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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Change: Trump demands Sbarro murderer's extradition, tells 'Palestinians' to end incitement

One of Haaretz's editorials today speculated that ultimately, the 'Palestinians' will have to save Israel from enacting a 'two-state solution.' Israel Radio's midnight news gave two signals that the 'Palestinians' are being put in a position where they will have to behave properly, or there will be no support from the United States for a 'Palestinian state.'

First, the United States has demanded that Jordan extradite Ahlam Tamimi, who planned the Sbarro suicide bombing 16 years ago and drove the bomber to the downtown Jerusalem restaurant.
Tamimi scouted for a target before leading the bomber,  Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, to the Sbarro restaurant. They arrived just before 2:00 pm, when the restaurant was filled with customers, dozens of women, children and babies, and pedestrian traffic outside was at its peak.

Tamimi departed before Al-Masri, thought to be carrying a rigged guitar case or wearing an an explosive vest weighing 5 to 10 kilograms of  explosives, nails, nuts and bolts, detonated his bomb.

She is currently a television host in Jordan, has hosted Hamas arch-terrorist Saleh Arouri (who ordered the kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers in June 2014), bragged of her involvement in others murders of Israelis and is considered as a symbol of the Palestinians fight.
Israel Radio reported that Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences (15 Israelis were murdered in the bombing and a 16th - Chana Nachenberg - is in a vegetative state to this day), but was released as part of the 'terrorists for Gilad' trade in 2011.  Israel Radio said that two of the terrorists' victims were US citizens (I think it was actually more than two - Malki Roth and Shoshana Heyman HY"D were also American citizens).
Jordan may have a tough call to make, honoring its strong alliance to the US, with trying to avoid offending its majority Palestinian population and an anti-extradition trend in its court system, according to Shurat Hadin which is representing the family of the victim Chana Nachenberg (Finers and Nachenbergs) who was grievously injured in the bombing and remains in Israel in a coma even until now.

According to Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner:  "We are glad that the US Department of  Justice has decided to move forward against this notorious mass murderer.  We have been requesting for a long time that this unrepentant Palestinian terrorist be rearrested, extradited and prosecuted by American law enforcement officials."

"It was outrageous that Israel released this criminal with so much innocent blood on her hands and who has publicly rejoiced that she killed 8 Jewish children.  For too long Jordan has become a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists and, hopefully, this is a change of policy for the new Trump administration, to start to pursue the numerous Palestinians who have killed US citizens in Israel," she said.

Chana Nachenberg's father, Yitzhak Bennett Finer, has responded:  "We applaud the efforts of the Department of Justice in trying to bring Tamimi to justice and we hope they'll be successful. Our daughter Chana Nachenberg had the prime of her life taken from her because she has spent the past 15 and half years in a vegetative state on a respirator as a result of this inhuman act of the heinous  bombing of Sbarros. Her daughter Sarah has grown up without a mother and her husband David without the love of his wife."
Jordan is highly unlike to extradite Tamimi. If the royal family is about anything, it's about self-preservation. Extraditing Tamimi (whose clan includes prominent Jordanian lawyers) would bring about fighting that has been unseen since the Black September uprising in 1970. There is almost no chance that King Abdullah will take that risk to keep the United States happy.

In a second report this evening, Israel Radio reported that the United States' Jerusalem Consulate's readout of Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt's meeting with  'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen today included a demand that the 'Palestinians' stop incitement to terrorism.
During a meeting at the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas committed to combat Palestinian incitement, the statement said. The Palestinian leader and Greenblatt also discussed building up the PA’s security forces, advancing the peace process, and improving the Palestinian economy.
According to the readout, Abbas told Greenblatt that “he believes that under President Trump’s leadership a historic peace deal is possible, and that it will enhance security throughout the region.”
“President Abbas committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement,” the statement added.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been adamant that PA-sanctioned media and school curriculum are responsible for inciting terrorism.
The Palestinian daily al-Quds cited sources in the US Congress who said Greenblatt warned Abbas that US lawmakers are working to condition US aid to the Palestinians — with the exception of security assistance — on ending incitement, including payments to the families of Palestinian terrorists.
The PA pays monthly stipends to families who have a member who is considered to have been “martyred,” which usually means being killed by an Israeli while carrying out a terror attack or suspected attack, or who is spending time in Israeli prison for perpetrating a terrorist act.
The US government has already taken measures to ensure its aid isn’t funneled to the families of terrorists. That includes paying the debts of the PA directly, rather than transferring funds into the PA’s coffers.
In the 12th year of his four-year term, Abu Dodobird may have finally found an American President who is willing to stand up to him. The 'Palestinians' must be really disappointed that Hillary Clinton lost the election. Heh.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It starts: US threatens to leave 'human rights council'

