Friday, December 21, 2018

Palestinian Children: Victims of Arab Apartheid - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Where are all the international human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups around the world that feign concern for the suffering of the Palestinians?

  • According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), "legal prohibitions persist on access for Palestinian refugees to 36 liberal or syndicated professions (including in medicine, farming, fishery, and public transportation)... In order to work, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are required to obtain an annual work permit. Following a change in the law in 2001, Palestinian refugees are reportedly prevented from legal acquiring, transferring or inheriting real property in Lebanon."
  • The latest failure serves as a reminder of the apartheid and discrimination Palestinians face in Lebanon. According to various human rights organizations, Palestinians there suffer systematic discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life. The UNHCR also points out that the Palestinians in Lebanon do not have access to Lebanese public health services and rely mostly on UNRWA for health services, as well as non-profit organizations and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The Palestinians are also denied access to Lebanese public schools.
  • Where are all the international human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups around the world that feign concern for the suffering of the Palestinians? Will they remain silent over the neglect of Wahbeh because because he died in an Arab country and Israel had nothing to do with his death?

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has denied responsibility for the death in Lebanon this week of a three-year-old Palestinian boy from the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, after Lebanese hospitals refused to receive him because his parents were unable to cover the cost of his medical treatment. Pictured: The Wavel Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, administered by UNRWA. (Image source: European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations/Flickr)

Mohammed Majdi Wahbeh, a three-year-old Palestinian boy from the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, is the latest victim of apartheid and discriminatory laws targeting Palestinians in an Arab country.

Wahbeh was pronounced dead this week after Lebanese hospitals refused to receive him because his parents were unable to cover the cost of his medical treatment. According to reports in the Lebanese media, one hospital asked the boy's family to pay $2,000 for his admittance. The boy had been in coma for three days before his death, but no hospital agreed to receive him because his family could not afford to cover the expenses of his treatment.

The death of the Palestinian boy at the entrance to the hospital has sparked a wave of anger among many Lebanese and Palestinians. Addressing the Lebanese Minister of Health, Ghassan Husbani, Lebanese journalist Dima Sadek wrote on Twitter:
"Mr. Minister, as residents, we ask you: Why did a three-year-old boy die at the entrance to a hospital, and who issued the order to prevent him from being admitted? Doesn't your ministry bear responsibility? Since when does an illness differentiate between a Palestinian boy and a Lebanese boy? What is your responsibility with regard to this crime?"
Prominent Lebanese journalist and TV host, Neshan Der Haroutiounian, posted a video on social media of the dead boy lying on a hospital bed, his grandmother crying nearby. In the video, the grandmother complains: "No one cares about us the Palestinians." In a tweet accompanying the video, the journalist wrote: "This Palestinian boy died in Lebanon. He was three years old."
Rabia Zayyat, another famous Lebanese journalist, took to Twitter to express her outrage.
"Oh My God! How can a boy die at the entrance to a hospital because of a bunch of dollars? If the hospital has no mercy, couldn't its administration have phoned an official to cover the cost instead of the money spent on a party or banquet? How can we continue to live in a country that doesn't acknowledge human rights?"
Hussein Banjak, a Lebanese resident, also expressed outrage and disgust over the death of the boy because of his family's inability to pay the cost of his treatment:
"The boy was killed in my country, without war, by those who have no conscience. He died because of $2,000 - the cost of a leader's ties, the cost of the shoe of a leader's wife, the cost of a bottle of cologne for the son of a leader, the cost of a leader's handbag, the cost of medicine for a leader's dog."
The Lebanese Ministry of Health said in a statement that the Palestinian boy had previously been admitted to three different hospitals, where he had undergone surgery on his head. According to the ministry, Wahbeh was admitted to the Tripoli Government Hospital on December 17. The statement continued that his previous medical bills had been covered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). "He died inside the hospital," the ministry said, denying claims that he has died at the entrance.

The ministry's statement lays the blame at the door of UNRWA for refusing to cover the cost of his admission to the last hospital.

UNRWA, for its part, has denied responsibility: representatives said that it had provided financial and medical coverage for the boy. According to the agency, the doctors tried to transfer Wahbeh to a pediatric intensive care unit in another hospital, but were told that there was no room in any of Lebanon's hospitals.

To protest the death of the boy, Palestinians in Nahr al-Bared camp took to the streets, where they burned tires and blocked roads as they chanted slogans condemning both UNRWA and the Lebanese authorities for their failure to save the boy's life.

The tragedy of the Palestinian boy was not the first of its kind in Lebanon. In 2011, another Palestinian boy, Mohammed Nabil Taha, age 11, also died at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital, after doctors refused to receive him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.
The latest failure serves as a reminder of the apartheid and discrimination Palestinians face in Lebanon. According to various human rights organizations, Palestinians there suffer systematic discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life. They are prohibited from working in most professions, including medicine and transportation.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
"... legal prohibitions persist on access for Palestinian refugees to 36 liberal or syndicated professions (including in medicine, farming, fishery, and public transportation). Moreover, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have reportedly only partial access to the National Social Security Fund. In order to work, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are required to obtain an annual work permit. Following a change in the law in 2001, Palestinian refugees are reportedly prevented from legal acquiring, transferring or inheriting real property in Lebanon."
As if that were not enough, the UNHCR also points out that the Palestinians in Lebanon do not have access to Lebanese public health services and rely mostly on UNRWA for health services, as well as non-profit organizations and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The Palestinians are also denied access to Lebanese public schools.

