From Ian:

Dore Gold: New “Breaking the Silence” Report Maliciously Defames Israel

The Jerusalem Center recently published an extensive study of Operation Protective Edge entitled The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted. The book includes a chapter by Lt. Col. (res.) David Benjamin, who served in the IDF Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) as Chief Legal Advisor for the Gaza Strip. That chapter, along with other research in the book, shows how the IDF goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with international law. The IDF investigates any incident that may involve violation of those rules.
An IDF Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism (FFAM) was set up and activated during Operation Protective Edge. The FFAM, headed by a major-general and composed of operational and legal experts, mostly reservists, began its work about two weeks into the operation. To date, around 100 incidents have been referred by the MAG for examination by the FFAM.
The organization Breaking the Silence recently alleged that testimonies it collected from anonymous Israeli soldiers showed that the IDF employed indiscriminate fire in Gaza that resulted in many Palestinian civilian casualties and widespread destruction.
As in previous cases, Breaking the Silence refuses to provide the names of these witnesses or to make them available to IDF investigators who are charged with investigating all accusations of army wrong-doing. Other NGOs often provide details of their cases, usually from the Palestinian perspective, so that the IDF Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) can investigate such incidents.
It is clear that Breaking the Silence is less interested in uncovering the facts and instead seeks to defame the State of Israel.

Israeli Ambassador Prosor Compares Radical Islamists to Nazis on Anniversary of WWII Ending

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor on Tuesday compared Islamic extremists to Nazi forces in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“Freedom is once again under attack. The radical Islamists marching across the Middle East and North Africa are every bit as determined and dangerous as the Nazi forces that marched across Europe,” he said. “Seventy-five years ago men, women, and children were rounded up and murdered because of what they believed, where they came from, how they looked, and whom they loved.”
“The same crimes are taking place in the Middle East,” he added.
Prosor listed modern victims of such atrocities, including activists and political opponents, people hanged for their sexual preferences and Christians beheaded for their religious beliefs. He told the UNGA “evil is alive and well – and not just in the Middle East.” He urged the attendees to take action against the malice, saying, “Freedom is worth fighting for. Equality is worth fighting for. Democracy is worth fighting for.”
Prosor at UNGA: 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII

Former UK Cmdr.: UN, Foreign Governments ‘Deliberately’ Twisting Laws of Armed Conflict on Israel

Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, former commander of the UK’s forces in Afghanistan, was one of the prominent participants at the conference.
Other international contributors included former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Benny Gantz and former Deputy Chief of US Special Operations Command, Lt.-Gen. (ret.) David Fridovich, among other legal, military and counter-terrorism experts.
Kemp told the Tazpit News Agency that the United Nations, foreign governments and human rights organizations were “deliberately misunderstanding, and misrepresenting, international laws of armed conflict,” specifically referring to the law of proportionality.
“These organizations and governments are portraying Israel as breaking the laws of armed conflict, which according to my knowledge, they’re not,” Kemp contended.
Meanwhile, he continued, those very same bodies were not adequately holding Hamas responsible for their own clear violations, particularly regarding “human shields.”

Is it Time for a New Law of War?

Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who delivered the keynote address, said there were three wars with Hamas during his tenure at the head of the army. “Each campaign, we lost before we started, as far as the international community was concerned.”
The days of “the battlefield” – where fighting took place away from civilian areas – have effectively ended, he said. “We need to go back to when the laws of war were meant to limit the bad guys.”
Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said the laws of engagement and proportionality should be widened to look at an army’s overall objective, rather than the narrow lens of a particular mission.
The current situation has become a strategic advantage for Hamas, he said, and the media was partly complicit in the situation.
The media, he said, places its emphasis on civilian deaths, not the use of human shields that endanger those civilians. Public discourse, he said, has to focus on the ones who use human shields.
“Hamas’s real objective to use human shields is not to protect its weapons,” he added. “It’s to get the human shields killed, to have Israel accused of killing civilians.”
Nuclear Experts: Emerging Deal Does Not Account for Iran’s Supply of Enriched Uranium

