Syria appears to export products using Israeli ZIM containers
Below are a number of items from around the Middle East.
There is a separate dispatch today with items mainly concerning Israel, which you can read here: Islamic preacher: Jews should be allowed on Temple Mount (& CIA advice for spies)
-- Tom Gross
* Please “like” these dispatches on Facebook here www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia, where you can also find other items that are not in these dispatches.
1. Syria: Government News Agency features Israeli containers at port
2. Turkey: As Arabs shun Hamas, Meshaal and Erdogan cozy up
3. Iran: Hamas leader Meshaal to visit Tehran
4. Egypt prepares to destroy Palestinian 1,200 homes next to Gaza
5. “Israelis ask Egyptians to redraw border a bit”
6. Sinai: Militant attacks continue
7. Gaza: Explosion hits beauty salon
8. Saudi: Woman jailed for joke about beard; Egypt: Journalist to face trial for “insulting Islam”
9. Saudi: Government press says U.S. established ISIS to further its own regional aims
10. Syria: “Rebels increasingly joining ISIS for financial reasons”
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
SYRIAN GOVERNMENT NEWS AGENCY FEATURES ISRAELI CONTAINERS AT PORT
This article from December 27, 2014, on the website of the official Syrian News Agency SANA, is illustrated with a stack of Israeli ZIM Lines containers at a port:
The SANA article is about Syrian exports “whose certificates of origin have been ratified by Damascus Chamber of Industry being exported to Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy.”
It is ironic that even the Assad regime appears to be using Israel’s ZIM lines (one of the best) while anti-Israeli protestors in America and elsewhere are calling for a boycott of ZIM. In September, protestors in Oakland, California, prevented ZIM from unloading cargo.
At the present time, SANA has left the ZIM photo up, but in case the Syrian regime now removes it, at the top of this webpage is a screenshot of the article from 19:50 on December 27, 2014.
AS ARABS SHUN HAMAS, MESHAAL AND TURKEY’S ERDOGAN COZY UP
Almost every government in the Arab world has now distanced itself from the Islamist terrorist group Hamas.
The latest to do so is Qatar, which (as part of Qatar’s moves towards reconciliation with Egypt) is “temporarily suspending support for Hamas” according to Arab media reports:
By contrast, the increasingly dictatorial leader of the western “ally” and NATO member Turkey is welcoming Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal.
Meshaal was a star speaker at the annual convention of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party on Saturday.
Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news service reported that Meshaal called for the “liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem. According to the news agency, his speech was repeatedly interrupted by cheers of “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the greatest).
As this report from Saturday’s Al-Ahram makes clear, Turkey’s leaders, in particular Erdogan, are known for their angry outbursts at Israel.
Erdogan has also made a number of blatantly anti-Semitic statements (See previous dispatches on this email list).
Turkish Jews are now leaving the country in record numbers. For more, see:
Heading for a Jew-Free Turkey (by Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, December 23, 2014)
HAMAS LEADER MESHAAL TO VISIT IRAN
Iran has also announced that Meshaal is to visit to Tehran.
This signals the end of the rift between Hamas and Iran. Iran had reduced support for Hamas after Hamas refused to back Iran’s ally Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in his genocidal campaign against Sunni Muslims, which includes the repeated use of chemical weapons and poisonous gases. Hamas’s members are, of course, Sunni, whereas most Iranians are Shia.
The semi-official Iranian FARS news agency reported yesterday on the upcoming visit here:
FARS adds: “Media reports said on December 19 that Saudi Arabia had offered to put up the funds for Hamas’ entire annual budget if the resistance movement suspended all its communication with Iran, adding that the Palestinian faction has turned down the offer… The Saudi regime believed that its package would be too generous to resist, but Hamas refused to even send a reply.”
(Tom Gross adds: These reports about Saudi Arabia are less than 100 percent reliable.)
Earlier this month, Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, thanked Iran for providing it with “financial and military” assistance during last summer’s war against Israel. Speaking at a mass rally in Gaza, Hamas Spokesman Abu Obeida thanked Iran for providing rockets with which to hit Israelis.
(Tom Gross adds: While the Arab world continues to slam Hamas, as I reported in an earlier dispatch, the General Court of the European Union this month removed Hamas from the European Union list of terrorist organizations on a technicality, much to Israel’s anger.)
EGYPT PREPARES TO DESTROY PALESTINIAN 1,200 HOMES IN SECURITY ZONE NEXT TO GAZA
In its efforts to clamp down on Hamas-assisted terrorist attacks in the Egyptian-controlled Sinai peninsula, the Egyptian authorities continue to act forcefully against the civilian Palestinian population with barely a peep of protest from all those supposedly pro-Palestinian human rights groups in the west (groups that in reality primarily interested in attacking Israel, not in helping Palestinians).
