Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters descended upon “Little Jerusalem,” the Jewish neighborhood in the suburb of Sarcelles, north of Paris, on Sunday. Rioters threw a Molotov cocktail at a religious institution next to the synagogue, setting alight a Jewish pharmacy and mini-market, burned vehicles, destroyed property and wreaked havoc at the city’s train station while police tried to secure the area.
This neighborhood is home to one of France’s biggest Jewish communities, its members residing in a block of buildings centered around a synagogue and a Jewish school. Outside “Little Jerusalem,” the great majority of the population is of African and North African descent.
The situation here has been tense for more than a decade following several anti-Semitic attacks, so when pro-Palestinian organizations called for a protest at the local train station just days after clashes had erupted outside three Paris synagogues - it seemed obvious that things could get out of hand.
To avert public disorder the authorities had banned the Sarcelles rally, as was also the case with a number of events planned for this past weekend in the Paris area, including a protest that the Jewish Defense League wanted to hold.
But like the previous day, in Paris, the pro-Palestinian demonstrators defied the police and began to gather at 3 P.M. Sunday at the train station, about a mile from the local synagogue. The protesters had negotiated with police over the right to hear several speeches and then disperse.
One of the event’s organizers, Suleiman, called for peace.
“We’re not against Israel,” he said. “We just want peace for both Palestine and Israel. We have nothing against our Jewish brothers, our friends, our cousins.” He then added, “Allahu akbar (God is great).”
As the protest was staged on the day that commemorates the roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942, the organizers noted: “We respect World War II roundups but what you’re doing in Gaza is genocide, too.”
Quickly, the crowd started chanting anti-Israeli slogans, along the lines of “Israel is a murderer,” “[French President] François Hollande is an accomplice.”
When the speeches were over Suleiman asked the crowd about 20 times to leave, but it wouldn’t. Hundreds of people carrying Moroccan and other North African flags then started running. At first, they ran in the opposite direction of the synagogue, as police were blocking the street. Then they turned to a street parallel to that of the synagogue, under the gaze of hundreds of people watching them from above in tall buildings.
The crowd then turned again and reached the city’s main avenue, on which the synagogue is located, and then walked toward it. They burned cars, attacked a television crew, and chanted “Allahu akbar.”
Police were stationed on all the streets leading to the Jewish neighborhood, whose residents stood helplessly behind them. Some were afraid that relatives outside the quarter would get hurt.
The Palestinian terror organization Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Israel’s central region in recent hours. The launch of the rockets, which were intercepted in the air by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, marks the latest escalation after nearly 100 rockets were fired at Israel from Palestinian territories in the past few days.
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip reached the densely populated central Israel area on Tuesday evening when rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Gedera were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, as the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge was underway.
Over 70 rockets fell across an increasing number of communities across Israel during the day. Code Red rocket alerts sounded in Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Gedera, Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ofakim, Merhavim, Ramat HaNegev and Eshkol on Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system was in operation in various locations, intercepting at least two rockets over Be’er Sheva, and more fired at the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. It is also believed that at least one rocket was intercepted over Netivot
Magen David Adom paramedics treated nine people Tuesday in wake of the ongoing rocket fire. One person was lightly hurt from shrapnel to his foot, and another injured himself running to a shelter. Seven other people were treated for anxiety.
Earlier today, a Hamas Commando team was killed after attempting to infiltrate and assault an IDF military base via the sea:
IDF units intercepted a Hamas commando terrorist unit seeking to infiltrate Israel from the sea at Zikim beach on Tuesday.
The IDF Spokesman reported that soldiers killed four terrorists.
A senior security official said an IDF force was dispatched to Zikim beach after the military detected suspicious movements in the area.
The unit engaged the terrorists, and shot and struck a number of them.
One soldier was lightly injured in the exchange of fire.
Civilian eye witnesses told Channel 2 that soldiers were seen running toward the beach from the Zikim army base and firing their weapons, while a boat approached the beach firing at the beach.
