Sunday, June 29, 2014

Terrorist kidnappings have a long history

Below is a condensed version of an article by Naomi Regan    

Terrorist kidnappings in Israel have a long history. It is the Hamas terrorist organization, founded in December 1987 by Muslim Brotherhood members Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Mohammad Taha, who came up with the satanic idea to hold kidnapped Israeli soldiers for ransom to free terrorists captured and imprisoned in Israeli jails. It took them a while to perfect it.

1) On February 16, 1989, Sgt. Avi Sasportas of Ashdod was kidnapped when he got into a vehicle with two Hamas murderers dressed as haredim, who almost immediately killed him.
2) Cpl. Ilan Saadoun, on his way home from his unit on May 3, 1989, was picked up at the Masmiya junction by a white Subaru with Israeli license plates. Again, the kidnappers were dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews. When they saw an IDF patrol. Saadoun, who fought valiantly for his life, was shot in the head.

Over the years, various groups claimed to be holding Saadoun alive, wanting to exchange him for terrorists, even presenting Saadoun’s dogtag as evidence. Their claims all proved false, however, and Saadoun’s body was found only after the Oslo Accords, when a map to the burial spot was drawn by one of the killers, who had fled to Dubai.

Hamas founder Yassin, arrested by Israeli forces shortly after Saadoun’s kidnapping, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 15 years for the murders of Sasportas and Saadoun, while Sharatha was sentenced to three life terms.

3) In an attempt to free Yassin, a squad of Hamas terrorists kidnapped a Border Police officer, Senior-Sgt.Nissim Toledano, in Lod on December 13, 1992. Israel refused to negotiate until it received proof Toledano was still alive. Proof was not forthcoming, and his body was found the next day near Kfar Adumin. He had been shot and stabbed by Hamas murderers within two to four hours of their deadline.

4) On October 9, 1994, Hamas kidnapped Sgt. Nachson Wachsman on his way home from a military training course. Again, the kidnappers wore black kippot and had beards. Hassidic music was playing, and there was a siddur on the dashboard.

Then, on October 11, a videotape broadcast showed Wachsman bound hand and foot, your typical jihadi nightmare standing over him with a machine gun. The demands once again included the release of Yassin and another 200 terrorist scum, and gave a deadline of October 15 for Wachsman’s execution.

The Israeli government under Yitzhak Rabin refused to negotiate with terrorists, launching a military operation instead. Twenty-four hours before the deadline, on a Friday night while the hostage’s family was making kiddush, the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit attempted to smash through the door of the room where Wachsman was being held. Unbeknown to them, it wasn’t the iron door they had expected, but solid steel. Wachsman was shot and killed by his captors along with Cmdr. Nir Poraz, who headed the rescue.

Thankfully for future exchanges, all three terrorists were killed.

5) On June 25, 2006, seven Hamas terrorists, using a tunnel carved under the Gaza-Israel border, attacked an army unit, killing Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker and Lt. Hanan Barak and kidnapping then-Cpl. Gilad Schalit. For five years, Hamas held Schalit prisoner, denying him basic humanitarian rights, including Red Cross access.

The Israeli government approved an agreement to exchange Schalit for over 1,000 dangerous terrorists held in Israeli jails. These included Sharatha and Yamur.

After their success in the Schalit deal, Hamas’s attempts at kidnappings have multiplied exponentially.

Last year alone, the IDF foiled no less that 64 kidnap plans. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) uncovered an Islamic Jihad cell inside Israel funded by Jenin terrorists, which had a supply of ski masks, adhesive tape, box cutters and handguns, clearly preparing for yet another kidnapping attempt.

6) Despite these successes, our luck ran out when on June 12, three lovely teenage yeshiva boys on their way home from school ran into yet another Hamas band of barbarians. At the time of this writing, no one has made any demands, although plenty of jihadi groups were quick to “take credit” for the atrocity.

We wait and wait

Friday, June 27, 2014

“Information Revealed”

Cross posting from Arlene Kushner
June 27th

Late yesterday, Israeli security released the names of the two men who are believed to be the abductors of the three kidnapped boys.

Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, residents of Hevron, have been missing since the kidnapping.  They always prayed in the same mosque and informants in that neighborhood reported on their absence (which, at the time, I noted).  Their wives were extensively interrogated and their homes have been thoroughly searched several times.

The two are members of Hamas.  As is often the case, Hamas involvement has been a family affair for them: Marwan Kawasme’s uncle, Abdullah Kawasme was the commander of Hamas’s military wing in Hebron until he was killed in a battle with SWAT officers in 2003; while Amer Abu Aysha’s brother, Zayd, a Hamas member, was killed in a battle with Israeli soldiers in 2005, and his father, Omer, served time in Israeli prison because of Hamas involvement.

Abu Aysha’s mother said that if her son is involved in the kidnapping, she is proud of him. 

It is believed that they were in the car when the boys were abducted and are now in hiding.  This does not necessarily mean they are any longer with the boys, who may have been turned over to other Hamas operatives.

There is no explanation as to why this information, which the security forces have had since the beginning, is being released now.  But what this does is make clear that there indeed is direct Hamas involvement, just as Netanyahu has insisted.