Leading nuclear experts have raised concerns that the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was agreed to last month between the P5+1 nations and Iran, do not account for Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU).
David Albright, the executive director of the Institute for Science and International Security, and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, a research analyst at the think tank, wrote in a paper published Monday that Iran has converted all of its 20% LEU in the form of gas, but since the LEU still exists in other forms, it could easily be reconverted to its gaseous form, significantly reducing Iran’s breakout time. Specifically, the paper refers to the 46 kilograms of 20% LEU in the form of an oxide powder.
Legal Scholar: Iran’s Seizure of Cargo Ship a “Flagrant Breach of International Law”

The seizure of the ship Maersk Tigris by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) last week was a “flagrant breach of international law,” Northwestern University law professor Eugene Kontorovich wrote Sunday in The Washington Post.
Iran has claimed that the ship was seized in order to settle a lien against the Maersk shipping line imposed by an Iranian court. Kontorovich noted that although there is a doctrine of seizing a “sister ship” to satisfy a claim, the case of the Maersk Tigris is not governed by that doctrine, since such seizures are only allowed when the ship is in port.
Iran’s claims clearly do not satisfy any version of the “sister ship” rule. The Tigris is owned by Oak Tree Capital, and merely chartered by Maersk. The Iranian court judgement is apparently against Maersk itself, regarding the operation of a vessel with totally different owners. Instead, they are at most “associated ships.” Such vessels cannot be arrested under the Brussels Convention, or apparently under Iranian maritime law. To be sure, many countries now apply modern corporate veil-piercing doctrines to allow the attachment of vessels with a common “real” owner, but again, the common party here appears to only be the time-charterer.
The discussion of sister ships is quite arcane, and ultimately besides the point. The arrest of vessels applies typically to those that have come into port. There is no right to arrest for prior or collateral obligations during an innocent passage through territorial waters. That is, in waters where ships have an international right to transit – such as the Gulf – they may not be molested at all by coastal states for the enforcement of outstanding maritime liens.
Iran Threatens to Sell Ship it Seized

The official Iranian state media Press TV on Tuesday announced that the Islamic regime is threatening to sell the Maersk Tigris cargo ship it fired at and seized in an international shipping lane last Tuesday, unless a massive fine is paid by the ship's owners.
The report claimed the ship was seized due to an unspecified shipping dispute with the Danish Maersk shipping line, listing Hamid-Reza Jahanian as the managing director of Pars Tala'eyeh Oil Products Company as the Iranian party to the dispute.
Jahanian threatened that the ship and its cargo are to be sold unless Maersk pays a whopping $10 million fine, which he claims constitute "losses" his company suffered for some unlisted reason.
He said the ship will be released "upon the payment of the amount."
The paper noted that Maersk officials have demanded to see the court documents on the alleged dispute which Iran says spurred its breach of international maritime law, adding that meetings between Maersk and Iranian officials made little progress.
Iran Claims Navy Chased Away US Warship, Planes in Gulf of Aden

Iran’s semi-official state news agencies claimed on Tuesday that an Iranian destroyer chased off a U.S. warship and two reconnaissance aircraft that approached Islamic Republic flagged vessels in the strategic Gulf of Aden.
According to the reports, two US P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes and a USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) destroyer were forced to turn around after the Iranian destroyer, Alborz 72, issued warnings for them to change course and keep at least five miles from the Iranian Navy’s 34th fleet, which was stationed in the area.
Colonel Mostafa Tajeddini, the commander of the 34th fleet, commented that his ships are “duty-bound to monitor any foreign warships in international waters as well as anything that would threaten Iran’s national interests.”
Iranian news website Mehr claimed that the Iranian destroyer initiated the hostile move against the U.S. warship after it “approached several Iranian warships in a provocative move, ignoring the internationally set 5-mile standard distance from Iran’s 34th fleet of warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden.”
Underlining US support from both parties, PM meets second bipartisan Congressional group

