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Thursday, Apr. 24 '14, Nissan 24, 5774


by Gil Ronen

The United States would have to reconsider its assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if Fatah and Hamas form a government together, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Hamas and PA-Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas announced a unity pact on Wednesday, complicating his U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel that were already floundering.
"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties," the U.S. official told the news agency.
"If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its adherence to the stipulations above, its policies and actions, and will determine any implications for our assistance based on U.S. law," the official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
After seven years of internecine fighting and competition, the Fatah-Hamas deal involves establishment of a unity government within five weeks and general elections six months later.
However, providing U.S. aid to a unity government that includes Hamas would comprise assistance to a group the United States lists as a terrorist organization.
"We are following reports of Palestinian reconciliation efforts," the U.S. official who spoke on Thursday said. "We have been clear about the principles that must guide a Palestinian government in order for it to play a constructive role in achieving peace and building an independent Palestinian state."
PLO Deputy Secretary Yasser Abed Rabo told Palestinian radio it was too soon for the US to sanction a government that had not been formed yet. "There's no need for the Americans to get ahead of themselves over this. What happened in Gaza in the last two days is just a first step which we welcome and want to reinforce," he said.

by Gil Ronen

Dore Gold, who has been described as one of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's closest foreign policy advisors, called the reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) "a game changer" in a CNN interview Wednesday.
Gold, who served in the past as advisor to Netanyahu and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, and currently heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has reportedly recently returned to serve as a part-time advisor to the Prime Minister.
Hamas, he said, "is recognized by the world as an international terrorist organization; by the European Union, by the United States, by Canada and many others. And [PA head] Mahmoud Abbas has been working very hard with Secretary of State John Kerry, as our Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked hard, and all of a sudden, it seems that in the last month, Abbas just simply does not want a negotiated solution.
"He said 'no' to President Obama. He said 'no' to even discussing with Israel in the future the possibility of them recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people – we're asked to recognize a Palestinian state – and now he turns to hug Hamas. He wants a deal with Hamas and doesn't want peace, and that's a tragic development."
While the PA can "hire some suits" to talk about making peace, Hamas is "in the back room" controlling things, he explained.
Asked if the peace process is dead, Gold said it is still possible to revive the process, but only if Abbas pulls back from the deal with Hamas. "He cannot embrace Hamas and say that he's for peace with Israel. It's a contradiction in terms."


by Gil Ronen

The inner cabinet forum known as the Diplomacy-Security Cabinet will convene Thursday to discuss the reconciliation announcement by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza-based Hamas.
Even the most government's fervent believer in the "peace process," Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the negotiations team, appeared flummoxed by the latest events Wednesday. "This is a very problematic development, which harms the peace efforts that have been going on intensively and the chance that was only created recently," she said. "The reconciliation agreement that [PA chief] Abu Mazen signed with Hamas is a bad step that casts a heavy shadow on the possibility of advancing in the talks," she wrote on Facebook.
Livni clarified that no negotiation with Hamas is possible as long as Hamas does not recognize Israel.

The Islamist group, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and advocates the genocide of Jewish people as a religious duty in its official charter.
Yair Lapid, who has been a vocal proponent of the "peace process," also sounded less than optimistic Wednesday. "Hamas is not a government," he said, "it is a jihadi terror organization with a stated goal of killing civilians – women, children, old people – only because they are Jews."
"How do you want to reach an agreement with us," he asked, "when you have just signed an agreement with the people who swore to kill us? How do you want to establish a state alongside us, with these people? What kind of state do you want to establish? Or maybe they do not really want to?"
Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, insisted Wednesday that the reconciliation with Hamas does not contradict the peace process with Israel, and that it will bolster his standing in the Palestinian Arab public.

by Arutz Sheva staff

Several dozen hareidi Jews, including children, ascended the Temple Mount Wednesday. 
In the course of the tour of the Mount, Muslims began hurling objects at the hareidim, spat at them, hurled shoes and sticks and pulled the sidelocks of one of the children.
The raging Muslim mob terrified some of the children, who began to panic.

At one point one of the Jewish men seeks to reassure the frightened children.

"Don't be afraid! Don't be afraid! This is our place!" he said, referring to the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.


The Temple Movement blamed police for failing to disperse the Muslim attackers. "It's a miracle no one was hurt," said a movement statement. 

Despite its importance as Judaism's holiest site, Jews are forbidden from praying on the Temple Mount in order not to "provoke" Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque Islamic complex, which is built on top of the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temples. Those Jews who break the rules against praying are often arrested and banned from visiting.

But as in this case, even Jewish visitors who are not praying are sometimes subjected to abuse, threats and violence at the hands of Muslim worshippers.

by Ari Soffer

US-based anti-hate group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Thursday a new video produced by Christian missionary group Jews for Jesus, which uses Holocaust imagery to encourage Jews to convert, as "a cynical abuse of the Holocaust for proselytizing."

The video, which portrays Jesus as being among those in the selection line at what appears to be the entrance to the infamous Auschwitz death camp, first appeared about one week ago and has already garnered more than one million views on YouTube.

"Jesus" is shown carrying a cross as a Nazi officer standing at the gates of the camp sends him "to the left", and into the gas chambers. 

The video's tagline is "That Jew died for you," and is being seen as a step too far even for Jews for Jesus, a group already infamous for its provocative activities and attempts to lure Jews into leaving their religion.

"The Jews for Jesus video is a cynical abuse of the Holocaust for purposes of proselytizing," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and himself a Holocaust survivor. "It is deeply offensive not only to Jews who lost family members in the Holocaust, but also to Christians who would not want to see images of Jesus used for propaganda or shock value."

"Jews for Jesus has taken their abuse of Holocaust imagery to a new low," he continued, branding it "an outrageous cheapening of the tragedy of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust for the purpose of gaining attention to the Jews for Jesus missionary cause, which is to convert Jews to the belief that Jesus is their messiah."

This is not the first time Jews for Jesus has attempted to utilize Holocaust imagery in this way.

In 2001, the missionary group was slammed by ADL for an ad which appeared in national magazines in the US - including Newsweek, Time and Rolling Stone - which featured an elderly woman saying: "Before you dismiss my belief, you should hear my story."

"Some say you can"t be Jewish and believe in Jesus. I disagree. But before you dismiss my belief, you should know that in addition to being Jewish, I"m also a Holocaust Survivor… All I ask is that you hear my story and those of several other remarkable Jews who have suffered greatly and now truly believe in Jesus."

At the time, Foxman accused the group of attempting to "distort Jewish identity as part of their deceptive and offensive campaign to impose Christian beliefs on Jews."

"By emphasizing the Holocaust, Jews for Jesus is using the darkest chapter in the history of Judaism – the persecution and annihilation of European Jews – to attempt to mislead survivors and their children about their history and faith. It is impossible for a person who is Jewish to worship Jesus Christ. That is the fundamental distinction that sets these faith systems apart."

Jews For Jesus is a Christian missionary group which promotes the idea that it is possible to be Jewish at the same time as accepting Christian doctrines. It is part of a wider phenomenon sometimes known as "Messianic Judaism", in which efforts to convert Jews are disguised through the use of Jewish symbols.

Such groups are universally rejected by mainstream Jewish groups and denominations.

by Gil Ronen

MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) hailed the unity agreement between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) – which is led by Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) – and Gaza-based Hamas, as a development that "takes the mask" off the Palestinian Arab leaders and shows them for what they really are – terrorists.
MK Chetboun said Thursday that the Hamas-Fatah agreement was "final proof that the Israeli right wing has no choice but to come up with a sane alternative national policy."
"Now it is clear to everyone, even the Americans, whom we are dealing with," said Chetboun, who is a member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "No more peace flirtations; Abu Mazen is the head of a terror organization. I hope that now, the Left will take a rest from the two-state obsession. It is time to set us free of this dangerous fantasy."
"I expect the prime minister and members of the Cabinet to start thinking of a sane alternative to diplomatic negotiations," he added.
"For twenty years, the Right has not been able to present a proper alternative, and has only known how to oppose the Left's vision," he elaborated. "Lacking an initiative, the Right eventually adopted the delusional and dangerous vision of two states. Yesterday, we received final proof that the Israeli Right can no longer evade the drafting of a sane nationalist policy alternative, which does not react to Palestinian declarations anymore, but rather concentrates on what Israel will do. It is time to return to the basic Zionist values of settling in parts of the homeland, without fear or trepidation."
"Between the Jordan and the [Mediterranean] Sea, there is room for one state – a Jewish state with an Arab minority," he explained. "Even before the Palestinian terror government was declared, the idea of establishing a Palestinian state was a tangible existential threat for Israel. Israel has to think [only] about Israel, and applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria in the C areas is the timely thing to do. We must understand that we have no choice. It is either one state, or a constant rocket threat, on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as well. Israel must decide."

by Elad Benari

The United States on Wednesday expressed support for Israel"s decision to cancel a planned session of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in the wake of an announced Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal.

"It's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, according to AFP.

She added that any Palestinian government must commit "unambiguously" to the principles of non-violence and to Israel's existence.

The deal between Hamas and Fatah aims to put an end to a long and bloody rivalry, which boiled over seven years ago when Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to issue a "presidential decree" announcing the dates for elections, which PA officials said would likely take place within the next six months.

Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday evening that he would be convening the inner diplomacy-security cabinet Thursday morning, to discuss the agreement between Fatah and Hamas and whether or not to continue contacts with the PA.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Netanyahu called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had pushed the sides back to the negotiating table back in July, and presented Israel's position regarding Hamas-Fatah deal.

Netanyahu told Kerry that the pact "shows that the Palestinians are repeating a familiar pattern" of "running away from decisions."

He repeated his public statement to the effect that "whoever makes peace with Hamas cannot make peace with Israel."

On Tuesday, Abbas repeated his threats to disband the PA if peace talks remain stuck, and also demanded a three-month Israeli construction freeze as a condition for talks to continue.

by Gil Ronen

Arab Islamists are planning a show of strength on Israel's Independence Day (May 6) - but Zionist activists led by former MK Michael Ben-Ari will be there to make a stand for Jewish pride.
Ben Ari informed his Facebook followers that "the Arab enemy in Nazareth" is planning to bring 10,000 people to demonstrate "solidarity with the uprooted residents of the village of Lubia" as part of the so-called Nakba protest, on Yom Haatzmaut, or Independence Day. The Arab provocation will take place "near the Golani junction, adjacent to the Golani Brigade memorial museum, next to the picnic site at Lavi forest, where thousands of Jews gather annually to celebrate the miracle of the return of the Nation of Israel to its land, and the salvation from the Arabonazis' attempt to annihilate us in the War of Independence."
The Arabs plan to disrupt the Jewish state's holiday celebration, explained Ben-Ari, "in the name of 'democracy' and 'freedom of protest.'"
Another well-known nationalist activist, Baruch Marzel, will also be present at the Jewish celebrations near the Golani junction, promised Ben-Ari.
The former parliamentarian said that he has asked the Minister of Public Security not to allow the Arab demonstration, but the minister has not agreed to block the protest.
He also attached a letter from the Moti Dotan, Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, who asked the Arab organizers not to carry out their plans, which he warned could lead to a violent confrontation.

Violence in previous Independence Day events

On Independence Day in 2007, Arabs disrupted Jewish celebrations near the Megiddo Junction. An Arab mob of several thousand - including young men on horseback and others waving PLO flags - surrounded and threatened about 150 Jews from Haifa who went to Megiddo Forest to celebrate Israeli Independence Day. A young Jewish man was lightly injured in the ensuing clash. 

Arabs disrupt celebrations at Megiddo junction, 2007

"Within a short time, there were hundreds of Arabs surrounding us," one of the Jewish celebrants recounted. "We felt threatened. We are here with little children and they are threatening us. We called the police. They promised they would handle it and send a patrol car, but the car never arrived. We called the police again and again, but the help never arrived." 

At this stage of the incident, a few of the Jewish young men, with Israeli flags in hand, charged the gathering Arab mob. Within moments, a fight broke out, during which one of the Jewish youths suffered a light injury to the face. The Arabs, still threatening the Jewish families, called for more of their comrades to join them. 

Within forty minutes of the start of the incident, 6,000 Arabs waving PLO flags and making menacing threats had gathered around the group of Jews in Megiddo Forest. It was only at this point that a border guard patrol jeep showed up on the scene, with just six soldiers.
On Independence Day of 2008, hundreds of Arabs clashed violently with a group of Jews celebrating Independence Day near Tzipori, in the Galilee. In the ensuing riot, five police officers were injured and six rioters were arrested. Two Arab Members of Knesset who took part in the rally and ensuing violence were lightly injured, as well.
Both police and Arab MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) confirmed that the violence started when members of a Zionist youth movement raised the Israeli flag at a Independence Day picnic not far from where the Arabs had gathered for their anti-Israel event. The Arabs demanded that the Jews lower their flag, which led to a heated exchange of words that eventually escalated to rock-throwing and necessitated police intervention.
The incident then turned into a large-scale anti-Israel riot, during which police were forced to close the adjacent Highway 79. The two Arab MKs who were among the rioters, Hadash's Barakeh and Wasil Taha (Balad), both claim they were lightly wounded by police.

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