Sunday, October 22, 2017

22-Oct-17: The mass-murdering fugitive savage sends her apologies

Happy "pioneers of Jerusalem" in Istanbul yesterday. The
jihadist savage Tamimi is missing from the photo - the explanation
is below in her own words [Image Source]
An Arabic-language report on a government-controlled Kuwaiti news site informs us that a conference under the headline "Fourth Pioneers of Jerusalem Forum" took place in Istanbul, Turkey, this weekend.

It caught our eye because one of the speakers was our daughter's murderer, the fugitive FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi. She currently lives in Jordan (where she was born) and is the subject of an extradition request by the United States government.

The Kuwaiti report, published by an arm of Kuwait's Ministry of Information, says this of the female jihadist (machine-translated from the original Arabic which explains the jerkiness):
Released prisoner Ahlam al-Tamimi said in a recorded speech that she was unable to attend the forum because she was listed on the wanted list of the International Police (Interpol), that Palestinian women played the main and most important role during the popular uprisings, viewing many of the old and modern jihadist roles of women. Al-Tamimi called on Arab women to break the silence and support Palestinian women by organizing weekly demonstrations and supporting their steadfastness in various ways. Women's organizations and human rights organizations also demanded that Palestinian women in general and women prisoners in particular be allowed to take their rights... The International Women's Coalition for Jerusalem and Palestine [evidently the organizer of the event] was founded in 2014 on the sidelines of a forum for pioneers in the Islamic world to support the steadfastness of Palestinian women and expose the Zionist violations that are being inflicted on Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to activating projects and activities aimed at supporting Jerusalem and Palestine in all countries and resisting normalization with the occupation in all its forms.
The Arabic version of the FBI Tamimi
Wanted poster [Online original here]
Machine translations often have problems with expressions that possess special and distinct meanings in their original languages. When, for instance, the Kuwaiti editors put words like "steadfast", "pioneers" and "take their rights" into the mouth of a self-confessed and boastful murderer of fifteen innocent people, most of them children, it's entirely possible that in Arabic she was saying things with a very different degree of barbarism and impact.

The Kuwaiti site has an English-language edition but, for reasons only its editors and the commissars to whom they report know, the Tamimi quote and the report of those happy pioneers in Turkey are an Arabic-language exclusive. In Kuwait, they evidently admire Tamimi and they presumably the murders she engineered: she was an honored and highly publicized visitor there, including being interviewed at length on one of their television stations, first in July 2012 and then again in March 2014.

As for Tamimi's mention of Interpol, here's what we think she means:

Jordan's absolute ruler
So long as she stays within the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, she's safe. That's provided King Abdullah II, the ruler of the kingdom who single-handedly appoints every last one of its judges and exercises total control over its lawmakers by dissolving the country's parliament roughly once every fifteen months (that's according to the US Congressional Research Service), keeps blocking US extradition efforts. As long as he does, and keeps ignoring the plain language of a 1995 extradition treaty his father signed with the Clinton administration 22 years ago, the boastful murderer will be safe.

But the minute she gets on a plane to travel - and she has done lots of travel since her freedom was extorted by Hamas in the Shalit Deal of 2011 - then she is at risk of being taken into custody.

That's the result of an arrest order announced in March 2017 ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and extradition is sought"] and made by a Federal judge four years earlier in Washington DC. In Istanbul, Turkey, she's a steadfast pioneer. In Amman, Jordan, she's a national hero and symbol of the resistance. In Washington, and via the eyes of the US Justice Department and the FBI, she's one of its most wanted fugitives.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

21-Oct-17: Early-morning rocket fire deep into northern Israel today and IDF believes the Syrians meant it this time

Damascus today: Iranians on the left, Syrians on the right, Iran's Maj. Gen.
Mohammad Bagheri in the middle shaking hands with Syria's top military
officer Gen. Ali Ayoub. The military agreement they signed is described
below [Image Source]

Israel's Syria border has been relatively quiet for decades. But the recent and ongoing geo-strategic changes in the Middle East (think: Iran) mean the likelihood of substantial changes there - for the worse - is on the minds of everyone in the Israeli security establishment.

Here's what we know about the events of today (Saturday).

Times of Israel, in a report entitled "Israel believes rocket fire from Syria may have been deliberate" says five rockets were fired across its border from Syria early this morning (Saturday). While earlier incoming rockets (there have been many this year already - most recently this past Thursday) have been called incidental to the ferocious blood-letting in Syria, today's
"may have been deliberately launched at Israel, rather than constituting errant spillover from clashes in Syria, military sources said late Saturday. Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers, in response to the rocket fire, and warned that further fire would prompt a more intensive response... Channel 2 news reported that although the IDF officially referred to “spillover” fire in its statements Saturday, there was “a growing sense” in the army that the Syrian fire was deliberate..." [Times of Israel, today]
Today's rockets were all fired into Israel around 5 am. Four fell relatively deeply inside Israeli territory and according to Times of Israel set off Code Red (Tzeva Adom) alarms in several locations. It's still believed at this stage that all crashed onto open ground without causing injury or damage, though one "landed close to an Israeli residential area."

Israeli suspicions start with the assessment that  no fighting was going on in any relevant part of Syria at the time of the fire. The Syrian army fully controls the specific area from which they were fired. And they landed far from the Syrian frontier.  And this:
Concluding a visit to Syria on Saturday, the commander of Iran’s armed forces signed a memorandum of understanding with Syrian officials in which the two allies announced plans for tighter military cooperation and coordination — notably against Israel. [Times of Israel, today]
More about that below.

All sides - Syria, Israel, Iran - have been making statements.

The Syrian defense ministry says Israel arranged for the rocket attack on its territory:
"The terrorists, acting at the behest of Israel, shelled empty ground to provide a pretext for this aggression..." [Turkish news site Daily Sabah, today]
The IDF doesn't think it attacked itself and issued this blunt warning:
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its residents, and considers the Syrian regime responsible for what is happening in its territory... Even if this is just spillover, this is an exceptional incident and the continuance of such events will be met with a more fierce Israeli response... ” [IDF statement quoted by Times of Israel, today]
And Bagheri, the Iranian, said just three days ago from Damascus [source] where he arrived a day earlier that he was there to coordinate
in order to fight our common enemies — whether they are the Zionists or the terrorists. We discussed ways to strengthen relations in the future and outlined the basic principles of this cooperation... We cannot accept a situation where the Zionist entity attacks Syria from the ground and the air”.
Associated Press today added to what we know about the unusual Syrian junket by Iran's most senior military officer:
The Chief of Staff of Iran's armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, is on an official visit to Syria. He toured the front lines in the northern province of Aleppo and discussed military cooperation with President Bashar Assad... Syria and its strong backer Iran signed a joint memorandum of understanding for developing cooperation and coordination between the two countries' armies... [The] memo was signed between the two countries' chiefs of staffs [and] provides for exchanging military expertise and intelligence and technology information in a way that can boost the two countries' capability for fight terrorism, according to [Syria's] state news agency SANA. Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's strongest supporters since the country's crisis began in 2011 and has sent thousands of Iranian-backed militiamen to boost his troops against opponents.
Meanwhile, Israel National News says the IDF fire in the hours after the Syrian rocketry "destroyed three Syrian artillery cannons".

