Thursday, March 23, 2017
HAMAS'S GAZA CHIEF VOWS TO LIBERATE ALL OF PALESTINE.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Netanyahu: ‘Significant progress’ in settlement talks with US-In remarks before departing China, PM also says Beijing ‘has decided to build a special connection with Israel’ in the sphere of innovation-By Raphael Ahren March 22, 2017, 4:22 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
BEIJING — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that “significant progress” has been made toward an understanding between Israel and the US on settlement construction.“The talks have not been completed, but there is progress and we will hear about it when we reach Israel,” he told reporters in China, where he was on a state visit, shortly before his plane took off for Israel.Speaking at the airport, Netanyahu said $2 billion worth of deals were signed during his China trip.Speakingly glowingly of China, “a giant power,” he enthused that Beijing “has decided to build a special connection with the state of Israel in the sphere of innovation,” and cited the unique bilateral partnership agreed here on technological development. This, he stressed, was a deal “unique to Israel,” which opens all kinds of economic opportunities.Israel’s upgraded ties with Beijing, he said, also have diplomatic value, and would help boost Israel’s already rising diplomatic status, he said.Before leaving China, Netanyahu visited the Great Wall, which he said underlined China’s impressive, ancient civilization and reminded him of the Jewish people.Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, left for Washington on Sunday to discuss settlement building with the Trump administration.Horowitz joined Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the US, to continue discussions with US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt in an attempt to reach an understanding with the administration on construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.Greenblatt had visited Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan last week to gain a deeper understanding of the situation. Despite two meetings with Netanyahu during the course of the visit, no agreement was reached on settlements.Israel and the Trump administration have been trying to reach an understanding on the issue since last month’s meeting between the prime minister and Trump, who in a joint press conference told Netanyahu that he wanted him to “hold back” on settlements.Netanyahu has been seeking to get the White House’s approval for the construction of a new settlement — the first in some 25 years — for the evacuated residents of the illegal outpost of Amona, which was demolished last month.Channel 10 reported that officials who met with Greenblatt last week came away with a sense that the administration was determined to make progress on a regional peace accord, with talk of convening a possible regional conference in the coming months, and that White House efforts to get Israel to rein in settlements would come into play then.Marissa Newman contributed to this report.
More East Jerusalem Palestinians seek Israeli citizenship-Palestinians want rights and freer travel but Interior Ministry takes average of three years to rule on applicants-By Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh March 22, 2017, 4:21 pm-the times of israel
AP — More Palestinians in East Jerusalem are applying for Israeli citizenship in hopes of swapping their vulnerable status as mere city residents for the rights and ease of travel that come with an Israeli passport.But after long touting its offer of citizenship to them, Israel is now dragging its feet in granting it, those who track Palestinian applicants say. Lawyers said their Palestinian clients now wait months for an appointment with the Interior Ministry and an average of three years for a decision.Israeli officials denied they were trying to discourage applications through stalling tactics, saying delays resulted from a rise in the number of requests.The citizenship debate reflects the unsettled status of Jerusalem’s 330,000 Palestinians — who make up 37 percent of the city’s population — 50 years after Israel captured and annexed the eastern sector.The vast majority have city residency documents, allowing them to work and move about, but aren’t citizens of any country. For travel abroad, they use temporary documents issued by Israel or Jordan.-Stigma-Asking for an Israeli passport still carries the stigma of implied acceptance of Israeli control, and only about 15,000 Palestinians have requested one since 2003; of those, fewer than 6,000 were reportedly approved.An Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is meant to end the uncertainty one day. Palestinian leaders hope East Jerusalem will become the capital of a Palestinian state that will also encompass the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in 1967.But prospects for statehood are distant, and over 200,000 Jewish Israelis now live in East Jerusalem neighborhoods.Many Arab East Jerusalem residents also feel neglected by the Palestinian autonomy government, which runs parts of the West Bank but is barred by Israel from operating in Jerusalem.Palestinians who have sought a passport said they had to be pragmatic.