The other news about the search for the boys came Wednesday night, not long after I had posted.  It represented a reversal of an announcement from the day prior:  There was going to be no slow down in the operation after all, decided the Security Cabinet - not with regard to going after Hamas or taking care not to offend during Ramadan, or anything else.  Full speed ahead.  A welcome announcement.

What precipitated this reversal is not clear, although it is speculated that a presentation the three mothers gave in the Knesset – where they were received with enormous empathy – may have had something to do with it.

Bat-Galim Sha'ar, mother of Gilad, in an emotional speech, implored the government not to curtail efforts. The message delivered was that the mothers had full confidence in the measures being taken to find their sons, as long as they were done without slowdown.

Credit: ArutzSheva

The original announcement about the slowdown had said the operation against the Hamas organization in Judea and Samaria would be curtailed – as it was just about exhausted, while the search for the boys would continue unabated.  But truth to tell, it’s difficult to draw a meaningful line between the two.  Any Hamas operative picked up, for whatever reason, might end up providing meaningful information.

And, indeed, after the slow down was reversed, overnight on Wednesday there was a sweep in the Hevron area and 10 were arrested.


A decision was made Wednesday night, as well, to block the Palestinian Authority monthly transfer of funds to terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons.  The longer the term of incarceration, the greater the larger the monthly “stipend.”

It was with reason, then, that Naftali Bennett, head of Habayit Hayehudi, on Thursday, applauding this decision, called Abbas a “mega-terrorist” for his financial support of imprisoned terrorists.
“In May, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed the subject of Palestinian prisoners being paid stipends by the PA, noting that some 5,000 security prisoners are paid more than NIS 7,500 a month each.
“’Abbas, who whines about the PA’s finances, pays large stipends to prisoners convicted of murder and those who tried to become suicide bombers,’ Lieberman told the MKs. ‘The prisoners are given three times as much as Palestinian policemen.’” (Emphasis added)
It is now time to turn to my Shabbat preparations, once more with a prayer in my heart that when I return to write again, the boys will have been found.

Shabbat Shalom to one and all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Racheli Frenkel at the UN (Bring Back Our Boys)

Racheli Frankel, mother of Naftali, one of the three Israeli boys who were kidnapped by terrorists, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council:

"It is wrong to take children, innocent boys and girls, and use them as instruments of ANY struggle. Doesn't every child have a right to come home safely from school?"

"Children are Children"

As Israeli soldiers continue with the military operation in Judea and Samaria following the abduction of three Israeli teens, Israeli doctors of Save a Child's Heart (SACH; <>) continue to save the lives of Palestinian children at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

Since the beginning of Operation Brother's Keeper, three Palestinian children have undergone life-saving heart surgery at Wolfson, eight Palestinian children were admitted, including two urgent cases brought by ambulances from Judea and Samaria and from Gaza, two children from the West Bank will undergo open heart surgery today at the hospital and fifteen children are expected to arrive today to the SACH free weekly cardiology clinic for Palestinian children.

The Israeli medical team of SACH is determined to continue with their activity without letting the situation around interfere or influence them. "Children are children"' says Dr. Lior Sasson, SACH chief surgeon, "for us it doesn't matter where the children come from, every child deserves to receive the best medical treatment and children. from both sides, should't be a part of the conflict".

Before entering the operating room this morning, Dr. Sasson said " We are continuing with our work, this is what distinguishes us as Israelis, the ability to ignore what is happening around and continue with our sacred work of saving children's lives".

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where are the reporters?

Rocket attacks against Israel
Sunday June 22 - Two rockets fired at Israel. Both hit Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Terrorist carrying a hand grenade  arrested Sunday morning near Eshkol Regional Council.
Saturday June 21 - Terrorists fired three rockets at Israel.
Friday June 20 - Four rockets fired at Israel. In response: The IDF targeted three concealed rocket launchers and a weapons storage facility in Gaza.
Thursday June 19 - Two rockets fired at Israel – one intercepted by Iron Dome. In response: The IDF targeted a rocket-launching site and two terror activity sites in Gaza.
Wednesday June 18 - Five rockets fired at Israel
Tuesday June 17 - Responding to rocket fire, IDF targeted terrorist activity site, a weapons factory and two weapon storage facilities in Gaza.
Monday June 16 - One rocket fired at Israel. In response: The IDF targeted two terrorist activity sites, 3 weapon storage facilities, and a weapons-manufacturing site in Gaza.

Sunday June 15 - Multiple rockets fired at Israel – 2 intercepted by Iron Dome

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kidnapping Children Illegal by International Law