Amid concerns that Israel is increasingly becoming a partisan political issue in the US, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for the second day in a row on Tuesday with a bipartisan congressional delegation and stressed that support for a strong Israel-US relationship crosses party lines.
“The support and the alliance with the United States is a foundation of our national security,” Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting in Jerusalem with the delegation, made up primarily of members of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“It’s a bipartisan position,” he added. “It’s also bipartisan here. I think there’s complete unanimity about the importance of the relationship with the United States.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the head of the committee, led the delegation, which arrived in Israel from a visit to Iraq.
McCaul also stressed the bipartisan nature of the relationship, saying on behalf of the delegation, “We don’t stand as Democrat, Republican; We stand as Americans in support of Israel, our strongest ally and friend in the region – a democracy, a true beacon of hope in the region.”
The other members of the delegation were Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts), John Katko (R-New York), William Hurd (R-Texas), Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), and Kathleen Rice (D-New York).
Khamenei rejects nuclear talks 'under shadow of' military threat

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran would not take part in nuclear talks if threatened with military force, state television said, as Iran and world powers try to meet a June 30 deadline for a final deal.
"Holding nuclear talks (with major powers) under shadow of threat is unacceptable for Iran ... Our nation will not accept it ... Military threats will not help the talks," Khamenei was quoted as saying by Iran's English language Press TV.
"Recently two US officials threatened to take military action against Iran. What does negotiation mean under the shadow of threat," he said. He gave no further details on the threats.
Khamenei repeated his cautious support for the nuclear talks, saying that the country's "red lines" should be respected by the Iranian negotiators.
"Our negotiators should continue the talks with respect to our red lines. They should not accept any imposition, humiliation and threat," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Did IAF strike military targets in Sudan?

Foreign warplanes struck a number of targets in the Khartoum area in central Sudan overnight Tuesday, the London-based news outlet al-Araby al-Jadeed reported.
Several Arab media outlets attributed the airstrikes to Israel, which did not comment on the reports. The Israeli military has reportedly carried out several strikes in Sudan in recent years as part of an effort to combat the flow of weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip.
The targets of Tuesday night's reported strikes were said to include a Scud missile factory, a rocket storage site and a convoy.
Witnesses reported hearing explosions and secondary blasts.
There were also reports that the Sudanese forces fired anti-aircraft weapons at the attacking aircraft.
Report: Sudan shoots down Israeli drone

Following reports of explosions and a military attack in Sudan early Wednesday morning, Arab media cited the Sudanese army as saying it shot down an Israeli drone in the Valley of the Prophet area north of the capital Khartoum.
A spokesman for the Sudanese army denied reports that a target was hit, adding that the military identified a suspicious object in its airspace and intercepted it.
Colonel Alsoarmi Khaled Saad told Sky News in Arabic that army anti-aircraft defense missile systems intercepted a "flying object similar in appearance to a plane or a missile," in Omdurman.
Before dawn on Wednesday, Arab media said explosions heard in Khartoum were caused by an attack which was carried out by a "foreign entity."
Court sentences Jerusalem gas leak bomber to 30 years in prison

A three-judge panel of the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday sentenced the infamous man who caused nine gas leaks to try to cause explosions to 30 years in prison.
Aziz Awisat was convicted of nine attempted murder crimes by his signature attempted gas leak attacks and one additional attempted murder crime from when he attacked a Haredi man with an axe in 2012, but only succeeded in badly wounding him.
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office submitted an indictment against Awisat, a 49-year-old resident of the southeastern Jebal Mukaber neighborhood, regarding his terror activities in March 2014.
Awisat was also accused of aiding the enemy in wartime. He first considered carrying out terrorist operations and assisting Israeli enemies in 2012.
Awisat was motivated to perpetrate the attacks as “revenge for Israeli acts against the Aksa Mosque, IDF operations against Gaza and harm to Islam.”
Haifa Rethinks Funding for Arab Theater Glorifying Terrorist

