Sunday, April 23, 2017

23-Apr-17: The disturbing affair of the senior Hamas figure who was also a senior UNRWA figure and now isn't

This is a follow-on to several posts we made over the last two months concerning Hamas influence at senior levels of UNRWA management. 

For background, see "26-Feb-17: Hamas' new Gaza leadership, and what it says about educating towards a desperately worse future" and "27-Feb-17: UNRWA is shocked, shocked, to discover..." and "06-Mar-17: What has UNRWA known all these years about its staff terrorists?"

Now this:
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees says a Gaza staffer suspected of being elected to the Islamic militant Hamas group's leadership no longer works for the agency. Agency spokesman Chris Gunness says Saturday Suhail al-Hindi is no longer employed by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. He declined to say whether al-Hindi had quit or was fired, saying the agency doesn't "discuss the terms of departure of individual staff members." In February, UNRWA suspended al-Hindi — the chairman of the agency's Palestinian workers' union — pending the results of an internal investigation sparked by Israeli accusations that the school principal was a member of Hamas' new political leadership. Al-Hindi denied links to Gaza's rulers. Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most of Europe. ["UN Gaza staffer out after allegations of Hamas ties", Associated Press, April 22, 2017]
Reassuring that the personal interests of UNRWA managers with ties to the Islamist terrorists of Hamas are in such safe, considerate and delicate hands.

On the other hand, given how every penny of the billions spent annually by UNRWA are fund-raised from donor countries and organizations, isn't the public owed more than the spit-in-your-eye explanation offered by Mr Chris Gunness? As its official spokesperson, is "declined to say" a legitimate part of his job description?

The unwillingness of UNRWA management in general, and particularly Gunness, to own up to the malign influence of terrorists on Hamas' operations and on its outcomes (especially on children educated in the UNRWA schools) over a period of generations is something that in a fair-minded and ethical world would be addressed by the people to whom UNRWA owes an accounting.

How many other senior Hamas terrorists hold down jobs in UNRWA, Mr Gunness? Does it not matter?

23-Apr-17: Tel Aviv tourist precinct: Arab assailant stabs four

The attacker is on the left [Times of Israel video grab]
What's being described as a terror attack began with an assault today (Sunday afternoon, 2:05 pm) inside a Tel Aviv seafront hotel.

At this point, we know of a total of four people injured when a Palestinian Arab male, about 18 years old and according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua employed somewhere nearby, attacked them with wire-cutters. You can see the first stages of the assault in the photo at right.

He launched his assault in the hotel lobby on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv's tourist precinct, according to Ynet which has security camera footage of the initial stages of the attack on its site at this hour. The photo above comes from different security cam footage on the Times of Israel site. From our viewing, it appears to be inside the Leonardo Beach Hotel (other reports quote other hotels).

With three victims down, he then fled outside and into the street where he stabbed another person before being stopped and arrested by police.

Israel National News says those hurt are a man in his 70s, two men in their fifties and a woman in her fifties. All are lightly injured and all were treated at the scene before being taken to Ichilov Hospital by Magen David Adom ambulance.

The attacker, a resident of Nablus, is evidently unhurt but likely to be offended by what Israel's justice system has in mind for him.

Friday, April 21, 2017

21-Apr-17: In Gaza, human bombs both unwitting and committed

"Female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip go on hunger strike in protest 
of an Israeli decision not to allow them to travel through the Erez crossing 
to seek medical care in Israel" (December 22, 2016). 
Were the sisters described in our post protesting? [Mohammed Asad
Middle East Monitor]
It's too early to know all the facts, but something happened on Israel's border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday) that highlights the hideous things the Islamist terrorists of Hamas do. And not only to their enemies.

Here's how Associated Press reported it:
Two Palestinian sisters from Gaza were caught trying to smuggle explosives hidden in medicine containers into Israel as they were headed for cancer treatment at a Jerusalem hospital, authorities said, accusing Hamas militants of trying to use the women to carry out an attack. Ragheb Atallah, the patient's husband, said his wife, Basema, 55, has gone for treatment of colorectal cancer in Jerusalem more than 10 times since July and has never had a problem before. He said his wife was unaware that she may have been smuggling anything illegal into Israel. "Someone asked them to take a bottle of medicine on their way for a patient there," he said. "The bottle was closed and they did not know what is inside. It seems there was something and this caused disruption," the husband said Thursday.
Ragheb Atallah said his wife was released and has been given permission again to go to the hospital, but her sister, 57-year-old Ibtessam Eid, remained in Israeli custody...
Despite the hostilities [with Hamas], Israel continues to allow thousands of Gazans to enter its territory for medical care or to travel to neighboring Jordan and other destinations. All travelers are subject to strict security checks, including in some cases lengthy interrogations by Shin Bet agents before they receive travel permits. Israel says the strict policies are necessary because Hamas tries to exploit civilians entering Israel by giving them weapons, cash or other equipment for militant activity... ["Israel: Gaza sisters smuggled explosives on way to hospital"Associated Press - Josef Federman, April 20, 2017]
Hussam Abdo, human bomb - before and after his oversize winter jacket 
was very carefully removed by IDF soldiers, March 2004 
Let's note that the idea of innocent civilians being dispatched on life-threatening missions - whether they know it or not - is part of the Palestinian Arab terrorist ethos and nothing new.

To name just two previous instances:
Also relevant but much less innocent: the case of Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Bis, 21 (also called al-Biri, Albes, and al-Bass), a Gazan woman whose massively-burned body - the result of either an accident at home with a gas stove or deliberately burned by her family for the usual reasons - was restored and saved by Israeli doctors via intensive skin graft therapy in the two months from December 2004. She wrote a grateful-sounding thank you note to the hospital staff, and then "repaid" their kindness six months later by attempting to pass through the Erez Crossing on Israel's Gaza border while wearing an explosive belt. Her Fatah handlers instructed her to explode herself inside Beer Sheva's Soroka Medical Center hospital when she went there for a half-year follow-up appointment. Fortunately she didn't get that far. Alert Israeli security at the crossing sensed something very wrong and did not let her pass. She tried to trigger the bomb in front of the Israeli cameras but the Hamas technology was a dud and she lived, and was arrested, tried and convicted. She remained in an Israeli prison until released in the catastrophic Shalit deal of 2011. 

