A Cuban-American sign today
1. Half a million children are trapped in Syria, the UN says
2. Abbas orders Palestinian flags be flown at half-mast for Fidel Castro
3. “The BBC reports Castro’s death more favorably than Thatcher’s”
4. Israel kills 4 ISIS-linked jihadists in first clash with group
5. Death toll in North Sinai attack rises to 11
6. Fires brought under control, but enormous damage done
7. Netanyahu thanks Abbas for sending firefighters
8. The fires in Israel – in pictures (The Guardian)
9. U.S. firefighters fly to Israel to battle blazes
10. CNN apologizes for banner reading “If Jews are People”
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
HALF A MILLION CHILDREN ARE TRAPPED IN SYRIA, THE UN SAYS
The United Nations said on Saturday that the number of children trapped in besieged areas in Syria had doubled in less than a year to half a million.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, said the children were among hundreds of thousands of civilians in 16 areas under siege (manly by the Assad regime and the Iranian-directed Hizbullah militia) across the country that had been “almost completely cut off from sustained humanitarian aid and basic services.”
The Obama administration and other democratic governments continue to do almost nothing to help them, not even to make aerial food and medicine drops.
ABBAS ORDERS PALESTINIAN FLAGS BE FLOWN AT HALF-MAST FOR FIDEL CASTRO
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered all Palestinian flags be flown at half-mast for Fidel Castro, WAFA, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority, reported.
The Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, died on Friday at the age of 90.
Castro enjoyed a close relationship with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and was an early supporter of “armed resistance” (i.e. terrorist attacks) against Israeli civilians.
“THE BBC REPORTS CASTRO’S DEATH MORE FAVORABLY THAN THATCHER’S”
The UK’s Guido Fawkes blog also notes:
“The BBC are reporting Castro death more favorably than Thatcher’s. No use of the word ‘controversial’. No mention of the thousands summarily executed after the revolution. No mention that he demanded the USSR nuke the USA. No mention of the decades of impoverishment and human rights abuse. No mention of his secret police rounding up homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps. Castro gets a free pass on democratic norms – ‘his critics accused him of being a dictator’. Does the BBC think that is only an allegation? Particular congratulations to the BBC News Channel, who interviewed ‘Cuba expert’ Richard Gott, without mentioning he was a KGB agent of influence.”
(Tom Gross adds:: The BBC have toned down their praise for Castro following widespread criticism.)
ISRAEL KILLS 4 ISIS-LINKED JIHADISTS IN FIRST CLASH WITH GROUP
The IDF killed four gunmen linked to the Islamic State on Sunday after they attacked Israeli forces in the Golan Heights.
The confrontation was the first of its kind between Israel and Islamic State-affiliated forces based in Syria.
The jihadists were riding in a vehicle with a machine gun mounted on its roof, when they attacked an Israeli patrol across the border. Many mortar shells have fallen inside Israel during the Syrian war, some of which may have been fired by these terrorist groups, but it is thought yesterday’s was the first deliberate attack on Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the IDF had “successfully repelled an attempted attack on the triangle of borders,” referring to the point where the borders of Israel, Syria and Jordan meet.
Israel has done its best to keep out of the five-year-old Syrian war, though Israeli doctors have treated over 1000 badly injured Syrians, including many children, who manage to reach the country’s borders and asked for help.
The Israeli government and Jewish charities have paid for the life-saving operations for Syrians in hospitals across northern Israel. Israeli authorities have also sent medical and other humanitarian aid across the border into Syria.
Israeli security experts said it was too early to say whether yesterday’s clash represented a change in strategy by Islamic State-affiliated forces, and that it may have been prompted by the need for a “propaganda victory” among their supporters in the Arab world at a time when Islamic State strongholds in Iraq and Syria were under attack.
DEATH TOLL IN NORTH SINAI ATTACK RISES TO 11
IS affiliate groups continue to be active across Israel’s southern border too, battling Egypt’s Sisi government for its rule over northern Sinai.
The Egypt Independent newspaper reports:
Death toll in North Sinai attack rises to 11
By Aswat Masriya
November 26, 2016
The death toll from an attack on a military checkpoint in North Sinai increased to 11 on Friday, Reuters reported, citing anonymous medical sources.
Three more bodies were found on Friday, bringing the death toll to 11 soldiers out of the checkpoint’s 31-strong force. Twelve soldiers were injured, six unarmed and the rest were missing.
Following the attack, eyewitnesses told Reuters that security forces set up several additional moving and static checkpoints in and around Arish city, where the attack took place, in search for the culprits.
FIRES BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL, BUT ENORMOUS DAMAGE REMAINS
After a five-day campaign in which thousands of Israeli troops aided the country’s firefighters, the wildfires raging across northern and central Israel have finally been brought under control.
While unusually hot, dry conditions and strong winds helped fan the flames, almost half of the fires are suspected of being arson.
Israeli police have so far arrested 18 Israeli Arabs and 6 West Bank Palestinian suspects, and also others who used social media to “incite arson.”
Some arsonists were spotted on security cameras lighting fires. The police say there is no sign of direct coordination between arsonists but they appear to have been inspired by a desire to cause harm to Jews.
However, many Israeli Arabs as well as Israeli Jews have been victims of the fires, seeing their homes and businesses, such as restaurants, burn down.
The Palestinian Authority (along with Jordan and Egypt) also sent firefighters to assist Israel.
Hundreds of Israelis were injured but no deaths were reported.
As I noted in 2012, a new Al Qaeda magazine described in detail how to start huge forest fires across America and other countries.
NETANYAHU THANKS ABBAS FOR SENDING FIREFIGHTERS
This is a press release:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this evening (Saturday, 26 November 2016), contacted Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen and thanked him for sending firefighters to assist in extinguishing the fires. The Prime Minister also appreciates the fact that Jews and Arabs alike opened their homes to those affected by the fires.
THE FIRES IN ISRAEL – IN PICTURES (THE GUARDIAN)
The Guardian, a newspaper which has been unsympathetic to Israel over many years, and its opposition to Zionism has occasionally spilled over into outright anti-Semitism (its former comment editor is now a chief advisor to the far-left British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn), has been less hostile to Israel recently, as I noted in previous dispatches.
It published this photo-compilation of the fires Israel has been experiencing, which shows how deadly they have been.
U.S. FIREFIGHTERS FLY TO ISRAEL TO BATTLE BLAZES
Several readers wrote in response to my dispatch last Thursday morning (“Israel on fire: Russia, Greece and Turkey rush firefighting planes to help, as some Arabs celebrate”), to ask if the U.S. government had also offered to help douse Israel’s out-of-control fires.
Since I wrote that dispatch, Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Canada have also sent fire-fighting equipment. The Americans have done so privately after Israel made a commercial order for equipment. And individual American firefighters were quick to help.
Some 40 veteran U.S. firefighters boarded planes from as far away as Los Angeles and Dallas to travel to Israel to help.
The men, ranging in age from 30 to 60, are part of the “Emergency Volunteer Project,” a non-profit organization launched by Israel, the U.S. and others in 2009 to train and work with firefighters and other emergency personnel during extreme circumstances.
A senior American government official who subscribes to this list says he forwarded my previous dispatch (“Israel on fire: Russia, Greece and Turkey rush firefighting planes to help, as some Arabs celebrate”) to some Emirati government officials.
They replied that Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, who had tweeted “Israel banned the muezzin and caught on fire, Blessed be Allah,” is no longer Dubai’s security chief.
CNN APOLOGIZES FOR BANNER READING “IF JEWS ARE PEOPLE”
CNN has apologized following criticism after it ran an on-screen accompanying caption last week which read “If Jews are people.”
The offending phrase appeared during a discussion about America’s alt-right movement on CNN’s “The Lead” show.
CNN said the caption had been clumsily written by a production assistant and was meant to paraphrase the words of American white nationalist leader Richard Spencer who had said of Jews: “One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem”.
The regular host of The Lead, Jake Tapper, who was on vacation on the day the caption appeared, also apologized, saying he was “horrified” and “furious” at the caption.
In his apology, the stand-in host of The Lead Jim Sciutto called Spencer’s remarks “hate-filled garbage.”
* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia