Friday, July 01, 2016

01-Jul-16: The drive-by shooting near Otniel

The victims' vehicle flipped after the people inside came under
a massive hail of gun-fire [Image Source]
We know more now about the innocent victims of today's Arab-on-Israeli attack on a civilian vehicle and the civilians traveling in it near Otniel, south of Hebron. They are members of a single family.

Times of Israel says
An Israeli man was killed Friday afternoon and his wife was seriously hurt when their family car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron. The couple’s children were also hurt. A 14-year-old daughter was in moderate-to-serious condition and a 15-year-old son was lightly injured... The family’s car flipped over due to the attack, close to Beit Hagai on Route 60, the army said.
Israel National News adds that the
wife was seriously wounded in the attack, and was evacuated to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital with multiple gunshot wounds to her upper body... According to initial reports, a Kia sedan overtook the family as they drove along Route 60 and opened fire, striking both parents and causing the car to overturn. As many as 20 shots were fired at the car, investigators say. The victims are reportedly a well-known family from the area, who live close to another family struck by a deadly terrorist attack during the latest wave of Arab terror. IDF forces responded quickly and are currently pursuing the terrorists who carried out the attack.
Though no announcement of an official kind has been made yet about the identity of the family, names are being mentioned in corners of the social media and it does indeed appear the family are well-known, and connected with a major educational institution in the area of the attack.

01-Jul-16: An Israeli family, driving to their Sabbath destination, are the latest victims

From Times of Israel in the past few minutes (it's now 3:45 pm):
An Israeli man was killed Friday afternoon and a woman was seriously hurt when their family’s car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle. Their baby in the vehicle was lightly injured in the attack, near the West Bank city of Hebron. The car flipped over due to the attack close to Adurim Junction on Route 60. Two other people sustained light-to-moderate injuries, rescue personnel said. The dead man was in his 30s, according to the Magen David Adom rescue service. The 40-year-old woman was hit by gunfire and suffered from a head wound, the MDA said. It appeared as though the four victims were a family, the Walla news site reported... Security forces were searching the area for the perpetrators, the army said in a statement.
At Israel National News, they add that the injured woman was rushed to to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in serious condition, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, and was placed immediately on a respirator. The two other casualties from the drive-by shooting attack at Adorayim Junction are moderately and lightly wounded:
According to initial reports, terrorists opened fire on two Israeli civilian vehicles, striking both and causing one to overturn. IDF forces responded quickly and are currently pursuing the terrorists who carried out the attack.
Developing.

01-Jul-16: A Friday morning stabbing attack in Hebron is thwarted

From Menachem Kuchar's online album of copyrighted
and stunning Tomb of the Patriarchs images [Source]
From Ynet:
A female terrorist attempted to carry out a stabbing attack in Hebron on Friday morning when she produced a knife at one of the entrances to the Cave of the Patriarchs during a routine security check. Israel Border Police soldiers shot and neutralized the terrorist. No Israeli injuries were reported.
At Haaretz, they offer this news flash:
Initial report: Attempted stabbing attack in Hebron, assailant shot
Not much more from the Twitter account of the official spokesperson at Israel Police
Female Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab border policeman at Cave of Patriarchs, Hebron. Officer responds by shooting terrorist. [Posted about 10:00 am Friday morning]
Is she alive? We don't know.

Ma'an News Agency ["Palestinian woman in 'critical condition' after being shot by Israeli police in Hebron"] is allegedly saying that
Israeli forces Friday shot and "neutralized" a Palestinian woman who allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to an Israeli police spokesperson.
The attacker's knife [Source]
(A few minutes after we posted that Ma'an article, they allegedly changed it to say she's dead. Allegedly.)

Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks on worshipers and security personnel at the sacred and ancient Tomb of the Patriarchs are no longer a rarity.

UPDATE July 01, 2016 at 2:30 pm:

Keeping that last paragraph in mind, no one should be surprised by a flash from Israel National News posted at 12:30 pm this afternoon:
15-year-old Arab girl was arrested near the Cave of the Patriarchs after she aroused the suspicions of a Border Policeman. Upon searching her a knife was found in her bag.
And this.

Over at Ynet, they have the identity of the knife-woman whose attack on Israelis, thwarted this morning at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, ended in her death. They say she is Sara Hajaj, 27, from Hebron but previously from Bani Na'im. That's the hamlet from which the now-deceased young thug who broke into the home of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel on Thursday morning and slashed her to death as she slept, came from too.

It turns out too that, according to Ynet, the maiden name of this morning's now-dead female attacker is the same as the surname of yesterday's killer. This, in the way of the Palestinian Arabs, indicates they belong to the same clan. A study of the demographics of Bani Na'im (here) names seven clans to which most of its residents belong. One of those, Trayrah, is the clan of yesterday's murderer and today's attempted murderer.

01-Jul-16: Thursday evening Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack in Netanya

Netanya - an evening view, not from yesterday [Image Source]
It has been a day of turmoil, drama and tragedy.

In Netanya, the Mediterranean coast city of 200,000 some 30 km north of Tel Aviv, a Palestinian Arab man in his forties launched a stabbing attack - the second one to have seized Israel's headlines on Thursday - on Israelis shopping in the early evening.

The moral pygmies at the European-funded Ma'an News Agency call it "the second incident to result in a Palestinian being killed following an attack in less than 12 hours". We assume the various European governments who keep re-supplying the Ma'an financial budget since its inception are comfortable with that way of looking at a martyr-rich, jihad war - sorry, an "incident" - being waged against a civilian population.

The site of the armed attack on unarmed shoppers is a local outdoor produce market located near the intersection of Sheshet HaYamim and Shoham Streets near the city center. (Images here.) Times of Israel quotes police saying the attack was intended as an attack of terror.

Two people were stabbed and suffered injuries. One, evidently a Haredi man of about 40, has serious injures from multiple stab wounds to the upper body. (Knifing attacks by Arabs on Israelis are generally directed at the victims' upper bodies, especially the head.) We don't know his name at this stage.