Wafa al-Bis back home in the Gaza Strip and planning to explode
a second time [Image Source]
Safely back in Gaza, she made headlines immediately after returning by telling little children from a Gaza school (very likely an UNRWA school) who visited her at home that "she hoped they would follow her example" and "Gd willing, we will see some of you as martyrs".

According to an Al Ahram report at the time, the little kiddies responded heartwarmingly: "We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine." Wafa al-Bis has repeatedly said she wants to try the human bomb thing again.

Seriously sick Gazans could go to Egyptian doctors or to the lavish medical centers of the astoundingly rich Gulf states. Instead, they keep crossing over into Israel when facing life-threatening illness or injury - 30,000 of them in 2016 alone [source]. The one aspect of this that's seriously confounding - given how much satanic hatred is relentlessly pumped into these people by their Hamas ideological overlords - is that Israel keeps agreeing to it. But anyone who understands the life-affirming sentiment that is deeply embedded in Jewish society and in Israel in particular will get it.

We are passionately opposed to the use of the expression "suicide bomber". We explained why in a previous post: see "30-Jun-15: We need to be calling them what they are: human bombs". This week's Basema Atallah affair underscores the point. A suicide bomber she certainly was not, as far as can be ascertained at this stage. But could she have ended up being a human bomb? Absolutely yes, and with all the consequences.

And in passing, we noticed that a photo in a Daily Mail UK October 20, 2011 article about Wafa al-Biss has this completely absurd caption:
"Waving a Palestinian flag at her house upon her release, Al-Biss has been in prison since 2004 after a failed suicide attempt"
[Image Source: Daily Mail]
Ms Al-Biss was imprisoned because she failed in an attempt to carry out an explosive act of mass killing. She was evidently indifferent about whether she would survive. That makes it murder, not suicide. And attempting suicide was not what got her sent to an Israeli prison.

In addition to being a human bomb, and probably against her will and without actual knowing, it's clear Mrs Atallah was also used by the bomb makers as a human shield. The news industry generally has a hard time owning up to how Hamas does this routinely (see for instance, "Myth of Hamas’s human shield. Gazans deny being put in line of fire" [Belfast Telegraph, July 21, 2014]).

The cancer patient was almost certainly asked by Israeli security whether she had agreed to carry something through the security barrier on behalf of someone else on the Gaza side. If that happened, the husband's version means she gave an untruthful answer. (Whether or not she knew she was carrying bomb-making materials is irrelevant.) Should she be allowed back into Israel for more life-saving treatment? Given the existential dangers, is it more humane to say yes? Is it less humane to say no?

And to end, some food for thought from six months ago: 
Dozens of female cancer patients in Gaza began a hunger strike today to protest Israeli authorities’ banning them from obtaining travel permits to travel to receive treatment. During a protest attended by dozens of cancer patients in front of the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Gaza this morning, the Aid and Hope Programme for Cancer Patient Care in Gaza condemned senior health official Bassam Al-Badri for humiliating and offending cancer patients. Al-Badri had previously directed offensive and false accusations against the female cancer patients barred from travelling, claiming they purely sought media attention... In a statement she read on behalf of the Aid and Hope Programme, Al-Tatri condemned Al-Badri for also accusing the cancer patients of spying and working for the occupation, as well as exploiting the issue of cancer patients...  A large number of these cancer patients announced they were going on hunger strike as of this morning in an attempt to gain the attention of officials and the world and raise the issue of their suffering... ["Gaza women cancer patients start hunger strike to protest Israel treatment ban", Middle East Monitor, December 22, 2016]
Were the two Gaza sisters in this protest? No idea. The Israelis seem to have given them great attention and help. About Hamas, it's not so clear.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

19-Apr-17: At Gush Etzion, yet another Arab-on-Israel vehicle ramming attack; the assailant is dead

The vehicle-ramming attacker's knife [Image Source]
(If you came here via our tweet, we found something depressing, but also informative, in an Arabic news report at the bottom.)

An Israeli male suffered mild injuries today in another Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming terror attack close to the Gush Etzion Junction south of Jerusalem today (Wednesday) a little after 4:00 pm. We have reported on many Gush Etzion Junction attacks since the current wave of terror attacks (sometimes called the Stabbing Intifada) got underway roughly 19 months ago.

Today's attack involved a Mazda 5 wagon with white PA plates that, driving from the south in the direction of Jerusalem, crashed into the rear end of an Israeli bus at the hitch-hiking post just north of the junction, according to Ynet, striking a man aged about seventy who evidently had just gotten off the bus and was standing next to it.

The victim was described as conscious but disoriented with head injuries. He was treated by medics on the spot before being taken for emergency care to Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital. His injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

The attack vehicle and the bus it rammed. The
driver was shot by alert IDF forces stationed
near the scene and died of his wounds later
in hospital. [Image Source]
Times of Israel says the driver of the attack vehicle was shot by IDF soldiers stationed near the scene of the ramming, and was rushed for emergency care to the same Jerusalem hospital - Shaarei Zedek - as his victim. He was received there in critical condition after getting initial treatment at the scene by IDF medics and pronounced dead shortly afterwards, according to an army spokesperson. His identity was given as Sahib Mousa Mashahrah, 21, from the village of al-Sawahreh. In his car, police found a large knife (photo above) of the sort that has played a role in many recent knifings of Israeli victims.

Ma'an News Agency, reporting in English, said
photographs of the scene published by Israeli media showed that the Palestinian vehicle had seemingly collided with the back of a bus. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed later in the afternoon that the Palestinian succumbed to wounds sustained when he was shot by soldiers at the scene, identifying him as Suhaib Moussa Mashour Mashahra, 21, from the Jerusalem-district village of al-Sawahira.
In its Arabic version, the same Ma'an suggested that the circumstances - the Arab vehicle crashing into the back of an Israeli bus - indicated that it was probably not an attack but a mere accident. And that the driver is a martyr.

The existence of the knife next to the driver's seat goes unmentioned.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

18-Apr-17: So what, in reality, is Marwan Barghouti?

Barghouti, convicted on multiple counts of murder by shooting,
is a candidate for the next Nobel Peace Prize [Image Source: Arab media]
There are serious efforts underway this week to re-engineer the public image of the convicted Palestinian Arab felon, Marwan Barghouti.

Those efforts, based on disinformation, partial information and lots of spin, are directed at concealing the facts of his crimes and imprisonment and putting some wind into the sails of this ambitious man's on/off political career.

Outrageously, the key thing to know about Barghouti, according to one of the world's most influential newspapers which provided him yesterday ["Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons", New York Times, April 17, 2017] with an invaluable op ed platform to megaphone his extreme views, is that
Source: New York Times
In the following 24 hours, the Times found itself in the midst of a storm of protest. We have little sympathy for how the NYT's public editor summed things up today.

A side issue: Barghouti's English is poor. Yet "his" op ed, datelined Hadarim Prison, is a slickly-written piece of eloquent self-promotion. We think there's a teensie-tiny possibility it was written by professional pubic relations people in his name. Ah, but truly, who pays attention to such trivia when the cause is so compelling?

Barghouti has an interesting group of admirers who help his self-promotion process move forward. Here are just a few.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, the South African church leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, regularly sings Barghouti's praises. On one view, this is exceedingly odd, given how the Nobel committee specifically noted Tutu's own "nonviolent path to liberation" in its citation. So then is Tutu unware of Barghouti's lethal criminality, as widely outlined in the media for anyone who cares to look (for instance Dr Emmanuel Navon's cogently argued "Desmond Tutu is Wrong about Marwan Barghouti")? No, it does not seem that he is unaware. Instead, like many at that extreme end of the political spectrum, he seems to feel criminality of Barghouti's kind just doesn't count. And to show he means it, he has lately been touting the deeply offensive notion that Barghouti ought to get the same rich prize that Tutu himself did ["Bishop Tutu Nominates Jailed Palestinian Leader Barghouti for Nobel Peace Prize", Michael Friedson, June 8, 2016].

Al Jazeera, referring to the noble hero of the South African struggle to defeat apartheaid, calls Barghouti "the Palestinian Mandela". So do the Ma'an News Agency and a commentator at The Guardian. On the other hand, Le Monde, in the course of an interview with Barghouti, calls the comparison "debatable".

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, an Argentine human rights activist who received the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize and is a leader of the non-violent Latin American Christian group Servicio Paz y Justicia, is another supporter of a Barghouti Nobel [May 2016 source]. So is the parliament of Tunisia [source]. And so are sixteen mayors of towns in France [source] including Valenton and Bergerac (unfortunately we don't know the names of the other metropolises).

A cluster of Belgians, all of them involved in their country's national politics, followed suit and wrote to the Nobel committee in May 2016, improbably calling Barghouti "a peace activist":
“Peace requires the freedom of Marwan Barghouti and of the political prisoners, and more generally the freedom of the Palestinian people living for decades under occupation.”
Thinking logically, we might have surmised that the Belgians meant to exclude homicidal thugs from the list of those to be freed because what possible basis can there be to label such felons "political prisoners"? But then they do seem serious about wanting Barghouti to go to Oslo. So evidently they - like Tutu - don't see a conflict between being (a) a convicted murderer and (b) a peace activist. Sort of like being both a cheese-burger addict and an activist for veganism.

But for those to whom facts and realities still mean something, here's a brief excursion through the contemporary reports that accompanied his journey into the Israeli penal system. To emphasize the point, we refer to news reports carried by Haaretz which is much closer to Tutu's views than to ours.

