Israel Briefs 2-14-12

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Fatah glorifies terror on Facebook

Click photo to download. Caption: This photo glorifying a terrorist operation that killed 11 Israelis was posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah. Credit: Palestinian Media Watch.A photo glorifying a terrorist operation that killed 11 Israelis was posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah.

The photo was a poster showing pictures of eight terrorists who attacked the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1975. The text on the poster read “The Tel Aviv operation, March 6, 1975, the Palestinian passage to the homeland,” while underneath stating “The heroic Shahid (Martyr),” followed by the terrorist’s name.

Fatah’s posting is the latest example of anti-Israel activity on Facebook, following the previous week’s appearance of a fake photo that was said to show an Israeli soldier stepping on a young girl lying on the ground and pointing a weapon at her.

—JointMedia News Service

Report: UNESCO concern bumps two Jewish holy sites from heritage program

Amid reports that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb—Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria—will be omitted from Israel’s list of national heritage sites due to UNESCO’s concern, Science and Technology Minister Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz called the omission “like denying our elementary heritage.”

“They are the burial place of our three fathers and four mothers,” Army Radio quoted Hershkowitz as writing to Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser. “The state of Israel extracts its entire heritage from these sites.”

Click photo to download. Caption: Prayers on the men's side of Rachel's Tomb. Credit: PD.In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu included both the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb on a list sites slated for rehabilitation and renovation as part of Israel’s National Heritage Program. However, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed concern that inclusion of the two sensitive sites would escalate tensions in the region.

Additionally, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said the sites were “of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam and to Christianity as well.” Now, the two sites have reportedly been omitted by a prioritization committee.

—JointMedia News Service

Abbas: We won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state

The Palestinians will not give in to Israeli demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday, in a pointed attack against Israel during a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

According to Israel Radio, Abbas said that were the Palestinians to agree to this requirement, Palestinian “refugees” would not be allowed to return to Israel as part of a future agreement, and some million and a half Arab citizens of Israel would have little say in shaping the country’s affairs. Israeli Arabs have previously challenged Israel’s Jewish identity by calling for it to become a “state of all its citizens.”

Abbas said he intended to send a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlining his demands for resuming to negotiations, which included basing talks on 1967 lines, an immediate halt to construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem, and the release of Palestinian political prisoners, including those jailed during the Second Intifada.

Abbas warned that should Netanyahu refuse to negotiate based on these parameters, the Palestinians would renew their campaign to isolate Israel diplomatically and would resume unilateral efforts to seek recognition for an independent Palestinian state at UN institutions.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Israeli soldiers remain vulnerable to kidnapping

Terrorists have attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers in northern Israel at least five times since Gilad Shalit was released last October, IDF officials said, according to Israel National News.

“You can see a direct correlation between the return of Shalit and kidnapping attempts...The terrorist organizations know that Israel is willing to pay high prices for the return a soldier and their motivation to kidnap a soldier is very high,” said IDF Northern Command Provost Marshal Lt Colonel Nir Golan.

In areas where there is little effective public transportation, IDF soldiers are especially vulnerable because they are forced to walk and hitchhike, he added.

“There are many disturbing trends and incidents that indicate intent to kidnap our soldiers and we continue to refine our procedures,” said Ministry of Defense Operations Director Maj. Gen. Shmulik Calmi.

—JointMedia News Service

Fearing Muslim violence, police again bar entry to Temple Mount for non-Muslims

Click photo to download. Caption: The Temple Mount. Credit: PD.Jerusalem Police on Sunday again barred entry to the Temple Mount to all non-Muslims, citing the latest case of potential anti-Jewish incitement, according to Israel Radio.

The announcement came after Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction in the Likud party, said that he intended to go up to the Temple Mount on Sunday, something he claims to have done on the 19th of every Jewish month for the past 10 years.

According to the Israel Radio report, police said they will not allow any religious representative to use the Temple Mount or Western Wall for political means. The Temple Mount is one of Jerusalem’s most sensitive sites and has often been a flashpoint for Arab voilence against Jews. The 2001 visit to the Temple Mount by then MK Ariel Sharon is credited with being one of the main catalysts of the Second Intifada.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Israel and Iranian resistance group deny collaboration

U.S. officials have said a group responsible for the deaths of several Iranian nuclear scientists is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, a claim that both the Iranian group and the Israeli government deny, MSNBC reported.

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. government and is blamed for the killing of American military members and contractors in the 1970s, and also for the killings of five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007. The American officials, who wouldn’t identify themselves, said that the government knows Israel is behind the group.

The Iranians also claim that Mossad is providing financial, logistical and recruiting support to MEK. They say the Mossad also trains group members in using motorcycles and small bombs on its own soil. “The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

Israel’s foreign ministry refused to comment, saying only that until further evidence is provided, it is not willing to discuss rumors. However, the MEK itself is denying the allegations. “There has never been and there is no MEK member in Israel, period. The MEK has categorically denied any involvement. The idea that Israel is training MEK members on its soil borders on perversity. It is absolutely and completely false,” said Representative Ali Safavi.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on February 13, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel.