News Digest — 3/13/19

Givat Asaf Shooter Indicted For Murder Of IDF Soldiers, Baby

A Palestinian was indicted in the Judea Military Court on Monday (11th) for murdering two IDF soldiers and a baby, and for around a dozen attempted murder counts in a series of horrific terror attacks in the West Bank against Israelis in December.

Assam Omar Tzalach Barghouti is accused of killing Staff Sgt. Yuval Mor Yosef, 20, of Ashkelon and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19, of Beit Shemesh.  In the incident, Barghouti got out of his car and mowed them down with gunfire as they stood at a bus stop near Route 60 at the T-junction, outside the outpost of Givat Asaf in the Binyamin region.

There was a spike in Palestinian attacks on Israelis that day and around that time, but it was the Givat Asaf attack on December 13 that struck a more emotional note.  It came after the late night funeral of a three-day old baby boy born prematurely as the result of a drive-by shooting also by Barghouti at a bus stop outside the Ofra settlement.  The December 9 shooting injured seven, including the baby’s parents, Shira and Amichai Ish Ran.

Barghouti perpetuated the attacks only six months after being released from having served an 11-year prison sentence for attempted kidnappings.



The UN Human Rights Council Report On Israel’s Response To The Gaza Border Riots – Amb. Alan Baker

→Where the UN Human Rights Council is concerned, there can be no such thing as an “independent” commission of inquiry.  The outcome of the commission’s inquiry was determined in advance by its mandating resolution, which condemned in its first paragraph “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians…in the context of peaceful protests.”

→The commission uses the term “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in the title of the report, which wrongfully assumes and determines that the territory is Palestinian, despite the fact that its status remains in dispute pending a negotiated settlement between Israel and the PLO pursuant to the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords.

→Even more absurd is the fact that the commission’s report determined that the Gaza Strip is part of the territories occupied by Israel, even though Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the report acknowledges that the Gaza Strip is governed by “de facto authorities in Gaza.”

→To accept that the protests are “non-violent” and “fully peaceful” shows a lack of awareness of the extent of the violence of the demonstrations and public statements by senior Hamas operatives and demonstration organizers inciting violence, assaulting the separation fence, infiltrating into Israeli territory, and seeking to kill Israelis.


→MEMRI quotes Emad ‘Aql, of Gaza, who tweeted: “[The Israeli town of ] Sderot is only 700 meters east of [the Palestinian town of] Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza….[the town] can be reached in two minutes on motorcycles or in 5-8 minutes at a brisk run.”  He urges: “Murder, slaughter, burn and never show them any mercy.”


→An extensive professional analysis of the identities of those Palestinians killed during the protests found that 80% were terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organizations, mostly from Hamas.  This demonstrates that the marches were not “popular” events but rather Hamas strategic moves accompanied by preplanned violence.

Amb. Alan Baker, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Hamas Further Sidelined By Appointment Of New PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh

RAMALLAH – Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday (10th) named veteran politician Mohammad Shtayyeh to be his new prime minister.

Born in Nablus in 1958, he studied at Birzeit University where he completed a PHD in economics and became a lecturer.

Since then he has spent much of his time working alongside Abbas, with whom he has a close relationship.

He has served as a minister twice in previous Palestinian governments, as well as holding major roles in economic development initiatives.

Shtayyeh replaces Rami Hamdallah, who had been prime minister since 2014.

Unlike his predecessors, Hamdallah and Salam Fayyad, who were politically independent, Shtayyeh comes from Fatah, Abbas’ political party.

Analysts see the new government as being more homogeneous because it will be dominated by Fatah, while its predecessors drew support from all parties.

In particular, its formation will further sideline Islamist Hamas, the other Palestinian faction that rules the Gaza Strip.



U.S. Accuses Palestinians Of Manufacturing Crisis Over Israel’s Decision To Deduct Payments To Terrorists – Adam Kredo

U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt rebuked the Palestinian Authority and UN members who he said are enabling the PA to continue paying salaries to terrorists who have killed Jews, at a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on Friday (8th).

“It is astonishing that in the year 2019, the Palestinian Authority has not yet taken any steps to end these morally repugnant payments,” Greenblatt said.  “It is bewildering that the international community has not been more vocal in condemning this practice. If your citizens were being routinely attacked by terrorists, which of you would tolerate a reward system that compensated the attackers for their crimes?  How can we possibly censure Israel for taking the same stance.”

“The system the Palestinian Authority has set up to make payments to terrorists and their families is not a social welfare system, no matter how inaccurately it is described.  The system created by the Palestinian Authority only creates incentives for further acts of terrorism.”

“It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis.  Israel is withholding 5-7% of monthly clearance revenues….It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to reject all remaining clearance revenues, which amount to up to 95% of the revenues to which they are entitled.  The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept over $150 million in revenue to protest the fact that $11 million is being withheld, only to make a political point….Let’s not kid ourselves. The small percentage of revenue transfers that is being withheld by Israel is not what is causing the crisis.”

“Plainly put: the system rewards terrorism.  That is why President Trump signed into law the Taylor Force Act, which makes clear that the United States absolutely, without qualification, rejects payments rewarding terrorism….The Palestinian Authority’s institutionalization of support for terrorism is unacceptable and must be called out, unequivocally, by all of us.  The time has come for everyone to stop looking the other way.”



Trump Ally Graham Says He’ll Lobby White House For Golan Recognition

US Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday (11th) vowed to push for American recognition of Israel’s control over the Golan Heights, in a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested was aligned with US President Donald Trump’s Israel-supportive policies.

Netanyahu, earlier in the day toured the strategic plateau bordering Syria, captured in 1967, with the South Carolina senator and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Following the visit, Graham said he aims “to persuade the administration to change the designation from ‘disputed’ to the ‘Golan is not disputed.’”

“Strategically, I am standing on one of the most important pieces of ground in the State of Israel, and who would you give it back to?” Graham asked, standing alongside Netanyahu and Friedman.

“You’re not going to give it to Assad, Iran or Russia – the idea of this territory going to somebody else is off the table,” he added.

Graham’s comments were applauded by Netanyahu.

“What you heard here from Senator Graham are very strong statements that express US policy of support for Israel.  I was very happy to hear him – so very promising for Israel’s national security.”