Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23-Apr-14: On the road to... what?

Zahar, rifle and baby: Powerful
Now that Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah/PLO/PA and Hamas have decided to spend the next five weeks pursuing "unity" and exploring how to do good things collaboratively, we feel there's value in going back for a short refresher of the views of that senior figure in Hamas who appeared in a post of ours yesterday ["22-Apr-14: Not quite your average foreign minister or baby-kissing politician"]. The brief excerpt below is from an interview published this week in the web magazine, Al-Monitor.
Interviewer:  Has Hamas truly abandoned armed resistance while other parties insist upon continuing it?Mahmoud al-Zahar:  Anyone who claims so must be drunk. How has Hamas abandoned the resistance effort? What are the manifestations of it doing so? Where have we prevented the launching of rockets? The last time three men were martyred as they fired rockets, did we stop them? 
...Interviewer:  What about the re-emergence of the armed Qassam Brigades in the West Bank?Mahmoud al-Zahar:  An occupied community has the right to defend itself. I do not want to go into the details, yet negotiations did not yield any results until now. Now in Gaza we kicked the occupation out and the people should opt for another choice. We [publicly] declare this choice and we are not ashamed of it. The project of resistance has to be adopted with all its tools to end Israeli occupation.
Knowing what this man says and possibly believes, thinking that an outcome that is somehow good and conceivably includes something close to peace might result means a person (a) thinks Zahar is lying when he makes statements like these; (b) believes Zahar, thinks he means 'resistance' when he says 'resistance' but hopes it will all work it alright in the end somehow; or (c) is convinced Zahar and the other ideological zealots of Hamas will be outsmarted and out-outmaneuvered by the efficient pragmatists of Fatah who, in turn, seriously want peaceful relations with Israel.

Optimistic we're not.

23-Apr-14: Litigation against bank accused of funding terrorism is splitting the US government

US Supreme Court, Washington [Image Source]
The Jerusalem Post has a report tonight ["US Solicitor General to tell Supreme Court stance on Arab Bank terror financing case"] authored by Yonah Jeremy Bob, focusing on a massive private law action in which multiple plaintiffs are suing for civil damages the Kingdom of Jordan's largest commercial enterprise, Arab Bank. It's a cluster of cases that has been working its way through the US court system for a decade. The New York Times recently called it "a multibillion-dollar lawsuit [that] has provoked a significant split in the Obama administration".

What attracted Bob's attention is the prospect of the US Solicitor General filing an opinion with the US Supreme Court in the next few weeks, stating the US government's position on the case, and in effect
refereeing a dispute between the US State Department on one side, and the US Justice and Treasury Departments on the other side, of how to handle the case. The case itself, which has been featured on CBS News's Sunday Morning program, involves allegations that Arab Bank facilitated massive transfer of funds to Hamas leaders and institutions... The plaintiffs allege that Arab Bank knew that the funds related to terrorists and terror groups, and is thus, civilly liable for wrongful death damages resulting from terror attacks perpetrated using the transferred funds. [Jerusalem Post today]
The court asked the US government to say how it views a ruling by the trial court that imposed penalties on Arab Bank for non-production of certain documents. Arab Bank, the defendant in these actions, has claimed it is unable to comply with court orders to produce those documents because of bank secrecy laws in certain Arab states. Arab Bank wants the US Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.

Logo of Arab Bank Group
The JPost article says the Departments of Justice and the Treasury have supported the trial court's tough line with Arab Bank on the non-production issue. They want the US Supreme Court to stay out of the case. The State Department is said to want the court to intervene on Arab Bank's behalf for foreign policy reasons.
The Government of Jordan itself has taken the unusual step of filing its own legal brief in the case in support of the bank's defense and in support of the US Supreme Court interceding on the bank's behalf. Jordan's brief cited alleged disastrous consequences to the whole country, citing statistics that the bank accounts for as high as one-third of Jordan's stock exchange and 15% of all pension funds, if the bank is hit with a damages award which could be in the billions of dollars. Jordan also said that the Palestinian Authority could collapse as Arab Bank is one of the few institutions providing financial services in the Palestinian areas. It also implied that a major blow to Arab Bank could undermine Jordanian cooperation in the fight against terror, in the use of Jordan for a base of some military operations and in Jordan's ability to be a stabilizing factor regarding the Syrian civil war.  [Jerusalem Post today]
The article says a letter has been sent to President Barack Obama on behalf of the plaintiffs decrying the notion that
"any part of the United States government could possibly line up against US victims of terror and instead support an institution" accused of transferring funds to terrorists. The plaintiffs' letter to Obama also said that "siding with Arab Bank now would not only be a slap in the face of every American terror victim" but it would also "set a poisonous precedent" and "shield terrorists' financial information" from the US courts... [Jerusalem Post]
Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary Magazine earlier this month, fiercely criticizes what he describes as the State Department position:
While this sounds like a complicated litigation, the issues at stake here are not difficult to comprehend. At issue is whether the United States will ignore the standards it has applied to other terror-related cases as well as its past stands on foreign bank secrecy rules in order to help get a bank owned by friendly Arabs off the hook for their role in funding the murder of American citizens... Despite the Arab Bank’s pleas of innocence, the facts of their funding of Hamas are not in dispute. But, as the Times notes, Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t want to upset either Jordan or the Saudis any more than they have already been by Obama administration policies that have strengthened Iran at their expense. What he wants is for the U.S. government to plead diplomatic necessity to the courts and tie up the plaintiffs in circles... If President Obama’s solicitor general does what the State Department is asking him to do, it will mean the nation is not only turning its back on American victims of Hamas terrorism. It will also show that the administration’s much ballyhooed toughness on terror doesn’t apply to its efforts to bring supporters of Palestinian murderers to justice...  ["State Dept. Sides with Hamas Funders", Commentary, April 2, 2014]
A US law commentary publication quotes one of the counsel for the plaintiffs:
"What we want the government to do is permit the court case to proceed the way every other case proceeds in U.S. courts. That’s really in a nutshell what we’d like to do.”
Subject to what the Supreme Court says, the trial is set to get started in August 2014.

