Lebanon has received some $50 million in military aid from the United States, including 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzers and more than a thousands tons of ammunition.
“An entire ship full of military equipment,” was how U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard described the aid to the Lebanese army, intended to provide support in the fight against jihadists near the Syrian border.
Lebanon is the fifth largest recipient of U.S. foreign military financing in the world, the ambassador told reporters.
The Lebanese Army works hand in hand with the Iranian proxy Hezbollah terrorist organization, a sworn enemy of the State of Israel.
Hezbollah possesses one of the largest and best-equipped arsenals in the world, which includes approximately 100,000 rockets and missiles of varying ranges capable of reaching all parts of the Jewish State.
Iran has executed a nuclear scientist convicted of selling top secrets to the US, a judicial spokesman said on Sunday.
“Shahram Amiri was hanged for revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy,” Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie announced according to Mizan news website.
Amiri, 39, an Iranian Kurdish nuclear scientist, disappeared in Saudi Arabia in June 2009 during a pilgrimage to Mecca, and in July 2010 reappeared at the Iran interests section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, seeking help to return to Tehran. A short while later he appeared at a press conference in Tehran, where he told journalists he had been kidnapped, tortured and offered $5 million to cooperate with the CIA, which he refused.
In 2009, the Iranian government accused the US government of kidnapping Amiri, because, as Iranian government media reported, he was working for Iranian intelligence. After his return to Iran, American sources confirmed he had come to the US with the help of the CIA, but insisted he had not been kidnapped, but, instead, was seeking asylum. According to a 2011 NPR News report, Amiri was recruited by the CIA, but once he was in the US he “got cold feet” and “made his way back to Iran.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iranian authorities had threatened to hurt Amiri’s family if he did not return to Iran.
Iranian officials initially celebrated his return to Iran in 2010 but then he dropped from public view until he was arrested in 20111 and reportedly tried for treason. News of his execution surfaced on Saturday, after his mother said she had received his body with rope marks around his neck.
The Arab daily Al Quds last week published an extensive report on the scope of youth emigration from Judea and Samaria, suggesting that as many as 400 thousand young Arabs have emigrated abroad over the past few decades. The report describes entire villages, such as the majority Christian village of Dir Dabuan, which are full of deserted mansions, with a smattering of elderly residents still living in the area.
A resident of Ramun village said that, out of his 44 classmates in the local school, 40 are living in the US, and the rest are inundated with offers to emigrate, because life in the US is much more comfortable for Arabs than life in Judea and Samaria. Apparently, an office in Ramallah coordinates Arab immigration applications and interviews at the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem. According to Al Quds, a survey of Gaza Strip residents found that 45% would like to emigrate if they could.
Demographer Jacob Feitelson said earlier this year that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as the US census, hide or modify the data regarding the high emigration figures of Judea and Samaria Arabs, which he claims reach 10,000 a year. He says the PCBS keeps Arabs listed as living in the PA for seven years after they emigrate.
A 2006 study titled “The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography,” by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael L. Wise, suggested that population statistics and predictions of the PCBS are unreliable. A Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population survey — which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent studies — inflated numbers by including more than 300 thousand Palestinians living abroad and double-counting more than 200 thousand Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel’s population survey. Later PCBS broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized birth forecasts, including assumptions of a mass Palestinian return that never happened, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza by more than 50%. The BESA study and further demographic research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from Judea, Samaria and Gaza have been exaggerated.
It should be noted, in this context, that Louie Shabanah, a former Head of the PCBS, stated during a June 8, 2005 debate at Haifa’s Technion, trying to explain the inconsistencies between the figures offered by the PCBS and other Palestinian departments: “The Palestinian Health Department accounts for fewer births because – unlike the PCBS – it excludes overseas births….”
According to former ambassador Yoram Ettinger, the misuse of statistics by the Palestinian Authority has afflicted Israel and its supporters with an unwarranted mix of pessimism and fatalism. The aim has been to cajole Israeli policy-makers into a false assumption that conceding the Jewish geography of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite to securing Jewish demography.
Ettinger insists that “in spite of Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment — which accepts the PCBS and all other central bureaus of statistics at face-value without proper auditing – in July, 2016, there is a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefiting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and migration. Moreover, in July, 2016, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the PCBS contended number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (2.9 million) and the well-documented number (1.75 million).
Officials are calling it a “spontaneous attack” but a Somali national with Norwegian citizenship stabbed to death a 60-year-old American woman Wednesday night and wounded five others, including one Israeli in a high-end section of central London.