The Haifa city council decided on Tuesday to establish a committee to consider anew the municipal funding for the Arab Al Midan Theater in the city, after it put on a play portraying the life of one of the Arab terrorists who mutilated and murdered IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.
Every year the Al Midan Theater receives more than a million shekels (over $250,000) from the Haifa municipality. The request to remove that support was submitted by Haifa Councilman Shai Blumenthal (Jewish Home).
Family members of Tamam took part in the council meeting, which aside from council members included members of the municipality's cultural department.
Until a decision is made by the newly formed committee, no additional funds will be transferred to the theater.
The 19-year-old Tamam was abducted and murdered by Arab terrorists from Baka al-Gharbiya as he hitched a ride with them on his way to the town of Havatzelet Hasharon. The abduction didn't occur in Judea or Samaria, but rather in the coastal region between Haifa and Tel Aviv.
After holding him captive for several days the terrorists murdered Tamam by mutilation, gouging out his eyes before cutting off parts of his body starting with his genitals and then shooting him. They were a cell of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terror group.
High Court ruling paves way for demolition of unauthorized Palestinian village

On Monday, the High Court rejected that request, adding that it understood that an alternative living solution was available for the residents of the village.
“It is unusual for the state to oppose a temporary restraining order in this way,” said Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights. “It heightens our suspicion that they have an intent to demolish Sussiya before there is an actual court hearing on the case.”
The attorney for the village, Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, explained that the state wants the village to relocate from its present location near the Sussiya settlement in Area C of the West Bank to land that is closer to Area B, which is under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority.
The village is located on land for which the villagers claim ownership, but they lack the proper permits to build structures, even the temporary ones, on the land.
The latest round of the village’s three-decade battle with the IDF began in 2012 when the civil administration reissued demolition orders against the village but did not carry them out.
The non-governmental group Regavim, which fights against illegal Palestinian and Israeli Arab construction, petitioned the High Court to force the state to carry out the demolition orders.
IDF Imposes Comfort Zone Around Gaza (satire)

Israeli efforts to prevent the infiltration of Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip intensified Wednesday with the creation of a comfort zone surrounding the coastal territory.
Residents of communities in the Gaza Belt region reported military activity in areas abutting the border fence, and an IDF spokesman confirmed that the army had established a comfort zone to help curb or eliminate attempts by terrorists to cross into Israel. As such, said the spokesman, residents of the Gaza Strip would now feel secure only when still ensconced in its familiar environs, and militants would therefore be that much less likely to try digging tunnels or swimming into Israel to kidnap and murder.
Infiltration has become a major concern for Gaza Belt residents and the military alike. Tunnels extending for hundreds of meters into Israel were discovered before and during the conflict with Hamas last summer, and although no civilian casualties resulted from several Hamas attacks using those passages, they have had a pasting psychological impact on inhabitants of the communities surrounding Gaza and on military planning. Hamas also made at least one attempt to attack with frogmen from the Mediterranean. While the IDF assures citizens it is prepared to counter the infiltration threat, military and local leaders agree a preventive, rather than deterrent, measure will be more effective in combating the menace.
“An ounce of prevention,” said IDF spokesman Colonel Peter Lerner. “It is obviously wiser to make defensive operations unnecessary by neutralizing the threat before it can get off the ground. That is why we have established a comfort zone around Gaza. Comparatively few people will venture outside a comfort zone, which means that in imposing it we have automatically reduced the pool of Palestinian infiltrators by a significant number.” He declined to give specific figures, saying he was not at liberty to reveal the exact numbers or how the IDF arrived at them.
French judges end investigation into Arafat’s death

French judges re-examining the evidence surrounding the 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have concluded their investigations, the prosecutors office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said Tuesday.
“The judges have closed their dossier and it was sent to the prosecutor on April 30,” he said.
The prosecutor now has three months to prepare his submissions on whether to dismiss the case or put it forward to court.
In the meantime interested parties can produce written depositions. However if, as is currently the case, there is no defendant’s name attached to the proceedings, the case is likely to be dismissed. (h/t Bob Knot)
France urges Palestinian restraint after concluding investigation into Arafat's death

