A different kind of travel
Posting today and tomorrow will be light as well.
Labels: personal stuff
Labels: personal stuff
Forces fired a surface-to-air Patriot missile at the drone, which came from the area of Quneitra - which has seen fierce clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces.
The Israel Defense Forces told the Associated Press that the drone appeared to have belonged to the Syrian military and had flown accidentally into Israeli airspace.
The IDF said that the drone was identified in Israel's air space and shot down by a ground-to-air Patriot missile. The IDF "will respond to any breach of Israel's sovereignty," Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
It is not clear whether the drone was carrying explosives or was sent to photograph aerial images. It is also not clear whether the aircraft was intentionally launched at Israel, or if it was sent in Israel's direction by mistake.Hmmm.
In his book, “Diary of a Foreign Minister,” Mr. Carr reveals that Mr. Kerry did little to discourage a U.N. Vote to recognize Palestine as a state, despite American opposition.
Mr. Carr wrote that when he met with Mr. Kerry after the vote, the secretary said Australia’s “yes” vote on a Palestinian state was “fine by him,” Business Insider reported Aug. 22.
He added that Mr. Kerry told him, “If the vote were held today the Israelis wouldn’t get a vote from anyone except themselves.”
In April, Mr. Kerry was caught on tape supporting a separate Palestinian state saying, “A unitary state winds up being an apartheid state with second-class citizens or it end up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”
Mr. Carr also revealed that Mr. Kerry had undergone plastic surgery saying he admired Mr. Kerry’s “baby-fresh skin,” but noticed “something about the skin under John Kerry’s eyes, smooth and slightly discolored,” Business Insider reported.
He added that a month later, when he saw Mr. Kerry again, “The surgical scars under his eyes I noticed in April have faded in a triumph of American cosmetic surgery.”
Thousands of local Arabs took part in the rally, which was organized by the Hamas movement in Ramallah in celebration of the hard-hit terrorist organization's supposed "victory" against Israel in Operation Protective Edge.
The rally, held in the Al-Bireh neighborhood of Ramallah, was entitled "The Pledge of Allegiance and Victory." Hamas leaders and parliamentarians in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from different parts of Judea and Samaria took part in the celebration, accompanied by leaders of other Palestinian Arab organizations.
Horse-mounted Hamas activists led the rally march, waving Hamas flags and singing the praise of Hamas's "military wing," the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades.
Children also took part in the "festivities," parading models of the rockets fired in massive barrages by Hamas terrorists at Israeli civilian centers during the terror war, as well as pictures of senior Hamas leaders assassinated by the IDF in targeted airstrikes.
Khalil al-Haya, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, gave a speech at the rally via telephone in which he emphasized the right to "resistance" against Israel.
The rally is particularly noteworthy because as mentioned above, it occurred in the heart of the PA governmental center of Ramallah.What could go wrong?
During the war, Fatah and Hamas refrained from criticizing each other and continued to insist that their reconciliation deal, which was signed last April, had not been affected.Faster... faster....
But the statement issued by Fatah shows the gap between the two parties remains as wide as ever.
The statement accused Hamas “militias” of committing the ugliest crimes and encroachments during the war against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip.
It said Hamas representatives shot and beat dozens of Fatah members, some of whom were transferred for medical treatment in Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus.
The statement said Hamas also placed more than 300 Fatah members under house arrest, exposing them to Israeli air strikes.
Other Fatah members were kept in Hamas prisons during the war, which also endangered their lives, the statement said.
Fatah said it preferred to remain silent toward the Hamas “crimes” during the war out of keenness to preserve Palestinian unity.
Fatah also accused Hamas of confiscating food and medicine sent to the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and other countries. It said Hamas distributed the aid among its men in mosques and sold some of it in the black market.
Balad MKs Jamal Zehalka and Haneen Zoabi and United Arab list head Ibrahim Sarsur sang the Palestinian national anthem at a "victory rally" for Hamas that was held Friday in the Kabul Regional Council southeast of Akko.These people sit in the Knesset! It's long past time for Balad to be banned under the law that bans parties that refuse to accept Israel's Jewish or Democratic nature (the only party ever so banned was Rabbi Meir Kahane's Kach party).
Palestinian flags draped the event, which was held under the banner "Gaza won." Two thousand people attended the event, which was organized by the Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership. A moment of silence was observed for victims of IDF strikes on Gaza.