The unidentified killer launched his rampage at about 10:30 pm in London’s elegant Russell Square, a park located close to the site of a July 2005 bombing by radical Islamist terrorists. One of the bombs in the coordinated bombing attack that killed 52 people detonated on a bus close to Russell Square.
The injured included an Israeli woman as well as a second U.S. citizen, an Australian national, and a local British citizen.
The killer, a Somali with Norwegian citizenship emigrated from the Scandinavian country in 2002. But it’s not clear whether he headed straight to the UK or made any other stops along the way, according to Norway’s National Criminal Service, CNN reported.
London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters, “So far we have found no evidence of radicalization,” Reuters reported. Rowley added the investigation is focusing on mental health issues at present.
Police arrived within six minutes of being called to the scene and used a taser to bring the 19-year-old killer under control. He was taken into custody and subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.
The site is also located in the heart of the university area, and is close to the British Museum and other famous landmarks.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged residents in the capital to report anything suspicious to the police.
“The safety of all Londoners is my number one priority, and my heart goes out to the victims of the incident in Russell Square and their loved ones,” Khan said.
Officials meanwhile increased the security presence around the city by some 600 armed police.
London counter-terror police officials warned the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization has been attempting to radicalize those with mental health issues, with the goal of using them as operatives in terror attacks.
On Wednesday, Christian Today reported that Mohammad El Halabi, an employee of World Vision (WV), the world’s largest evangelical Christian charity, had been detained on June 15 at the Erez crossing “on his way home from routine meetings” and was being held “without access to legal counsel or family visits,” which is normal fare in Israel with regards to security prisoners.
Last Friday, when El Halabi’s detention had been extended until August Tuesday, Aug. 2, WV’s eastern Jerusalem office released a statement saying, “World Vision stands by Mohammad who is a widely respected and well-regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.”
It should be interesting to see the charity’s response to the charges submitted against El Halabi by the Southern District Prosecution in Beer Sheva District Court Thursday, describing him as Hamas activist who has been using his high position in the charity organization to systematically divert millions of dollars to the military arm of Hamas, financing, among other things, the digging of terror tunnels. The monies, according to Thursday’s indictment, was taken out of funds and resources that had been dedicated to humanitarian assistance to Gaza Strip residents. The indictment includes 12 counts of security violations of passing information to the enemy, membership in a terror organization, funding terrorism, participation in an unlawful association, and contact with foreign agents.
The facts included in the indictment describe El Halabi as having a master’s degree in engineering. A member of Hamas since 1995, in 2004 he joined the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. In 2005 he was hired by WV to carry out administrative assignments at the charity’s Gaza branch. His job provided him with an entry permit into Israel. El Halabi exploited his visits to Israel to locate and mark [via GPS] sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels.
Carrying out his assignments, according to the prosecution, El Halabi usurped millions of dollars in donations that arrived from foreign countries such as the US, Australia, Germany and the UK, and were slated for humanitarian needs, agricultural, education, and psychological support.
According to El Halabi, the humanitarian aid donated for the residents of the Gaza Strip was in actual fact given almost exclusively to Hamas terrorists and their families. Non-Hamas members almost never received any benefit from the aid, despite their relative level of need. Needless to say, this is in contradiction to the accepted practice of the humanitarian aid organizations. Every month, El Halabi distributed thousands of packages of food, basic commodities and medical supplies to Hamas terrorists and their families, commodities that World Vision had intended to go to the needy.
Over his many years working for WV, El Halabi transferred to Hamas’s possession thousands of tons of iron rods, digging equipment and plastic hoses, originally intended for agricultural use but in reality utilized by the Hamas tunnel builders and for building military bases such as the “Palestine” military base which was built in 2015 entirely from British aid money. Some of the money went to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists and, in some cases, senior Hamas terrorists took large sums of money for their own personal use. During the war of 2014, Hamas terrorists received WV food packages to sustain them above and below ground, including in terror tunnels.
El Halabi also provided plastic sheets bearing the WV emblem to cover the openings of tunnels, making them look like agricultural hothouses.
According to the indictment, around the year 2012, El Halabi was engaged by Hamas to initiate a greenhouse project, to use greenhouses to hide the sites where terror tunnels were being dug. In addition, a project for the rehabilitation of (fictitious) fishermen was actually used to provide motor boats and diving suits for Hamas’s military marine unit.
The Shabak investigation revealed that the main method El Halabi used to divert money to Hamas was to put out fictitious tenders for WV-sponsored projects in the Gaza Strip. The “winning” company was simply informed that 60% of the project’s funds were to be designated for Hamas.
El Halabi told his interrogators that a regular method of acquiring equipment for Hamas was to disguise Hamas warehouses as WV warehouses. Trucks bringing supplies to the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would then unload their goods at Hamas warehouses instead of legitimate WV warehouses. Hamas operatives would pick up the supplies in the dead of night.
According to Shabak, the El Halabi investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in the Gaza Strip who exploited their work for humanitarian aid organizations and UN institutions, on behalf of Hamas. El Halabi’s statements portray a troubling picture in which UN institutions in Gaza are in fact controlled by Hamas.
How the Money Was Transferred to Hamas
Some of the money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas terrorists, by fraudulently listing their children as wounded.
Money designated for psychological support, education and health in Gaza ($2 million/year) was used to pay the families of Hamas terrorists.
Part of the WV donations was transferred in cash and recorded fraudulently as aid to needy children.
Monies were paid out as salaries to Hamas terrorists and activists, who were registered as employees of the aid organization when in fact they never worked for WV.
Costs for legitimate infrastructure projects were inflated, with the difference going to Hamas.
Straw companies — two farmers’ associations and a fake charity for the benefit of the injured — were established with false registers to launder money.
Unemployment payments were diverted to Hamas terrorists. El Halabi arranged for one-third of the allowances WV transfers to Gaza for the unemployed to go to members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The terrorists received a larger allowance ($392 instead of $300).
Using lists of fictitious beneficiaries, $2 million a year were designated as aid for farmers and diverted to Hamas activists. El Halabi reported a larger sum than what was actually transferred to the farmers to World Vision. The difference was diverted to Hamas.
Project costs were inflated. For example, WV invested in the construction of 500 greenhouses and the preparation of land (495 acres) for agriculture. El Halabi reported to the charity that the cost was $1,000 per quarter acre, while the real cost was $700. The difference – $300 per quarter acre – was transferred to Hamas.
In their 2014 report titled “Filling in the Blanks — Documenting Missing Dimensions in UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict,” NGO Monitor and UN Watch have cautioned: “The willingness of World Vision workers to openly discuss these issues is exceptional; however, the answers leave little doubt as to World Vision’s willingness to negotiate and coordinate with armed groups. This raises questions as to whether the group would prevent components of its aid from being misappropriated by terrorist organizations, if it felt that taking a stand would jeopardize the organization’s ability to continue its operations in a given area.”
If you’re in London on vacation this month, here’s an opportunity to explore the streets of 1960s London through the lens of eminent photographer Dorothy Bohm. Born in 1924 to o a Jewish-Lithuanian family in Konigsberg, East Prussia, Bohm escaped Nazism in 1939 when she was sent to England to finish her schooling, armed with a Leica camera handed to her by her father as she was departing. She Graduated from Manchester College of Technology in 1942 and worked in leading portrait studio in central Manchester. In 1945 she married Louis Bohm, in ’46 she opened “Studio Alexander” in Manchester, and in 1947 visited Palestine for the first time. Between 1947 and 1955, she traveled to Switzerland, lived in Paris, lived in New York and San Francisco, traveled around the US and Mexico, until in 1956 she settled in Hampstead, North London, where she still lives.
Church Street market, Marylebone / Dorothy Bohm, Courtesy
She continued to travel and shoot around the planet, but her retrospective show that ends August 29 at the Jewish Museum London steps back in time to discover the diversity of life in London in the 1960s, with photographs focusing on its inhabitants from all walks of life, from schoolchildren to fashion-conscious young adults to market traders.
Dorothy Bohm: Sixties London, at the Ben Uri Gallery & Museum through August 29 2016.
Open Daily 10 AM – 5 PM (Fridays 10 AM – 2 PM). Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing.
Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB
The US airbase in the İncirlik quarter of the city of Adana, in southern Turkey, were closed by Turkish police Saturday, Hurriyet reported. The report followed images on twitter showing Turkish police sealing off the airbase. Incirlik is a critical American airbase, from which NATO forces launch airstrikes against ISIS. It also contains nuclear weapons.
According to RT, some 7,000 police armed with rifles in heavy armored TOMA vehicles surrounded the Incirlik air base, a move which a Turkish government minister called a “security check.”