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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hamas: We will liberate Palestine from 'filthy occupation'

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’s political bureau and one of the leaders of the terrorist organization, spoke at a ceremony in memory of two Hamas terrorists killed in an IDF attack a few days ago.
In his speech, Zahar said that Hamas would continue the path of resistance "in order to liberate every inch of Palestine from the filth of the occupation."
"The promise of Allah will come true in the security system of the world to come, in which Al-Quds is linked to the Al-Aqsa Mosque," Zahar was quoted as saying by the Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper.
In a message to Israel, Zahar said, "Beware of the power of Hamas and the power of the [Al-Qassam] Brigades.”
U.S. President Donald Trump, he said, “does not understand the course of history and the instructions of Allah, and he openly fights us. But we tell him that the promise of Allah will come in the world to come."
In reference to the stalled reconciliation initiative with Fatah, Zahar said that "reconciliation does not mean that we will give up on even one inch of Palestine and does not mean that we will give up one of the rifles of the Al-Qassam Brigades."
Zahar regularly and openly threatens Israel. Last year he vowed to remove all the Jews from “Palestine”.
At the time, he praised "the young people who are standing in front of tanks holding a rock and a knife” before declaring, "We will remove the Jews from our land; this is a divine promise that will take place."
Earlier this year he declared that "removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle" in the Koran.
"Our position is: Palestine in its entirety, and not a grain of soil less," stressed Zahar.

Jordan: Judaizing Jerusalem will bring violence and extremism

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Wednesday, Jordan's King Abdullah II rejected President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordering the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"There will be no peace in the region unless a Palestinian state is created and its capital is eastern Jerusalem," he said. "US President Donald Trump's announcement is dangerous. Attempts to Judaize Jerusalem and to change its identity will bring additional violence and extremism."
Separately, Saudi Arabia's King Salman told Saudi Arabia's Consultative Council, "The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve regional crises, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital."
Last Wednesday, Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his plans to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem.
On Friday, thousands of Arab rioters protested the declaration, hurling firebombs and stones at Israeli civilians and security personnel. Israeli authorities were forced to respond to the violence with tear gas, rubber bullets, and other crowd-control methods.

Abbas says no future US role in peace process

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that Palestinians won’t accept any future role for the US in the peace process due to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas told an emergency meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul that there could be “no peace or stability” in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Turkey is hosting the 57-member OIC in the wake of the US decision — a move widely criticized across the world but hailed by Israel. The summit is expected to forge a unified position of Arab and Muslim countries.
“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state… There will be no peace, no stability without that,” Abbas proclaimed.
He slammed Trump’s declaration as a “crime” and a “gift” to the “Zionist movement” — as if he “were giving away an American city” — and asserted that Washington no longer had any role to play in the peace process.
Abbas noted that the international community had nearly unanimously opposed Trump’s decision, calling it a “provocation” to Muslims and Christians and saying measures were needed to protect the identity of the divided city.
He asserted that the Palestinian Authority intended to return to the United Nations to to gain full membership.
“We agreed with America we would not join international institutions on the condition that American does not transfer its embassy, does not initiate any action against our office in Washington, and orders Israel to freeze settlement building,” Abbas said. READ MORE

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bennett: Hold Iran accountable for Hezbollah aggression

Comparing Iran to an octopus sending out terrorist tentacles to attack Israel, Education Minister Naftali Bennett this week said Jerusalem should start holding the Islamic Republic responsible for the aggression of its proxies in Lebanon and Syria.
In an interview with The Times of Israel’s Persian edition, Bennett — an influential member of the security cabinet with an eye on the top spot — argued that for too long Israel has been focusing on fighting Hezbollah on its northern border while giving a free pass to the terrorist group’s patrons in Tehran.
The Jewish state is not interested in any military confrontation and has great respect for the Iranian people, he said. At the same time, he reiterated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declared intention to do everything necessary to prevent Tehran from establishing itself militarily in Syria.
“My approach is to gradually hold Iran itself more and more accountable for its own actions. And to view a rocket being sent from southern Lebanon to Haifa as an Iranian rocket, as opposed to a Hezbollah rocket,” Bennett said.
The Iranian modus operandi is to create proxy armies made up of non-Iranians, the minister said. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “will fight Israel until the last drop of Lebanese blood,” he said, adding that the Iranians have Lebanese but also Pakistani and Afghani militias spreading terror across the Middle East.
Bennett said he commanded a search-and-destroy mission for rocket launchers during the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“We fought the proxy. My point is that the initiator, the instigator of all of this — the head of the octopus, if you will — is the Iranian radical regime. And gradually we’re going to shift focus and also hold them accountable.” READ MORE

Erdogan and Putin denounce Trump's Jerusalem decision

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday warned that U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel risks escalating tension in an already tense region.
"Both Russia and Turkey believe that the decision... does not help regulating the situation in the Middle East but instead destabilizes the already complicated atmosphere," Putin said at a press conference in Ankara with Erdogan, according to a report by the AFP news agency.
"It can derail the Israel-Palestine peace process," he warned after his meeting with Erdogan following lightning visits to Syria and Egypt earlier on Monday.
Erdogan said that he and Putin had taken a similar approach on the issue as he took advantage of the situation to accuse Israel of continuing to "add fuel to the flames".
"Israel is using this as an opportunity to further increase the pressure and violence against Palestinians," he charged.
Erdogan has stepped up his anti-Israel rhetoric in recent days in the wake of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.
On Sunday, Erdogan said he would fight against Trump’s controversial declaration, describing Israel as a "terrorist state" that kills children.
"Palestine is an innocent victim... As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!" Erdogan said in a speech in the central Turkish city of Sivas and added, "We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later fired back, calling Erdogan a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers and supports terrorists.
"I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people," he said during a press conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. READ MORE

Liberman to Arab MKs: You're all war criminals

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday blasted Arab MKs as "war criminals".
His comments came during a Knesset debate on a motion of no confidence in the government filed by the Joint List party.
Presenting the motion, MK Hanin Zoabi said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "should be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, because he is a war criminal."
"Occupation is always belligerent, violent, illegitimate and a basis for war crimes," she charged.
In response to the motion and Zoabi’s remarks, Liberman said, "All the Joint List are war criminals, every one of you.”
"You exploit the weaknesses and advantages of a democratic state to destroy us from within, we have no illusions," he told them.
"You are here by mistake and the time will come when you will not be here," added Liberman.
Despite being members of the Israeli parliament, Arab MKs have continuously acted against the interests of the state.
Last year, for example, three Joint List MKs visited with families of terrorists who murdered Israelis and later defended their actions.
Other examples have included Arab MKs openly defying an order from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to visit the Temple Mount, while also urging Arabs to prevent Jews from visiting the site.
One video clip sent to Arutz Sheva showed MK Ahmed Tibi actually striking an Israel Police officer on the Mount - a criminal offense - while another MK, Jamal Zahalka, "orders" police to leave the site.
Zoabi has in the past said she views sovereign Israeli territory as “occupied” Palestinian territory. Last year, during a discussion in the Knesset on the reconciliation agreement with Turkey, she openly called IDF soldiers “murderers”.
Liberman on Sunday blasted Israeli Arab rioters from Wadi Ara who demonstrated against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The rioters threw rocks at cars and clashed with police while chanting "Palestine is ours".
The Defense Minister suggested that the rioters "move to the Palestinian Authority" and called for a boycott of the Arabs living in the Wadi Ara region.
"I call on all Israeli citizens not to enter their shops. Don't buy anything from them," declared Liberman. "We need to give them the feeling that they are not wanted."
Liberman has long promoted a plan that would switch Arab areas of Israel such as the Triangle and integrate them into a Palestinian state, in exchange for Jewish-populated areas of Judea and Samaria that would be annexed to Israel.

Netanyahu: I’m Not Going to Be Lectured to By Erdogan, Who Bombs Kurdish Villagers

Israel will not be lectured to by a leader who bombs his own people, jails journalists and helps Iran and Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a sharp rebuttal to the most recent anti-Israel tirade by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan – who is emerging as one of the main voices in the Islamic world trying to stir passions over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – on Sunday called Israel a “terrorist state.”

According to the Hurriyet Daily News website, Erdogan, speaking at a meeting of his AKP Party in the central Anatolian province of Sivas, charged Israel with using “disproportionate” force against Palestinians protesting Trump’s declaration and declared Israel an “oppressive, occupation state.”

Netanyahu, who has made it a general practice of refraining from responding to Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric, shot back this time at a 
press conference in Paris alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Asked about Erdogan’s verbal attack, Netanyahu replied, “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”

His comments hit a nerve, as Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin issued a statement condemning Netanyahu’s remarks and said: “It is not possible to take seriously the allegations and accusations made by a mentality, which massacred thousands of Palestinians, turned the lands of the Palestinians into an open-air prison, in order to suppress its guilt.” READ MORE

Putin Orders Russian Troops to Begin Withdrawing from Syria

Kremlin President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered his Ministry of Defense to begin pulling out Russian troops from Syria, declaring that the end of “large-scale combat actions” against jihadists in the war-devastated country is imminent.
“The large-scale combat actions against terror groups in Syria are coming to an end,” declared Putin, according to the state-owned TASS news agency. “I note that the efforts of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have helped to prevent Syria’s breakup, not allow its takeover by international terrorists and avoid a humanitarian crisis.”
Putin also said, “The task of fighting armed bandits here in Syria, a task that it was essential to solve with the help of extensive use of armed force, has, for the most part, been solved and solved spectacularly. I congratulate you!”
He indicated that current conditions provide “a real chance … to end the civil war that has raged for many years.”
Putin’s announcement of the planned troops’ withdrawal came during his recent visit to Russia’s Khmeimim air base in Syria.
In Syria, the Russian leader “instructed the Ministry of Defense to begin the withdrawal of the Russian troops,” notes TASS.
Military support from Iran and Russia turned the tide of the war in favor of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, allowing the ruthless leader to remain in power.
Although Turkey and Russia have been on opposing sides of the conflict, the two countries have reportedly been working together to end the conflict. READ MORE

Turkey’s Erdogan: Israel a ‘Child-Killer’ and U.S. a ‘Partner in Bloodshed’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a dramatic speech decrying Israel as a “terror state” and “child-killer state” on Sunday and accusing American President Donald Trump of using an “Evangelist understanding” of Israel to accept Jerusalem as the capital of the state.
“Jerusalem is the light of our eyes. We won’t leave it to the conscience of a state that only values occupation and looting,” Erdogan declared, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. “We will continue our struggle decisively within the law and democracy.”
“Israel is a state of occupation and a terror state … will not leave Jerusalem to the consciousness of a child-killer state,” he added.
Erdogan went on to call the Palestinian territories “oppressed and a victim” and the development of Israel as “treachery.”
Erdogan also stated that he was engaging in “intense phone diplomacy” and had spoken to Pope Francis, among other world leaders, about President Trump’s announcement last week that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.
“We’ve told them that this issue is not one that only concerns Muslims; it is also the seizure of the rights of Christians. But I must say clearly that this step of the U.S. is completely an Evangelist understanding,” he said. READ MORE

Why North Korea’s nuclear test is still producing aftershocks

Aftershocks have continued ever since, and on Saturday the US Geological Survey said it had detected two more, sparking significant debate about what might be going on underground.

What happened during the nuclear test?

On 3 September, North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear bomb to date at its Punggye-ri test site in the mountains in its northwest.
Pyongyang claimed it was a hydrogen bomb, which would have made it a device many times more powerful than an atomic bomb.
Experts have expressed concerns the explosion might have been so powerful it could destabilise the surrounding mountains.

Why are aftershocks still happening?

According to the USGS, last weekend's tremors were "relaxation events". They measured a magnitude of 2.9 and 2.4.
"When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the earth's crust around the area, and it takes a while for it to fully subside. We've had a few of them since the sixth nuclear test," an official told Reuters.
The "movement of the earth's crust" is akin to the very definition of an earthquake and scientists say it is only to be expected in the weeks and months after an explosion of that magnitude.
"These aftershocks for a 6.3 magnitude nuclear test are not very surprising," Dr Jascha Polet, seismologist and professor of geophysics at California State Polytechnic University, told the BBC.
After any tremor of that size, aftershocks with declining magnitude are common, as the rock moves around and releases stress.
The area around the quake site "experiences deformation, and this creates areas of increased and decreased stress, which affects the distribution of aftershocks," Ms Polet said.
"The fact that the source of the earthquake is an explosion doesn't change how we expect the energy to redistribute," geophysicist and disaster researcher Mika McKinnon, told the BBC.
But research on explosions of a similar magnitude as the North Korea nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site in the US where over decades nuclear tests were carried out, has found that the aftershocks of these events were fewer in number and lower in magnitude.
So each location is unique. READ MORE

Monday, December 11, 2017

Jerusalem Move Creates Possible Alliance Between Evangelicals and Jewish Community

Contrary to what coastal elites are saying, President Donald Trump’s bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there shows the incredible power of America’s Evangelical Christians, and how natural of an ally they are to Israel and America’s Jewish community.
Elite commentators miss the political reality here. One article read, “Trump Shift on Israel Highlights Lawyers’ Roles in Middle East Policy.” It credits the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and another lawyer of Jewish heritage as three of the leading influences that induced the president’s move.
There is no question that Kushner is a major force in the White House. There is also no question that Friedman is a force to be reckoned with, whom the Republican base believes is doing a spectacular job as America’s representative to the Jewish State. And the Jewish community is a significant political force.
But there are only about 5 to 9 million Jewish Americans (1.5 to 3 percent of the population). The wide variation on the number is because some Americans are Jewish by birth but are not followers of Judaism, and some surveys count persons for whom one parent is Jewish, while others require both parents.
Regardless of the actual number of Jewish Americans, it is dwarfed by the number of Evangelical Americans. Fully 24 percent of Americans self-identify as Evangelicals, though that number too is debatable, because only 15 percent actually hold to core Evangelical beliefs.
But coupled with the fact that Evangelicals register to vote at higher rates than the general adult population, either of these percentages translates to tens of millions of Americans, anywhere from 45 to 70 million voters. READ MORE