The capture:
Wiretapping revealed that Barghouti was hiding in a safe house. The commander of the army’s Ramallah Brigade... told Haaretz: “When the intelligence arrived that he was in a building in the heart of a Ramallah neighborhood... an armored brigade surrounded the site and the baton was passed to me. The Duvdevan unit was under my command. We understood that he was in the building. One of the soldiers saw him through the window, taking cover close to what looked to us, at least, like an old woman who was lying on a bed. We removed everyone from the building... ["Will Marwan Barghouti be the Palestinian Nelson Mandela?", Haaretz, July 5, 2016]
The conviction
The Tel Aviv District Court convicted former West Bank Tanzim commander Marwan Barghouti in the deaths of five people on Thursday. Barghouti was convicted of three terror attacks in which the five were murdered, as well as in another charge of attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and conspiring to commit a crime. However, the court acquitted him of 33 other murders with which he was charged, noting that there was no evidence that he was a full partner to those incidents...  The court ruled that Barghouti was directly responsible for a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev in which Israeli Yoela Chen was murdered. The attack, the judges said, was carried out at his direct order in revenge for the assassination of Raed Carmi. Barghouti had admitted his responsibility for this attack. The attack in which a Greek monk was murdered in Ma'aleh Adumim on June of 2001 was also carried out at the instruction of Barghouti, the judges said. The former Tanzim leader, the court ruled, also approved the March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv's Seafood Market restaurant in which three people were murdered, as well as a car bomb attack in Jerusalem... [He] was charged with leading dozens of terror operations against Israeli targets since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, including suicide and shooting attacks that led to the death and injury of hundreds of Israeli citizens and Israel Defense Force soldiers. According to the charge sheet, Barghouti headed the Fatah, Tanzim and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terror groups in the West Bank and was subordinate to Arafat... The state prosecutor said Barghouti funded and planned terror attacks and is not the political activist he claimed to be... Barghouti's supporters in the European parliament were expected to show up for the ruling... ["Barghouti Convicted in Deaths of Five People", Haaretz, May 20, 2004]
Barghouti was sentenced by judges Sarah Sirota, Amiram Benyamini and Avraham Tal to five consecutive life terms plus an additional 40 years. The judges observed that
Barghouti used to receive reports of the attacks carried out by his associates only after they were completed. This was an effort to preserve his image as a political leader not involved in armed attacks against Israelis... [Haaretz, June 6, 2004
And some occasionally overlooked points, via JTA:
When Israeli authorities chose to put Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on trial in a criminal court rather than a military court, prosecutors may have set the stage for an even bigger prize: Yasser Arafat. That possibility was given a boost last week with Barghouti’s conviction on five counts of murder, for Israelis killed in three separate shooting ambushes... The judges said Barghouti could be convicted only in cases where it was proven that he had prior knowledge of imminent terrorist attacks and that he approved the attacks... [He] was acquitted on 21 other counts of murder for lack of evidence. Both outcomes bolstered the argument for putting Palestinian terrorists on trial in regular Israeli courts rather than in military courts, where the standards of evidence are not as strict. Barghouti’s conviction shows that there is sufficient evidence to put terrorists behind bars using standard criminal procedures, and his acquittal on the other counts lends legitimacy to the argument that even Palestinian terrorists will get fair trials in Israel... ["Barghouti conviction could foretell Arafat trial", JTA, May 24, 2004]
Some additional overlooked dimensions:
  • Marwan Barghouti publicly boasted of his role in igniting what many call the Second Intifada in 2000. We published his direct quotes (translated to English) here. This may come as a surprise to those who think of Ariel Sharon visiting the Temple Mount in September 2000 as being the real story. 
  • He personally laid out $500 [source] for the making of the explosive-filled guitar case that was brought to, and exploded inside, Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria destroying it on August 9, 2001 and killing fifteen innocent people including our daughter Malki. The bombmaker was Abdullah Barghouti, a clansman.
  • When another clansman Bilal Barghouti, a senior Hamas operative, was on the run from the Israeli security forces because of his involvement in the massacre at the Sbarro pizzeria (he was later convicted for his part), Marwan Barghouti sheltered him for a time in his home. Bilal Barghouti said for the record that, during his stay there, "he saw a number of weapons, and when he left the house Barghouti armed him with a gun for his use." [Source: CAMERA] Marwan Barghouti is an unindicted accessory after the fact to the Sbarro murders.
Leader and parliamentarian, battler for non-violence and peace, candidate for the world's most important reward for bring peace to the world. And also a cold-blooded thug closely directing other thugs, a man happy to appear in public gripping a sub-machine gun and the man who claims credit for the blood-drenched Intifadeh years from 2000 onwards.

We don't think it's all that difficult to distinguish between Barghouti the plastic-coated fantasy and invention of parts of the media, and Barghouti the loathsome killer of innocents. In the end, it seems to come down - tragically - to whom and what you want to believe.

18-Apr-17: In Gaza, a decade of darkness and a never-ending blame-game

Image Source
Times must be getting really tough down there in the Gaza Strip now that one of the most highly publicized of the plagues traditionally blamed on the "Zionist entity" has become (not for the first time) the subject of bitter mutual accusations between the two rival Palestinian Arab statelets - the PLO-controlled PA, and the Islamist thugocracy of Hamas.

Below is an extract from an Albawaba news report ["Gaza thrown into darkness as Hamas-Fatah spat worsens"] datelined April 16, 2017. (Albawaba is based in Jordan, with offices in Dubai, and calls itself "the largest independent producer and distributor of content in the Middle East...
providing first-rate coverage of the Middle East from a local perspective.")
Gaza was plunged into darkness late Friday as the territory's Hamas-run power authority cut electricity across the besieged enclave in protest against the Palestinian Authority. Hamas, who control Gaza, and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, have for years blamed each other for an electricity crisis in the besieged coastal enclave.
Gaza's power alternates on eight-hour cycles, with those who can afford it using generators in the down times.
On Friday, Gaza's power authority cut electricity in the coastal territory from 7 pm until 11 pm in protest against the PA's recent decision to cut public sector salaries for Gaza employees and tax disputes over the import of fuel. The PA responded by saying Hamas was attempting to create a "new crisis" in Gaza, according to Ma’an News Agency.
Earlier in April, a decision by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to impose pay cuts on its civil servants in Gaza sparked widespread anger. Tens of thousands took to the streets in Gaza to protest the 30-percent pay cut, with demonstrators calling on PA president Mahmoud Abbas to sack his government. The PA says it was forced into the move because its budget has been hit by falling foreign aid. PA salaries in the West Bank, however, remained untouched.
Gaza's sole power plant is on the verge of shutting down as Qatari and Turkish fuel supplies run out. Gazan authorities have no other choice than to buy additional fuel from the PA, but say recent tax hikes make it unaffordable.
In January, thousands of Gazans took the streets to protest chronic power shortages in one of the largest unauthorised protests in Gaza since Hamas took power in 2007. Hamas security forces quickly suppressed the demonstration and blocked journalists from filming. A day earlier, a local comedian was arrested for making a satirical video criticising power cuts. "There is no work, no (border) crossing points, no food, no water and also no electricity," Adel al-Mashwakhi said in the video clip, which amassed over 250,000 views.
But with that explanation, be assured dear readers that there is no Palestinian Arab that cannot - by hook, crook or outright fabrication - be blamed on the Zionists. Here's how the Albawaba piece ends:
In 2015, the United Nations warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current political and economic trends caused by Israeli policies continue.
From our 2008 post: We wondered then whether the Reuters
photographer, depicting Gazan legislators working
by candle-light as clearly-visible daylight is shut out
by curtains, had a moron for an editor. [Image Source
To put that last claim into some perspective, please take a look at some relevant earlier posts of ours: "05-Mar-17: What Gaza's Pal Arabs think about the electricity problems in Gaza"; "30-Apr-15: What Gaza's oppressed know that reporters don't, and why it matters"; "28-Oct-12: What lies behind ongoing efforts to paint Gaza as a region under Israeli siege?"; and from nearly a decade ago when Hamas' silly games were not so different from today's: "10-Feb-08: The lies that pictures can tell".