The second victim is a woman of 62; her injuries are thankfully somewhat milder. She is identified by Israel National News as Luba Gadimov. Mrs Gadimov's daughter is being married today - Friday - and the mother is determined to be there. We wish the whole family much joy and good health.

Both victims were being treated last night at Netanya's Laniado Hospital.

Their attacker was shot dead at the scene by an alert armed security guard. The stabber's name, quoted by various media sources, is Wael Yousef Abu Saleh, 46. Numerous online Arabic-language news channels (for instance here) immediately conferred martyrdom on him, ensuring his act of attempted murder will now be added to Palestinian Arab tales of "glory" and UNRWA school curricula.

An Arab source says he was from the Shweika section of Tulkarem which Ha'aretz improbably calls "a Palestinian village just east of Netanya in the West Bank". Some village: the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said back in 2007 that Tulkarm had a population of 51,300 plus an additional 10,600 living in an what it terms an "adjacent refugee camp". The numbers are certain to have risen substantially n the past decade. There's a good chance the Ha'aretz editors have never been there or even gotten near.

In terms of the Oslo II Accord between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Tulkarem is in Area A, defined as being subject to "full civil and security control by the Palestinian Authority... Entry into this area is forbidden to all Israeli citizens." Also in Area A: Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho and 80 percent of Hebron.

Israel's Channel 2 News reported during the evening that there was an ongoing search for accomplices "after eyewitnesses told police the assailant was dropped off at the market moments before he began stabbing passers-by".

They are probably not looking inside the presidential compound in Ramallah. They certainly should.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

30-Jun-16: About the knives of the Palestinian Arabs (please pass this along)

If there were a way to have this video clip seen by everyone on all sides of the conflict who might benefit from it, the world would be a far, far better place - for us Israelis and our children, for the Palestinian Arabs and theirs, and for children everywhere.



Thank you, Lenny Ben David.

In respectful memory of a thirteen year old Jewish girl stabbed to death in her bed this morning at the hands of a jihad-minded assailant with a head full of the incitement depicted above. And in support of the heart-broken parents for whom an unwanted long journey starts today.

30-Jun-16: Their battlegrounds and ours

Bedroom of a child: Kiryat Arba, Israel, today
We just posted a brief report about a Palestinian Arab terror attack that put two Israelis - one a fifteen year old girl, the other an armed security man who stopped the attacker but not before being seriously stabbed himself - into hospital with life-threatening injuries. It's here: "30-Jun-16: Two Israelis fall victim to Arab knife-man in Kiryat Arba"

We wrote that 
terror of the kind that both Fatah and Hamas hypocritically called "crimes against humanity" yesterday ["Fatah, Hamas condemn attacks on Turkish airport", Ma'an News Agency, June 29, 2016] happens in places other than airports and train stations. Too often, as we have learned in the past two decades, it happens in the center of your home town. And it's always, but always, directly connected to incitement from some of the most protected parts of the Palestinian Arab world - especially its places of worship, its places of education and the luxurious offices of its self-pampering, kleptocratic political elite.
Someone from the Israeli military has just posted a heart-rending photo (above) of the scene of the attack this morning. No, it wasn't an Istanbul airport, or a Brussels train-station or a Florida dance club or a Paris theatre.

It's a child's bedroom.

The red material daubed all over the bed sheets and the floor and on the walls is exactly the thing we all fear to see in our worst nightmares.

The hatred that brings a person to slip a knife into his pants and trek over the hills to find an open front door and a Jewish child inside is from the same genre of bestiality that was splashed all over every news forum in the world in the past two days.

Now pause and think for a moment of the depths of the unspeakable hypocrisy that brings reporters, like those behind this piece of fluff ["Fatah, Hamas condemn attacks on Turkish airport", Ma'an News Agency, June 29, 2016] to straight-facedly write articles advertising how spokespeople for Hamas in Gaza and Fatah (headed by Mahmoud Abbas) from Ramallah declared the carnage at Istanbul's Ataturk airport as "a crime against humanity". And all the while, they celebrate - literally celebrate - the very same kind of act when it's directed at Jews.

A reasonable person could choke with disgust.

UPDATE Thursday June 30, 2016 at 11:15 am: With hands shaking at the keyboard, we pass along that the young victim of this morning's Palestinian Arab savagery has died of her injuries. This is what Times of Israel has just reported:
A 13-year-old girl died after being stabbed repeatedly by a Palestinian assailant who entered her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba Thursday morning. Another man was seriously wounded in the terror attack. The victim, Hallel Yaffe Ariel, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem unconscious, not breathing and in critical condition, where doctors said they were unable to save her... The Palestinian health ministry identified the attacker as Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 19 from Bani Naim, adjacent to Kiryat Arba. “The girl was unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing. She had a number of penetrating wounds on her upper body. We loaded her onto the ambulance while performing CPR. Her condition was very serious. The second victim we loaded into the ambulance and gave him life-saving first aid. He was fully conscious, speaking with us throughout the ride [to the hospital],” said Magen David Adom medic Dvorak Aviyad... Hospital officials later said [the wounded security guard] had been upgraded to moderate condition and was out of life-threatening danger.
Some Arabic-language sources are saying the murderer was not 19 but seventeen (here for instance). And we have already seen dozens of Arabic tweets in the past few minutes (here for instance) honoring him as a martyr.

30-Jun-16: Two Israelis fall victim to Arab knife-man in Kiryat Arba

An instance from an almost infinite choice of examples
of officially-sanctioned Palestinian Arab incitement to
murder Jews, preferably via the attackers' own two hands. 
Terror of the kind that both Fatah and Hamas hypocritically called "crimes against humanity" yesterday ["Fatah, Hamas condemn attacks on Turkish airport", Ma'an News Agency, June 29, 2016] happens in places other than airports and train stations.

Too often, as we have learned in the past two decades, it happens in the center of your home town. And it's always, but always, directly connected to incitement from some of the most protected parts of the Palestinian Arab world - especially its places of worship, its places of education and the luxurious offices of its self-pampering, kleptocratic political elite.

