A general view shows the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm,.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is campaigning again for the transfer of the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm to the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority.
Talks over a long-term arrangement with Hamas is generating controversy even within Netanyahu’s coalition, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman championing the agreement but with Education Minister Naftali Bennett rejecting it publicly.
In fact, Bennett’s blatant attacks could have been the reason behind the Umm-al-Fahm campaign launched again by Liberman. Perhaps Bennett’s attack was why Liberman opened that old, time-tested front through which he could take a more bellicose position, as per his reputation.
Israeli Arab Ahmad Mahameed was shot dead in Jerusalem’s Old City when he tried to stab a policeman there. After his funeral in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm on Aug. 21, Liberman tweeted: “Are you asking yourselves whether Umm al-Fahm should be a part of Palestine, instead of Israel? The very sight of all the hundreds of people who attended the local terrorist’s funeral, waved Palestinian flags, and chanted, ‘With blood and spirit, we will avenge the martyr!’ should finally answer your question. The plan I presented years ago for an exchange of territories and populations is more relevant now than ever.”
At a meeting of the Yisrael Beitenu faction later that day, Liberman added cynically, “There is no reason for Umm al-Fahm to remain part of the State of Israel instead of becoming part of Palestine. I am confident that they would enjoy the same freedom of expression and the same economic advantages under (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas, and that they would benefit from Palestinian democracy at its best.”
Liberman was not only referring to the hundreds of people who attended the funeral. He meant all the people living in the town of 53,000.
Ahmad Mahameed was a member of one the town’s four largest clans. His family claims that the large numbers who attended the funeral (some 1,500, according to reports, or 10 times the number of participants approved by the police) were not there to show support for his attempted act of terrorism. One member of the clan, Ahmad Yunis Mahameed, told Al-Monitor that Ahmad Mahameed was an emotionally disturbed individual who was already known to the authorities. According to the family, the Israeli police were a bit too fast to shoot. There were other ways to neutralize him and prevent the attack instead of killing him. Furthermore, the family and many participants in the funeral were furious at a decision by the police to demand a 50,000-shekel ($13,700) bond and set strict conditions before the body was released. The police insisted that the funeral be held at night, that no more than 150 people attend, and that it last two hours at most.
Jamal Mahameed mediated between the family and the police over the release of the body. He told Al-Monitor that the family only learned about the real size of the crowd upon arrival at the cemetery. “How can anyone control the number of people attending a funeral?” he asked. He added that the many people who attended were mostly members of the same clan. Everybody knew that Ahmad was disturbed, and as such, he should not have been fired at; the incident should not have ended with Ahmad riddled with bullets.
Another member of the Mahameed clan was arrested during the wave of violence in October 2015. In that instance, Alaa Mahameed was involved in a vehicular and stabbing attack at the Allon Intersection, at the entrance to Kibbutz Gan Shmuel.
Then, in July 2017, three terrorists from the city’s Jabarin clan were involved in an attack on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem. Two Druze Border Patrol officers, Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan, were killed in the attack. In that instance, the bodies of the terrorists were only returned to their families after a Supreme Court ruling. The number of people attending their funerals also exceeded limits imposed by the police.
“We’re talking about a small percentage of participants [out of the total population of Umm al-Fahm], with only a handful of them calling for revenge and chanting slogans against Israel,” a member of the town’s Mahajnah clan, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al-Monitor. He said activities by the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, have an obvious impact on the local residents. Religious extremism is increasing, creating divisions and rifts not only in the city, but even within individual families, which are sometimes divided between secular supporters of the Hadash (Communist) party and religious supporters of the Islamic Movement.
The overwhelming majority of Umm al-Fahm residents work in Israel’s Jewish towns and villages. While some have jobs in settlements close to Umm al-Fahm, others work in the big cities of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Hadera. Many of them work in construction, but a significant percentage have white collar jobs such as being lawyers, teachers, university lecturers and welfare workers. There are also quite a few residents of Umm al-Fahm who work in various medical fields in hospitals throughout Israel. They steer clear of religious fanaticism and do not feel alienated from the larger Israeli society. “Are they all terrorists?” asked another resident of the town from the Mahajnah clan who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said Israeli authorities, including the police, prefer to ignore negative phenomena in Umm al-Fahm, such as the way the Islamic Movement is taking over the town or the growing violence there. Then those same authorities use the results of their neglect to tarnish the entire city’s reputation.
Claims that the police and local authorities are not doing enough to reduce the level of violence in Arab society, while consciously ignoring the forces for good, is a major gripe voiced frequently by Umm al-Fahm’s residents. Following a string of violent incidents last year, the residents of the city held a demonstration in March 2017 demanding that the law be more rigidly enforced there. One resident, a member of the same Mahameed clan as the terrorist killed in Jerusalem last week, said: “Let’s say that 1% of the population is violent. Should the remaining 99% of the population end up paying the price of inaction against those gangs and criminals, who are trying to dominate the day-to-day lives of all the other residents?” In the same way, people in Umm al-Fahm are now saying that the entire population should not be condemned, nor should anyone suggest transferring them to the Palestinian Authority, simply because a tiny minority of people chanted anti-Israel slogans at the funeral.
Certainly none of this would be of any interest to the minister of defense. He prefers to fight for his own political career, particularly given his poor showing in the polls. That is more important to him than investing time and energy in putting together a plan to improve the situation in Umm al-Fahm, rein in violence and keep religious extremists away. “Hand Umm al-Fahm over to Mahmoud Abbas” is a more appealing slogan to his supporters on the right than “Make Umm al-Fahm a safer city.”
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
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As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban