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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Russia posts troops 8km from the Israeli Golan

Russia has quietly moved troops to a point in southern Syria that is 8km from Israel’s Golan border, in the face of Israeli objections, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Moscow used the uproar over the Temple Mount standoff and the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan to cover its creeping troop deployment almost up do Syria's borders with Israel and Jordan.
Tuesday, July 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott visited Bashan Division headquarters on the Golan for a rundown on the Russian deployment just opposite. (see photo)
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that some 800 Russian troops face Israel and another 400 are positioned on the border with Jordan. They have set up a roadblock east of Quneitra 8km from Israeli positions on the Golan. They have also strung an additional four to six lookout posts, some of them 13km from Israeli military positions, along the 64km Syrian-Israeli border - from Mount Hermon in the north, up to a point south of Qunetra in the south.
Most of the Russian troops were recruited in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, republics known for their Muslim extremist activity.

Israel has repeatedly objected to the proximity of this Russian military presence, and asked the Trump administration to prevent it. But the protests from Jerusalem went unheeded in Washington and Moscow. President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis regard the creation of US-Russian sponsored ceasefire zones in southwestern Syria as an essential component of their military cooperation in Syria and the war on ISIS.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, on Monday, July 24, Moscow announced the Russian deployment after the fact in messages to Washington, Jerusalem and Amman. They were all too engrossed in coping with the crises that had sprung up over Temple Mount and in relations between Jerusalem and Amman to pay much attention to this Russian fait accompli.
According to the announcement by Col.-Gen Sergey Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, the Russian units were in already in place on July 21 and 22:
“We informed our colleagues from the United States, Jordan and Israel, through military diplomatic channels in advance of the deployment of the Russian-controlled forces around the perimeter of the de-escalation zone in southern Syria,” he wrote.
DEBKAfile recalls that the Russians brought into embattled Daraa earlier this month to monitor the first ceasefire zone did not require Hizballah to withdraw. Iran’s Lebanese proxy is still there. Israel fears that Hizballah will repeat this exercise in the second ceasefire zone and establish a presence opposite the Golan without the Russians raising a finger to keep them out.

'Sever the connection between Jordan and the Temple Mount'

Middle East expert Dr. David Bukay called in an interview with Arutz Sheva to sever the connection between Jordan and the Temple Mount - and restore Israeli sovereignty over the Mount.
"Israel must make clear that it is the sovereign on the Temple Mount and sever all ties in this context with Jordan. The concessions to Jordan are intolerable, we provide them with security for the continuation of the corrupt Hashemite regime - and receive nothing in exchange. It’s simply scandalous.
"The time has come to sever the connection between Jordan and the Temple Mount. We are the sovereign and we will determine who ascends the Temple Mount, how often they ascend and when, and every night the site [should be] vacated completely [by order of] the State of Israel. [They shouldn’t be] frightening us with an intifada."
According to Dr. Bukay, in the face of threats, Israel must take action. "The magnetometers were only an excuse. [In fact,] we need a lot more than that. There needs to be only one entrance, and we will decide how many and who ascends. If the Fatah organization declares a ‘day of rage,’ then Israel will announce a day of rage of our own and the Temple Mount will be closed to the Muslims. We will also impose a lockdown on Judea and Samaria and we will close all the Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, with no one entering or leaving - and most importantly, we will cancel all the permits of the Palestinian workers.
There are Chinese workers who are much better and more responsible, and Romanian workers who are willing to give more.”
Dr. Bukay said that he believes the struggle over the Mount is only an excuse for terror organizations to carry out attacks: "The Temple Mount is just an excuse. They have nothing on the Temple Mount except politics. They are simply seeking excuses for what they have planned.”

State Department blames Israel for terrorism, praises PA

A new report published by the US State Department criticizing Israel and largely ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s financial support for terrorists sparked a bitter backlash, with some characterizing the document as “anti-Semitic”.
The State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2016, published last Wednesday, laid the blame for violence against Israelis at the feet of the Jewish state, while praising the Palestinian Authority for rarely making “explicit calls for violence against Israelis”.
In the report, the department claimed that terrorism against Israel was fueled not by anti-Semitic incitement in the Arab sector, but Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and “a lack of hope” among Palestinian Authority residents.
Incitement in the Palestinian Authority was only indirectly alluded to, with a passing reference to what the report calls “the perception” that Israel is seeking to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive,” the report claims. READ MORE

Two Dozen Palestinians Wounded in Fresh Clashes Over Temple Mount

The Times of Israel reports: More than two dozen Palestinians were wounded in fresh clashes that broke out on Sunday night in Jerusalem and the West Bank as Palestinians continued to protest against new security measures at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
The continued violence comes after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces on Friday during riots over the Temple Mount metal detectors, and two more died Saturday, including one who died when a petrol bomb he was planning to throw at Israeli security forces exploded prematurely.
Also on Friday, a 19-year-old Palestinian infiltrated into the West Bank settlement of Halamish and stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family at a Shabbat celebration. Thousands of Muslims gathered to pray outside Lions Gate, next to the holy site, known to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). At the conclusion of the prayers, riots broke out which police broke up with stun grenades and other forms of riot control.

World Council of Churches Sends Message of Support For Palestinian ‘Campaign For Jerusalem’

TEL AVIV – The World Council of Churches (WCC) officially endorsed the Palestinian “campaign for Jerusalem,” saying that Israel’s recent move installing additional security measures at the Temple Mount following a terror attack there was a “corrosive act in the midst of an already-fragile peace.”
“Keeping the historical status quo and supporting equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews at these holy sites is vitally important to maintaining peace and de-escalating violence,” said Fr. Ioan Sauca, acting general secretary of the WCC.
“Denying access to holy sites for thousands of people who have traveled far to pray is not only a violation of the rights of those individuals, but also a corrosive act in the midst of an already-fragile peace,” Fr. Sauca said.
Far from “denying access” to the Temple Mount, Israel decided to install metal detectors at the entrance to the holy site after Arab terrorists smuggled guns there on July 14 and embarked on a shooting spree that claimed the lives of two Druze-Israeli police officers. The Palestinian leadership, however, claimed the additional security measures were part of an Israeli attempt to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and called on all Muslims to take to the streets and riot. READ MORE

California Imam Prays for Allah to ‘Annihilate’ Jews in Public Sermon

Imam Ammar Shahin of the Islamic Center of Davis in California delivered a sermon on Friday in which he quoted an antisemitic hadith and prayed for Allah to “annihilate” Jews “down to the very last one.”
The video of Shahin’s sermon was posted to the Islamic Center of Davis’s YouTube channel on Friday (Update: the video has since been removed), and translated and excerpted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), though portions of the sermon were delivered in English.
The topic of the sermon was the ongoing controversy at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Israeli government installed metal detectors at access points to the Al-Aqsa Mosque after a terrorist shot and killed two Druze Israeli soldiers earlier this month.
Jewish visitors to the nearby Western Wall have had to pass through metal detectors for decades, due to the security threat of terrorism. Nevertheless, the new metal detectors for Muslim worshippers have been whipped into a source of outrage among Palestinians and throughout the Muslim world.
In his sermon at the Islamic Center, Shahin quoted, in Arabic, one of the most notorious antisemitic hadiths (teachings of Muhammad) — one quoted by the Hamas charter — in which Muslims are called upon to kill the Jews to bring about Judgment Day, and in which Muhammad is said to prophesy that the Jews will try to hide behind rocks and trees, which will call out to Muslims to kill them. READ MORE

China and India Locked in 'Eyeball-to-Eyeball' Border Standoff

China and India, two nuclear-armed powers with a combined population of 2.7 billion, have been in an “eyeball-to-eyeball” military stand-off over territory in Bhutan, a kingdom in a remote area of the Himalayas, since mid-June. The flare-up, one of the most serious since China won a border war in 1962, comes as the two rising powers jostle for regional influence. The current dispute is near a three-way junction between Bhutan, China’s Tibet and India’s Sikkim.

1. Why is the area important?

All land-based military and commercial traffic between India’s northeastern provinces and the rest of the country travels through the narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor -- also sometimes referred to as the Chicken’s neck. The Doklam Plateau -- where troops are currently facing off -- overlooks the corridor, which India defense strategists fear could be vulnerable to Chinese attack in case of a conflict.

2. How far back does this dispute go?

An 1890 convention between Britain and China is supposed to determine the location of the border near the Siliguri Corridor. However it contains a contradiction that allows each country to claim support for its position, said Taylor Fravel, who studies border disputes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. India contends the border is at Batang La, while China argues it is at Mount Gimpochi, three miles to the south. If China is correct, it would gain access to the Doklam Plateau.

3. What’s the status of ties between the three countries?

Bhutan has had close relations with India since 1949 when it agreed to a Friendship Treaty under which India would “guide” Bhutan’s foreign policy. This was updated in 2007 to remove the guidance provision. Both agreed that neither government would allow its territory to be used for activities harmful to the national security of the other. Bhutan doesn’t have diplomatic ties with China, though the two sides routinely holds talks aimed at resolving seven disputed border areas. READ MORE

Monday, July 24, 2017

Radical cleric calls for 'Islamic war' for Jerusalem

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars and a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Sunday that the confrontation with Israel on the Temple Mount should be defined as a religious campaign.
“It must be clearly stated that this is an Islamic campaign, since Al-Quds is not only a Palestinian issue or an Arab one. Al-Quds is the interest of the Islamic nation from the west to the east,” Qaradawi wrote on Twitter.
Qaradawi is considered the supreme religious authority of the Sunni Muslim world and the spiritual leader of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. During the period of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Qaradawi issued a fatwa permitting suicide attacks against Israel.
On the religious level, Qaradawi advocates for a gradual Islamic revolution until the Islamic rule and the rule of the caliphate are fully implemented. He predicted that Islamic immigration to Europe would eventually lead to the Islamization of the continent.
Qaradawi is among one of several individuals and institutions that were recently blacklistedby Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
The Palestine Religious Scholars Association later condemned Arab states for including Qaradawi on the blacklist, claiming he is a moderate who acts against heresy, extremism and terrorism.

Palestinian Social Media Users Hail ‘Heroic’ Slaying of Jewish Family

TEL AVIV — Palestinian social media users, along with some in the larger Arab world, praised the brutal Palestinian terrorist attack in which three members of an Israeli family were murdered on Friday night during a Sabbath meal in the town of Halamish west of Ramallah.
Palestinian journalist Yasser Zaatreh wrote, “Yesterday was one of Palestine’s biggest days, starting with a day of rage that boasted the blood of three martyrs and ended with a heroic act that hurt the invaders. This is the land that Allah blessed.”
Twitter user Shadow Night Thanks wrote, “With the help of Allah the next attacks will be more severe. May Allah multiply these attacks.”
Abu Khalid characterized the horrific slaying thusly, “Defending al-Aqsa is not terror.”
Alubeidi wrote, “The heroes in Palestine kill the criminal Zionists and Hassan Nasrallah’s cowards kill the Syrians.” Nasrallah is the chief of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group.
Zakaria Mustafa wrote, “Thank Allah, the God of the world. This will happen to those who remain (of the Jews).”
The Angel of al-Aqsa made do with the words, “Long live the perpetrator of the attack.”
Another Twitter user wrote, “Allah was merciful to our martyrs. And in all regards to the Zionist Pigs, Allah will throw them into hell.”
The victims of the attack were identified as Yosef Salomon, 70, his daughter Chaya Salomon, 46, and son Elad Salomon, 36.
The perpetrator was identified as 20-year-old Omar al-Abed, from the West Bank village of Khobar, near Ramallah.
A post on Abed’s Facebook page says that he was motivated to act in response to the ongoing situation regarding the Temple Mount.
The posted stated, “I have many dreams and I believe they will come true, I love life and I love to make others happy, but what is my life when they (Israel) murder women and children and defile our al-Aqsa.”

One Dead, Another Injured at Israeli Embassy Shooting in Jordan

(Associated Press) Three people, including an Israeli man, were wounded by gunfire Sunday in a residential building in the heavily fortified Israeli embassy compound in Jordan’s capital, the kingdom’s Public Security Directorate said.
Before the shooting, Jordanians had entered the apartment building for carpentry work, the statement said.
One of the Jordanians was critically wounded and later died at a hospital, according to Hala Akhbar, a news site linked to the Jordanian military. The site said the Israeli man was in “unstable” condition.
A Jordanian security official confirmed that a Jordanian had been killed and an Israeli wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident with the media.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.
The incident comes at a time of mounting tensions between Israel and the Muslim world over metal detectors Israel installed at a Jerusalem shrine revered by Muslims and Jews.
Jordan is the Muslim custodian of the site. On Friday, thousands of Jordanians staged an anti-Israeli protest in Amman.

Palestinian leader halts security co-operation with Israel over mosque dispute

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said he had halted security cooperation with Israel after authorities refused to remove metal detectors at the entrance to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, raising fears of an escalation of violence. 
The halt came after a bloody weekend in which three Israelis were murdered by a Palestinian in a West Bank settlement and four Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli forces, in some of the worst violence in recent years. 
The Palestinian attacker, Omar al-Abed, wrote on his Facebook before the attack that he wanted to “die for al-Aqsa”.
In an apparent escalation on Sunday night, two Jordanians were killed and an Israeli wounded in a shooting incident at the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman. 
The two Jordanians, working for a furniture firm, had entered the embassy compound before the shooting, the police said in a statement.  READ MORE

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Jerusalem’s Catholic Churches Join Forces to Condemn Israel for Muslim Violence, Terror

Amid the intensifying battles surrounding the Temple Mount, the Catholic Church expressed its concerns in terms that placed the blame entirely on Israel while referring to the site exclusively by its Muslim name. One bishop stated in an interview on Vatican Radio that there has, in fact, been no Palestinian violence.
On Sunday, Pope Francis addressed the crowd gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, telling them that he viewed “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence” surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue,” the Pope said, calling on the people to pray for the sake of Jerusalem.
The violence the Pope is referring to began ten days ago when three Palestinian terrorists murdered two Druze Israeli policemen while they guarded the entrance to the Temple Mount. The Israeli police entered the site and, after a gunbattle, killed the three terrorists. 

The Israeli government closed the site to all visitors until Sunday, when it reopened to Muslims with increased security measures that included walk-through metal detectors. The Islamic Waqf, the Muslim trust which controls the Temple Mount, called for a boycott of the site. Muslim crowds rioted last week and three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli police.
On Friday night, a Palestinian, citing the situation at the Temple Mount as his motivation, entered the town of Halamish. There, he murdered a 70-year-old grandfather and his middle-aged son and daughter while they sat at their Sabbath table. He also seriously wounded the 68-year-old grandmother.
In the wake of the growing violence, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement. Signed by the heads of all 13 Christian communities in Jerusalem, it condemned the recent escalation of violence at the Temple Mount, but did so in language that clearly favored the Palestinians and condemned Israel. The statement referred to the site by its Arabic names, disregarding any Jewish or Christian connection to the site. (Read More)

Mother managed to hide, save 5 children during terror attack

When the terrorist burst into a house in Neve Tzuf (Halamish) and started stabbing the people peacefully eating their Friday night meal, the wife of one of those killed managed to lock five children into a room and call the Police. Her quick thinking stopped the body count from being even higher.
According to reports, as soon as the woman saw the terrorist enter, she shoved five children into a side room, saving them from the terrorist onslaught. Meanwhile, a soldier on leave from the elite Oketz K-9 special forces unit heard what was going on and shot the terrorist through the window, ending the attack in progress.
"I operated instinctively" said A., whose name cannot be revealed due to the special IDF unit in which he serves. "I didn't want to waste time, and fired through the window."
The terrorist, Omer al Abed, had climbed over the fence of Neve Tzuf Friday night, and entered the residents' home, where they had gathered to celebrate the birth of a new grandchild. Al-Abed killed Yosef Tzvi Salomon (70), and his children Haya (46) and Elad (36).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement Saturday night condemning the attack, and calling the terrorist "a beast motivated by wild hatred."