Two Israelis were attacked by a knife-wielding Palestinian Arab a short time ago, Thursday morning. One is a fifteen year-old girl. About the other, we know nothing at this stage. Both are being rushed into Jerusalem from the Kiryat Araba community, south of the capital, where the assailant launched his attempt at murder. He was shot dead trying.

From Israel National News:
One of the wounded is in serious condition, a second in critical condition. MDA emergency responders are on the scene treating the wounded. A Kiryat Arba spokesperson said the terrorist penetrated the town's security perimeter and entered the Ramat Mamre (Givat Harsina) neighborhood... Officials reported that the terrorist stabbed the 15-year old girl, then attacked a member of the local security squad who responded to the attack. The member of the security squad was wounded, but managed to shoot and kill the terrorist. The female victim, who is in critical condition, has been evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. The second victim, a male in his early 30s, has been transferred to Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem, and is in serious condition.
Social media sources say this is the private home in Kiryat Arba where
the knifer broke in and stabbed the Israeli girl. To be confirmed.
Times of Israel is working from slightly different facts. It says the knife-wielding attacker broke into a Kiryat Arba residence where he found and stabbed the teenage girl in the upper body. Upper body attacks have become part of the protocol for stabbing Israelis, as we have reported in the past. The second victim, evidently the one who killed the attacker, is said to be a thirty-year old male.

We will be adding to this report in the coming hours as we learn more. But at this stage we can say with utter confidence that neither Fatah nor Hamas will declare this cowardly knifing attack a crime against humanity.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

29-Jun-16: Footnotes to the Istanbul human-bomb horror

From ABC NEWS television coverage [here]
It's striking to read, on the morning after an awful massacre carried out by terrorists in one of the world's dozen busiest airports, that the first instinct of the politicians is to reach for a fig-leaf. And to be clear, it's surely not a uniquely-Turkish phenomenon.

What do we know now? According to Associated Press this morning
Suicide attackers killed dozens and wounded more than 140 at Istanbul's busy Ataturk Airport, as Turkish officials blamed Tuesday's massacre at the international terminal on three suspected Islamic State group militants. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 36 were dead as well as the three suicide bombers. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 147 were wounded. Another senior government official told The Associated Press the death toll could climb much higher...
Yildirim said the attackers arrived at the airport in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire... Another Turkish official said two of the attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international arrivals terminal after police fired at them, while the third blew himself up in the parking lot. The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, cited interior ministry information and said that none of the attackers managed to get past security checks at the terminal's entrance. Turkish airports have security checks at both the entrance of terminal buildings and then later before entry to departure gates...
Yildirim said there was no security lapse at the airport, but added the fact the attackers were carrying weapons "increased the severity" of the attack.
A BBC report today (archived here) points out that
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested the so-called Islamic State was behind the attack... Ataturk airport was long seen as a vulnerable target, our Turkey correspondent adds, reporting from a plane stuck on the tarmac in Istanbul. There are X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.
Children run out of the airport terminal to safety
[Image Source]
BBC also points out that a US state department travel warning for Turkey, originally published in March and updated just this past Monday
urges US citizens to "exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists."
Our hearts go out to the Turks (where one of our children acquired some first-rate professional training at an Istanbul university a few years back), especially to those hurt last night, and to the families of those who tragically will not be coming home. The process ahead of them, adjusting to life after being the targets of a terrorist attack, is not simple and comfort is likely to come only in the far-distant future, if ever.

To recap on the basis of the brief, but authoritative, reports above:
  1. Notwithstanding the horrific loss of life, "no security lapse" happened. 
  2. Very fortunately, none of the attackers managed to get past security checks at the terminal's entrance. That must have been a great relief, says nobody.
  3. Leaving aside the quality of the airport security arrangements, Ataturk airport security's checking of cars is "limited". (When the US very properly call for "heightened vigilance" by tourists, are we meant to know which airports adequately check incoming vehicles? How?)
  4. In some way that is somehow significant, the killers arrived by taxi. Are vigilant travelers expected to avoid airports that allow taxis to pull up at the terminal? (Does anyone have a list?)
  5. The attackers carried weapons and that "increased the severity". That might even be a reasonable observation until you start to ponder whether the authorities have an actual plan for preventing such weapons-borne atrocities in the future. 
  6. The terrorists carried bombs. We wish the news reports had said they were bombs - human bombs. That is what each of the three known attackers was. It's what they ought to be called.
Note that neither AP nor BBC mention "terror" or "jihad" even once, in accordance with addled editorial policies that contribute nothing to ordinary people's comprehension of the issue and, in our opinion, add to the likelihood of yet more lethal political decision-making in the future.

No report anywhere (at least none we have seen) calls the Istanbul attackers what they actually are: "human bombs". This is a mistake because whatever brought them to Ataturk last night, this was about murder; suicide was never their goal. That's true even if the nature of the ideology likely motivating them made them indifferent to the outcome so far as it affected their own well-being and lives.

Last night's horror was based not on the self-destructive motivations that characterize suicide but by a profound, overwhelming hatred, identifiable in many places inside and outside Turkey at this very moment. It stems as well from a theologically-inspired sense of massively-lethal religious mission - something that is being inculcated into millions of people's heads at this minute, right under our noses.

UPDATE June 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm: The toll keeps rising...
"At least 41 people were killed, 130 injured Tuesday in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's main Atatürk airport, in the latest deadly strike to rock Turkey's most-populated city, which had many similarities with the deadly attacks carried out in Brussels in March. Flights partially resumed in the airport on Wednesday morning, while many of the schedule flights were cancelled or delayed. Reports have said that one Ukrainian and one Iranian national was among those who were killed by the terrorist attack in the airport. Among the 37 identified victims were 10 foreign nationals and three dual citizens..." [Daily Sabah (Istanbul), today]

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

28-Jun-16: Is Iran now threatening more nuclear plotting?