23-Apr-14: Terrorist rocket fire from Gaza is renewed this evening

Israel National News and other sources are reporting that two Gazan rockets were fired this evening (Wednesday) in Israel's general direction, triggering Color Red/Tzeva Adom sirens in Sderot, Hof Ashkelon, Yad Mordechai, Gevim and other southern Israel locations. One appears to have exploded inside Israel, location as yet undisclosed. The second is evidently yet another fell short.

We are hearing of additional rocket attacks in other parts of the same area, and in the Shaar Hanegev region (population about 6,000) all between about 18:45 and 19:00 this evening. Walla, a Hebrew-language news channel, says at least two Gazan rockets exploded inside Gaza with (as usual) unknown consequences.

The IDF says one of the incoming rockets crashed into the Erez Crossing compound that includes a pedestrian and cargo terminal and is located in the northern end of the Gaza Strip on the border with Israel.

23-Apr-14: Twenty rockets fired from Gaza on Monday; ten land in Israel. What the remaining ten teach us.

Gaza terrorists laying explosives: Their neighbors' children serve
as human shields and unseen victims [Image Source]
A brief report on the Long War Journal website discloses, thanks to their very useful research and media monitoring, that the ten rockets fired on southern Israel this past Monday [see "21-Apr-14: Rocket barrage seeks Israeli victims in Monday morning attack from Gaza"] came from a specific source in the Gazan vipers' nest. Also, that the published numbers conceal - yet again - something that sharp reporters and their editors ought to have focused on long ago, but keep ignoring.

Here's part of what David Barnett's LWJ report says:
In a series of tweets, the Yahya Ayyash Brigades took credit for rocket fire today from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The jihadist group, which has been promoted by Abdullah Azzam Brigades official Sirajuddin Zurayqat, said its fighters launched more than 20 rockets... The Yahya Ayyash Brigades, named after a deceased Hamas bomb maker, first appeared in mid-January 2014 when it took credit for rocket fire during the funeral of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Last month, the group took responsibility for some of the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza during a mini flare-up between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in Gaza.
The IDF's assessment of the Monday barrage from Gaza is, as the Times of Israel said, that ten rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip in all. Seven fell in open areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and outside the city of Sderot. One exploded in Sderot's city limits, causing damage. Another exploded in the Eshkol region.

The terror practitioners who did the indiscriminate firing say the number was double the Israeli total, making it fairly likely an additional rockets fell short, landing on the heads or homes of the hapless Palestinian Arabs who live under Hamas domination in that jihadist enclave.
Gaza, 2004: The original AP caption read (in part): "A masked Hamas
militant sets up a makeshift mortar launcher against Israeli forces,
unseen, as Palestinian youths try to cover him from the sight of
the forces during an incursion in a Gaza city's neighborhood,
Wednesday Feb. 11, 2004. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Those fell shorts are the key to understanding what it means to live under jihadist rule. Your life, your children, your family, your property: they're worthless. The essence of your role in society is to contribute to waging a ceaseless war of hatred on your enemy. And if that means death and injury from mis-fired missiles or plain incompetence, pish, it's nothing. A small price, even a trivial price to pay.

How sickening this is will be lost on the jihadists. The victims in their own communities have neither electoral power nor freedom of speech, so there is virtually no outcry from them, other than very occasional condemnations emanating from such groups as Palestinian Center for Human RightsBut where are the mainstream news reporting organizations? For them, those fell shorts never happened, don't happen. (Try finding online news photos of the destruction caused in Gaza to Gazans by these Gazan "fell shorts".) Public opinion does not become outraged. The men doing the shooting come under zero pressure. 

Not to diminish the existential threat all of this poses to Israelis, in terms of the numbers, Gazan Arabs continue to pay a steep and largely unexamined price in terms of people maimed and killed at the hands of the barbarians in their own midst.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

22-Apr-14: Not quite your average foreign minister or baby-kissing politician

The man holding the semi-automatic weapon in his right hand and someone's baby in his left is not your run of the mill sicko.

His name is Mahmoud al-Zahar. If the Hamas terrorist group were a legitimate government, his role in it would be foreign minister.

His ethical and political stand can be assessed from this widely-publicized 2009 news report: "Hamas terror: every Jewish child now a target" (via The Australian and Wikipedia). A British writer, who pens Intifada-friendly columns, requoted it this week. Hamas and its adherents want us to know how very seriously devoted to their values they are.

The photo at right [h/tip: DB] was evidently taken in Gaza in the past few days. When Zahar declares children to be part of his war, basic caution and good sense say he (and his Hamas cohort) ought to be taken literally.

22-Apr-14: Attention World Council of Churches: Will you now follow your own advice and speak up for the Arabs tortured and imprisoned by the PA?

Central committee of WCC meets in
Crete during summer 2012 [Image Source]
This blog post is about blatant hypocrisy. It takes the form of a constructive and sincere suggestion for the World Council of Churches, and in particular for its chief executive Olav Fykse Tveit

The WCC went public last week with a statement of solidarity with what it calls "some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails". We commented on this here ["17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?"]. Though many of the convicts are self-confessed murderers and many more of them proud and unrepentant terrorists, Tveit called on the worshippers of the churches who make up the WCC 
"to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past."
Tveit goes on to invite 
"the churches in the Holy Land to remember Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity”.
As disgusting as this well-publicized bit of playing to certain kinds of grandstands is, we feel - in the interests of fair play - that it creates a precedent for the world's most significant aggregation of non-Catholic churches to act, to speak out, in light of some very disturbing revelations made today. 

They come from an Arab journalist who formerly plied his trade inside the Arafat-controlled Palestinian Authority until he walked away some years ago appalled by what was being done there to his people. 

The journalist's name is Khaled Abu Toameh. We have had the privilege of quoting him often in our blog [here, for instance: "30-Sep-12: While Abbas regime sends protestors into streets to decry Israeli imprisonment of terrorists, they quietly arrest Abbas' opponents"] because, unlike almost all of the foreigners who claim to report on the inner doings of the Palestinian Arab leadership and the society on top of which it sits, he speaks their language, he lives among them, and he has a career-long, well-earned reputation for integrity and simple courage in uncovering the unvarnished truth about the Arafat, Abbas and Hamas regimes.

In an article published earlier today on the Gatestone Institute website (in part, based on this Arabic language report), Khaled Abu Toameh says the Abbas regime's security forces
continue to hold hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians in prison, some tortured, some without trial. This year alone, the Palestinian Authority has arrested 357 Palestinians accused of security/political offenses, 42 of whom are university students. Of course, the arrests continue to be ignored by the mainstream media in the West. 
Why's that? Because
This is a story that does not reflect negatively on Israel, so is therefore not considered worthy of being reported to Western audiences.... In March alone, Palestinian Authority security forces raided and searched 42 private and public institutions, businesses, hospitals and charitable organizations in the West Bank... the Palestinian Authority security forces were continuing to torture detainees.
Please notice that not a single one of the men and women tortured and imprisoned by their PA brothers is accused of murder. This is significant because, by contrast, the fury emanating from the PA and their friends over Israel refusing to deliver up last month another tranche of convicts to the PA 'hero of the day' process is about convicted murderers: men who are proud of the lives they snuffed out, and which now supposed to be their passport to fame, adulation and respect at the hands of the Palestinian Authority. As we have written here many times in the past nine months, a peace process in which committed murderers are deliberately and repeatedly turned by one of the parties in the conflict into heroes whose homicidal exploits are celebrated as examples for others to follow, is no peace process but a march towards victory.

The PLO's Hanan Ashrawi, embarrassingly awarded the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize by an Australian political figure called Bob Carr, gets a mention in the Abu Toameh article for her call for
international commissions of inquiry to Israeli prisons to look into Israeli "violations" against the Palestinian inmates [and] accusing Israel of "war crimes" because of its "mistreatment" of the prisoners.
So let's ask Dr Tveit and/or Mrs Ashrawi whether the torture and imprisonment of Palestinian Arabs by the armed men of the Abbas regime deserves the same sort of attention, the same kind of commissions of inquiry, the same sort of "freedom with justice and dignity" that they are demanding of the Israelis.

And if not, then perhaps these ever-talkative "peace" champions can explain to us why it's only the Arab murderers and practitioners of terror (always directed at innocent Israeli civilians, like our murdered daughter) for whose benefit their unconscionable and ill-considered appeals are made.

Monday, April 21, 2014

21-Apr-14: Rocket barrage seeks Israeli victims in Monday morning attack from Gaza

The seven days of Passover have just ended in the past half-hour with nightfall here in Jerusalem (it's Monday night). Catching up with the news of the past day when we're disconnected from the electronic news media is always accompanied by a degree of apprehension, and tonight it's borne out by the realities of this morning's events about which we are just getting familiar now.

From Times of Israel:
Ten rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in southern Israel Monday, prompting Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory. Red alert sirens sounded Monday morning in Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, adjacent to the Palestinian enclave. Seven rockets fell in open areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and outside the city of Sderot, causing no injuries or damage. One rocket exploded in Sderot, causing damage to a road and several shops. Another rocket struck the Eshkol region of southern Israel, but regional officials said the warning sirens did not go off. According to Army Radio, the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted an inbound rocket as well. A police spokesman said police bomb disposal experts were searching for the remains of the projectiles.
We will update as we learn more.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

20-Apr-14: World's "biggest victim of terrorism" is deeply concerned that accusing Iran of sponsoring terror threatens US legal system

BBC gives voice to Iran complaints [Image Source]
Iran's English-language propaganda machine is churning away furiously today in the wake of the US move, described here yesterday ["19-Apr-14: One small step for civilized society; one substantial leap in the fight against the terrorists"] to confiscate a series of Iranian-owned assets on US soil in order to satisfy legal judgments obtained by victims of Iranian terror. That welcome measure allows victims of several terrorist outrages for which responsibility was determined to be Iranian to recover damages against specific Iranian-regime assets in North America.

The FARS news agency, which calls itself "Iran's leading independent news agency" (for the acronym-challenged, its name is pronounced "Farce") quotes the Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani whom it describes as having "lashed out at the US for its move". Larijani declared that the decision by an American court
can ruin the American judiciary system's competency and creditability... The US is escalating tension with Iran. [The court ruling is] in contradiction to realities, void of legal validity and even in breach of US commitments to guarantee religious freedom for its citizens. The top Iranian parliamentarian argued that the US court verdict brings the creditability of the US judiciary system into question. [FARS, today]
Iran's outrage, and its deep concern for the international standing of American justice, appear to stem from the belief, as their Foreign Ministry spokesperson says, that
Iran, itself, is a victim of terrorism and the baseless claims on Iran's involvement in supporting terrorism are fabricated and worthless. [FARS, today]
Most of the rest of the world sees Iran in a fairly different light. At Brookings, for instance, their researchers assert this about today's Iran:
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has backed an array of terrorist groups. These groups have fostered unrest in Iraq and the oil-rich Gulf Kingdoms, killed Iran’s enemies in Europe, and struck at enemies like Israel and the United States. Most infamously for Americans, Iran has backed the Lebanese Hizballah, providing it with hundreds of millions of dollars, sophisticated arms, and advanced training. Among its many operations, Hizballah in 1983 bombed the U.S. embassy and the Marine barracks hosting U.S. peacekeepers in Beirut, killing 17 embassy officials and 241 Marines. Iran has also backed Hizballah in its numerous operations against Israel, including a 2012 bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and the bus driver, and has given money and weapons to Hamas, which has used these to attack Israel in repeated clashes. Tehran has also quietly maintained links to Al Qaeda itself, hosting several important figures though also restricting their activities. ["Iran’s Terrorism Problem", Daniel L. Byman | November 21, 2013] 
A new Iranian postage stamp is unveiled in a solemn ceremony
at Iran's first congress of Iranian victims of terror, August 30, 2013
[Image Source]
Iran's victims of terrorism are organized into a body called Habilian Association, that refers to itself as
a Human Rights NGO comprising of a group of families who have lost their most beloved ones in terrorist operations during the early years of Iran after the Islamic Revolution... brutally killed by the western-supported terrorist groups, such as Mujahedin-e Khalq (a.k.a. MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCRI, Rajavis’ cult), which is a clear evidence on radical groups’ violence and a historic and unassailable document in order to prove the fact that Islamic Republic of Iran has been the biggest victim of terrorism." [Source]
It held a first major one-day gathering on August 30, 2013 under the title "1st National Congress of 17000 Iranian Terror Victims":
By bringing together experts across the country and all around the world, the one-day conference intends to provide a platform for exchanging ideas that will help to examine different aspects of terrorism, terror groups, and a bunch of relevant issues...  [The website - the name refers to the number of terror victims Iran says it has.]
A major highlight of the congress was the unveiling of a new postage stamp honoring the 17,000 victims. If something else came out of it that reflected opposition to terrorism in all its hideous forms, we're not sure what that was.