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

18-Oct-17: The luckiest Arab in the entire Gush

This photo of the scene accompanies the Ma'an Arabic report quoted here
Ynet reports this afternoon (Wednesday)
IDF force stops attempted terrorist attack | Palestinian armed with knife runs towards IDF force near Gush Etzion; force incapacitates him by shooting at his legs, arrests him.
Elisha Ben Kimon Published:  18.10.17 , 13:46
An IDF force carried out a suspect arrest protocol at a knife-wielding would-be Palestinian terrorist near the Gush Etzion junction Wednesday. A soldier from the Nahal's 50 Battalion was stationed in a pillbox at the junction's security checkpoint. The terrorist was running north, going against traffic. The soldier noticed he was carrying a suspicious object, which later turned out to be a knife, and called out to him, ordering him to stop. When the terrorist kept running, the soldier initiated a suspect arrest protocol, during which he shot the would-be terrorist in the stomach, incapacitating him. The suspect was taken to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem in moderate condition. There were no Israeli casualties.
Times of Israel says the attacker
ran at them with a knife at the Gush Etzion Junction... The soldiers called for the man to stop. When he didn’t, they opened fire, the army said... According to the hospital, the man is in moderate to serious condition, with a gunshot wound to the stomach. He is approximately 20 years old.
Then there's the version provided by Ma'an, a European-funded Palestinian Arab news source, with its customary spin on the facts:
A Palestinian youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday at the Gush Etzion junction south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli media reported that the youth disembarked from a bus at the Etzion bus station carrying a knife and was immediately shot by Israeli soldiers in the area... Witnesses told Ma’an that the youth, who remained unidentified, was crossing the street running to catch another bus that was departing when Israeli soldiers opened fire at him... Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in a majority of instances when Palestinians were killed, rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases, and argued that many alleged attackers could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
(There's little doubt in our minds that Ma'an's disingenuous spinning of terror-attack reports encourages more of them. Their Arabic language edition is even more pernicious. We wonder how much their European government funders are aware of the nature of Ma'an's work-product. Or care.)

Readers might be interested to know that the Arabic version of the same Ma'an news organization has the same surreal accounting - innocent fellow, minding his own business, rushing to catch a bus and shot down in cold-blood by "occupation forces" - adding the not-so-inconsequential detail that the Arab was killed. No other report says he was, and it's fairly clear he wasn't.

This would-be killer is someone's son. If we were his parents, we would be busy this moment composing a heart-felt thank you note to the commanding officer of the young, cool-headed Nahal soldier doing guard duty at the Gush Etzion Junction where innumerable Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks have resulted in deaths on both sides during the past two years. We would be saying thank you for sparing the life of our misguided, brain-washed, irresponsible and undeserving son who will now have the opportunity to either regret or to relive today's events.

That soldier, in the space of the handful of seconds available to him, had the power and the equipment to stop the knife attacker permanently. Instead he stuck to instructions and incapacitated him, leaving the medical professionals to bring the Pal Arab terrorist back to health - and a future.

A future which will now - as of this afternoon - include a guaranteed monthly salary from the terror-fixated Abbas regime and its appalling Rewards for Terror scheme. He's unlikely to ever be able to otherwise earn anything close to what the PA - thanks to unwitting or merely apathetic European and North American taxpayers - is about to start paying him for what he did in the Gush this afternoon.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

15-Oct-17: Rockets strike southern Israel from Sinai

Incoming hostile rockets were detected at about 10:15 tonight (Sunday) in southern Israel, and as a result the Tzeva Adom (Color Red) warning system was activated in multiple communities.

The IDF says there were two rockets and unlike the recent spate of inbound missiles from Gaza where Hamas runs everything, these originated in Sinai. The last time we saw Sinai rockets here was during the inaugural Trump visit five months ago: "23-May-17: In the midst of US presidential visit, ISIS plays its hand".

No indication yet of whether there has been any damage to property or worse. Israel National News says explosions were heard in the Eshkol region. Times of Israel quotes the IDF:
A military spokesperson said they were still looking for the rockets, indicating that they likely struck an open field, rather than a populated area. The army did not immediately identify who launched the rockets, but it was likely a Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group.
Some background via Ynet:
Earlier in the day [Sunday], suspected Islamic State militants attacked six checkpoints in the turbulent north of the Sinai Peninsula, killing six [Egyptian] soldiers and wounding 37, according to [Egyptian] security and hospital officials. The officials said the near-simultaneous attacks took place at and around the town of Sheikh Zweid, with dozens of militants using heavy machine guns and mortars... Egyptian security forces have for years battled militants in northern Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel. But the insurgency there has gained momentum after the Egyptian military ousted an elected Islamist president [Morsi] in 2013.
Sheikh Zuweid (using the more common spelling) is a Sinai town of some 60,000 Bedouin that has been under the control of ISIS since 2015. Reuters adds this evening to what we know from Ynet when it says
At least 24 militants and six soldiers were killed on Sunday in attacks on military outposts in North Sinai, the Egyptian military said in a statement. The statement did not give details, but security and medical sources said about 20 members of the security forces had also been injured when more than 100 militants repeatedly attacked security outposts south of the border town of Sheikh Zuweid. The attackers used car bombs and rocket propelled grenades (RPG), the sources said.
Egypt's Sinai has been in a state of almost complete chaos for the past six years. This Jerusalem Post
backgrounder ["Lawlessness and terror: The Beduin kingdom of Sinai"] from March 2012 traces the spiraling downwards.

Monday, October 09, 2017

09-Oct-17: Behind those incoming rocket alerts

We originally published this November 2012 Cameron Cardow cartoon here 3 years ago [Image Source: The Cagle Post]
It's a rainy, sweet-smelling Monday morning here in Jerusalem.