Eli E. Hertz | June 20, 2014
"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
Golda Meir, former Israeli Prime Minister, 1972
What kind of a society consciously and purposely sacrifices its own youth for political gain and tactical advantage? Palestinian Arabs, whose overwhelming majority, nurture a blind hatred of Israel have  created a cultural milieu of vengeance, violence and death,  preparing their children to be sacrifices in a death cult of suicide bombers. Suicide bombing is an escalation of a small-arms war introduced during the first Intifada (1987-1993 Palestinian’s uprising) and championed by Palestinian leaders. Proud parents dress up their toddlers, not in clown costumes, but with suicide belts. Countless others celebrate their children’s deaths with traditional sweet holiday cakes and candies.
Around the world, children are precious gifts to their parents and keys to the future. The loving care we invest in our own children is a human trait that unites different cultures: rich and poor, traditional and hi-tech. The toughest job parents have is to raise their children while making everyday sacrifices and decisions for them. We hug our children, love them and watch them grow up. We pray each day that they will come to no harm and do everything we can to ensure that outcome.
When Arab children are killed or injured, it makes headlines in Western media reports. Rather than investigate who is behind the participation of children in armed confrontation, however, Western journalists tend to report only what they see on the streets.
Moreover, the age-old news adage, “If it bleeds, it leads,” is all the more true when the victims are children. No matter what the circumstances, the sight of a wounded or dead child is heartrending.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989
entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49
Relevant articles as stated in the present Convention:
Article 35- Parties (PA included) shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of, or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.

Article 37 – No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment … 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What if this was your child?

#Bring back our Boys

These three boys were abducted on their way home from school by Hamas terrorists. Three innocent children, in the clutches of merciless terrorists, while their parents spend sleepless nights worrying about them! And the world is silent. What if this was your child??

Eyal is the eldest of 7 siblings. He chose to complete his last year of high school in a city with a low socio-economic status, through a program targeted at developing such towns. His family describes him as a vital, energetic, sports-loving boy. He is a youth counselor, loving to travel and play tennis. While Gilad Shalit was in captivity, kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization, Eyal made sure to send Facebook messages to raise awareness, to the fact that Gilad had not seen his parents for 5 years, and spent all that time fearing tomorrow in the clutches of terrorists.

Gilad, 16 years old, is very close to his siblings. He loves to read, listen to music, study hard and spend time with his grandparents. He volunteers to help others, is a youth counselor, and works with children. He is much loved by his peers and teachers. He always helps around the house and loves to bake. His sisters are hoping he comes back home again, to bake a new cake or muffin like he always does

Naftali, 16 years old, is an American citizen. He is the second eldest of 7 children. He loves to play basketball and plays the guitar. Naftali is a responsible and poised young boy. He is a gifted student, with a talent for school and academia. Naftali was on his way home from school – and was kidnapped by the Hamas terror organization before he could reach his family. This has nothing to do with politics: This could easily be your child. Don’t stay indifferent – Help us fight terror and bring our boys back 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weapons seized in Judea and Samaria

Just check out the number of weapons seized during the searches for the #kidnappedchildren  #EyalGiladNaftali at the IDF blog   



The campaign to bring awareness to all corners of the earth is having great success.

The numbers of people "liking" the facebook page has risen to over 89,000.

Also the twitter campaign is active in keeping everyone up to date with new activities every day.

A recent entry describes the adding of another aspect to the cause with a donation of a concerned citizen: 

In the next few hours, 150 #BringBackOurBoys billboards and bus signs will be put up across the city of Jerusalem Israel, spreading the word about the campaign to bring 

Saturday, June 14, 2014


The perverse thinking of the Palestinian terrorists who have kidnapped 3 Israeli school kids is just another result of the continuous hate indoctrination of Palestinian society sanctioned by the PA and Hamas.

Let’s be clear :-


 If you have access to facebook, twitter or other social media please go to #bringbackourboys , click on “like” and leave a message of support. Also available on twitter

These messages should be brought to the attention of as many people as possible, not forgetting government representatives and local media.

The Prime Minister said tonight

"The IDF, ISA and all the security services are currently engaged in intensive operations in order to locate the missing youths. I thank them for this activity; they are working 'round the clock. Naturally, I cannot share everything we know, not at this time; however, I can say this: Our young people have been abducted by a terrorist organization. This is absolutely clear; there is no doubt about this. They were abducted by a terrorist organization."


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why it is hypocritical to boycott Israel

The following report confirms that more and more people are now beginning to realize that BDS is irrational and not promoting peace in any form. Its main objective seems to be eliminating the State of Israel from the map.
The journalist below has withstood the pressure from BDS activists to cancel his visit and explains why.

Jake Wallis Simons  May 5th, 2014


We're not normally called upon to justify a decision to travel abroad. Few people would challenge me if I were visiting China, despite that country’s appalling human rights record, repression of free speech, and colonisation of Tibet. If I was travelling to America, even though Predator drones kill hundreds of innocent people each year, and even though Guantanamo Bay still holds 154 detainees, nobody would complain.

I would not be criticised for travelling to Egypt, which has become a police state that imprisons journalists, attacks protesters, and sentences political opponents to death. Nobody would suggest that I boycott India; or Pakistan; or Venezuela; or Saudi Arabia; or indeed Britain, which – I seem to recall – ignored the United Nations and attacked Iraq.

I could go on. But later this month, I am planning to travel to Israel to appear in the Jerusalem literary festival. As surely as night follows day, I have received an “open letter” from a group of 71 activists calling themselves the British Writers in Support of Palestine (BWIP), led by a poet and “professional Tarot card reader”. They were, I was informed, “extremely disappointed” by my decision, and “respectfully encouraged” me to boycott the event. But I am honoured to have been invited to Israel, and will be proud to attend. Here’s why.

