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Resources updated between Monday, May 01, 2017 and Sunday, May 07, 2017

May 6, 2017

ISIS terrorists in the Sinai (File photo)

The decapitated bodies of a father and his two sons recently kidnapped by Islamic militants were found on Saturday lying in the street in the northern Sinai town of Rafah, according to security officials and witnesses - the latest grotesque act of brutality in the country's long-running insurgency.

They said the mother of the two siblings was killed last week by members of the Islamic State group when they raided the family home in the village of Yamit, west of Rafah, and kidnapped the three men they suspect of being collaborators.

The three decapitated bodies found Saturday were taken to hospital, where they were identified and prepared for burial, according to the officials and witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media and feared reprisals, respectively.

IS is spearheading an insurgency in northern Sinai, where there has recently been an uptick in the abduction and killing of suspected informants. The brutal killings are meant to serve as a deterrent to would-be collaborators.

Islamic militants have been fighting security forces in northern Sinai for years, but the insurgency has grown deadlier and expanded since the military's 2013 ouster of an Islamist president - Mohammed Morsi of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood - whose one year in office proved divisive.

Lately, the militants have targeted Egypt's minority Christians, forcing hundreds of them to flee their homes in northern Sinai after killing several of them there. Since December, it has targeted three churches - one in Cairo and two north of the Egyptian capital - with suicide bombings that killed at least 45.

An IS leader in Egypt vowed this week to escalate attacks against Christians, urging Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and western embassies as they are targets of their group's militants.

"Targeting the churches is part of our war on infidels," the unidentified leader said in a lengthy interview published by the group's al-Nabaa newsletter on Thursday. He said churches, security posts and institutions, as well as places where "crusader nationals of western countries" gather were all "legitimate targets."

Separately, the Interior Ministry announced on Saturday that policemen on the trail of members of Brotherhood breakaway factions that have taken up arms against the government have located and shot dead two operatives in a gunbattle north of Cairo. It said the two were involved in a bomb attack that killed two policemen and injured others last month in the city of Tanta north of Cairo.

Also on Saturday, a criminal court in Cairo accepted an appeal by the prosecution against a release order issued on Thursday in favor of a senior leader and financier of the Brotherhood, businessman Hassan Malik, who has been in detention for two years but never faced trial.

Malik, arrested in 2015 on charges that he plotted to harm the national economy, was ordered Saturday to remain in police custody for 45 days.

IS decapitates father, two sons in Sinai border town Document

Photo from the Nazi occupation of the British island, Alderney

"This is the southern tip of Alderney, smallest of the three main Channel Islands. Across the water, Guernsey, Sark and Jersey glisten. It has to be one of the most beautiful, tranquil and inspiring sights in the whole of Britain...

All those years ago it was known as the Valley of Death because down it were herded unknown numbers of slave workers, too exhausted to be of use any longer to their Nazi masters, to be thrown to their death on the rocks and swept away by the sea.

Behind us, lost in the undergrowth, are the chilling remains of a concentration camp, run by the SS as ruthlessly and inhumanely as any of its counterparts in the Third Reich, where men were whipped, bludgeoned, starved, hanged, shot, even crucified.

You have to pinch yourself to remember that this is British soil...

The numbers who died there in helping Hitler and his henchmen pursue their evil master-plan were not the few hundreds spoken of in semi-official sources and history books. In fact, tens of thousands lost their lives in the most brutal way - at least 40,000 by our calculations and possibly many, many more. Such a toll makes Alderney nothing less than the biggest crime scene in British history...

We have uncovered incontrovertible evidence that a top-secret launcher site for V1 missiles - one of Hitler's vengeance weapons - was being constructed on the island.

And the reason for that secrecy was that, shockingly, they were to be armed not with conventional explosives, but with internationally outlawed chemical warheads, capable of causing the same degree of destruction, terror and panic seen recently by President Assad's chemical strike in Syria.

They are likely to have contained the very same nerve gas: Sarin..."

Nazis murdered 40,000 in British Channel island camps; planned to hit Britain with chemical weapons Article

May 5, 2017

Swedish minister Ann Linde, from the self-described "first feminist government" in the world, greeting Iranian President Rouhani while donning a hijab (File photo)

"Tuesday, May 2, was a good day for Israel at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization but not such a good day for the Arab bloc and their allies. As Israel was celebrating its 69th year of independence, the Arab bloc, instigated by the 'Palestinians' and composed of dysfunctional nations like Lebanon and Sudan, submitted anti-Semitic resolution to UNESCO's executive board seeking to undermine Israel and its nexus to Jerusalem and other sites of importance to Jewry as well as Christendom.

The resolution reaffirms previous UNESCO resolutions which offer skewed versions of history that are entirely divorced from reality. Jerusalem is once again referred to as 'occupied' and Kever Rachel or Rachel's Tomb, a site referenced and revered by Jews world over for over 3,000 years, is referred to as the 'Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque' and a 'Palestinian site.' The Arabs of Judea & Samaria, who have no real culture or history of their own, have aggressively engaged in a form of cultural appropriation, adopting Jewish sites as their own or otherwise Islamofying them.

The resolution also 'deplores' attacks on UNRWA schools without noting that Hamas terrorists have been caught stockpiling their rockets in UNRWA schools and have often fired their rockets and mortars from school grounds...

It's not the first time that UNESCO has sunk to the depths of depravity. Twice last year – in April and then again in October – similar resolutions were forwarded and passed. This year was no different but it appears that with each resolution, the Arab bloc is losing significant support.

Last April the Arab bloc secured 33 yes votes. In October it only managed to secure 24. In the instant vote, the Arab blocked eked out only 22 yes votes. But the no votes increased significantly from 6 to 10. The final tally was 22 yes, 10 no, 23 abstentions and 3 no shows.

More significantly, the only democratic European government to side with the despots in this round was Sweden, a nation led by a cowardly and hypocritical leftist government that has firmly ensconced itself with those who favor medieval despotism over democratic values. The Arab block may have won this political bout but it was a pyrrhic victory at best. The voting pattern appears to be working firmly in Israel's favor with the Arab bloc hemorrhaging support with each successive vote.

Germany, the United States, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Paraguay, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Togo and Ukraine threw their support behind Israel. In times past, many of these nations, like Greece and Togo, would have automatically sided with the Arab bloc. India, which has historically aligned itself with the Arab bloc, abstained...