“I didn’t want to lose my right” to live in Jerusalem, Ruba Mueller, a descendant of the city’s prominent Nashashibi clan, said of her decision to become an Israeli.Married to a German, the 37-year-old Jerusalem native feared that without the shield of citizenship, her extended stays in Germany would enable the Israeli authorities to strip her of her Jerusalem residency.“I was born here, I am a Palestinian,” Mueller said. “I don’t want a visa that says I’m a tourist.”-Just wanting to ‘live normally’-Another Arab resident said getting citizenship ended his numerous bureaucratic hassles. The 34-year-old land surveyor, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being labeled unpatriotic by fellow Palestinians, said he simply wants to “live normally.”Israel’s 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem — opposed by most of the world — did not come with an offer of automatic citizenship for the tens of thousands of Palestinians living there.The alternative of residency made sense at the time, said Daniel Seidemann, a Jerusalem expert who tracks and writes about Israeli policies in the city. “We never seriously offered citizenship. The world would never have allowed that and the Palestinians didn’t want it.”Israeli officials subsequently suggested citizenship was still on offer, even if most Palestinians chose not to seek it. Mayor Nir Barkat, when asked to respond to complaints of official discrimination, has said the path to citizenship is open.Palestinian officials said East Jerusalem’s globally recognized status as occupied territory won’t change if more Arab residents get Israeli passports.“The city will be liberated one day and these citizenships will mean nothing,” said Adnan Husseini, the official in charge of Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian Authority.-Rise in applications-Still, there has been a rise in applications. In 2016, a peak year, 1,081 families submitted applications, compared to 69 in 2003, 547 in 2008 and 704 in 2013, the Interior Ministry said.According to figures first published on the Times of Israel news site in September, the processing of requests has slowed dramatically since 2014. Out of more than 4,000 individual applications, only 84 were approved, 161 were rejected and the rest were pending.Israel’s Interior Ministry blamed a heavier work load.“There hasn’t been any slowing in the review process, but there are a growing number of applications every year,” said spokeswoman Sabine Haddad.Lawyers representing Palestinians said they believe Israel wants to deter Arabs from applying.“We see a clear link between these seemingly innocent bureaucratic measures and Israel’s demographic interest to reduce the number of Arabs inside its borders, especially Arabs with voting rights,” said lawyer Adi Lustigman, who has represented Palestinians seeking citizenship.Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency rights of 14,500 Palestinians, often on grounds that they were absent from the city for more than seven years, even if they moved to nearby West Bank suburbs for cheaper housing.Arab residents are “subject to constant fear, real fear, of losing their residency,” Lustigman said.For now, citizenship appears to offer the best protection. But the path is often difficult.-Passport canceled-Mueller learned recently that her passport wouldn’t be renewed because she had left Israel immediately after obtaining it 10 years ago. She won’t lose her citizenship, but has to go back to using a travel document that has to be renewed every two years.Even the fact that her grandmother was a niece of one of Israel’s most famous writers, Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon, hasn’t helped. The grandmother married into the Nashashibi family in the 1940s and converted to Islam. She later divorced and returned to Judaism.Applicants need to prove they’ve lived in the city for at least three years and are asked to provide electricity, water and municipal tax bills for that period. They also need proficiency in Hebrew, even though Arabic is an official language in Israel. Other grounds for refusal include minor criminal offenses or a veto by the Shin Bet security service.“The main category is the people who don’t get an answer at all,” Lustigman said.Yoav Yeivin, a member of Jerusalem’s municipal council, said Israeli authorities are concerned about absorbing more Arab citizens, who already make up more than one-fifth of the state’s population.On the other hand, he said, awarding citizenship to East Jerusalem residents would hasten their integration into Israeli society, strengthen Israel’s claim to the city and help reduce years of neglect of Arab neighborhoods.“If they (Palestinians) live under our rules, we want them to have the same that other citizens have in Jerusalem,” he said.