The BBC has warned that Palestinians in Gaza and their supporters are using false images on Twitter to garner sympathy for their cause.
Many of the images that supposedly show Gaza under bombardment over the past week are neither current nor from Gaza, the global news organization wrote.
“Some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza,” the BBC said, “but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.”
Edit: Now with the link to the BBC: bbc.com
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel Shin Bet security agency: Soldier was abducted and killed by Palestinians in West Bank.
More info, now:
A Palestinian lured an Israeli soldier to a village in the West Bank and killed him with the intention of trading the body for his jailed brother, Israel’s intelligence agency said Saturday.
The Palestinian man was arrested and confessed to the killing, the Shin Bet intelligence agency said.
Amar told the Shin Bet that he had killed the soldier, whom he knew because he worked together with him at a restaurant in the coastal city of Bat Yam in central Israel, the agency said.
According to Shin Bet, the Palestinian recounted how he had picked up the soldier in a taxi on Friday after convincing him to accept a ride.
After talking the soldier into joining him, Amar took the Israeli to an open field, killed him and hid his body in a well, the agency said.
Hopefully this won’t derail the peace process. At least it doesn’t appear to have been an organized attempt
Israel on Monday named 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed this week under a deal enabling U.S.-backed peace talks to resume, although Palestinians said these had been undermined by newly announced plans to expand Israeli settlements.
Some Israelis reacted angrily to the scheduled release on Tuesday or Wednesday of the long-term Palestinian prisoners.
“Shame on the government and shame on the prime minister and his supporters,” Zvia Dahan, whose father, Moshe Becker, was killed while tending his orange grove in Israel in 1994, wrote on Facebook. One of Becker’s three killers is to be freed.
The 26 prisoners are the first of a total of 104 Israel has decided in principle to free as part of an agreement reached after intensive shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew talks for Palestinian statehood.
US Secretary of State John Kerry named former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as his main envoy in Israeli-Palestinian talks starting in Washington later on Monday and said he was seeking “reasonable compromises” in the tough negotiations.
“It is no secret that many difficult choices lie ahead for the negotiators and for the leaders as we seek reasonable compromises on tough, complicated, emotional and symbolic issues.”
Kerry said Indyk is ‘realistic’ about the difficulties facing the Israelis and Palestinians and US negotiators in the resumption of the long-stalled talks.
At a State Department announcement, Kerry said that “the cause of peace” has been Indyk’s life’s mission.
‘No matter how many settlers you put out there, the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis,’ former US president says
Former US president Bill Clinton on Monday night urged Israel to work toward a two-state solution with the Palestinians, saying that he had never heard a credible alternative that would enable Israel to remain a Jewish and a democratic state. “No matter how many settlers you put out there [in the West Bank], the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis as a whole,” Clinton said, and thus demographics were working against Israel.
Clinton was answering questions after a speech at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot in honor of President Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday celebrations, which continue Tuesday through Thursday with Peres’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
FOR years, conventional wisdom has held that as long as Israel faces the external challenge of Arab — especially Palestinian — hostility it will never come to terms with its internal divisions. The left has sometimes used it as an argument: we must make peace with the Palestinians so that we can set our house in order — write a constitution, figure out the public role of religion. Others have viewed the threat as almost a silver lining keeping the place together: differences among Israeli Jews (religious or secular, Ashkenazic or Sephardic) are so profound, the argument goes, that if the society ever manages to turn its attention inward, it might tear itself apart.
Back in Tel Aviv for a recent visit a year after ending my tour as Jerusalem bureau chief, I was struck by how antiquated that wisdom felt. At a fascinating and raucous wedding I attended and from numerous conversations with a range of Israelis, I came away with a very different impression. Few even talk about the Palestinians or the Arab world on their borders, despite the tumult and the renewed peace efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been visiting the region in recent days. Instead of focusing on what has long been seen as their central challenge — how to share this land with another nation — Israelis are largely ignoring it, insisting that the problem is both insoluble for now and less significant than the world thinks. We cannot fix it, many say, but we can manage it.
The wedding took place near Ben-Gurion airport, where a set of event halls has gone up in the past seven years, including elaborate structures with a distinct Oriental décor of glistening chandeliers, mirrored place mats and sky-high ceilings with shifting digital displays. The groom’s grandparents emigrated from Yemen; the bride’s came from Eastern Europe, an example of continuing and increasing intermarriage between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.
The music was almost entirely Middle Eastern in beat, some of it in Arabic, some of it religious. The hundreds on the dance floor, many staying until dawn singing along with arms gesticulating, came from across a range of political, geographic and religious spectra — from miniskirted to ultra-Orthodox modesty. Frumpy settlers in oversize skullcaps mingled with Tel Aviv metrosexuals in severe eyewear. Some women hugged you; others declined to shake your hand. Everyone was celebrating. No one, especially the Orthodox rabbi who presided over the ceremony, mentioned that the young couple had been living together for more than three years. Some talked politics with me. No one mentioned the Palestinians.
Israel’s ultra-orthodox parties – so long deemed part of the hawkish right – might just unlock the two-state solution
Everybody knows that religious fundamentalists are part of the Middle East’s problem. Everybody knows that Muslim and Jewish extremists make a hard situation harder, delaying the day Palestinians and Israelis find a way to live in peace. Everybody knows that the great Israeli writer Amos Oz is right when he says that so long as the conflict is “a battle over real estate” it can be solved, but once it becomes a holy war only catastrophe beckons.
But what if that conventional wisdom is wrong - or rather, what if it lumps together all religious hardliners too crudely, mistakenly including one group that might not be part of the problem at all, that might in fact be the key to the solution?
The question arises because of one unexpected side-effect of Israel’s most recent elections and the new coalition that followed. For the first time in years the ultra-orthodox Jewish parties find themselves in opposition, sitting alongside Labour, the civil rights activists of Meretz and the 11 members of the mainly Arab parties, representing Israel’s Palestinian citizens. So long inside successive ruling coalitions, the ultra-orthodox, or haredi, parties are, for now at least, outsiders. That simple fact suggests an intriguing possibility.
First, though, a word or two of definition. There are two parties involved: one, United Torah Judaism, that aims to speak for Ashkenazi religious Jews and whose leaders still wear the distinctive garb of eastern European orthodoxy; and the other, Shas, that seeks to represent those Jews with a Middle Eastern or north African background. Different though they are from each other, the relevant gap is between them and the so-called “national religious camp”, whose political arm, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, surged at the last elections straight into government. Bennett is the champion of, among others, the religiously motivated Jewish settlers on the West Bank, those whose faith is inseparable from a muscular brand of nationalism.
Pat Robertson does not think the United States’ push for peace in the Middle East is the way to go. He recently said such a move is “asking for the wrath of Almighty God.”
The “666 Club” host discussed on April 9 Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to encourage negotiating an end to the more than 60-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The Associated Press notes previous peace talks crumbled in 2008, with Palestine refusing to resume talks and Israel continuing to build settlements.)
Robertson apparently doesn’t believe there should be peace in the Middle East because, according to Right Wing Watch, “any deal that includes territorial concessions to the Palestinians, including Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, will lead to divine retribution and ‘catastrophic’ consequences.”
God says, “They divided my land … This is my land. I gave it to Abraham and his descendants, and I don’t want it taken away from them.” And Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. And for the United States to get into a deal where they’re trying to split Jerusalem and take it away from the Israelis and split up their capital — huge mistake. You’re asking for the wrath of Almighty God to fall on this nation. And when it falls, it won’t be fun.
He called Kerry’s diplomacy a “course of folly” that will result in “terrible suffering” for the U.S.