Resources updated between Monday, January 02, 2017 and Sunday, January 08, 2017
January 8, 2017
A truck rammed into a group of soldiers on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing at least four of them, in a vehicle-ramming attack on Sunday afternoon, police said.
Police chief Roni Alsheich called the incident a vehicular terror attack.
The soldiers were getting off a bus at the promenade, a popular tourist spot in southern Jerusalem, when a large flatbed truck ran into them.
At least 16 more people were injured, two of them very seriously, according to Jerusalem hospitals.
The four soldiers - three women and one man - who died were in their 20s, the Magen David Adom rescue service said. The male soldier was named later Sunday as Erez Orbach.
According to police, the terrorist accelerated as he struck the group.
Eyewitnesses said that after the driver hit the soldiers with his truck, he put the vehicle in reverse and ran over them a second time.
Footage of the incident taken from a security camera showed the truck run into the group of soldiers as they stood next to a bus. The driver then attempts to turn the truck around and run over the group again as people scramble for cover.
The driver of the vehicle was shot by both soldiers and by a civilian guide, police said. He died of his wounds.
"In a fraction of a second during which I was speaking with one of the officers, I saw the truck plowing into us. After a few rolls on the grass I saw the truck start to reverse and then I already understood that this was not an accident. I felt that my pistol was still on me, so I ran up to him and started emptying my clip. He went in reverse and again drove over the injured," the guide, Eitan Rund, said.
Speaking to Israeli television, Rund questioned why soldiers hesitated, he said, before turning their own weapons on the driver. "I have to ask why it took a 30-year-old civilian to fire first," he said, "when there were well-armed officers" present. He asserted that last week's conviction for manslaughter of soldier Elor Azaria, who shot dead a disarmed, injured Palestinian assailant, was "definitely" a factor in the ostensible hesitation.
An initial IDF inquiry showed at least two to three soldiers opened fire from close range, and are thought to be the ones who killed the terrorist.
Moshe Aharon, the driver of the bus, told Army Radio that "a group of soldiers was standing with their bags near the bus. I had just let them off. The truck drove into the group of soldiers, ran over them and kept going. The soldiers shot at the driver. He reversed and ran over them again."
Leah Schreiber, one of the guides for the group of soldiers, told reporters that the driver had reversed and run over the bodies again.
"I was explaining about the view of Jerusalem. I saw soldiers shouting and screaming. Some of the soldiers started shooting. It took some time to kill [the driver] so he was able to reverse. The whole thing took maybe a minute and a half," Schreiber said.
At first, it was not clear if this was an accident or a deliberate attack, but Schreiber said she "understood it was a terror attack when they started shooting at him."
A number of victims were trapped under the truck after the incident, according to a Magen David Adom paramedic on the scene.
The soldiers were visiting the capital as part of the army's "Culture Sundays," in which troops are taken to important historical and national sites at the beginning of the week.
According to the Ben Zvi Institute, which led the trip for the army, the soldiers were cadets from the IDF's officer's training course, but from non-combat units.
The driver of the truck was identified as Fadi al-Qanbar, a resident of the capital's Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, according to Arab media. The truck, with Israeli license plates, came from the direction of that neighborhood, which is adjacent to the promenade.
He was in his late 20s, married with four children, and had served time in Israeli jail, Channel 2 said. He bought the truck last year.
One seriously injured soldier was sent to Shaare Zedek hospital. She was unconscious and doctors were attempting to stabilize her condition, a spokesperson for the hospital said.
Another four victims who were lightly injured were also sent to Shaare Zedek, the hospital said.
Nine victims were sent to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, one in serious condition, two in moderate condition and six lightly wounded.
Two victims who were lightly injured were sent to Hadassah Hospital Mt. Scopus, the hospital said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Hamas terror group praised the attack as "heroic."
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem lauded the attack on his Facebook page, saying, "These operations demonstrate that all attempts to bypass the resistance or to thwart it will fail every time."
Palestinian assailants have used vehicle rammings as a method for terror attacks for years, and the method seemed to have been adopted by European jihadists in recent months, including in an attack in Berlin last month that left 12 dead, including an Israeli woman.
Less than an hour after the attack, a Jerusalem court imposed a gag order on the investigation.
The Haas-Sherover Promenade promenade is a southern location that offers a panoramic view over Jerusalem and the Old City. In May, two elderly women were stabbed and moderately injured in a park below the promenade in what police said was a terror attack.
January 6, 2017
How Trump Can Tame the U.N. Article
"Israel will suspend a significant portion of its annual contributions to the United Nations for 2017 in the aftermath of Security Council resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlement activity, the Israeli mission to the UN informed the international body on Friday.