Zoabi called upon "the occupier" to do some soul searching following Operation Protective Edge. She referred to the Gazan casualties as the "2000 martyrs who were killed among my people."
"The Palestinian resistance and the entire nation in Gaza defeated the military and political targets Israel set for itself," Zoabi told Ynet. "The struggle of our people prevented [Israel] from achieving its goals and that is the result of the war. Israelis must learn the lesson that no military power can defeat a nation that wants to live."
Thirty-two UN peacekeepers were rescued from Islamist militants who had fired on their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Saturday, the United Nations said.Arutz Sheva adds:
Another group of UN soldiers - also from the Philippines - remained trapped by the Islamists who surrounded their positions on Thursday, and a gun battle was ongoing, the UN press office said.
A Reuters cameraman spotted 11 UN armored vehicles returning to their base in Israeli-controlled territory about 12 hours after the peacekeepers came under fire at around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday.
"All 32 Filipino personnel from this position have been extricated and are now safe," the United Nations press office said in a statement issued in New York.
The remaining troops, at a separate border post, were still under mortar and heavy machine gun fire, the statement said.
"The UN peacekeepers returned fire and prevented the attackers from entering the position," it said. Officials in the Philippines have said there were a total of 72 soldiers trapped in the area.
Another 44 UNDOF peacekeepers, from Fiji, were detained by militants 8 km (5 miles) away from the Philippine troops on Thursday and remain missing.
According to reports in Syria, dozens of UN peacekeepers from the Philippines who had been holed up in two military positions in the Syrian Golan escaped io Israel Saturday. The border gates were opened up to let them in.
They had been surrounded by Syrian rebels from the Nusra Front.
Filipino UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights clashed with Syrian rebels Saturday, Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin said in Manila.
He said in an SMS statement to reporters that the Filipino troops had been "extricated" from one of their two positions but added that another group of Filipino soldiers "is now under attack".
He was referring to two positions on the Golan Heights where more than 70 Filipino troops had previously been surrounded by Syrian rebels.
The peacekeepers were besieged by rebels on Thursday but defied demands that they give up their weapons. On Friday Syrian fighters took 43 Fijian soldiers hostage on the Golan Heights.
Asked if there was a fresh firefight Saturday, Gazmin replied: "Yes".
He said the clash took place at "6am, Syria time," but added that "morale is high" among the troops.
Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala later told AFP that "there is still an ongoing standoff but there was a firefight earlier today".
"All our troops are safe," he said, adding that the defense minister and head of the military were monitoring developments. He declined to elaborate further on the incident.The Fijians are the ones who are really in trouble. They gave up their weapons.
Respect MP George Galloway was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw on Friday night after being attacked in the street.
Police arrested a British man over the incident, which is believed to have been prompted by comments Galloway has made about Israel in past weeks.
The 60-year-old was posing for pictures in Notting Hill, London, on Friday evening when a man lashed out at him, his spokesman said. Galloway gave a statement to police after a man aged 39 was arrested.
"George was posing for pictures with people and this guy just attacked him, leapt on him and started punching him," his spokesman said.
"It appears to be connected with his comments about Israel because the guy was shouting about the Holocaust. George is badly bruised but OK. He has bruising to his head and face and is in pretty bad shape."
Police said Galloway was badly injured and was being treated in a London hospital, but was in a stable condition. The arrested man remains in custody.
Last week, the MP was interviewed by police under caution after he was accused of inciting racial hatred by declaring his constituency, Bradford West, an "Israel-free zone".
In a speech he gave in Leeds on 2 August he said: "We don't want any Israeli goods; we don't want any Israeli services; we don't want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college; we don't even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so."
Galloway called the police investigation into him a "monumental – and monumentally expensive – waste of police time".Galloway was released from the hospital on Saturday morning. 39-year old Neil Masterson was charged with assaulting Galloway. Doesn't sound Jewish to me.
"The Europeans aren't really familiar with the Middle East dispute and they did not do an investigation. They are coming out of every hole here. They don't want to help, but rather to catch the Jew doing something bad. It comes from hatred," claims Tuvia Tenenbaum. "I didn't lie in this case when I presented myself as a German journalist - I wanted to know what these people think. Even if there had been a conspiracy and it had been the only way to expose the truth, I would have done it, he added.Anyone still want to argue that anti-Zionism isn't anti-Semitism? Think about that, Leftist American and European Jews.
From the beginning, "Toby" joined a group of young Italians who learned about the dispute in Schchem (Nablus) and in Israel, with funding from the European Union. But the Israeli guide, Itamar Shapira - the brother of the pilot Jonathan Shapira who refused orders and became an extreme Leftist activist - presented himself to the group as "former Jew" and said harsh things against Israel.
During a tour of Yad Vashem, Shapira chose to focus specifically on stories of the massacre at Dir Yassin [the Jenin lie of the 1948 War of Independence. CiJ] and told the young Italians that it's necessary to impose a boycott and sanctions on Israel because "we have to stop an additional Holocaust." Shapira was fired in the past from Yad Vashem after he compared the Holocaust to the Naqba [the Palestinian characterization of the creation of the State of Israel as a catastrophe. CiJ], but today he leads private groups there.
The Palestinian guide who accompanied the group was Ataf Abu Rob, a Palestinian journalist and investigator for B'Tselem who is responsible for several stories published by the [extreme Leftist Haaretz] journalist Gideon Levy. Abu Rob told "Toby" that the Holocaust is "a lie. I don't believe it."
The senior Fatah commander Jibril Rajob also opened his door after he heard about the book that "Toby" planned to publish and told him: "Israel is racist and fascist, it will be isolated like South Africa." Rajoub's close confidantes whispered to Tenenbaum "We are all German, but the only problem is that that we know that General Rommel did not succeed in coming here."
Tenenbaum's book Catch the Jew will be published this week, and he will then not be accepted as a prodigal son in the Palestinian Authority once his cover is blown.
Yad Vashem reacted: "Yad Vashem is careful that the subject of the Holocaust will be presented in detachment from any political agenda. Itamar Shapira was employed in the past as a guide in Yad Vashem and was not careful about these norms, and therefore it was decided about five years ago to terminate him [after he had worked there for three and a half years! CiJ]. Today, we allow outside guides, but we are considering changing this policy."
From B'Tselem the following reaction was received: "B'Tselem condemns any expression of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The matter will be clarified with the investigator with the full necessary seriousness." Journalist Gideon Levy added: "I traveled to the territories a number of times over the course of the years with Atef Abu Rob. I never conducted political discussions with him and I am not aware of his views. I very much hope that Holocaust denial is not one of them.
The disgraced 67-year-old star has become interested in the religion through his friendship with former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, who was imprisoned in the early 1990s and is a devout Muslim.
Simpson has been studying the Koran but failed to successfully fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
An inside said: ”O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process.
”He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam. O.J. even made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He really likes the idea that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven. O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for.”Maybe he can even just call it an honor killing.
A new revelation suggests that the tragic murder of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy''d, who was killed by terrorist mortar fire last Friday in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, may have been completely avoidable - if only the IDF was given a free hand against Hamas terrorists.The IDF doesn't set that kind of policy. The government does. Think about that over Shabbat.
Israeli TV's Channel 10 on Monday reported that residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz have said five mortar barrels have been aimed directly at their community by Gaza terrorists since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.
The residents claim the IDF told them that three of the barrels are embedded adjacent to schools where displaced Gaza residents are taking shelter, and therefore the IDF did not strike them to eliminate the threat.
They add that the IDF said the two other barrels are located adjacent to the houses of residents that the IDF was unable to contact during the course of the 50 day operation so as to ask them to leave and avoid harming them. As a result, the IDF likewise decided not to strike.
Appraising the effect of such decisions not to strike, the commander of the IAF special reconnaissance Flying Camel Squadron said recently that aborting airstrikes due to Hamas's tactics of embedding among civilians "sabotages" the operation.
Tragerman's parents said they had less than three seconds to take cover, and that their young son did not have time to avoid the mortar shrapnel. They added that they, like many residents in the Gaza Belt, will not be returning to Nahal Oz at the end of the seven-day mourning period.
UN officials shuttled along the rocky frontier between Syria and the Golan Heights on Friday, trying to establish the whereabouts of 43 United Nations peacekeepers seized by Al-Qaida-linked militants inside Syria.Read the whole thing.
Israeli forces took up positions at Quneitra, a fortified crossing between Syria and the Golan, barely 400 meters from Nusra Front militants, who attacked a UN base on the Syrian side of the border on Wednesday and seized the 43 Fijians.
About 80 UN soldiers from the Philippines, all of whom serve with UNDOF, a UN force that has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, remain locked down in two camps on the Syrian side of the frontier, military officers in the Philippines said.
Officials from UNDOF, which has about 1,200 peacekeepers from six countries operating in the zone, declined to comment as they left one of their compounds on Friday.
It is the third time in two years that UNDOF troops have been seized on the Syrian side of the demarcation zone, a measure of the instability since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began. Until then, UNDOF had been one of the quietest UN peacekeeping posts anywhere in the world.
In both previous cases those seized were released within days, UN officials said. But the situation appears to be more precarious this time. A militant close to the Nusra Front said the Fijians had been taken because they had been providing medical treatment to wounded soldiers from Assad's army.
The percentage of the public saying the country does too little has almost doubled since November, from 17 to 31 percent. Thirty-nine percent say the U.S. does too much.
Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been arguing for a more engaged in U.S. presence in the world ahead of a possible presidential run, in contrast to possible opponent Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and, to some extent, President Obama.
Despite the overall increase in those saying they want the U.S. to do more, however only 24 percent of Clinton's own party say the U.S. does too little, compared to 36 percent who say too much. For Republicans, the numbers are reversed, with 46 percent saying too much and 37 percent too little.
But The Hill doesn't mention that.
Obama’s approach to foreign policy continues to be viewed as not tough enough: 54% say Obama is not tough enough in his approach on foreign policy and national security issues, while 36% say his approach is about right and just 3% say he is too tough.Are Americans waking up to the disaster Obama has wrought? We can only hope.
ABP, the Netherlands’ €325bn civil service pension fund, has said it will not divest from three Israeli banks due to their alleged involvement in the so-called occupied territories of the West Bank.
In a statement, the board responded to an open letter from Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop for South Africa, who recently waded into the debate over whether the Dutch pension fund should remain invested in the banks.
The board said it would stick with its existing policy for responsible investment and that, “based on objective and rational criteria, the investments are not in violation of national or international legislation”.
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, argued that ABP had in effect contributed to human rights violations through its €68m investment in Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot.
The ABP board discussed Tutu’s letter today, together with a petition calling for divestment signed by more than 1.7m people.
The petition was organised by Avaaz, an online civic organisation promoting activism.
The former archbishop’s letter comes as a report commissioned by Avaaz claimed that roughly 50% of the Dutch public believes ABP’s commitment to the banks is “irresponsible”.
Of the 1,000 respondents to the survey, 10% said ABP’s stakes in the banks were of no concern, while approximately 40% said they had no opinion on the matter.
The survey asked: “If the directors keep ABP’s investments in Israeli banks that support the settlement of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers, would you view their decision as responsible or irresponsible?”
Earlier this year, the €152bn healthcare scheme PFZW made the controversial decision to divest from five Israeli banks, including those in which ABP is invested.Wouldn't it be nice if PFZW reconsidered?
Whether Professor Schabas thinks he can adjudicate the accusations against Israel fairly and independently has no bearing on the question of impartiality. Judicial disqualification is not dependent on the judge’s subjective assessment of impartiality but is based on an objective test of whether the reasonable person aware of the facts and circumstances might consider the judge to be biased. For example, the Rome Statute authorizing the International Criminal Court provides: “A judge shall not participate in any case in which his impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground.” Even more directly, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence applicable to the Rome Statute establishes as a “ground for disqualification of a judge” the “[e]xpression of opinions, through the communications media in writing or in public actions, that objectively, could adversely affect the required impartiality of the person concerned.”
Moreover, Professor Schabas himself instructs that war crimes’ tribunal judges should be disqualified where there is even the appearance of bias under the objective test. In his book on the UN War Crime Tribunals, Professor Schabas wrote: “A judge may be disqualified in any case in which he or she has a personal interest, or some other association which might affect his or her impartiality. The test is one of ‘reasonable apprehension of bias.’”