Boroujerdi [Wikipedia]
Over at the Washington Free Beacon ["Iran Threatens to Restart Nuke Program", Adam Kredo, June 28, 2016] they are dissecting some Iranian moves that may produce an outbreak of red faces in numerous locations:
Iran on Tuesday threatened to restart its contested nuclear program in violation of last summer’s international agreement if the United States and other countries fail to move forward with a massive sanctions relief program aimed at bolstering the Iranian economy, according to comments by a top Iranian leader.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chair of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, warned that the Islamic Republic would “resume large-scale uranium enrichment” if leaders feel the international community is not doing enough for Iran under the nuclear deal.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to the other side’s non-compliance with the implementation of the nuclear deal will be uranium enrichment,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled press.
The comments come on the heels of a similar warning issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei earlier this month. Khamenei expressed outrage over comments by Republican leaders criticizing the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the deal. “We do not violate the [nuclear deal], but if the opposite party violates it and tears it apart as the U.S. presidential candidates state and threaten at present, then we will burn it,” Khamanei was quoted as saying. [Washington Free Beacon, today]
Boroujerdi has been chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly, the national parliament of Iran, according to Wikipedia, for the past eleven years. He's no side-show performer.

Almost a year ago, we posted here ["29-Jul-15: Built not on trust but on... verification"] about the odd and strikingly inaccurate ways in which the mainstream media was reporting on the exquisitely named Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, described by President Obama as a deal not built on trust, but on verification
Iran's foreign minister Zarif strikes a classic pose while
taking a break from talks with the Obama
administration in Vienna last July [Image Source]

We, but not the State Department, not the White House, not AFP, not Washington Post, not Times of India, not Deutsche Welle/German Radio, not Los Angeles Times, not The National (UAE), not USA Today, and not a host of other media channels, said (a) it's not an agreement, (b) it's not signed, and (c) Iran sees it as not binding on Iran

We, and none of the above, quoted a senior Iranian regime figure who said in blunt language back then what almost everyone in the West was trying hard, via omissions and mis-statements, to obscure:
[Discussing what president Obama has called snapback and "real consequences"] "Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the country will be able to “immediately” reverse its commitments under a final nuclear deal with world powers if it finds out that the other side has breached commitments under the [JCPOA]... Whenever Iran feels the other side has not honored its commitments, the “reversibility” of Tehran’s nuclear program will happen immediately, he said." [Tasnim News Agency, Iran, July 28, 2015]
Has that happened? Washington Free Beacon thinks so. For now, they and the rest of us can do little more right than watch closely and stay abreast of sources (like this one).

And remind ourselves that the Iranians have said from the outset that this was part of their plan.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

26-Jun-16: Confirmed: How US actions emboldened and empower the terrorists of Hezbollah

The foreign ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran
and the United States of America, together at a gathering
in Oslo eleven days ago [Image Source]
In a public speech broadcast on Friday and reported the following day, ["In first, Hezbollah confirms all financial support comes from Iran", Al Arabiya, June 25, 2016], the supreme head of the Lebanon-based terror organization Hezbollah made several revelations that ought to have an impact on how the world views the Iranian menace.

Figuring out who the terrorists are and what to do about them is, as we keep saying here, not such a straightforward thing. 

Hezbollah illustrates the point: it is formally classified as a terrorist organization by the Arab League, all the monarchic Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), United States, France, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, and Israel. 

On the other hand, the European Union, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have decided they view only its so-called military wing as terrorist; the rest of they are presumably OK with. Russia says Hezbollah is legitimate and China "remains neutral" [source; Wikipedia]. 

It's hard not to be deeply cynical about how diplomats and politicians, aware and informed of what the terrorists are doing with their improbably vast arsenal - currently estimated at  an astounding 150,000 rockets and ramping up - play games with people's lives.

Key points made in Hassan Nasrallah's Friday speech:
  • All its funding and all its arms come from the Islamic Republic of Iran...
  • And therefore US and other Hezbollah-directed sanctions will have no impact. 
  • "We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran..."
  • "As long as Iran has money, we have money..." 
  • "Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it."
This is startling in its bluntness. (As far as we know, no one from the White House or the State Department has responded to it yet.) 

The Al Arabiya report reminds us that Iran was instrumental in creating Hezbollah - oriented, like Iran, to the Shi'ite strand of Islam - 1982. Iran’s financial, military, intelligence, logistical and advisory help to Hezbollah has "well known" in the years since. Iran's Revolutionary Guard along with its Quds "elite" force transformed Hezbollah to become one of Iran’s most important and powerful regional and international proxies. 

So now we have public confirmation from an unimpeachable source that Hezbollah terror is fully funded, fully enabled and fully equipped by the money and the arsenal of Iran. As the principal beneficiary of Iran's tender attentions, there's no room for doubt on the matter. For perfectly understandable Arab/Iran reasons, Al Arabiya makes some effort to clarify how the actions of the current United States administration play into this Iran/Hezbollah reality. 

An American law, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, went into effect on December 18, 2015. It ambitiously targets banks and financial institutions that facilitate money transactions for Hezbollah. Its existence is probably one of the factors that brought the Hezbollah fuehrer to make his speech.

But the reality is that a very different US foreign policy initiative, the JCPOA is achieving pretty much the exact opposite effect. In the words of the Al Arabiya article
the US is now seemingly playing a critical role in assisting and facilitating the ways through which Hezbollah receives this significant aid from the Iranian government. The Obama administration and Hassan Rouhani ’s government were two key players in getting the nuclear agreement signed. When the nuclear terms started being implemented, the Obama administration began immediately transferring billions of dollars to Iran's Central Bank. One of the payments included 1.7 billion dollars transferred, in January 2015. Two of the major primary beneficiaries of these sanctions reliefs and flow of money are Hezbollah and the IRGC. Iran also immediately increased its military budget by $1.5 billion... Nasrallah’s speech also indicates that the US money transfer to Iran’s bank and the sanctions reliefs appear to have empowered and emboldened both the Iranian government and the Hezbollah leader… Thanks to Washington, the money that Iran is receiving from the US or the market is again going on its way to Hezbollah, the major benefactor.
If you're not deeply concerned about what this means and how it happened, you might not understand what terrorism does to civilized societies. And if you think it's a problem that impacts only Israel, you might not understand the Iranian game-plan. Here's a little suggested homework:

Friday, June 24, 2016

24-Jun-16: Vehicle ramming attack in Kiryat Arba: the assailant, a young woman again, is dead

The attack vehicle shortly after it and the young
driver were stopped in a hail of IDF bullets
A security camera video, posted in the past hour on YouTube, shows what the IDF is calling an apparent terror attack on an Israeli vehicle and the people inside, next to the hitch-hiking post at the entrance to the Israeli community of Kiryat Arba. The attack happened around 2:00 pm today.

Times of Israel reports that a Palestinian Arab woman
crashed her car into an Israeli vehicle in a likely car-ramming attack... A soldier who was nearby shot the driver, killing her, the military said, describing the incident as an “apparent” terror attack. An Israeli couple was hurt in the incident... The two Israelis, who are in their 50s, were lightly injured, according to the Magen David Adom emergency service. They were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center where they will stay through the weekend for observation, the hospital said.
Here's what security camera located at the traffic circle captured:


The Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency says 
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed her death, identifying her as Majd al-Khadour. Israeli sources said she was 18 years old... Some Palestinian social media outlets reported that eyewitnesses told them the incident appeared to be car accident, not a premeditated attack.
Fatah incitement: ""Run over, friend, run over
the foreign settler!" [Image Source: PMW]
As the video above indicates, the camera is also an eye-witness.

A campaign promoting vehicle rammings by Palestinian Arabs has been a feature of the Arab social media during the past 18 months. 

A Palestinian Media Watch article, "Abbas' Fatah encourages terror attacks by car" [PMW, November 6, 2014] includes some of the Twitter images and posters that deliver the message of redemption via vehicle ramming directly into the heads of young, impressionable Palestinian Arabs, presumably like this afternoon's young driver who is never going to reach her 19th birthday.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

23-Jun-16: Terror in Palestinian Arab society? What terror?

Source Page
Here's a postscript to "15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?".

Over on the Al-Monitor site, they put up an opinion piece a couple of days ago ["Poll: 65% of Palestinians want Abbas out"] that draws some conclusions from the same Palestinian Arab public opinion survey on which we based our comments. Only the conclusions they reached are quite different.

The Al-Monitor article, written by Ahmad Abu Amer ("a Palestinian writer and journalist who has been working in the field of journalism for nine years [with] a master’s degree from the Islamic University of Gaza"), focuses specifically on what the PSR poll, taken in the past month, says about Mahmoud Abbas' standing as president of the Palestinian Authority. The author gamely suggests the findings, that two-thirds of Palestinian Arabs want Abbas replaced "...were clear and surprising".

Clear, certainly. Surprising? Not so much. In its December 2014 poll, the same polling organization reported that the level of satisfaction with Abbas' performance had reached 35% (39% three months earlier). PSR produces polls about every three months, and Abbas' tanking support has been a factor for several years. Is this somehow related to his having been elected to a four year term of office as president in January 2005? Is the fact that no presidential elections have been called since then and don't seem to be on the horizon even now bothering the voters? We can only speculate.

But that's the less striking aspect of the Al-Monitor. By far more significant is what it says - correction, what it completely fails to say - about the deep attachment Palestinian Arabs have to terrorism. 

That prompted us to write this comment to the Al-Monitor editors earlier today:
The recent PSR poll says *much more* than this article describes. Yes, the Abbas leadership is overwhelmingly rejected by the electors as it has been for years. And clearly Abbas cannot possibly deliver the Palestinian Arabs a peace agreement of any kind - assuming he wanted to do that - because they don't accept his role as their negotiator. But what about *terror*? The PSR poll is filled with concrete data about Pal Arab enthusiasm for it. Yet there's not a single mention of that very central subject in the entire Al Monitor article. Why? The information is certainly available. You just have to want to look at it and understand what it means. Here's a taste: http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.com/2016/06/15-jun-16-what-do-palestinian-arabs.html
As of 4:30 pm this afternoon, it had not been published. We remain optimistic.

Even worse than the passion Palestinian Arab society has for bigotry, violence and terror directed at Jews, particularly Israeli Jews, is their utter failure to face up to what this does to them. The fact that most observers, in the region and beyond, Arab and non-Arab, don't know of this blood-lust or deny that it exists ensures that it will continue to exact a heavy price in lives and well-being on all sides of the conflict.

UPDATE 4:40 pm: Our comment on the Al-Monitor site is published. Thank you, editors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

21-Jun-16: Confronting terrorism and antisemitism in Sweden

Head offices of Swedish Television in Stockholm
[via Wikipedia]
We don't do this often but we are asking readers to please sign a petition.
The petition is here on the GoPetitions site. Read on to learn more.
A new documentary made by acclaimed Swedish filmmakers Bo Persson and Joanna Helander is shortly to be screened in the European Parliament. It has already been shown at a successful private screening in the Swedish parliament, at several international film festivals and before selected audiences in the United States and Europe.

Called "Watching the Moon at Night", the documentary of 90 minutes addresses in a lyrical and insightful way the intertwined issues of terrorism and antisemitism. (You can view a trailer here.)

We previously blogged about it ["13-Jan-15: Terrorism: watching its victims, trying to understand their experiences" and "28-Mar-16: Upcoming premiere screenings (NYC, Washington) of an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism"]

Inspired by some of the world's most eminent authorities in these two fields - among them Walter Laqueur, André Glucksmann and Robert S. Wistrich - its distinguishing feature is the sensitive and enlightening role it gives to the voices of the victims. They speak, in apolitical terms, of their awful personal experiences in a variety of places including Algeria, Spain, France, Moscow, Israel, New York, Colombia, Munich, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

The project began as a co-production of Kino Koszyk HB, Film i Väst (a regional Swedish film fund) and Sveriges Television with important support from the Swedish Film Institute. But Sveriges Television officials have now, shockingly, refused to allow it to be screened on TV in its home country.