That 2008 post, replete with some very revealing news photographs that tried to pin serious malfeasance on Israelis for "cheating" the Gazans of electric power, is worth going back to review.

Whatever has changed in the world of the Palestinian Arabs, one aspect has not: they continue to live in the dark, shutting out the light by whatever means and relying on the great news factories of the world to magnify and spread their baseless fury at Israel.

UPDATE Thursday April 20, 2017: The capacity of the two Palestinian Arab statelets - PLO/Fatah/PA and Hamas - to ride roughshod over the welfare of the people whose lives they dominate is a reality that gets almost no serious media attention. A report today by Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, updating the dire situation in Gaza ["Gaza hospitals on verge of blackout amid energy crisis"] says:
Hospitals in the Gaza Strip could face blackouts within days as an energy crisis continues to throttle power supplies in the Palestinian enclave. Israel and Palestinian officials estimated Thursday that hospitals would finish their reserve fuel for generators within 48-72 hours. On Sunday Gaza’s only functioning power station stopped working after running out of fuel. The crisis was compounded by a technical fault shutting down a power line between Egypt and Gaza that had provided over six hours of electricity a day. Gazans now have just four hours of electricity, followed by 12-hour blackouts, down from two eight-hour periods of electricity a day when the plant is operating normally and supplies are coming in from outside the enclave... On Wednesday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called on Palestinian leaders to put aside their internal squabbles and solve the energy crisis.
And who cares? Certainly not the people who control the people.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

15-Apr-17: On the heart-breaking Good Friday murder of a decent young woman on a Jerusalem tram

Kay Wilson was hacked almost to death in an earlier vicious
Arab-on-Israeli attack [Source]
The victim of Friday afternoon's knifing attack on a Jerusalem tram ["14-Apr-17: The urge to stab erupts again: In Jerusalem, a young woman is knifed on a tram"] is a young British student, Hannah Bladon. 

Details of the circumstances around her violent, tragic death at the hands of a middle-aged Palestinian Arab man from the notorious Tamimi clan are captured in a Times of Israel report which we have extracted below. 

Those circumstances highlight the unbridgeable moral chasm between inspirational lives like Heather's and the profound amorality of the Palestinian Arab killer. And not only of him but also of the many who stand with him, urging attacks of the sort he perpetrated.

It's high time people recognized the need to be judgmental.

The moral blame for Hannah's death rests with the anonymous civil service officials and politicians in far-off European and North American government offices who routinely rubber-stamp foreign aid payments to the supremely corrupt Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas. Those payments, funded by ordinary and unwitting taxpayers, provided the means by which the PA continues the unspeakably evil Rewards for Terror scheme about which we have written with rising fury for years.
Hannah Bladon, 21, of
blessed memory [Image Source]
UK student was standing near killer because she gave up her seat for woman with baby | Times of Israel Staff | April 15, 2017, 8:52 pm  
Hannah Bladon, the British student who was stabbed to death on the Jerusalem light rail on Friday, was standing by the exit doors of the train, near to the murderous Palestinian assailant, because she had given up her seat to enable a woman who was holding a baby to sit down, Israeli TV reported Saturday. 
The Palestinian terrorist, Jamil Tamimi, 57, told investigators that he attacked her because he wanted to die and hoped the soldier who was standing next to her on the train would kill him, Channel 2 news further reported, describing the killing as “an attempted suicide attack.” 
Tamimi was on his way from a mental hospital in northern Israel when he carried out the fatal stabbing. He had telephoned his family when he reached Jerusalem, and spoken to one of his sons, who told him that the family wanted no contact with him, in part because he had previously been convicted of sexually abusing his daughter. 
He told investigators that he felt he had “nothing left to lose.” He purchased a knife in the Old City and boarded the light rail at Damascus Gate shortly before 1:00 p.m. Seeing an armed soldier on board, he decided to attack the young woman — Bladon — who was standing nearby. He took out the knife he had just purchased and stabbed her multiple times, critically wounding her. 
“I attacked her so that the soldier would shoot me,” the TV report quoted Tamimi as saying to investigators. Tamimi has been remanded in custody and is being sent for psychiatric tests. 
In a statement on Saturday, her family in the UK said Bladon “was the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for.” Her “final act of kindness,” the TV report said, was to give up her seat on the train for the woman who was holding a baby. Bladon had previously been sitting further back in the carriage, but got up for the woman, and went to stand near the exit door. 
Bladon’s family said they were “devastated” by her death in a “senseless and tragic attack.” The statement noted that Hannah was “a talented student,” an “enthusiastic rugby player” and “a keen Derby County supporter. “She was driven and passionate and her death leaves so much promise unfulfilled.” 
Bladon had been studying religion, theology and archaeology at the University of Birmingham since 2015. As part of her studies she began a program in Jerusalem’s Hebrew University in January, which she was set to complete in September. 
Her family said she had been returning from an archaeological dig when she was killed.
The Hebrew University sent its condolences to the family, saying in a statement that it “condemns such acts of terror that harm innocent people, and especially a student who came to Jerusalem to study and widen her academic horizons.” 
In a Facebook post in January, Bladon wrote that she was doing okay in response to some concerns for her safety amid an ongoing wave of terror attacks that had largely subsided since beginning in October 2015. “Thanks guys. I’m ok thanks!” she posted. “Security is really tight on campus so no worries at mo[ment]! Managed to see a lot of sites before starting my classes today so defo (definitely) having a great time! Xx”.
The comment accompanied a picture of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
After Bladon was stabbed an off-duty police officer and a passerby wrestled Tamimi to the ground before he could harm anyone else...  
Tamimi, from the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, apparently “suffers from mental problems,” a police spokesperson said Friday. Earlier this year, he tried to commit suicide by swallowing a razor blade, according to the Shin Bet. He was also found guilty of sexually abusing his daughter in 2011
“This is another case, out of many, where a Palestinian who is suffering from personal, mental or moral issues chooses to carry out a terror attack in order to find a way out of their problems,” the Shin Bet said in a statement...
It's evident from British news reports that it was not because of any personal Jewish connection that Hannah came to Israel. (The stabber almost certainly thought his victim was Jewish.) Will this aspect, along with the timing of the murderous stabbing - Good Friday - spark a few moments of soul-searching on the part of the highest-level officials at the World Council of Churches?