Lebanon's leaders, however, appear to be living in denial and engaging in deception. Instead of acknowledging that Palestinians suffer from discrimination and apartheid in this Arab country, the leaders of Lebanon are trying to point an accusatory finger at Israel. Several Lebanese leaders, including President Michel Aoun, continue to accuse Israel of practicing "racism" against Palestinians.

These accusations represent the height of hypocrisy on the part of an Arab country that denies Palestinians most basic rights. By shifting the blame to Israel, the leaders of the apartheid regime in Lebanon are trying to cover up for their mistreatment and discrimination of the Palestinians living among them.

A country that denies urgent medical treatment to a three-year-old boy is not entitled to continue lying to the world that it supports the Palestinians and their cause.

Finally, the question that arises whenever one hears about such tragedies is: Where are all the international human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups around the world that feign concern for the suffering of the Palestinians? Will they remain silent over the neglect of Wahbeh because because he died in an Arab country and Israel had nothing to do with his death?

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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The Palestinian pioneering spirit - Barry Shaw

by Barry Shaw

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

New inventions in the last year include flaming kites and bomb balloons to burn and destroy the land they falsely claim to be theirs.

When a nation or culture is judged on its success or failure as a nation, one is required to evaluate what unique and positive developments it gave to its people and to mankind.

 With this in mind, it’s worth examining what has been the exceptional prowess we associate with the word "Palestinians."

In a brief history, we remind ourselves that a nation or state called Palestine never existed. The name was an insult, a curse to obliterate the vanquished nation of Israel two millennia ago by the Romans. Today, we have come full circle with Arabs using the term Palestine as an insult and a curse as they attempt to obliterate the modern State of Israel.

A century ago, those described a carrying the term “Palestinians” were mainly the Jews who inhabited the district of Greater Syria, a barren and barely inhabited area of the fading Ottoman Empire, an empire that died after Turkey foolishly allied itself with Germany in World War One and was defeated by the British-led Expeditionary army aided by a volunteer force of Palestinian Jews who fought and died to liberate the land.

The Arabs, during and after the Great War, disliked being called "Palestinian." In 1937, the Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, told the United Nations Peel Commission on Palestine that “there is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented. Palestine in alien to us.  Our land was for hundreds of years a part of Syria.” 

This was confirmed decades later in 1970 by no less than Yasser Arafat who admitted in an interview with Italian journalist, Arianna Palazzi, that, “Palestine is nothing but a drop in an enormous ocean…What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine.”

They were right. A century ago the Arabs much preferred to live under the tutelage of an Arab ruler based in Damascus. No Arab fought to rid themselves of the Turks west of the River Jordan, and the Arabs east of the Jordan only fought for the Hashemite sheikhs in return for gold, weapons, or booty. When this was not forthcoming by the Britain they drifted back into the desert until money enticed them back to the battlefield.

In honoring the contribution of the Jews of Palestine in helping to defeat the Turks the post-war world governing body, the League of Nations, agreed unanimously, including the Arab vote, to mandate the establishment in Palestine of the national home of the Jewish people encouraging them to pursue close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

They did this in recognition of “the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

It’s worth repeating. The League of Nations Mandate received the approval of the leading Arab voices who were satisfied that the local Arabs would not be harmed by this arrangement as stipulated by the condition that “nothing shall be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

The Arab leaders agreed to the terms of the mandate because they were in line to receive their share of lands including Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

A significant result of the Mandate was a further boost to the Zionist enterprise in mandated Palestine. The Jews in Palestine developed the land, built the infrastructure and the industries required to sustain a rapidly growing population.

The early pioneering spirit in Palestine was seen in the construction of the Palestine Electric Company in 1923 by Pinchas Rutenberg, a Palestinian Jew, the introduction of the Palestine Post in 1932 by another Palestinian Jew, Gershon Agron. This national, later international, newspaper became the Jerusalem Post in 1950. The Zionist enterprise needed to be financed and this was established by the Anglo-Palestine Bank in 1902 set up by Palestinian Jews which became Bank Leumi after Israel declared its independence in 1948. Palestinian Jewish farmers and tillers of the land created the unique collective agricultural settlements known as the kibbutz. The agronomists and geologists were Palestinian Jews.

In advance of statehood the Jews were busy developing the needs of a people deserving of a nation of their own. All this attracted a mass immigration of Arabs from the region into Palestine for economic reasons as a result of the Zionist enterprise.

Later, the Arab urge for nationalism in Palestine grew out of envy, even greed and ambition for conquest, as they saw the Jewish endeavor flourish. The fundamental loathing in seeing the Jews succeed went against their core belief.

When five Arab armies failed to destroy the Jewish state the local Arab gangs continued their looting, pillaging, and killing against the Jewish settlers and farmers, particularly in isolated settlements.

Under a man born in Egypt, but pretending to be a Palestinian Arab, they began to jell into organized terror groups. Yasser Arafat took to the world stage with a slogan and with shocking violence.

Palestine suddenly became the nom-de-plume for Arabs living in parts of the Jewish State, namely in Judea & Samaria - which the international community renamed the 'West Bank'- and the Gaza Strip. Then, everything began to be called “Palestine” as in the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, etc. Perversely, terrorism was portrayed as a human rights issue, a reclamation of stolen land, a release from oppression and occupation.

The adoption of the name “Palestine” was followed by the creation of a legend, a history of a people who had been robbed of their heritage by those dastardly Jews from Europe. An injustice, a human rights crime, had supposedly been inflicted by the Jews on the “indigenous population of Palestine.”

As someone once said, if you tell a lie loud and often enough stupid people eventually believe it to be true and rally to your cause. And so the legend became an accepted truth and once manufactured as victimhood and suffering they lobbied and protested for recognition and legislation, even sanctions, against the perpetrators of their “persecution,” the Zionists.

So the first contribution the new Palestinians gave the world was the art of deception. Their version of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” became “How to convince people you are the victim in order to convict your enemy.”

The pinnacle of this deception was the award of a Nobel Peace Prize to the world’s first arch-terrorist in contemporary history, Yasser Arafat, he of the Munich Olympic Games massacre, among his numerous murderous achievements. Here was another Palestinian first. Using a massacre at an international sporting event to gain global publicity to a cause.

How else have Palestinians impacted people globally? Palestinian terrorism created a new norm in air travel, namely huge inconvenience for travelers and massive security costs and headaches for airports and airlines which increase the cost of air travel to us consumers.

They were the pioneers of plane hijackings and airport terror attacks that gained the attention of the world media. On 9/11 a bunch of Saudi terrorists combined plane hijacking and suicide missions on a horrendous scale, but it was the Palestinian Arabs that led the way in forcing us to arrive at airports three hours before our flights, to have our baggage and our bodies checked, to be treated like suspects. Thank the Palestinians for these modern day inconveniences brought about by their earlier plane hijackings and airport attacks.

Israelis had to react to Palestinian Arab bus bombings, but why confine ourselves to buses? The Palestinian Arabs also blew up planes, hotels, restaurants, markets, shopping malls when they are not shooting and stabbing Israeli civilians on the street or launching heavy barrages of missiles and rockets into civilian centers.

The Palestinians are an inventive people. Not satisfied with attempting to murder people on the land and in the air they now have units of underwater frogmen who can sneak into Israel by sea to attack convenient targets close to the coast in surprise terror raids. 

They are also the pioneers in attacking villages and towns via underground terror tunnels in which their trained killers can emerge kill or capture civilians or soldiers and hold them for ransom in exchange for their incarcerated killers.  This practice is now being exploited by their fellow terror merchants, Hezbollah in Lebanon. 

New inventions in the last year include flaming kites and bomb balloons to burn and destroy the land they wrongly claim to be theirs.

I have tried hard to find any valuable contribution the Palestinian Arabs have made to mankind. Sadly, I have to admit that I failed. If you can think of anything beneficial they have given us, please let me know. Because, quite frankly, I couldn’t come up with a thing.

The Palestinian Hall of Contributions to Mankind is as empty as the recently opened Palestine History Museum in Ramallah, an impressive building lacking historic content.

You would think that millions of people in search of statehood would make their mark in something other than death and destruction.

But they haven’t, and there is no sign they will do so any day soon.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and from Steimatzky bookstores in Israel.


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Does China's Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Missile Threaten U.S. Deterrence? - Debalina Ghoshal

by Debalina Ghoshal

China is no doubt assuming that if its ICBMs can reach the United States mainland, they will deter the U.S. from interfering in China's affairs in the South- and East China Seas.

  • U.S. officials revealed in August that China had test-fired a hypersonic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and of thwarting missile-defense systems. About two months earlier, China tested the advanced DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It has a range of 12,000-15,000 km, and is capable of carrying 10 miniaturized nuclear warheads.
  • China is no doubt assuming that if its ICBMs can reach the United States mainland, they will deter the U.S. from interfering in China's affairs in the South- and East China Seas.

China is no doubt assuming that if its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) can reach the United States mainland, they will deter the U.S. from interfering in China's affairs in the South- and East China Seas. Pictured: A DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, on display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution in China. (Image source: Tyg728/Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. officials revealed in August that China had test-fired a hypersonic missile -- the Xingkong-2 or Starry Sky-2 -- capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and of thwarting missile-defense systems. Although this was the first such test that was openly acknowledged by Beijing, it was, according to the Washington Free Beacon, merely one of many that the U.S. has been monitoring.

About two months earlier, China tested the DF-41 -- one of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). It has a range of 12,000-15,000 km, and is capable of carrying 10 miniaturized nuclear warheads, rather than a single large one.

These miniaturized nuclear warheads on a single ballistic missile are referred to as "multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles" (MIRVs). MIRV-ing a missile enables it to counter enemy missile-defense systems. Because the DF-41 uses solid rather than liquid fuel -- as does the DF-5 ICBM -- it is more mobile and its launching requires less preparation time. Although it can be dispatched from mobile launchers, it can also be launched from silos. Over the years, China has developed dummy silos -- to confuse the enemy and force it to have to distinguish between real and fake ones.

The DF-41 can also be canister-launched. This is a cause for concern, because until now, China has kept its nuclear warheads and delivery systems separate, as part of its "no first use" doctrine, but canister launches require the missile to be fitted with nuclear warheads. And when the missile is fitted with nuclear warheads, its attack time decreases considerably, thus enhancing China's nuclear deterrence and increasing both the mobility and operational flexibility of the missile.

