I'm a Fab 50 winner
I've been meaning to tell you all that once again I am a Fab 50 Blog Award Winner. Thanks again to Doug Ross and his crew for selecting me, and a pleasure to be lined up with the great Caroline Glick.
Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’
‘Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,’ the former JCS adviser said. ‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’But what's more shocking is what the Joint Chiefs decided to do about it.
The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.
Germany, Israel and Russia were in contact with the Syrian army, and able to exercise some influence over Assad’s decisions – it was through them that US intelligence would be shared. Each had its reasons for co-operating with Assad: Germany feared what might happen among its own population of six million Muslims if Islamic State expanded; Israel was concerned with border security; Russia had an alliance of very long standing with Syria, and was worried by the threat to its only naval base on the Mediterranean, at Tartus. ‘We weren’t intent on deviating from Obama’s stated policies,’ the adviser said. ‘But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive. It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamist terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn’t know, but Obama doesn’t know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that’s true of all presidents.’
Once the flow of US intelligence began, Germany, Israel and Russia started passing on information about the whereabouts and intent of radical jihadist groups to the Syrian army; in return, Syria provided information about its own capabilities and intentions. There was no direct contact between the US and the Syrian military; instead, the adviser said, ‘we provided the information – including long-range analyses on Syria’s future put together by contractors or one of our war colleges – and these countries could do with it what they chose, including sharing it with Assad. We were saying to the Germans and the others: “Here’s some information that’s pretty interesting and our interest is mutual.” End of conversation. The JCS could conclude that something beneficial would arise from it – but it was a military to military thing, and not some sort of a sinister Joint Chiefs’ plot to go around Obama and support Assad. It was a lot cleverer than that. If Assad remains in power, it will not be because we did it. It’s because he was smart enough to use the intelligence and sound tactical advice we provided to others.’
The claim from German reporter Jürgen Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament, came after he spent 10 extraordinary days behind enemy lines in Iraq and Syria, accompanied by his son Frederic. He returned saying the group behind the Paris attacks was “preparing the largest religious cleansing in history” and with a “pessimistic” view on what can be done to combat it.
But the author of My 10 Days in the Islamic State told Jewish News: “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”
IS branded the co-ordinated attacks on the French capital that claimed 132 lives as “the first of the storm”.
Todenhofer claimed it is part of ISIS’ tactics to lure in Western boots on the ground and capture US and British soldiers. “They think they can defeat US and UK ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists,” he said.
“They are not scared of the British and the Americans, they are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger. We can’t defeat them with our current strategy. These people [the IDF] can fight a guerrilla war.
“In Mosul there are 10,000 fighters living among 1.5 million people in 2,000 apartments, not in one place – so it would be difficult [for western soldiers] to fight them. ISIS fighters are ready to die in a war against a western soldiers.”
The journalist – who had contact with ISIS supporters from the media department, judges, fighters and leaders – said the group wants to conquer all the Middle East – except Israel – in the first stage of its fight.
The second stage is conquering the West. “They are a very strong danger for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Libya, while the West will be subjected to big acts of terrorism instead of a full blown ISIS war because they say they don’t want too many battles at the same time.”Perhaps those who called Prime Minister Netanyahu the leader of the free world were not exaggerating. Hmmm.
So the wedding with the horrible pictures of people dancing and stabbing the poor Arab child who was murdered in Duma...the dance that justifiably should be condemned and all who were involved should be investigated? yes, that one...so here's some information that will help the police to further investigate:
The family cannot find the photographer who filmed the dance; the videographer FOR the wedding was taping somewhere else. So who was the person who videotaped these scenes? How did they know to be at the wedding at precisely this time?
The family has spoken to guests - not one admits to having brought pictures of the Arab family to the wedding...so who brought the pictures? How did these people know to bring a picture of a dead child to a wedding...who does that?
According to the wedding hall, Shabak came a few hours before the wedding and put in cameras throughout the wedding hall...then came after and removed it. Hmmm.... that's strange...does Shabak place cameras in all wedding halls right before a wedding and then remove them right after?
The family does not know the people who came and did this...and more, the weapons that appear in the video were not there before or after this one "dance." The family brought no guns - the guns disappeared two minutes after the song.
They spoke to the guard of the wedding hall - there were hundreds of undercover cops that showed him their police IDs before they entered - they were not guests...so why were they there in advance?
Neither the groom nor the bride know the people who were dancing with the picture - and they were not part of the wedding. Seems strange...no?
Stranger things have happened in Israel. It would be horrible if Jews actually carried out the terror attack at Duma. But I wouldn't reach the conclusion that they did just yet. Don't forget this.Something smells in this...something very rotten...
Hezbullah has threatened to avenge terrorist Samir al-Kuntar's death. No way to determine what's truth here.Syrian media claimed that the Israeli Air Force targeted at least than seven Hezbollah targets in the country's Qalamoun region late on Saturday night.
Hezbollah denied that there were any explosions at its bases, according to a report by Israel's Channel 2 news.
The IDF has not commented on the situation, but earlier in the evening, released a statement saying that "in the next few hours, explosions will be heard in the Upper Galilee. The explosions are routine, were planned ahead of time and are not connected to a security incident."
The Russian visit with members of the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office was shrouded in great secrecy in Israel. The Foreign Ministry declined to respond to questions from Haaretz about the meeting, and Netanyahu’s bureau declined to say whether the premier was going to meet Lavrentiev.And let's just hope that the Golan was not part of the conversation because it's not even on the table.
Lavrentiev was personally appointed by Putin and only took office a few weeks ago. He arrived in Israel in a special Russian Air Force aircraft at the head of a large delegation, which included Sergey Vershinin, the head of the Middle East desk in the Russian Foreign Ministry, and representatives of Russian intelligence.
The delegation was hosted by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, who is set to take up the post of Mossad chief in a few weeks.
A senior Israeli official said Cohen and the other Israeli officials presented Israel’s interests to the Russians. Their key points included maintaining the freedom to thwart terror attacks from over the border in Syria, and preventing advanced weaponry from moving from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Israelis made clear that in any future diplomatic agreement formulated by the world powers involving Syria, the latter would have to stop using its territory for direct or indirect attacks on Israel.
Following up on Secretary of State John Kerry's end of the message to department employees, the department posted a year-in-review message on Christmas Eve, which also praised the nuclear deal with Iran, restoring diplomatic ties with the communist regime of Cuba and the recent global climate agreement among accomplishments of the administration.
Though the year ends after the Islamic State pulled off the deadliest attack on France since World War II and as Americans are increasingly worried about the threat posed by terrorism, the message praises successes stemming from February's White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.
"Although challenges remain, we have made positive strides over the last year, including in our fight against ISIL," the message read. "This forward progress will only continue as more countries pledge resources to the anti-ISIL effort and as citizens around the world increasingly reject ISIL's misguided ideology."You can't make this stuff up. The extent to which this administration is delusional (and attempting to delude all of us) is simply beyond all description.
It has also been suggested the move by US authorities could be due to Mr Mahmood's brother having been refused entry to Israel eight years ago, but no official explanation has been given by the US Embassy.
Mr Mahmood later said his brother was refused entry to Tel Aviv when he flew there eight years ago, but the family were unsure whether that was linked to their refusal to fly last week.
Speaking at his Walthamstow home, he said: 'They are bringing out this thing that my brother was stopped at Tel Aviv.
'But if that was the case it should have been flagged up when we filled out our ESTAs - which was seven or eight weeks ago.
'He was touring a few countries nine or 10 years ago and decided to visit the Grand Mosque. Then he was stopped because he has a big beard, and that. It was not like he was prosecuted or convicted of anything afterwards.
'Maybe the authorities were being awkward. In the end he just came back home.'
Mr Mahmood's sister-in-law Sadaf Mahmood later told LBC radio that her husband was detained overnight in Israel before being put on a plane back to Britain, but the reason was never explained to them.Just your typical normal family, right?
However, it has since emerged that a Facebook page claiming links to radical Islamist groups was set up by someone who has lived at the family's postal address, according to ITV News.
The account, which includes information suggesting it may have been published as a joke, was in the name of Hamza Hussain - a first name shared by Mr Mahmood's 18-year-old son. It reportedly lists the job titles 'supervisor at Taliban and leader at al-Qaeda'.
When asked about the account, Mr Mahmood believed hackers may have been to blame, adding: 'That could be anything, maybe a mistake.'
'The page is also linked to our home address and that could be coincidence. I don't know why it is linked there. The name is not even the same. The authorities must have linked it simply because of the name Hamza.'Maybe Anonymous did it. Maybe Donald Trump (who is also being blamed) set it up.
