“Maybe, he’s just not that into you” (& French diplomat punches Israeli soldier)

September 25, 2013

A French diplomat lashes out an Israeli soldier in an unprovoked attack. The Israeli soldier did not respond.


* While praising President Rouhani, the New York Times fails to report that Rouhani attended a military event calling for Israel’s destruction just before leaving for his UN visit.

* The Economist magazine’s cover story: “The deal over Syria’s chemical weapons marks a low for those who cherish freedom.”

* The father of a Palestinian man who murdered a young Israeli last weekend says of his son “He’s no hero. He’s a coward,” while “moderate” Palestinian Authority leaders praise the killing in Arabic.

* “Like Arafat before him, Abbas does not issue written guidelines. He has used winks and nods from the right quarters to generate a permissive climate for terrorist action.”


* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please also press “Like” on that page.



1. Angry protests by Israel, after French diplomat punches Israeli soldier
2. France: Record number of evictions of Roma
3. Worth watching: anatomy of a war crime
4. Apple’s new Operating System separates Jerusalem from Israel
5. 25 Palestinian women murdered in honor crimes so far this year
6. Father of Palestinian who murdered young Israeli says he would kill son
7. By contrast, Palestinian Authority officials refuse to condemn murders of Israelis
8. Seven Israeli ministers call on Netanyahu to end prisoner releases
9. One killed after rocket attack in Ankara
10. A Linked-in spoof profile of President Rouhani
11. Egypt outlaws Muslim Brotherhood, which moves its HQ to London
12. Cairo warns Hamas it may hit it hard militarily
13. Amid a rising tide of xenophobia in Egypt, a Frenchman is the latest to be beaten to death
14. “He’s Just Not That Into You” (Wall Street Journal editorial, Sept. 25, 2013)

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


Tensions between Israel and the European Union have increased after a French diplomat -- sheltering behind her diplomatic immunity -- hit a young Israeli soldier in an unprovoked attack.

The French diplomat Marion Castaing can be seen striking an Israeli soldier in this video:

The Israeli soldier did not respond and maintained his calm.

The incident occurred after a group of European diplomats (some of which Israel says behave more like anti-Israel activists than like diplomats) interfered with an Israeli attempt to dismantle an illegally built Bedouin encampment. The encampment was ordered to be dismantled after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the structures were built without permits and were dangerously constructed.

Israel’s foreign ministry said it was incensed after the EU’s High Commissioner Baroness Ashton and Commissioner Georgieva stood by the French diplomat despite her act of violence.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “Diplomats are sent by their governments to be a bridge and not act as provocateurs. The European diplomats and their governments owe an explanation to this blatant violation of diplomatic codes of conduct. Israel has already made it clear that it will not accept this misconduct. Israel’s response will reflect the seriousness of these violations.”



In a press release yesterday titled “France: Record number of evictions of Roma,” Amnesty International, said:

“The French government has failed to end the vicious circle of repeated forced evictions of Roma which have now reached record numbers, Amnesty International said in a report published today. The organization is calling for a ban on all forced evictions. More than 10,000 Roma were evicted from informal settlements during the first half of 2013. Roma people are condemned to a life of constant insecurity, and forced to wander from one of makeshift camp to another.”

Tom Gross adds: Almost all the Roma in question are European Union citizens and yet most French and EU diplomats have not raised a peep in protest.



In one of many massacres of men, women and children by the Assad regime in Syria, in May 2013 at least 169 people, including many women and children, were killed in the Syrian town of al-Bayda.

Britain’s Channel 4 news has now produced a detailed investigative news report on this massacre and I think it is well worth watching when you have time:



Referring to a separate massacre ordered by Bashar Assad, The Economist magazine’s cover story this week notes that: “The deal over Syria’s chemical weapons marks a low for those who cherish freedom.”

In any case, it is doubtful that the deal will even be signed and then properly implemented. Bickering between the United States and Russia is delaying the passing of a Security Council resolution backing-up the plan to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. The actual mission of gathering the weapons would be carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, but it cannot begin the process until the Security Council agrees. An OPCW meeting planned for this week is now expected to be postponed.



The “world clock” on Apple’s newly released iOS 7 operating system shows Jerusalem as a stateless city, removing any references to Israel.

The move has already led many to protest to Apple.

All other cities in the world (apart from Taipei), including dozens of contested cities, are listed with their country.

Others have also tried to claim that Jerusalem isn’t in Israel. Last year, the official website of the London 2012 Olympics published country profiles showing Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, but listed no capital for Israel. The Olympic website subsequently corrected the error. (See the graphic here for more.)

