee peace and security in the Middle East.”

Perhaps the EU leader has been conversing with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is now contemplating an historic change of his own.

For the first time ever, the American president is weighing support for a PA resolution in the United Nations Security Council that would establish a PA state in violation of the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, and would force Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem restored to its capital in 1967.

On Monday, Netanyahu visited the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and vowed to preserve the unity of the capital “in all its parts,” saying he would “continue to build and fortify” the city.

The Palestinian Authority is set to become a member of the International Criminal Court at The Hague on April 1.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Wasel Abu Yousseff told Reuters on Thursday, “This makes it more necessary than ever to go to the international community and to go to the ICC and escalate peaceful resistance and boycott against the ‘occupation.’”

UN’s Ban Ki-moon Advises Israel on ‘How to Stay a Democracy’

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claims Israel can only be a democracy with an end to building in Judea and Samaria.

Ban emphasized Wednesday – the day after Israelis re-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to lead the country – that Israel must continue final status talks with the Palestinian Authority for the establishment of an independent sovereign state.

This is “the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters, speaking for Ban.

Netanyahu had stated during his campaign this time around that he would not allow an independent PA state to be created while he is in office due to the rising security risks. He also committed to continuing to build Israeli neighborhoods in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

During his past two terms in office, Netanyahu maintained a willingness to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority “at any time and any place” in order to secure a final status agreement that would create a “two-state solution.” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, however, was entirely unwilling to engage in direct talks with Netanyahu and spent the entire five-year period working to avoid every possible opportunity to do so.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor responded to Ban, saying, “The United Nations may disagree with the policies of the Israeli government but there is one fact that cannot be disputed: that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. If the UN is so concerned about the future of the Palestinian people, [then] it should be asking why (PA) President (Mahmoud) Abbas is in the tenth year of a five-year presidential term,” Prosor said.

Abbas was elected in PA polls to serve for a five-year term as the entity’s leader in 2006. One year later, the Palestinian Authority was split in two when the Hamas terror organization carried out a coup and ousted Abbas and seized control of Gaza instead, which it maintains to this day. The Fatah-led PA government has continued to lead only the PA-controlled territories in Judea and Samaria from the entity’s capital in the city of Ramallah since 2006. Moreover, when his term was up, Abbas refused to step down and instead invoked “emergency rule status” which he has continued to this day. No new PA elections are scheduled for the foreseeable future.

US President Obama Punishes Israel for Re-electing PM Netanyahu

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Punishment for Israelis who chose to re-elect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week was not long in coming from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Obama administration is now reportedly weighing the option of whether to agree to a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as well as the withdrawal of Israel from Judea and Samaria, with mutually agreed land swaps.

The resolution would force Israel to enter immediate talks with the Palestinian Authority, in advance of a final status agreement for both sides.

Obama administration officials said Thursday the White House may support passage of this new resolution, according to a report published in the New York Times.

“We are now in a reality where the Israeli government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going forward,” a White House official said.

Major differences have emerged between the two administrations over the question of how to deal with the constant threat posed by a Palestinian Authority that succors and glorifies the terrorists in its midst.

Future contacts between Israel and the United States would be managed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon officials, the White House official added, saying, “The president is a pretty pragmatic person and if he felt it would be useful he will certainly engage. But he’s not going to waste his time.”

For decades, U.S. presidents traditionally call the apparent victor of Israeli elections after the polls have closed to congratulate them on their win. Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has received that call three times in the past, including from President Barack Obama, even during their most fractious relations – but not this week.

Instead, “the day after,” Netanyahu received a public scolding from Obama on his “divisive language” and a refusal by the American president to call his Israeli counterpart to offer the traditional congratulations. Secretary Kerry did make the call, per the tradition.

In an initial response to Israel’s election results, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the U.S. would have to “re-evaluate” its position.

On Wednesday, the White House spokesperson talked about the president’s “deep concern” over the “divisive language” used by Netanyahu’s Likud party, claiming attempts to marginalize Israel’s Arab citizens in social media posts urging voters to get to the polls to offset a high turnout of more radical Arab voters supporting the united Arab party lists. “These are views the administration intends to convey directly to the Israelis,” Earnest said. Similar efforts by Obama during past presidential campaigns among targeted populations were seemingly forgotten.

During Obama’s own electoral campaign, as GOP Congresswoman Ileana Roz-Lehtinen of Florida pointed out, the president himself used divisive language while trying to whip up support from Latinos. “If Latinos sit out the election cycle, we’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends,” he said at the time — which she noted was a “pretty divisive kind of rhetoric” as well.

“The [Israeli] election is over,” Roz-Lehtinen told Fox News. “Let’s move on.”