The official report mentions the identities of some of illustrious participants: Iran’s Minister of Intelligence; the commander of Iran’s Basij Force (best known for its ongoing role in "the suppression of dissident gatherings"); a number of members of the Majlis; ambassadors to Iran from Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Jordan, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Palestine as well as the Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative at the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs. (Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs was a last-minute no-show, but he sent his special assistant.) For an NGO allegedly un-connected to the regime, it's an impressive line-up of official figures opposed to terror. Seeing Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah in that category is especially memorable.

So too is the favorable attention paid by the organizers to a 'scientific' paper delivered by a German-Australian called Töben, notorious in several parts of the world for his energetic denials that the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews ever happened, and for the jail time he has served as a result.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

19-Apr-14: One small step for civilized society; one substantial leap in the fight against the terrorists

Iran's official response: the property confiscation breaches their rights of
religious freedom [Image Source]
Families whose loved ones were killed or maimed in acts of terror connected with Iran have a bit of encouraging news to share. 

In New York City on Thursday, prosecutors announced plans to sell a Manhattan skyscraper that is owned by an arm of the Iranian regime. It's part of a terror-related seizure that we described here some months ago ["18-Sep-13: Striking back at the money that enables the terrorists"]. Earlier, we posted some details ["15-Feb-12:Is New York threatened by an Iranian attack? You might be surprised to know how real this is."] of how the sophisticated Iranian structure, which sought to conceal the regime's ownership, operated.

The settlement was approved yesterday by a federal judge in an action brought by 19 plaintiffs. It relates to the Piaget Building, a 36-story office tower located at 650 Fifth Avenue in the heart of New York City. AFP says ["US to sell Iran-owned building in New York"] the claimants in the NY property seizure case are the families and estates of victims of the 1983 bombings of US Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 military personnel, as well as the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US service members.
In addition to the Manhattan tower, US authorities will also sell Iran-linked properties in California, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and the Queens borough of New York, along with the contents of bank accounts formerly in the name of entities that served as fronts for Iran. "With this settlement, we have taken an important step toward completing what will be the largest ever terrorism-related forfeiture and providing a substantial recovery for victims of terrorism," Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
This comes less than a month after a groundbreaking court decision in Canada ["24-Mar-14: In Canada, a court-ordered counter-attack on Iranian terrorism"] arising from four lawsuits brought by terror victims seeking damages from the Iranians for training, arming and financing Hamas and Hezbollah. There too Iranian assets are being confiscated.

Few will be be surprised to know the Iranians are not happy. A report published in Tehran today says:
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman lashed out at a US court’s decision to seize the assets of Alavi Foundation, an Iranian charitable organization in New York City, saying the ruling lacks legitimacy and credibility. Marzieh Afkham was reacting to a ruling by a New York City court that authorizes the confiscation of property of the non-profitable organization... The Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman strongly rejected the allegations as baseless and politically motivated, saying Iran has already been a victim of terrorism. “This foundation is not linked to Iran… Terrorism allegations leveled against Iran are repetitive and baseless,” said Afkham. She also said the confiscation of a charitable organization by the US government constitutes a blatant violation of freedom of religion.
There's more than a little room for skepticism when the subject is Iran's approach to freedom and rights. For the record, here's how one of the world's leading research centers on religious freedom in Iran sizes up religious freedom in Iran:
Iran’s Constitution defines Iran as an Islamic State based on the tenets of Jafari Shi’a Islam. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei exercises control of the government through vilayat al-faqih (guardianship of the jurist), a concept put forth by his predecessor, Ruhollah Khomeini. The state holds a monopoly on Shi’a religious discourse, and Shi’a clerics who disagree with the state version of Shi’a Islam face persecution and imprisonment. Iran is home to sizeable Sunni Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, and Zoroastrian communities. With the exception of Baha’is, these groups are legally protected minorities, though they sometimes face persecution and discrimination in practice. The Iranian Constitution guarantees the rights of protected religious minorities to practice their faith and allots five seats in the Iranian parliament to representatives of recognized minority religions. However, non-Shi’a Muslims often struggle to gain entrance to universities, encounter institutional barriers in securing employment, and occasionally face police harassment. The Baha’i community is legally understood as an apostate sect of Islam. Almost 100 Baha’is are currently held in Iranian prisons for religious reasons, and arsons of Baha’i property in 2011 and 2012 have been ignored by the Iranian government. Despite current President Ahmadinejad’s strained relationship with Israel and his denial of the Holocaust, Iranian Jews face minimal restrictions on their ability to practice their faith. [Source: Religious Freedom in Iran: The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University]
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman probably prefers we don't look at these details of religious minority oppression in her freedom-minded country. And to put the point beyond doubt, there's this:
According to Iranian law, Baha'i blood or anyones' who marries or helps a Bahá'í or gets involved with them is considered Mobah, meaning it can be spilled with impunity. [Iran: International Religious Freedom Report - Department of State, US]

