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    Palestinian Authority Tag

    The First and Second Intifadas were bloody, with thousands killed. The Second Intifada was particularly gruesome, with Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up restaurants, buses and just about every other civilian target they could reach. Israel reacted by constructing the security barrier and launching Operation Defensive Shield. In the past couple of weeks in particular, there has been a surge in Palestinian violence with stabbings, firebombing and rock throwing. The uptick has been fed by deliberate incitement by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian authority: Some Arab Israeli members of the Knesset also are involved in fanning the flames, like this Knesset member screaming at Jews to leave the Temple Mount:

    Arutz Sheva, Israel National News, reports Christian community leaders in Bethlehem believe that Islamist extremists are responsible for a fire at St. Charbal Church this past Saturday:
    In its sole statement, the [Palestinian Authority] said that the fire at the St. Charbal church in the city was caused by an “electrical malfunction” - a description that is at odds with an account by Israeli Christian Arab Father Gabriel Naddaf, who said that the church was burned down Saturday night by “Palestinian extremists." . . . According to Christian community leaders in Bethlehem, the fire was started by extremist Islamists who for months have been threatening community members with harm. As a result of the fire, several rooms on the church's second floor were completely destroyed. No one was killed or injured. Sources quoted by Naddaf said that the fire was just another in a long series of attacks by Muslims against Christians in Bethlehem.
    While the culprits -- or whether it was some other cause -- are not yet known for sure, Father Naddaf has called out the PA and its President for failure to condemn the fire:

    Palestinians are among the largest recipients of international aid, per capita, in the world. Yet all we hear about is U.S. aid to Israel, which is entirely military and most of which comes back to U.S. companies because it is required to be spent on U.S.-made equipment. International aid to Palestinians doesn't come back to the donor countries. That includes an average U.S. annual contribution of $400 million. (pdf.) In fact, it doesn't seem to go anywhere productive. Why don't we hear more about this? Because there is no free press in any of the Palestinian controlled areas, or independent NGOs, like there are in Israel. Whereas Israel is under a microscope by dozens of NGOs and hundreds of reporters, Palestinian authorities -- both the PA and Hamas -- are beyond much Western scrutiny. Canada-based Rebel Media has a great video report, Palestinian Authority has been given enough money to equal 15 Marshall Plans -- with nothing to show for it:
    Over the last 20 years, various countries, including Canada, have invested over US$30B in the emerging Palestinian state, with little to show for it. Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice explains why. "The international community made a terrible mistake in 1994," Myers says. "In order to push for two states for two peoples, they recognized Yassir Arafat as the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people and helped him create the Palestinian Authority."

    Yesterday July 26, 2015, Jews worldwide marked Tisha B’Av, an annual fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples. The 37-acre Temple Mount compound (roughly about the size of 15 football stadiums) in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where the Temples once stood, is Judaism’s most holiest site. The Jewish Temple, replica Jerusalem The Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) has been the focus of Jewish longing for millennia. According to Jewish tradition, it’s the location in which God’s “shekhina” (presence) is thought to reside. The area is also considered sacred to Muslims who call it the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, and see it as the third holiest site in Islam. It is commonly considered the “furthermost sanctuary”—the site from which the Prophet Muhammad made his Night Journey to the Throne of God. Today it houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. [caption id="attachment_136002" align="alignnone" width="600"]The Dome of the Rock The Dome of the Rock[/caption] Tisha B’Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

    For the second time in a few weeks, India has abstained at the United Nations instead of voting on an Israel-related resolution. On July 3, 2015 India abstained from weighing in on a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel for 2014 Gaza conflict. The anti-Israel resolution passed with 47 votes in favour, with the US opposing, and India amongst 5 nations abstaining. Then on Monday, Israel unsuccessfully tried to table a resolution to challenge the official recognition of Hamas-linked NGO in the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is fair to ask: why abstain? Israel is one of India's leading defense partners, and an emerging trade partner. But considering the fact that until recently India was referred to as the "23rd Arab state" for siding with Arab-block on every anti-Israel resolution at the UN, this is a huge diplomatic shift for the world's largest democracy. Since India normalized diplomatic ties with the Jewish State in 1991, Israel has become India’s partner of choice when it comes modernizing the country’s military capabilities. The government is collaborating with Israel in agriculture, water management, and renewable and clean technologies; and India’s technology-driven IT giants have made significant investments in Israel’s innovation and startup ecosystem.

    According to Haaretz, the Palestinians have backed off their push to ban Israel from FIFA. Watch live: Haaretz reports:
    4:50 P.M: Palestinian soccer chief welcomes Eini's call for a handshake, but demands FIFA vote on compromise deal: "Let bygones be bygones," Rajoub said. FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the congress that at this point "there is no motion to ban any association from the league." 4:45 P.M. Palestinians introduce amended version of proposal, which drops demand for banning Israel from FIFA, but includes the formation of a committee to look into the freedom of movement for Palestinian soccer players, Israeli racism, and the status of Israeli league teams based in the West Bank.

    Today, a decade long court battled ended when two Palestinian organizations were found liable for knowingly supporting terrorist attacks which resulted in the death of American citizens. Benjamin Weiser reports for the New York Times:
    The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured. The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan awarded $218.5 million in damages, a number that is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the special terrorism law under which the case was brought. The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. And while the decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it also could serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces are directly tied to terrorism. The financial implications of the verdict for the defendants were not immediately clear. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, had serious financial troubles even before Israel, as punishment for the Palestinians’ move in December to join the International Criminal Court, began withholding more than $100 million a month in tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. The verdict came in the seventh week of a civil trial in which the jury had heard emotional testimony from survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Jerusalem, in which a total of 33 people were killed and more than 450 were injured.

    Israeli newspapers are reporting on the just disclosed coup attempt by Hamas to dislodge Fatah in the West Bank. The Times of Israel reported:
    The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of weapons that had been smuggled into the West Bank, and seized more than $170,000 aimed at funding attacks. It produced photos of the confiscated weapons and cash and a flowchart of the Hamas operatives who had been questioned, and said they planned a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, including the Temple Mount, in order to start a widespread conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects. Terror cells were set up in dozens of Palestinian West Bank towns and villages — including in and around Jenin, Nablus, eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron — the Shin Bet said.
    There were other details at Ynet:
    The plan called for using the intifada as cover to seize rule in Ramallah, which would have been led by the "Mohammed Deif of the West Bank" who currently operates out of Turkey. More than 70 indictments were served in recent days at military tribunals in the West Bank, and they expose the largest coordination effort Hamas has attempted in the area since Operation Defensive Shield more than a decade ago.
    The "Mohammed Deif of the West Bank" is Saleh al-Arouri who was also implicated in the planning of the kidnappings and killings of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel.

    1) When all else fails focus on Israel I'm not sure that the editors of the New York Times realized how absurd the title of this recent article on the Middle East sounded, Chaos in Middle East Grows as the U.S. Focuses on Israel. Surely everything...

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