Professor Schabas must concede that UN fact-finding commissions are subject to these same standards of judicial impartiality. In various interviews, Professor Schabas has emphasized that he and others conducting the fact-finding are obliged to be as impartial as any judge. Professor Schabas is also likely aware of Professor Thomas Franck’s seminal article relevant to UN fact-finding entitled Procedural Due Process in Human Rights Fact-Finding By International Agencies in which “choice of fact-finders” is one of the “key indicators of procedural probity.” As Professor Franck wrote: “impartiality. . . certainly implies that persons conducting an investigation should be, and should be seen to be, free of commitment to a preconceived outcome.”
Perhaps Professor Schabas considers there to be only a few expert scholars with the necessary knowledge and skills to function as UN fact-finders investigating Israel. Such elitism, however, should never be rationalized as an excuse for suppressing the fundamental due process protections safeguarding judicial impartiality. If Professor Schabas genuinely cares about the integrity and fairness of UN fact-finding, he should immediately recuse himself from the commission. Otherwise, Professor Schabas and the Human Rights Council have only themselves to blame for discrediting this commission as legally invalid.Read the whole thing.
Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the IDF had won while Israel had lost, while 32% percent disagreed and 7% did not have an opinion.Notice that the Tzippi Livni party - which Netanyahu fawned over in the aftermath of the last elections - disappeared.
Respondents expressed frustration with the cease-fire that ended the operation with Hamas still in power in the Gaza Strip. Fifty-eight percent said the IDF should have been allowed to continue the operation in order to degrade the terrorist organization’s military abilities and called the truce a mistake that wastes the achievements of the Israeli armed forces.
Thirty-three percent said the cease-fire was a correct step that could lead toward a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian conflict via PA President Mahmoud Abbas and moderate Arab states like Egypt, and 9% had no opinion.
While a Channel 2 poll broadcasted on Wednesday found that only 32% of Israelis were satisfied with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, he fared better in the Post’s survey.
Nearly half of the respondents, 49%, said they were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance, 26% said it was mediocre, 20% called it bad, and 5% had no opinion.
When asked which party they would vote for if an election were held now, respondents went overwhelmingly with the Right. According to the poll, the Right would win 84 of the 120 Knesset seats, up from its current 61.
The Likud would win 32 mandates, Bayit Yehudi 18, Yisrael Beytenu 17, Labor 12, United Torah Judaism 10, Yesh Atid nine, Shas seven, Meretz six and Arab parties nine.
Well, it started with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon attacking [Kerry] publicly during the peace process, which I attribute to two things. One, the defense minister had a very clear sense of what Israel's security needs are and they do not include withdrawing the Israeli army from the Jordan River, which would have to be addressed in the peace negotiations if there was to be a deal. So I think there was a substantive disagreement, but the lack of respect was truly disturbing, specifically given the importance of American security assistance for the well-being of Israel's defense, for which the defense minister is responsible.
But it got completely out of control during the Gaza crisis, where the secretary was assailed for supposedly betraying Israel because he was trying to work with the prime minister on a cease-fire, and he engaged with Qatar and Turkey to test whether they could influence Hamas to stop firing the rockets. And that criticism came not just from the right but from pundits on the left as well -- Haaretz published three articles by their journalists attacking Kerry. I think that's a product of a particular circumstance in which Israelis felt very much isolated, on their own -- that the world didn't understand them. In that defensive crouch, I think they were waiting for a betrayal by the United States even though the secretary and the president repeatedly supported their right to defend themselves. So they interpreted the secretary's actions as being designed to undermine Israel in favor of Hamas and undermine its burgeoning alignment with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth but that was the perception and, unfortunately, it was a line fed by some unnamed Israeli officials, one of whom described Kerry as launching "a strategic terror attack." That was just outrageous and it enraged the president.Wehner:
Think about this for a moment. In a neighborhood featuring Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors, President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel. That’s right, Israel–our stalwart ally, a lighthouse of liberty, lawfulness, and human rights in a region characterized by despotism, and a nation filled with people who long for peace and have done so much for so long to sacrifice for it (including repeatedly returning and offering to return its land in exchange for peace).
Yet Mr. Obama–a man renowned for his lack of strong feelings, his emotional equanimity, his disengagement and distance from events, who New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd refers to as “Spock” for his Vulcan-like detachment–is not just upset but “enraged” at Israel.