China is no doubt assuming that if its ICBMs can reach the United States mainland, they will deter the US from interfering in China's affairs in the South and East China Seas.

Although the United States is improving the National Missile Defense (NMD) and Theater Missile Defense (TMD) programs, and counting on them to protect its homeland from enemy attack, its current ability to intercept China's ICBMs remains to be seen. China is working unrelentingly to make up for its quantitative disadvantage in its nuclear arms race against the U.S. by competing qualitatively. This development is not something about which the United States can afford to be complacent.

Debalina Ghoshal, an independent consultant specializing in nuclear and missile issues, is based in India.


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A Warning from Xi Jinping - Chriss Street

by Chriss Street

China President Xi says "unimaginable" perils demand Communist Party control.

President Xi Jinping opened the 40th Anniversary of China’s reform by warning of “unimaginable” perils that only his leadership of the Communist Party can control.

When Communist Party General Secretary Deng Xiaoping announced on December 18, 1978 that China would take steps to open engagement and welcome some capitalism, he told China leaders to: “Hide your strength, bide your time, never take the lead.”

But confronted by President Donald Trump’s multifaceted macroeconomic and geopolitical efforts to use trade, diplomacy, and military muscle to counter “Made in China 2025” ambitions to achieve world technological and supply chain dominance, Xi is moving to bifurcate the world into competing American and Chinese spheres of influence.

Speaking to 10,000 state officials at the Great Hall of the People to mark the 1978-2018 period of economic opening reforms, Xi spent an hour-and-a-half emphasizing: “The practices of reform and opening up in the past 40 years have shown us that the Chinese Communist Party leadership is the fundamental character of socialism with Chinese characteristics… east, west, south, north, and the middle, the party leads everything.”

Since taking power in 2012, General Secretary and President Xi has disciplined 18 full members and 17 alternative members of the 35 members of the Chinese Communist Party. According to official data, another 1.34 million high to low level officials -- referred to as "tigers and flies" -- have been purged under disciplinary and corruption charges.

In recognition for his contributions to socialism’s advancement during his 6-year term, the Chinese constitution was amended in March to eliminate its one-term limit by a National People’s Congress vote of 2,958 in favor, two opposed and three abstentions.

Xi began his anniversary speech by assailing the 1966 to 1976 Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao Zedong that sent 20 million city dwellers to the country for re-education, caused 200 million farmers to suffer from chronic malnutrition, and drove another 1.5 million executions and suicides.

The period is known to be especially personal to Xi, because his father Xi Zhongxun was dragged by Red Guards in front in front of a mob and disgraced for gazing through binoculars at West Berlin during a visit to communist East Germany.

It was expected that Xi’s speech would celebrate economic accomplishments, but Xi sounded more like Chairman Mao when he warned: “Every step in reform and opening up will not be easy, and we will face all kinds of risks and challenges in the future and we may even encounter unimaginable terrifying tidal waves and horrifying storms.”

President Xi then asserted a deeper primacy of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule by purging the term “private sector” when he stated: “We must, unswervingly, reinforce the development of the state economy while, unswervingly, encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the non-state economy.” Bloomberg reported that Asian composite stock index fell during the Xi’s speech.

Diana Choyleva of Enodo Economics, who grew up in communist Bulgaria and is recognized by many on Wall Street as the best economist analyzing China, believes that a new multi-polar world is emerging within the “framework of de-globalization.”

Choyleva acknowledges that the U.S./China “Trade War” may calm down in the next few months, but she forecasts a growing U.S./China “Tech War” that will result in a “breaking up and re-routing existing supply chains.” Such action should cause a return of cost-push inflation, which she perceives as “bad news” for global stocks and bonds.

She points out that as Presidents Trump and Xi were enjoying a “wonderful dinner” in Buenos Aries during the G-20 Meeting that led to a 90-day Trade War Truce, CFO Meng Wanzhou of Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment make, was being arrested in Vancouver on a U.S. warrant for violating Iran sanctions.

China’s Communist Party-controlled news services hailed the Trade War Truce dinner the next morning as a tremendous negotiating accomplishment. But the People’s Daily the next day called Meng’s arrest a violation of human rights and said detention and threats to extradite her to the U.S. were political moves calling for stern consequences. 

Choyleva expects that even if the Trade War calms, Washington will likely intensify efforts to contain China’s tech firms by recruiting Asian and European partners with similar concerns. She expects that as the global economy weakens in 2019, China will align with Russia to move across the Eurasian plain and seek to break up Europe.

Chriss Street


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Watch: The failed 'two-state solution' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

'For stability and peace to succeed, it is time we open our minds.'

Arutz Sheva Staff


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The next region of conflict - Prof. Efraim Inbar

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

With the Eastern Mediterranean growing in importance following the discovery of natural gas fields, the U.S. and Western European countries have made the decision to limit their military presence there.

Attention in Israel has been focused of late on Iran's emissaries on our northern and southern borders, but the fifth tripartite meeting between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, to be held today in Beersheba, is an important strategic event that will have consequences for the Eastern Mediterranean, which is quickly becoming yet another region of conflict.

