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As We Go to Press: 12 KILLED IN ATTACK ON OFFICES OF FRENCH NEWSPAPER (Paris) —A manhunt is underway in Paris after three masked gunmen stormed the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 10 journalists and two police officers. It was the worst terrorist attack on French soil in recent decades. Another 20 people were injured, including four critically, in the shooting. Security forces were hunting for the gunmen who spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the offices, near Paris's Bastille monument. "Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo," one of the men shouted in French, according to a video shot from a nearby building. Other video showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of "Allahu akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great"— could be heard among the gunshots. France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and is already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on militant strongholds in the Middle East and Africa. (CBC, Jan. 7, 2015)
Charlie Hebdo: Martyrs for the Truth: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Jan. 7, 2015
Whitewashing Islamic Terrorism from Sydney to Jerusalem: Charles Bybelezer, Frontpage Magazine, Jan. 5, 2015
What About Arab War Crimes Against Palestinians?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 5, 2014
Europe Reverts To Anti-Semitic Form: Rabbi Berel Wein, Jewish Press, Jan. 1, 2015
"We are at a very difficult moment. Several terrorist attacks have been impeded during the previous weeks. We are threatened because we are a country of freedom," —French president Francois Hollande, responding to Wednesday’s horrific attack in Paris. "We fight threats and we will punish the attackers…We will look for the people responsible," he added. (Telegraph, Jan. 7, 2015)
“There is aggression practiced against our land and our country, and the Security Council has let us down — where shall we go?” —Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas moved last week to have the PA join the International Criminal Court, a move that could lead to war-crimes prosecutions of Israeli officials and that risks severe sanctions from Washington and Jerusalem. It came a day after the defeat of a UN Security Council resolution that demanded an end to Israel’s occupation of “Palestinian” territory by 2017. “We want to complain to this organization,” he said of the court. “As long as there is no peace, and the world doesn’t prioritize peace in this region, this region will live in constant conflict. The Palestinian cause is the key issue to be settled.” Abbas, whose popularity plummeted after the battle between Israel and Hamas over the summer, has been pressed by other Palestinian leaders and the public to sign the statute and then use the court to pursue cases against Israel’s settlement policy and its military operations. But the step could have major repercussions, not least because Palestinian officials could also be charged by the court. Israel and the United States have promised to respond harshly to the move. (New York Times, Dec. 31, 2014)
“The Palestinian Authority has chosen confrontation with Israel and we will not sit idly by,” —Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will not allow IDF soldiers and commanders to be hauled before the International Criminal Court in the Hague,” he exclaimed. “It is the [PA] leaders – who have allied with the war criminals of Hamas – who must be called to account,” Netanyahu said. On Saturday, Israel froze NIS 500 million ($127 million) in Palestinian tax revenues collected on Ramallah’s behalf, in response to the ICC membership request. The frozen funds are taxes collected by Israel which were intended to be transferred to the PA’s coffers. (Times of Israel, Jan. 4, 2015)
“[By] petitioning the UN, the International Criminal Court and international organizations to recognize them and accept them as a full member state, and by their unification with the Hamas terror organization, the Palestinians have knowingly and deliberately bypassed their contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation,” —Amb. Alan Baker, a former deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Baker’s article “Ten Points Regarding the Fundamental Breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords,” published by the Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, argued that “the fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians is indicative of their conscious decision to undermine them and prevent any possibility of their implementation. As such they have rendered the Accords void…Israel has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid.” Signed in September 1993 between the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and the late PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, the Oslo Accords – which earned both men a Nobel Peace Prize – committed Israel and the Palestinians to a land for peace deal and an end to terrorist attacks. The Accords stipulated that a final agreement would be negotiated after an interim five-year period; by 1998, however, the Palestinians were shifting away from negotiations, and by 2000, had wrecked the peace process by launching a second intifada. (Algemeiner, Jan. 5, 2015)
“Now Mr. Abbas has moved to have “the state of Palestine” join the International Criminal Court, chiefly in order to harass and perhaps arrest Israeli military officers and politicians spuriously accused of war crimes. The gambit will fail for the simple reason that two can play the game. So why does Mr. Abbas persevere? Because, as the late Fouad Ajami knew so well, the pleasures of dreaming are better than the labors of building, just as the rhetoric of justice, patrimony and right is so much more stirring than the fine print and petty indignities of compromise. Mr. Abbas consistently refuses a Palestinian state because such a state is infinitely more trivial than a Palestinian struggle. Becoming is better than being. So long as “Palestine” is in the process of becoming, it matters. Once it exists, it all but doesn’t. How many times will some future president of an established Palestinian state get to visit the White House?” — Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 5, 2015)
“I have no doubt that there are people in this country who are facilitating and funding the travel to Syria and Iraq. Those people need to be exposed. We just blame the Internet and social media, but I think that is very shortsighted,” — Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy, the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. A handful of Calgary youth have already reportedly gone to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. Soharwardy says he was contacted by the parents of a 17-year-old boy who was prevented from going to Syria. They discovered that $5,000 had been transferred into his bank account to pay for his trip. The matter was turned over to police. “Our very young children have gone. They are children and they have been recruited in this country to be soldiers for terrorists. This is a serious thing and the public has the right to know and the politicians have a right to know,” said Soharwardy. (National Post, Jan. 1, 2015)
“[Antisemitism is] inherently genocidal, because when the dominant way of perceiving reality was through the lens of religion, the Jews were the wrong religion and they were blinded by evil for not accepting the Christian notion of the messiah, so in order for the individual Jew to redeemed he or she had to accept the Christian version of the messiah. But, moreover, for the world to be redeemed, the Jew had to change,” — Dr. Charles Ascher Small, director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy. When people began to view reality through the lens of race, he continued, “Jews were the wrong race and they were poisoning and making impure the purity of the white Aryan race and for the race to be saved they had to get rid of the Jew.” In contemporary times, Israel, as the Jewish nation-state, has become a stand-in for the Jew in this regard. “Now people in governments in the Western world, in the United States and Europe, say that for the world to be saved the stubborn Jew has to change. Not only to they have to change to protect their own society, but if only the stubborn Israelis would change jihadism and radical Islam will dissipate. The world will be saved. And this is a very dangerous aspect of anti-Semitism that is irrational,” Small asserted. “World redemption will come when the Jew changes,” he said, summing up the consistent element linking these three forms of anti-Semitism. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2014)
“Here were Jews praying in a synagogue — the most basic Jewish act — and they were attacked for no reason other than that they were Jews,” —Steven Shulman, campaign director for the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto. Toronto-born Howie Rothman still lies in an induced coma fighting for his life seven weeks after being attacked by Palestinian terrorists while praying in a synagogue in the Har Nof neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The brutality of the attack, and the father of ten’s struggle to survive, have prompted an outpouring of support: On Monday, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, facilitated by the Jewish Agency for Israel, presented Rothman’s family with a check for $108,000, the proceeds of a humanitarian campaign. The presentation was made in Jerusalem by the agency’s chairman Natan Sharansky, to Rothman’s wife, Risa, and brother Steven. “We don’t typically raise funds for individuals or families. We raise funds for the Jewish community-at-large; and for programs and initiatives in Israel, and other parts of the world…But Howie Rothman is a product of [our] community having attended the Tannenbaum Hebrew Academy of Toronto and York University,” Shulman said. (National Post, Jan .5, 2015)
“Regarding 2015, I am very optimistic. I think the DC political process might go back to working as it has for most of our nation’s existence. Regular order! Passing a budget. Allowing amendments to bills. Allowing the ‘ Nixon to China’ moments to go forward,” —Former Florida governor and possible presidential aspirant Jeb Bush. Bush said that he is “incredibly optimistic” about “our future because of the acceleration of innovation and technology in our lives. In spite of dysfunction in Washington, we are on the verge of being an emerging nation once again . . . dynamic, aspirational and young at heart.” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2015)
US WEIGHS CUTTING AID TO PALESTINIANS OVER ICC MOVE (Washington) — The Obama administration said it was reviewing its annual $440 million aid package to the Palestinians because of their effort to join the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel. Under American law, any Palestinian case against Israel at the court would trigger an immediate cut-off of U.S. financial support. Membership itself doesn't automatically incur U.S. punishment. Israel, like the U.S., is not a member of the ICC and doesn't recognize its jurisdiction. The court has no police force and no authority to go into Israel and arrest suspects. But it could issue arrest warrants that European and other countries would be willing to enforce. (CNS, Jan. 5, 2015)
ISA FOILS TERROR ATTACK AGAINST ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) and IDF announced recently that they arrested a terror cell last November identified with Islamic State. The members of the cell, residents of Hebron, planned to implement various terror attacks, and even carried out some of their active plans, while throwing explosive devices on IDF forces. The three members of the cell that were arrested are Ahmed Shahada, Mahmoud Zara, and Katzei Maswada. During the interrogation, Shahada admitted that he intended to establish, along with the two other terrorists, an Islamic State cell that would implement terror attacks. (Jerusalem Online, Jan. 4, 2015)
HAMAS LEADER MASHAAL SAID DEPORTED FROM QATAR (Doha) —Qatar has deported Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal after hosting him for the past three years, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The move was swiftly denied by an official from the Islamist group. According to the Turkish newspaper Aydınlık, Qatar has faced significant pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to deport Mashaal, amid a diplomatic reconciliation process currently underway between the small Gulf state and the Arab world. According to a Hamas-run news agency, Mashaal and other Muslim Brotherhood members were most likely to head to Turkey. On December 20, Egyptian President el-Sissi met with a special envoy of Qatari leader Sheikh al-Thani. The meeting apparently ended the longstanding enmity between the two states over Qatar’s support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. (Times of Israel, Jan. 6, 2015)
LIBYA BANS PALESTINIANS, SUDANESE AND SYRIANS FROM ENTERING AMID TERROR THREAT (Tripoli) — In an unprecedented move, Libya has imposed a ban on Palestinian, Sudanese and Syrian nationals from entering the country. Control for the North African country, which has been gripped by violent civil war since 2011, is largely being contested by two sides: the internationally recognized government headed by the General National Congress, and its rival Libyan Dawn, which seized control of Tripoli in August. In December, forces allied to Libyan Dawn maneuvered toward Libya's coveted oilfields, igniting clashes in two key port cities. In 2012, U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in an RPG attack by elements suspected of belonging to Ansar al-Sharia, a group linked to al-Qaida and more recently to the Islamic State. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 6, 2015)
HARPERCOLLINS APOLOGIZES FOR LEAVING ISRAEL OFF MAPS (New York) — The HarperCollins publishing house apologized for omitting Israel from maps in atlases that it sells to English-speaking schools in the Middle East. The apology came less than a day after Collins Bartholomew, a map-publishing company that is a subsidiary of HarperCollins, said that including Israel in its “Collins Primary Geography Atlas For The Middle East” would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and that leaving Israel off the maps incorporated “local preferences.” While Israel is not demarcated on the maps, the West Bank is clearly labeled. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2015)