But last night and the night before, both of them balmy and conducive to relaxation during a holiday week (Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew), in-bound missile alerts (emanating from Israel's advanced Tzeva Adom or Color Red warning system) were sounded across large swathes of southern Israel what we call here the Gaza Envelope. These were barely reported outside Israel.

The Saturday night alarm was soon explained by the IDF as a technical error. So, for a while, was Sunday night's. But about an hour after families rushed to their shelters with sleeping children in their arms, the IDF provided a fuller explanation. Here's how Times of Israel conveyed it:
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip failed to reach Israeli territory, the IDF said Sunday night, upending its earlier statement on the incident and confirming retaliatory Israeli artillery fire on a border post... [The] rocket aimed at the Jewish state exploded inside the Gaza Strip. Earlier on Sunday night, the military had said a rocket fell in an open area in the Eshkol region of southern Israel... The would-be rocket strike was the first projectile fired from the coastal enclave in two months. While no group immediately claimed Sunday’s rocket attempt, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire emanating from the Strip...  Earlier Saturday, Hamas said it had arrested four senior Islamic State members, including the group’s leader in the coastal enclave. The attempted rocket fire comes as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are engaged in reconciliation negotiations to see the PA resume civil control of the Gaza Strip... ["Backpedaling, IDF says rocket from Gaza failed to hit Israel", Times of Israel, October 8, 2017]
A Gazan terrorist rocket fired at Israelis but which crash-lands in Gazan territory is a "fell short". They fall short often, though this is rarely reported either by the Hamas regime which rules Gaza or by the major news agencies [see "18-Nov-12: Fell short? Not just the Hamas rockets but the ethics of the journalists covering them"].

Click here to see other past posts of ours where "Fell Short" is one of the index terms: there are currently nearly 80 of them.

What's especially interesting and bothersome about Fell Shorts is that these often crash not just onto Gaza's territory but onto Gazan heads and homes. On a visit we made a couple of years ago to an IDF installation close to Gaza, we learned about serious injuries caused to hapless Gazans just a few days earlier. These had been reported nowhere - because political considerations cause Gaza rulers to hush up the Arab-on-Arab fall-out resulting from self-inflicted Fell Short explosions.

Living under the Hamas jackboot has never been easy.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

08-Oct-17: Why kill religious Jewish children? Because, says Hamas celebrity-jihadist, this is a religious struggle

We're posting this here and now because the Arabic-speaking world is currently in the grip of a spate of Arab media articles defending, supporting and celebrating the murders done by Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who masterminded the murder of our child. In fact, they're protesting the very notion that Tamimi is now wanted by the FBI. (Here's one of many examples from the past three days.)

The murderer, interviewed by the ever-eager media (take a bow Associated Press and Al Jazeera) has lately been responding to their questions by saying she's innocent, she did nothing wrong, she's shocked that the American authorities, the Department of Justice, the FBI are going after her "for no obvious reasons". Those are all direct quotes.

There's an unusually large body of readily-accessible video material in which Ahlam Tamimi, the psychopathic Hamas jihadist, boasts of the murders she executed, reinforcing again and again that she has no regrets and why should she.

Here are some screen shots from just one: it's available via YouTube [here] for anyone wanting to see the whole clip.

"And from here [in Ramallah, on August 9, 2001 in the middle of the day] we started the operation..." [that led a couple of hours later to the murder of 15 innocent people, most of them children, all of them Jewish]

"Izzedine al-Masri [the human bomb whom she personally brought to the central Jerusalem site she had chosen to destroy] asked me just one question..."

"I had been to the area before [she had scouted central Jerusalem during the previous week for target-rich sites]..."

[And so] "I knew there  was a Jewish religious school near there..." [making it an ideal target for a bombing]

"That was his question and I said yes, there are religious Jews there, and also other people..."

"[Why did he ask?] Because the base of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a religious struggle..."

The video from which these images come is "For the Sake of Allah", produced by the Center for Near East Policy Research headed by investigative journalist David Bedein. 

For the past 16 years, Tamimi has not denied any of the mass-murder charges against her. They're what have made her famous, given her a great, well-funded life, the status of a pan-Arab celebrity.

To suggest that terrorism like the murderous kind she so proudly practices and encourages is all about "occupation" and "territories" and "national rights of the Palestinians" is to ignore what this hatred-driven woman says to anyone who will listen. 

When she says to Al Jazeera [here. March 23, 2017] that "We only wanted freedom for our country, not to kill Israelis or others for the sake of killing," it's all for effect. She is in reality as guilty as sin.

08-Oct-17: Terrorists and justice for their victims

Over on the Ynet site they publish a valuable opinion piece today ["A life sentence should be for life"] by Shlomo Puterkovsky:
Op-ed: We owe the victims of terrorist attacks and their families to make sure that their killers remain in prison until the last day of their sentence. In fact, we owe this to all those affected by gruesome murders cases.
He focuses attention on the issues that are at the heart of our recent post ["03-Oct-17: Released in Shalit Deal, a pious Pal Arab murderer is going back (too late) to life in an Israeli prison"] about the murderer of Baruch Mizrahi. The victim's widow Hadas has been speaking to the media here about the desirability of Israel activating the death penalty. 

Puterkovsky, an influential columnist who contributes Hebrew-language commentary to Yedioth Aharanot, a major Israeli newspaper, says
we cannot ignore the real problem here. We cannot honestly tell ourselves that yes, the murderer has been appropriately punished, when we know that too many times murderers are freed after unreasonably short periods of incarceration. We cannot stand by as widows and orphans yell for justice, and turn away from their pain.
His comments are worth reading and he's right that the problem ought not to be ignored as it has been. But he doesn't mention what we think is the most important aspect of all. We posted the following comment under his article today:
Any analysis of this highly consequential issue has to start with recognizing that Israeli politicians simply don't acknowledge the moral and common sense obligation of consulting with the families of the terrorists' victims. 
In the six years leading up to the freeing of the mastermind of the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre and of my daughter Malki's murder, no political figure ever responded to the numerous calls my wife and I made for the killer to be left in prison to serve her 16 life terms. None of them ever responded to our serious criticisms afterwards. And none of them has ever acknowledged the colossal harm to all Israelis, but particularly the victim families, of dealing with life-and-death issues like this one in such a high-handed and unjust way. 
Unjust? Yes, it's a word that's connected to "justice". At heart, this debate is about justice. *Real* justice - and not the bogus justice that sloganeering politicians chronically claim to be serving.
Arnold Roth, Jerusalem 
Justice is very much on our minds at this point in our lives. We continue to work for the extradition and criminal prosecution under US Federal law of the mastermind we mentioned above. We mean Ahlam Tamimi. The FBI has declared her a fugitive from justice  ["01-Apr-17: Ahlam Tamimi, Most Wanted Terrorist - now in Arabic"] even as she lives freely and in the open in nearby Jordan where she enjoys the little-publicized support of the Royal Courts and of Jordan's king and his family.