Egypt has announced that at least a further 1,200 Palestinian homes will be destroyed as it acts to extend the 7.8-mile (13-kilometer) long buffer zone adjacent to Egypt’s border with Gaza. On Friday, Egypt’s military said the zone will be broadened to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) – twice the depth originally planned – and that 1,200 homes have been marked for demolition. Plans to limit the zone to 500 meters changed when terrorists killed 31 Egyptian soldiers in October.
More here from the Palestinian Maan News Agency:
Were Israel now to do the same, there would no doubt be a world outcry.
“ISRAELIS ASK EGYPTIANS TO REDRAW BORDER A BIT” (& IF ONLY THEY HAD DONE SO)
Back in 1982, realizing that it would not be good for the Palestinians to have the town of Rafah split in half between Sinai and Gaza, the then Israeli Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, on a visit to Cairo, asked Egypt “to draw the frontier around Rafah rather than through it, placing the town wholly within the Gaza Strip.”
If only they had done so, perhaps the destruction Egypt looks set to carry out would not be happening.
The New York Times correspondent David Shipler, reported this on January 19, 1982:
During the Egyptian occupation of Gaza from 1948-67, the town of Rafah spread out from Gaza into the Sinai, with thousands of Palestinians building homes across the border.
MILITANT ATTACKS CONTINUE IN SINAI
In the latest attack a roadside bomb killed two Egyptian soldiers on Thursday evening:
And Egypt’s security forces have increased their security presence in North Sinai’s Al-Arish following an attack last week against a pipeline that carries gas to Jordan. It is the 27th such attack since 2011.
A video released by a terrorist group after a previous such attack showed footage of the pipeline exploding, while a note across the bottom of the screen announces “God willing, not a drop of gas will reach Jordan until the caliph [the Islamic State] permits it.”
EXPLOSION HITS BEAUTY SALON IN NORTHERN GAZA STRIP
An explosion rocked a women’s beauty salon in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning.
Witnesses said a bomb was placed at the salon, and the explosion was heard for miles around. No injuries were reported.
This is thought to mark another effort by extreme Islamists in Gaza to impose stricter Sharia law there.
EGYPTIAN JOURNALIST TO FACE TRIAL FOR “INSULTING ISLAM”; SAUDI WOMAN JAILED FOR JOKE ABOUT BEARDS
On Saturday, the Egyptian state prosecutor has announced that a female writer will stand trial for allegedly insulting Islam, after she criticized the slaughter of animals during a major Islamic religious festival. (Animals are slaughtered during Eid al-Adha.)
“Happy massacre,” Fatima Naoot, a 50-year-old media columnist, wrote on her Facebook page at the time. “Massacre committed by men over the past 10 centuries and followed by men each year with a smile,” she added.
Naoot, who is Muslim, deleted her posts from Facebook after controversy erupted and apologized for them, but she has nevertheless been arrested. Her trial is due to start on January 28.
In June, in a separate case, a Coptic Christian man was sentenced to six years in jail for allegedly insulting Islam.
And in Saudi Arabia, Souad Al-Shammary, a Saudi women’s rights activist, has been put in prison this week, for telling a joke about beards, which was deemed insulting to religious men.
SAUDI GOVERNMENT PRESS: THE U.S. ESTABLISHED ISIS TO FURTHER ITS OWN AIMS IN THE REGION
I have previously reported on how Iran claims America (and Israel and Britain) supposedly set up the Islamic State in an effort to cement their grip on the Middle East.
Now, Saudi media columnists are saying the same thing, as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports here.
Hillary Clinton is also playing a key part in this conspiracy, according to one Saudi writer.
By contrast, Saudi Columnist Amal ‘Abd Al-’Aziz Al-Hazzani, writing for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, claimed that Saudi Arabia, and not the U.S., had created ISIS, and added that the organization is deeply rooted in Saudi culture and heritage.
* In a separate conspiracy theory, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported last Tuesday that Israelis are buying properties in Islamic State-held areas of northern Iraq for eventual Jewish settlement. Fars claimed that more than 2,000 Jews have already settled in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
“SYRIAN REBELS INCREASINGLY JOINING ISIS FOR FINANCIAL REASONS”
Asharq Al-Awsat reports from Riyadh:
Moderate Syrian opposition fighters are increasingly joining the Islamic State for financial reasons, Syrian National Coalition representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Adib Al-Shishakli has warned.
Syrian moderate fighters earn around 140 US dollars per month while reports indicate that ISIS pays its members as much as 150 US dollars per day.