Clearing the rubble after Hamas destroyed a mosque this week east of Gaza city. Hamas didn’t like the sermons of the imam there.
* Below: Reports from the Arab media (that you won’t find in most Western media).
* Pro-ISIS group in Gaza complains Hamas “worse than Israel”.
* 5 more foreigners beheaded in Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number of beheadings to 78 so far this year, compared with 87 for all of last year. (A figure for the number of executions that still pales in comparison to the numbers executed by the “moderate” Iranian regime.)
* Western-funded Palestinian Authority names children’s ping pong, chess and fencing competitions, as well as the Palestinian marathon, after terrorists who murdered hundreds of Israelis and injured thousands, and urges Palestinian youth “to follow their heroic examples”.
* 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. Egypt’s Sisi says he will attend Russian V-Day celebrations
2. Salafists bomb Hamas Security Headquarters in Gaza
3. Pro-ISIS group in Gaza complains Hamas “worse than Israel”
4. 700 truckloads of goods enter Gaza from Israel in a single day
5. 200 Gazans pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque
6. Palestinian Authority exploits sports to present murderers as role models for children
7. 10,000 troops from around the world in Eager Lion military drill in Jordan
8. Twelve suspected militants killed by Egypt in North Sinai
9. Egyptian army raids in Sinai kill 29 alleged militants
10. 71 receive life sentences for torching Egyptian church
11. Iran: No inspection of non-nuclear sites
12. Five more foreigners beheaded in Saudi Arabia
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
I include the news items below because most western media ignores these kind of stories. Items like this appear almost daily in the Arab and Iranian media but when the stories don’t present an opportunity to criticize or demonize the Jewish state, the western media don’t seem very interested.
For example, in The Guardian’s roundup of recommended news this week, emailed to millions of subscribers including myself, placed a cancellation of a small concert in the relatively unimportant Israeli town of Rishon Lezion by a somewhat faded minor musician, Lauryn Hill, as its third most important international and domestic news story, while ignoring all kinds of dramatic news from around the world, involving the deaths and kidnappings of thousands of people. (And, of course, there has been a very closely fought general election campaign in Britain this week too.)
The international edition of the New York Times also ignored most (if not all) of the stories below, as well as many other stories, while reporting on the Lauryn Hill story.
Neither The Guardian nor New York Times stories on Lauryn Hill mentioned that Robbie Williams played to 40,000 fans in Tel Aviv on May 2, or that Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and others all played in Israel recently. Or that Dionne Warwick said this week that it was “100 percent sure” that she would perform in Tel Aviv on May 19, and she would not succumb to any harassment from the anti-Israel crowd. She added that she has visited Israel several times before and that it one of her “favorite countries”.
EGYPT’S SISI SAYS HE WILL ATTEND RUSSIAN V-DAY CELEBRATIONS
The Egyptian paper Al-Ahram reports that Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is to travel to Moscow to attend Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on Saturday May 9, the Egyptian president’s office has announced.
Russia is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II.
It will be El-Sisi’s second official visit to Moscow since becoming Egypt’s head of state in June 2014, after a previous visit to the Russian capital in August 2014.
El-Sisi had already visited Russia as defense minister in February of the same year.
U.S. President Barack Obama gave his first, and some would say most grand foreign policy speech in Cairo, but since then Egypt has moved further and further away from America, and is increasingly close to Russia, despite the massive aid the U.S. gives the country.
Most western leaders are boycotting Russia’s V-Day celebrations.
SALAFISTS BOMB HAMAS SECURITY HEADQUARTERS IN GAZA
Salafists bombed Hamas Security Headquarters in Gaza on Monday after Hamas missed a deadline for the release of Salafist prisoners, some of whom were arrested for allegedly “making contact with ISIS.’
The Salafist groups Salafist Trend and Jamaat Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya Fi Bayt al-Maqdis (The Supporters Of Islamic State In Jerusalem), on Saturday accused Hamas of torturing the jailed Salafists, and of monitoring and cracking down on other members of the group.
“Once again we ask the wise people of Gaza to stop the ongoing Hamas criminality and abusive detention of our brothers before it’s too late,” read the Salafist statement. “We give Hamas 72 hours to release all the prisoners,” reported the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency and other Palestinian media.
One of the individuals whose release they demanded is Sheikh Adnan Khader Mayyat, a radical Salafist whom Hamas says has ties to ISIS, according to the Beirut Daily Star.
Tom Gross adds: The accusation by other Palestinians against Hamas’s widespread use of torture in its prison system is somewhat ironic considering how Hamas spokespeople are regularly given a platform by the BBC and other western media to complain that its terrorists are “mistreated” in Israeli jails.
This despite the fact that although they proudly boast of having murdered or attempted to murder Jewish civilians, they actually receive some of the best conditions of any prison system in the world. (See for example, this dispatch: Hamas terrorists given Israeli university degrees, Cable TV, IPods and dental treatment as Gilad Shalit rots (but the international human rights groups criticize Israel).)
The Salafist movement in Gaza has reportedly received support from the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is trying to undermine Hamas’ power in Gaza.
PRO-ISIS GROUP IN GAZA COMPLAINS HAMAS “WORSE THAN ISRAEL”
Monday’s clash was sparked on May 3 when Hamas destroyed a mosque belonging to the Salafists in Gaza’s Deir al-Balah district.
Salafists responded to the demolition of the mosque by issuing a statement threatening to carry out actions against Hamas targets if the Palestinian group did not release several Salafist militants who were detained in Gaza last month.
According to Egyptian daily Al-Masry al-Youm, three Hamas bulldozers had demolished the mosque, “in a manner that even the Jewish and American Occupation has not done”.
Tom Gross adds: Israeli intelligence believes that ISIS has no organized presence in Gaza as such, but its popularity across the world has radicalized some Palestinian individuals who admire ISIS, as it has done with Muslims in many other countries from New Zealand to Canada. ISIS leader Baghdadi has not accepted the allegiance of any Salafist individuals or groups in the Gaza Strip since he is aiming for a global Islamic state not a specifically nationalistic (i.e. Palestinian) one.
Following Monday’s blowing up of Hamas security HQ, Hamas arrested dozens more suspected Salafists, took them away to be tortured, and set up military checkpoints throughout the Gaza strip, according to reports in the Jordan Times and elsewhere.
700 TRUCKLOADS OF GOODS ENTER GAZA FROM ISRAEL IN A SINGLE DAY
Tom Gross writes: While western media continue to mislead es about Israel not allowing goods into Gaza (at least one paper, the Times of London, apologized to readers last month for running such incorrect reports, but other major western media have yet to do so), Palestinian media do report on the goods being delivered across the Israeli-Gaza border (none are delivered across the sealed Egyptian-Gaza border).
These are the kind of stories one regularly finds in Palestinian media outlets. This one is from the Palestinian Maan news agency.
700 truckloads of goods allowed into Gaza Strip
April 30, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip Thursday, allowing 700 truckloads of goods to enter the besieged enclave.
Head of the Commission for the Coordination of Goods into Gaza Strip Raed Fattouh said that among the goods entering the strip were construction materials for internationally-funded projects, fuel, and materials to improve the Strip’s infrastructure, particularly roads…
200 GAZANS PRAY AT JERUSALEM’S AL-AQSA MOSQUE
Tom Gross writes: Western media also give the impression that no one from Gaza is allowed to enter Israel. In addition to some businessman, and hundreds of Gazans being treated for cancer and other ailments at Israeli hospitals (see for example, this dispatch), every week hundreds of Gazans drive through Israel to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque to attend Friday prayers. (That is not to say that there are not still widespread security-imposed restrictions on freedom of travel into Israel, but it is simply wrong to give the impression that no Gazans can enter Israel.)
This is the kind of stories I read almost every Friday in Palestinian media outlets:
200 Gazans pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque
May 1, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Palestinians from the Gaza Strip headed to Jerusalem Friday to perform prayers in the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Sources at the Palestinian liaison told Ma’an that 200 Gazans above the age of 60 headed to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
Sources added that after performing prayers the 200 head back to the Gaza Strip Friday afternoon.
Weekly access to the Al-Aqsa mosque by Gazans has become routine since October 2014 when some 500 Palestinians in Gaza prayed at the mosque…
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY EXPLOITS SPORTS TO PRESENT MURDERERS AS ROLE MODELS FOR CHILDREN
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s (western-funded) Fatah party (previously responsible for staging a terror attack at the Olympic Games) continues to name sports competitions after terrorists in order to influence impressionable Palestinian youths.
The Fatah marathon is honoring one of the most violent Palestinian killers, Abu Jihad, who was behind the murder of 125 Israelis
The Fatah Secretary of the organization’s Salfit branch, Abd Al-Sattar Awwad, told Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (April 22, 2015): “Abu Jihad will continue to serve as an example for the revolution from which the Palestinian youth will learn”
Among the crimes of Abu Jihad, who served as deputy to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, was the organization of the hijacking of a bus and the killing of 37 Israeli and diaspora Jewish civilians, 12 of them children.
A table tennis tournament has been named in honor of terrorists Hamza Omar Shamarkha and Amjad Takatka, sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel for carrying out attacks in which six Israelis were murdered and 80 injured in April 2002. Spokesmen for the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs and Fatah, Fatah official Abd Al-Hamid Al-Dik conveyed greetings from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, at the tournament, reported the official PA daily. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, on April 6, 2015.
Fatah was a patron of a chess tournament in Hebron that was named after terrorist Marwan Zalum. Zalum is responsible for numerous terror attacks that killed civilians, including an attack in 2001 in which an infant in her stroller was murdered, and a 2002 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed six, according to a report in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (May 3, 2015).
The Palestinian Fencing Association announced that it was holding a fencing championship named after “Martyr Abu Jihad” “under the auspices of [Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and] Head of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 20, 2015).
And there are many more such examples, here from Palestinian Media Watch.
10,000 TROOPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD IN EAGER LION MILITARY DRILL IN JORDAN
The Jordanian government Petra news agency reports that 10,000 troops from 18 countries have arrived in Jordan to participate in military exercises.
Among militaries participating are those of Britain, France, Italy, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Poland, Australia, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, and Iraq, as well as from NATO, Brig. Gen. Fahad al-Damen of the Jordan Armed Forces said in a press conference.
12 SUSPECTED MILITANTS KILLED BY EGYPT IN NORTH SINAI
The Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm reports (May 4, 2015) that “twelve suspected members of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis organization were killed in a targeted military operation in North Sinai on Monday May 4.”
According to a security source, Apache helicopters were dispatched to the area, bombing the four-wheel drive vehicle used by the suspects.
Egypt’s armed forces have killed at least 115 suspected militants in North Sinai in April alone.
EGYPTIAN ARMY RAIDS IN SINAI KILL 29 ALLEGED MILITANTS
Al Ahram reports (May 2, 2015) that Egypt’s armed forces said on Saturday that the army has killed 29 alleged militants and arrested 133 others in raids on North Sinai cities from 20 to 30 April.
In a statement on the military’s official Facebook page, spokesman Mohamed Samir said that military campaigns in the cities of Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid targeted alleged militant hideouts.
71 RECEIVE LIFE SENTENCES FOR TORCHING EGYPTIAN CHURCH
Al Ahram reports that “an Egyptian court has sentenced 71 people to life in prison over the torching of a church in Giza, shortly after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. A life sentence means 25 years in jail, according to the penal code.
“Two more received ten-year jail terms in highly secured facilities in the latest in a series of mass sentences passed over the past year and a half.”
IRAN: NO INSPECTION OF NON-NUCLEAR SITES
Iran’s Fars news agency reports (May 6, 2015):
Spokeswoman: Iran Not to Accept Exceptional Inspection for Striking N. Deal
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham stressed that her country would never accept to undergo an exceptional system of nuclear inspections to strike a deal with the world powers…
No Inspection of Iran’s Military Sites Permissible: Top Officer
May 04, 2015
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces reminded the country’s negotiators that a final deal with world powers over the country’s nuclear energy program could by no means allow foreign access to Iran’s military sites under the pretext of inspection.
The Iranian military authorities will never allow the aliens to get access to the country’s security-defense sphere, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi wrote in an Sunday letter to the Iranian team of nuclear negotiators, engaged in talks with the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
The senior officer also made it clear that Iran’s defense progress would never come to a halt under the pretext of monitoring and inspection…
5 MORE FOREIGNERS BEHEADED IN SAUDI ARABIA
Two Yemenis, a Chadian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese were put to death in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on May 4, the Saudi interior ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
In recent weeks there has been “an unusually high number” of beheadings in Saudi Arabia according to Amnesty International.
Their beheadings bring to 78 the number of locals and foreigners executed in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 87 for all of last year, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP) tallies.
Saudi Arabia is now the world’s third worst executioner, behind Iran and China.
One of the few western news outlets to sometimes report on this is Newsweek, the foreign editor of which subscribes to this email list. For example, here: http://www.newsweek.com/beheadings-saudi-arabia-quickens-pace-321587
The “moderate” (according to the BBC) Iranian regime has executed 1,000 people by hanging over the last 18 months.
The leading human rights defender still free in Iran, was arrested by the regime on Wednesday. Narges Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, co-founded by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, was taken from her home in Tehran by regime agents and has not been heard from since.
Here is the speech she dared to give last year on the second anniversary of the killing of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who was tortured to death in custody.
For those interested, I will be on i24 Israeli TV at 9 pm (Israel time) this evening interviewed about today’s general elections in the UK (my own comments start and continue from about 4.40 minutes into the video), and am scheduled to appear on RT (Russia Today) and other channels tomorrow morning to discuss how the election results might affect Britain’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
[Notes above by Tom Gross]