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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘year’

INTO THE FRAY: Duma-one year (and THREE arson attacks) Later

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

“I saw Sa’ad and Reham burning on the ground. Next to them were TWO masked men, one beside each of them. They were dressed in jeans and black long-sleeved shirts…“Their faces were covered with a balaclava, with only the mouth and eyes visible. The street light shone directly on them. I was horrified by what I saw. They saw me and I was frightened and ran back home. I told my brother Bishar to get help and returned to Sa’ad’s house where I no longer saw the TWO masked men – Eye-witness account of Duma arson attack by Ibrahim Dawabsheh, a relative of the victims, Amira Hass, Haaretz, July 31, 2015.

According to the charge sheet, [on] the night of the attack on the Dawabsheh home, Ben-Uliel decided to proceed with the arson ALONE…He allegedly searched for a home that was inhabited and used his first firebomb on a two-storey building that turned out to be uninhabited. He then proce[e]ded to the Dawabshehs’ home, prepared his firebomb in the yard and spray-painted graffiti on the walls, before throwing the firebomb into the house and fleeing on foot. –Chaim Levinson and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Jan. 3, 2016.

A year ago—almost to the day—on July 31, 2015, the entire country was horrified by reports of three members of the Dawabsheh family from the village of Duma being burnt to death in an arson attack on their home. Graffiti, in Hebrew script painted on the walls of the burnt out residence, led to the precipitous conclusion that the act was committed by “Jewish terrorists”. Since that deplorable attack, at least three more houses of the Dawabsheh clan have been torched –as were two prior to it–without any hint of involvement of “Jewish extremists.

But more on that later

Rabid reverse racism?

The ghastly tragedy ignited a flurry of self-righteous handwringing and sanctimonious self-recrimination across wide sections of Israeli society—and almost all sections of the mainstream media. In a stroke, all external threats to the nation faded into near insignificance. Attention was no longer focused on the looming specter of a nuclear Iran, or the threat of radical Islam pressing against the country’s beleaguered frontiers. Suddenly the existential threat facing Israel was that of “Jewish terror”—the “menace” of a few dozen, marginalized, scraggly youth that inhabit the desolate windswept hilltops of Judea-Samaria.

Without a shred of evidence to corroborate their accusations, journalist after journalist seemed to compete in the levels of acrimony in which they attacked the assumed perpetrators. With unquestioning confidence–as unequivocal as it was unsubstantiated–regarding the collective identity of the perpetrators, and the collective guilt of Israeli society at large for the heinous nature of the act, they launched into a savage frenzy of self-flagellation.

Thus, barely two days after the arson attack, in an astounding piece of rabid reverse racism entitled “We’re no better than our enemies”, Yediot Aharonot’s Sima Kadmon lamented: “…let

no one say that this is a lone incident… Jewish terrorists are just the messengers; there is a well-oiled system of incitement behind them… it’s time to tell the truth, the heartbreaking but inevitable one: After a generation of right-wing rule, we have developed a race…[n]ot proud, not generous, but definitely cruel…”

“Israelis identical with ISIS”

In a flash, all distinction between Israelis and ISIS was erased.

Think I am exaggerating? Think again! Here is a sampling of the” anguished” soul-searching that became the fashionable journalistic ritual in the mainstream media.

On the very night of the dreadful crime, Ynetnews’s Ron Ben Yishai had already solved the case. In “How to stop Jewish jihad” he determined–definitively “…this is religious-messianic terrorism, committed by people who view themselves as acting according to God’s true will. In simpler words – this is Jewish jihadism, identical in every detail to Islamic jihadism”.

In her previously mentioned piece, Sima Kadmon concurred in “agonized” agreement: “It’s over. If we thought it couldn’t happen among us, that we’re not like that, that Jews don’t do such things, that only they can murder children, go into houses and shoot a baby point blank, burn families, execute murderous terror – that’s it, it’s over. We are, we can and we do. Burn children alive, execute murderous, inhuman, incomprehensible terror. And no, we’re no better than them.”

And then there was the ever-egregious Gideon Levy, the every-day Judeophobe’s dream-come-true, who, a day after the tragedy, published in Haaretz a collective condemnation, headlined “All Israelis are guilty of setting a Palestinian family on fire” According to Levy: Israelis stab gay people and burn children. There isn’t a shred of slander, the slightest degree of exaggeration, in this dry description…”

It did not take long for this barrage to bear bitter fruit. Panicked by the media assault, the political echelons and the security forces threw due process to the wind.

“Little but accusations of thought-crimes”?

Within days, administrative arrests were made. Meir Ettinger, Eviatar Slonim, and Mordechai Meir were incarcerated without trial, reportedly on suspicion of involvement in the Duma arson.

The arrests were accompanied by ominous warnings of the impending perils to the nation, entailed in the nefarious deeds, both past and planned, of the detainees, who were held incommunicado for extended periods, without any specific charges being brought against them. Persistent rumors of the use of harsh interrogation techniques abounded—but no charges were ever brought.

One after the other, the detainees were eventually released- Meir in early January, Slonim early February, and Ettinger in June this year. The case of Ettinger particularly reeks of needless mean-spiritedness. In April, in a ruling upheld by the Supreme Court, he was denied—after months in detention—permission to attend the circumcision ceremony (brit mila) of his newly born son. The grounds for the denial were that he still remained “a security threat to the public”. Yet barely a month later, it was announced that he would be released—without charge!

In a disturbing review of the Ettinger episode, Tablet’s Liel Leibovitz wrote : “Having met with government officials as well as friends and family members, and having extensively reviewed Ettinger’s public and private writing alike, I’ve found plenty that might upset people who do not share his politics but nothing to suggest that the mystically-minded smiling young man had any concrete involvement whatsoever in planning or carrying out any concrete attacks against anyone. He added, damningly: “In fact, it is hard, reviewing the evidence, not to conclude that the charges against Ettinger amount to little else but accusations of thought-crimes”.

Deafening silence

The fate of the detainees—unsurprisingly but depressingly—has led to little or no outrage from the usually strident defenders of human rights. Indeed, what is looking increasingly like draconian abuse of power, arbitrary violation of civil liberties and a troubling incarceration for little more than “thought crimes” has been greeted with deafening silence by the vociferous chorus of left-leaning voices, always eager to denounce any hint of excess use of governmental power.

Indeed, later developments are not more reassuring.

In early December 2015, the Israeli authorities detained 21 year old Aviram Ben-Uliel, by administrative arrest. After keeping silent for almost 3 weeks, Ben-Uliel was, for reasons yet unclear, declared a “ticking time bomb” (i.e. a source of clear and present danger), and subjected to torture to extract a confession. On the basis of this confession, an indictment was filed (January 3, 2016) against him—and another unnamed minor, charged with aiding Ben-Uliel, but not of actually perpetrating the arson. Based on the confession obtained under duress—which he subsequently retracted—the indictment against Ben-Uliel is troubling for a number of reasons. For as Chaim Levinson of Haaretz points out, it is significantly at odds with the eyewitness accounts of what took place on the night of the lethal arson.

Disturbing discrepancies

All of these accounts refer to multiple assailants—at least two— as reflected in the opening excerpt from Ibrahim Dawabsheh, described as a “key witness” in the case. Yet in the confession-based indictment, Ben-Uliel is accused of acting alone!

Moreover, initial accounts mention the use of a motor vehicle—and some arrests were even made on the basis of those accounts – see “Jewish terror suspects indicted, but convictions, if any, will be long in the making” – Haartez, January 4, 2016.

Accordingly, it is difficult to resist raising the troubling question that, if the initial determinations in this case (multiple perpetrators, involvement of a motor vehicle) have apparently proved “unfounded”, could it not be within the bounds of possibility that other aspects of the original assumptions might prove equally unfounded, including not only the number of assailants, and their mode of mobility, but also their identity, and even, heaven forfend… their ethnicity?

In the past I have dealt extensively with the Duma arson (i.e. the July 2015 one, as opposed to all the other previous-and subsequent-ones). I warned against:

(a) Drawing any equivalence between ideo-politically motivated crimes by Jewish extremists, and the Arab/Islamic terror Israel faces today—and hence between the measures that should be used to contend with them; and

(b) The almost Pavlovian-reflex to presume Jewish guilt in the lethal torching of the Dawabsheh home.

Jewish hate crimes and vandalism are NOT terrorism (8/6/2015); Trivializing ‘terror’(8/13/2015); Why now? The hypocritical hullabaloo over Jewish ‘terror’ (8/20/2015); Duma, ‘dirty dancing’ & deeply disturbing detention (12/31/2015); Presumption of guilt (1/7/2016); Jewish ‘terror’ – A guide for the perplexed (1/14/2016).

Drawing distinctions

I have little doubt that the arguments I raised then are still valid today. Accordingly, I would urge readers to review my analyses as to why it is imperative to draw a qualitative distinction between Arab terrorism and the terrorist organizations that perpetrate it, on the one hand, and the groups of Jewish radical religious renegades, on the other – as well as the detrimental consequences such misplaced parallels entail for Israel.

Likewise, I argued that state use of draconian extra-judicial powers – such as administrative detention without charge, holding detainees incommunicado for months and the denial of “due process” – may well be justified when dealing with threats involving state/quasi-state/state-backed foes, with massive budgets and international reach.

This, however, is certainly not the case when the alleged menace emanates from minuscule groups of youngsters in their teens (or barely out of them), marginal and marginalized not only in Israeli society at large, but in much of their closer societal environs as well, with no international reach and only the most meager of resources at their disposal. Of course I do not know if Ben-Uliel is guilty as charged. But one thing is certain: he is no Bin

Laden, or Hassan Nasrallah—and the measures needed to contend with him, or any group he may be affiliated with, are–or should be–very different from those needed to contend with the likes of Bin Laden/Nasrallah, their organizations or their minions.

What you need to believe

But to give credence to the claim that Ben-Uliel is indeed guilty as charged, what do you necessarily have to believe?

Well, you would have to believe that: Ben Uliel, a recently married man and the father of an infant girl, without any special forces training:

(a) had the “cojones” and the skill, not only to walk over five kilometers –late at night—unnoticed, to reach the village;

(b) but that he by-passed numerous, more-exposed, alternative targets on the outskirts of the village;

(c) that he managed to infiltrate, undetected and unarmed, into the center of a unfriendly village;

(d) set one uninhabited building ablaze;

(e) then, still undetected, sprayed copious amounts of paint to write the incriminating Hebrew graffiti;

(f) then torched the Dawabsheh home; and

(g) finally, make a phantom-like escape, exiting the village without trace, never mind being apprehended, leaving no trail or clue to indicate where he had vanished to—all this entirely on his own!!

Is that really credible??!!

But that’s not all. If Ben-Uliel was merely looking for a random Arab target, why would he not choose a house on the outskirts of the village rather than one in the center, making escape easier? And why would he choose Duma –a village in which the Dawabsheh clan’s homes were being regularly targeted anyway? Perhaps under “enhanced interrogation,” he came up with a plausible answer?

These are troubling questions. One year—and three unsolved arson attacks—later, they are questions that must be faced.

Dr. Martin Sherman

High School Students Help Discover a Unique 1,600 Year Old Pottery Workshop in the Galilee

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Galilee (TPS) – High school students assisting an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeological survey discovered an ancient Roman pottery workshop in the Western Galilee.

“We have been conducting a large scale survey and excavations in the town of Shlomi at the request of the local municipal council and the Israel Lands Authority for the past six months, ” IAA geologist Anastasia Shapiro told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “We unearthed an impressive factory for the manufacturing of jars, urns, and various vessels as part of the project.”

According to Israeli law, IAA experts must conduct an archaeological survey of any construction site before issuing approval to begin building on it.

The pottery factory, which includes a unique kiln, storehouses, water basins, and mosaic floors, was dated by the IAA to the late Roman Period, roughly 1,600 years ago.

“The kiln, which was only recently discovered, is the ‘cherry on top’ for this excavation,” Shapiro explained to TPS. “As archaeologists, we have encountered many ancient kilns, but they were all built or constructed out of stone. This one, however, is the first to be discovered that was actually excavated into the rock.”

According to Shapiro, it is very rare to discover a complete kiln as they tend to break or be destroyed with time. In this case, the entire structure of the kiln has been preserved as it is made out of one piece of solid rock.

“There is no other known discovery like this. It is simply one of a kind,” said Shapiro.

IAA archaeologists also concluded that the pottery workshop itself was an important, thriving one. The ceramic debris that was discovered around the kiln indicates that two types of vessels were manufactured by the workshop–storage jars that could be transported overland and amphorae that were used to store wine or oil to be exported from Israel by sea.

The discovery was aided by a large group of high school students from neighboring communities and from the cities of Nahariya and Qiryat Bialik.

“The students who volunteered on this project since May exposed the walls of the ancient workshop prior to the discovery of the kiln itself, as well as other features of the complex, such as water holes and mosaic floors,” explained Shapiro.

The students who assisted in the discovery were part of a large group of students who have been participating in archeological excavations in six different sites around the Galilee. The Ministry of Education has been encouraging Israeli teens to enhance their education outside of the classroom in order to increase student involvement in various public projects in neighboring communities.