Add to this the fact that the conflict with Hamas in Gaza–a conflict started and escalated by Hamas, and in which Hamas used innocent Palestinians as human shields–had a very negative impact on America’s relationship with Israel. To show you just how absurd this has become, other Arab nations were siding with Israel in its conflict with Hamas. But not America under Obama. He was constantly applying pressure on Israel. Apparently if you’re a nation defending yourself and, in doing so, you wage a war with exquisite care in order to prevent civilian death, it is reason to earn the fury of Mr. Obama.
It’s clear to me, and by now it should be to others, that there is something sinister in Barack Obama’s constant anger aimed at Israel.Most pro-Israel President evah? Don't believe it for a minute.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, John Kerry, Martin Indyk, Middle East peace process, Obama's obsession with Israel, Obama's obsession with Palestinians, Operation Protective Edge
According to Yisrael Erlich, a United Hatzalah worker who was among the first on the scene, the body, found using a GPS program, closely matched the description of the 23-year-old, red-headed yeshiva student, who has spent the last year studying in Jerusalem.If this is true, May God Comfort the family among all mourners for Zion and Jerusalem, and may they know of no more sorrow.
“Soon after beginning our search we came across a man’s body among the shrubbery that seemed to match the missing student’s description,” said Erlich. “We immediately notified the police via our phone app, and a large group of police and rapid-responders quickly appeared on the scene.”
“I was not expecting the incident to end in such a horrific tragedy,” he continued.
The discovery was announced at approximately 5 p.m., less than five hours before a planned press conference and prayer vigil at the Western Wall arranged by Sofer’s parents was set to take place. Moshe and Chulda Sofer had previously flown in to Israel from Lakewood, New Jersey, to aid in the search.
In comments likely to irritate Washington, Lavrov said the United States had made the same mistake with Islamic State as it had with al-Qaida, which emerged in the 1980s when U.S.-backed Islamist insurgents were fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
"I think Western politicians are already realizing the growing and fast-spreading threat of terrorism," Lavrov said, referring to Islamic State advances in Syria and Iraq.
"And they will soon have to choose what is more important: a (Syrian) regime change to satisfy personal antipathies, risking deterioration of the situation beyond any control, or finding pragmatic ways to unite efforts against the common threat."
Russia has been Assad's most prominent international backer in the civil war that broke out in early 2011 and in which the U.S. and the West, as well as many Gulf and Arab states, backed the rebels seeking to oust him.
Islamic State has now emerged as the strongest rebel faction, capturing large areas of both Syria and Iraq and declaring a caliphate on the territory it controls.
"At the start the Americans and some Europeans rather welcomed (Islamic State) on the basis it was fighting against Bashar al-Assad. They welcomed it as they welcomed the mujahideen who later created al-Qaida, and then al-Qaida struck like a boomerang on Sept. 11, 2001," Lavrov said.
"The same thing is happening now," he said, adding that the U.S. had only started fighting the group after it began rampaging across Iraq and approaching the capital Baghdad.
The U.S. has conducted more than 90 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, and Washington is considering taking its fight against the militants to neighboring Syria.
Damascus said on Monday it must be involved in coordinating any air strikes on its territory.
Backing this stance, Lavrov said: "If... there are plans to combat Islamic State on the territory of Syria and other countries, it is indispensable that it is done in cooperation with legitimate authorities (there)."
Having long been denounced by Washington and others for protecting Assad, Lavrov made clear that Russia now feels vindicated.
"At one time we were accused of supporting Bashar al-Assad and preventing his overthrow.... Now no one is talking about that," he said.
The Americans and Europeans were now starting to acknowledge "the truth they have long recognized in private conversations: namely that for the region and for the interests of the West, the main threat is not the regime of Bashar al-Assad but the possible threat of seizure of power by terrorists in Syria and other states of the region."Lavrov doesn't deserve to say 'I told you so.'
Unlike the Gaza leader and former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Mashaal has not welcomed the cease-fire and according to some reports he has been telling his associates that the cease-fire underscored a colossal failure on the part of Hamas. Mashaal's deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is close to the Egyptian regime, has sided with Haniyeh in the ongoing internal feud.
Only several thousand Palestinians attended a Hamas rally celebrating the cease-fire on Wednesday, a significant drop compared to the celebration following other rounds of hostilities. "The Palestinian resistance, its courage and determination surprised the Zionist occupation forces," Haniyeh told the Gazan crowds. "No words can truly capture the scope of the victory; it is beyond time and space," he continued. "This campaign is not like any war we have seen in this conflict with our enemy," he said.