Several reports in the mainstream Swedish and Danish media refer to political correctness and to a concern about a backlash (for showing a television documenary!) from certain corners.

Prominent Swedish commentators have called for this awful decision to be reversed. In these fraught and dangerous times, terrorism and antisemitism threaten the institutions of democracy everywhere. Attempting to hide this reality and distorting the public debate is the worst way to confront these threats when we should instead stand up for human rights and European values.

We are joining the call by distinguished Scandinavians and a growing circle of concerned Europeans to require the management of Sveriges Television to reverse its gagging of this important film, and to immediately schedule it for the widest possible television exposure in Sweden.

From "Watching the Moon at Night"
The silencing of this fine film (full disclosure: we play a small role in it) is an outrageous abuse of bureaucratic power, an act of thuggery dictated by unspoken and shameful motivations.

There's a new petition calling for the film to be shown in Sweden. Please go to the GoPetitions site and sign. And help get the word out. (We have more to say about this, and have been working on a longer piece. Hopefully we will get it out in the next day or two.)

21-Jun-16: Martyrs, rocks and firebombs: Scenes from an Israeli highway

When a rock hits a fast-moving car, the damage is certainly serious
enough to be lethal: Aftermath of last night's assault on Israeli
vehicles on Route 443 [Image Source: Haaretz this morning]
There are two major highways that connect Jerusalem with the coastal plain, Ben Gurion Airport and the Tel Aviv area. One is Highway One, currently undergoing a multi-billion shekel enlargement and refurbishment. The other is Route 443.

In the early hours of this morning. according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report quoting Israeli security officials, a gang of Palestinian Arabs hurled bottles, rocks and incendiary Molotov Cocktails at fast-moving vehicles on Route 443.
"An initial review suggests that as the mob continued, nearby forces acted in order to protect the additional passing vehicles from immediate danger and fired towards the assailants," a military statement said. "Forces confirmed hits resulting in the death of one of the attackers. At the moment I am aware of one other attacker that was wounded and treated by medical forces and later evacuated to hospital. Two additional suspects were arrested." [AFP via Times of India - today]
Though the AFP reporter says this happened "near the village of Beit Sira", the description suggests to us it happened where the highway passes just below the village of Beit Ur El Fauqua, population around 1,000 people. (An Israel National News report reaches the same conclusion this morning.) We ourselves have been hit by rocks while driving past that spot, as have many of our friends in the neighbourhood. It has a reputation as a source of lethal violence.

Palestinian Arab "security officials" told AFP the dead person is Mahmoud Badran, 20. Times of Israel ["Palestinian firebombs Israeli cars, is shot dead by IDF"] says he is a resident of Kafr Qadum, east of Qalqilya. It adds that two other Palestinian Arabs were "seriously injured", quoting the same Palestinian Arab source. 

Several vehicles driving in the early hours of Tuesday morning were damaged as a result of the Arab attack. Ynet's report says of the victims:
An Israeli and two foreigners in their twenties were lightly injured and taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center overnight Monday when rocks and Molotov Cocktails were hurled at a passing vehicle on Route 443. The terrorists also poured oil on the main road... IDF forces were called to the scene and shot at the terrorists, killing one of them and moderately-seriously wounding four others. Three were evacuated to a government hospital in Ramallah while the other was taken to Hadassah Ein Karem. Two suspects were arrested and taken in by the security forces for investigation.
Associated Press, unwisely (having regard to decades of Arab news-reporting history - this sort of partial and biased journalism didn't exactly begin yesterday) basing itself on an Arab version of events, says
"A Palestinian official says a 14-year-old Palestinian boy has been shot dead by Israeli troops. Wagie Ahmad, head of the Beit Our local council in the West Bank, says Mahmoud Badran was killed and four others were wounded early on Tuesday when their car was fired upon by a military patrol. The Ramallah hospital says another person was moderately wounded and three were lightly wounded. The Israeli military had no immediate response. Israeli media says the shooting took place after rocks were hurled at Israeli vehicles, wounding three."
Haaretz, no stranger to bizarre manipulation of facts if there's a greater need, offers this headline: "Two Tourists, One Israeli Wounded in Stone-throwing Incident Near Major Highway". The vehicles that were hit and damaged were on the major highway. So were the victims. The only part of this that was near the major highway was the gang of thugs with the firebombs, bucket of oil, rocks and evil murderous intentions. That's an odd reason to choose that way of describing where this attack happened.

The editors and reporters at the Palestinian Ma'an news service, not so surprisingly, have a substantially different version of who did what to whom.
"Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian [they offer a photo] and injured four other Palestinian teens early Tuesday morning in the village of Beit Ur al-Tahta in the central occupied West Bank, after they reportedly threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli settlers, lightly injuring them.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the death of Mahmoud Raafat Badran, and added that three of the Palestinian minors sustained serious injuries after being shot by Israeli forces in the head and chest, and were evacuated to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah City.
Initial reports said the fourth teen was taken to an unidentified Israeli hospital, but it was revealed later by Palestinian medical sources that he was detained by Israeli forces for interrogation.
Local sources in Beit Ur al-Tahta identified the three being treated in Ramallah as Dawood Isam Kharroub, his brother Muhammad, and Ahd Ikram Suleiman.
Local Palestinian sources said five teenage Palestinians were travelling in a car between Beit Ur al-Tahta and the nearby village of Beit Sira west of Ramallah when Israeli forces “showered” the vehicle with live fire, killing one and injuring four."
Amid the conflicting claims, we can safely express total confidence that the dead Palestinian Arab is either already a designated "martyr" or being upgraded to one at this very minute.