The cut, amounting to some six million dollars, is described as 'an act of protest' and symbolically represents the portion of the UN budget allocated to anti-Israel bodies including: The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; The Division for Palestinian Rights; The Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices; and Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the UN Department of Public Information...
According to Danon, 'now is the time to implement real change at the UN.' He added that Israel seeks to 'stop the practice where the UN is used solely as a forum for unending attacks against Israel' by encouraging structural changes.
The Ambassador further explained that the suspension of Israel's funding is 'only the first in a series of steps under consideration by the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Mission in reaction to the recent Security Council resolution.'
Such steps, he said, will be undertaken once the new US administration takes office on January 20th..."
January 5, 2017
"The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the UN Security Council for censuring Israel over its settlement enterprise, and calling on the Obama administration– which allowed the UN move to pass– to veto any similar actions in the international chamber.
The resolution acknowledges America's longstanding and bipartisan support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, but reminds the government of its historic policy opposed to 'one-sided' UN resolutions that seek to impose parameters for such a solution onto the parties.
It is this policy, the resolution asserts, that the Obama administration undermined with its latest action at the UN, which condemned Israel over its construction in the West Bank and 'east Jerusalem.' The White House abstained from the vote, choosing not to utilize its permanent veto power..."
January 4, 2017
"An Israeli investigation into school books used by United Nations-run schools in the West Bank were found to consistently delegitimize and demonize the State of Israel.
These textbooks-written by the Palestinian Ministry of Education-are used in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in both Gaza and the West Bank.
However, the most shocking discovery is that the UN schools don't teach Palestinian children to recognize Israel as a country-not within the 1947 borders, nor any borders at all...
No mention is made of the religious or historical connection of Jews to the Land of Israel or to Jerusalem in these textbooks used by UNRWA. The schools also make no mention of Jewish holy sites anywhere in their materials-no Western Wall, no Cave of the Patriarchs, and no Rachel's Tomb.
Instead, the textbooks teach that these are all Muslim holy sites which the Jews are trying illegitimately to take control of.
Also, children at UNRWA schools are taught that the Arab massacres of Jews in 1929 (specifically in Safed, Hebron, and Jerusalem) was called the 'al Buraq revolt,' and was carried out to keep the Jews from conquering and occupying these holy cities.
Over 130 Jews were murdered by their Arab neighbors during these massacres.
The textbooks used by the UN to teach Palestinian children even negate the existence of Hebrew. One of the books has a picture of a stamp used during the British Mandate Period upon which is written Hebrew, English, and Arabic. However, the textbooks written by the Palestinians erase the Hebrew, leaving only the English and the Arabic.
Additionally, there is no reference to the presence of Jews in Israel, with Jewish cities and towns established after 1948 erased from the maps given to Palestinian children. Tel Aviv, originally named after the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland, is re-named 'Tel al-Rabia.'..."
Israel erased in UN schools Article
Just three weeks after a suicide bomber killed 27 people, mostly women and children, in an attack on the main Coptic cathedral near Cairo comes a new attack in Alexandria.
According to Tahrir News, a Christian businessman was murdered by an Islamist earlier today for selling alcohol in his shop. The arrested suspect came up behind the victim and slashed his throat while he was smoking shisha in front of the store.
Some reports indicate that the victim had previously agreed to not sell alcohol during Ramadan, which ran from the beginning of June to the beginning of July last year.
It should be noted that there are several liquor store chains that operate in Egypt, including goCheers and Drinkies, and beer is widely available at most restaurants in Cairo and Alexandria.
This incident appears to be an act of "hisba," or enforcement of Islamic law.
As a report by Lorenzo Vidino on incidents of "hisba" in Europe shows, some interpretations allow any Muslim to enforce Islamic prohibitions, not just police.
I noted here at PJ Media following the Cairo cathedral bombing last month that attacks targeting the Coptic Christian community in Egypt -- the largest population of Christians in the Middle East -- are a fairly common occurrence.
But many of these sectarian attacks take place in Upper Egypt, where millions of Coptic Christians live, and less so in the more Western-influenced Cairo and Alexandria.
Back in August I reported on my April 2014 trip into Upper Egypt to inspect some of the 70+ churches and monasteries torched by the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013 following the dispersal of the protests in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In September 2015, I helped arrange and escorted a congressional delegation to Egypt, where we met with Pope Tawadros and other ranking Coptic church officials to discuss the campaign of attacks targeting Christians.
January 3, 2017