It is my strong belief that Israel is, relatively speaking, a force for good in the world. I’m not saying that it is free from controversy, and I’m not saying that I have no sympathy with Palestinians. But every country that abides by the democratic process, enshrines in law the rights of women and minorities, and conducts itself with compassion both in war and in peace – or at least aspires to do so – deserves our support and respect.

But what about Israel’s flouting of international law, I hear you ask? Very well: but has Britain always been squeaky clean? I have already mentioned the example of Iraq. Britain intentionally bombed civilian targets during the Second World War, which was the last time we were under existential threat (the Area Bombing Directive ordered the RAF to attack the German workforce and destroy morale). Moreover, the Army’s Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, based in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, between 1940 and 1948, carried out systematic torture on enemy prisoners. If we were at war again, against an enemy that was able to strike at the heart of our civilian population centres, how would we behave?

Would we, perhaps, be tempted to react as we did when the IRA were terrorising the streets of London? Would we reprise the British Army’s Operation Demetrius of 1971, which allegedly included detention without trial, beating, starving, hooding for long periods, harassment with dogs, placing nooses around prisoners’ necks, forcible head shaving, denying prisoners clothes, forcing them to run barefoot behind Army vehicles, burning them with cigarettes, dragging them by the hair and pressing guns to their heads? Would Bloody Sunday, in which 26 protesters and bystanders were shot by British paratroopers, happen again?

These examples are particularly relevant when you consider the geographical, topographical and historical context in which Israel exists. The Jewish state is roughly the size of Wales, with a ridge of high ground running along the middle of the West Bank. If Britain were surrounded by hostile neighbours at such close proximity, some of which contained terror groups bent on the destruction of the country, would we be doing any better? And would a fearful British public be outraged at the Army’s brutality? Or relieved that it was keeping us safe?

It is significant that a man who knows war, Colonel Richard Kemp – the former commander of Britain’s armed forces in Afghanistan – testified to the UN Human Rights Council that the Israeli military does “more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare”. It is right that every instance of military abuse should be treated gravely. But this does not justify a boycott.

From a historical point of view, Israel has been attacked repeatedly by an enemy bent on its destruction (when the Arab world attempted to liquidate the Jewish State in 1967, the settlements had not yet been built). The country has suffered terror attack after terror attack, tragedy after tragedy. Clearly, whatever the boycott activists may say, to draw a parallel with pre-1994 South Africa is ludicrous.

Of course, Israel presents many areas of concern. In particular, the situation on the West Bank is disturbing, as are the societal disadvantages that confront minorities in Israel, particularly Israeli Arabs. The army has been guilty of heavy-handedness many times. And it is sad to witness the tit-for-tat violence the plagues the region, not to mention the heavy civilian losses that are sustained by Palestinians in warfare.

Again, I could go on. But to boycott Israel alone reveals a deeply partisan approach to the conflict, and a ridiculously naïve and even hypocritical one.

By the standards of the pro-boycott activists, should the Palestinians not also be boycotted? Their society is severely intolerant of homosexuals, many of whom go to live in Israel rather than face oppression at home. Both on the West Bank and in Gaza, the authorities regularly harass and imprison journalists who criticise their leaders; last year, 26-year-old Anas Said Awwad was sent to prison for one year for "insulting" President Mahmoud Abbas by depicting him as a member of the Real Madrid football team on Facebook.

Moreover, the Palestinian government has signed a reconciliation deal with a terror organisation, and within weeks they may form a unity government. And as I reported in the Telegraph last week, the Palestinian leadership pays huge financial rewards to those convicted of terror offences, and cold-blooded child killers are celebrated as heroes when they are released.

If all of this does not merit a boycott, I don't know what does.

While we’re on the subject, shouldn’t the BWIP have called their group “British Writers In Support of Palestine and Israel”? And if not, why not?

For these reasons I am proud to be travelling to Israel later this month. As a journalist I value objectivity above all, and am not interested in closing my ears to one side of any story, particularly a story as complex as this. And as a novelist, my concern is with the human condition; attending a festival with fellow writers and artists who are not afraid of challenging ideas can only be a good thing.

And given that according to a YouGov poll, three-quarters of Britons “see no reason why British performers should not travel to Israel” – and fewer than one in five Britons believe that Israeli artists should be barred from the UK – I travel in the knowledge that I have public opinion on my side.