Despite the fact that Israel scored a moral victory and its global political outreach strategy appears to be yielding dividends, Israel still has a score to settle with Sweden, a nation whose government has systematically voted against Israel in every UN forum and has publicly adopted viscerally hostile attitudes toward its democratically elected government. Sweden's rancid foreign minister, Margot Wallström, falsely accused Israel of committing extrajudicial killings and obscenely blamed ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, on Israel.

Sweden's most recent UNESCO's vote also lays bare its government's abject hypocrisy. Sweden claims to champion human rights but its voting record and dealings with despotic Muslim nations tell a markedly different story.

In fact, Sweden was rumored to be one of the five EU nations (Belgium has since apologized for its vote) that voted in a secret ballot to place Saudi Arabia on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a body designed to promote women's rights and gender equality. Saudi Arabia is a nation that punishes rape victims, forbids women from driving, forces women to don oppressive Islamic style coverings when appearing in public and executes gays.

In February, a high-level Swedish government delegation composed of mostly self-described 'feminists,' donned hijabs and long coats while on an official state visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. While Iran was busy suppressing its own people, exporting terror and visiting destruction on Syria, Yemen and other regions throughout the Mideast, the hijab-wearing, sharia compliant Swedish feminists were busy signing trade agreements with the tyrannical mullahs..."

Israel Scores Moral Victory at UNESCO While Sweden Disgraces Itself Article

Police officers stand guard following a suicide bomb explosion in Kano, Nigeria, Feb. 24, 2015 (File photo)

Authorities say at least five people are dead in northeast Nigeria in an attack by two female suicide bombers.

Murtala Ibrahim with the Borno police command confirmed the attack Thursday night in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.

The violence came a day after three other female bombers tried to attack a military outpost but were killed by soldiers.

The Boko Haram extremist group, which has ties to the Islamic State group, has increasingly used girls and young women to carry out attacks on marketplaces, checkpoints and other targets.

Some young women who escaped Boko Haram have said girls are drugged and forced to carry out suicide missions.

Boko Haram was founded in northeast Nigeria and is now active in Chad, Niger and Cameroon as well.

5 dead after female suicide bombers attack in Nigeria Document

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Romania opposes the Palestinian Authority's payments to terrorist families, its Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu told The Jerusalem Post this week during his first visit to Israel.

'It is against our values' and those of Israel and the EU, Grindeanu said...

Grindeanu also weighed in the issue of the UNESCO's Executive Board 58-member vote to disavow Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

Romania, like all EU countries, does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. But Grindeanu had no problem explaining that he believed he was in Israel as he sat in the lobby of the King David Hotel in the western part of the city..."

Romanian PM: We Oppose Terrorist Salaries, UNESCO Resolution Article

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan meeting with Saudi Deputy Minister for Education Dr. Nasser al Fawzan (File photo)

Charles Flanagan, the foreign minister of Ireland, is under fire following the election of Saudi Arabia to the UNs top women's rights body. Ireland chairs the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and Saudi Arabia was elected on April 19, 2017 with 47 countries out of 54 voting in favor of the Saudi candidacy, despite it holding one of the world's worst records on protecting women's rights. Flanagan responded to the election result by defending CSW as a shining "example of best practice."

In Flanagan's words:

"Ireland has been a member of the United Nations since 1955. We participate across the full spectrum of UN activity and we observe the conventions governing participation, including in the conduct of elections. These include the convention that members do not publicly disclose their votes. This applies across all elections (there can be over 20 annually) and is observed for good reasons by member states. The practice allows for the good functioning of the UN which is made up of member states of very different views and political backgrounds, and helps facilitate outcomes on sensitive issues. "It is my strong view that it would be very damaging to Ireland's ability to conduct international relations successfully if we moved away from this established practice. It would be irresponsible of me to abandon a practice that has been in place for over six decades, observed by all previous governments and is grounded on protecting and promoting the values of small countries on the world stage. "In meetings with governments of countries where Ireland has human rights concerns, I clearly set out those concerns. When I was in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year I directly raised the need for progress in my discussions with the Saudi authorities. This is a matter of record. Ireland uses all the diplomatic channels at our disposal to promote and advance human rights. "Ireland has a very strong record on promoting the rights of women and girls at the United Nations, commanding trust and respect across the UN membership. As a member of the Human Rights Council (2013-2015) and the Executive Board of UN Women (2012-2013), Ireland worked to highlight a range of issues affecting women and girls. We are a longstanding advocate for the Women, Peace and Security agenda at the UN while the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment is also an integral part of our programme for overseas development. "Ireland is currently a member of the Commission for the Status of Women. Our reputation in the area of promoting gender equality is reflected in the fact that in March Ireland assumed the chair of the Commission. "The Commission is also a hugely important forum for civil society. While the UN has been criticised for failing to ensure that the voices of civil society organisations are heard, the Commission for the Status of Women is an example of best practice."

Ireland, Chair of UN's Commission on Status of Women, Defends Election of Saudi Arabia Document

The UN flag

"The United Nations, for all its flowery promises, was designed with appalling flaws from the start. It operates with no real accountability, no functional moral compass, and no mechanism for acquiring any such vital features. It has tyrant-friendly, diplomatically immune, and collectively irresponsible DNA.

This leads almost inevitably to the U.N.'s bigotry, waste and abuse of its lavish funding, and ever-expanding mandates.

Although everybody knows that the U.N. is broken, it is pretty much taboo to openly seek to shut it down. The usual defense is that 'it may be imperfect but it's all we've got' -- a refrain that tends to be accompanied by prescriptions for reforms that either won't stick, or won't work at all.

The counter argument is this: Is the U.N. really the best we can do? Do we have to settle for a system that elects Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran to lead human rights councils, women's rights agencies, and cultural bodies? If the U.N. is 'all we've got,' and it can cavalierly disregard the ongoing slaughter in Syria and outrageously brand Israel a war criminal enterprise, then it is way past time to come up with something else.

The Trump administration is breaking new ground by talking about a 50% cut in the $10 billion in American funding for the U.N. But neither Trump administration officials nor any serious think tank has offered concrete suggestions for how to fix the organization or replace it. It is time to do so.