Akhram Abdalhak was living in Israel illegally with two wives and 10 children; he's an American citizen; the court was not expected to rule in his favor-Dramatic ruling paves way for thousands of East Jerusalemites to regain residency rights-Since 1967, over 14,500 Arab residents of Jerusalem have had their right to live in the city revoked. Unanimously accepting a long-shot petition, the Supreme Court rules that, as native born Jerusalemites, they deserve better-By Dov Lieber March 22, 2017, 2:36 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
When Akhram Abdalhak was 9, his family moved from Jerusalem to the United States. Years later, grown up and married, Abdalhak decided he wanted to move back to his native city. He found that he didn’t have the right to do so.He came back to Israel anyway 20 years ago. But his move was deemed illegal by the Israeli authorities. Until last week.Now 58, Abdalhak is one of over 14,500 East Jerusalemites who have had their permanent residency statuses revoked by Israel, with the vast majority of such cases taking place since 1995. In most of the cases, the Interior Ministry cited a prolonged absence from Jerusalem — usually over seven years; in some, East Jerusalemites lost their residency status after obtaining residency or citizenship in another country.East Jerusalemites became permanent residents when Israel captured their neighborhoods from Jordan in 1967; Israel subsequently extended full sovereignty to the area. (Resident status allows East Jerusalemites to live and work in Israel, but not to vote in national elections.)-Last Wednesday, Abdalhak won his residency status back in the High Court of Justice. The unanimous and precedent-setting ruling in his case established a new legal protection for the residency rights of East Jerusalemites.The justices ruled, for the first time, that Israel must consider the unique status of East Jerusalemites as native-born when deciding whether to restore their residency status.The sharp rise in recent decades of the number of revoked residency statuses has caused widespread concern among East Jerusalemites, who fear their right to live in what is now Israel is in constant jeopardy, according to human rights groups and lawyers familiar with the subject.Adi Lustigman, an experienced immigration lawyer who litigated the case for Abdalhak alongside lawyers Amir Hasan and Tamir Blank, told The Times of Israel the ruling should come as a great relief to East Jerusalemites.In theory, she said, it creates a context in “which many East Jerusalemites can regain lost Israeli residency rights.”She cautioned, however, that only time would tell if the apparent precedent will hold.The Interior Ministry argues it is simply carrying out the law when it revokes residency statuses.The ministry also says it is battling a widespread trend in which Palestinians who actually live in the West Bank claim to be living in East Jerusalem in order to have access to Israeli civil and social services.-An underdog case-Abdalhak was, to put it mildly, the underdog in his legal case, and an extremely unlikely agent of change.When he appealed for restored residency status to the Supreme Court in 2014, he was already an American citizen. His residency had been revoked 27 years earlier. He had been living in Israel illegally since 1997. According to the Interior Ministry, he was married to two women, which is illegal under Israeli law, and both of those wives were also living illegally in Israel. So were his 10 children.Indeed, the Interior Ministry saw Abdalhak’s case as so extreme it argued that granting his appeal would amount to “negating” the whole set of laws connected to revoking residency statuses.Yet the court ruled unanimously in favor of Abdalhak.The three justices who presided over the case, Uzi Fogelman, Menachem Mazuz and Supreme Court president Miriam Naor, attacked what has long been criticized by Israeli human right groups as a blatant unfairness in Israeli law: that East Jerusalemites are afforded only the same legal standing, in terms of their rights to live in Israel, as a foreigner who comes to Israel and attains permanent residency status.An American who moves to Israel to play on a basketball team, for instance, and an East Jerusalemite born in the Old City were considered equal under the law — with equal rights, and equal risks and conditions for losing those rights.The court concluded that East Jerusalemites merit more generous consideration.Justice Fogelman wrote: “When the minister must review a request to restore a permanent residency status to an East Jerusalemite, he must consider the unique situation: these residents — as opposed to immigrants who come to Israel and request the status — have strong ties to where they live, as someone born in this area — where sometimes their parents and grandparents were born — and where they established familial and communal life for years.”Lustigman said the ruling marked the first time this logic was set out “loud, clear and formally.”Mazuz wrote in the ruling: “[Abdalhak] ought to be viewed as someone who has renewed [his] affinity to Israel, and considering the special status of East Jerusalemites as indigenous – as opposed to those who won the right to permanent residency by license after immigration – has enough to justify his request to renew recognition in his status as a permanent resident.”Naor concurred, but highlighted the fact that each case would still need to be reviewed on its specific merits.Fogelman argued that the period Abdalhak spent in Israel illegally, which began only after Israel rejected his first request to restore his residency in 1989, was to his legal credit. It proved he was committed to living in Israel, and if that was indeed the case, the judge went on, the interior minster should restore his residency as he was born in Jerusalem.Fogelmen also argued that the Interior Ministry itself had opened the door for the court’s ruling, but had not taken its own logic far enough:During the trial, the ministry argued that it has already enacted a more lenient policy specifically for East Jerusalemites. This “widened” policy allows East Jerusalemites who have attained citizenship or residency status in a foreign country to regain their residency status in Israel, as long as they can prove they intend to live in Israel and do not pose a security threat. Abdalhak himself will now be both an American citizen and a resident of Jerusalem.In essence, then, Fogelmen noted, the ministry had already distinguished between East Jerusalemites and immigrants who became permanent residents, and acknowledged the former’s unique circumstances.According to Lustigman, this lenient policy began around the end of 2014, although the ministry did not formally announce its existence.-Evolution of the revocation policy-When Israel captured the eastern half of Jerusalem in 1967, it did not want to give its residents citizenship. And most of those residents, who generally considered Israel’s presence in their neighborhoods illegitimate, did not want to be naturalized into the Jewish state.Instead, a census in East Jerusalem was quickly carried out, and all those who were registered in it were given “permanent residency status.”This status was established by the “Entry into Israel” law, created in 1952. This legislation was formulated to accommodate non-Jews who wanted to live in the nascent Jewish state. Yet that same law, with its strict requirements for keeping residency status, has been applied to East Jerusalemites, despite the fact they were born in Israel.The law grants East Jerusalemites the right to apply for Israeli citizenship — like any foreign non-Jewish immigrant — but it also gives the Interior Ministry full discretion to strip or restore permanent residency status.Until the 1990s, relatively few East Jerusalemites applied for Israeli citizenship, and the Interior Ministry revoked the permanent residency status of relatively few East Jerusalemites.But in 1995 the Interior Ministry began demanding East Jerusalemites prove the capital was their center of life. Retroactively, thousands of families were legally liable to have their residency statuses revoked — and that’s what happened, with revocations in many subsequent years reaching numbers beyond anything East Jerusalemites had previously experienced.This policy hit its peak in 2008, during which an unprecedented 4,577 East Jerusalemites had their residency statuses revoked, according to Interior Ministry statistics obtained by Hamoked, an Jerusalem-based rights group. This was nearly four times more than in any year since 1967.The following year, the number of applications by East Jerusalemites for citizenship jumped from 1,025 to 1,656 — a 61% leap and by far the highest increase since 1967.Since 2003, 14,629 permanent residents of East Jerusalem have applied to become Israeli citizens.Lustigman, among others, has argued that the sharp rise in East Jerusalemites seeking citizenship stems from their fear that one day their permanent residency statuses could be taken away.The past few years have seen a dramatic fall in the number of permanent residency statuses revoked. As shown in a recent Times of Israel investigation, however, they have also seen the processing of citizenship applications for East Jerusalemites come to an almost complete halt.
MIGRATING BIRDS IN ISRAEL EATS HUMANS FLESH FOR COMING AGAINST ISRAEL-JERUSALEM
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog (RUSSIA/ARAB/MUSLIMS) a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers (EAST OF THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN VALLEY) on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog (RUSSIAN) and all his multitude:(ARAB/MUSLIM HORDE) and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.(BURIEL SITE OF THE 300 MILLION,RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS)
12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.(OF ISRAEL)
16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.(OF THE ISRAEL-GOD HATERS)
17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.(OF RUSSIAN/ISLAMIC HORDES AGAINST ISRAEL)
18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;(AGAINST ALL NATIONS ARMIES THAT COME AGAINST JERUSALEM AND ISRAEL)
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog,(RULER) the land of Magog,(RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal,(TOBOLSK) and prophesy against him,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW) and Tubal:TOBOLSK)
4 And I (GOD) will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,(GOD FORCES THE RUSSIA-MUSLIMS TO MARCH) and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
5 Persia,(IRAN,IRAQ) Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
6 Gomer,(GERMANY) and all his bands; the house of Togarmah (TURKEY) of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.(AFRICAN MUSLIMS,SUDAN,TUNESIA ETC)
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal: (TUBOLSK)
2 And I will turn thee back,(RUSSIA-ARAB MUSLIM ISRAEL HATERS) and leave but the sixth part of thee,(5/6TH OR 300 MILLION DEAD RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS I BELIEVE) and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,(RUSSIA) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands,( ARABS) and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
6 And I will send a fire on Magog,(NUCLEAR ATOMIC BOMB) and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
Hamas’s Gaza chief vows to ‘liberate all of Palestine’-Yahya Sinwar says terror organization is committed to ‘not surrender even a morsel’ of the land to Israel-By Times of Israel staff March 22, 2017, 5:14 pm
Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday that the terror group will not cease its conflict with Israel until “the liberation of all of Palestine.”Speaking at an event marking the anniversary of the death of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004 in Gaza City, Yahya Sinwar said Hamas would not allow the State of Israel to exist on even a “morsel” of land.“Hamas will continue in the path of Yassin for the liberation of all of Palestine — we will not surrender even a morsel” of the land, Hebrew media reports quoted Sinwar as saying.Despite drafting a new manifesto set to be released by the end of March as part of an attempt to moderate the terror group’s image, Hamas has not retracted its call for Israel’s elimination.Although the new political platform raises the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — lands Israel captured in the 1967 war — it will not formally replace Hamas’s 1988 founding covenant, which calls for the destruction of Israel and for “confronting the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews through jihad” and argued that “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people.”In referring to a Palestinian state, Hamas did not spell out whether it considers this an acceptable solution to the conflict with Israel or a steppingstone to its longstanding goal of an Islamic state in place of Israel, as it makes no mention of recognizing Israel’s existence.The document will be released after Hamas completes internal elections, with results for leader of its ruling political bureau expected at the end of the month. Separately, different sectors, such as the West Bank and Gaza, have voted for their own leadership councils.In Gaza, the base of Hamas’s political power, Sinwar, a former prisoner in Israel and a strong advocate of armed struggle against Israel, was chosen for the top spot.He is considered hawkish even within Hamas, and opposes any compromise in its policies regarding the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Even from prison, he was one of the main opponents of the Gilad Shalit exchange deal that saw him freed because he regarded the terms, one Israeli soldier for 1,027 prisoners, as a surrender to Israel’s conditions.Since his release, he has managed to amass a great deal of political power in Hamas, and was already widely considered the strongest man in Gaza even though he was not the head of Hamas’s military or political wing.Agencies contributed to this report.