Friday, April 18, 2014

18-Apr-14: In Thailand, a Hezbollah terrorist plot is thwarted

The home page of the website today focuses
on the men arrested in Bangkok
Terrorist attacks rarely end up being thwarted as comprehensively as the latest such attempt in Thailand. Verbatim quotes now, in bullet points, from today's edition of the Bangkok Post:
  • Assistant [Thai] national police chief Winai Thongsong said the men were arrested at different locations in Bangkok after Thai police received intelligence from Israel about a planned attack on Israeli tourists during Passover, the Jewish festival which coincided with Songkran... "If we had been unable to arrest the men during Songkran, a bomb attack would certainly have taken place somewhere on Khao San Road," he said.
  • The men have been identified as French-Lebanese national Daoud Farhat and Lebanese-Filipino national Youssef Ayad... Farhat held a French passport... Ayad carried a Philippines passport... The source also said Mr Ayad had given useful information to police... 
  • He admitted his group entered Thailand to carry out a bomb attack against Israeli tourists and other Israeli groups on Khao San Road during Songkran.
  • Both Mr Farhat and Mr Ayad are listed on the website, which collects information on suspected terrorist cells operating in Asia, and carries notices of financial rewards for information.
  • One of the men admitted to a planned attack on Israeli tourists in Khao San Road during Songkran, according to an investigator... They were arrested on suspicion of links to militant Islamist group, Hezbollah.
  • Both were born in Lebanon... authorities have yet to confirm if the travel documents are genuine.
  • Investigators believe at least nine suspected foreign terrorists connected to Hezbollah are somewhere in Thailand. Authorities are attempting to track them down.
All of which means the Thais are determined to prevent the suspect from engaging in future such adventures, right? Not exactly:
  • The two suspected foreign terrorists will be deported back to the last countries they travelled from immediately after Thai police finish questioning them. He did not name the countries.
  • National Security Council chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut confirmed Thai authorities are focusing on the capture of another foreign terrorist.
Khao San Road scene courtesy of
About the website mentioned in the Bangkok newspaper report, Times of Israel calls an "Israeli anti-terror website... which gathers information on terror cells in East Asia." If that's right, the investment sunk into it paid welcome dividends this week.

Khao San Road in central Bangkok, Thailand, was once a major rice market. Over the past two decades, it has become better known as a world-famous backpacker attraction, offering cheap accommodation as well as being a hub for bus travel throughout Thailand. Wikipedia says the short street is also famous as 
a center of dancing, partying, and just prior to the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran festival) of 13 April to 15 April, water splashing that usually turns into a huge water fight. One Thai writer has described Khaosan as "a short road that has the longest dream in the world."
Thankfully, this latest dream of the Hezbollah jihadists ended without innocent casualties. But will the decision of the local authorities to throw them back into the arms of those who sent them mean smaller threats in the future, or larger?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?

We're flabbergasted at the news that the World Council of Churches went public today with a statement of solidarity with what it calls "some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails".

The WCC's chief executive, Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran, is quoted in its press release saying that the members for whom he speaks
"are called to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past. We were disappointed when the government of Israel cancelled the scheduled release of prisoners who have been in Israeli jails even before the Oslo Agreement of 1993...
The announcement goes on to invite "the churches in the Holy Land to remember Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity”.

WCC is a roof body that purports to speak for the world's major protestant churches. Here's where they list their members. In Australia, they include the Anglican, Churches of Christ and Uniting Church in Australia. In the UK, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of Wales and others. In the United States, they include the Quakers, the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others.

That's a lot of worshipers. Do they know how their religious faith is being exploited by a small coterie of self-perpetuating, Geneva-based bureaucrats?

The word that most offends us here is "languishing". Dr Tveit doesn't apply it to certain specific prisoners, but to all of them, including (just as an example) to Abdullah Barghouti ["10-Apr-07: Regarding Abdullah Barghouti"], convicted of murdering 66 Jews and seeks (he says openly) to kill more of us. He personally assembled the bomb that killed our 15 year-old daughter Malki. If he's languishing, and other unrepentant murderers are too, this strikes us as being an exceedingly gentle condition for them to be in, given the state in which their victims are, and the ongoing agony of those who loved the victims.

And if, Heaven forbid, someone ever restores to Barghouti his "freedom with justice and dignity", will that someone take responsibility for the consequent acts of carnage?

Semantics aside, one has to wonder at an international association of Christians that looks at the devastation overtaking the Christian communities of the Middle East and concludes that the one problem deserving of the bulk of their attention and resources is the one involving the Jews.

[There's more on CAMERA's website: "April 17, 2014 | Misinformation and Moral Stupidity from World Council of Churches"]

[UPDATE 19-Apr-14: Our sincere thanks once again to Małgorzata Koraszewska for having published a Polish-language translation of this blog post on the widely-read Listy z naszego sadu website.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

16-Apr-14: Capitulating to terrorism and lessons for a people in search of leaders

2001 edition still available at
David Horovitz, the long-time editor of the Jerusalem Post, and now the founding editor of The Times of Israel, posted a powerful, eloquent and thoughtful demolition this afternoon of the Binyamin Netanyahu political leadership. A government that betrays its primary obligation, to protect its citizens, has no right to govern, he writes. Some highlights from "Lead, Netanyahu, Lead":
  • Israel’s shambolic, self-defeating tradition of prisoner “exchanges” and releases over the decades has long since made clear to every potential Palestinian terrorist killer that he or she can reasonably expect to return to the heroic embrace of family and friends within just a few years...
  • Israel’s policy is one of suffering the crime without meting out the punishment, setting free today’s killers and emboldening tomorrow’s. Almost all Israelis have long since recognized that this has to stop.
  • It is frankly impossible to reconcile the clear thinking of Netanyahu 1995 with the muddled leadership of Netanyahu 2013 who, rather than facilitate peace talks by the simple and reversible expedient of freezing settlement expansion and acknowledging the indisputable fact that Israel is negotiating on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, as Mahmoud Abbas had demanded, chose to capitulate to the least palatable of Abbas’s preconditions: releasing pre-Oslo era Palestinian terror convicts. The four-phased deal to free some of the most evil killers was a terrible mistake from the start...
  • Netanyahu telling Israelis he was setting free the hardcore terrorists “for the good of the country” was no explanation at all. And his history of “punishing” acts of terrorism by approving still more settlement building only adds insult to injury.
  • A government that betrays its primary obligation, to protect its citizens, has no right to govern. The Netanyahu government lost that right when it sanctioned the phased program of prisoner releases.
  • ...If he won’t put the protection of Israel’s citizens first, he should vacate the seat in favor of someone who will. He derides the US for its ostensible weakness in international affairs, and most especially when it comes to thwarting Iran, but America doesn’t capitulate to terrorism. Netanyahu does.
Please read and share the entire article. We posted this response in the comments section:
As parents of a child murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in the service of Hamas, we learned the hardest way what it means to be abandoned by our country's leaders.
Netanyahu built his public reputation on the imperative of straight-talking, principled firmness in dealing with the terrorists. He betrayed those values the very first time he was tested as a leader.
Whatever remaining shreds of respect we felt for him and those in his circle vanished when he and they utterly ignored our direct appeals to exclude from the 2011 Shalit transaction the woman who engineered the massacre at the Sbarro restaurant. Israel's justice system had dealt with her in the correct way, finding her guilty on dozens of counts, sentencing her to 16 terms of life in prison. The judicial panel added its unanimous recommendation that the woman "not be eligible for pardon by the military commander, nor to early parole by any other means".
Our political leaders trampled the justice system that is at the heart of Israel's democracy. And the media barely addressed this issue. She walked free in 2011 and with a husband lives now in Jordan. She has achieved unimaginable global fame throughout the Arabic-speaking world. She is the embodiment of triumphant Islamist terror. Her influence is huge, its effects lethal and continuing. A gift from Israel's political leadership.
A leadership that understands why politicians must never be permitted to undermine the nation's principles of justice could have avoided this outcome and its disastrous consequences. But that's the point. For them, the politicians, personally, there were no disastrous consequences. Until other Israelis become as pained as the direct victims of the freed terrorists are, Netanyahu and those in his circle will continue to slap one another on the back and fail to acknowledge what they have wrought. [Frimet and Arnold Roth, Jerusalem]

16-Apr-14: Someone exploded something in Gaza this morning, killing some people. Mainstream media interest? Not so great

Khan Younis, November 2012 [Image Source]
It's always a tricky thing to base news reports on Palestinian Arab sources, so a grain of salt if not more is needed when processing this report from Maan, the European-funded Palestinian Arab news agency.

Maan reported at 11:15 this morning (Wednesday) that there has been "an explosion" this morning in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in or near Khan Younis (population: 350,000). It quotes Ashraf al-Qidra whom we have mentioned here in the past, speaking on behalf of the Hamas regime's Ministry of Health, saying "the circumstances behind the explosion were not clear". What is evidently less unclear is that three Palestinian Arab men are dead and four others are injured with shrapnel wounds and in "stable" condition. The Maan report has been picked up by several other news outlets, most of them Israeli, this morning.

For people who follow events in the Hamas-run enclave, it's commonplace for news of failed terror attacks and self-inflicted injuries from mishandled explosives (such as the one that killed three Gazan men a month ago) to be reported via Hamas' Ministry of Health.

Why not the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Jihad, the Police Ministry, the Public Safety Ministry, the Department of Child Welfare, the Ministry of Outbound Explosives? Because they don't have any of those. The ministers who sit in the Hamas government are those who head Justice, Housing/Public Works, Local Government, Agriculture, Finance, Religious Affairs (naturally), Interior, Education and of course Health, as well as "prime minister" Ismail Haniyeh.

The Gazan Palestinian Arabs last had elections more than eight years ago. They have been under iron-booted Hamas rule since June 2007 when its jihadist irregulars carried out a savage massacre of Fatah forces and seized control. The Palestinian Authority's prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, who also stands at the head of Fatah and who is currently in the year ten of his four-year term of office, has not set foot in Gaza in the seven years since then, though he has been widely reported to be about to go there (2013, 20122011 and 2010.)

The Mahmoud Abbas villa in Gaza [Image Source]
Though he owns a multi-million dollar villa (see this 2003 report) there, he has not seen it or stepped across its ample threshold in at least seven years, throughout which it has been held and used by Hamas.

But he shows no visible embarrassment in purporting to speak for the Gazans when he sits down at what passes for a peace table with the Israeli and the Americans and says he's there to negotiate.

Our point is there is almost zero criticism in the global news media of the man's hubris in claiming to seek resolutions and understandings in the name of the Palestinian Arabs while in reality he is forcibly excluded from everything Gazan.

The truth is relatively little is known about what actually happens day to day, and especially the very bad things done to Gazans by the dark forces of Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, as today's explosion report highlights. It's hardly a free and open society. Yet we rarely hear the experts of the mainstream news media owning up to this, even while they bemoan a failed peace process. Perhaps it's time to hold them to a higher standard.

16-Apr-14: Incoming rocket siren heard in Ashkelon region

Logo of the Hof Ashkelon region
Once again, the Tzeva Adom (Color Red) incoming missile alert sounding its warning in the Hof Ashkelon area in the small hours of Wednesday morning. We noticed a posting on a Hebrew-language forum at about 1:00 this morning (some 45 minutes ago), and have searched for, but not yet found, confirmation. It may be that the system was triggered by a firing but that the rocket itself fell short and crash-landed inside the Gaza Strip. If we find more, we will post it here. (Note also that the IDF reported an earlier Tzeva Adom warning some four hours earlier. No confirmation of a landing in that case, either.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15-Apr-14: Seder night shooting attack: dead and wounded Israeli victims

Route 35 near Kiryat Arba last night: IDF soldiers search
for the shooter's trail [Image Source: Ynet]
In the final minutes before the onset of Passover on Monday evening, an Israeli family from Modi'in, traveling on Highway 35 by car to a family seder in the Jewish community of Kiryat Arba came under fire near the Arab village of Idhna (population 19,000). The driver, a man in his forties and a police officer (according to a report from Israel National News: "Terrorist Murders Man and Wounds Family in Hevron") was shot to death. His pregnant wife was struck by bullets as well and evacuated to Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in moderate to critical condition. One of their children sitting in the back seat was also hit by bullets; we don't yet know of his condition.

[UPDATE: 11:00 pm Tuesday: The man murdered in yesterday's shooting is Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, described as a senior police intelligence and crime officer, and a father of five whose wife, also wounded, is pregnant. In this Hebrew news report, he is described as head of SigInt, or signals intelligence, in the Investigations and Intelligence arm of Israel Police. The indiscriminate shooters and their terrorist accomplices may come to rue their inadvertent choice of target. The funeral has been announced for 1:00 pm Wednesday in Jerusalem's Mt Herzl military cemetery.]

Times of Israel ["Israeli man killed, two injured in terror attack near Hebron"] reported shortly after the attack that the IDF’s initial investigation indicated the shooter had approached the road on foot, and opened fire with dozens of rounds from an automatic weapon, evidently an AK47 rifle, seeking to hit passing Israeli vehicles. Quoting an eye-witness, the report says two cars were struck in the hail of fire but managed to escape the scene, after which the family from Modi’in became the principal victims of the terrorism.

To this hour. relatively little media attention (for example, at the BBC) has been given outside Israel to the killing - coming as it has on the twelfth anniversary of the Park Hotel Seder Night massacre in Netanya - or its impact on terrorism-addicted Palestinian Arab society. Two American newspapers are notable exceptions.

The Los Angeles Times wrote that two of the three major terrorist forces in the Palestinian Arab sphere, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both "praised the attack but did not take responsibility for it".

And the NY Daily News ["Hamas praises shooting that killed Israeli man, wounded his wife and son"] quotes Ismail Haniyeh, the "prime minister" of the Gaza Strip saying the murder “brought back life to the path of resistance” against Israel. He warned Israelis to expect more of the same from Palestinian Arabs, and particularly in "the West Bank [which] will be the future point of our struggle with the enemy.] We believe him.

Route 35 this morning (Tuesday) [Image Source]
As for the third of the major terrorist groups, Fatah, and its nominal head, Mahmoud Abbas (marking the tenth year of his four-year term as 'democratically' elected president of the PA), there are reports of anger among Israeli sources at their failure to condemn the assault.

We strongly prefer to ignore that genre of strictly-for-the-Western-media play-acting. Mealy-mouthed, plainly insincere expressions of Arab protest have a long and nasty history. One of Yasser Arafat's bodyguards, Muhammad Al-Daya, shed a little light on the rules of that pathetic condemnation-of-terror charade just a fortnight ago in an interview with the BBC.

As with the thugs from Hamas and Islamic Jihad when they speak in Arabic on matters pertaining to terror, the terrorists ought to be believed.

Monday, April 14, 2014

14-Apr-14: In each generation...

The suspect being removed from the murder
scene [Image Source
Jewish communities throughout the world start their commemoration of Passover this evening with a family-focused gathering rich in narrative and festive eating. For those who care to delve into the underlying themes, they're certainly there to be found.

From the Chicago Tribune this morning:
A 14-year-old boy and his grandfather were among three people shot to death on Sunday at two different Jewish community facilities in a Kansas City-area suburb. Police said it was too early to determine a motive, but a leading anti-hate group said the suspect arrested in the shooting was a longtime anti-Semite. The attack came a day before the Jewish holiday of Passover. "We know it's a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said in a news conference. The FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, he said.
The suspect was identified as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, by authorities in Kansas, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center as Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a longtime anti-Semite who is the former grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan... The shootings started around 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. Two males were shot in a parking lot outside the center, one dying at the scene and the other later at a hospital, police said. The shooter then drove just a mile away to the Village Shalom retirement community that provides skilled nursing services for residents and fatally shot a female there... The two male victims were identified as Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, a high school freshman, and his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon... Both were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.... Dr. Corporon had moved to the Kansas City area in 2003 to be closer to his grandchildren... It appears the shooter used a shotgun and possibly other types of guns.
The named victims are evidently not Jewish, but the published facts of their murders will resonate with Jews everywhere: a man so focused on the pleasures and privileges of family that he moved to town to be close to his grandchildren; a shooter who sought to know nothing more than that his innocent victims were in the car park of a Jewish cultural center and of a Jewish aged-care residence; a life-long hater and so-called white 'supremacist' who invoked the name of Adolf Hitler as he was taken into custody.

The text of the Passover seder is the Haggada. For us, its most evocative moments include these parallel quotations:
  • In each generation, down through all the generations, we are obliged to see ourselves, personally, as having been freed from slavery... 
  • In each generation, they rise against us to destroy us...
Yesterday's events in Kansas City remind us that, with all the blessed freedom which we enjoy and take for granted, the haters are close by, seeking their moment.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

13-Apr-14: Report of Gazan rocket attacks tonight: explosions heard in Eshkol region

Too soon to have any confirmation, but Hebrew-language online reports from eyewitnesses say rocket attacks were detected around 12:30 tonight (Sunday morning) and multiple explosions have been heard in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

UPDATE 2:00 am: Times of Israel says no injuries, no serious property damage.

A second round of Tzeva Adom (Color Red) incoming missile alarms was heard in another part of the south (we will leave a more detailed location till there's confirmation) around 12:45 am. Ynet reports that a mortar shell exploded in open fields near the security fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel, but it was unclear (said the report) whether the shell fell on the Israeli side or or the Gazan, and it's not clear to us whether this is connected to the reports of Tzeva Adom sirens. We will try to update when there's more to report.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

12-Apr-14: For Brits infuriated by irresponsible British taxpayer-funded support of Palestinian Authority's death-cult industry

British parliament [Source: Wikipedia]
Petitions are commonplace in the era of Internet access. But some petitions are clearly more important than others, and if it's easy to sign them, they are no less important for that.

There is only one petition we have promoted here in the years that we have been writing this blog. Now there's a second. It's addressed to the British Government's Department for International Development and it relates to a theme that is core to the things we try to say here. Here's the text from the petition site:
The Palestinian Authority (PA) currently provides salaries to any Palestinian convicted of committing terrorism offences against Israel. These wages are directly pegged to the length of the sentence, so the more grievous the crime, the higher the salary. Since these wages are much larger than those earned by average Palestinians, they clearly reward violence, including murder, and undermine peace. Around 40 per cent of the PA’s budget is made up from donor aid; the UK government has promised £33 million of taxpayer’s money for the 2013/14 period alone. The Palestinian ministers responsible for this policy publicly deride international donors who express unhappiness with their money being used to pay terrorists; only a credible threat of this aid being removed will alter the situation. We are therefore calling on DFID to cease all direct funding to the Palestinian Authority until it agrees to no longer provide salaries for those convicted of committing violent acts against Israel.
For some European support for the message in the petition, please click on a post we published here just a couple of days ago.

Since we're not British, we're not eligible to sign. But if you are, please click here to go to the sign-on page and send a strong message to London.

Friday, April 11, 2014

11-Apr-14: A gunfight and its far-away victims

Al-Hija: The Telegraph could have reproduced
this martyr poster as easily as we have. But
the editors there know how this messes with
the narrative they seek to spin [Image Source]
Here in Israel where reporters tend invariably to speak Hebrew and often Arabic as well, they don't always get the facts perfectly right. They also don't always avoid putting a political spin on things. But at least they usually have the professional skill and outlook to take the trouble to provide context for the consumers of their reports, particularly when the story concerns fighting and/or terrorist actions.

Over at the Telegraph newspaper in London, we have the impression they operate according to a much lower set of expectations to judge from a report in yesterday's paper.

An article called "'It's over': Palestinian militants in Jenin believe peace process is at an end", written by Robert Tait, a reporter, paints a picture of Arab despair in the face of Israeli belligerence. It reflects a fairly clear agenda that encourages readers to sympathize with the plight of the residents of the city that Israelis have come to know as a major center of terrorism:
An ear-splitting explosion in the dead of night seemed to herald the moment when Palestinian residents of Jenin refugee camp decided that negotiations with Israel were not taking them on the path to peace. The blast was caused by a massively-armed Israeli anti-terror unit blowing off the doors of the "safe house" where Hamza Abu Alheja, a wanted Hamas militant, had been tracked down after months of hiding in the densely-populated West Bank camp. A fearful fire fight followed in which a torrent of heavy missiles wreaked destruction on the two-storey dwelling, where another 15 people, including women and children, had been asleep... The mayhem ended with the death of Mr Abu Alheja, 22, who fired back at his pursuers and then tried to escape by jumping from an upstairs window before being shot through the head by a sniper. Two other men, Mohammad Abu Zena, 19, described as a member of Islamic Jihad, and Yazan Jabarin, said to have been on his way to work in a bakery, were killed later after the Israeli force clashed with Mr Abu Alheja's supporters as they tried to carry his body to his family home.
This Alheja is key to the account. Who is he, apart from being 22 and now deceased?
Mr Abu Alheja, the son of a prominent Hamas militant serving nine life sentences in Israel after being jailed in 2002, was described by an army spokesman as "a ticking time bomb" responsible for past attacks on Israelis and in the process of planning more.
You now know everything that Tait wants his readers to know about the departed man. But there's more that he and his editors chose not to share.

In Israel, the dead man is known as Hamza Al-Hija, and as an active Hamas terrorist operating under the noses of the Palestinian Authority officials who govern Jenin.

Times of Israel report from Saturday March 22, 2014, says that early that morning a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police raid in Jenin sought to apprehend him on suspicion of involvement in a plot to carry out a major terrorist attack which, as Israelis know too well, means an attack on Israeli civilians.

The house in Jenin was surrounded by armed Israeli security people. The men inside evidently decided to shoot their way out. In addition to Al-Hija, two other Arab men were killed in the ensuing fire fight: Mahmud Abu Zeina, 25, connected with Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and Yazen Jabarin, 22, a terrorist in the Fatah al-Aqsa Brigades. A not so unusual symmetry with one representative of each of the three major armed terror groups active in the PA's domain.

It's notable that Tait fails to mention the foreseeable consequence of the gunmen deciding to shoot their way out, notwithstanding the many civilians inside. Tait says "15 people, including women and children". One wonders why he somehow neglected to mention that none of them, other than the gunmen, were harmed by the IDF. Is that irrelevant? Does that say not something about the intentions and capabilities of the Israeli security people who find it necessary to enter Jenin on occasion and to apprehend armed practitioners of terror in densely populated neighbourhoods? Would referring to this somehow mess up the narrative for Tait and his editors?

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, quoted in the Times of Israel, said al-Hija opened fire on the IDF forces before he was killed. Also, that he was “wanted for numerous shooting and bombing attacks as well as planning future acts of terrorism... a ticking time bomb” who was intent on killing Israelis.

Times of Israel goes on to quote
A Gaza-based media outlet associated with Hamas [that] tweeted shortly after Abu al-Hija’s death that sources said the dead man had been “preparing a major operation” against Israel. 
This is not unusual; the Palestinian Arab terror industry thrives on the making of what it terms 'martyrs'. Not only are they not shy of the savagery in which these men engage; they enthusiastically celebrate it.

A senior Israeli political figure, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, is also quoted by Times of Israel. He calls the Jenin raid
an important thwarting which prevented a planned terrorist attack that was meant to be carried out against Israeli targets, and thus saved lives.” 
Perhaps this might have been mentioned in passing by the Telegraph's man on the spot. But to be frank, we're guessing that Tait has a political outlook that differs from Israel's defense minister, and from the army's official spokesperson. He's probably less interested in the saving of innocent Israeli lives than we are.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But no one - and that certainly includes newspaper reporters with pretensions to objectivity - is entitled to their own reality. There's background on the dead gunman that anyone with Google could have easily found. Tait's story delivers almost none of it.

Now on to the father mentioned in the Tate piece: Jamal Abu al-Hija. Tait's readers know only that he is:
a prominent Hamas militant serving nine life sentences in Israel after being jailed in 2002
leaving many/most of them to believe Al-Hija senior is yet one more in that endless, sad parade of political prisoners and other Arabs unfairly thrown behind bars because of Zionist political whims. A militant. An activist. A dissident, perhaps.

In reality the father
is a convicted Hamas leader who is currently incarcerated in Israeli prison. He was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to nine life sentences for involvement in at least six bombings, including the Meron Junction attack that killed nine Israelis in 2002 and the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria bombing that killed 15 in 2001.
Tait and the editors at the Telegraph can gloss over such blood-drenched history but the Times of Israel's editors and reporters can't and shouldn't and didn't. We - the parents of a child murdered in that Sbarro bombing in which Al-Hija Senior played a role - won't.

Tait's piece goes on to provide, in that sadly familiar way in which so many European news channels indulge, a megaphone for the voices of terror in Jenin, wrapped up in the language of threat and doom that alert readers will understand is the result of Israeli wretched excess etc.

Yet another morality fable - emphasis on fable - from the mills of the agenda-driven section of the news industry, the part that is up to its eyebrows in lethal journalism.