France is urging the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and not issue the death penalty against whomever is implicated in the death of Yasser Arafat after officials concluded an investigation into the late Palestinian leader's death on Wednesday.
"We received a message from France 20 days ago asking us not to issue a death penalty against anyone who might be convicted of assassinating Arafat," said Tawfik al-Tirawi, head of Fatah's investigation commission into Arafat's death.
Earlier this week, results of the preliminary investigation concluded by French officials in 2012 - in response to a request filed by Arafat's widow Suha - were sent to prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. The prosecutor's office now has three months to either close the case or take it to court.
In October of 2004, Yasser Arafat fell violently ill and died two weeks later at a Paris military hospital at the age of 75. The medical report published after Arafat’s death listed the immediate cause as a massive brain hemorrhage resulting from an infection, according to JTA.
Abbas is old, Hamas divided: Who will lead Palestinians?

While Palestinians of all stripes have long criticized Israel for many of their problems, and still do, they have become increasingly critical of their own leaders and institutions.
Across both the occupied West Bank and the cordoned-off Gaza Strip, Palestinians are demanding stronger leadership and an end to the PA’s Fatah-Hamas divide. Since 2007, the internal divisions have undermined their national cause at home and abroad. They have weakened their hand at the negotiating table with the US and Israel, stymied Gaza reconstruction, and left the PA’s democratic muscle atrophied.
But even as these demands are articulated, the options for alternative leadership are few.
Aruri, like two-thirds of Palestinians, says the PA must end security coordination with Israel. Some 86 percent want the PA to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) to punish Israel for settlement expansion, and nearly half support a return to armed uprising, according to a late March poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) headed by Khalil Shikaki.
Palestinians’ Unpaid Electric Bills in the West Bank Thicken Tension With Israel

Elsewhere in the West Bank, the Israel Electric Corporation sells power to Palestinian municipalities and distribution companies, but, Mr. Milhem said, Israel holds the Palestinian Authority broadly responsible for payment. The World Bank found that some municipalities collected customers’ payments but used them to offset general expenses rather than passing them on to the Israelis.
Mr. Milhem said his agency had recently begun conducting municipal audits and cracking down on the companies. But he said the agency was unable even to determine how much Palestinians owed because many meters were in areas where Israel forbids Palestinian officials to work, something that Galit Globus, a lawyer for Israel Electric, denied.
The greatest scofflaws are the residents of refugee camps like Tulkarm, where Fisal Sallameh, a local leader, said a 2012 effort to settle the debts failed.
Residents of the camp are too poor to pay, Mr. Sallameh said, and they see electricity as the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, which the refugees widely despise. “Let those dirt bags pay for us” is a common refrain, he said.
For more than a decade, the Palestinian Authority has essentially been paying at least part of the bills, as Israel deducts $12 million to $17 million from each month’s tax transfer of more than $100 million to pay down the electric debt. Mr. Milhem said there was an informal procedure in which the Palestinians were told how much was being subtracted and why.
Hardships for Palestinians in Gaza Set to Increase

The Islamist Hamas, which controls the densely populated Gaza Strip, has added another burden to the lives of residents of Gaza with the introduction of new import taxes on items considered non-essential. The announcement has local merchants fuming, with some threatening to cease imports into Gaza altogether.
Over 400 items will be affected, including a variety of crops, meat, fruits, vegetables, clothing and electronics. Most of the items are imports from Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“The purpose of the law is to ease the suffering of the poor in the Gaza Strip,” said Ahmad Abu Halbiya, a member of Hamas’s parliamentary block who passed the new tax. “We’ll collapse as a society in Gaza if we do not impose these taxes. It’s not much but it will benefit the citizens of Gaza – especially the security police who need money for cars.” Abu Halbiya said that flour and medicines, as essential goods, would be exempt from the tax.
Abu Halbiya acknowledged that Hamas’s 40,000 employees will be the main recipients of the new tax revenue.
The new tax was drafted after members of parliament studied the basic needs of the people of Gaza, said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson. Abu Zuhri justified the decision by saying that “The civil servants of Gaza haven’t received regular salaries in over a year. The Strip cannot function without civil servants, who are the pillar of every state.” The tax will be brought in gradually so as to not overly burden Gazans, starting at around 1% and eventually increasing to 10%.
5 Senior Hezbollah Field Commanders Killed in Qalamoun Battle

The Battle of Qalamoun began yesterday, leaving dozens killed on both sides, in fighting between Hezbollah vs. Jabhat al-Nusra forces and the Syrian Free Army, according to Arab sources.
Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, talked about this upcoming, strategically important battle at the beginning of the year.
Qalamoun is located along the Syrian-Lebanon border.
During the battle between Hezbollah terrorists and Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra forces on Tuesday, 5 senior Hezbollah field commanders were killed.
Nasrallah: Downfall of Assad would mean fall of Hezbollah

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime must be preserved, as its collapse would mean the end of Hezbollah and the “axis of resistance,” the Lebanese movement’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said, according to a Lebanese paper close to the Islamic group.
He went on to assert that Assad would not be overthrown, but that it would not be possible for his forces to recover control over all of Syria.
Nasrallah was speaking on Thursday night during a meeting with Free Patriotic Movement party head Michel Aoun, a Christian leader and former Lebanese army chief allied with Hezbollah, Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.
The Shi’ite “resistance axis” of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria has been fighting against a Sunni-dominated opposition including jihadists such as Nusra Front and Islamic State.
Hezbollah Recruiting Children as Young as Eight as Its Next Generation of Terrorists

The terrorist organization Hezbollah has begun recruiting children as young as eight to join the Mahdi Scouts, which prepares boys to become armed jihadists when they grow up. The scouts number some 50,000 members ranging in age from 8 to 18 and has branches in areas such as Beirut and south Lebanon, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Janubiya (Arabic link).
According to the Lebanese newspaper,
The Mahdi Scouts constitute a main element to the military body of Hezbollah, as the majority of the scouts’ members engage in jihadi work after the age of 16. At this age, the members get into their first military course called ‘combat literacy,’ in which teens recognize the principles knowledge of the weapon, and how to shoot at fixed targets.
They then get intensive summer courses, and after two years, these youngsters graduate as experienced fighters in various types of weapons and are ready to get engaged in the bloodiest battles at the orders of the Secretary General of Hezbollah. All this is in preparation for the real battles when they reach adulthood.
Citing U.S. “Fecklessness,” WaPo Editors Call for Urgent Leadership in Syria

Citing the current “fecklessness” of American policy towards Syria, which has led to the defection of moderate rebels to extremist factions and the growing military assertiveness of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, a staff editorial in The Washington Post called for an American-protected safe zone to allow moderate opposition leaders and rebels to organize within Syrian territory.
One consequence of this fecklessness has been the defection of Syrian fighters to jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. Another has been the apparent decision by Saudi Arabia’s new leadership to join with Turkey in providing new support to rebel groups, rather than continuing to wait for U.S. leadership. The rebel advances in northern Syria have been made by a coalition including Jabhat al-Nusra and more moderate factions. Though the Islamists say they will not impose their rule on the captured provincial capital, Idlib, they offer a unpalatable political alternative for the majority of Syrians and for the West.
Many military experts don’t think the Assad regime is near collapse, though such wartime judgments are necessarily uncertain. Yet it’s clear that a moderate and credible alternative is desperately needed. One big reason previous U.S. efforts to foster one have failed is that it has been impossible for civilian opposition leaders to base themselves and organize inside the country. That’s why a U.S.-backed safe zone, along with an expanded military training program, is needed: not to intervene in the civil war but to make an acceptable solution to it possible. A continued refusal by Mr. Obama to act will only increase the chance that as the Assad regime loses ground, that held by terrorists will expand.
Hollande Admits France Breached Syrian Weapons Embargo