We have drawn attention to the disgraceful public statements they have issued, and their implicit encouragement of terror, for more than three years. In an earlier blog post ["17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?"], we wrote about how
the World Council of Churches went public today with a statement of solidarity with what it calls "some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails". The WCC's chief executive, Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran, is quoted in its press release saying that the members for whom he speaks "are called to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past..."
The horrifying reality of the WCC's highly-publicized 2014 call is that they want their member churches to be praying for the depraved Jamil Tamimi and all those other murder-minded Palestinian Arab stabbers, shooters, bombers and vehicle-rammers for whom Hannah Bladon and other innocents will always be legitimate targets.

What kind of theology is that?

Friday, April 14, 2017

14-Apr-17: The urge to stab erupts again: In Jerusalem, a young woman is knifed on a tram

Paramedics at the scene [Image Source]
As busy, bustling and full of life as Israel's capital is today during the Passover festival, there is a serious incident to report.

The deep strategic reserves of explosive hatred, in evidence for generations in the form of Arab-on-Israeli terror, erupted again a short time ago, Friday a little after noon, in Jerusalem.

A young woman is reported (at about 1:40 pm Friday) to be in critical condition after becoming the latest victim of a stabbing attack, this time while on board the Jerusalem Light Rail. As we write this, the latest report says first-responder medics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service gave her emergency treatment at the scene of the attack. She was then rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital unconscious and in critical condition with multiple stab wounds to the upper body. Times of Israel is estimating she is in her mid-twenties.

There are additional victims. A pregnant woman suffered an injury to the stomach when the tram came to a sudden halt as a consequence of the terror attack. A man said to be in his 50s suffered an injured leg in trying to run from the scene. Both were brought to Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital for emergency treatment.

The scene of the stabbing is close to Zahal Square where Jerusalem's principal thoroughfare comes as close as it ever does to the Old City Walls and nearby Jaffa Gate. Damscus Gate of the Old City, a favored locale for Arab violence, is a couple of hundred meters further along the tram tracks. Officers of the Border Guard police sealed Damascus Gate as they often do when terrorist activity takes place in its vicinity.

At this stage, we have no information about the attacker other than he is reported to be alive and well.

UPDATE 1:55 pm: A Hebrew social media report quotes a senior police source saying the attacker is a male in his fifties, thought to be suffering from mental problems (vague and unspecified at this stage). Times of Israel reports that the victim is British, and the attacker is an East Jerusalem resident - probably meaning a Palestinian Arab.

UPDATE 2:15 pm Friday: Ynet says the stabbing victim, a young British woman of 22, a student, has died of her wounds. What a terrible tragedy.

UPDATE 2:40 pm Friday: The stabber is named by Ynet: Jamil Tamimi, 57, from the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. That name Tamimi has strong resonances for us. The Arab Ma'an News Agency says he "has a prior criminal police record for domestic violence".

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

12-Apr-17: A modest step toward justice: Twitter today suspended the account of our daughter's murderer

Our murdered daughter Malki, cuddling her very
disabled, and much loved, youngest sister
Readers of this blog know that Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria massacre lives freely as a cherished and very public celebrity in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

From there, she has had access since October 2011 to the kind of mass-media platforms that aspiring cigarette manufacturers can only dream of: Facebook, Twitter, her own weekly television program, frequent invitations to speak in front of public gatherings of university and high school students, trade unionists and professional guilds not only in Jordan but in other Arab world destinations including Algeria (December 2011), the Gaza Strip (via live video link, addressing a mass rally in January 2012); Kuwait (July 2012 and again March 2014); Lebanon (April 2012 and again January 2015); Qatar (April 2012, again December 2013); Tunisia (April 2012 and again November 2015); and Yemen (April 2014).

Her message is sharp and focused: encouragement for the fighting spirit of the Palestinian Arab terrorists behind bars in Israel, and of their families; encouragement for more frequent and more deadly terror attacks on Israelis and those who stand with them; encouragement of a pro-Hamas, pro-Moslem Brotherhood absolutist message of rejection and destruction directed at anything and everything Jewish and Israeli.

Two weeks ago, she posted a rare English-language message via her Twitter account (her communications are almost exclusively in Arabic):

[Source: Archive]
Hate messages don't really come much clearer than that. No beating around bushes with talk of two states, compromise or peace. For Tamimi and the many who stand with her, the war is ongoing and even one "Israeli enemy" means more fighting.

And no one should be in doubt about Tamimi's sense of where "in Palestine" is located; her sustaining vision is of a Middle East free of Jews. As the convicted, but currently free, murderer of fifteen of them - our beloved daughter Malki Z"L included - Ahlam Tamimi is a full-fledged member in good standing of the savage ranks of Islamist terrorist barbarians.

When the FBI added her to their "Most Wanted Terrorists" list a month ago (after a five year campaign waged by our lawyers and us), we turned to Twitter and asked that they shut down her Twitter account. Facebook had already shut her down some months ago, and she stopped presenting the weekly TV program "Breezes of the Free" in September 2016 when her high profile caused some specific problems. But she kept busy on Twitter.

Until today.

This morning, something happened and that Tweet above was her last, at least for now. All we can say with confidence is based on what we see at her Twitter page:

Thank you @Jack @Support @anthonynoto @vijaya and thank you @Twitter

We think this means the many requests we and our followers and people seeing a similar request at MEMRI filed with Twitter were heard. Whatever the case, the world is a better and safer place with Ahlam Tamimi's voice lowered by several notches.

