WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018

Human Rights: Other Views – Part I: Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2018

Canada Comes to Its Senses on Iran: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, June 13, 2018

Turkey: Election Time Again: Burak Bekdil, BESA, June 17, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. The U.S. is leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Haley calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” Haley, Trump’s envoy to the UN, said the U.S. had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel” and lamented the fact that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley said. (National Post, June 19, 2018)

“We have no doubt that there was once a noble vision for this council…But today, we need to be honest: The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights…The (HRC) enables abuses by absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those that committed no offense…Its membership includes authoritarian governments with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records, such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela. There is no fair or competitive election process, and countries have colluded with one another to undermine the current method of selecting members.” — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Realclearpolitics, June 19, 2018)

“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7.” — UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson tore into the UNHRC, vowing to vote against any resolution offered under the anti-Israel “Agenda Item 7.” Agenda Item 7 requires that the HRC feature a debate on “Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions.” The agenda item was put in place in 2007, and since then, Israel has faced a deluge of antisemitism, three times per year, from at least 35 other member nations. (Daily Wire, June 18, 2018) 

“You are all members of parliaments, but as far as I am concerned, you are all ambassadors. You are ambassadors of Israel and of truth. Please tell the citizens of your countries. It is very important for us that people see Israel as it is…Here is something about Israel…You are now in the seat of the Israeli government. It is here in Jerusalem. Close to us is the Knesset, our parliament. Close to that is the Supreme Court, which is also in Jerusalem, and the President’s residence, which is also in Jerusalem…Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It will always be Israel’s capital, as it has been for 3,000 years… I am very happy that Guatemala and Paraguay moved their embassies, and I ask of you, on top of being ambassadors for Israel, to ask your governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem so that we may say ‘next year in Jerusalem!’,”— Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu met with a delegation from various Latin American parliaments last week. The premiere urged the diplomats to ask their governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem. (Jewish Press, June 13, 2018)

“Make no mistake…hate crimes are violent crimes, and reducing violent crime is a top priority of ours…According to the FBI…religious hate crimes are second only to racial hate crimes in the United States today. Since January of 2017, the Department [of Justice] has brought hate crime charges against 27 defendants and obtained 25 convictions…We remain vigilant, in particular, against antisemitic hate crimes, which remain the most common religiously-motivated hate crimes, and which increased by 12% from 2014 to 2016. This administration is animated by that same American view that has led us for 242 years — that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square.” — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an address to an Orthodox Union gathering in Washington, DC. (Algemeiner, June 13, 2018)

“We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone.” — Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. A day after French President Macron said Rome had acted with “cynicism and irresponsibility” by closing its ports to a migrant ship, Italy’s economy minister cancelled a Paris meeting with his counterpart. Salvini, who is also deputy premier and the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, said he was not prepared to take criticism from a country which regularly stopped migrants on their shared border. The row centres on the charity ship Aquarius, which both Italy and Malta refused to let dock at their ports. It was carrying 629 migrants. The ship arrived at the Spanish port of Valencia. (Globe & Mail, June 13, 2018)

“Shabbat wasn’t great. I spent almost all of it in my tank, sleeping on the border of Gaza…My girlfriend is at her apartment, probably enjoying the beach…and almost all of my friends were out for the weekend, some marching to share their pride. At the same time, many Jews across America are calling me an occupier and a murderer. Through all of this my officer has been reminding us all how important our jobs are here. If we weren’t here eating shit on Shabbat, there wouldn’t be an apartment for my girlfriend to go home to…There wouldn’t be a NYC parade to share our pride. There wouldn’t be a place for us to call home. We, the soldiers of Israel, have given up living at home as well as a lot of our freedoms so others can have theirs. We are sleeping in tanks and on the dirt 10 meters from Gaza so no one else has to. We are sitting here in this summer heat so no Jew has to fight for their right to live. We are here so you don’t have to be. To the all the Jews that disagree with the actions of the IDF, you’re welcome for keeping you safe on Birthright. You’re welcome for protecting your friends on gap years, on summer vacations, on family trips, and every other reason to enjoy this beautiful country we all call home. You’re welcome for ensuring we have a home.” — Letter from an IDF tank soldier at the Gaza border. (June, 2018)

“I don’t think Iraq and Israel are enemies, I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other…But there are a lot of Iraqi people who don’t have a problem with Israel or with the Jewish people. There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here.” — Miss Iraq 2017 Sarah Idan. During her visit to Israel, Idan reunited with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, with whom she had shared a selfie that generated a storm and forced Idan’s family to flee from Iraq. Idan posted the photo, along with the caption “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” She faced threats but refused to remove the Instagram image. Like many Arab countries, Iraq does not recognize Israel. However, Israel and Iraq’s Kurds enjoy warm relations. (United With Israel, June 13, 2018)

“The Arabs must realize that Iran is more dangerous than Israel, in particular [Iran’s] ideology that it is advancing through expansion [and through obtaining] control and influence, and there is a great deal of proof for this. It has turned its slogan ‘Death to Israel’ into justification for the fundamental assumption of [its] ideology, for its sectarian oppression and discrimination, and for its recruitment of cells [in the Arab world] for carrying out its great project. Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, and to sign a comprehensive peace agreement [with it], in order to free themselves up for confronting the great Iranian plan in the region, and [Iran’s] nuclear program, and to end [Iran’s] intervention in Arab affairs.” — Ahmad Al-Jumay’a, the former deputy-editor of the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, in an article titled “The Al-Dhahran Summit: Peace with Israel, Confrontations with Iran.” (Memri, May 29, 2018)

“We wish them death and they bless us with life. I am ashamed to be Iranian.” — Internet user commenting on Netanyahu’s video offer of Israeli water technology-sharing with Iran. Netanyahu’s video offer drew 5 million views in its first five days online, 1.6 million of which on Netanyahu’s own social media channels, reports Israel Hayom. Nearly 100,000 Iranians joined Israel’s Farsi-language Telegram account within 24 hours of the video going live. While Tehran officially rejected Netanyahu’s offer, Iranians welcomed the idea and criticized their own government. Another posted: “God will bless Israel and Netanyahu. I’m sure that Iran and Israel will once again be allies.” (Arutz Sheva, June 18, 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

45 ROCKETS LAUNCHED AT ISRAEL FROM GAZA (Gaza) — Some 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israeli towns on Wednesday, prompting rounds of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas military sites in Gaza. At least six rockets fired from the coastal enclave landed inside Israeli communities adjacent to the border, including one that struck just outside a kindergarten, Israeli officials said. The IDF said fighter jets struck at total of 25 targets in various military bases belonging to the Hamas terror group from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip in response. (Times of Israel, June 20, 2018) 

ISRAEL BUSTS WEST BANK-BASED HAMAS TERROR CELL (Nablus) — Israeli authorities have broken up a West Bank-based Hamas terror cell that was planning suicide bombings, among other attacks. According to the Shin Bet, the cell was plotting bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as a string of attacks against Israeli targets across the West Bank. More than 20 suspected members of the cell were arrested two months ago, including its leaders. (Algemeiner, June 17, 2018) 

PALESTINIAN SUSPECT REMANDED IN TEEN STABBING ATTACK (Nazareth) — The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Monday extended by one week the remand of a Palestinian man suspected of stabbing and critically injuring a teenage girl in the northern city of Afula. Details of the investigation are protected under a gag order. Police have said they are treating the June 11 attack on Shuva Malka, 18, as a suspected act of terrorism. The suspect, Nour al-Din Shinawi, a Palestinian man in his 20s from the West Bank city of Jenin, had entered Israel without a permit, police said. (Times of Israel, June 18, 2018)

FILMING IDF SOLDIERS IN ACTION COULD SOON BECOME A CRIME (Jerusalem) — Recording or taking unauthorized pictures of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians could soon bring criminal charges. The proposal seeks to criminalize the filming and/or distribution of images and video footage showing certain Israeli military operations – if the aim is “hurting a soldier’s spirit” or “harming national security.” A conviction for such crimes could carry prison terms of five to 10 years. The legislation, which must be approved by the parliament, appears to be an attempt to curb organizations critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. (National Post, June 18, 2018)

CZECHS REOPEN HONORARY CONSULATE IN JERUSALEM (Prague) — The Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, after President Milos Zeman said his country wishes to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Founded in the 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul. Czech President Milos Zeman made the announcement at an event in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday. Last month, Paraguay became the third nation to open an embassy in Jerusalem, following the U.S. and Guatemala. Other countries have expressed desire to move their embassies, including Romania and Honduras. (The Tower, May 30, 2018)

BILL TO COUNTER PA TEXTBOOKS THAT ‘DEMONIZE ISRAEL’ INTRODUCED (Washington) — Members of Congress have brought forward a bipartisan bill to review textbooks used in Palestinian schools that promote extremism. The Palestinian Authority Educational Curriculum Transparency Act — introduced by Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) — calls on the US State Department to annually verify whether educational resources published by the PA and the UN in the West Bank and Gaza continue to encourage “violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups.” If passed, the State Department will be required to inform Congress whether any US aid was used to fund the inciting materials, and of any steps the PA has taken to address the situation. (Algemeiner, June 12, 2018)

TRUMP SIGNED SECRET PLEDGE TO PROTECT ISRAEL’S NUKES: REPORT (Washington) — President Trump has reportedly signed a secret letter pledging not to strong-arm Israel into relinquishing its nuclear weapons. Trump’s backing came after Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. reportedly pressured the administration last year, raising the ire of U.S. officials. The rare moment of tension between the Israeli government and Trump White House came a month after Trump entered office and was said to devolve into yelling and profanity. According to the report, Israel was looking for the fledgling Trump administration to sign off on an understanding first reached between Prime Minister Golda Meir and US president Nixon, whereby Israel would neither declare, test, or threaten to use nuclear weapons in exchange for the US not pushing Israel to join the non-proliferation treaty. (Times of Israel, June 19, 2018)

FORMER MINISTER ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF SPYING FOR IRAN (Jerusalem) — Former government minister Gonen Segev has been charged with spying for Iran. The former energy and infrastructure minister – who also spent time in jail for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud – was arrested on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against Israel, and providing intelligence to the enemy. Segev is suspected of providing his Iranian handlers with intelligence related to Israel’s energy industry, security sites, buildings and officials in Israel. (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2018)

PARLIAMENT VOTES AGAINST RESTORING RELATIONS WITH IRAN (Ottawa) — Canadian MPs joined forces to support a motion that condemns Iranian-backed terrorism and which calls on the government to “immediately cease…negotiations with…Iran to restore diplomatic relations.” In a 248-to-45 vote, MPs approved a motion that “strongly condemns the current regime in Iran for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world, including instigating violent attacks on the Gaza border.” The motion demands the release of Canadians held in Iran while recognizing the Iranian people’s fundamental rights to freedom of conscience and religion. (CJN, June 14, 2018)

THE UK CRACKS DOWN ON HEZBOLLAH (London) — The UK is finally on the path to ban the Iranian-backed, Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in its entirety. The Home Secretary plans to certify Hezbollah as an illegal entity and extend the current ban to the “political wing” of the group later this year. The development comes days after pro-Hezbollah protesters marched once again through the streets of London on the annual Al-Quds Day. Israel “should be wiped off the map,” a leading speaker at the rally demanded. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the crowd responded, advocating for the annihilation of the Jewish state — under the waving flag of Hezbollah. (Algemeiner, June 15, 2018)

EID IN AFGHANISTAN MARRED BY DEADLY BOMBING (Kabul) — As onlookers lauded reports of Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces embracing during a ceasefire to mark Eid, a deadly bombing in eastern Afghanistan marred celebrations. The Afghan Taliban called last week for its fighters to observe a three-day truce to coincide with a 10-day ceasefire declared by the Afghan government for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan. The mood of optimism was overshadowed by a blast Saturday in Nangarhar province, with both Taliban and civilians among at least 30 people killed. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. (CNN, June 16, 2018)

SAUDI-BACKED YEMENI FORCES TAKE BACK AIRPORT FROM REBELS (Sanaa) — Government forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition reportedly took the Hodeida airport in Yemen’s main port city from Houthi rebels Saturday. Houthi-linked civil aviation authorities denied that the Iran-backed rebels lost control of the airport, but said airstrikes had completely destroyed it. The attacks came on the fourth day of the coalition’s assault. The port city on the Red Sea handles more than 70 percent of the country’s imports. Fierce fighting to control the city of 600,000 continues, disrupting the main gateway for food shipments to the starving nation. (New York Post, June 16, 2018)

40 HEZBOLLAH, IRANIAN MILITIA DEAD IN ATTACK AT SYRIA-IRAQ BORDER (Damascus) — The US-led coalition attacked one of the Syrian Army’s positions in Deir Ezzor, near the Iraqi border, leaving 40 dead. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Lebanese Hezbollah and other militias loyal to the regime were targeted by warplanes at the Syrian–Iraqi border. A local source cited by Reuters claimed as many as 95 dead. I.S. has reportedly been able to seize large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and equipment during its recent attacks on regime forces, and it is mobilizing its men and vehicles for an attack against the regime forces, Iranian forces, Hezbollah and the foreign militias. (Jewish Press, June 18, 2018)

NATO FORCES DEPLOYED ELBIT SYSTEMS’ SEAGULL USV (Haifa) — Elbit Systems said that its Seagull™ Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) was deployed by NATO forces in a recent joint Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise. The ASW force included the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate Victoria, the Royal Navy’s Type-45 HMS Duncan as well as the Seagull USV. Having a far greater endurance than ASW helicopters often used in similar missions, the Seagull USV performed anti-submarine area sanitizing as part of the ASW forward picket force. (Jewish Press, June 18, 2018)

PRINCE WILLIAM’S ITINERARY REFERS TO OLD CITY AS ‘OCCUPIED’ (London) — The itinerary of Britain’s Prince William in his visit to Israel will include a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, which the document refers to as “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” a characterization that set off criticism in Israel. Prince William will first travel to Jordan on June 24, arriving in Israel on a visit that will last until June 27. William will also meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, and make a stop at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. In Ramallah, William will meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. (JNS, June 18, 2018)

1,000-YEAR-OLD ARABIC CLAY AMULET UNEARTHED IN CITY OF DAVID (Jerusalem) — A rare clay Arabic amulet unearthed by archaeologists in the last days of Ramadan brings an unexpected 1,000-year-old blessing from Allah. Discovered last week in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavations near the Old City of Jerusalem, the minuscule Arabic-inscribed piece of clay bears an unusual two-line personal prayer that reads, “Kareem Trusts in Allah; Lord of the Worlds is Allah.” The amulet was uncovered in the flooring of an Abbasid-period structure (circa 9th-10th centuries CE), alongside several pottery sherds and an almost entirely intact oil lamp. (Times of Israel, June 14, 2018)

LIBRARY FACES CHALLENGE OVER CANCELLED SCREENING OF ANTI-ISLAMIST FILM (Ottawa) — The organizer of a screening of the controversial film Killing Europe at the Ottawa Public Library last November has applied for a judicial review of the library’s decision to cancel the showing. Madeline Weld claims that the library’s decision to cancel “violated (her) constitutional right to free expression” as well as the rights of the audience to see the film. Weld is the founder of ACT for Canada’s Ottawa chapter. Killing Europe is a documentary by Danish ex-patriate Michael Hansen, which purports to warn of the dangers of the “Islamification” of Europe. (London Free Press, June 13, 2018)

PETITION TO THE CITY OF TORONTO ON AL-QUDS DAY (Toronto) — B’nai Brith is asking you to sign a petition to take action against the annual Toronto al-Quds Day. “We will not tolerate genocidal rhetoric against Israelis or Jews, nor will we accept this shameful display of support for the antisemitic Hezbollah terrorist organization. The city’s inaction is particularly galling since the al-Quds Day organizers do not even attempt to secure a permit for their rallies. This is unsurprising, given that the rallies violate your Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policy. It is totally unacceptable that the City of Toronto has…failed to act against an event that year after year promotes hatred and violence against our fellow citizens,” the petition reads. Sign the petition here: B’nai Brith.

On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018—The international community unleashed a new round of Israel-bashing at the UN General Assembly on June 14, 2018, on the issue of the Hamas-generated riots and demonstrations along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Human Rights: Other Views – Part I: Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2018 —The history of human rights, albeit fragmented, is a long and often honourable expression of religious and civic endeavour.

Canada Comes to Its Senses on Iran: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, June 13, 2018—I have never been mistaken for a fan of Justin Trudeau, nor will I ever be so mistaken.

Turkey: Election Time Again: Burak Bekdil, BESA, June 17, 2018—Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has not lost a single election since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002.