Edwin Black, the investigative author of 'IBM and the Holocaust,' is leading an effort to replace the U.N. with a new world body called the Covenant of Democratic Nations.

The proposed entity would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles, and one of its prime missions would be to nullify crazy acts and nasty resolutions of the U.N. and its agencies, such as UNESCO's denial of Jewish ties to Jerusalem. It also would seek to create a long-overdue new body of reformed and updated international law.

In January, U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) assembled a panel of like-minded thinkers in Congress to discuss this.

'The U.N. has become an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-freedom mob,' he said. 'We need some type of alternative -- a Covenant of Democratic Nations.'

Famed constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin proclaimed to the room that the U.N. had written its own death warrant by adopting U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which criminalized Israeli settlements. International law does not function any longer as 'law' as we know it, since it is applied so unevenly and inequitably, he said.

The trenchant U.N. critic Claudia Rosett of the Independent Women's Forum went in another direction. She felt that the ideal of 'world peace' led by democracies was an overreach, too driven by ideals that would not translate easily into action. (Just how would democracy be defined for membership purposes?)

Rosett believes the first order of business is not to assemble a general body devoted to 'peace' or 'democracy,' but to define the functions truly needed by the Western international community, and to create a set of agencies that will tackle these functions separately.

In her book 'What To Do About the U.N.' (Encounter Broadside), Rosett defines her guiding principle for replacing the U.N. as competition.

Competition is what takes down monopolies, she writes, and the U.N. is the biggest monopoly of them all, a mammoth helped along by immunities, privileges and lavish government contributions, and backed by legions of special interest NGOs around the globe that lobby for more.

As a result, Rosett writes, the U.N. has become like the failed collectivist experiments of the 20th century, those huge Soviet or Chinese communist state enterprises. It was and remains very hard to shutter these behemoths since they are tied into every aspect of a dysfunctional economy, as well as their employees' lives. They are a terrible drain.

But this can be fixed by creating competition. So Rosett proposes the establishment of several coalitions that are less pegged to ideals and more mission-driven by countries with specific shared interests, as NATO was during the Cold War.

She says the world needs to weigh up exactly which functions currently funneled through the U.N. are really needed in the 21st century, then make a judgment about erasing the U.N. from the equation and instead vesting these functions in professional agencies with no grandiose moral pretensions. Then decide who should be a member of each such agency and who shouldn't.

There is the question of some residual usefulness in a global 'talk shop' in which even North Korea can bluster and Russia can dissimulate. If at all, this should be a forum for the exchange of views only and for blowing off steam.

In a conversation with me, Rosett said, 'It should be a General Assembly minus the votes and minus agencies with multi-billion dollar budgets. It is not a joke to suggest that it would better be housed in a gymnasium somewhere in Iowa (or Siberia) than in a multi-billion dollar gilded chamber in Manhattan.'

Rosett admits that replacing the U.N. with effective alternatives would be difficult. Big issues would need to be considered, such as what becomes of U.N.-housed treaties and a host of international arrangements that have been folded into the U.N. over the decades -- everything from the International Telecommunication Union to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

But that is exactly why thinkers and experts need to apply themselves diligently to the task. It is time for those with the knowhow, resources, and genuine good will toward future generations to take an in-depth and non-polemical look at the opportunity cost to the West of cleaving to the U.N."

Replace the UN Article

An injured demonstrator during an anti-Maduro protest in Caracas (File photo)

When Hugo Chávez was sworn in by Rafael Caldera, who handed over the presidency in 1999, the incoming leader made sure to add a quip to the oath of office that would become a kind of tagline for the next few years: "I swear, upon this dying constitution."

Even after winning the election, Chávez was still in campaign mode. He had promised a new constitution and he was dead set on delivering. Not an easy promise, since the constitution, back then, did not include a reset button; a mechanism to erase itself and produce a new foundational document. And of course it didn't. That would would be contrary to its nature. So Chávez had to go to great lengths to produce the result he promised. But he was effective, and in so doing got some very much needed political wins during his first 100 days (you know how important those are). The whole process took one year.

The Venezuelan supreme court paved the way by hashing out the concept of originary power, establishing that the only thing that was above the constitution was the will of the people. Then, the members of the assembly were elected by popular vote (in a gerrymandered election in which the Chavista front ended up with 95 percent of the seats by winning with 52 percent of the votes); and, finally, by December 1999 the new document was approved via referendum. As a consequence of the reboot, it was determined that general elections had to be held, meaning that Chávez had a two-year practice run.

The new constitution does include its own means of self-destruction.

2017. Nicolás Maduro stands before a meager Chavista crowd composed of bored public employees and a few drunken supporters called to Avenida Bolívar for the presidential May Day address. The live show does not matter. What matters is how it looks on TV. Neighbors of this symbolic downtown Caracas avenue have taken to making videos of Maduro gatherings on TV, and then showing how they really look from their windows. Maduro wears a blue sports jacket. Underneath, the rim of a red T-shirt shows. It's an outfit reminiscent of the one Chávez wore in his epic last day of campaigning in 2012, when he withstood a storm, while cancer was eating away at him, to deliver his final address. Even when the effort may have contributed to his demise, this was one of the key moments of the mythology: The Eternal Giant.

So here's Maduro, a few years later, trying to recreate the moment, for what he deemed "a historic announcement" that was to shake the country to its core. The historic announcement came as a surprise to no one. A day earlier, Julio Borges, current president of the opposition-held parliament, had spilled the beans, saying Maduro would call for an illegal constituent assembly in which only Chavista-affiliated groups would participate. So Borges acted as a buffer to the effect that the announcement would have, and when Maduro screamed, in a trembling voice, that he was summoning the originary power of the people to call for a constituent assembly, he was met with little enthusiasm.

A new constitution for peace and for real national dialogue, he says.

Maduro fumbles with words, as usual. He repeats the word "Constituyente," referring to the constituent powers of the assembly, at least five times in the same phrase. The president is nervous. It shows. He has made a huge gamble.

Opposition-led protests have intensified all over the country, and brutal repression by the national police and national guard has been impossible to sweep under the rug, even when the government has a strong grip on the local media. Traditional Venezuelan diplomatic allies are starting to feel uneasy, and the U.S. State Department has put its crosshairs over Venezuela again. New legislation is under discussion in the U.S. Congress to sanction more Venezuelan officials linked to corruption and drug trafficking.

At least two young men have died by tear-gas bombs shot at point blank range to the chest, one of them a 17-year-old. The death toll, a consequence of the crackdown of government security forces on protesters, is well over 30. The violent actions of these officers have been recorded in hundreds of viral videos, where they can be seen shooting tear gas into apartment buildings and ganging up on solitary protesters to beat them down.

A most terrifying episode, this Wednesday, involved a protester being run down by an anti-protest vehicle.

Nights in cities across the country resemble scenes of dystopian horror movies, as pro-government paramilitary groups surround buildings in neighborhoods that protest against Maduro. They are heavily armed and patrol on motorbikes, wearing masks. One of the opposition's main demands is disbanding and disarming these groups.

The other demands are as critical to the opposition as disbanding the paramilitary: restoring the powers of the National Assembly (parliament); liberating political prisoners like Leopoldo López, who has been held in isolation for more than 30 days and the government was forced to issue a proof of life after rumors that he had died; opening a humanitarian channel for Venezuelans with no access to food and medicine; and holding a general election as soon as possible.

The key issue-holding a general election in 2017-obviously has to do with electing a new president. For that to happen, and for it to have a minimum legal packaging, both Maduro and his vice president would have to resign. The Chavista-controlled supreme tribunal would have to step in and direct the process with a constitutional interpretation that may imply an immediate surrender of power to the opposition (i.e., providing that the president of the parliament hold the presidency and call for an immediate election). Needless to say, it's a complicated road.

So the constituent assembly route, considering that the last time it involved a new presidential election, may sound tempting to some members of the opposition. Especially when they have flirted with the idea before as a strategy to drive Chavismo out of power.

Legal experts, however, have been clear that Maduro's call for a constituent assembly is fraudulent, since, according to the constitution Maduro wants to change, the president could only submit an initiative that would have to be voted on by the Venezuelan electorate. Once approved, the process to select the assembly would begin.

While Venezuelans have been waiting for over a year for the elections authority (CNE) to establish a calendar for regional elections that were to be held in December 2016, CNE Chairwoman Tibisay Lucena received the president's request to activate the formation of the assembly and appeared in a live TV broadcast with him to read the decree. Maduro appointed a presidential commission, composed of his closest allies, to move forward with the process.

After being called out for furthering the coup that began with their attempts to annul the legislature, government spokespeople have been all over the place. While Maduro was clear during his May Day address that only Chavista-affiliated groups would participate in the constituent process, he later backtracked, saying it would be a process subject to free and universal elections. Diosdado Cabello, PSUV heavyweight, called it a mandatory dialogue. Others have said their intention is not to reset the whole constitution, but just a provision here and a provision there, some quick fixes that Chávez wanted to make and wasn't able to. If this were the case, the mechanism would not be a constituent assembly but a reform.

In 2007, Chávez proposed just such a reform, which the country rejected in a referendum that was one of the first electoral victories of the opposition. Chávez called it a "victory of shit" and completely disregarded it, eventually reforming the constitution anyway so he could run indefinitely for the presidency.

Even now, experts are debating whether this move was part of a long-running plan to establish soviets and communist rule in Venezuela or a mindless reaction to the pressure brought to bear by the protests-and if it could be the beginning of a conversation that moves toward transition.

Either way, most are turning to the how and the when will this happen, putting aside the why and forgetting the disruptive effect that Chavista strategies have on political turning points.

Chavismo, once again, has changed the conversation. This time, in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis the country has ever faced, and within the collapse of constitutional institutions.

Sadly, in Venezuela, the constitution is a political pretext, not a foundation to build upon.

Venezuela's Dystopian Nightmare Document

A Pakistani mob following the burning of a Christian homes in Lahore, 2013 (File photo)

A 10-year-old boy has been killed and five other people wounded after a mob attacked a police station in an attempt to lynch a Hindu man charged with blasphemy in south-west Pakistan, officials said. It was the third major vigilante attack linked to accusations of insulting Islam in less than a month, as law enforcement agencies struggle to deal with a surge in violence.

Thursday's incident occurred in the town of Hub in the restive province of Balochistan following the arrest of Prakash Kumar, a 34-year-old member of the country's Hindu religious minority. Kumar, a crockery shop owner, was detained on Tuesday for allegedly posting an incendiary image on social media.

"When news of his arrest was published in local newspapers on Thursday, a crowd of some 500 people, including traders, clerics and politicians, surrounded the town's police station to demand he be handed over," police official Abdul Sattar told Agence France-Presse.

When police refused, the mob turned on them, beating up officers and local government officials before firing guns. The 10-year-old boy died and five others were wounded in the melee, he added. Jam Mohammad, a second police official, confirmed the account, adding: "The siege went on for about three hours and the mob went on a rampage demanding that Kumar be handed over."

Order was restored once the government sent in paramilitary troops to disperse the mob, which police said was led by an influential cleric as well as Zia Shehzad, a politician from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League political party.

Mujeeb Qambrani, a senior local administration official, said his government had not succumbed to the mob because "we are legally bound to protect the accused".

On 13 April, hundreds of men attacked and killed a 23-year-old journalism student in the north-western town of Mardan in an incident that sparked a national backlash after a video went viral.

Just over a week later, a mob attacked a mentally ill man who claimed to be a prophet at his local mosque in north-western Chitral. He was rescued by police.

The spate of incidents follows a government drive against blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge in conservative Muslim Pakistan. Unproven allegations have led to dozens of mob attacks or murders since 1990.

Boy, 10, killed in attempted blasphemy lynching in Pakistan Document

Jailed terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti (File photo)

Repressive Arab States Want UN to Investigate Israel's Treatment of Terrorist Prisoners Article

May 4, 2017

A conference in Saudi Arabia on "women in society" with no women present (File photo)

"Belgium's foreign ministry wanted Saudi Arabia to know it had voted to elect the kingdom to the UN Commission of Women's Rights, leaked internal emails have reportedly revealed.

The disclosure risks fuelling a further backlash against the European country, which has been accused of putting concerns about equality to one side in order to ingratiate itself with the oil-rich kingdom.

The election of a nation which bans women from driving and working without a male's permission to a body whose role it is to promote women's rights caused an outcry.

It emerged Belgium was one of a handful of EU member states to vote for the conservative nation in a secret ballot.

The leaked documents, seen by Belgian news site 7sur7, also appeared to undermine claims by Belgium's Prime Minister, Charles Michel, that the ballot came unexpectedly and that the diplomat who voted was forced into a hasty decision without proper consultations with Brussels...

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed of the vote at least nine hours before the ballot, according to the leaked documents reported by the news site.

The cabinet sent instructions to the delegation in New York instructing them on how to vote and requesting they inform the various candidates, including Saudi Arabia, of their support, according to the documents...

'The cabinet of (foreign minister) Didier Reynders gave the green light to a shameless vote, scorning women's rights, with the aim of getting in the good books of a notoriously no-go country in order to facilitate the election of Belgium to the UN Security Council,' [Deputy leader of the country's Green party, Benoît Hellings] said in a statement...

Saudi Arabia was ranked third worst for gender equality in a list of 144 countries compiled for the World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Gender Gap report.

Yet it gained the approval of 47 of 54 countries on the UN's economic and social council..."

Belgium voted for Saudi Arabia's ascension to UN's top women's rights body Document

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meeting with members of the bureau for the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (File photo)

"The United Nations publication "The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988" ("Study") has deliberately misrepresented the actual wording of General Assembly Resolution 181 passed on 29 November 1947 - deceiving many academics who have disseminated the Study's false message.

The Study has been published by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The offending statement in the Study misleadingly declares:

'After investigating various alternatives the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized.'

The actual wording of Resolution 181 stated:

'Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine...'.

The Study omits to mention that 78% of Palestine had already become an independent Arab State in 1946 and been renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

The Study's claim that Resolution 181 called for an 'independent Palestinian Arab State' was not accidental but deliberately done to deceive and mislead...

Words are power. That the Study deliberately changed the actual wording of Resolution 181 to advance these fictitious PLO claims – or perhaps others unknown - for spurious reasons - is scandalous.

This false rendition of Resolution 181 has been repeated verbatim in many books...

Many other academics have swallowed this duplicitous Study hook line and sinker to form hostile anti-Israel views - especially regarding Israel's claims in Judea and Samaria - geographical place names actually used in Resolution 181 and for 3000 years - continuously - until the Arabs renamed those areas the "West Bank" in 1950.

The Roman Empire used the same ploy in 135 AD – changing the name of its conquered province from "Syria Judaea" to "Syria Palestina".

Change the name - change the game.

Correcting this fabricated United Nations Arab narrative is urgently required."

The UN's fabricated Arab narrative has convinced academia Article

The knife used in the attack, May 4, 2017

Israeli Forces Thwart Stabbing Attack at Tomb of Patriarchs Document

Jews praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

Despite UNESCO's Bias, Jews Won't Abandon Israel's Holy Jewish Sites Article

May 3, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (File photo)

North Korea confirmed on Wednesday it is holding an accounting professor, bringing to three the number of Americans held in its prisons as international tensions escalate.

It was widely known that Kim Sang Dok, who also goes by the name Tony Kim, was nabbed at Pyongyang International Airport on April 22, but state-controlled media now has confirmed the development. The Korean Central News Agency said he is suspected of "acts of hostility aimed at overthrowing the country."

The 58-year-old captive joins University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier and businessman Kim Dong Chul in the Hermit Kingdom's infamous gulags as the world continues to pressure North Korea over its rogue nuclear weapons program.

In the past, North Korea has generally quickly released any American citizens it detained – waiting at most for a U.S. official or statesman to come and to personally bail out detainees. But that appears to be changing.

Early in the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un, North Korea called on its people to rally behind him and protect him as "human shields." But with the U.S. leading a growing international coalition determined to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile testing as well as threats against neighbors and western countries, the Americans could be bargaining chips at best and human shields at worst, according to experts.

Wednesday's KCNA dispatch said authorities were detaining Kim Sang Dok and are conducting a detailed investigation into his alleged crime. The detention comes amid rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S. related to the reclusive regimes nuclear weapons program.

Kim was invited to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology to teach, KCNA reported, and the school's chancellor and the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang earlier gave the information about Kim's detention but didn't provide a reason for his arrest.

Both the professor and his wife reportedly were trying to leave the country. His wife has since returned to the U.S., a university spokesman told Reuters, adding: "We certainly hope for a positive resolution as soon as possible."

The U.S. State Department last month did not comment, "due to privacy considerations."

Warmbier, 21, was detained on Jan. 2, 2016, at Pyongyang International Airport, while visiting the country as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tour. He was charged with stealing a political sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing "crimes against the state." He was given a one-hour trial last March at which the government presented fingerprints, CCTV footage and pictures of a political banner to make its case against the American student.

"I beg that you see how I am only human," Warmbier said at his trial. "And how I have made the biggest mistake of my life."

Despite his pleas, the college student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. In a post-trial video released to the world, Warmbier, under obvious duress, praised his captors for his treatment and for handling of the case "fair and square."

Julia Mason, a State Department spokeswoman, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the U.S. government "continues to actively work to secure his earliest possible release." Mason added, however, that U.S. emissaries in North Korea have not been able to visit Warmbier for more than a year.

"A representative from the Swedish Embassy ... last visited Mr. Warmbier on March 2, 2016," Mason said. "We are in regular, close coordination with representatives of the Embassy of Sweden." The plight of the Korean-American businessman is probably the most hazy case of all the Americans being held in North Korea.

A former resident of Virginia, Kim Dong Chul was living in China with his wife and operating a business in a special economic zone of North Korea when he was detained in October 2015 while in the city of Rason. His detainment was not made public until North Korean officials introduced him to a visiting news crew and allowed him to be interviewed through an interpreter.

It was later revealed that Kim had been detained on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor after a brief trial in Pyongyang. North Korea's Supreme Court found Kim guilty of espionage and subversion under Articles 60 and 64 of the North's criminal code.

When he was paraded before the media in Pyongyang last March, Kim said he had collaborated with and spied for South Korean intelligence authorities in a plot to bring down the North's leadership and had tried to spread religion among North Koreans before his arrest.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service, the country's main spy agency, has said Kim's case wasn't related to the organization in any way.

North Korea confirms third American held as tensions rise Document

The Israeli ambassador at UNESCO headquarters in Paris the day of the vote

"The United States rejects the 'biased' and 'counterproductive' UNESCO resolution passed Tuesday that suggested Israel has no sovereign claim to Jerusalem, a spokesman for the US Mission to the United Nations told The Times of Israel.

'Once again, the United States rejects the adoption of these anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO,' the US official said. 'Like other parts of the UN system, UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to deride and delegitimize the State of Israel.'...

'Although several of these anti-Israel resolutions are typically adopted biannually at UNESCO, over time they have become increasingly political in nature, and now attempt to deny the historic connections of the Jewish people to the holy sites of Jerusalem,' the US official said.

'These biased resolutions are counterproductive to the core work of UNESCO, discredit the organization, and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues,' the official added. 'There is no place for them in an organization that is meant to be impartial.'...

Tuesday's motion received less support than others critical of Israel, something the US official acknowledged. 'We are encouraged by the diminishing levels of support for these resolutions, and we are grateful for those member nations who today voted against the resolution,' he said.

The official would not say exactly how the US will respond.

'We are disappointed these kind of resolutions continue to receive attention in UNESCO, and we will continue to advocate for the fair treatment of Israel in all international fora,' he said..."

US official raps 'biased' UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem Article

The knife carried by the terrorist in the attempted stabbing attack

An attempted stabbing attack in northern Jerusalem was foiled Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred just outside the Shuafat neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem when a man stepped off of a bus at the entrance to Shuafat and approached a security checkpoint, where those entering the area via public transportation are required to verify they hold Israeli ID cards or valid entry permits.

As the terrorist approached the checkpoint he drew a knife he had been concealing and charged officers manning the checkpoint.

Security forces at the scene drew their weapons and demanded the terrorist lay down his knife. The terrorist complied with the order and was arrested.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

The terrorist has been transferred to the police for questioning.

Stabbing attack in Jerusalem foiled Document

A protest against UN bias outside the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (File photo)

"As Israel was celebrating its 69th birthday on Tuesday, the UNESCO Executive Board was at work passing yet another anti-Israel resolution...

Anti-Israel UNESCO resolutions are nothing new, previous UNESCO motions have sought to undermine Israel's sovereignty over east Jerusalem including the Old City of Jerusalem, while attempting to reclassify the Jewish holy sites of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount solely by their Muslim names of the Buraq Wall and al-Haram al-Sharif.

However, despite the resolution passing, some are viewing it as a diplomatic win for Israel as only 38% of the voting countries supported the measure. Of the 58 Member Executive Board: 10 opposed it...22 nations supported it...[and] 23 countries abstained... The vote represents a significant change from last year, in which 33 nations approved a controversial anti-Israel text in April and 24 voting for it in October.

Leading up the vote, Israel was concerned a German-led effort in which 11 EU states met with the resolution's Arab sponsors to work on a common language might lead to EU support for the resolution, however, that initiative fell through, and Sweden was the only EU country to support the resolution...

Despite the UNESCO resolution passing, the outcome of the vote may represent a change in the air at the UN. This change has been led by the US and in particular, its new Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who has declared, 'the UN's anti-Israel bias... is long overdue for a change.'...

When it comes to Haley it is not just talk, she has already implemented changes. When the US held the presidency of the Security Council for a month in April, Haley ensured that the focus would be on Iran, instead of an 'Israel bashing' session and said, 'Iran is using Hezbollah to expand its regional aspirations. That is a threat that should be dominating our discussions at the Security Council.'...

Moreover, during a meeting with Palestinian Authority envoy Riyad Mansour, Haley urged the Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel, and indicated that unilateral actions at the UN will not have US support. Haley believes that UN initiatives on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict have so far 'been more of a hindrance toward the peace process than a help, because it's caused defensiveness to happen and that's never healthy for anything.'...

The Senate recently sent a unanimous letter signed by all 100 members to the UN Secretary General António Guterres praising Haley's comments condemning anti-Israel bias at the UN, and calling on the UN to implement changes... Given the numbers game which controls the UN, and the majority that the Arab and Muslim-majority states, together with their allies, can muster in the world body, it is unlikely the UN will become genuinely fair in its treatment of Israel anytime soon..."

Long overdue winds of change at the UN? Article

Minister of Culture Miri Regev, April 26, 2017

Israeli Minister Calls to Shut UNESCO's Jerusalem Office After Contentious Vote Article

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered the additional funding cut (File photo)

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday directed the Foreign Ministry to deduct another $1 million from the funds Israel annually pays to the UN in response to UNESCO's 'demented' vote to disavow Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

'There is a price for harassment,' Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. 'I directed the director-general of the Foreign Ministry to deduct a further million dollars from the money Israel transfers to the UN.'

This money is in addition to $2 million Israel said it would withhold from the UN after the passage in March of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council, and $6m. that Jerusalem slashed in January in the aftermath of the passage of anti-settlement resolution 2334 in the UN Security Council. Following these cuts, Israel will contribute only $2.7m this year to the UN, instead of the $10.7m that was originally earmarked..."

Netanyahu Orders Payment Cut to UN over UNESCO's 'Demented' Vote Article

May 2, 2017

U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Marco Rubio (File photo)

"It's rare, especially these days, for all 100 U.S. Senators-from Bernie Sanders to Ted Cruz, from Elizabeth Warren to Mitch McConnell -to agree on something. But the scourge of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations is such an issue. Last week, every senator signed our letter to Secretary-General António Guterres, urging him to improve the U.N.'s treatment of Israel and eliminate anti-Semitism in all its forms.

While the U.N. has achieved some important successes since its founding 70 years ago, too many of its member states and agencies use the world body as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing peace and human rights. This encourages and supports the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracts key U.N. entities from their original missions.

As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest financial contributor, the U.S. must insist on real reforms. We in Congress have a responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the U.N. and its use of our citizens' tax dollars...

Still, the U.N. continues to fund and maintain many standing committees that serve no purpose other than to attack Israel and inspire the anti-Israel boycott, sanctions and divestment movement. These committees must be eliminated or reformed.

While the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization does important work on Holocaust education and preserving world heritage sites, some member states persist in pushing measures to target Israel and deny Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem. Unesco member states must understand that these actions only undermine the credibility of their organization.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has faced troubling allegations of inciting violence against Israelis and aiding Hamas. If it does not cease these activities, it risks losing support of U.S. lawmakers.