Monday, June 9, 2014

PA Arrests BDS Activists in Ramallah


Published: June 9th, 2014
In an unprecedented incident, the Palestinian Authority has arrested four anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activists in Ramallah about two weeks ago.
The four, Zeid Shuaibi, Abdel Jawad Hamayel, Fadi Quran and Fajr Harb, were arrested on charges of “provoking riots and the breach of public tranquility.” The four demonstrated against an Indian dance group performing in Ramallah that performed in Tel Aviv as well. The protesters accused the Indian dancers of violating their campaign for boycotting Israel, claiming that their appearance in Tel Aviv was a form of “normalization” with Israel. The incident seriously embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership and resulted in a decision to prosecute the four BDS activists. The four appeared in court on May 28th to face the charges against them. However, the trial was postponed until July 14th because state witnesses, policemen, failed to appear in court.
Amnesty International has already called on the PA to drop the charges and has stated it will investigate alleged police violence. “The reported treatment of the four men once in custody has undermined their right to a fair trial and raises concerns that they are being punished for their political protest,” the statement read.
Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the BDS movement, said that the PA should be put on trial for bringing the four men to court. “If the four men are brought before a court, then we should prosecute the Palestinian Authority for serving the Israeli occupation’s project,” he said. “The decision to prosecute the four men was taken in collusion with the fierce Israeli campaign against the BDS.”
Khaled Abu Toameh, writing for Gatestone, writes that the BDS movement is seen by the PA as trouble-makers and law-breakers. For some PA officials, BDS is a movement that acts against the true interests of the Palestinians. They say that the actions of those promoting BDS make the Palestinians appear as if they are not interested in peace and coexistence with Israel. BDS activists in Ramallah have succeeded in preventing several planned meetings between Israelis and Palestinians in Ramallah and east Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority is also worried that BDS is harming the Palestinians’ relations with other countries. The disturbance of the Indian dance troupe’s performance is an example. Toameh believes that The PA move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.
Gilad Zwick, an analyst at MIDA, explains that the Palestinians are well aware of the extent of the damage the BDS can cause them financially if the boycotters’ ambitions are fully realized.
There are 14 Israeli industrial and agricultural parks in Judea and Samaria, including 788 factories and businesses, employing some 11,000 Palestinian workers, alongside 6,000 Israeli workers. Furthermore, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, workers in industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are paid twice and three times the average Palestinian salary and also receive full social benefits as prescribed by Israeli law. In addition, Palestinian businessmen prefer the Israeli economy’s stability and comparative freedom over the corrupt PA’s economy. Thus, according to research conducted at Al–Quds University, the Palestinian volume of investments in the Israeli economy is two times higher than in the Palestinian economy. Approximately 16,000 Palestinian businessmen with entry visas into Israel choose to invest their money there. Therefore, the struggle to boycott Israel further gravely undermines the Palestinian economy, which is dependent on its Israeli neighbour. Israelis can transfer their factories elsewhere, but Palestinians will remain with nothing.


An Alice in Wonderland World

"You know what Mahmoud Abbas says behind closed doors? He says: 'Guys, let me [continue] saying what I say to the media. Those words are meant for the Americans and the occupation (i.e., Israel), not for you [Hamas]. What's important is what we agree on among ourselves. In other words, when I go out [publicly] and say that the government is my [Abbas] government and it recognizes 'Israel' and so on, fine - these words are meant to trick the Americans. But we agree that the government has nothing to do with politics [i.e., foreign relations]. The same thing happened in 2006,' he [Abbas] said: 'Don't harp on everything I tell the media, forget about the statements in the media.'
Ihab al-Ghussein's Facebook page, 8/6/2014
(Was Hamas government spokesman until the advent of the new unity

government with Fatah)

Gaza-based terror group Hamas is planning to encourage attacks against Israel as well as sap support in the West Bank from the Palestinian Authority (PA) by exploiting the Islamist “Dawa” social and cultural movement, a security source told a local newspaper this week.

The PA had actively sought to stymie Hamas inroads in areas under it’s control, prior to the recent unity agreement between the two former rivals, but since then, all bets are off, Israeli security officials caution.

“In the long run, Hamas intends to create an alternative civilian infrastructure that will enable the replacement of the PA’s secular government with an Islamic government whose ideology will be similar to that of Hamas,” according to the Israel Security Agency (ISA) – aka the Shabak.

“The Dawa network – Hamas’ socio-economic infrastructure – is a central element in Hamas’ activity and a principal method employed to achieve its goals,” according to the ISA, who contend that “Hamas’ Dawa activity appears to bequeath Islamic education and values to the Palestinians in order to make them more religious.”

“Hamas’ goal is to expand and strengthen its status among the Palestinians, bring them closer to its ideology, including the notion of Jihad against Israel, and even recruiting on its behalf supporters and partakers in terrorist activities,” according to the ISA.

But of course, the Americans and the EU are bending backwards to an extreme extent to persuade themselves that the Palestinians are ready for peace (or rather we should say "piece", then the next "piece" etc)

The video shows the support that Hamas are encouraging in the West Bank to the detriment of the PA as Hamas aims to boost West Bank support, terror via charity groups

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Harvest of Propaganda at "Tent of Nations"

I make no apologies for this long blog, but the world is constantly being hoodwinked by clever planning by the Palestinians to ensure Israel is always painted in a bad light. "Facts" are created without any relevance to reality and then when Israel reacts to the illegal action, as it has to, the Palestinian propaganda machine goes into top gear. 

The following story from CAMERA clearly describes the lengths to which Palestinians will go to, to ensure maximum coverage of their "story".
Those Christian “peace” and “justice” activists and their allies in Christian news outlets are at it again. They are passing on anti-Israel propaganda offered to them by Palestinian Christians in the West Bank as the gospel fact. The logic is, if it cuts against Israel, it must be true, because well, you know how those Israelis are (and their Palestinian friends would never mislead them).

Right now activists are broadcasting a story about the the destruction of trees in the West Bank. The trees, which were uprooted on May 19, 2014, were planted by the Nassar family, which has been operating a farm in the West Bank since the early 1900s, when the Ottoman Empire controlled the territory.