This was the first time Haniyeh appeared in public in more than 50 days, having chosen to lay low during Operation Protective Edge. According to unverified reports, Haniyeh was admitted to a Gaza hospital on Wednesday.
The rumor is that Haniyeh had a heart attack and is back in Shifa where he's been for the last seven weeks. Poetic justice.
A senior Gazan official told the Arab media outlets Wednesday that in light of significant damage to schools, there was a real possibility that the start of the school year would be delayed. He said many schools had been damaged and those that have remained in tact were now occupied by displaced Gazans. A senior Palestinian official told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that it would take at least 10 to 15 years to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
The al-Arabiya network reported that militants fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with al-Qaeda, kidnapped soldiers of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. According to reports, those abducted include 40 soldiers of Philippine origin.Meanwhile, Irish forces in the same group are reported to be hunkered down, but safe.
Irish soldiers with #UNDOF on Golan Heights in 'Groundhog' over fierce clashes in their AO. All personnel safe, but it's clearly hairy.And this is really likely to convince other countries to send their troops to this area as 'peacekeeping forces'....
— Michael O'Toole (@mickthehack) August 27, 2014
Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi is attacking a recent statement by US President Barack Obama to the New York Times as "dangerous" because in it According to Ashrawi, "speaking about the Jews' return to their land" is "extremist Zionist ideology."Let's go to the videotape.
Channel 2 reported that a three-person committee made up of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will supervise the [reconstruction] process and determine what goods are allowed in.So we're relying on the UN's Serry to control the 'Palestinians.' What could go wrong?
[Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil] Sha'ath said that the PA expected the Security Council to comply with its demands; if it does not do so, the Authority will seek help from the International Court of Justice in The Hague. There, the PA will demand that Israeli officials be charged as “war criminals” for the damage caused to Gaza, as the IDF responded to incessant rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilian population centers.
It should be noted that if the PA does take its case to the Court, it will have to become a full-fledged member of that organization. While the PA has in the past sought membership in international organizations, Israeli officials said that they were unlikely to seek membership in the Court, because it would open them up to being charged with war crimes.
On Wednesday, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, submitted a list of Hamas war crimes that took place during Operation Protective Edge to the UN Security Council. In a message accompanying the list, Prosor wrote that “despite the fact that the Council recognizes that Hamas has committed war crimes, nothing has been done yet about them.”
Prosor submitted a lengthy, detailed list of all the rockets fired by Hamas – their targets and the damage they caused – with nearly all of them fired at civilian targets, which in itself is a war crime, as well as many examples of Hamas using the Gaza civilian population as human shields, launching attacks from homes, schools, and hospitals. “I expect the Security Council to loudly condemn Hamas' activities. The Council cannot remain silent over the use by Hamas of Gaza civilians as human shields.”Good luck with that list. The world doesn't give a damn when Muslims kill other Muslims or get them killed. Ask the Syrians about that. And as to them shooting at the Jews... hey... that was 'self-defense' because Israel didn't give them Iron Dome.
The Palestinians also intend to form a permanent unity government that has the complete backing of Hamas in hopes that such a government would expedite the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.And guess who Israel will rely on to ensure that money doesn't go to waste.... OUR friends, Saudis.
“In cease-fire discussions, Israel was forced to give up on its demand that Hamas decommission its weapons, and this was due to American pressure,” Shaath told Ma’an.
The PA will lead coordination of the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union, Qatar, Turkey and Norway. Saudi Arabia is also likely to be a major donor, with the expectation in Jerusalem being that unlike Qatar, it will take pains to ensure that its funds will not be directed to Hamas, but rather to build up the PA.What could go wrong?
Consider the case of Jon Voight.Read the whole thing.
The celebrated Oscar-winning actor is an outspoken champion of Israel. Earlier this month, Voight published an open letter to Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in Variety where he harshly criticized the Spanish performers for their public statement condemning Israel and siding with Hamas in its war against the Jewish state.
In his words, “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.”
Last week, two UCLA professors, Mark LeVine and Gil Hochberg, co-authored an article published in The Huffington Post assaulting him for his views and his temerity to suggest that Israel is a moral, embattled democracy fighting genocidal forces committed to its destruction.
The two Jewish academics are supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The principal aim of the BDS movement is to make it socially unacceptable to support Israel. In 2010 LeVine and Hochberg signed a petition calling for California state universities to divest from companies that do business with Israel.
Online Hollywood commentators, such as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, opined that Voight, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in Showtime’s Ray Donovan series, was liable to lose his Emmy bid due to his support for Israel.
Hochberg and LeVine’s assault on Voight was a long-winded voyage into the post-Zionist and anti-Zionist literary moonscape. Their principal criticism of Voight was that he refuses to accept this intellectual wasteland’s rejection of the known facts of history.
Voight is not an academic, nor has he ever claimed to be an expert on Middle Eastern history. He is a non-Jewish American concerned about the future of America.
That is why he stands with Israel. Voight recognizes that when Israel is under assault, and its right to defend itself is denied while terrorists are supported, the US is endangered. And so he feels compelled to speak out, regardless of the price.
Another non-Jewish champion of Israel is former US senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. Both during his tenure in the Senate and since, Santorum has spoken out strongly against Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that it is a serious threat not only to Israel, but to the US itself.
Like Voight, Santorum recognizes that the fate of the US is directly tied to the fate of Israel.
For his trenchant support for Israel, and his outspoken concern about Iran’s nuclear program, as well as his support for domestic issues where he has not shied away from taking controversial, inconvenient position, Santorum’s critics have demonized him.
Last week, Santorum led a solidarity mission to Israel. The majority of his colleagues were non-Jewish opinion shapers from Iowa, the first state to hold Republican presidential contests. Santorum explained that his goal in coming to Israel was not simply to show Israelis that the American people support us. It was to build support among Republicans in Iowa for a robust US engagement in foreign affairs based on supporting Israel, fighting America’s enemies and preventing the forces of hatred, like Hamas and Iran, from expanding their power.
Santorum’s chief concern is that weary of foreign policy failures, more and more Republicans are embracing the isolationism most identified with Senator Rand Paul. Paul is currently polling well in Iowa.
Santorum is convinced that if Iowans are educated about the nature of the threats emanating from the region, and of Israel’s singular contribution to the cause of freedom and stability, their position can become the basis for a Republican foreign policy that rejects isolationism and embraces US leadership in world affairs as the only way to secure the US and strengthen its embattled allies.
In other words, like Voight, Santorum’s support for Israel is rooted in his concern about America, and its future. Like Voight, Santorum recognizes that the growing penchant among elite opinion shapers to ignore truth in the pursuit of moral relativism and fake sophistication or isolationism constitutes a danger to America.
According to a report on the Lebanese Al Mayadeen TV channel, considered a mouthpiece for the Hezbollah terror group, an Israeli drone exploded in mid-air over Baghdad. The report claims that the drone was another Hermes-class craft, the same type of drone that Iran claims fell over its airspace earlier this week.
The report said that Iraqi army officials had gathered up what was left of the drone, but were not commenting on the incident at this time. A reporter on the ground in Baghdad said that staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad rushed to the scene of the crash in order to assess the situation.
On Monday, Iran claimed to have downed an Israeli drone as well. “A spy drone of the Zionist regime (Israel) was brought down by a missile... This stealth drone was trying to approach the Natanz nuclear zone," the corps said in a statement on its official website sepahnews.com. “This act demonstrates a new adventurism by the Zionist regime... The Revolutionary Guard and the other armed forces reserve the right to respond to this act," the statement added.
Iranian officials said that the drone was an Israeli-made "Hermes" drone with a maximum flight range of 1,600 km (994 miles) and a 800-km (500 mile) combat radius. The UAV's wings have a 5.5 meter (about 18 feet) wingspan, he added, and two high-quality cameras were mounted on each end to capture precise images. The Al Mayadeen report said that the drone that fell over Baghdad was of the same type.The drone that was shot down over Natanz is widely believed to belong to Azerbaijan. Hamas also claimed to have shot down an Israeli drone last week, but has yet to provide any evidence. The government and the IDF have had no comment about any of the drones supposedly shot down.
According to the Arab-language Al-Mayadin television network, the Hermes Model drone was shot down near Baghdad Airport.
The Iranian news agency Fars reported that American embassy personnel rushed to the site of the crashed drone to collect debris and remains.
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