Saying tunnels not existential threat, IDF head admits hitting them from air-Revealing that air force is destroying tunnels during reprisal attacks, Gadi Eisenkot tells lawmakers the passageways are a serious threat but shouldn’t be exaggerated-By Judah Ari Gross March 22, 2017, 11:43 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
The head of the army sought to downplay concerns over the threat of Hamas tunnels infiltrating Israel to Gaza Wednesday, while admitting for the first time that the military is destroying the subterranean passages with ground-penetrating bombs fired from afar.Army chief Gadi Eisenkot told lawmakers that while the tunnel threat was important, the Jewish state was not at risk of being subsumed by Hamas fighters infiltrating from Gaza.“The underground threat is most serious, and that is how we treat it. But I don’t think it’s right to define them as an existential or strategic threat, and intimidate ourselves,” he said.“We have many threats,” he added.Eisenkot was called to the Knesset’s State Control Committee in order to discuss a scathing report by the State Comptroller’s Office about the 2014 Gaza war that accused the military of being insufficiently prepared to face the Hamas tunnel threat.Eisenkot told the lawmakers that the military has thus far invested over NIS 4 billion ($1.1 billion) in shoring up Israel’s underground defenses.He said that reprisal attacks launched by Israel in response to rocket fire were not targeting “sand dunes and empty bunkers,” but rather were actively thwarting the tunnels, admitting for the first time that the army has the technology to do so.“Every missile or shell was fired was at a valuable target, at underground targets,” Eisenkot said. “We have developed a capability that allows us to strike them.”He added that Israel also targets weapons caches and other Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip.Eisenkot appeared to be specifically referring to two large-scale bombardments by the Israeli Air Force in response to rocket fire from Gaza.In October and August, an Israeli military official said the army had targeted “key Hamas strategic assets” after rockets were launched at Israel.In the August incident, the IAF said it conducted approximately 50 strikes in Gaza.The October retaliatory bombardment was smaller, targeting “a number of terror installations belonging to the Hamas terror group.”The military chief acknowledged that the army did have room to improve — a sentiment he also expressed when the comptroller report was published last month.“The army has never faced a subterranean challenge with the scope and depth of what we uncovered during Operation Protective Edge,” he said, using Israel’s name for the 2014 war.“We dealt with more than 30 attack tunnels, a third of which penetrated our territory. As a result of those capabilities, the Hamas organization managed to kill 13 soldiers and carry out activities [inside Israel],” Eisenkot said.That threat is a clear one and one does not need to “exaggerate words and headlines” in order to see it, he added.The origin of the tunnels — both the ones in Gaza and on Israel’s northern borders — is the Iranian regime, Eisenkot charged.In 2016 the army invested an additional NIS 1.2 billion ($330 million) in combating the underground threat — on top of the NIS 3 billion ($830 million) that the security cabinet already approved for a security barrier along the Gaza border. Details of efforts to thwart the tunnels are still mostly kept secret.“We prioritized the subterranean mission at the top of the IDF’s list. We directed units [to the problem] and carried out operations,” the army chief said.Eisenkot said the details of those operations would be discussed at the portion of the Knesset committee meeting that would be held behind closed doors.The army chief noted that in addition to the IDF’s efforts to specifically counter Hamas tunnels, the military had also made efforts to increase its general preparedness, citing a surprise exercise for reserve soldiers held earlier in the week.Israel has fought three major rounds of conflict with Hamas since the Islamist terror group seized control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah in 2007.The most recent such conflict, Operation Protective Edge, saw 50 days of fighting, including a ground offensive.During the operation, the army found and damaged 34 Hamas tunnels, 14 of them crossing into Israel. The rest were inside Gaza, for use as bunkers and means of transportation around the Strip.In all, 74 Israelis were killed, 68 of them soldiers. Thousands of rockets and mortar shells were fired by Hamas and other Islamic terror groups at Israeli towns and cities, where damage was limited by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.The UN and Palestinians said 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, died in Gaza, where Israel’s counterstrikes caused widespread devastation. Israel said that up to half of those killed on the Palestinian side were combatants, and blamed the civilian death toll on Hamas for deliberately placing rocket launchers, tunnels and other military installations among civilians.Israel says Hamas, which avowedly seeks Israel’s destruction, has since rebuilt larger rocket arsenals capable of hitting the entire country, and is again digging attack tunnels.Israel is now drawing up contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million civilians from border communities to protect them from attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah or other terror groups, it was reported Tuesday.
Family of Jewish ex-FBI agent sues Iran over disappearance-Lawsuit filed in Washington accuses Tehran of using deception and lies to hide role in Robert Levinson‘s imprisonment-By Times of Israel staff and Agencies March 22, 2017, 10:53 am
The family of a Jewish retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran 10 years ago has filed a lawsuit in the US against Tehran, according to a Tuesday report.Robert Levinson disappeared 10 years ago on Iran’s Kish Island. Iranian officials have refused to discuss the case, saying they are not holding him and do not know where he is.The lawsuit, filed in Washington on behalf of Levinson, his wife Christine and their seven children, claims that the Islamic Republic used deception and lies to conceal its role in the former agent’s imprisonment and demands unspecified damages, among other things for the emotional distress caused to the family, according to The New York Times.While American officials believe Iran was involved in Levinson’s capture and imprisonment, the Obama administration never challenged the Iranians and neither has current US President Donald Trump, the New York Times reported.In 2015, before three other Americans held by Iran were released, Trump — then a presidential candidate — promised, “If I win the presidency, I guarantee you that those four prisoners are back in our country before I ever take office. I guarantee that.”Earlier this month, the White House offered a $5 million reward for Levinson’s “location and safe return.”Levinson’s family is convinced he is alive and that Iranian authorities know where he is, even as some US officials believe he died in captivity.He was last seen in a hostage video and a series of photos made in 2010. It was not clear which organization or group was holding him.If still alive, he would now be 69.A 2013 Associated Press investigation found that Levinson was working for the CIA on an unauthorized intelligence-gathering mission to find information about Iran’s nuclear program when he disappeared from Iran’s Kish Island on March 9, 2007.The investigation showed that in a breach of the most basic CIA rules, a team of analysts — with no authority to run spy operations — paid Levinson to gather intelligence from hotspots around the world, including the Middle East and Latin America.The official story when Levinson disappeared was that he was in Iran on private business, either to investigate cigarette smuggling or to work on a book about Russian organized crime, which has a presence on Kish, a tourist island.In fact, he was meeting a source, an American fugitive, Dawud Salahuddin, who is wanted for killing a former Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980. In interviews, Salahuddin has admitted killing the diplomat.The CIA paid Levinson’s family $2.5 million to preempt a revealing lawsuit, and the agency rewrote its rules restricting how analysts can work with outsiders. Three analysts who had been working with Levinson lost their jobs.
Cops enter Jerusalem neighborhood to seal off terrorist’s home-Police prepare to fill with concrete Jabel Mukaber home of man who rammed his truck into soldiers, killing 4-By Judah Ari Gross March 22, 2017, 1:57 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Police officers and border guards entered the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Wednesday to seal off the home of a terrorist who killed four soldiers and injured many more in a truck ramming attack earlier this year, police said.On January 8, Fadi al-Qanbar drove his truck into a group of army cadets and their civilian guides during a tour of Jerusalem’s promenade in Armon Hanatziv.Four soldiers were killed — three women and one man — and 16 were injured in the attack.The driver accelerated as he struck the group then, after hitting the soldiers, put the vehicle into reverse and began to run them over a second time, amateur video footage showed.Shortly thereafter the government announced its intention to seal off, but not demolish, al-Qanbar’s home in the Arab neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem.A petition to stay the order was dismissed by the High Court of Justice last month.The troops who entered Jabel Mukaber on Wednesday morning were there to “maintain order and security, and to prevent violence” against the workers who would be filling al-Qanbar’s home with concrete, police said.The border guards and police officers would use “all the tools and powers at their disposal” in order to ensure the order is carried out, police said.The police did not say exactly when the process of sealing off al-Qanbar’s home would begin.Soon after the attack, local media said al-Qanbar, 28, was in his 20s, married with four children, and had served time in Israeli prison.He was shot by soldiers and a civilian guide, according to police, and died of his wounds.Shortly afterwards, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed Israel would never return the terrorist’s body and that al -Qanbar would be buried by security forces in a place to which his family would not have access to prevent the holding of a funeral where his acts would be celebrated.In the High Court’s ruling last month, the judges noted the hardship that the sealing of al-Qanbar’s home would cause the family, but accepted the state’s position that the order was legal and said there was significant legal precedent for it to be carried out.Home demolitions as a tactic to prevent terror, or the sealing of homes in cases where there are other apartment owners in a building not connected with an attack, has long been a point of controversy both within and outside of Israel.Between 1987 and 2005, a period encompassing two Palestinian uprisings known as the first and second intifadas, Israel destroyed 1,115 Palestinian homes as punishment, partially demolished 64 and sealed or partially sealed 417, according to the left-wing Israeli rights organization B’Tselem.In 2005, then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz ordered an end to the demolitions after security services concluded that they have a minimal deterrent effect.The debate over the years within the security establishment has continued to tilt against the practice, but it was revived with the surge in stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks that began in September 2015. It remains a controversial practice approved by courts only in cases where there is a reason to believe that it might deter future attacks.Despite Mofaz’s order, the IDF did demolish two and four housing units in 2009 and 2014 respectively. The wave of violence that began in 2015 led to a slight spike in demolitions, with 11 homes being destroyed that year followed by the bulldozing of 23 in 2016, according to B’Tselem.Israel punitively seals Jabal al-Mukabbir home with concrete, displacing 5 Palestinians https://t.co/MaMXwCj6aE pic.twitter.com/0uQj9mi8fc— Ma'an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) March 22, 2017-Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
High Court rejects bid to quash Ghattas plea deal-Right-wing extremists fail to block plea bargain signed with Arab ex-MK accused of smuggling cellphones to terrorists-By Times of Israel staff March 22, 2017, 2:11 pm
The High Court on Wednesday threw out a right-wing petition to scrap a plea deal struck with former lawmaker Basel Ghattas, who stands accused of exploiting his position to smuggle cellphones to convicted Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons.Ghattas of the Joint (Arab) List resigned from the Knesset Sunday as part of the plea deal that will see him face two years in prison. He is slated to enter his plea later Wednesday at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court.The petition to block the deal was submitted by four extreme right-wing activists; former Knesset member Michael Ben Ari, Bentzi Gopstein, founder of the Lehava anti-assimilation organization, Baruch Marzel and attorney Itamar Ben Gvir.Judge Menachem Mazuz said he found no reason to accept the petition.Prosecutors on Friday filed an indictment in the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court against Ghattas, formally charging him with smuggling phones into prison, smuggling documents and breach of trust.The charges came a day after Ghattas signed the deal with the state in which he agreed to resign from the Knesset and serve two years in return for the state dropping more serious charges of aiding the enemy and being an accomplice to terror.Speaking at a press conference in Nazareth Friday after the charges were filed, Ghattas said he had been unfairly persecuted because he was an Arab lawmaker.Israeli authorities “crossed a series of red lines because I am an Arab MK,” Ghattas said. “You all know that there have been investigations against other lawmakers, ministers and prime ministers, the president and senior army officers, who were suspected of far more serious crimes, and none of them was arrested or had their (parliamentary) immunity revoked.”Ghattas said everything he did was driven by personal reasons of conscience and humanitarian feelings toward the prisoners, adding that he had decided to take the deal after “examining all his options.”Under the plea, lawyers for both sides will request a jail term of two years and the prosecution will ask that Ghattas be fined.The court will be left to decide on the length of an additional, suspended sentence, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.Prosecutors will also ask for the offenses to be branded moral turpitude, which, under law, triggers a ban from public office for seven years.Ghattas’s resignation puts an end to efforts by lawmakers to oust him from the parliament by using the MK Impeachment Law. The newly passed legislation allows for MKs to expel a colleague for “supporting a terror group’s armed struggle against the State of Israel.” The Knesset House Committee was due to vote Monday on sending the motion to the plenary for a final vote.Ghattas was under criminal investigation after being caught on prison surveillance video passing envelopes to Palestinian security prisoners in January.Police said that the MK exploited his position as a member of Knesset — who cannot be subjected to a body search — during a visit to Ketziot Prison in southern Israel last year, where he met with Walid Daka, a Palestinian prisoner serving a 37-year sentence for the 1984 abduction and murder of 19-year-old IDF soldier Moshe Tamam. The MK also met with Basel Ben Sulieman Bezre, who is serving a 15-year sentence on a terror conviction.Ghattas consistently denied the allegations against him, but had to contend with video footage that appeared to show him smuggling the cellphones into the prison.He was released to house arrest in January, five days after he was arrested. When that ended, he was still barred from all parliamentary activities except for plenum votes.On Tuesday, Balad Party member Juma Azbarga was sworn in to the Knesset to fill the empty seat left by Ghattas,
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