Resources updated between Monday, February 01, 2016 and Sunday, February 07, 2016
February 7, 2016
February 5, 2016
Here's how the official Wafa news agency reported yesterday's terror attack:
February 4, 2016
Two 13-year-old girls stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard at the Ramle Central Bus Station on Thursday morning in what police say was a foiled terror attack.
One of the two girls was reportedly carrying a school backpack and a picture taken at the scene by a police photographer showed the contents of the bag scattered on the pavement, including schoolwork, a calculator, a juice bag, and two knives.
Central District spokesman Chief Superintendent Ami Ben-David said that the two teens approached the metal detector at the entrance to the station around 10:30 Thursday morning at which point the security guard asked them to show him ID. At that point the two girls pulled knives and stabbed the guard, lightly wounding him in the hand and leg, Ben-David said.
Both attackers were arrested at the scene and taken for questioning at the Ramle police station. Both are Israeli citizens, Ben-David said.
Footage taken at the scene after the attack shows the attackers restrained by police when one person comes from behind and kicks at one of the girls, as others curse at them and film the scene on their cellphones.
Magen David Adom paramedic Shlomo Elkasalsi said he was near the scene of the attack when he heard someone screaming "terrorists!" and ran to the scene to find the security guard conscious and highly distraught, with a number of stab wounds to his extremities. Elkasalsi said paramedics gave the guard – aged 25 - first aid and minutes later an ambulance evacuated him to nearby Asaf Harofeh Hospital.
The teens are the latest in a long line of underage attackers to carry out stabbings in the recent terror wave, including two cousins aged 11 and 14 who stabbed a security guard on the Jerusalem light rail in November of last year.
That same month, two teenage girls aged 14 and 16 armed with scissors attempted a terror attack on Jerusalem's Jaffa street, stabbing and lightly wounding an elderly Palestinian man before they were shot dead by a security guard and a police officer.
Authorities in Iran have arrested a former BBC journalist on the eve of a visit to London by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister.
Bahman Daroshafaei was taken to jail on Wednesday after facing a series of interrogations, according to sources in Tehran. Daroshafaei is of dual Iranian-British nationality and is a former employee of the BBC's Persian service, which is loathed by the Iranian establishment.
Zarif is due to participate at a high-profile summit on Syria in London on Thursday, in the first visit to the UK by an Iranian foreign minister in 12 years. It comes after Britain and Iran reopened embassies in their respective capitals last August following the landmark nuclear deal.
Bilateral relations between Iran and the UK reached a nadir in November 2011 when mobs stormed the British embassy in Tehran, ransacking offices and diplomatic residences, which led to London severing all ties and expelling Iranian diplomats.
Relations improved after Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013 and the British prime minister, David Cameron, during a recent phone conversation with the Iranian president, is believed to have invited Iran to the Supporting Syria and the Region conference. It has been organised by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the UN, aimed at finding a way out of the current stalemate over the Syrian crisis.
The awkward timing of the arrest suggests that hardliners, who dominate the judiciary and the intelligence apparatus, may be seeking to undermine Zarif and the moderate faction in control of the government as the Iranian foreign minister visits the UK.
Daroshafaei, who left BBC Persian two years ago to return to Iran to work on children's literature, was active on social media, particularly on issues relating to human rights, such as the situation of imprisoned journalists and activists. He had worked for the corporation for five years as a staff journalist.
He has recently translated into Persian the book A Bear Called Paddington by the celebrated English author Michael Bond. Daroshafaei has also published a number of other books on philosophical topics. Most of his immediate family members, including his father, mother and two sisters, have also been imprisoned at points in the past decade.
Iranian hardliners think of Britain as "the old fox" – cunning and sly. They have deep suspicion of anything related to Britain and consider BBC Persian a subversive arm of the British intelligence service, MI6, aimed at fomenting regime change in Iran. As a result, journalists at BBC Persian have faced immense pressure in recent years, including not being able to return to Iran.
Iran appears to have an active campaign that involves harassing BBC Persian journalists directly or indirectly by summoning their family members who live in Iran. A number of staff members at the BBC's Persian service have been victims of false allegations of sexual misconduct, duplicated Facebook accounts, fake blogs and online identity theft designed to discredit them.
Daroshafaei's arrest comes a few weeks after the release of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist who was imprisoned in Iran over a year. Rezaian was released as part of a prisoner swap with the US earlier this month on the day the nuclear deal was implemented, which led to the removal of sanctions.
Another British-Iranian, the businessman Kamal Foroughi, 76, remains in jail in Iran after he was imprisoned for more than four years.