French President Francois Hollande admitted to delivering weapons to Syrian rebels in 2012 despite an embargo, according to a new book coming out in France this month.
"We began when we were certain they would end up in the right hands. For the lethal weapons it was our services who delivered them," Hollande told author Xavier Panon in an interview in May last year, reports AFP.
The book by the journalist specializing in diplomatic and military issues, is entitled "In the corridors of French diplomacy."
Panon wrote that France delivered canons, machine guns, rocket launchers and anti-tank missiles to the rebels fighting Bashar Al-Assad's regime in an uprising that has turned into all-out civil war and drawn in thousands of foreign jihadists.
Over 220,000 people are said to have been killed in the fighting over the years.
Panon said the weapons delivered in the second half of 2012 were aimed at aiding the rebellion as opposed to having a decisive effect on changing the course of the conflict.
At the time an European embargo on weapons was in place since June 2011. It was lifted in May 2013.
Turkey's Obsessive Fantasy

The idea that there are crypto-Jews or secret friends of Israel is increasingly popular with Muslims who are waging political, ideological and sectarian wars among themselves.
To put it in simpler words, Davutoglu, Turkey's Prime Minister, wants Israel to be harmed.
The Turkish Prime Minister clearly admits that without Egypt's control over the border and destruction of smuggling tunnels, the Palestinians will smuggle arms into Gaza to commit acts of terror against Israel.
In a saner part of the world, Davutoglu (and therefore Turkey) could be accused of openly sponsoring terrorism.
200 Pakistanis Honor Garland Shooters as ‘Martyrs of Islam’

In Pakistan Tuesday, around 200 Muslims held a gathering to honor the jihadis who attempted to carry out a terror attack against a free speech event on Sunday in Garland, Texas.
The terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi (the latter of whom has Pakistani roots), attempted to storm a “Draw Muhammad” event promoting free speech, just as it was ending, in order to inflict maximum damage. However, the AK47-armed suspects failed in their jihad when a Garland police officer neutralized them with his sidearm.
In Peshawar, Pakistan, a cleric named Pir Mohammad Chishti led an absentia funeral service for Simpson and Soofi. He said that the two were “the real heroes of Islam and we must be proud of their courage, NBC News reports.
Russia Today posted a video on YouTube showing demonstrators from the rally holding a sign that read, “We Strongly Condemn The Blasphemous Event Organized By PAMELA GELLER Under AFDI.” Geller’s organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), hosted the “Draw Muhammad” free speech event.
Why Can't Muslims Laugh at Mohammed?

In Mel Brooks' comedy History of the World Part I, Moses is shown descending from Mount Sinai with three stone tablets in hand. As he declares, "I give you the Fifteen Commandments," one falls and breaks, and Moses corrects himself, "er, Ten Commandments."
Jews, including the observant, find this funny rather than offensive. As we learned once again in Garland, Texas, Muslims do not laugh at jokes about Mohammed, the purported author of the Koran (as Moses is the author of the Torah). Two wannabe Jihadists with assault rifles and body armor were no match for an off-duty Texas traffic cop with a sidearm, but the incident might have turned into a massacre worse than the murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff in January.
Why do Jews as well as Christians–but not Muslims–laugh at jokes about the founders of their faiths?
The answer is that radically different deities are in question. Judaism begins with a covenant between God and human beings–Abraham and his descendants–that is a partnership in which God is normally, but not always, the senior partner. As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks observes, the Jewish sages of antiquity envisioned Moses acting as a judge for God, permitting God to annul his earlier vow to destroy the Jewish people after the sin of the Golden Calf. This is unimaginable in Islam, just as unimaginable as the Christian God who humbles himself on the cross.

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