Justice: It's a word that is thrown about by too many people with too little regard for its actual meaning. It's a message we have tried to advance a lot in recent years, here in our blog and on whatever public platforms we have managed to get. It's not enough. We have to do better.

A small selection of our previous posts on the subject:
A reminder that we have created an email list (contact us at thisongoingwar -at- to be added to it) for people who are ready to give a hand in our efforts to bring Ahlam Tamimi back in front of a court of justice.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

07-Oct-17: A quiet evening

London's museum precinct this afternoon: The driver
is pinned down by police [Image Source]
It's an ordinary Saturday night here in  Jerusalem.

Alright, not so ordinary since the whole country is in the midst of the Jewish religious festival of Sukkot which runs for a week and whose central motif is the temporary and generally-flimsy dwellings that are built by hundreds of thousands of families all over the country, and wherever in the world Jews live. It's the tail end of summer, the days are still sunny and warm and the evenings - Jerusalem's summer evenings are like this - are breezy and pleasant. A relaxing time.

All of which has gotten us thinking about the range and volume of news reports about terror in tonight's bulletins. A selection:
  • Authorities in New York City revealed last night (Friday) that they have arrested three ISIS sympathizers who planned terror attacks on various New York locations including the MTA subway, music concerts and targets in the Times Square area. NBC News says the FBI arrested Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, a Canadian citizen, who [source] has been in US custody since May 2016 when he was arrested in New Jersey and who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in October 2016; Talha Haroon, 19, an American citizen living in Pakistan and arrested there; and Russell Salic, 37, a Filipino who is being sent to the US for trial. It quotes Federal prosecutors saying the three men’s goal "was to kill and injure as many people as possible"  and that El Bahnasawy had already acquired bomb-making materials and secured a cabin to build them. They also planned - shades of last week's Las Vegas massacre - to shoot civilians "at specific concert venues". Reuters says "documents unsealed in federal court in Manhattan on Friday [showed] El Bahnasawy and Mr Haroon planned to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ran from early June to early July."
  • In Switzerland, a man wielding two knives rushed at police and two refugees inside a refugee center in the southern Italian-speaking region of Ticino at 2:00 am, local time, today. Police fired at the attacker as a result of which he is now dead. The French news agency AFP says the assailant was a 38 year old Sri Lankan "asylum seeker". Police were called to break up a fight in Brissago, on the shores of Lake Maggiore and were in the building when the man with the knives attacked the other people. 
  • French police yesterday (Friday) charged three men in Paris with launching an explosive attack on a residential building in the city's upscale 16th Arrondissment. The plot failed when the gas canisters they rigged up failed to ignite. According to Times of Israel, two of the suspects were already on a police terror-watch list. The three, identified as Amine A, his cousin Sami B, and Aymen B., are now charged with multiple crimes and in detention. Police found four gas cylinders after being called to the scene: two in the hallway attached to a mobile phone which evidently served as a detonator and two more on the sidewalk outside the building. Associated Press says the charges against the three are attempted murder linked to a terrorist enterprise, transporting explosives and participating in a terrorist association aimed at preparing attacks. All three have prior French criminal convictions; we are not yet able to learn the details.
  • In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a little-reported shootout today between police and terrorists, according to an RT news story, resulted in the deaths of a "gunman and two guards... as the Saudi Arabian security forces prevented a terrorist attack near the royal Al Salam Palace... There has so far been no confirmation of the attack from Saudi authorities. The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia has issued a security warning to American citizens in Jeddah over the reported attack." This is bound to get more coverage but there's almost none tonight. 
  • Another little-reported terror attack though on a much larger scale in the huge (but almost invisible to Western eyes) West African state of Niger. CNN says "three US Green Berets were killed and two others were wounded... near the Mali-Niger border when a joint US-Nigerien patrol was attacked Wednesday... Initial indications are the Green Berets were ambushed by up to 50 fighters who are thought to be affiliated with ISIS... The Green Berets were part of a team advising and assisting local forces when they were attacked." A sizable French and US military presence is seeking to stem the incursion of ISIS forces into Niger: some 800 US troops are currently based there; some are called advisers but that's likely to be mere foreign policy camouflage. CNN: "The US military has maintained a presence in the northwest African country for five years, with small groups of US Special Operations Forces advising local troops as they battle two terrorist groups, ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and al Qaeda's North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." 
  • In Malaysia, where the authorities have been on high alert for human bombs and shooters since "Islamic State launched multiple attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia, in January 2016", Reuters says 8 people, four foreigners and four Malaysians, were taken into custody today "for suspected involvement in terrorist activities linked to Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State and Jemaah Islamiah". Those arrested are said to include three Filipinos, one Albanian (a law lecturer at a local university) and two people convicted in 2016 of participating in terrorist activities (so people might be asking why are they free now).
  • And here in Israel, the death of Reuven Shmerling, a Jewish Israeli in his 70s who lived with his family in Elkana and whose body was found on Wednesday at a location on the outskirts of Kafr Qassem, an Israeli town whose residents are overwhelmingly Arab, now appears (after the police expressed initial doubt) to have been the result of terrorism. Haaretz says "Shmerling left his home on Wednesday morning and went to a warehouse in Kafr Qasem, which belonged to his son. When his wife Hanna noticed he did not return home and is not answering his phone, his son was called to the warehouse, where he discovered his father's body. Paramedics pronounced Shmerling dead. In a statement, Shmerling's family stressed they have no doubt he was killed in a terror attack."
Two additional alarming reports turn out (so far at least) to be unrelated to terror:
  • An incoming-missile alert was sounded in the Israeli communities closest to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip around the time we started writing this report. As of now (10:30 pm Saturday), the alert appears to be without basis and there were no actual rockets. This happens.
  • In London, a car drove onto the sidewalk outside a popular museum at 2:20 pm London time today. According to Financial Times, this happened "at the junction of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road, between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum — is part of a shared space experiment and the pavement is at the same level as the road." The response from security services was rapid and large: "dozens of armed officers flooded the area and a 200 metre cordon was created around the scene. Witnesses fled in panic as police told them to "keep running" and put businesses around the area in lockdown." [Telegraph UK]
    The BBC quotes the Metropolitan Police saying one person was arrested. But earlier concerns that this was a terror attack were now being set aside, and "the incident was being treated as "a road traffic collision". London Ambulance said the people it treated - including the detained man - had mostly sustained head and leg injuries. Nine were taken to hospital." Meanwhile the driver "is being held in custody at a north London police station." The British are uncommonly tense over the prospects of more terror in their lives; as BBC notes tonight: "The current terror threat in the UK is at "severe" - the second highest level - meaning an attack is highly likely."
Life is so much more relaxed when you ignore what terrorists are planning and doing. But the difficult reality is that ignoring them doesn't make them go away.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

03-Oct-17: Released in Shalit Deal, a pious Pal Arab murderer is going back (too late) to life in an Israeli prison

The now-widowed Hadas Mizrahi and five of her children
in much happier times, with her murdered husband
Baruch Z"L [Image Source]. A family devastated
by another Shalit Deal-driven catastrophe
Another beneficiary of the catastrophic 2011 Shalit Deal was re-sentenced yesterday by an Israeli court. This has gotten only minor media attention, even here in Israel. That's a great pity. It highlights some lessons worth learning.

First about the deal.

We're referring to the massive act of terrorist extortion that induced Israel to allow 1,027 convicted terrorists, fully half of them (by our careful count) convicted murderers or attempted murderers, to walk free in October 2011. This was done to secure the release from Hamas of an Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit.

Both of us (Frimet and Arnold Roth) put a lot of time, energy and effort into trying to persuade the public that this was a very, very bad idea. We felt strongly that one of the terrorists in particular should never have been released: See "14-Oct-11: Please sign a petition to keep this particular terrorist behind bars" and "15-Oct-11: Video: The murderer of our child says: "I don't regret anything""]

Could the terrible results of the catastrophic Shalit Deal have been avoided? It's a question that has haunted us since the terrible deed was done. Here's a relevant comment we made in a 2012 post ["18-Oct-12: The Shalit deal a year later - a personal reflection"]:
Before the release, it was hard to say, but immediately afterwards there were important revelations. A freshly-retired senior commander in IDF counter-terrorism intelligence, Colonel (res.) Ronen Cohen - most recently the intelligence officer of Central Command. - said when interviewed on the day Gilad walked free, that this constituted “a resounding failure… The IDF never took responsibility for the soldier and did not even set up a team to deal with bringing him back… Intelligence is not passive but must be activated. [In the Shalit case,] it never was.”
The specific Shalit Deal releasee about whom we write below was central to two earlier posts of ours: "15-Apr-14: Seder night shooting attack: dead and wounded Israeli victims" and "23-Jun-14: Quietly, inexorably, almost entirely unreported, the lethal consequences of the Shalit Transaction grow"

That 2014 terror attack was executed by Awad on Route 35 near the Tarqumiya-Idhna road junction near Hebron. Izzadin Awad, the son, was convicted of materially aiding the murder done by his father, and sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison. The court ordered him to pay the Mizrahi family NIS 250,000.

Commander Mizrahi was the father of five children, aged at the time between three and thirteen. As the NY Times report says, his widow Hadas who was also shot, was pregnant at the time of her husband's murder. Their nine year old son was shot too.

Ynet says Ziad Awad the terrorist
was sentenced to two life sentences on Monday [yesterday]. The presiding judge also took into account that Awad had carried out the attack despite being one of the terrorists released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal. Baruch Mizrahi was killed on the eve of Passover while driving with his wife Hadas and five children to the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, to take part in the Passover Seder (feast). Awad, who is a resident of the Palestinian West Bank town of Idhna, opened fire on the vehicle, killing Baruch, seriously injuring Hadas and lightly wounding one of their children. ["2 life sentences for terrorist previously released in Shalit deal", Ynet, September 3, 2017]
Back in 2014 when Ziad was 45, the New York Times said he had been
freed from a life sentence for murdering Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel as part of the [Shalit] 2011... The authorities said Mr. Awad and his 18-year-old son, Izzedin Hassan Ziad Awad, were arrested May 7 [2014] for the April 14 slaying of the police commander... The authorities said that the younger Mr. Awad had produced the murder weapon, an AK-47 stained with his father’s DNA, and told interrogators that his father said his motive was religious because Islam promised paradise to anyone who kills a Jew. Mr. Mizrahi’s wife, Hadas, who was pregnant and wounded in the shooting, said Monday that his death shows the danger of releasing prisoners, an increasingly contentious issue in Israel, and called for Israel to institute the death penalty. “If they did not have a bargaining chip, my husband would have been alive today,” Ms. Mizrahi said in an interview on Army Radio... ["Palestinian Freed in 2011 Is Charged by Israel in a Killing", New York Times, June 23, 2014]
That religious piety - it's worth turning over in our minds. It was described elsewhere just after the arrests this way:
Before launching the attack, Awad confided in his son that he had religious motivation, saying that, "according to Islam, whoever kills a Jew goes to heaven." [Ynet, June 23, 2014]
So how dedicated was this killer to the creation of a Palestinian Arab homeland? To the rights of self-determination of his people? To ending the so-called occupation? Not much at all, the man himself is saying. For him, as for so many other Palestinian Arabs attracted to the extremist Islamist terror gangs, it's about religion and paradise. To us, it's fairly clear that the specifically religious passions motivating Palestinian Arab terror, and driver terror in general, don't in general get enough attention from anyone, and certainly not from the news-reporting industry. We can appreciate how much of a minefield this is for them. But not examining it is to do a major disservice to people who need to understand and expect the news media to help.

According to the go-free list issued in October 2011 in the two days before the Shalit Deal was consummated, Awad - whom it calls Awadh Ziad Awadh al-Salaima Awad, releasee number 431 - was "expelled" to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. That destination makes sense given his Hamas affiliation (described as a fact in this Arab source that says his son is a Hamas agent too).

Baruch Mizrahi, murdered by the Awads
[Image Source]
But then how did Awad leave there and become involved once again in terror in the vicinity of the Israeli communities of Judea and Samaria? He would have had to leave Gaza and that's not easy.

No one that we can find has offered an explanation. Our familiarity with the terms of the commutation-of-sentence that the Shalit Deal beneficiaries were granted (gained from first-person discussions with the public officials in charge of the commutations, and from seeing some of the relevant documents) make us think that being expelled also means they were forbidden from later returning to where they used to live before they were convicted.