And last year, the Guardian newspaper “corrected” its caption which had listed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying that the paper meant to say Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem has, of course, been the capital of the modern state of Israel since its independence in 1948, and the capital of the land of Israel for over 3000 years. Tel Aviv has never been the capital of Israel except in the minds of some staff at The Guardian and elsewhere.

In 2000, CNN.com was criticized for listing on its weather map Jerusalem without a country designation. CNN corrected the error and today lists Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.



The Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling this week said that 25 Palestinian women have been killed by family member so far this year in the West Bank, a significant increase over 2012, when 13 women were murdered in honor killings, and 2011, when four women were killed. (The figures do not include Gaza.)

The latest victim, Thamar Zeidan, was found strangled on Saturday in a village near Tulkarem, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Her father has confessed to the murder.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported that Thamar was forcibly married when she was aged 15, and wanted to get divorced.



The father of a Palestinian man who confessed to kidnapping and killing an unarmed off-duty Israeli soldier last weekend expressed anger over his son’s actions, saying he would even kill his son if he could.

“He’s no hero. He’s a coward,” said Abdullah Amar of his son Nidal, 42, who killed Tomer Hazan, 20, and planned to use the corpse to extort his brother’s release.

Nidal Amar admits luring Tomer Hazan away from the Israeli seaside town of Bat Yam (where both worked in a restaurant and where Hazan lived) to the Palestinian village of Beit Amin, and then killing Hazan. Amar said he planned to use his body as a bargaining chip for the release of his brother, who is a convicted terrorist, serving time in an Israeli jail for helping to murder several Israelis.

The Amar family compound is only about 35 meters from the West Bank security barrier and Amar had asked Hazan for a ride home from work. Hazan’s girlfriend said that Amar had attempted to lure other Israelis to the territories in the past.

“He didn’t mark out Tomer immediately. He tried to abduct other people first, but it seems that Tomer was taken in because he’s naive,” she said.

Abdullah Amar, the killer’s father, said: “I and all my family, from the youngest to the eldest, condemn the murder of a man who came here without a weapon.”

“My son killed a man for no reason. This is no act of heroism. If an Israeli kills an unarmed Palestinian, would we call him a hero? And if a Palestinian who murdered an Israeli citizen was killed, would we say he’s a hero? I see nothing heroic about this.”

The killer has a wife and eight children.



Taking a different approach from the killer’s father, senior officials from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s “moderate” ruling Fatah party refused to condemn the murder of Tomer Hazan, or the murder on Sunday of another young Israeli soldier Gal Gabriel Kobi, also aged 20 (from the Western Galilee town of Tirat Hacarmel) – who was shot by a Palestinian sniper.

Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki was among those who justified the shooting. And a Hamas parliament member in Gaza, Mushir al-Masri, praised the killings in Facebook comments on Monday, Israel Radio reported.

Palestinian President Abbas – Israel’s supposed peace partner – also refused to condemn either of the murders in Arabic but finally did so in New York on Monday, when he attended a dinner hosted for him by Jewish and left-wing leaders and was specifically asked to condemn the murders by former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. The U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace negotiations Martin Indyk was also at the dinner.

One commentator said: “Like Arafat before him, Abbas does not issue written guidelines. He has used winks and nods from the right quarters to generate a permissive climate for terrorist action.”



Following the latest murders of Israelis – both carried out by Fatah members with the seeming approval of the Fatah leadership – seven Israeli cabinet ministers, led by Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consider halting the policy of releasing terrorists as part of ongoing U.S.-led peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

“We must get rid of the impression that killers can suddenly be released one day,” Bennett said.

Under pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama, Netanyahu ordered the release of 104 convicted terrorists in several stages, and last week it was reported that the government is considering letting another 250 out of jail.


See here for more:

Holocaust survivor’s killer receives hero’s welcome in West Bank



Turkish authorities on Sunday killed a suspected assailant and injured another after a rocket attack on two police buildings in the capital Ankara.

The state-run Anadoglu news agency said the rockets, fired on Friday night, damaged one of the buildings but did not cause injuries. An official said it was “a miracle” that no one was hurt in the attack.

Over 5,000 police officers participated in the hunt for the attackers, who fled the scene on foot. Authorities believe that the attackers were members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, a far-left group that is internationally condemned as a terrorist organization.



Here is the latest satire (mimicking the internet site Linked-In) to make fun of the Iranian regime’s new “moderate president”:



President Hassan Rouhani was denounced for playing the “victim card” again yesterday, after he claimed to the United Nations General Assembly that Iran is being persecuted by the international community. In fact Iran is the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, and is also directing and participating in some of the most extreme violence in Syria and other places.