Next step: Tamimi's extradition to the United States to face federal criminal charges. The obstacle preventing that for the moment is that Jordan is refusing to honor its 1995 extradition treaty agreement with the United States.

12-Apr-17: Qatar is "behind state sponsorship of terrorism". So what?

Current Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani [Image Source]
Here's an excerpt from a sharp and uncommonly plain-spoken take-down of Qatar and its brazen self-promotion that was published yesterday in the Toronto Star.

It's penned by Mohamed Fahmy whose Wikipedia page describes him as an Egyptian-born, award-winning Canadian journalist, war correspondent and author who has worked extensively in the Middle East and North Africa for CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera English.

Fahmy became head of Al Jazeera English's International Bureau in Egypt in September 2013 and was arrested and imprisoned soon afterwards by the Egyptian authorities on terrorism charges. Arising from this, he is now said to be suing Al Jazeera which, it ought to be pointed out, is "owned by the Qatari state".

So a couple of paragraphs from "Qatar behind state-sponsorship of terrorism", [Toronto Star, April 11, 2017]
It may be time to include the little oil-rich Arab state of Qatar on the top of the [state sponsors of terror] list since it continues to house and protect wanted financiers of Al Qaeda, Daesh, Al Nusra Front, Taliban, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups designated as terrorists by many countries and the United Nations... At one point in 2013 Qatar opened an office for Taliban... Right then and there the Al Thani ruling family of Qatar gave legitimacy to murderers who committed horrific massacres in Afghanistan for decades, staged targeted killings and kidnappings of diplomats and civilians... [T]he Qatari leadership maintains policies of duplicity, using an unprecedented flaunting of cash to keep the international community from taking a tougher stance against it. You will not see the United Kingdom, for example, taking a punitive position against Qatar. Why? The Telegraph newspaper summed it up recently: “Qatari investors own more property in the capital than the Mayor of London’s office and three times more than the Queen.”
“You have to ask, who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops?,” German Development minister Gerd Muller ‎asked during an interview with the German public broadcaster. “The keyword there is Qatar — and how ‎do we deal with these people and states politically?” [More]
Fahmy goes on to point out that
  • The Al Thani clan, who own the family business called Qatar (that's our description, not his) are known for generously donating $100 million to the victims of Hurricane Katrina one day, and then giving $31 million to pay Hamas terrorist salaries the next. They also provide safe haven - have done for years - for the senior leadership team of the Hamas terror group. Note how a tremendous proportion of the senior public officials in Qatar share the same surname: Al Thani
  • Hillary Clinton, quoted on a leaked Podesta email last year, said Qatar finances the Islamist savages of ISIS. He then notes laconically how Qatar donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. 
  • Hamza, the youngest son of Osama bin Laden and a designated terrorist in his own right whom the United States is pursuing, currently lives safe, sound and unmolested in Qatar.
Several million dollars worth of illegally-parked super-luxury cars are
clamped by British traffic wardens outside Harrods (also owned by
the Qataris) in London [Image Source] [Video]
Five years from now, Qatar is set to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup. That decision has been under a cloud for years, having come with a laundry list of allegations focusing principally (but not only) on bribery and corruption

Nonetheless, with Qatar reliably reported [here, here, here and in many other places] to be spending upwards of two hundred billion dollars to ensure it achieves its goals, the show evidently will go on.

Still, almost everything we read about Qatar - by far the highest per capita income in the world according to a February 2017 ranking - and the things its owners do convinces us that Qatar's goals ought to be getting more attention than they currently do.

Here's some additional background on Qatar from some of our previous posts:

Saturday, April 08, 2017

08-Apr-17: Swedes struggle to understand Stockholm vehicle-ramming killings

Stockholm aftermath [Image Source]
In Sweden, flags are flying at half-mast today (Saturday) to express shared grief at the killings of four innocent and unsuspecting people yesterday afternoon. Fifteen more were injured.

Around 3:00 pm Friday, a stolen beer-delivery truck driven by a masked man hurtled directly into a crowd of shoppers on Stockholm's busiest shopping street, Drottninggatan, before ploughing into the side of the Åhléns mall. The truck caught fire and the driver fled on foot, eventually trying to get onto a subway and then a bus, evidently bleeding all the way according to this Swedish news report.

All the while, the city was in lock-down; public transport was shut down and the city center was paralyzed by police and security forces activity. Swedish government offices, situated a block from Drottninggatan, approximately 700 meters from where the attack took place, were evacuated [Aftonbladet].

The Swedish authorities are, naturally enough, calling it a terrorist attack.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan was arrested after a police operation in Märsta, a suburb of Stockholm near Arlanda airport. Swedish public broadcaster SVT said a second man, linked to the first, was arrested later in the northern suburb Hjulsta. Writing about the main suspect, Aftonbladet says:
In his social media accounts the man has expressed positive views of the terror organisation IS, and also ”liked” a picture on Facebook of bloody victims taken seconds after the explosion at the Boston Marathon in April 2013. One of the man’s acquaintances..: ”He has four children and works in construction... He never speaks about politics or religion, the only thing he talks abut is getting more work so that he can send more money to his family”...
A Reuters report from Saturday afternoon says:
"Nothing indicates that we have the wrong person, on the contrary, suspicions have strengthened as the investigation has progressed," Dan Eliasson, head of Sweden's national police, told a news conference on Saturday. The man, detained on Friday night on terrorism charges after the attack in the heart of the capital, appeared to have acted alone but "we still cannot rule out that more people are involved," he said... Police did not name the detainee, but said he was from the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan and that he had seemed peripheral in intelligence reports. "We received intelligence last year, but we did not see any links to extremist circles," Sapo security police chief Anders Thornberg said. Eliasson said there were "clear similarities" to an attack last month in London in which six people died, including the assailant who drove a hired car into pedestrians on a bridge. Vehicles have also been used as weapons in Nice and Berlin in the past year in attacks claimed by Islamic State.
Daily Mail UK, quoting Swedish media reports, says today that police investigating the attack have arrested six more suspects after three were bundled out of a car and police raided a property 12 miles from the attack scene.
Saturday evening the police stopped a car on the island of Kungsholmen, a central part of Stockholm, and detained three persons in connection to the attack. Police had to smash the window on the driver’s side of the car and at least two of the persons in the car were wrestled to the ground by police wearing plainclothes. [Aftonbladet, April 8, 2017]
The loss of life in the attack could easily have been much greater. Bomb disposal experts are reported to have found an improvised explosive device packed into a suitcase inside the hijacked beer truck. In Daily Mail's words:
The discovery of the bomb points to a planned terror attack rather than an opportunistic attack. It is not known why the IED failed to detonate. 
According to Associated Press:
The prime minister urged citizens to "get through this" and strolled through the streets of the capital to chat with residents... [But] many in Sweden were shocked by the attack, questioning whether Swedish society — considered democratic and egalitarian — had failed in some way.
BBC points out that
Sweden is believed to have the highest number of Islamic State group fighters per capita in Europe. About 140 of the 300 who went to Syria and Iraq have since returned, leaving the authorities to grapple with how best to reintegrate them into society.

Friday, April 07, 2017

07-Apr-17: Not everything's gloom and doom for the family of yesterday's murder-by-vehicle attacker

Single family house in Silwad: Somehow, they manage to get by
[Image Source: Israellycool]
Some follow-on reports arising from the killing yesterday ['06-Apr-17: An Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming attack north of Jerusalem this morning"] of a young IDF serviceman outside Ofra in a vehicle-borne terror attack.

According to Ynet today:
  • Malak Hamed is the 21-year-old resident of Silwad [population roughly 6,000] who killed Elchai Tahar-Lev הי"ד and injured another soldier in that car-ramming attack on Thursday.
  • He had been arrested in 2015 for trying to illegally penetrate Geva Binyamin (also known as Adam) on Jerusalem's northern edge. He was held in custody at the time and then released after three months. Evidently not long enough.
  • A joint task force of the IDF, Shin Bet, and Israel and Border Police took control of the homes of Malak Hamed's extended family on Thursday night. Hamed's brother was arrested during the operation. 
  • Six cars in their control were seized after being identified as stolen vehicles. In addition, NIS 40,000 in cash was seized on the suspicion of being used to fund terrorism.
  • The extended Hamed family is said to be linked to Hamas. Nine members of the family have committed terrorist crimes in the Judea and Samaria districts over the years.
The Ma'an News Agency has these things to add:
  • The person they call the "detained Palestinian", meaning the suspected Palestinian Arab vehicle-attack murderer, has a fuller name than Ynet reported. It's Malik Ahmad Moussa Hamed, 23. He's from Silwad, northeast of the Palestinian Arab capital, Ramallah. (Silwad has some seriously lavish living. See the photo above and this Israellycool article.)
  • "Israeli forces reportedly tightened security at the military checkpoint installed at the western entrance of Silwad."
  • "Locals told Ma’an that Hamed had borrowed his father’s car on Thursday morning, before driving in the direction of Ofra. They described Hamed as a calm and well behaved young man, whose two best friends, Anas Bassam Hamad and Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Ayyad, were killed by Israeli forces two weeks apart in December 2015 while carrying out vehicular attacks, adding that Hamed would frequently talk about his two friends."
  • Hamas, the Islamist terrorists who control Gaza and increasingly the West Bank as well, "quickly released statements praising the alleged attack, with Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanu saying that it was a response to the "continuous Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinians.""
When Hamas refer to something continuous done by Israel, it's a sign they have temporarily run out of vague and meaningless pretexts for the latest act of terror being praised. But they know their image-building demands that they blame their lethal anger on something. So they point to something continuous.

The Hamed clan may have lost six stolen cars and NIS 40,000 in cash last night. But spare the sympathy. Far from the headlines and the attention of most analysts and reporters (who invariably keep quiet about this though in many cases they surely know) they are about to start enjoying the very meaningful (in their society's terms) fruits of having a homicidal son.

First, the young murderer has just become eligible for participating in the Palestinian Authority's Rewards for Terror payment scheme which will continue, and indeed grow, as "calm and well behaved" (sic) Malik accumulates more and more time behind Israeli bars for yesterday's assault and murder. It's a no-lose situation for the family: a son who has become a celebrity, and a guaranteed cash flow starting now, plus the likelihood of an absurdly-well-paid senior position with the PA when he gets out.

And this: depending on how tuned in the refined Hamed clans-people are to spiritual matters, they are going to become the beneficiaries of kind and uplifting prayers from good Christians throughout the world. And if any of our readers think that's a joke, they need to immediately get familiar with things we have written about the World Council of Churches and Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran who is its chief executive. 

Back in April 2014 [here], the Rev Mr Tveit published a call for solidarity - between the WCC's faithful and what he called "some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails". Many of those convicts are self-confessed murderers. Most of the rest are unrepentant terrorists. But undaunted, the WCC's leader called on the worshipers in its member churches 
"to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past."
The World Council of Churches' Dr Tveit [Image Source]
That breathtaking phrase "no matter the reason for their detention" rattles in our brain even now three years later. It's meant to refer to the case of the thuggish man who murdered Elhai Tahar-Lev yesterday. (And if not, then let the WCC's director of non-communication say so publicly.) What kind of theology does Tveit practice? If we believe in mutual tolerance across religious lines, must we be tolerant of that kind of lethal pollyannaish drivel?

Tveit went on to invite 
"the churches in the Holy Land to remember Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity”.
For some other furious comments we made at the time, see "17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?"

So for the Hamed clan, a little upset perhaps by last night's reduction in their sense of justice and dignity: hang in there! The World Council of Churches is on its way! And for the members of WCC-affiliated churches, we feel your shame.