Perhaps most troubling is the Human Rights Council. Charged with drawing the world's attention to gross human-rights violations, its members include some of the world's worst human-rights violators, who devote far too much time to baseless attacks against the Jewish state. The HRC even maintains a permanent item on its agenda targeting Israel-Agenda Item 7. No actual human-rights violator is targeted in this way..."

Every Senator Agrees the U.N. Must Change Article

A meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (File photo)

UNESCO's Executive Committee voted on Israel's birthday to do the bidding of Israel's Arab enemies and rejected Israeli sovereignty over its capital city of Jerusalem. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 22 in favor and 10 against, with 23 abstaining. While several European delegations voted against the resolution, Sweden voted in favor while France, Albania, Spain, and Estonia simply abstained. Germany, which had toyed with the idea of voting in favor of the resolution, changed its mind in the final hours and voted against the resolution along with Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Ukraine. The United States also voted no.

The vote total was: 22 in favor (South Africa, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Russia, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, Chad, Vietnam), 10 against (Germany, United States, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Paraguay, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Togo, Ukraine), and 23 abstentions (Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Spain, Estonia, France, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Uganda, Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago).

UNESCO Condemns Israel on Israel's 69th Birthday Article

A meeting of the UNESCO Executive Board (File photo)

A UN Birthday Slap at Israel Article

Sigmar Gabriel, foreign minister of Germany

Israel and the Trump administration have a German problem, ironically manifesting itself on Israel's 69th birthday.  Just as President Trump's emissaries and his UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are rightly insisting that Israel-bashing at the UN cease, Germany is moving in the opposite direction.

On May 2, 2017, in Paris, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is scheduled to adopt one more resolution singling out the Jewish state for criticism and attempting to deny Israeli sovereignty over its capital, Jerusalem. The Palestinians want Germany's vote and are playing the old UN game of floating a terrible resolution and modifying it to just plain awful to win European support.  That Germany is playing this game is a repudiation of everything the United States is trying to accomplish – not to mention the allegedly special relationship between Germany and Israel.

This is not the first time that Germany has turned its back on Israel and America at the UN.  In March, Germany joined the jackals at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and voted for a resolution that promotes the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. It was a stunning move, particularly since on the BDS resolution Germany split from both the United States (that voted against) and the United Kingdom, which at least abstained.

The Human Rights Council is composed of such UN human rights luminaries as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China. The intent of these UN resolutions is to put a UN fist on the scale absent negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and the consequence is to push the prospect of any negotiated settlement  into the distant future.

Germany, therefore, is playing with fire.

Just last week, Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel opted to meet with two hard-left NGOs that denigrate Israel's army and Israel's right to defend itself. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Gabriel to cancel the meetings. Gabriel refused, and Netanyahu  pulled the plug on a planned meeting between himself and Gabriel.

"My basic principle is simple," Netanyahu explained, "I don't welcome diplomats from other countries who visit Israel and at the same time meet with organizations that call our soldiers war criminals. The Israeli Army is the one force that keeps our people safe today. "'Breaking the Silence' is not a human rights organization. They deal only with criminalizing Israeli soldiers," Netanyahu added.

Making matters worse, Gabriel met with the anti-Israel NGO 'Breaking the Silence' on April 25, 2017, a day after Israel's day of Holocaust remembrance. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, to the astonishment of many veteran observers of her policy toward Israel, stood by Gabriel's treatment of Israel's prime minister.

The German foreign minister then poured gasoline on the fire, suggesting Israel's elected representatives were illegitimate. He told the Hamburger Abendblatt paper on April 29, 2017: "The current government is not Israel."  Gabriel is a repeat offender.  In 2012, he wrote on his Facebook page that Israel is an "apartheid regime." 

Gabriel and his social democratic party have also been stoking the flames of anti-Americanism. In August 2016, the current president of the Social Democratic party, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called Trump a "hate preacher."  After Ivanka Trump attended a women's forum in Berlin on April 25, 2017, Gabriel belittled her as a product of "nepotism" in an interview published four days later.  Steinmeier and Gabriel, however, have not had any qualms about going to great lengths to mainstream the radical Islamic regime in Tehran and to encourage cozy business ties with its leaders.

Germany's UNESCO move presents the Trump administration with a challenge and an opportunity. Italy announced in advance that it would oppose the UNESCO resolution making it even more obvious that Germany has run out of excuses. A German anti-Israel vote at one more UN body should not be cost free.

Here is at least one cost that ought to be extracted. In the history of the UN, Israel has never been a member of the Security Council because of a long-standing discriminatory practice of excluding the Jewish state from all regional groups within the UN system. When Israel was finally admitted to the Western group, Israel declared that it would run in 2018-2019 for one of two spots reserved on the Council for Western group members. Belgium had also made such a declaration.

Only after Israel and Belgium had declared their candidacies, Germany scandalously announced it also would run, knowing full well that German candidacy would almost certainly deny Israel the seat in a contested election. There is a solution: Germany should be pressured either to withdraw or to split the two-year term with Israel.  There is precedent for sharing:  Italy and the Netherlands have split the 2016-2017 cycle.

Germany's drift away from Israel and America, and its embrace of grossly discriminatory UN abuse of the Jewish state, is a dangerous development.  It needs to be encouraged to do the right thing.

Germany's dangerous stand against U.S., Israel must be stopped Article

May 1, 2017

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on Sunday denounced the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, for considering another anti-Israel resolution.

'Last fall, we led a bipartisan, bicameral effort to members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) urging opposition to two reprehensible anti-Israel resolutions that denied the historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall,' they said.

'Next week, on Israel's Independence Day, it is expected that UNESCO's Executive Board will consider yet another biased resolution that falsely and shamefully demonizes the Jewish State. These anti-Israel resolutions should be unequivocally rejected whenever they are proposed.

'It is long past time for Members of UNESCO to stop being complicit in this intentional campaign to delegitimize Israel and we call upon all members of the Executive Board to vote against the upcoming resolution, or any similar such resolution,' said Cruz and Ros-Lehtinen...

The Trump administration has reportedly been busy trying to convince UNESCO member countries to vote against the resolution..."

U.S. Lawmakers Denounce UNESCO Article

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon

"In a move that could significantly bolster Israel's historic bid to join the United Nations Security Council, the US is likely to 'actively support' Israel's candidacy against Germany and Belgium, UN Ambassador Danny Danon said.