“One can learn a lot during a history lesson in school, but there’s nothing like actually holding history in one’s hands,” Gilad Zinamon, an IAA education coordinator, told TPS.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Global Forum on Anti-Semitism This Year in Buenos Aires

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

For the first time, the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism (GFCA) traditionally held biennally in Jerusalem is taking place this weekend (July 16-18) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference this year is organized by the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional chapter of the World Jewish Congress.

Anti-Semitism is rising around the world, and this year’s conference is focused on creating an action plan to respond to the attacks on an international level.

On Monday forum participants are slated to attend a ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. The attack was suspected to have been perpetrated by Iran via its Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah. In that attack 85 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.

“The first GFCA in Latin America presents a unique opportunity to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Latin America and develop an action plan that would complement the one drafted at the last GFCA in Jerusalem in June 2015,” the HILC said in a statement.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent experts to the conference to participate in a panel discussion on best practices in tackling cyberhate – the spread of anti-Semitism online.

ADL resources which have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese are being presented during a session on identifying and opposing cyberhate and community safety online.

“With the advent of various social media platforms, and the volume of pernicious content, no continent is immune to the growing phenomenon of online hate,” warned Jonathan Vick, ADL Assistant Director for Cyberhate Response.

Hana Levi Julian

One Year in: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Alleviate Global and Israeli Fears?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany—was a watershed event in international diplomacy and a key moment for U.S. President Barack Obama, who staked his legacy on the deal’s success. One year later, should world nations, and perhaps most notably Israel, still view the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat?

“In terms of compliance with the deal itself, I think it is going very well,” Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corporation, told JNS.org. “Basically, the bargain was Iran rolling back of key elements of the nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—those two key aspects of the deal have been met.”

In May, U.S. Ambassador and Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Stephen Mull said in testimony to the U.S. Senate that the Iran nuclear deal “has been implemented by all participants.”

According to Mull, Iran has completed dozens of specific actions to “limit, freeze, or roll back its nuclear program and subject it to greater transparency by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

This includes Iran disconnecting two-thirds of its installed centrifuge capacity, terminating uranium enrichment at its secretive Fordow nuclear facility, reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and filling the core of its Arak heavy water reactor with concrete.

As such, Mull concluded that these actions have increased Iran’s so-called “breakout time”—the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—from two or three months to at least a year.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told JNS.org that while the deal is “holding for now,” the Iranians “remain within the letter of the agreement but not the spirit of it.”

“They have been a little more transparent in their nuclear processes, but it has not fundamentally changed Iranian behavior,” Berman said, alluding to Iran’s continued military buildup; support for terrorist organizations; and hostility towards Israel, the U.S., and America’s Arab allies.

Many policymakers and analysts also remain concerned about the economic ramifications of the nuclear deal. One of the principle concerns had been the estimated $100-$150 billion in sanctions relief that Iran would receive as a result of the unfreezing of foreign assets once the Islamic Republic met its obligations under the agreement.

According to Berman, the deal has set in motion a “vast sanctions give away that is far more expansive than most people understand.”

“It is not only the $100 billion or so incorporated into the deal, but also measures like the White House’s attempts to facilitate Iranian access to the U.S. dollar and pressure on state governments to roll back Iranian divestment measures,” he said.

“What they set in motion was this grand reorientation of global economics in favor of Iran,” Berman added.

Despite these concerns, there are still a number of non-nuclear U.S. sanctions in place on Iran relating to terrorism, Iran’s ballistic missile program, and human rights violations—creating financial uncertainty for Iran, and making a number of international companies and banks wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic. Those sanctions are in place in large part because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, is heavily involved in Iran’s economy.

As such, with Iran not seeing the economic windfall that it had hoped for and had promised its people, Iranian leaders have publicly complained that the U.S. has not held its end of the bargain in the nuclear deal.

“On paper, the Americans say banks can trade with Iran, but in practice they act in such an Iranophobic way that no trade can take place with Iran,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in April, while accusing the U.S. of engaging in “obstruction and deception.”

Yet Berman dismissed these complaints by Iranian leaders, saying that it is important to “separate what Iran says from what it is actually doing.”

Just weeks after the implementation of the nuclear deal in January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, where both nations agreed to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Russia used the pretext of the lifting of nuclear sanctions to renew its deal to provide Iran with the advanced S-300 air defense system.

Even India, which has seen significantly warming relations with Iran’s enemy, Israel, under President Narendra Modi, signed a dozen agreements with Tehran during a visit by Modi to the Islamic Republic in May, including a $500 million deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Before the nuclear deal, Iran “didn’t lack for global ambition, but lacked resources,” said Berman. Now, he explained, “the powers of global politics are such [that] the Iranians can start thinking about what it looks like to not just be a participant in Middle East politics, but a key driver of it, [and] not just be a partner of rogue regimes like North Korea or Venezuela, but to actually be a patron of them….That’s a fundamentally new dynamic for the Iranians.”

For Israel, the nuclear agreement represented a major blow to the efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke out strongly and regularly against the pre-deal nuclear negotiations and has argued that the deal does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Yet a year after the deal was signed, there appears to be less concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions within Israel’s leadership and more of a focus on Iran’s regional ambitions, its involvement in Syria, and Iran’s support for its terror proxies.

This sentiment was clear in recent remarks by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who stated at the Herzilya Conference in June that Iran’s nuclear program “has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel.”

Similarly, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said during a speech in January that a current “decline” in existential threats to Israel comes due to a variety of emerging trends, including the Iran nuclear deal.

The Rand Corporation’s Kaye, who recently returned from a trip to Israel, said that “there is a wide consensus among Israeli analysts that the Iranians are likely to adhere to this agreement.”

But Israeli military officials are now more deeply concerned about the possible economic and military consequences that a richer and more emboldened Iran will bring forth, especially through its support for its terror proxy nations. Kaye cautioned that for Israel, attention “has really turned to Iran’s role in Syria and its relation with Hezbollah as well as a permanent Iranian presence along Israel’s northern border in southern Syria.”

Berman said that “even if you take away the existential question of Iran getting a nuclear weapon later, which is where they (Israeli security officials) still think Iran is headed. What you are looking at is a very negative cycle of economic attrition. [Israelis] expect all the proxies that Iran is funding —Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad—to have a greater resources in the near future as a result of the nuclear deal.”

As a consequence, Berman said, Israel will need to step up its security and deterrence, and spend more money on defensive weapons and technology such as the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems or anti-tunneling technology.

Nevertheless, Kaye contended that by taking the nuclear threat off the table for the time being, Israel might have more of a chance to act boldly against Iran’s terror proxies without the concern of potentially igniting a nuclear conflict with Iran.

“One of the motivations [of the deal] to begin with was to ensure that Iran would not be engaging in this type of behavior under a nuclear umbrella. I think in that context, there is some relief that Iran is at least hemmed in on the nuclear front,” Kaye said.

While it appears that Iran’s compliance with the letter of the deal has so far reduced the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran in the short term, there is continued concern among policymakers and analysts over Iran’s aggressive behavior moving forward.

“I think the focus will now only increase towards implementation as well as planning and preparation for what might happen once some of the key elements of this deal start to expire in 10 years,” Kaye said. “The only exception to that will be increased momentum and focus on the missile front. There won’t be a renegotiation on the existing agreement. But there may be a push to expand on the current agreement to include more restrictions on Iranian missile testing and development in exchange for further economic relief.”

Sean Savage

Largest Jewish Group this Year Enters Temple Mount with Hallel Ariel’s Family [video]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Some 200 Jews gathered Tuesday morning by the entrance to the Temple Mount compound, to commemorate Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, HY”D, who was murdered two weeks ago by an Arab terrorist in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba. Police then permitted some 50 to enter the Temple Mount, the largest group to ascend there this year—under heavy guard.

Following negotiation with the grieving family, Jerusalem police agreed to a more flexible visit, permitting the Jewish group a longer stay and not attempting to silence the uttering of blessings or saying Amen—as opposed to the 15-person limit in normal times and the complete prohibition of even the appearance of prayers or blessings.

The Muslims at the site cursed out the group and made repeated references to Allah, who is, they said, great.

One Jewish person was arrested earlier, according to Temple Mount activists, for the sin of closing his eyes and placing his hand over his eyes — an obvious criminal inclination to recite the Shema Israel.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and MK Bezalel Smotrich of Habayit Hayehudi, and MKs Yehuda Glick and Oren Hazan (Likud) participated in the event at the foot of Temple Mount, but were not allowed t ascend, by order of the prime minister. The ceremony at the entrance to the holy site ended in dancing and singing.

The murdered child’s parents said they’d like to change the name of the gate from “Mugrabim Gate,” after the north-African Arab dwellers in the area before 1967, to “Hallel Gate,” after their daughter and after the Hallel prayer which accompanies every religious Jewish holiday rejoicing.

David Israel

Official: Water Crisis in Samaria Caused by Arabs Stealing 400 Million Gallons a Year

Friday, July 1st, 2016

On Thursday, during an emergency meeting on water shortages in Samaria in the office of Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi), it was revealed that systematic water theft by Arabs, as well as dereliction of duty on the part of the Israeli water authorities, are to blame for the current crisis.

Over the past two weeks or so, the Jewish communities of eastern Samaria—Karney Shomron, Ariel, Kdumim—have been under emergency water procedure. These communities, with roughly 60,000 residents, experience interruption of their water service every few days, and it has been presumed that the shortages are due to the failure of the water authority to expand its infrastructure to match the Jewish and Arab population growth in Samaria.

On Monday, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) ordered Knesset Finance Committee management to freeze debates over budgets intended for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), including freezing its budget of about $20 million until the water crisis in Samaria is resolved.

Also on Monday, Yesha Council heads met with Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and presented alarming data on the absence of long-term infrastructure planning by the various government ministries throughout Judea and Samaria. Steinitz promised to take over the coordination of the different entities, including the Water Authority and the national water utility Mekorot.

The Thursday night meeting in Ben-Dahan’s office on the water shortage in Judea and Samaria (most acutely in Samaria) included representatives of COGAT, the Civil Administration, and the water Authority. During the meeting, Ben-Dahan stated that “for many years there has been neglect of everything having to do with the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, which resulted in the absence of promoting master plans to develop the water resources in the area. Unfortunately, none of the entities involved has been properly prepared to deal with the growth in both the Jewish and Palestinian populations, as well as the growth in agricultural land which require a great deal of water.”

“In addition,” Ben-Dahan stated, “there’s the phenomenon of water theft by the Palestinians in the amount of 5,000 cubic meters of water daily, a factor in the shortage of water.”

To illustrate, 5,000 cubic meters is the equivalent of 1,100,000 gallons a day. Over one year, water theft by Arabs in Judea and Samaria reaches a staggering 401,500,000 gallons.

The debate in Ben-Dahan’s office, reported by Srugim, resulted in short- and long-term solutions. Over the next few days there will be a regular rotation of 15 water trucks that will refill the reservoirs in communities where they have dried out. In addition, the entities involved will examine the possibility of constructing 27 above-ground pools to provide for locations where the crisis has been particularly acute. Existing pumping stations which have been left in disrepair in Ariel and additional locations will be repaired speedily.

In coming weeks, both Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan and Minister Steinitz will meet to plan the promotion of a master plan for the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

Interestingly, not one word was said about ways of preventing the flagrant theft of water by Arabs.

Meanwhile, on the Palestinian Authority side, the responsibility for the shortage is being placed squarely on Israel. In mid June, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that Israel was “waging a water war against the Palestinians. Israel wants to prevent Palestinians from leading a dignified life and uses its control over our water resources to this end; while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy uninterrupted water service, Palestinians are forced to spend great sums of money to buy water that is theirs in the first place.”

Ayman Rabi, executive director of the NGO Palestinian Hydrology Group, told Al Jazeera that “some areas had not received any water for more than 40 days. People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity. Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litters per capita per day.”

Mekorot denied cutting the water supplies, but admitted there was a reduction in water supply “as a result of the shortage of water supply.”

“We have made a broad reduction of the supply to all residents in the area,” Mekorot told Al Jazeera. “All the facilities are working and the capability to supply is less than the rate of consumption. The water authority recently approved a master plan for the water sector and accordingly we will build the systems that will meet the West Bank’s required consumption.”

Now, if only Mekorot had told Ministers Ben-Dahan and Steinitz about this new master plan, it would have saved everybody a lot of time.

JNi.Media

A Soldier’s Mother: How Do You Eulogize a 13-and-a-half Year Old Girl?

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Rena Ariel, whose daughter Hallel was murdered this morning, eulogized her:

I am giving you one last hug…I am standing here with a heart filled with pain and I am turning to you, the Arab mother, the Muslim who sent your son out to stab. I raised my daughter with love, but you and the Arab Muslim educators, you taught him to hate. Go, put your house in order…

How do you eulogize a 13-and-a-half year old girl? Tell me what words to use to eulogize a flower, a pure soul, who is courageous and beautiful. Your only sin was that you were almost perfect.

You were a ray of light in my life. You were the one who turned me into a mother.

You [God] gave me a present and now I am returning it to You. Take her. She is the flesh of our flesh. Hug her, because I will never again be able to touch her. Make room for her, so she can dance.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-soldiers-mother-how-do-you-eulogize-a-13-and-a-half-year-old-girl/2016/06/30/

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