Iran aspires to create a Shiite corridor that extends from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. Tehran wants to establish air and naval bases on the shores of this Mediterranean to project its power toward the Balkan states situated on the Mediterranean coast and toward the Muslim communities in Europe to the west. Both Iran and Turkey have already established a presence in the Muslim Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Turkey has adopted a neo-Ottoman foreign policy that tends to spread out past its borders; the Turkish military having invaded parts of Syria and Iraq. In the Aegean Sea, an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean, Turkey has an old territorial rivalry with Greece and has had control over Northern Cyprus since 1974. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey is now also motivated by Islamist urges. It supports Hamas and has fostered ties with jihadi elements in Syria and Libya, both situated on the Mediterranean coast. Turkey has acted to bolster its navy and has even threatened to send warships to escort ships that try to break Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Unfortunately, the Mediterranean Sea is no longer controlled by the West. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. significantly limited its presence in the region. The Sixth Fleet no longer permanently assigns an aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite his stated commitment to increase American military power, Trump has demonstrated isolationist impulses. Western European countries have also reduced their forces and limited their presence in the Mediterranean.

Russia has been increasing its presence in the Mediterranean Sea. Russia has guaranteed itself both a naval base in Tartus and an air force base in Khmeimim, both in Syria, through its successful involvement in the civil war there. Egypt and Cyprus also allow Russia to use their ports.

From a financial standpoint, the Eastern Mediterranean has become increasingly important following the discovery of natural gas fields and the possibility additional fields will be found. These treasures are desirable in the eyes of Iran's allies – Syria and Hezbollah, as well as Turkey and Russia.

The Eastern Mediterranean has always been important to Israel because over 90% of the country's exports are shipped through that route, but the discovery of the gas fields in Israel's territorial waters has made this region even more important in that they offer cheap and clean energy and are helping transform Israel an energy exporter.

But Israel's gas treasures are under threat. Hamas has fired missiles at an Israeli offshore drilling rig, and Hezbollah has threatened to do the same in the future. Russia and Turkey are also liable to adopt a more aggressive approach. An Iranian naval presence may also be felt in the region in the near future, as part of efforts toward achieving regional hegemony.

Unfortunately, the IDF's naval component has not been sufficiently prioritized. Israel needs a stronger and larger navy given the enormous missile threat the country faces. Israel's airports and land and strategic properties are more vulnerable now than ever before.

Israel's military deficit in the Mediterranean Sea is conspicuous in light of its diplomatic successes. It has become a partner in the Mediterranean alignment, which includes Greece and Cyprus, and more indirectly, Egypt. These four countries share concerns over Turkey's foreign policy and share common interests in the field of energy. Their cooperation in Washington on issues concerning the Mediterranean Sea is also of importance. Indeed, the U.S. is now examining the possibility of holding joint military maneuvers with Israel and Greece. It is therefore important for Israel to succeed in establishing a joint alliance to better contend with the emerging threats in this region.

Prof. Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies,


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How Historians Will See Canary Mission Years From Now - Edwin Black

by Edwin Black

Exposing some of the most venomous hate speech on the internet.

On a recent Thursday, at about 8 am, on a desk illuminated by light from a nearby window, a paper cup of steaming coffee laden with cream and sugar was nudged near an open laptop, thus beginning a ten-to-twelve-hour day of mind-numbing monitoring by a Canary Mission [CM] staffer at one of the organization’s several locations. In endless social media searches, refreshes, clicks, video reviews, forwards and saves, the Canary Mission staffer will capture the worst of the openly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions agitation and hate speech erupting all across America’s campuses. Their work also encompasses white nationalism.

BDS advocates often spew some of the most venomous hate speech visible on the Internet, hate speech that Canary Mission captures and re-publishes in personal profiles. For example, the tweet by a Chicago activist with Students for Justice in Palestine who tweeted this joke: “Why did Hitler commit suicide?........ He saw the gas bill. Pahhahaha.” Or the UCLA protestor whose Twitter account was captured with this remark: 
“Mmmaaaannnnnnnnnnn what's with all this peaceful approaches!?? F**k that. I want terrorism and another intifada.” The same UCLA student reportedly added a photo close-up of a gun and bullets.

After the massacre at Pittsburgh, calls went out broadly to monitor, spotlight, and report hate speech, especially since hateful acts of violence are often preceded by hate speech. That is precisely what Canary Mission does. Canary Mission tracks social media and videos, capturing BDS, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic expressions, triangulating them into individual profiles that expose and create permanent, highly-visible records of the words and images BDS and SJP leaders actually use. The profiles are almost always incontestable since CM links to actual videos, tweets and other open documentation. Canary Mission’s intent is to shine an indelible light on students, faculty, and others, thus creating a negative incentive or at least a consequence for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate speech.

Canary Mission began in 2015 with just 50 profiles. By December 2018, about 2,500 profiles have been listed. CM has received about 80-100 requests for removal. Very few have been made. One staffer explained, “Even small errors are exceptionally rare due to our strict internal protocols. On the handful of occasions that we found an error, we made an immediate correction.”

Canary Mission has arguably proven itself the single most effective effort against BDS and hate speech. A CM program called “Ex-Canary” features remorseful hate speech purveyors. Thirteen reformed Ex-Canary individuals previously featured “have since rejected the latent anti-Semitism prevalent among anti-Israel organizations and activists,” explains a CM staffer, adding, “These individuals have displayed the intellectual honesty to acknowledge the problem of anti-Semitism within anti-Israel organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. They have shown moral courage to recognize their earlier mistakes.”