FAMILY OF MOHAMED FAHMY OPTIMISTIC HE MAY SOON RETURN (Cairo) — Family and representatives of a Canadian-Egyptian journalist who has been detained in Egypt for more than a year said they are optimistic he might soon be making a return to Canada. Fahmy served as Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera English until his arrest, along with two colleagues, by Egyptian security forces in 2013. Found guilty on charges related to supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Fahmy was sentenced to seven years in prison, but a retrial was ordered last week. On Tuesday, Fahmy’s family has been told a deportation process is nearing an end. Recent steps to secure the transfer of Fahmy to Canada have come following a decree which enables Egyptian President el-Sisi to deport foreigners who have been accused or convicted of crimes under Egyptian law. (National Post, Jan. 6, 2014)
IRANIAN POLICE ARRESTED 50 WOMEN FOR 'UN-ISLAMIC' DRESS (Tehran) —Iran’s Morality police arrested a number of women for immodest dress in Tehran last week, according to reports from the Islamic Republic. According to police, the women were guilty of wearing "shameful and immoral dress in public," not in accordance with the Islamic code, which was put in place by Ayatollah Khomeini in the beginning of 1981. He ordered covering all the parts of the body except the face and wrists. The women were detained for several hours and then were forced to sign a statement not to repeat their actions and to follow the Islamic culture traditions. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 1, 2015)
BOSTON BOMBER TRIAL BEGINS (Boston) —Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of helping to detonate deadly twin bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, faced potential jurors for the first time Monday as trial proceedings began. The 21-year-old has pleaded not guilty. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured on April 15, 2013, when two homemade bombs exploded near the marathon finish line. The government alleges that Tsarnaev, then 19, and his brother, Tamerlan, each planted a bomb. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died amid a firefight with police during the brothers’ capture four days after the bombing. Prosecutors describe the younger Tsarnaev as a cold, calculating participant who was fueled by religious extremism and hatred of the U.S. His family immigrated from the embattled Russian republic of Chechnya about 12 years ago. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 5, 2015)
A.H.A. SHELVES ANTI-ISRAEL RESOLUTIONS (New York) — The American Historical Association has declined to bring several resolutions sanctioning Israel to a vote at its annual convention. The resolutions, which accused Israel of limiting Palestinian academic freedom, were not submitted by the required Nov. 1 deadline for inclusion on the convention agenda. As such, proponents of the resolutions pushed for the AHA to suspend its regular rules and bring them up for discussion. It wasn’t the only defeat for the activists, who were affiliated with the Historians Against the War network. Earlier, the AHA’s executive council had rejected HAW’s proposal for a full-blown boycott of Israel. (Tablet, Jan. 5, 2014)
ISRAELI ATTACKED BY MEN SINGING ANTI-SEMITIC SONGS IN BERLIN (Berlin) — Berlin police said they are investigating an attack on an Israeli citizen who was beaten by a group of young men after he asked them to stop singing antisemitic songs on the subway in the German capital on New Year's Eve. The victim, 26-year-old Shahak Shapira, who lives in Berlin, said that after he asked the seven men to stop chanting anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli songs and slurs, he recorded them on his cell phone. When he got off at the next subway stop, the men, who Shapira said were speaking both German and Arabic, followed him and demanded he delete his video. When he refused, some of the men spat on him and beat and kicked him, injuring his head. (Ynet, Jan. 5, 2015)
LIGHTS GO OUT ON GERMAN ‘ANTI-ISLAMIZATION’ MARCHERS (Berlin) — The lights went out on Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and Cologne’s gothic cathedral on Monday night, a visual condemnation of anti-immigrant protests. The group Pegida, an acronym that stands for “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” held its latest round of weekly demonstrations against darkened backdrops. The group wants to reform asylum laws and says it opposes Islamism. Its “evening walks,” which began in the eastern city of Dresden in October, have seen increased numbers recently. But in a sign of the backlash growing against the movement, thousands of counter-demonstrators took to the streets to show support for tolerance, asylum and immigration. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 2015)
50,000 FRENCH JEWS INQUIRED ABOUT ALIYA IN 2014 (Tel Aviv) — Some 50,000 French Jews asked the Jewish Agency for information about immigrating to Israel in 2014, Natan Sharansky, The Jewish Agency chairman, said on Monday. Antisemitism may drive emigration from Europe, but other factors impel those who leave to come to Israel, he said. According to Sharansky, “the overwhelming majority” of Jewish émigrés from France, possibly up to 70 percent, choose to go to Israel. “So [Theodor] Herzl was right, Israel will be a magnet.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 6, 2015)