But in fact, that’s not happening. “They’re really sticking it to Netanyahu to this day,” she added, “… but President Obama needs to understand that the United States Congress sides with Prime Minister Netanyahu on [Iran].”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the president, apparently, was a remark by Netanyahu during his campaign in which he stated he would not allow creation of an Palestinian Authority state next to Israel due to what is now obviously a security threat.

Earnest, however, said the president still believes a “two-state solution” is best, even though top Israeli leaders warn that such a move would pave the way for an Iranian launching pad on Israel’s borders – or worse, an ISIS terror state right in Israel’s midst.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration would “absolutely” continue to push for an independent PA state.

Speaking on CNN, White House political strategist David Simas congratulated Israelis – but not Netanyahu – and noted the difficult process of coalition building still lies ahead.

“Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks and we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government, and we’re not going to weigh in one way or the other, except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.”

US Army Vet Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ on Trying to Join ISIS

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Turkish authorities caught a U.S. Armed Forces veteran this past January as he was allegedly attempting to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group, or ISIS.

U.S. federal authorities say U.S. Air Force veteran and New Jersey native Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, flew to Turkey from Egypt in January, but was denied entry to the country. Instead, they say Turkey sent Pugh back to Egypt, who then deported the veteran to the U.S.

(Given the skill and speed with which Turkish authorities caught this suspect, one wonders how three Islamic schoolgirls from the UK managed to sneak through the country into Syria to become Daesh “brides.”)

Pugh was arrested January 10 in Turkey and on January 16 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and has been held in custody since that time, the Wall Street Journal reported. The alleged wannabe terrorist was formally charged by the federal grand jury with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice. On Wednesday he pleaded “not guilty” in a New York federal court room, CNN reported.

If found guilty, Pugh could be sentenced to a maximum of 35 years in prison.

According to a post on the blog of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

One of the posts written by Pugh in July 2014 stated in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves.” He also posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.”

In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israel’s Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children. Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israelis or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as numerous images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

Under questioning while being held in Egypt prior to deportation to the U.S. Pugh claimed he had traveled to Turkey to seek employment, denying he had intended to go to Syria, according to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

However, a search of the suspect’s laptop by federal agents turned up a map of Turkish-Syrian border crossing points, and some 180 jihadist propaganda videos – including a number showing ISIS prisoners being executed. Also found on his laptop was a letter addressed to “My Misha,” whicch stated, “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States.”

That Pugh refers to ‘Islamic States’ in the plural form is, in fact, quite chilling: Daesh has indeed spread its influence and its forces from Iraq and Syria into a number of other countries, including Yemen, Nigeria and Libya. Pockets of terrorist cells have also been found in the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon, France, Belgium, and Denmark.

Pugh was charged with “obstruction of justice” in response to the suspect’s intentional damage and removal of memory chips from four thumb drives in order to stymie law enforcement officials in their attempts to access data, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, Pugh was also asked why he had a photo of a machine gun on his cell phone. He replied that he had “no particular reason other than simply liking the photograph.”

But Pugh’s history did not begin with his flight to the Turkish-Syrian border; actually he has been on the “watch list” for more than 10 years. Quoting the criminal complaint, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pugh converted to Islam and then started ramping up his radical sympathies after moving to San Antonio in 1998.

The FBI received a first tip from a co-worker while Pugh was working as a mechanic for American Airlines in 2001, when he was saying he sympathized with Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and supported the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Africa. By 2002, the FBI heard that Pugh had expressed interest in traveling to Chechnya to fight the jihad (Islamic holy war.)

Pugh had already worked as an Air Force mechanic from 1986 to 1990, and was assigned to various bases around the world, according to the U.S. Air Force. He lived abroad for some 18 months, including in Egypt and Jordan, prior to his arrest, according to the criminal complaint. But following his discharge, Pugh had trouble holding down a steady job.

At some point from 2009 to 2010, he worked as an Army contractor for a five month period in Iraq.

Earlier this year, he was fired again, this time from a gig as an airplane mechanic for a firm “based in the Middle East.”

Last Friday, three Brooklyn men also pleaded “not guilty” in Brooklyn federal court to charges of conspiring to aid the ISIS terrorist organization.

Over the past 18 months “dozens” of Americans have faced criminal charges relating to ISIS. FBI director James Comey said at a news briefing last month that his agency has active cases open “in every single state” in connection with the ISIS terror organization.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Preventing Americans from joining ISIS has become a priority for federal law-enforcement officials, but they have been unable to find a singular profile of the type of American who is inspired by the militant group’s propaganda.”

Due to the lack of a hat, a tip of the keyboard will have to do for kudos to WSJ journalists Dion Nissenbaum and Nicole Hong for being able to compose and type that last with a (presumed) straight face.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-air-force-vet-allegedly-caught-attempting-to-join-isis/2015/03/19/

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