A recent article in the pro-BDS publication, The Intercept, was headlined: “It’s Killing the Student Movement: Canary Mission’s Blacklist of Pro-Palestine Activists Is Taking a Toll.” The article cited BDS activists who have shut down their social media, fearing a Canary Mission profile. The Intercept reported, “A survey of over 60 people profiled on Canary Mission, conducted by the group Against Canary Mission, found that 43 percent of respondents said they toned down their activism because of the blacklist, while 42 percent said they suffered acute anxiety from being placed on the website.”

Ironically, at a time when Canary Mission’s monitoring seems the most needed, the organization is fighting a public relations war in the Jewish media, the anti-Israel media, and the activist media. To me, it’s confusing. Canary Mission is doing the very same thing that the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and many other newspapers asked me to do in 2013 when, in an award-winning syndicated series entitled “Funding Hate,” I documented the virulent intersection of NGOs and anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate speech at a UN conference in Durban. That international hate fest was replete with Jewish caricatures, Nazi emblems and Hitler adulation, in large part funded by the Ford Foundation. As a consequence of the series, the Ford Foundation revamped its funding.

Early twentieth-century media defenders of Jewish rights, such as ForvertsDer Tog, and the Jewish Daily Bulletin laid the ground work with their fearless coverage of both Jew haters and those in the Jewish community who failed to stand up to them. Typical was a blistering editorial in a 1933 edition of Der Tog that bitterly attacked the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith for their "policy of fear and silence” during the rise of Hitler. They even undermined anti-Nazi protest. “What [do they] propose?” Der Tog asked. “Silence and nothing else! ... [Our] people are determined to fight for their very life.”

Despite generations of precedent, a confusing picture of Canary Mission now exists in some parts of the Jewish and larger media. The admittedly press-shy organization is often negatively referred to as “shadowy.” But when the group first emerged in late 2015, it took me only 34 minutes communicating cold via their website to secure interviews for syndicated publication, and eventually a photograph taken in their office. That first request was only three words: “contact me back.” Since then, I have monitored the group, especially as ominous news stories have appeared in the Jewish media and they routinely reply at the same speed and caliber as most other Jewish groups. Like other Jewish organizations, Canary Mission admits to being selective in its media contacts. For this article, more than two dozen routine written and verbal exchanges transpired—as routinely as for any Jewish organization.

There seems to be much mythology about Canary Mission’s physical presence on campus. One fallacy surrounds a purported visit Canary Mission agents made to George Washington University’s campus during an April 2018 BDS vote. Canary Mission did remotely review and report on Internet postings of BDS hate speech, such as claims that Israel is “poisoning Palestinian water,” and one tweeted threat “to physically fight” Zionists “the next time I see them." But then, two unverified images of individuals in yellow bird costumes were circulated by some media, along with an unverified student account of costumed or masked figures dancing ominously outside the GWU BDS vote. On its face, it is implausible that Canary Mission agents in bird costumes would make an appearance at an event where they are reviled and subject to physical confrontation. Nonetheless, some publications have prominently used a picture of a yellow beak-masked person at GWU to symbolize the actual organization. When asked about any GWU appearance, and the photos circulated, a senior Canary Mission staffer chortled, “Definitely not us. We viewed it as childish and unhelpful,” adding, “It seems more likely to be a couple of local students.”

To date, the only legitimate known photo of Canary Mission operatives is the one taken at my request—a staffer’s hand over a laptop displaying the CM website.

Similarly confusing is a common media assertion that Canary Mission’s tactics violate core “Jewish values.” One typical article cited a list of student groups complaining the tactics are “antithetical to our democratic and Jewish values” and “morally reprehensible.” To check that, I asked the Coalition of Jewish Values, representing about 1,000 rabbis. CJV’s president Pesach Lerner responded: “Everything Canary Mission reports is public information, based upon statements at demonstrations and in social media. So on the contrary, it is a mitzvah to protect the reputations, safety and lives of innocent Israeli Jews against those who have, in their public statements and actions, embraced anti-Semitic boycotts and demonization.”

Canary Mission is funded through tax-deductible entities. The media campaign to undermine Canary Mission also includes seeking out CM’s donors, trying to stigmatize those who are financially supporting the blacklisting and documenting of hate speech and anti-Israel delegitimization. Ironically, many of these media corporations are themselves tax-deductible agencies that solicit donations hourly. All too often these publications obscure their own funding and fund-raising activities—which can be triggered with the click of the omnipresent “Donate” button. Anyone in any country can click to pay via a credit card or PayPal. Some pre-set online buttons allow $1,000 clicks. One such media button, when tested, allowed a $100,000 donation. Major media grants are often solicited with written proposals promising editorial slants or directions. Some media even seek funding for specific investigations or features. Whereas major TV and print media, such as the Associated Press or PBS often identify their funding, such transparency is commonly absent from the many Canary Mission detractors in the Jewish media.

It all reminds me of the acrimonious divisions in the American Jewish community that arose during the Hitler regime. Today—a generation later--historians recognize that such defense-minded entities as The Jewish War Veterans, the American Jewish Congress, Forverts and the Jewish Daily Bulletin rose to the occasion and stood up for Jewish rights. The silent and fearful leaders of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee have been skewered in the lens of history for their shameful lack of courage in the face of Nazi oppression, and even for attacking or demonizing Jewish leaders who did dare to speak up.

A generation from now, when the chronicle of our era is written, how will historians judge those who acted to defend against anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bigotry—and those who did all they could to frustrate those efforts? History’s analysis may repeat itself as historians once more view harshly those in the Jewish community who used their power to obstruct Jewish defense.

Edwin Black


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GoFundMe page for building the border wall soars past $3 million and shames the GOP pols who betrayed their mandate - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

It takes a heroic veteran – a triple amputee – to do the heavy lifting for the GOP Congress.

Brian Kolfage, a decorated military hero who served as a senior airman and who is a triple amputee, has shamed the border wall turncoat Republicans in Congress. It takes a triple amputee to do the heavy lifting for them, apparently.

The GOP has betrayed its base by cutting out spending for the border wall from the continuing resolution hastily passed by the Senate last night and now up for a vote in the House.

Brian Kolfage (YouTube screen grab).

In their place is this GoFundMe page:
• My name is Brian Kolfage, I have a verified blue check facebook page as a public figure and I'm a Purple Heart Recipient triple amputee veteran. ...
• The campaign is set to the MAX that Gofundme has at the moment... working to get it raised
• USE #GoFundTheWall as a hashtag on social media ...
The government has accepted large private donations before, most recently a billionaire donated $7.5 Million to fund half of the Washington Monument repairs in 2012; this is no different.
Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump's main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he's followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still.
As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.
I have grandparents who immigrated to America legally, they did it the correct way and it's time we uphold our laws, and get this wall BUILT!It's up to Americans to help out and pitch in to get this project rolling.
"If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall." That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that's half the wall. We can do this.
Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn't get his victor. They'd rather see President Trump fail, than see America succeed. However, if we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians.
This won't be easy, but it's our duty as citizens. This needs to be shared every single day by each of you on social media. We can do it, and we can help President Trump make America safe again!
If you want to understand what kind of man Airman Kolfage is, watch this video tour of the specially adapted smart home built through the efforts of the Gary Sinese Foundation's R.I.S.E Program.

As of this writing, the GoFundMe account has raised $3,186,972.

Thomas Lifson


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Americans snub boycott efforts of same-sex marriage advocates, push Chick-fil-A toward fast food crown - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Closing in on fast food champion Mickey D's, with sales per store already far, far higher.

If the bullies seeking to punish people whose religious faith condemns same-sex marriage had their way, my preference for the food at Chick-fil-A would be "the love that dares snot speak its name." Fortunately, when it comes to food, at least, Americans do not like being bullied. As a result, the chain is set to rise by two ranks and become the number-three fast food chain in the country.
Grace Carr of the Daily Caller News Foundation reports:
Despite ongoing criticism from activists, fast food chain Chick-fil-A is projected to become the third-largest restaurant chain in the U.S., according to an analysis from Kalinowski Equity Research.
The fast food chicken chain will rise from its seventh-place spot to rank as the third-largest U.S. restaurant chain by 2018's close, according to the group's research, Business Insider reported.
"We have long pointed out that Chick-fil-A is the restaurant competitor with which McDonald's ... should most concern itself – and by extension, investors should, too," analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in his report.
"But this goes beyond McDonald's," Kalinowski noted.

Photo credit: saalebaer.

Indeed, by what may be an even more important yardstick, per-store sales at Chick-fil-A already surpass those of McDonald's and every other chain by a huge margin. According to QSR, an industry publication, Chick-fil-A's per store sales in 2015 were only slightly lower than $4 million, compared to $2.5 million for McDonald's. No other chain comes within a million dollars per store of Chick-fil-A's phenomenal sales.

The closest unit of Chick-fil-A is about a half-hour's drive from my home, which means there are still some attractive growth opportunities ahead for the chain before it reaches anything like a saturation point, as I live in the midst of a huge metropolitan area. In addition to the food, which is always good, the staff at the company are uniformly friendly and polite, a trait they share with In-N-Out Burger. What is it about two hyphens in a fast food chain's name that works this magic?

Thomas Lifson


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California ICE Capades - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Crackdown on sheriffs, comfort for criminal illegals.

In California’s capital, sheriff Scott Jones has been under fire for allegedly resisting oversight. This week the Sacramento County sheriff revealed the real reason for the campaign against him.
“It’s no secret,” he told county supervisors, “I give ICE unfettered access to our jails and our databases.” That was a problem because county supervisors voted in July to cancel the sheriff’s contract with ICE, and it also raised issues of compliance with Senate Bill 54, the state’s sanctuary law.

“I’ve been portrayed horribly, like I split up families and like I’m a Trump guy, and we’re all buddies,” Jones told reporters last year. So he brought ICE director Thomas Homan to a Sacramento forum to explain “factual information” about federal policy. Jones had no problem with immigrants but explained, “it’s the people in the jail, the people that choose a career of crime, we have to get rid of those folks.”

In 2015, Jones told Fox News that “by ICE’s own numbers, 95 percent of the people they used to arrest, that they’ve already identified, that they want to take custody of, are getting out of jail before they can get to them. And that’s scary, because they’re criminals. They’ve demonstrated a propensity for criminal behavior.” The real back story to Jones’ concern came in October of 2014.

Repeat deportee Luis Bracamontes, gunned down Sacramento deputy Danny Oliver and detective Michael Davis. The murder of two police officers prompted no statement from California governor Jerry Brown or Kamala Harris, attorney general at the time. Both failed to lament the “gun violence” on display in the case.