It is still not clear whether Daroshafaei's arrest marks the beginning of a fresh crackdown before the parliamentary elections later this month. Iranian hardliners often tighten the grip at election times. A large number of candidates, especially those allied with the reformists and moderates, have been disqualified.
Iran is among the world's most prolific jailers of journalists. Rouhani has been largely silent on human rights issues but activists hope that with the nuclear dossier closed, his attention could be focused on the issue. He has also failed to secure the release of opposition leaders under house arrest, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi.
"A total of 20 professional journalists and as many non-professional journalists are currently detained in Iran in connection with their reporting," said the activist group Reporters Without Borders. "Since Rouhani's election as president, at least 50 journalists have been arrested, mostly by the Revolutionary Guards, and some have received long jail terms. Eleven newspapers have been closed."
February 3, 2016
The United Nations played the Holocaust game last week so it could play another lethal game this week. The ruse consists of making a big deal about the gas chambers for Jews back then, while stoking the fires of anti-Semitism burning right now.
On January 31, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon penned a New York Times op-ed to say at one and the same time that "people will always resist occupation" and "nothing excuses terrorism." That follows a statement he gave to the Security Council on January 26, in which he said "Palestinian frustration is growing" and "it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as an incubator of hate and extremism."
Reaction to the claim that it is human nature to stab pregnant women and mothers in front of their children - as Palestinians had done the week before - has been unanimous across the Israeli political spectrum. In the words of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 26: "The secretary-general's remarks give a tailwind to terrorism."
Nevertheless, the spokesman of the secretary-general doubled down in a press briefing on January 27 with these words: "Absolutely nothing justifies terrorism. . . . At the same time, if we want to see an end to this violence . . . we must address the root causes, the underlying frustrations."
In short, for the United Nations, nothing justifies terrorism except Palestinian frustration.
It is hardly a secret that the UN agenda is to find reasons for treating the Jewish state differently - notwithstanding the UN Charter's promise of equality for nations large and small. The settlements bandwagon is one of many.
In effect, the "occupation" rant is the PC version of ISIS's "Allahu Akbar." It has been the Arab cry since the minute of Israel's birth in 1948 and is the verbiage that presages destruction, not peaceful coexistence. It is the complaint about Jews living on Arab-claimed land, despite the fact that ultimate ownership of this land - according to legal agreement - is to be decided by negotiations, not UN fiat.
The bigger picture tells the story. The UN just wrapped up a year in which there were a total of 26 General Assembly resolutions condemning specific countries for human-rights abuse: 19 - that's 73 percent - against Israel and one, for instance, against Syria. In 2015, the UN Commission on the Status of Women adopted one resolution condemning a country for violating women's rights: Israel - for violating the rights of Palestinian women.
Finding excuses for demonizing Jews, discriminating against Jews, delegitimizing Jewish self-determination, and just plain old Jew-hatred, is thousands of years old. It has a name, anti-Semitism.
Which is where the UN's international Holocaust Remembrance Day comes in. At the UN, it provides cover. So on January 27, Ban Ki-moon showed up at the General Assembly's annual commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.
After checking-off "present" in his Holocaust remembrance speech, the secretary-general could manage to mention anti-Semitism only once, and only together with "anti-Muslim bigotry." His UN secretariat also used the day to promote the claim that there were multiple Holocausts, adding for the first time to the rostrum of the annual event a Sinto speaker, who repeatedly referred to "the forgotten Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma."
The occasion was further desecrated by the Palestinians and their UN collaborators, who managed to hijack the day to hold the annual kickoff of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). The secretary-general delivered his anti-Semitism/anti-Muslim-bigotry speech at the Holocaust(s) event and then walked into the CEIRPP event and delivered another speech on Israel's international crimes.
Here is Ban Ki-moon on Holocaust Remembrance Day when he was not in the presence of survivors: "Palestinians are losing hope. Young people especially are losing hope. . . . If we hope to see an end to this violence . . . we must address the underlying frustration." He said nothing about the "frustration" - actually the deep psychological burden - of necessary and mandatory military service for millions of Israelis throughout the prime of their lives. Nothing about Palestinian responsibility for their own lives, or their choice of more terror over more land, or their refusal to negotiate, or their installation of a terrorist organization to govern the land they already occupy in Gaza.
In late November 2015, Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour announced at an exhibit opening held in the public lobby of the UN: "We are so proud that in this popular uprising, the backbone of this uprising are the youth of Palestine." On January 17 a 16-year old Palestinian stabbed to death an Israeli mother of six - a.k.a. a "settler" - in front of her children. And now the UN secretary-general expresses his empathy and understanding of this normal, to-be-expected, "youthful frustration."
We know what comes next, because that's a straight line if there ever was one.