NETANYAHU WINS LIKUD PARTY PRIMARY (Jerusalem) — Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has won the backing of his Likud party in its primary and will lead it into general elections this March. Israel Radio reported that Netanyahu had won the support of about 75 percent of electors, giving him an unassailable lead over challenger Danny Danon, a former deputy defense minister. Some 100,000 Likud members were eligible to vote in the poll. Early opinion polls ahead of the March 17 general elections show Netanyahu's Likud party in a neck-and-neck race with a joint list headed by Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of the Hatnuah party. (Fox News, Dec. 31, 2014)
NEW GAS FIELD DISCOVERED OFF ISRAEL’S COAST (Tel Aviv) — A new natural gas field was discovered off Israel’s Mediterranean coast — the third largest found in Israeli waters. The Royee field contains 3.2 trillion cubic feet of extractable natural gas, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. Royee, located about 93 miles from Israel’s coast, near the international maritime border with Cyprus and Egypt, ranks behind the Leviathan and Tamar fields. Tamar, which has at least 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is expected to meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years. Leviathan is estimated to hold 16 trillion to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas. (JTA, Dec. 15, 2015)
KING ABDULLAH IN HOSPITAL, SAUDIS FRET OVER LEADERSHIP TRANSITION (Riyadh) —As the 90-year-old king of Saudi Arabia lingers in hospital, the kingdom is bracing itself for a possible change in leadership, right at the moment the world’s largest oil exporter is learning to cope with crude prices that have lost 50% of their value within the past six months. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud was admitted to hospital on New Year’s Eve suffering from pneumonia, while Saudi Arabia wages a battle for oil market share, flexes its financial, military and diplomatic muscle on regional fronts, and struggles to appease a young population increasingly demanding more of its hereditary monarchy. Brent crude prices dropped below US$50 per barrel on Tuesday, as eight of the world’s 10 largest producers maintain their output. (Financial Post, Jan .7, 2015)
BEN AMMI BEN-ISRAEL DIES AT 75: LED BLACK AMERICANS IN MIGRATION TO ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — Ben-Israel, who led a migration of hundreds of fellow black Americans to what they consider their ancestral homeland, Israel, died on Saturday in a hospital in Beersheba, Israel. He was 75. His organization, the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, announced his death on its website. To his followers, who called him the father or the holy father, he was a prophet-like figure who maintained that he had a vision in 1966 in which the angel Gabriel told him to lead an exodus of black Americans to Israel. Since the first African Hebrews arrived there in 1969, the community has grown to about 3,000 members, half of whom were born in Israel. (New York Times, Dec. 31, 2015)
Charlie Hebdo: Martyrs for the Truth: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Jan. 7, 2015—With the massacre of Charlie Hebdo magazine's editors and cartoonists in Paris by Islamic gunmen early Wednesday afternoon, the forces of radical Islam lay the gauntlet down: radical Islam is not just fighting against Western freedom, or the hegemony of Western powers. Their real enemy is truth.
Whitewashing Islamic Terrorism from Sydney to Jerusalem: Charles Bybelezer, Frontpage Magazine, Jan. 5, 2015 —Three days before Christmas, one unsuspecting holiday shopper was killed and nine others injured when a van ploughed through a crowded market in Nantes, located in western France.
What About Arab War Crimes Against Palestinians?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 5, 2014 —More than 2,500 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Syria three years ago, according to a report published this week by the Working Group for Palestinians in Syria. It revealed that 2,596 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in that country in 2011.
Europe Reverts To Anti-Semitic Form: Rabbi Berel Wein, Jewish Press, Jan. 1, 2015 —What can one say about Europe? I imagine that if one wants to be bitterly truthful one could easily say that Hitler has in effect triumphed. He branded the Jews as the root of all troubles and proclaimed that the “final” and only solution to the “Jewish problem” was to eradicate all Jews from the face of the earth. And as we all know, he followed through on his genocidal program.
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