Rouhani’s propagation of extremist positions is much more subtle than that of his predecessor, President Ahmadinejad.

For example, when asked “Was the Holocaust real?” he reportedly replied: “I am not a historian.”

Ha’aretz also reports today that Rouhani attended an event calling for Israel’s destruction just before leaving for his UN visit.



In a move that may lead to renewed violence, an Egyptian court has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and seized all its assets, including those of its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party. The order is being appealed.

Such a move may drive the Muslim Brotherhood underground and lead to increased acts of terrorism.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it will relocate its headquarters to the British capital, London.



The Egyptian army has also warned Hamas in Gaza that it will strike against it militarily if it violates Egyptian security by assisting the Islamist groups in their continuing acts of terror in the northern Sinai.

A spokesman in Cairo warned Hamas that any action by the Egyptian militarily will make previous Israeli actions against Hamas “seem like a tea party”.



Eric Lang, a French schoolteacher who has lived in Egypt for many years, was beaten to death by inmates in a Cairo police station. Lang, 49, was arrested by police on September 6 after failing to produce a residency paper when he was out walking in the street. Police then placed him in a cell with hardened criminals, who beat him to death. (The news was reported in the Arabic and some western media but, surprisingly, received almost no press coverage in France, my French correspondents tell me.)

Several other Westerners have also been detained and are presently being held in Cairo jails.

Some Egyptian TV chat show hosts have fanned the flames of violence on a nightly basis, vilifying western governments and people for failing to give wholesale approval to the army’s crackdown against the ousted Muslim Brotherhood government.


I attach the editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal below.

-- Tom Gross


He’s Just Not That Into You
Iran’s president can’t even find a way to shake an eager Obama’s hand.
Wall Street Journal (editorial)
September 25, 2013

As diplomatic humiliations go, Hassan Rouhani’s refusal to accept President Obama’s offer of an informal “encounter” and historic photo-op at Tuesday’s meeting of the U.N. General Assembly may not be the most consequential. But it is among the most telling.

This isn’t the first time an Iranian president has left his U.S. counterpart cooling his heels at Turtle Bay. In 2000, Bill Clinton sought a meeting at a U.N. luncheon with then-Iranian president Mohammed Khatami, another reputed moderate, who also declined the opportunity of an American handshake.

Back then, the explanation for Mr. Khatami’s refusal was that internal Iranian politics would not have allowed it. On Tuesday, a senior Obama Administration official peddled a similar line after the Rouhani snub, telling reporters that Iranians “have an internal dynamic that they have to manage.”

That’s one way of putting it. Another way is that Iran’s ruling clerics and Revolutionary Guard Corps remain ideologically incapable of reconciling themselves to the Great Satan. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who reviews the 34-year-history of Iranian rebuffs to American diplomatic overtures, which makes the U.S. embarrassment on Tuesday all the more acute.

For days before the U.N. conclave, White House aides had broadcast the President’s desire to shake Mr. Rouhani’s hand. By Monday, the press was overflowing with leaked accounts of where and how it would happen. Having thus turned down the lights and turned up the mood music, it made the snub that followed especially potent. What the Administration is trying to spin as a function of complex Iranian politics was, in blunt fact, an expression of lordly contempt for what Iranian leaders consider to be an overeager suitor from an unworthy nation.

The contempt showed even more strongly in Mr. Rouhani’s speech. That came a few hours after Mr. Obama’s morning speech, in which the American promised Iran that “we are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”

To that olive branch, Mr. Rouhani responded by denouncing international sanctions as “violence, pure and simple,” warning against the influence of “warmongering pressure groups” (no mystery as to who he has in mind there), and offering “time-bound” negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue. As Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren has pointed out, the offer that talks should be “time-bound” makes no sense if Iran is sincere about never developing nuclear weapons. But Iran’s record over three decades is that it is not sincere.

In his speech, Mr. Obama reiterated that “we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction.” It could not have been lost on the Iranians that Mr. Obama is in the process of tolerating exactly that in Syria. Mr. Obama also said that it is “in the security interest of the United States and the world to meaningfully enforce a prohibition” against the use of chemical weapons. But the lack of meaningful enforcement has been the President’s policy for nearly a year.

Politics in the normal sense doesn’t exist in Tehran, where the rules are set and the players chosen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who is accountable to nobody. What Iran’s leaders do understand is how to humiliate adversaries they consider to be weak. We hope Mr. Obama appreciates how he has been schooled.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.