In court, with relatives of the victims present, Bracamontes said “I wish I had killed more of the motherfuckers.” Also present was Anthony Holmes, whom Bracamontes had shot five times when he refused to give up his car. Bracamontes called Holmes a “nigger,” and yelled “black lives don’t matter!” at the jury. As it happens, Danny Oliver’s wife Susan is also African American.

Jones fulfilled a promise to her by making a video urging the president to secure the borders. That didn’t happen and Jones got no support from California’s political and judicial establishments. They showed more interested in protecting illegals, even violent, racist criminals like Bracamontes, who was not supposed to be in the United States in the first place.

Last year, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Secretary John Kelly stating: “As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests. Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”

Sessions and Kelly replied that “stalking” has “specific legal meaning in American law,” and it was “criminal activity.” On the other hand, “the arrest of persons in a public place based on probable cause has long been upheld by the United States Supreme Court,” as U.S. v. Watson confirmed. Federal statutes authorize arrests where probable cause exists to believe that “such aliens are in violation of immigration laws.” Courthouses are not only public places, but visitors are screened for weapons, Sessions and Kelly wrote, therefore “the safety risks for the arresting officers are substantially decreased.”

This was hardly the only lapse of judgment by California’s Chief Justice, a 2009 selection of Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cantil-Sakauye has now given up her Republican Party Registration in favor of “no party.” The reason, she explained last week, was Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Cantil-Sakauye wondered why Republicans would bring in female prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford. This was to determine if Blasey Ford’s charge that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 was true or false.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye doesn’t get that, so Californians have cause to wonder if she believes that accusation equals guilt and women are always to be believed, regardless of the facts. That is a strange position for any lawyer or judge, much less the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. On the other hand, this Chief Justice keeps quiet when criminal illegals murder police officers and denounces federal ICE agents as stalkers.

In California’s ICE Capades, sheriffs like Scott Jones get criticism and illegals get special treatment. As Newsweek reports, “the California city of Sacramento dedicated $300,000 last year to helping undocumented immigrants with everything from legal services to fight deportations to assistance in applying for citizenship and visas.”

The money “went toward helping 28 undocumented immigrants facing deportation receive legal aid in their bid to stay in the U.S., as well as helping residents in encounters with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.” In addition, the city funds a response network “which includes a 24-hour hotline that people can call to report ICE activity within the Sacramento area.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, recently updated, and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Movie IndustryBill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield, is a collection of his journalism.


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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Israel to present evidence proving Lebanese army is helping Hezbollah - Ariel Kahana, Yoni Hersch, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff

by Ariel Kahana, Yoni Hersch, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff 

Ahead of special Security Council meeting on Hezbollah tunnels, Israel says it has "clear-cut" intelligence proving Lebanese military regularly helps group violate U.N. resolution

Some two weeks after Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to eliminate Hezbollah's cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon, Israel has said it will present the U.N. Security Council with damning evidence proving that the Lebanese army has been helping Hezbollah in its excavation efforts in violation of the U.N.'s resolutions.

The council was set to meet on Wednesday, days after the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon concluded that the tunnels snaking under the Israel-Lebanon border and jutting into Israeli territory were a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

The resolution, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, prohibits the presence of any Lebanese armed group south of the Litani River, apart from the central government's military, known as the Lebanese Armed Forces.

On Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said that "now that UNIFIL has confirmed that the Hezbollah tunnels are a severe breach of Resolution 1701, the Security Council is duty-bound to use every means at its disposal against Hezbollah, which continues its buildup under the auspices of the Lebanese government."

Danon plans to emphasize that Lebanese troops have given their tacit approval and turned a blind eye to Hezbollah's tunneling activity, effectively sanctioning it.

Danon will present what he calls "clear-cut intelligence evidence" that prove that the LAF and Hezbollah are coordinating their activity and allowing the terrorist group to undermine Israel's efforts to tackle these tunnels.

Danon will also unveil new information demonstrating Hezbollah's violations of Resolution 1701.

"There is a clear line of communication between LAF elements and the terrorist organization; those elements help Hezbollah destabilize the region," Danon said on Tuesday. "Under the Lebanese government's watch, Hezbollah has created an entire network of tunnels and factories for precision-guided missiles; this is a brazen violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution but also endangers the lives of the residents of southern Lebanon, who are being used as human shields."

Danon vowed that "Israel will act with force against Hezbollah and any other entity that tries to undermine its sovereignty."

According to Danon, "The 2006 resolution has already said, loud and clear, that Hezbollah must not continue its terrorist activity against Israel, but this has not stopped the organization from staying the course, and now it is trying to breach into Israeli territory using terror tunnels. Reality on the ground has shown that Hezbollah could not care less about what the Security Council has to say."

Israeli officials have repeatedly said that if Hezbollah attacks Israel, the Israeli government would hold the Lebanese government accountable.

According to a report in the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar on Tuesday, Israel asked the U.S. to pressure the Lebanese government to ensure that it cooperates with UNIFIL and helps locate and destroy the cross-border tunnels.

IDF officials noted that Hezbollah has been trying to block access to the the tunnels in recent days. IDF officials dismissed a Lebanese media report that the LAF forced the Israeli military to halt its efforts to expose tunnels in certain areas near the border. "The operation continues in several locations, both overtly and covertly," the IDF said.

Ariel Kahana, Yoni Hersch, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff


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