The farm, known as the Tent of Nations, is a popular destination for pro-Palestinian activists from North America and Europe who attend workshops and talks about the evils of the Israeli government and of Israelis who live nearby.

The activists who attend these talks dutifully take photos and repeat what they are told to church audiences upon their return home. During these talks, members of the Nassar family recount their legal battles with the Israeli government over title to the land.

Ready Made Conduit

As a result of these talks, the Tent of Nations had a ready-made audience when the story broke.

Daoud Nassar, who was touring the U.S. when the trees were uprooted, gave a hastily organized conference call sponsored by Churches for Middle East Peace the day after the Israelis uprooted the trees. The websites of two Christian magazines, Sojourners and Relevant, published articles about the IDF's actions after the conference call, as did Al Jazeera's blog, The Stream, and the Presbyterian Church' (USA)'s news service.
The main thrust of these stories and alerts is that by removing the trees, the IDF behaved in a lawless manner and that the Tent of Nations farm is the victim of a great injustice at the hands of the Israeli government. The Sojourners article, for example, described the farm where the demolition took place as “in the vortex of the ongoing terrible Palestinian suffering.”

The Story They Tell
The story told by Nassar and his allies in the the U.S. and Europe is that Israeli military officials removed 1,500 trees from a valley that the family has owned for generations – since the days of the Ottoman Empire.
Adding insult to injury, the IDF removed these trees one week after the Nassar family's lawyer allegedly filed an appeal with the military court that should have prevented their destruction – at least temporarily. Daoud Nassar told listeners on a conference call organized by Churches for Middle East Peace the appeal was filed on May 12, 2014.
A post on the Facebook page of the Tent of Nations said the same thing.

Problems with Story
But this story has some problems.

a) Israeli officials have communicated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the appeal about the valley where the trees were located which Nassar and Tent of Nations said was filed on May 12, 2014 was never filed.

This places the onus on Tent of Nations to prove that in fact an appeal was filed (and that this appeal relates to the valley in question), but so far the organization has ignored repeated requests from two researchers to produce the document.

Note: Jonathan Kuttab, attorney for the Tent of Nations has since provided a copy of the first page of the complaint filed on May 12, 2014. 

b) the Tent of Nations and their allies have exaggerated the number of trees removed by a factor of five. Aerial photographs indicate that about 300 trees were removed from the valley.

c)  a court ruled in December 2012 that the Nassar family does not have title to the land where the trees were removed. Moreover, aerial photographs of the plot indicate that terraces were built in the valley in 2006 and trees were planted beginning in 2007. If the Nassars have owned the land since the early 1900s, why did they wait so long to cultivate it?
Echoes of Deir Istiya?
There is very little downside for the Tent of Nations to plant trees on land that does not belong to the Nassar family. If the plantings were left unchallenged, they could at some point say the valley was theirs. And if the Israelis did come and uproot the trees as they ultimately did, it would provide fodder for more publicity.

Such cynicism may appall some readers, but there may be precedent. Edwin Black alleges that Palestinians have been paid by outside activists to plant trees in a nature preserve near a West Bank village called Deir Istiya. The goal was to generate bad publicity for Israel when soldiers removed the trees from property that has been a nature preserve since the days of the Ottomans. (Judging from this link, the strategy worked.) Black tells the story in chapter eight of his 2013 book, Financing the Flames: How Tax Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation in Israel. He writes:
Israeli attempts to protect the nature reserve by removing unauthorized, newly planted trees made for plenty of bad optics and dramatic condemnation on the blogosphere. 
Ultimately, the conflict resulted in a series of legal actions in the Israeli court with a decision to remove the some 1,400 trees from Wadi Kana. Such a removal would be a well-photographed and highly publicized spectacle of the mighty Israeli state versus the humble Arab-planted trees.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Background and Details
The controversy erupted on May 19, 2014 when Tent of Nations published the following announcement on its Facebook page:
Today at 08.00, Israeli bulldozers came to the fertile valley of the farm where we planted fruit trees 10 years ago, and destroyed the terraces and all our trees there. More than 1500 apricot and apple trees as well as grape plants were smashed and destroyed.

We informed our lawyer who is preparing the papers for appeal. Please be prepared to respond. We will need your support as you inform friends, churches and representatives when action is needed. Please wait for the moment and we will soon let you know about next steps and actions.

Thank you so much for all your support and solidarity.

Blessings and Salaam,

Subsequently, the organization posted another announcement thanking people for the emails and other expressions of support it had received in response to its previous announcement. This announcement reiterated Tent of Nations' request that its supporters prepare themselves more action on behalf of the farm.

The organization also posted a statement from its lawyer accusing Israel of removing the trees one week after the farm had filed an appeal that he insists should have put a stop to the demolition. “This action is illegal even according to the draconian military laws in place,” he wrote.

The posts on Tent of Nations' Facebook page elicited powerful emotional responses from its supporters, many of whom had visited the farm.

A supporter commented as follows:

Dear Daoud, I'm shocked by this news and it makes me sad. I remember my visit to Tent of Nations very well, and your speech in Driebergen last year also. There was and is so much inspiration and power in your way of living the gospel of peace and reconciliation. Destroying so many of your trees, partly sponsored by people all over the world longing for peace, feels like an attack, a brutal attempt to destroy that very same gospel. I pray for you and your family to overcome this disaster, to find the strength to fight a legal fight, and to keep the spirit alive "we refuse to be enimies." [Sic].
The story had exactly the impact its purveyors hoped it would. People, Christians especially, got angry and started talking about those terrible Israelis who don't live up to the requirements of the Jewish faith, destroy the gospel, and break their own laws to boot.
It's great propaganda.

Exactly How Many Trees?
One clue about the propagandistic aspect of the Tent of Nations story is that the number of trees being destroyed keeps changing from one source to the next.

For example, Citing Al-Quds, a Palestinian newspaper, POICA, an organization that monitors Israeli activities in the West Bank, reported that the "Israeli Occupation Army (IOA) razed 8 dunums of Palestinian land and uprooted 300 olive trees in Wadi Salem area in Nahhalin village, west of Bethlehem city. During the operation, the IOA declared the area as ‘close[d] military zone.'”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 500 trees, varying in age from 10 to 20 years, were removed. (On the age of the trees, the PCHR simply cannot be right because the land was not cultivated until 2007.)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that it was 600 trees that were destroyed.

Aerial photographs of the valley provided by the Israeli government indicate that approximately 300 trees were present in the valley.

Apparently, a new miracle has taken place outside of Bethlehem. Israeli bulldozers have turned 300 fruit trees into 1,500!

Conference Call Allegations
The story of the uprooting of the trees, which had generated a lot of traffic on Facebook and Twitter, got more traction as a result of the previously mentioned conference call organized by Churches for Middle East Peace. During the call, CMEP's executive director Warren Clark introduced Nassar as a Palestinian Christian who runs the Tent of Nations, an educational center that promotes non-violence.

One of the points made repeatedly on the CMEP conference call is that the Nassar family has legal title to the valley where the trees were uprooted. Speakers described the valley, which had been uncultivated prior to 2007, as part of the farm, located on a nearby hilltop that had been the family since the early 1900s.

The farm that Nassar works, Clark said, “has been the subject of protracted legal battles over the title for this land for which his ownership goes back nearly 100 years.”

After recounting the conflict Nassar has had with Israel, Clark reported that “just yesterday, members of the Israeli military bulldozed many of the trees on his farm.” (Emphasis added.)

When Nassar spoke, he described the history of his farm, stating that his family registered its claim to the land with officials from the Ottoman Empire in 1916. He also stated that the Nassars have documents from the Ottomans, the English, the Jordanians, and the Israelis establishing the family's ownership of the farm.

Nassar then described his family's legal battle with the Israeli government to keep the farm, which had initially tried to confiscate the land, which had fallen into disuse, in 1991. Under the law inherited from the Ottoman Empire, most farmers maintain claim to their land through continued cultivation.

After a few years of non-cultivation, the title reverts back to the state, which in this case is Israel, which controls the land in question as part of the Declaration of Principles it signed with the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s.

Because the Nassar family had documentation proving its ownership of the farm, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in its favor and ruled that the Nassars had the right to register their land with the Israeli government.

Nassar stated that Tent of Nations received a “cultivation stop order” for the valley in question about two months previous to the conference call and that on May 12, 2014, his lawyer filed an appeal to the order.

According to Nassar and his lawyer, this appeal should stop any actions on the part of the Israeli government to enforce the order. “Just before giving a date to the court, they came on the 19th of May and they smashed the trees.”
Sojourners repeated this charge, stating that the Nassar family was “awaiting word on an appeal submitted after military orders to stop cultivation; bulldozers came before a legal response.”
Relevant magazine also repeated the accusation, citing Tent of Nation's Facebook page. Neither Sojourners nor Relevant make any mention of contacting Israeli authorities in an effort to check out the veracity of the story they told.

The Presbyterian News Service (PNS) also repeated the allegation, stating that an appeal was filed on May 5, 2014, contrary to the date of May 12, 2012 that Nassar gave on the conference call. The PNS did not mention whether it attempted to contact Israeli officials about the allegations, suggesting that it probably did not.

In sum, it appears that three Christian news outlets – Sojourners, Relevant and the Presbyterian News Service – broadcast the story handed to them by Tent of Nations without verifying the facts and without asking the Israelis their side of the story.
Interestingly enough, Al Jazeera's blogger at The Stream did contact the Israeli government about the controversy, but did not get an immediate response.

Since the story broke, Israeli officials have stated that they have not received an appeal regarding the valley in question.

Note: Jonathan Kuttab, attorney for the Tent of Nations has provided a copy of the first page of the complaint filed on May 12, 2014. It is appended below.
Maybe the appeal got lost in the bureaucratic shuffle, but the one entity that should be able to produce the text of appeal, and proof of receipt by the Israelis, is the Tent of Nations.
This writer and one other researcher have asked Tent of Nations (via email and Twitter), to provide a copy of this complaint, but have not received any response.

The Tent of Nations remains free to produce the appeal for inspection so that outsiders can confirm (a) that it exists and (b) deals with the valley in question.