The times, they are a changing. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued a clear threat to one of the 'achievements' of the Obama administration - the decision to join the United Nations 'human rights council.' In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine, Tillerson has told the council that unless it reforms itself, the United States will leave.
Tillerson, in his letter to the U.N. advocates and human rights groups, said that while the United States “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the Council, it remains skeptical about the virtues of membership in a human rights organization that includes states with troubled human rights records such as China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
“We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership,” Tillerson told the organizations, who have urged continued U.S. membership. “While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate.”
If the United States ultimately were to withdraw from the Council, that would mark a victory for one of two factions within the Trump administration debating the future of U.S. policy at the United Nations.
“Many who despise the Council want the U.S. to stay in and undermine efforts by others to obsesses over Israel—and put the spotlight back on human rights abusers the Council regularly ignores,” said a GOP congressional aide. “But there are others who see that as fruitless and wasted diplomatic effort.”
For the time being, Tillerson wrote, the U.S. will participate in the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council, to “reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”
“Our aim is to fix the organization,” the Tillerson aide told FP.
Tillerson said U.S. priorities including renewing the mandate of a U.N. Commission of inquiry into atrocities in Syria, and underscoring U.S. support for U.N. special rapporteurs for Iran, North Korea, and Burma. He also said Washington would seek to renew the mandates of special rapporteurs investigating the use of torture and promoting freedom of expression.
UN advocates said it was unclear whether the administration is really mulling a withdrawal, or simply putting more pressure on for reform.
Sadly, the United Nations and its constituent bodies, including the 'human rights council,' exist only to give prominence to an anti-Israel agenda. They have long since outlived their usefulness, and ought to be shut down. The land that they currently occupy on the east side of Manhattan would be worth far more as condominiums or office buildings.

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Doesn't this say it all?

Look who's supporting David Friedman for US Ambassador to Israel... and who isn't.

That says it all, doesn't it? Priorities!

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Underdog Israel beats Cuba in baseball, is one win from semi-finals

If you've been in a cave for the past week, you probably don't know that Israel's baseball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic, defeating 3rd ranked South Korea, 4th ranked Taiwan and 9th ranked Netherlands to get there. Israel's team was ranked 41st going into the tournament, despite having ten major leaguers on its roster.

On Sunday in Tokyo, the Israeli team beat 5th ranked Cuba 4-1, and now needs just one win against top-ranked Japan or 9th ranked Netherlands (which they have already beaten) to advance to the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (If you're wondering, the US is ranked second).
Israel’s batters overcame an early 1-0 deficit, and the team’s pitchers kept the heavily favored Cuban team to just five hits, continuing the squad’s unlikely Cinderella run.
Cuba inched ahead in the second inning with a home run from Alfredo Despaigne, the player who singlehandedly sent his country into the second round when he scored all of Cuba’s runs against Australia on Thursday.
But after that, it was entirely Israel’s game.
Team Israel took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Zach Borenstein singled to right scoring Ty Kelly from second base. Blake Gailen made it 3-1 with a two-out double to right that scored Nate Freiman.
Israel tacked on another run in the eighth on a sacrifice bunt by Gailen that scored Borenstein from third.
Josh Zeid pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth when he got Willian Saavedra to ground out to third with two out.
The Israeli team has become the tournament’s unlikely darlings on its way to a 4-0 start in the international tournament.
Now we all know that there may not be 10 Israelis who aren't American born who know how to play baseball. So how does Israel have 10 major leaguers on its squad? It's a rule quirk.
Nearly all the members on Team Israel are American Jews. By WBC rules, a player may compete for a country if he is eligible for citizenship under its laws. Israel extends the right of automatic citizenship to Jews, their non-Jewish children, grandchildren and the non-Jewish spouses of their children and grandchildren.
Uh huh.

But they should have taken me along to read the Megillah for them (I've read it from a scroll more than 70 times to as many as 800 people). Let's go to the videotape.

Israel will face the Netherlands at Noon on Monday Israel time.

Haaretz adds:
The win over Cuba gives Israel a strong mental boost ahead of  games against the Netherlands and host Japan to advance in the quarterfinal round, which is played as a round robin. One win in those two games could be enough to bring Israel to Dodger Stadium for the semifinals.

[Manager Jerry] Weinstein rebuffed critics who have called Team Israel really a second Team USA. "The attitude in our clubhouse is we are representing Israel. We are not the Junior Varsity team for Team USA. We are Team Israel, and make no mistake about that."

After Sunday's win, starter [Jason] Marquis noted "We have quality baseball players on this team; guys who have big league experience, a lot of young prospects who have bright futures, and a good mix of veterans who can help these guys through these tournament games."

Marquis did revel a little in becoming a role model in the United States. "It's a great story for people back home who follow the game and who are in our shoes - have Jewish heritage - to look up to players like us who may not have otherwise had that opportunity."
I don't know about that. For most American Jews your Bar Mitzva is that time when you realize that you are far more likely to own a team than to play for one.

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Jordan releases Naharayim massacre perpetrator

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted, but it's all been for a good cause. I have taken another trip to the US for work since I last posted, returning this past Thursday afternoon.

Oh yes, and a Freilichen (Happy) Purim to those of you who celebrate the holiday today, which is just about everyone outside Jerusalem and a couple of other cities.

On March 13, 1997, Jordanian Army Cpl. Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire on a group of 7th and 8th grade girls from Beit Shemesh’s Feurst School. The girls were on a class trip to Naharayim in the Jordan Valley, visiting the “Island of Peace,” a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort under Jordanian rule. Seven of the girls were murdered. The massacre would have been worse if Daqamseh's weapons had not jammed. Daqamseh complained that the girls who died were disturbing his prayers.

Daqamseh was sentenced to life in prison, which is a de facto 25-year sentence in Jordan.

Israel had signed a peace treaty with Jordan's King Hussein in 1994. At the time of the massacre, Hussein actually came to Beit Shemesh to visit the mourning families.

But since Hussein's death in 1999, Jordanians have become increasingly uncomfortable holding Daqamseh - who many Jordanians regard as a hero - in prison.

His lawyer, Hussein Mjali, praised Daqamseh in a video released in 2009. In 2011, Mjali became Jordan's Justice Minister, and the next week joined a demonstration calling for Daqamseh's release, sparking outrage in Israel.

In 2013, 110 of the 120 members of Jordan's parliament signed a petition calling for Daqamseh's release.

Today, they got their wish. Daqamseh has been released.
Relatives said Ahmad Daqamseh was back at his home in the village of Idivir in northern Jordan.

A Jordanian military spokesman, Amer Sartawi, said Daqamseh was released early Sunday, after serving 20 years in prison.
Daqamseh said a month ago he was very happy and thankful to all his supporters who urged his release. He had been moved to a prison wing with better conditions after spending most of his term in isolation. 

Jordanian military sources said Daqamseh was released shortly after midnight, on Sunday. Several people gathered at his home to celebrate his freedom.

Family members said Daqamseh was supposed to have been freed on Monday, the 13th, but the authorities decided to release him during the night to try and minimize the celebrations.
In 2004, Daqamseh told a Jordanian weekly that he had no regret for his actions.
In an interview Daqamseh gave in 2004 to Jordanian weekly a-Shahed, he expressed pride in his actions and said that "if I could return to that moment, I'd behave exactly the same way. Every day that passes, I grow stronger in the belief that what I did was my duty."

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