UPDATE Tuesday at 12:30 pm: Haaretz has an updated report now.
Palestinian Killed in Stone-throwing Incident Near Major Highway Was Likely a Bystander, IDF Says | 15-year-old Palestinian was killed and four were Palestinians wounded, three seriously, after two tourists and one Israeli were wounded along Israel's Route 443 | The 15-year-old Palestinian killed by Israeli military fire during a stone-throwing incident along a major highway was apparently a bystander near the site of the original incident, according to an IDF press release. According to the army, he was traveling by car with his family, according to an initial report conducted by the army that was released Tuesday morning. The investigation reported that stones and a firebomb were thrown at the highway leading from Jerusalem to Modi’in, near the village of Beit Sira, around 1 A.M. Oil was also spilled on the highway. The stones injured an Israeli citizen travelling on a bus as well as two tourists travelling by car. An officer and some soldiers from the Kfir Brigade serving in the vicinity were passing through. They noticed the injured and launched a hunt for the stone throwers. Gunfire was errantly shot at the car, in which the boy was a passenger, killing him, according to the report. Others wounded by gunfire were evacuated to a Ramallah hospital. The army still has been unable to say whether the injured include passers-by shot by accident or people connected to the stone throwing. The army said the investigation into the incident would continue in the Binyamin regional battalion serving in the Ramallah area. 
The Palestinian Authority identified the slain Palestinian as Mahmoud Rafat Mahmoud, a 15-year-old from the village of Beir Ur al-Tahta, west of Ramallah.  Abdul Karim Kassem, head of the village's local council of the Palestinian village of Beit Ore-Tahta, told Reuters that the wounded Palestinians were in a car "returning from a pool in a village near us when they came under fire." According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire, three of them seriously. Three of the wounded Palestinians were taken to a medical center in Ramallah, while the other remains hospitalized at Ein Karem. Two of the wounded are brothers, according to sources in the village. [Archived at 12:40 pm, June 21, 2016
UPDATE Tuesday June 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm:
From Reuters: "Israeli troops mistakenly killed a Palestinian bystander on Tuesday while responding with gunfire to a petrol bomb and rock attack on Israeli vehicles in the occupied West Bank, the military said. An earlier statement from the military had identified the Palestinian as an assailant. The mayor of his village said he was a 15-year-old. The military said several Palestinians threw petrol bombs and stones at vehicles, injuring three civilians, on a highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that traverses the West Bank... Troops gave chase and "after an initial inquiry, it appears that uninvolved bystanders were mistakenly hit during the pursuit," a military spokeswoman said, identifying one of them as the Palestinian killed in the incident. She said the military had opened an investigation... Abdul Karim Kassem, head of the local council of the Palestinian village of Beit Ore-Tahta, told Reuters that Mahmoud Badran, the teenager killed in the incident on Highway 443, was in a car with other passengers "returning from a pool in a village near us when they came under fire". Another Palestinian was wounded by Israeli gunfire and taken to hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The military said two additional suspects were arrested.
Who is the dead 20-year old mentioned in the AFP report above? At this point, anyone's guess.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?

Gazan Palestinian Arabs dance for joy as word gets out of a terrorist
massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue, November 18, 2014 [Image Source: AP]
Unless you make an effort to be an expert on these matters, it can seem confusing to get a grasp on the views Palestinian Arabs hold. But in reality it's really not that hard to get it right.

The difficulty doesn't stem from any lack of credible, unbiased data. Plenty of it is out there, and has been for years based on polls conducted by professional Arab organizations using solid polling techniques and respectable science.

The problems - and there are plenty - start with the fact that analysts tend to attribute views to the Palestinian Arabs based on speeches of prominent figures, interviews with officials and (forgive us) a degree of wishful, or even malicious, thinking. They end up being certain of things that look suspiciously unsupported. And those packaged statements of sentiment tend to get adopted at large.

For us, examining the data is better. We have posted here several times about poll data in the past and despite all the political correctness in the air, we believe it's hard to avoid reaching concrete fact-based conclusions. See:
For those of us hoping for peaceful relations and better lives for everyone impacted by the conflict, what the data show is depressing, frustrating, even chilling. Perhaps that's why they are quoted so rarely and taken into account so little. But that's self-defeating.

Here's the latest installment.

The current views of Palestinian Arabs are captured in a study that was released just a few days ago by a respected source. It's Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 60, made public last week by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), whose head is Dr. Khalil Shikaki. (PSR's previous findings take a central role in those earlier posts we listed above.) 

This latest poll was carried out between June 2 and June 4, 2016 via face-to-face (as distinct from phone) interviews among 1,270 adult Arabs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 127 randomly selected locations. (The margin of error is 3%.)
Shikaki [Image Source]

Leaving aside the numbers, the findings are sometimes expressed in ways that obscure rather than clarify. For instance, when the summary at the top of the report says the poll data show "a continued and significant drop, particularly in the West Bank, in support for stabbing attacks...", many will feel a flutter of optimism in our breasts. But then you look at the numbers and reality smacks you over the head. The pollsters measure a thing they awkwardly term "Support for use of knives in the current confrontations with Israel". On that, indeed, there's been a drop in the past 90 days. It's come tumbling down from 44% to 36% among West Bank Arabs. And from 82% to 75% in the Gaza Strip. 

Yes, technically a fall. But a solid majority continues to rule. 56% of the Arabs on the other side of the fence favour stabbing Jews to death (a blunter term - but frankly a more accurate one). 

Underlining the seriousness of that Palestinian Arab devotion to murder, support for a specific terror assault - the cowardly bombing attack on a Jerusalem city bus ["21-Apr-16: The Hamas jihadists claim the Jerusalem bus bombing as one of their own"] in the Talpiot neighbourhood of the capital, injuring some 20 ordinary Israelis - got support from 65% of the Palestinian Arab respondents. Translated into the realities of our daily lives: two out of every three Arabs we meet in Israeli hospitals and on our light rail commute are with the bombers. 

Amazing. Appalling.

If there's some logic to favoring bombings over knifings, the pollsters did not explore it or reveal what they learned. (We will get back to the distinction between general support and enthusiasm for a specific outrage in a few paras.)