The poll, conducted by the World Independent Network of Market Research and Gallup International Association, asked residents of 65 countries to indicate whether they had a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of each of 10 world leaders.Yeah, we know, the feeling is mutual.
President Obama scored highest with a 59 percent favorable rating worldwide, followed by Merkel with 42 percent, British Prime Minister David Cameron with 37 percent, French President Francois Hollande with 35 percent and Russian President Vladimir Putin with 33 percent. Iranian President Hassan Rohani placed last at 19 percent, just behind Saudia Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud with 20 percent.
Each leader was also given an unfavorable rating, as well as a net score comprised of the difference between the first two ratings. Obama had by far the best score worldwide with +30 percent, followed by Merkel and Cameron with +13 percent and +10 percent, respectively. Putin evoked strong emotions, being the third most unpopular leader with a net score of -10 percent, just behind King Salman (-11 percent) and Rohani (-13 percent).
Israelis clearly view Obama much less favorably than most people around the world, giving him a net score of -22 percent. Israel's net score for Obama was 61st in the world, one spot behind Iran, which gave him a -21 percent net rating.
Obama's net score in Israel placed him in between Putin (-20 percent) and China's Xi Jinping (-22 percent). In contrast, Israelis gave Merkel a +38 percent net score, far ahead of Cameron, who got +15 percent.
Tariq Mahmood, 41, was due to fly from Gatwick on December 15 with his brother, Zahid, and nine of their children and nieces, for a holiday.
But the family were told they could not board their Norwegian flight as they had been refused entry by the American authorities.
David Cameron today said he would look into the case after it was highlighted by the family’s local MP Stella Creasy.
Mr Mahmood, a gym owner from Walthamstow, told how the youngest children — aged eight — were in tears as they had to go home without any explanation for the decision.
He told the Standard: “I still don’t know why. I told them we had our ESTA [US travel visa] approved six weeks ago. We’re just a normal, law-abiding family trying to go on our holidays. None of us have ever been involved in crime or mixed up in anything.
“We even said if there’s a problem with an individual can the rest of us not fly? How can the eight and nine-year-olds have done anything wrong? But the answer was the same.”
Mr Mahmood, a Pakistani-born British citizen, was meant to be taking his daughter Hafsa, 14, and son Hamza, 18, to meet relatives in southern California before the family visited Disneyland and Universal Studios.
The Mahmoods spent £9,000 on plane tickets and have been told they are not entitled to a refund.But my friend Rusty Shackelford makes a good point:
Indeed.https://t.co/IvopUeVWJp UK Muslims barred from flight to Disneyland were law abiding family ... said every neighbor of every terrorist ever— Rusty Shackleford (@mypetjawa) December 23, 2015
After the column was published, Creasy was contacted online by other Muslims who claimed that they were barred from traveling to the United States.
A well-known imam, Ajmal Masroor, also stated that his visa authorization was revoked earlier this month, before he boarded a Virgin Atlantic flight.
“USA has the right to issue and revoke visa — I fully understand that,” Masroor wrote. “However not forwarding any reasons infuriates ordinary people. It does not win the hearts and minds of people, it turns them off. I am amazed how irrational these processes are but does USA care about what you and I think? I don't think so! It is the emperor and it does what it damn wills.”
He later wrote that he was invited to a meeting with the U.S. Embassy to clear up the matter — and hoped to set up a website that focuses on the issue.Maybe someone in the US is starting to take the terror threat seriously... no worries. Obama will put a stop to it.
Just two days ago, a 16-year old 'Palestinian' girl was caught with a knife outside a Jewish elementary school in Jerusalem's Old City....BREAKING VIDEO: 5 Israelis wounded in stabbing attack at Jaffa Gate, 2 seriously, 1 terrorist shot dead, 2nd wounded pic.twitter.com/yz3z2yxm0e— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) December 23, 2015
But give them a 'state' and they'll stop doing things like this....Right outside a school in fact. A Jewish elementary school. https://t.co/3TF6qNglMh— IsraelMatzav (@IsraelMatzav) December 21, 2015
Greetings from London Heathrow where I can once again thank the Histadrut - Israel's General Labor Federation, which succeeded early this morning in extorting a 7.5% raise from Israel's hapless government - for messing up my travel plans. There was supposed to be a general strike at 6:00 am, and as a result I ended up on a different flight here than I had planned. Unfortunately, when the airline switched the flight, my reserved seat for the next flight was automatically canceled. Although I am on that flight, I now have what may be the worst seat on the plane (and there's WiFi access, but if I can't open the computer, I can't post). So if there are no posts for the rest of the day, you should all spit in the air and say "בשביל זה יש הסתדרות" ("for this the Histadrut exists").(Not only in Gaza) Hundreds of Palestinians gather in Ramallah to mourn Hezbollah's Samir Kuntar. pic.twitter.com/ZSjpbhmE6e— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) December 23, 2015
By the way, that did not happen in the 'West Bank,' but rather in Abu Dis, an 'east' Jerusalem neighborhood that is literally a stone's throw away from the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus.JUST IN: Hamas cell with 25 members arrested in WB plotting terror attacks & preparing explosives to attack Israel. pic.twitter.com/u3boZQKCm8— Israel News Flash (@ILNewsFlash) December 23, 2015
“Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.”
The following are reasons why a page would be removed:
Facebook removes hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their:
Sex, gender, or gender identity, or
Serious disabilities or diseases.
Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against these protected groups are not allowed a presence on Facebook. As with all of our standards, we rely on our community to report this content to us.I wonder what would happen if we posted a 'Death to Islamic Terrorists' page.
A Black Muslim woman went berserk on the Las Vegas strip and drove her car up on the side walk at a high rate of speed mowing down pedestrians. The terror act occurred in front of the Paris hotel-casino and Bally's casino.
Here's more.The vehicle she was driving had Oregon platesThe Muslim was staying in Vegas for a week.
The vehicle's windshield was completely smashed after running over the pedestrians and eventually stopped, she then barricaded herself in the car as witnesses tried to pull out of the car - she escaped and the Muslim fled on foot leaving her 3 year old child in the car.
The Police finally caught her on Flamingo Road and Koval.
immigrantis now in custody.
refuse to release the criminal's nametook 12 hours to release the name.
Lakeisha holloway muslim, terrorist. MSM won't tell you but I will. Attended Oregon mosque with radical Imam. #CNN #FoxNews #Greta— Virgojesse (@virgojesse) December 21, 2015
Here is the mug shot of Lakeisha Holloway who recently converted to #Radical #Islam & Yelled Allahu Akhbar in Las... https://t.co/BHthWIq1Ux— Breaking Obama (@ObamaBreaking) December 21, 2015
So for those of you who are stateside who are afraid to visit Jerusalem and/or Israel, may I ask you why?TERROR ATTACK IN LAS VEGAS! Woman Driver, Screaming "Allahu Akbar" Runs Over 40 people on Vegas Strip https://t.co/4ehV3Z4Jcv— SuperStation95 (@SuperStation95) December 21, 2015
[Hagel] said he remains puzzled why White House officials tried to “destroy” him personally in his last days in office, adding that he was convinced the United States had no viable strategy in Syria and was particularly frustrated with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who he said would hold meetings and focus on “nit-picky” details.
“I eventually got to the point where I told Susan Rice that I wasn’t going to spend more than two hours in these meetings,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “Some of them would go four hours.”
Hagel said the administration struggled with how to handle Syria — hardly a surprise, given the way Obama said in August 2012 that it would be a “red line” for the United States if Syria moved or used its chemical weapons stockpiles, but did not intervene militarily the following year when Syria did so. Hagel said that hurt Obama’s credibility, even if declared stockpiles eventually were removed through an agreement reached with Damascus.
“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”
Hagel, for his part, told Foreign Policy that he got “the hell beat out of him” figuratively at the White House for delaying in signing transfer orders to release detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he had concerns about the individuals involved. He also said he felt micro-managed — something that Gates, Panetta and other defense officials have all expressed.
“There is a danger in all of this,” Hagel told Foreign Policy, referring to White House micromanagement and the administration’s expanding national security staff. “This is about governance; this isn’t about political optics. It’s about making the country run and function, and trying to stay ahead of the dangers and the threats you see coming.”Or as Glenn Reynolds puts it.
Because it underscores how feckless, incompetent, and uninterested in protecting the United States Obama, and his whole operation, have been.I'm not sure incompetent is a fair description. But uninterested certainly is.
Except that it was a fake....BREAKING: Suspicious package found between Air France luggage headed from Kenya to Paris confirmed as a bomb. #AF463 pic.twitter.com/k6WTEb3SWS— Israel News Flash (@ILNewsFlash) December 20, 2015
BREAKING: #French security officials say the suspicious package found on board #AF463 from #Mauritius is a fake bomb pic.twitter.com/gpm3iJ9eFe— Israel News Flash (@ILNewsFlash) December 20, 2015
Qantar was jailed in Israel for his part in a 1979 raid that killed four people, including a girl he was convicted of bludgeoning.That is a much toned down version of what really happened.
As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.Einat was four-years old at the time. She is the bigger girl in the picture above. Here's what happened to two-year old Yael.
By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.Shame on Reuters. Shame on them for covering up for terrorists even 36 years after the fact.
Kuntar and five lesser lights were exchanged for the mutilated remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.Israel: U/D Footage from Damascus shows destruction following Israeli airstrike that killed Samir Kuntar and others pic.twitter.com/OjZSxYeyji— Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) December 20, 2015
Samir Kuntar (Bashed Israeli toddlers head in, killed family in 79) always regarded as major hero for Lebanese/Palestinian militant factions— Daniel Nisman (@DannyNis) December 20, 2015
Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas's terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.To complete the record, Abu Abbas died in an American prison in Iraq in 2003 shortly after Smadar Harran Kaiser wrote the article above. I just want to add to this from a web site I found about why Samir Kuntar should never be released:
It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.
It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.
As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.
By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.
The next day, Abu Abbas announced from Beirut that the terrorist attack in Nahariya had been carried out "to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty" at Camp David the previous year. Abbas seems to have a gift for charming journalists, but imagine the character of a man who protests an act of peace by committing an act of slaughter.
Two of Abbas's terrorists had been killed by police on the beach. The other two were captured, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Despite my protests, one was released in a prisoner exchange for Israeli POWs several months before the Achille Lauro hijacking. Abu Abbas was determined to find a way to free Kuntar as well. So he engineered the hijacking of the Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt and demanded the release of 50 Arab terrorists from Israeli jails. The only one of those prisoners actually named was Samir Kuntar. The plight of hundreds held hostage on a cruise ship for two days at sea lent itself to massive international media coverage. The attack on Nahariya, by contrast, had taken less than an hour in the middle of the night. So what happened then was hardly noticed outside of Israel.
According to Smadar Haran, her last memories of Danny and Einat, that day, were when they were being led away at gun point by Kuntar. She could hear from her closet space Danny telling Einat, "Don't be scared, my baby, it will be alright" and Einat replied to him in her little voice, "Dad, where is Mommy? I want Mommy." Smadar's last memory of her 2-year-old daughter, Yael, was when her little daughter was taken to the apartment hiding space. Right before Yael had her mouth covered by her mother, she asked her mother "Where is my little pacifier." There was no time to search for the pacifier. Minutes later Smadar covered Yael's mouth to keep her from revealing the hiding space. Smadar soon felt her daughter's tiny tongue licks and lip sucking on the palm of her hand. She didn't know what to make of it at first but hours later was told by doctors and paramedics that the reason Yael was licking her palm while she covered her mouth was because she was gasping for air.
After taking Danny and four-year old Einat hostage, Kuntar and his group took them down to the beach. Samir Kuntar quickly shot Danny in the back and then drowned him in the Mediterranean Sea to ensure his death. While Kuntar drowned Danny, he forced terrified Einat to watch and cry. According to eyewitnesses, "Danny was murdered in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see." Little Einat would not have that horrible memory in her head for long. Kuntar, the brave Lebanese freedom fighter, crushed Einat's skull over and over upon the rocks with the butt of his rifle until she was dead.
During the ensuing shootout between Kuntar's terror group and Israeli police, two policeman were killed along with two of the Arab terrorists. Kuntar and the fourth participant, Ahmed Al-Abrass, were captured. Ahmed Al-Abrass was later free by the Israeli authorities in the infamous May 1985 Ahmed Jibril prisoner exchange deal in which 1,150 Arab prisoners (some of whom had blood on their hands) were exchanged for three Israeli soldiers. Kuntar was not included in the deal.
The Israeli government determined at first to make a decision to execute Kuntar, for his horrific crime, especially for the fact that he tortured and beat to death the 4-year old toddler. Israeli Prime Minister at that time, Menachem Begin , proposed a draft resolution to the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Israeli Keenest on April 24, 1979. He demanded to eliminate a previous resolution stipulated by the Israeli cabinet, which said no execution should be implemented against terrorists as the international law prohibits it. The Israeli Foreign Minister Izer Weizman and Transportation Minister Hayeem Landau supported Beagin’s draft resolution. Abraham Sharer, who was the head of the Likude parliamentary bloc also, called for Kuntar’s execution. Isaac Shamir issued a statement on April 25, 1979 also calling for his execution.
The Israelis tried to implement the execution sentence on Samir Kuntar and the whole parliament agreed on them. The only dilemma they were having was the Israeli law that doesn’t allow execution except for the Nazis of the World War II and to those found guilty of betrayal to their country. Furthermore, they did not want the international community on their backs; also, they wanted to improve their relationship with Egypt after the peace process. As a consequence, the Israeli central court in Haifa sentenced Kuntar to 5 life sentences plus 47 years to come up with the total of 542 years. During the trial, Kuntar was waving victory signs, and called himself a hero.
Samir Kuntar has confessed proudly to his murder of the little girl and never once showed one ounce of remorse for his crime. Even while serving his prison term, he has bragged repeatedly during interviews about how proud he was for murdering the 4-year-old Israeli child. While in prison Kuntar got married and even receives conjugal visits. Below he stands proudly alongside other convicted Arab murderer, Marwan Barghouti.
Lebanon's al-Mayadeen reported that the IAF took out the entire building in which Kuntar and his friends were meeting using a long-range missile while hovering over the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). This likely would have rendered unnecessary any coordination of the attack with Russia. The silence of the Russian S-400's that 'protect' Syria is rumored to be a quid pro quo for Israel not attacking every time Russia violates its air space.Israel wouldn't risk Hezbollah retaliation for such a strike, unless it was to prevent a significant attack being planned by the Kuntar cell— Daniel Nisman (@DannyNis) December 20, 2015
Al Mayadeen (via Israel Radio) Israel took out Kuntar w/ long range missile while hovering over Kinneret. Syria still 'investigating.'— IsraelMatzav (@IsraelMatzav) December 20, 2015
@lrozen Not necessarily. Israel can operate from distance and thereby doesn't need to let the Russians know in advance— Nadav Pollak (@NadavPollak) December 20, 2015
Good riddance to the scum of the earth. I hope the bombers coated their bombs with pig lard.@lrozen Dispatched to Golan to try to recruit Syrian Druze to attack Israel as part of Assad's NDF. They rejected him and his $.— Daniel Nisman (@DannyNis) December 20, 2015
Islamist terror attacks like the ones in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have underlined the need for more and better vetting of refugees from the Middle East who seek safety in the U.S. But with tens of thousands pushing at the gate, who should to get first preference?
In our view, as rabbis, any immediate admissions should focus on providing a haven for the remnants of historic Christian communities of the Middle East. Christians in Iraq and Syria have been suffering longer than other groups, and are fleeing not just for safety but because they have been targeted for extinction. In a region strewn with desperate people, their situation is even more dire. Christians (and Yazidis, ethnic Kurds who follow a pre-Islamic religion) have long been targeted by Muslim groups—not only Islamic State, or ISIS—for ethnic cleansing. Churches have been burned, priests arrested.
In the worst cases, Christians have been tortured, raped and even crucified. Mosul, Iraq, which was home to a Christian population of 35,000 a decade ago, is now empty of Christians after an ISIS ultimatum that they either convert to Islam or be executed. In Syria, Gregorios III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, said in 2013 that “entire villages” have been “cleared of their Christian inhabitants.”
Unlike some others, Middle East Christians have nowhere else to go. As a result of turmoil not of their making and beyond their control, these Christians are the region’s ultimate homeless. Should some sort of peace ever return, the likelihood is that maps will be redrawn, carving up the pie among larger ethnic groups. There will be no place for Christians among hostile Muslim populations.
The animosity toward Christians is illustrated by a horrific incident earlier this year off the Italian coast. In April, Italian police investigating events on a boat that had departed from Libya said 12 Christian refugees who were attempting to cross the sea to Europe were thrown overboard by Muslim migrant passengers, and drowned.
The U.S. can do much good for Christian refugees. Their religious heritage establishes an important basis of commonality in the many Christian communities in our country.
When Secretary of State John Kerry announced in September that the U.S. will accept as many as 100,000 refugees by 2017, many of them Syrian, the State Department provided a list of more than 300 agencies in 190 locations that would assist on the local level. Of those agencies, no less than 215 are Christian. It makes sense to play to the strengths of those agencies.Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems to disagree.
Tragically, present policy does not take into account the uniquely precarious situation of displaced Christians. Instead of receiving priority treatment, Christians are profoundly disadvantaged. For instance, the State Department has accepted refugees primarily from lists prepared by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, which oversees the large camps to which refugees have flocked, and where they are registered. Yet endangered Christians do not dare enter those camps.
George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote in the Telegraph in Britain in September that a similar protocol in the U.K. “inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimised by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State. Christians are not to be found in the UN camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them.”But the world is too busy focusing on the 'Palestinians,' who themselves have driven Christians out of towns like Bethlehem. Where are the Christian demonstrators on behalf of their brethren in the Middle East? Darned if I know.
I was a firsthand witness to how these policies deliberately prevented scrutiny of Islamist groups. The two San Bernardino jihadists, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, may have benefited from the administration’s closure of an investigation I initiated on numerous groups infiltrating radicalized individuals into this country.
While working for the Department of Homeland Security for 13 years, I identified individuals affiliated with large, but less well-known groups such as Tablighi Jamaat and the larger Deobandi movement freely transiting the United States. At the National Targeting Center, one of the premier organizations formed to “connect the dots,” I played a major role in an investigation into this trans-national Islamist network. We created records of individuals, mosques, Islamic Centers and schools across the United States that were involved in this radicalization effort. The Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino was affiliated with this network and we had identified a member of it in our investigation. Farook frequented that mosque and was well-known to the congregation and mosque leadership.
Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming “more serious and strict.” More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.
We had these two groups in our sights; if the investigation had continued and additional links been identified and dots connected, we might have given advance warning of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s attendance at al-Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. It could also have led to denial of Malik’s K-1 visa or possibly gotten Farook placed on the No Fly list.
But after more than six months of research and tracking; over 1,200 law enforcement actions and more than 300 terrorists identified; and a commendation for our efforts; DHS shut down the investigation at the request of the Department of State and DHS’ own Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division. They claimed that since the Islamist groups in question were not Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations (SDTOs) tracking individuals related to these groups was a violation of the travelers’ civil liberties. These were almost exclusively foreign nationals: When were they granted the civil rights and liberties of American citizens?
Worse still, the administration then went back and erased the dots we were diligently connecting. Even as DHS closed my investigation, I knew that data I was looking at could prove significant to future counterterror efforts and tried to prevent the information from being lost to law enforcement. In 2013, I met with the DHS Inspector General in coordination with several members of Congress to attempt to warn the American people’s elected representatives about the threat.
In retaliation, DHS and the Department of Justice subjected me to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same Inspector General. None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem. Earlier this year, I was finally able to honorably retire from government and I’m now taking my story to the American people as a warning.So glad I don't live in the US anymore. At least here in Israel, most of us recognize our enemies.
Israeli leaders have accused Abbas and other Palestinian leaders of inciting the violence with incendiary rhetoric. Abbas has previously refrained from either endorsing or condemning the attacks, often referring to the wave of violence as understandable but not in the best interests of the Palestinian people.
“We cannot ask the youth why they are going out (to revolt),” Abbas said in Ramallah. “They just despaired of the two-state solution.”A 'Palestinian' poll indicates that two thirds of the 'Palestinians' support the current wave of stabbings.
A poll released Monday found that two-thirds of Palestinians support the current wave of stabbings. Most Palestinians believe if the current individual attacks develop into an armed intifada, the violence might serve Palestinian national interests more than negotiations would.
Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted the survey, with a sample size of 1270 and a 3-percent margin of error.The colossal error of the Oslo process continues to result in Jewish deaths. Had it never started, the 'Palestine Liberation Organization' was on the verge of fading into oblivion. #ThanksPeres
Pilots of the Turkish Air Forces (THK) followed the rules of engagement as outlined by the government during the downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border on Nov. 24 and would have been accused of neglecting their duty if they hadn't done so, a general who remained anonymous told a daily on Wednesday.
Speaking with the Sözcü daily, the general from the THK underlined that the government must accept any political responsibility as it is the government that outlines the rules of engagement for border violations, which are considered orders to the army.
THK head Gen. Abidin Ünal has been targeted by pro-government Twitter users saying that he had placed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in a difficult situation after bilateral relations with Russia broke down as a result of the downing of the jet.
According to Sözcü, some Twitter users tweeted after the incident that Ünal must resign as he shot down the Russian jet without orders from the president. “Resign! Otherwise, Reis [Erdoğan] will take care of you,” another user tweeted.
The anonymous general also underlined that it is a border violation when any jet belonging to a foreign nation violates another nation's air space, even for a second. “The rules of engagement are outlined by the government according to a specific time, region and purpose to protect its borders. The armed forces will automatically follow them,” general said.
“Had we known it was a Russian plane we might have acted differently,” Erdoğan said in an exclusive interview with France 24 news channel on Nov. 26. “But our pilots know the rules of engagement and have to do their duty to protect Turkish airspace,” he added.
During a parliamentary group speech of his party on Nov. 25, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the THK had carried out orders given by him personally. “Despite all the warnings, we had to destroy the aircraft,” he said.
According to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the Russian jet violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds and there were no warning shots.
The Turkish General Staff said on Nov. 24 that it shot down the Russian Su-24 jet after warning it 10 times in five minutes by radio. However the Russian Defense Ministry claims it was shot down in Syrian airspace.Something tells me that the Turks are going to be really sorry about this. On Sunday, I posted this on my Twitter feed:
I have since spoken to a neighbor who is an expert on the writings of the Vilna Gaon who has confirmed to me that the passage does exist, but he has not yet shown/told me where it is.Heard over the weekend that Vilna Gaon said Russian ship firing on Turkey = outbreak of Gog Magog war @zpyarom https://t.co/LhrOR1LvBP— IsraelMatzav (@IsraelMatzav) December 13, 2015
Most of the ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet are on the record opposing a two-state solution. American officials speak of Netanyahu as myopic, entitled, untrustworthy, routinely disrespectful toward the President, and focussed solely on short-term political tactics to keep his right-wing constituency in line. Netanyahu seems not to care if he insults the Administration. Ron Dermer, his ambassador to the U.S., secretly arranged with John Boehner for Netanyahu to speak before Congress without alerting the White House; Danny Danon, his envoy to the U.N., blamed Obama’s “lack of leadership” for Turkish and Iranian aggression; and Ran Baratz, whom Netanyahu appointed last month as his media chief, wrote on his Facebook page that the President was anti-Semitic and that Kerry had the mental abilities of a twelve-year-old.Well, at least Danon and Baratz are honest.... But really, is this any way to treat a friend?
Assad told Kerry that, in order to make peace with Israel, he had to get back the Golan Heights, territory lost in the 1967 war. For that to be considered, Kerry replied, Syria would have to cease the transit of arms through Syria to Hezbollah, in Lebanon, and to Hamas, in Gaza.
“We basically delivered him a pretty strong message of, ‘You better stop this or else,’ ” Kerry told me. “But I also engaged with him, because he wanted to talk about another subject—a relationship with Israel in the future. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this publicly, but he was ready to make a deal with Israel. And the proof of that is a letter I still have that he wrote and signed proposing a structure by which he was willing to recognize Israel, have an embassy there, make peace, deal with the Golan, et cetera.” (A representative of the Syrian government denied that Assad ever wrote such a letter; he also denied that Assad took any oppressive measures in 2011.) Syria asked Kerry for economic assistance, including a pipeline to Iraq and aid for technology and health care. When Netanyahu was told of the discussions, he was reluctant. “Bibi came to Washington, and one of the first things out of his mouth in the Oval Office was ‘I can’t do this. I’m not going to—I just can’t.’ ”
The issue was rendered moot in March, 2011, when the revolution began in Syria. As the Syrian regime increased its level of cruelty from month to month—beginning with the police torturing young protesters and moving on to the indiscriminate killing of many thousands, using barrel bombs—all talk of the “soft-spoken British-educated ophthalmologist,” of Assad as the reformist hope of Syria, was eclipsed.
Kerry shook his head at the memory of it. At dinner in Damascus, Assad had told Kerry and Heinz about how his mother could no longer go to a local mosque dressed in a skirt. He talked about how female college classmates, professional women, were now in hijab. “We want to be a secular country,” Assad said, according to Kerry. “We don’t want to be inundated by this.”
Kerry went on, “I had an impression that this guy had serious business plans, growth plans, development plans, wanted to change.” When I pressed him to describe Assad in terms of his crimes, he backed off. “You know what? I want to try to talk common sense to him through this process, and I do not want to get into any—it’s just the inappropriate moment for me to . . .”