Legal Title to Valley?
The underlying question is whether or not the Tent of Nations has title to the valley where the trees were planted. Information provided by the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories (COGAT) indicates that the answer is no.

What none of the publicity surrounding the Tent of Nations story reveals is that there are two legal controversies in play.

-        The first controversy involves the hilltop property upon which the farm (“Tent of Nations”) itself is located. COGAT reports “On this plot buildings comprising an outpost were constructed without the required building permits. A legal proceeding is ongoing concerning this plot.”

-        The second controversy relates to the valley where the trees were planted. COGAT reports that in a separate proceeding before the Appeals Committee, which came to an end in 2012, the Tent of Nations failed to establish its ownership:

The December 2012 decision states clearly that the encroachers did not succeed in proving their claims of ownership in the Appeals Committee and therefore their petition was rejected, making it possible to remove the trees. As noted, this plot is designated public land.

So what is going on? It appears that the Tent of Nations and its supporters have used the story about its struggle over the hilltop farm to describe what is happening in the valley where the trees were planted and then removed.

Tent of Nations has characterized the valley in question as part of the farm to which it holds title. Aerial photographs, however, indicate that the valley was not cultivated until 2006. Images from 1990, 1999 and 2004 show the land was not cultivated at these times. This helps explain why the Appeals Committee ruled the way it did. (These photos are appended below, as is a statement from COGAT.)

Sense of Proportion?

What makes the controversy regarding uprooted trees in the West Bank so interesting is that it highlights the obsession "peace" and "justice" activists have about the Arab-Israeli conflict, or more to the point, the actions of the Jewish state.

While these folks obsess about Israel, war rages in the rest of the Middle East. In the past three years, more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed in a brutal civil war (and that's a low estimate). Islamist rebels in Syria have mutilated the corpses of their enemies and displayed them on wooden crosses.

Presbyterian General Assembly

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the story, activists have already deployed this story in an effort to influence debate at the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s upcoming General Assembly where delegates will decide on numerous proposals to divest from companies that do business with Israel. (Interestingly enough, while there are several overtures related to divestment from Israel on the agenda of the PC(USA)'s General Assembly, a recent search of the GA's agenda indicated that no overtures had been presented about the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.)

So, while undeniable atrocities take place elsewhere in the Middle East, Christian activists have, as of late, spent their time and energy broadcasting a sketchy story about evil Israelis uprooting trees in the West Bank – with the predictable references on Twitter to Deuteronomy, which condemns the removal of fruit trees during a time of war.
At least we know where their heads are at. The destruction of trees in the West Bank sparks more outrage than the murder of human beings in Syria.

Will They Learn? 
Clearly the events that took place outside of Bethlehem on May 19, 2014, as described in various Christian outlets, resonated with the anti-Israel crowd who responded to Nassar's story like lion that has been thrown red meat.

It was great propaganda that allowed people to feast on their own pre-existing hostility toward the Jewish state.

Over the years, Palestinian Christians have proven somewhat adept at providing these types of stories to their supporters in the West over the years. Outsiders have given them a lot of help in broadcasting these stories.

When will these activists wean themselves from this unwholesome diet of misinformation?
When will their religious leaders, the people responsible for their spiritual formation, insist that they change their dishonest approach to peacemaking when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict?

When will they tell their flocks in no uncertain terms that peacemaking, when divorced from truth telling, is not peacemaking, but in fact its opposite?

Appendix One -- COGAT Response

The following information was distributed by COGAT on May 29, 2014.

Additional Background Information on the "Tent of Nations" Case
(Communicated by COGAT)

The "Tent of Nations" case concerns two separate plots of land in Area C [Note: According to the Interim Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Area C is under full Israeli administrative control.]

A.   One plot is entirely on public land. This plot is where the trees were removed last week (see 1 and 2 below).

B.   Another plot is partly on public land and partly on private land. On this plot buildings comprising an outpost were constructed without the required building permits. A legal proceeding is ongoing concerning this plot (see 3 below).

1)    Aerial photographs over the years:

A series of aerial photographs taken between 1990 and 2013 (in 1990, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2013) contain the following information:

a)    Trees were removed only from public land while the trees on private land were untouched.

b)    The series of photos show that over the years, until 2006, the area was completely uncultivated.

c)    Beginning in 2006, terraces were constructed. Starting in 2007 (a process that continued through 2013), the trees were planted.

d)     A count of the trees in the aerial photographs reveals that only about 300 were uprooted and not the 500 or 1,500 that is being claimed.

2)    The decision of the Appeals Committee concerning the plot on which trees were planted:

The December 2012 decision states clearly that the encroachers did not succeed in proving their claims of ownership in the Appeals Committee and therefore their petition was rejected, making it possible to remove the trees. As noted, this plot is designated public land.

3)     The Supreme Court's response concerning the outpost:

a)    The petition to the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, refers to the 2006 case of the “Tent of Nations” outpost buildings. [The petition makes no reference to the matter of the trees.]

b)    As stated in the 2012 High Court decision, it was decided to cancel the petition with the consent of both parties. This was to allow the appellant time to legalize his construction.

c)    Since the legal process has not been completed, Israel is not evacuating the outpost buildings.