So it's a real question - and for us at least, really troubling. Awad had been arrested in 1993 on serious charges and convicted of murdering fellow Arabs, attempted murder, membership of a banned organization (we presume Hamas) and hurling fire-bombs at people (presumably Jewish people).

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in the end only served a small part of that.

His 2014 victim, Baruch Mizrahi, made a significant contribution to the well-being of Israelis in a tragically-shortened but strikingly productive life (and that's before we get into his role as husband and devoted father of five children between the ages of 3 and 13). The official memorial page posted by the government of Israel says he
served in the IDF and the Israel Police for nearly three decades. For 25 years he served in various roles in the IDF, the last of which was as lieutenant colonel in the elite 8200 intelligence unit. After retiring from the army in June 2011, Mizrahi joined Israel Police, and for the past three years held a senior intelligence position in the Israel Police and was in charge of tracking organized crime. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of commander. 
Then there's the painful question of the other family: the killer's family.

Baruch Mizrahi's widow was quoted last night [here] observing with full justice that Palestinian Arab terrorists who are taken into Israeli custody
"receive grant money from the Palestinian Authority, supplies from the Red Cross and living conditions that many Israeli families in need can only dream of. We need to put an end to the terrorists' celebrations." 
The PA money that has already been coming to the Awads - and will continue to come to the end of their days tax-free - puts them well above the household earnings level of ordinary Palestinian Arabs and way above the salary class of senior members of the Palestinian Authority's civil service.

That's of course, deliberate. The more Israelis the prisoner kills, and the longer the prison sentence he or she gets, the higher the monthly payment that reaches him/her and the family. It's a cruel reality that the relative few - we among them - aware of the human price of catastrophic releases of unrepentant terrorists need to keep in our minds.

It isn't only that Palestinian Arab society puts vicious shooters like the Awads on a pedestal. It's that foreign aid, provided by unwitting taxpayers in European, American and other Western countries whose governments pretend goes to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinian Arabs, is the indispensable fuel for the Abbas' regime's unspeakable and well-lubricated ["25-Jul-17: The scale of the PA's terror-funding scheme keeps growing"] incitement and encouragement of the murder of Jews.

And as payment schemes go, it's been proven to get relatively law-abiding Palestinian Arabs to consider killing one of their Israeli neighbours for the sake of... their families ["11-Jul-17: Incitement to terror: Sometimes it really is all about the money"] and/or their credit scores. It's a chilling phenomenon.

The Rewards for Terror scheme (the PA calls it something else but our name is more accurate) is an indefensible, immoral and entirely counter-productive reality that is long overdue for being stopped. Even people who see themselves as friends of Israel don't seem to appreciate that this can be stopped and easily. Those with the power to stop it are the funders. Many of them, we know, are reading this post but simply don't realize their elected and appointed officials can allow it to continue because analyses like the one we have just written in this post never get into their local mainstream media.

Maybe they should.

UPDATE October 4, 2017: Over at the always-incisive BBC Watch, they pay special attention today to how the Ziad murder was covered by the world's largest broadcasting organization:
The BBC initially reported that attack in a belated thirty-four word paragraph and subsequent reporting failed to clarify that the incident was a terror attack. The terrorist’s arrest and indictment did not receive any BBC coverage and so audiences did not receive any information concerning the motive behind the murder.
“Before launching the attack, Awad confided in his son that he had religious motivation, saying that, “according to Islam, whoever kills a Jew goes to heaven.””
Such cases do not of course fit into the BBC’s chosen narrative of Palestinian terrorism caused by “frustration” at “decades of Israeli occupation” and audiences therefore do not get to hear about them. ["A terrorist defies the BBC’s narrative", BBC Watch, October 4, 2017]
Of course, BBC is not the only part of the news-reporting world that ignores the terrorist's explanation for why he murdered Baruch Mizrahi. Or his sentencing this week. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed does report on the conviction and sentencing but is silent on Awad's version of his own motive. And a syndicated Agence France-Press report [here] also reports the sentence and is also silent on the "Islam-made-me-do-it" aspect. But it does say concerning two of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world, both of them outlawed under European - and therefore French - law, that "Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, and its radical ally Islamic Jihad both hailed the attack on the policeman as “heroic”"

The "heroism" of concealed, heavily-armed gunmen firing on vehicles filled with Israeli families driving to a family event is tragically something we know only too well in Israel.


[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Uwolniony w umowie o Shalita pobożny Arab palestyński, morderca, wraca (zbyt późno) do więziennej celi") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Polish-language Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]

Thursday, September 28, 2017

28-Sep-17: Now that the Palestinian Arabs are embraced by Interpol...

October 2016: Jibril Rajoub is hosted by the chief of the
Palestinian police [Image Source]
Interpol voted this week to admit the Palestinian Authority civil police as a full member in what Al Jazeera calls "a new victory in its drive for international representation despite strong Israeli opposition".

This raises some pretty deep concerns here in Israel where the assumedly-secure sharing of intelligence on terrorism is viewed as a life-and-death matter by ordinary folk.

The current head of the PA police is modestly referred to in formal documents and press releases as "His Excellency Major General Hazim Attallah". He was appointed to the role in March 2008, promoting a US official to submit this brief backgrounder up the reporting chain from where it eventually found its way into Wikileaks.

Some highlights [italics mean direct quotes]:
  • Attallah previously served as "the military secretary and a security advisor in the Office of the President" of the PA. 
  • He became "a security advisor to President Abbas in 2005 and military secretary to PM Salam Fayyad in September 2007."
  • A "savvy internal operator who has managed to effectively navigate between PM Salam Fayyad and President Abbas and make himself necessary to both... [An] unusual choice for police chief--he spent most of his security time in the Preventive Security Organization (PSO) and his recent assignments have been advisory/political, not management."
  • "The PA police headquarters is full of senior figures who will, at least initially, view Attallah as a political interloper." 
  • "Born in 1959 in Bayt Surik (near Jerusalem)..." That's an interesting note: it's the small village from where the Palestinian Arab shooter who murdered three Israelis at Har Adar two days ago ["26-Sep-17: At Har Adar's entrance, an Arab-on-Israeli shooter with problems and a solution"] came. 
  • "Attended Bulgaria's military academy from 1980 to 1984... the son of Husni Muhammad Attallah ("Abu Za'im"), a former head of Fatah military intelligence and senior PLO official until a high-profile break with Arafat in 1986..." 
August 2017: His Excellency visits Interpol [Image Source]
From other sources:
Attallah, who has been busy traveling in Europe during these last few weeks, presumably to help ensure backing for the PA's Interpol strategy, will be going to Hamas-controlled Gaza this coming Monday "to discuss security matters with Hamas" [Jerusalem Post yesterday]. He has not been there since the Islamists seized control in 2007's blood-soaked violence. 

With Interpol having now opened its arms to Attallah and the Palestinian police, we're thinking - like commentators who frequently ask when speaking of events in our area - what could possibly go wrong.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

26-Sep-17: At Har Adar's entrance, an Arab-on-Israeli shooter with problems and a solution

The aftermath of today's killings outside Har Adar [Image Source: AFP]
Around 7:15 this morning (Tuesday), at the entrance to the north Jerusalem suburban community of Har Adar, a gunman - part of a milling crowd of Palestinian Arab laborers waiting to be allowed through the security check to start their day's work - opened fire on the Border Guard men at the barrier.

Three were killed, a fourth was critically injured and is fighting for his life at this hour in a Jerusalem hospital. The gunman was shot dead.

Times of Israel names the three murdered young Israeli men:
  • Border Guard staff sergeant Solomon Gavriyah, 20, from Be’er Yaakov. He did his mandatory national service with the Border Guard and then continued with them, doing police work in the Jerusalem seam area along the 1947 armistice line that outsiders often refer to misleadingly as a border. He was lightly injured in the hand during a terror stabbing in the area a year ago. His funeral is now set for 5 pm today in Be’er Yaakov's military cemetery. His parents, two sisters and a brother survive him.
  • Civilian security guard Youssef Ottman, 25, from the nearby Israel Arab town of Abu Ghosh. He will be buried there later today. Ottman is described as “a quiet guy who got along with everyone”, and the son of an established and successful family. He is survived by parents and siblings, including a sister who was married last week.
  • Civilian security guard Or Arish, 25, from the Har Adar community itself. His funeral is at 4:30 this afternoon at Jerusalem's main cemetery in  Givat Shaul.
The fourth victim, not yet publicly named, is the community security officer for Har Adar, a man of 33. He underwent emergency surgery at Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem from where his condition is described as stable and moderate.

Today's murdered Israelis (left to right): Arish, Gvariyah, Ottman
[Image Source]
The terrorist is identified [here] as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer with a history of family violence, from nearby Bayt Surik, an Arab village of about 4,000 residents. (Here's something we wrote some months ago about one of his nearby neighbours: "14-Dec-16: In Jerusalem's Old City this afternoon, an Arab-on-Israeli stabbing").

The troubles in his private life notwithstanding, the Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security service, says he had no known background in terrorist activities. A father of four, he held a legal work permit making him one of few Palestinian Arabs holding such privileges to have committed a terror attack in recent years.

In its report on the terrorist killings, the New York Times today says the killer was well known in Har Adar. He was expected at the home of a member of the local council this morning where he had some work to do - cleaning work, according to Israel National News. NYT quotes residents of Har Adar telling Israel’s Galei Zahal Army Radio this morning that the attacker had had "personal problems", with his wife recently leaving him and going off to Jordan. Other sources mention she left the children behind with him. There's no word yet on where they are or who is caring for them. It clearly won't be their father.

One Har Adar resident quoted by Israel National News says
the terrorist was one of many PA workers who enter the town for work on a regular basis. “Every day, dozens of workers enter the community through the back gate. Some work inside the community in construction and housework for families, and others work on the outskirts. They undergo an inspection and body search, and there are good relations between the residents of Har Adar and the workers,” she said. “We know the terrorist, he worked as a cleaner at several houses in the community,” she added. “It’s scary to think what would have happened if he had succeeded in passing the checkpoint and gotten to the school that is several meters away, or to one of the houses nearby.”
The killer himself let those closest to him know what was coming:
In his final message to his wife, which was released after the attack by the Israeli army, Jamal, who had worked for years as a house cleaner in Har Adar, mourned her departure and said he had been a terrible husband to her. “When you wake up in the morning, share this message on my page. Let your conscience rest. You were a good wife, Umm Baha [mother of Baha], and a compassionate mother and I was the one who behaved badly,” he wrote... “I say this in full awareness: my wife had nothing to do with what will happen tomorrow.” ["Wife of Har Adar terrorist left him weeks before shooting", Times of Israel, September 26, 2017]
Though we can speculate, we don't really know what the dead shooter's problems were. But if all or some of them were economic, he and the loathsome PA leadership under president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas have just solved them. 

As Palestinian Media Watch observes in a bulletin a few hours ago and as we have written extensively (click "Rewards for Terror" to view dozens of our posts on this painful subject), the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to terrorists and to families of dead attackers - "martyrs" in their terminology - as part of an incentive scheme that ensures the blood keeps flowing.
According to PA regulations, the murderer's family will immediately receive a 6,000 shekel grant and an additional 2,600 shekels each month for life, based on the following formula:  
  • 1,400 shekels each month - base allowance;
  • 400 shekels additional each month for each wife;
  • 200 shekels additional each month for each child.
This terrorist had one wife and four children so his family will receive 2,600 shekel every month for life.
The PA is perpetually broke, and always will be as long as there are foreign aid providers ready to respond to their malevolent pan-handling. The notorious PA Rewards for Terror scheme can only continue because of the willingness of the providers of foreign aid to pretend not to know about the payments scheme and its enabling role in the despicable culture of death the Abbas regime, and Arafat before him, stitched together to ensure the perpetuation of their people's misery and a steady stream of martyrs' funerals.

26-Sep-17: What do the Palestinian Arabs think now?

[Image Source: PCR]
It's been about nine months since we last addressed the core question of what Palestinian Arab opinion polls tell us about their hopes, fears, ambitions and values. That last review is here: "15-Dec-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think now?"

As it happens, this morning has gotten off to a really rotten start with another Arab-on-Israeli terror attack at the entrance to the bucolic northern Jerusalem suburb of Har Adar. As we write this, reports say three Israelis were shot to death and a fourth is fighting for his life in a Jerusalem hospital. The gunman is dead. We will report on what we know about this later.

With the fresh extreme violence in mind, what do the data tell us? What do Palestinian Arab polls of Palestinian Arab opinion, reveal about support for murder of this kind and about the other issues that are on the minds of the people who play such an influential/complicated role on the lives lived by us Israelis?

As we have said here before, what the Palestinian Arabs think is something we're very interested in knowing. Relying on newspapers or electronic media coverage of their views, a person is likely to get someone's wishful projections or politically-skewed understandings rather than data-based analysis. The difference between the two is vast and unbridgeable.

There are some serious polling organizations that are themselves Palestinian Arab. We tend to focus on the findings of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research or PSR [website] headed by the respected Prof. Khalil Shikaki. We're doing that again now.

In PSR's Poll Number 65 (there have been three on which we did not manage to report since our last related post), which was published on September 19, 2017, we think these are the key findings (italicized texts are taken verbatim from the source)
A syndicated AFP photo shows the supporters of Fatah and of Abbas in the
Gaza Strip last week. There may be more out of camera range. [Image Source]
  • Violence: 35% of those polled "think that the most effective means of creating a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel is armed action". Negotiation gets 33% and "popular non-violent resistance" 26%. In the December  2016 poll, armed action got slightly more: 37%. A year ago, it got 34%. Those slight rises and falls are less significant than the reality that a third of the Arabs living closest to us see the best solution to the differences between as being achieved by murder and terror. A third. But it gets worse...
  • Non-violence? Now bear in mind that "popular non-violent resistance" is an expression that means something quite different for the Palestinian Arabs and their advocates - including their president - than for most other people. Abbas and people around him use it to refer to lethal measures like hurling rocks at Israelis and their vehicles: non-violent resistance in  their lexicon includes rock hurling, knifings and vehicle-rammings. That's plainly terrorist violence, whatever advocates for the Palestinian Arabs claim, and it means that nearly two-thirds of the Palestinian Arabs are for it. 
  • An "overwhelming majority" are "worried about the future of liberties in Palestine". Contributing factors, over and above the decades of heavy-handed, thuggish rule by a self-preserving clique of aging Abbas/Arafat regime kleptocrats (our observation, not PSR's) include a marked rise in PA arrests of reporters and "activists"; a new presidential decree enacting an oppressive piece of regulation that they call a "cybercrime law"; and upcoming changes to the PA's Law of the Judiciary. 
  • Related to the first point: A large majority of Palestinian Arabs (85% of West Bank Arabs) now say they are afraid to criticize their PA masters. Fully half of them believe Abbas' PA has become "a burden on the Palestinian people". 
  • This is evidently affecting their political outlooks. If presidential elections were held today, the Hamas candidate "Haniyeh would win against Abbas. Findings also indicate a decline in support for Fatah, particularly in the Gaza Strip where Hamas is more popular. In the West Bank however, Fatah remains more popular than Hamas." Just 3 months ago, PSR found that each candidate had the same level of support if this were a two-horse race. No longer. 
  • But even before they get to elections, there's no doubting the appetite for immediate political change: "67% of the public want president Abbas to resign... Three months ago, 62% said [this]... Demand for Abbas’ resignation stands at 60% in the West Bank and 80% in the Gaza Strip."
  • Gaza is one big set of problems for Fatah and its leader: "It is certain that [Mahmoud Abbas, president-for-life of the PA] would lose any presidential elections in the Gaza Strip to Hamas’ Ismael Haniyeh". 
  • Worth recalling that the last time Palestinian Arabs were given the chance to vote for a president was in January 2005 when Abbas won; he has held tenaciously on to power ever since. The only previous presidential election, dominated by Yasser Arafat, was in 1996.
  • For the rather touchy Abbas and his hangers-on, there's more bad news and it involves Abbas' fiercest rival: "Fatah is fast losing its popularity in the Gaza Strip, standing at 28% today compared to 40% only nine months ago. Those who still support Fatah in the Gaza Strip are shifting loyalty to Mohammad Dahlan whose popularity among Gazans has more than doubled during the past nine months, from 9% to 23% today, while his popularity among West Bankers did not change, remaining hardly at 1%."
  • In a three-way race, the convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti who lives in an Israeli prison cell, would easily beat both Abbas and Haniyah.
  • Support for violence against Israelis has risen over the previous poll, "despite the fact that a majority remains opposed to it", partly because of "the lack of trust in diplomacy. Findings show that about three quarters believe that the Trump Administration is not serious about Palestinian-Israeli peace making and an even higher percentage believes that the Administration is not an honest broker and that it is biased in favor of Israel".
  • When they watch television, here's where they tune in: Al Jazeera (Qatar-owned, Qatar-based) 20%; Ma'an TV 14%; Hamas' Al Aqsa TV 13%; Palestine TV (controlled by the PA) 12%; Filasteen al Youm/Palestine Today 11%; Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based) 6; Hamas' Al Quds TV 4%; al Mayadeen (satellite-news station based in Beirut) 3%.
  • The popular perception of corruption in the PA and its institutions is now at 77%. This is actually something of an improvement; in a 2014 PCR poll, it stood at 81%.
  • On the list of "Most vital Palestinian goals and problems", the top item with 40% support is the need "to end Israeli occupation". A mere 12% think the "first and most vital goal should be to establish a democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights". The most serious problem confronting their society today is poverty and unemployment (26%) with "the spread of corruption in public institutions" second at 25%.
  • The violent confrontations that took place on Jerusalem's Temple Mount in July 2017 in the wake of the brazen and cold-blooded killing of two Israeli Druze security men [see our post] occupied much of the thinking of the Palestinian Arab public. In PSR's words and despite those other concerns we just listed, the "the installment of metal detectors at the entrance to al Haram al Sharif gates were the most important event during the period in question". 
  • As for Israel's decision to quickly remove them, a minuscule 7% of Palestinian Arabs attribute this to King Abdullah II of Jordan despite Jordan's not-so-subtle PR efforts to grab the limelight, as in this Arab media quote: “Without the Hashemite custodi­anship and the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites, the holy sites would have been lost many years ago.” (Those of us old enough to remember life in Jerusalem pre-1967 recall how the Old City of Jerusalem was under illegal Jordanian military occupation from 1949 until freed in the Six Day War.)
There's not much here to feel good about. As their own societies - both Fatah and Hamas - explore new kinds of tyranny, between one-third and two-thirds of them hold tight to a vision of more violence as a solution to their problems. The future of their children, meanwhile, along with their health, their schools, their environment and their economy remain mired in self-inflicted gloom, failure and inertia.

PSR 65 was based on a sample size of 1,270 adults interviewed face-to-face (not by phone) in 127 locations selected randomly. The statistical margin of error is 3%.