A general view shows the scene where a police spokeswoman said a Palestinian gunman killed three Israeli guards and wounded a fourth in an attack at a Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank, Sept. 26, 2017.
Ashraf works in the paint department of a building supplies store located between the Arab-Israeli village of Abu Ghosh and the Har Adar settlement.
“How are you, Ashraf?” I asked, as he mixed the shade of red I had ordered.
“We’re really screwed,” he said. “He ruined everything.”
“Who did?” I asked.
“That hamar [jackass], Nimr,” he replied angrily.
Ashraf lives in the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Surik. He knew Nimr Jamal, who killed three Israeli security officers on Sept. 26 at the checkpoint of the neighboring Israeli settlement of Har Adar. “It’s almost inevitable that they’ll take our Israeli work permits away for at least a month,” he told Al-Monitor. In fact, within just a few hours, Ashraf was informed that he and the other workers would not be allowed to enter Israel at least until after the holiday of Sukkot, in another three weeks.
After the attack, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered the immediate enforcement of closure orders on the West Bank that are always imposed during Jewish holidays, and the defense establishment has banned Palestinians from entering Har Adar for the next few days. Freezing the permits that allow Palestinians to work in the settlement effectively means cutting off the main source of income for the residents of the neighboring villages of Bidu and Beit Surik.
The basic elements of the attack in Har Adar, the nature of the West Bank settlement and its location exemplify the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The locality is well-off economically, ranking in the 90th percentile of the Central Bureau of Statistics socioeconomic scale. In the 2015 elections, the Zionist Camp won the most votes there (38%). The Likud came in a distant second (18%), essentially tied with Yesh Atid. The settlement was founded in 1986 on what had been a no-man’s land between the 1948 and 1967 wars.
In Har Adar’s early years, the access road to it ran through the Palestinian village of Bidu, which also served as a market town for residents of the Jewish settlement. Because of incidents along the road during the first intifada (1987-93), an alternative route was paved from the south and the access road to Bidu, where this week’s attack took place, was closed. Nevertheless, hundreds and thousands of residents of Bidu, Beit Surik and other nearby villages worked in Har Adar for years. They built its houses and were employed to do maintenance, cleaning and gardening, and also benefited from the used clothing and other items that the residents of Har Adar gave them.
Har Adar leaders have maintained friendly relations with the heads of local Palestinian clans. Some of these friendships persist until today. An orchard in the center of Har Adar is owned by a Palestinian from Bidu. He has special permission to visit the orchard whenever he wants, to work and pick the fruit.
For the past 14 years, Nimr Jamal had supported his family by working in Har Adar. He was employed as a construction worker, painter, gardener and maintenance man for the local council, and he also worked as a cleaner. Several residents of Har Adar told Al-Monitor that they knew him well.
Michal Lapidot, who employed Jamal as a cleaner, said that he was a nice, friendly man and that she never suspected or feared him. One woman who requested anonymity recalled that she had had several heart-to-hearts with Jamal, in which he told her about his problems at home. He sent her photos of his family, and she in turn sent gifts for his wife and children. Sharon Wechsler, a weather reporter for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, also had employed Jamal. He told her about his flock of sheep and shared his experiences with her. Yossi Haddad said that he had had no problem leaving Jamal alone in his house with his children, but now, because of the attack, he is having second thoughts about his relationships with Palestinian workers.
While Har Adar has suffered on more than one occasion from arson and Molotov cocktail attacks, burning tires and attempted terrorist incursions, “in the end, employment opportunities ensured calm from the adjacent villages. The Palestinians’ desire to earn a respectable living reduced the friction,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer who lives in Har Adar told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. “Now,” he added, “it is very possible that the whole fabric of coexistence will unravel since it is built on trust.”
A source in Shin Bet claimed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists are responsible for incitement in the villages, against the opposition of clan leaders, who are more concerned about families earning a livelihood. “Every time that there’s an escalation in the Palestinian sector, incidents erupt at this point of friction too,” he told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity.
Ali, a painter who lives in Bidu, witnessed the attack by Jamal. He said that he laid on the ground as soon as he heard the shots. Border Police officers came by a few moments later to interrogate him. “I knew Nimr,” he told Al-Monitor, “and like everyone else here, I knew all about his problems at home. Still, I never believed that it would come to this. What’s going to happen now? We’re all going to lose our livelihoods because he went crazy.” Jamal’s wife had recently left him and moved to Jordan with their children.
Immediately after the attack, the office of the local council head, Chen Filipovich, received messages of condolence from Palestinians in Bidu and Beit Surik along with requests to take steps to ensure the rapid renewal of their work permits. Filipovich told Al-Monitor that he will do everything he can to restore coexistence. “We will deal with anyone who wants to hurt us and embrace anyone who wants to cooperate with us,” he stressed.
On the other side of Har Adar, in Israel, lies the village of Abu Ghosh, inhabited by Arabs. Even before the State of Israel was established, the villagers had decided that they would not participate in the fight against the Jews. Many Arab residents serve in the IDF, and the village is considered an icon of Arab-Jewish coexistence. Youssef Ottman, whom Jamal shot to death, lived there. Ottman served in the Border Police and worked as a security guard in Har Adar. His father, Isam, told everyone who came to console him that his son was an Israeli citizen in every way imaginable. Among the many visitors to the mourners’ tent erected by the family were dozens of residents of Har Adar, including Filipovich.
“A Muslim Palestinian Arab killed two Jews and a Muslim Israeli Arab,” said Youssef’s cousin Majdi Ottman. He has a pessimistic but realistic perspective on what will happen next. “The Palestinians will return to work in a few days. They need to make a living. But there will never be coexistence, because the terrorists kill indiscriminately. They don’t care.”
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.