Danon, back on a work-visit to Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that while there is still a year to go before the General Assembly will vote on the five members who will join the council in 2019, he is already raising the issue with different leaders and has discussed it with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

'I think that it is clear that we will get the support of the US," Danon said. "And I think that we can even expect active support for this important bid.'...

Candidates for a non-permanent seat are allocated according to regional blocs.

Since 2000, Israel has been a member of the 28-strong Western European and Others Group. Three members have declared their intention to vie for the two spots that will be open in 2019: Israel, Belgium and Germany.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East – and one of 67 countries in the UN, many of them small islandstates – that has never sat on the Security Council, a body that historically has had tremendous impact on the Jewish state and the region..."

U.S. Likely to Support Israel's Seat on UN Security Council Article

Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen (File photo)

"The United Nations' cultural agency is set to pass a resolution on Tuesday - Israel's 69th Independence Day - that indicates rejection of the Jewish state's sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem's Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

Submitted to UNESCO's Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on 'Occupied Palestine' will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body...

According to Israeli officials, Germany was a driving force behind a deal that would see all EU states abstain in exchange for the removal of the most incendiary anti-Israel passages. But on Monday, Italy announced that it would vote against the resolution, apparently ending the effort to forge a European consensus.

'This [Italian stance] is without a doubt a positive development, which should tell the Germans that negotiating over a joint text with the Arabs is a mistake not just in Israel's view but also in the eyes of several countries in the European Union,' Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, told The Times of Israel.

'Now we are focusing on our mission to make sure Italy will the first but not the last country to announce it does not want to be part of this deal with the Arabs and vote against the resolution.'..."

Italy to Vote with Israel over UNESCO Resolution While Germany Turns its Back on Jewish State Article

The bill is named after Taylor Force, an Army veteran, who was killed in a Palestinian stabbing attack

"Taylor Force was a West Point graduate who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was pursuing his MBA at Vanderbilt last year, and his future was certainly very bright.

'Taylor was stabbed to death while he was in Israel by a Palestinian,' says his mother, Robbi, matter-of-factly.

Taylor, who was 28, was walking along the Mediterranean boardwalk promenade with friends in Tel Aviv, when he was savagely knifed to death on March 8, 2016.

His killer was identified as a Palestinian terrorist, 22-year-old Bashar Masalha, who authorities say went on a stabbing spree that also severely wounded ten others before he was shot dead by Israeli police...

Taylor's parents say their grief was compounded by the fact that the family of their son's murderer is making money off his death. The Palestinian Authority spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year paying jihadists and their survivors who were involved in acts of terrorism, and critics say some of those funds come from U.S. taxpayer money that Washington sends to the P.A.

A congressional bill named for Taylor, the Taylor Force Act, would cut off the U.S. aid unless the Palestinian Authority stops the payments.

'Can you imagine growing up in a country where your government will pay you for killing someone else through a terrorist act?' asks South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham incredulously. He is the leading sponsor of the Senate legislation.

'If you die as a terrorist, as a 'martyr,' your family will get an annual stipend greater than the average Palestinian earns. In this case, the terrorist who killed Taylor Force...was hailed as a hero, was basically given a state funeral, and his family was given money by the state,' Graham says.

'The practice is inconsistent with American values, inconsistent with peace, and inconsistent with decency.'

The House bill is sponsored by Colorado Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn and New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin..."

Bill in Congress would pressure Palestinian gov't to cut off terror-tied payments Article

Israeli flags waved at the Old City in Jerusalem (File photo)

"Israel is battling to prevent a public-relations victory for the Palestinians at the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris, which is expected to disavow Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem on Independence Day...

The United States, one of the 58 UNESCO Executive Board members, is expected to oppose the resolution. The Palestinians have an automatic majority on the board, but the PA and Israel are battling for the support of the 11 EU member states. Their votes have come to represent a "moral" political victory.

Israel's struggle for European support has been made more difficult because the text – submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan – is less egregious by Israeli standards than past documents.

A March draft asked the board to deny Israel sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, including the western part of the city.

The resolution's text stated: 'Any action taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the city of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.'

This week in Paris, according to diplomatic sources, European diplomats, led by Germany, met with Arab state representatives to amend the text even further so that EU states could either abstain or support the document..."

Israel, Palestinians Battle for Votes over UNESCO Resolution Denying Israeli Sovereignty over Jerusalem Article

Andres Roemer, the former Mexican ambassador to UNESCO

"The Mexican diplomat who was fired from his ambassador position for walking out an anti-Israel vote by a United Nations agency will be honored by the American Sephardic Federation.

Andres Roemer, who is Jewish, will be awarded the International Sephardic Leadership Award at a ceremony on May 21 at the Center for Jewish History in New York. The event will honor the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War.

"When confronted by the recent UNESCO resolution that sought to erase Jerusalem, Israel's Jewish and Christian history, Ambassador Roemer knowingly risked his position to voice and vote his conscience," read the federation's announcement.

In October, the Latin American diplomat risked his position by walking out of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization vote at its headquarters in Paris - leaving his deputy to cast the country's vote - in a personal protest against the UNESCO resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

"While the resolution still passed, Ambassador Roemer did not forget Jerusalem and his moral courage convinced several countries, including his own, to seek to reverse the resolution's ill-considered position against historical truth and the possibility of peace," according to the announcement.

For not following the instructions he had received from the Mexican government, he was fired a few days later..."

Mexican Diplomat to be Honored for Challenging UNESCO on Anti-Israel Vote Article

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Israel is angry at Germany for the anticipated European support for the resolution attacking Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, which UNESCO's Executive Board in Paris is scheduled to approve this Tuesday...

The behind-the-scenes conflict preceded the public argument between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over his meeting with the left-wing group Breaking the Silence during his visit to Israel last week...

Israel believes that Berlin led the charge for an amended resolution - submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan - which European Union states are likely to vote "yes" on, or abstain.

Now that the 11 EU member states on the 58-member UNESCO Executive Board have given their tacit approval for the document, diplomatic sources said, it would be difficult for Israel to sway other nations to oppose it.

The United States, which is also a board member, is expected to vote against the resolution...

Israel Blames Germany for EU Support of UNESCO Anti-Israel Resolution Article