Israelis frequently get told that Mahmoud Abbas, the extremely long-serving president of the Palestinian Authority. is a peace partner, the peace partner. This happens even though there has never been the smallest bit of actual evidence that he wants to reach a compromise settlement with the Israelis or capable of doing that given the belligerence among the people he rules. Israelis, acutely aware that Abbas is in the twelfth year of his four year elected term with no sign of anyone being able to get rid of him, see him as a man seriously lacking in support from his own ranks. 

Consistent with one after another past polls, the latest Palestinian Arab opinion poll numbers show
two thirds demand Abbas resignation, Fatah has not gained any additional support during the last three months, and a majority of Palestinians believes that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people... Level of satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas stands at 34%...
Dissatisfaction is related to the sense that Palestinian Arabs live lives mired in official corruption: 80% of them say they believe the PA's institutions are corrupt. The signs are they are astute enough to understand that press freedom is not going to make things better. Only 17% say there is press freedom in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, belief in freedom of the local press stands at 16%.

Abbas: A steady two-thirds of his constituency want to see him quit
and go home and take the corruption with him [Image Source]
Who will replace Abbas when, as he must, he eventually goes? Here's the current field: 
  1. Marwan Barghouti 30%
  2. Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas) 22%
  3. Rami al Hamdallah 6%
  4. Khalid Mashaal 5%
  5. Mustapha Barghouti 5%
  6. Mohammad Dahlan 5%
  7. Saeb Erekat 2%
  8. Salam Fayyad 2%
Any Israeli government making concessions to a political figure as despised and disregarded as Abbas is would be accused - justifiably in our eyes - of reckless mismanagement of their electoral mandate. 

The pollsters examined how Palestinian Arabs view next steps, on the demonstrably safe assumption of an "absence of peace negotiations". "Return to an armed intifada" gets 54%, compared with 56% three months ago. Are we closer to, or further away from, things getting worse?

More than half (56%) want the Palestinian Authority to abandon the Oslo agreement today (63% held that view 90 days ago). Walking away from the Oslo agreement gets slightly more support among West Bank Arabs (57%) than among Gazans (55%).

(And this side-issue: Which US presidential candidate is seen as better for the Palestinian Arabs? 12% say Clinton. 7% go for Trump.)

We quoted Dr Daniel Polisar when we last wrote about PSR opinion poll data [see "03-Nov-15: What do they mean when the Palestinian Arabs say they oppose terror?"]. We felt his views added a lot to our understanding, so we went looking again just now at his most recent analysis. 

Writing in the wake of last week's terror attack on the Sorona Market complex in central Tel Aviv ["Palestinian public opinion is behind Tel Aviv terror attack", Times of Israel, June 10, 2016], Dr Polisar makes some sharp observations about how Palestinian Arab public opinion has evolved in the past years. In our words, a summary of his views:
  • There is a clear pattern of what he terms "sympathy and even adulation" among ordinary Palestinian Arabs for bloody attacks directed at Jews. How this works - at the "in principle" level and when actual terrorist outrages are done - is truly disturbing.
  • In PSR’s September 2004 survey, in-principle support for armed attacks on Israeli civilians stood at 54%. When asked how they felt about a specific bombing attack carried out in Be'er Sheba a few weeks before the poll, an attack in which 16 Israelis were murdered, support for that specific outrage sky-rocketed to 77%. 
  • PSR's June 2006 poll found about a slightly higher level of general support for terror attacks on Israeli civilians: 56%. Questioned again about one specific terror bombing in Tel Aviv two months before, with a death toll of 11 Israelis, support zoomed to 69%.
  • PSR's March 2008 poll found general support for terror attacks on civilians reached an all-time high of 67%. There had been two Arab-on-Israel terror attacks just before the polling interviews. One was a bombing on Israelis in Dimona during February: 78% said they were in favor of that. Then there was a much more lethal terror attack on a high school for religious boys in Jerusalem [see "9-Mar-08: Terrorism. Their world. Our world."]: eight Israeli children were murdered. Support for that specific atrocity (unarmed children! in their school!) was measured at the stratospheric level of 84%. 
  • PSR stopped asking about specific terror attacks after that. (Perhaps they were embarrassed. Perhaps the results generated negative feedback.) 
  • Since August 2014, PSR has done eight more polls, each one including a question about Palestinian Arab attitudes to “attacks against Israeli civilians within Israel”. Each time, the majority expressed support.
In the March 2016 poll, the last time this question was asked, 60% of Palestinians backed Arab-on-Israeli-civilian terror attacks. Dr Polisar notes, and most of us would probably agree, that there are
good reasons to expect, or at least to hope, that support for a concrete case of violence would be lower than for attacks against civilians in general. After all, it is one thing to favor in principle the use of bombs or guns against Israeli civilians and something else, after seeing coverage of the grisly results of a particular suicide-bombing, to declare one’s support. But in practice, the opposite effect can be observed...  Disturbingly, this pattern has been consistent during the past decade and a half, with only a brief exception, as high percentages of Palestinians have supported terror attacks on Israeli civilians in general, while even higher percentages have backed specific bombings and shootings that killed and wounded Israelis.
Here's what we said when we last looked at the poll numbers. We believe, and the polling data bear it out consistently over years, that when columnists and analysts speak of the desire of Palestinian Arabs to live in peace, to get on with ordinary, quiet, constructive lives - as compelling as this interpretation is, the data don't support it. It's, to put it kindly, wishful thinking unsupported by any evidence and contradicted by what we can measure based on Arab pollsters. 

Anyone paying attention to the incitement pumped, generation after generation, into their communities and heads will not be surprised. What the people living on the other side of the fence are saying is clear, credible and measurable. Being optimistic about the prospects for the sort of painful compromise that leads to peaceful relations is counterfactual and foolish, as much as we wish it were otherwise

That's a message we wish the public figures pushing their literally-hopeless "peace plans" would internalize. (And no, we have not given up hope of something better ahead, but specific things must happen first, all of them connected to how Palestinian Arab children are educated.)