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.”
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.