The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for August, 2011

MORE USA SANCTIONS ON SYRIA WHILE ASSAD KEEPS KILLING!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

MORE USA SANCTIONS ON SYRIA WHILE ASSAD KEEPS KILLING!
by Elad Benari

Assad’s forces kill at least seven people after Ramadan. Meanwhile, the U.S. slaps sanctions on Syrian officials.

Syrian security forces killed at least seven people on Tuesday, including a 13-year-old boy, as thousands of protesters poured out of mosques and marched through cemeteries at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

“They can shoot and kill as much as they want, we will not stop calling for regime change,” an activist in Daraa told The Associated Press by telephone.

AP reported that Tuesday’s bloodshed was in the southern province of Daraa, the city of Homs and the capital, Damascus and its suburbs.

Amateur videos posted by activists online showed protesters calling for the downfall of the regime and even the execution of President Bashar Assad.

In the northern province of Idlib, said AP, a few hundred protesters marched with flower wreaths decorated with the Syrian flag and pictures of dead relatives. Many shouted: “Bashar, we don’t want you!”

The Local Coordination Committees, an activist network, told the news agency six protesters were killed in Daraa province and one in Homs.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported of heavy gunfire in the Qaboun district of the capital Damascus.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the United States slapped sanctions on Syria’s foreign minister and two other top officials.

The latest sanctions include asset freezes and bans on business interactions on Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, top presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban, and Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

“Building on our sanctions targeting the entire government of Syria, we are bringing additional pressure to bear today directly on three senior Assad regime officials who are principal defenders of the regime’s activities,” Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen was quoted by AFP as having said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland linked the sanctions to “the role that (the three) play in propagating and advancing the reign of terror that Assad is exacting on his own people.”

Nuland said Muallem has “continued to beat this drum of international conspiracy and has attempted to cover up the regime’s horrific activities by making claims that terrorists or others were responsible.”

She added Shaaban “has served as the public mouthpiece for the repression of the regime” and expressed concern that Ali Abdul Karim Ali had maintained “close ties” with Syrian intelligence throughout his diplomatic career and pursued activities in Lebanon that were “not compatible” with his diplomatic status.

Tuesday’s sanctions follow a round of sanctions earlier this month which targeted Syriatel, a mobile phone firm, as well as two banks – the Commercial Bank of Syria and the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

U.S. President Barack Obama called on Assad to resign several weeks ago, after repeatedly stopping short of doing so.

Assad has ignored all calls for him to resign, choosing instead to continue killing his own people and threatening “repercussions” to any country interfering in Syria’s affairs.

AUSTRIA TO BOYCOTT DURBAN III

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

AUSTRIA TO BOYCOTT DURBAN III
by Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva News)

Austria has decided it will boycott the Durban III conference in September due to ‘doubts’ about its ‘direction.’

Austria has joined the anti-Durban group of countries, including Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Israel, and the United States.

A spokesman for Austria’s Foreign Ministry said his nation will ‘walk away’ from the so-called Durban III anti-racism conference, slated to take place on September 22, in New York City.

“We have no intention of participating in Durban III in September,” Alexander Schallenberg of Austria’s Foreign Ministry told reporters.

Schallenberg explained Austria has” doubts about the content and direction of the conference” and that is the reason for Austria’s decision to skip the event.

The September 22 Durban III event commemorates the 10th anniversary of the infamous Durban I conference, which took place in Durban, South Africa. Widely denounced as an anti-Semitic, the UN-sponsored singled out Jews and Israel in order to attack them, including calls to destroy Israel.

Austria participated in Durban I in 2001 and the 2009 Durban II conference in Geneva, Switzerland – but Austria is now the first German-speaking country to join the anti-Durban camp.

ISRAEL BOLSTERS RED SEA NAVAL FLEET!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

ISRAEL BOLSTERS RED SEA NAVAL FLEET!
by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Israel confirmed on Tuesday that it has deployed an additional two warships to the Red Sea to boost patrols along Israel’s maritime border with Egypt.

The decision was made following the publication of intelligence reports that suggested an ongoing terrorist threat emanating from the Egyptian Sinai.

Israel has since bolstered all of its forces in and around the Red Sea resort town of Eilat anticipating a sequel to the deadly three-pronged terrorist assault on southern Israel earlier this month.

In that attack, Palestinian terrorists from Gaza used the Sinai to infiltrate deep into southern Israel, attacking private cars and public buses just miles north of Eilat.

The Israeli naval redeployment may also be a response to Iran’s decision to dispatch its 15th Fleet to the Red Sea.

The Iranian government said it was sending the warships to the area to “convey a message of peace and friendship to all countries.”

DISTORTIONS ABOUT THE WEST BANK

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

THE WEST BANK DISTORTIONS INDUSTRY
by Yochanan Visser and Sharon Shaked

There is no shortage of claims about alleged Israeli human rights violations in the West Bank.
Most of these claims originate from Palestinian sources and NGO’s and are part of a disinformation campaign that aims to delegitimize Israel.

This campaign of distortions, bias and, sometimes, outright lies is well documented by a host of bloggers and organizations – such as Honest Reporting and Camera.

One of the players in this campaign is the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization that is supposed to be impartial and to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees. UNRWA’s anti-Israel bias is not quite new but, until recently, has been limited to refugee related issues.

Now UNRWA has apparently decided to interfere in the already explosive situation in the West Bank and joined the general disinformation campaign against Israel.

Here’s how that campaign works.

Dutch orchestra attacked

At the end of July the Palestinian News Network published an article about a Dutch orchestra that was supposedly attacked by the IDF during a performance in the Palestinian village Kfar Qadum.
The PNN article was widely distributed among international media outlets. However, a member of the orchestra wrote a detailed account about the actual events. The orchestra had participated in the weekly “peaceful” demonstration against an IDF checkpoint in the vicinity of the village, he said.

According to another account on the Palsolidarity website a group of Palestinians approached the soldiers who responded by firing teargas grenades. The IDF, in response to our request for more information, said that the missing piece in the accounts was that the Palestinians started throwing stones at the soldiers.
So there was no performance and no peaceful demonstration.

Destruction of olive trees

Another claim that originated from a Palestinian source involved the alleged destruction of 200 olive trees in the village Al Walaja near Bethlehem. JAI, the Joint Advocacy Initiative, published a report about Na’el Khalid, a Palestinian farmer who claimed that 200 olive trees were destroyed when Israeli authorities started building the security fence on part of his land.

JAI also reported that Khalid would lose his land to Givat Ya’el – a planned Jewish community adjacent to Al Walaja.

We asked the IDF to comment on this report and received the following answer:
“In accordance with Israeli Supreme Court rulings regarding the rerouting of Israel’s security fence, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) transplanted trees from Mr. Na’el Khalil’s property to an adjacent plot, ensuring that he was able to continue working his land.

“The Israeli court authorities have previously denied several petitions seeking ownership of the land adjacent to the Palestinian village Al-Walajah by the Givat Ya’el community, a private building project in Judea.”

A field investigation in Al Walaja where we visited Na’el Whalid’s lands confirmed the IDF account of the situation.

Al Ahram and The Economist

A recent article in The Economist based on a report by left-wing Israeli watchdog group B’Tselem claimed Israel routinely arrests Palestinian minors at night, some as young as 11, and shows no mercy when they stand trial. To drive home its point, The Economist quoted Israeli settler Eran Segal as saying, “Israeli soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians.” Asked to comment, Segal denied every saying such a thing. In fact he had told The Economist:

“If the IDF would have taken the incidents more seriously and had acted in a different way the stone throwing would have been a thing of the past.”

Egyptian paper Al Ahram outdid The Economist when it charged “Israel’s most aggressively racist government ever” with “prosecuting and imprisoning Palestinian children at will on bogus charges such as throwing stones.”

In a reaction, the Israeli Military Prosecutor’s Office stated that stone throwing is a criminal offense in Israel. Throwing stones can cause severe injuries and even – as has happened in the past – death.

Israeli law calls for the punishment of stone throwers, even if they are minors and regardless of their nationality or religion.

However, contrary to what was written in the Economist’s article, there are almost no cases where Palestinian minors under the age of 14 have been convicted for stone throwing.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office also stressed that a special court for minors has been established (Military Juvenile Court) which is meant to take care of the defense of the rights of minors. In addition, almost all suspects in the Juvenile Court are represented by counsel, which is contrary to the state of affairs in Israeli civil courts. Most of the trials take place within a rather short amount of time, and minors whose case has not been heard in a reasonable amount of time are often released.

The IDF tries to arrest the suspect as soon as possible after an incident has taken place. If this proves impossible, the military, for security reasons only, carries out arrests during night time. Minors are held in special wings of three prisons and their needs are met on an individual, case by case, basis. So there is no prosecution and imprisoning without due process, but, rather, a legal procedure that takes into account the age of the suspect.

UNRWA

The most shocking example of the distortions industry came from UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness during an interview with the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Reacting to this interview, and a related UNRWA press release, we asked Gunness for additional data and information on the topic of home demolitions. UNRWA then sent us a report that only contained locations and dates of the West Bank demolitions. When asked for additional information about the demolitions, such as court orders, Gunness became extremely agitated, used crude language and demanded immediate publication of “the facts.”

Facts? Let’s examine this claim in the Ma’an interview:

“Many displacements are taking place where settlements are expanding and with it we are seeing an upturn in vicious attacks by Jewish settlers. Palestinians are being thrown off their ancestral lands to make way for settlers,” Gunness told Ma’an.

This suggests two things: First, that settlements are still expanding outside their municipal boundaries, and second that Jews are supplanting Palestinian Arabs.

As Gunness knows very well, since 2005 settlement expansion has only taken place within the existing zoning lines of the municipal boundaries. No Palestinian Arabs have been kicked off their land to be replaced by Jews. In fact, Gunness was referring here to Bedouins who are illegally squatting. An official with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told us that the Bedouin increasingly tend to camp in the vicinity of Jewish settlements and are often paid to do so by pro-Palestinian NGO’s.

In the same Ma’an interview Gunness claimed the following: “There is growing evidence that it (demolitions in Area C of the West Bank) is destroying the very fabric of these communities and ultimately contributing to a demographic shift which is changing the ethnic make-up of the West Bank.”

This suggests a slow “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian population on the West Bank.

Of course, Gunness is well aware of the fact that only 3% of the Palestinian population lives in Area C – most of them Bedouins, who mostly live in tents and are used to moving from place to place.

UNRWA’s own census from 2007 shows an average population growth of the Palestinian population on the West Bank of 2.5 percent per year.

But there was more. In an e-mail to Missing Peace Gunness wrote the following: “127 people expelled in Ma’aleh Nikhmas [sic] – displaced for settlement in the last few weeks. Is that enough?”
Really? The 127 Palestinians expelled from Ma’aleh Michmas “for [Jewish] settlement” were in fact Bedouins who decided to leave, as his own UNRWA press release states. There is no evidence that Ma’aleh Michmas residents took their place.

In fact, according to a report by the pro-Palestinian organization International Solidarity Movement, 16 Bedouin were evicted in the Ma’aleh Michmas area at the end of July.

This happened after they illegally camped within a closed military zone and received eviction orders two years ago.

UNRWA’s Mandate

This was not the first time Gunness was caught distorting the facts and engaging in an anti-Israel campaign. During the 2009 Gaza war he falsely accused Israel of firing at UNRWA convoys.
The new shocking aspect in this affair is that UNRWA now clearly interferes in politics and oversteps its current mandate, as defined by the UN:

“UNRWA’s contemporary mandate is to provide relief, human development and protection services to Palestine refugees and persons displaced by the 1967 hostilities in its fields of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

UNRWA’s mandate has been repeatedly renewed by the UN General Assembly. The current mandate runs till 30 June 2014.

What do the UNRWA investigations into West Bank building issues and violence between Jews and Arabs have to do with providing humanitarian services to displaced persons?

Gunness told us that UNRWA has a team of 12 investigators conducting research on settlement and building issues on a daily base. Got that? A UN organization designed to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees is going after Israel’s building policies on the West Bank.

Instead of focusing on the plight of the refugees and their descendants in, for example, Lebanon, where the Palestinians living in refugee camps still are without basic human rights, UNRWA prefers to join the disinformation campaign against Israel.

Too Late

It may be too late for Israel to repair the damage caused by this global disinformation campaign. That’s too bad because this is where many other campaigns like divestment and delegitimization start.

The Israeli government does not seem to grasp the severity of the situation and still doesn’t respond decisively to the endless flurry of distortions and outright false claims.

However, it is not too late to demand an immediate investigation into UNRWA’s participation in this cognitive war against the Jewish state. This affair, on top of earlier scandals in which UNRWA’s ties to Hamas were exposed, should finally lead to a complete overhaul of the way the UN deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Yochanan Visser is director of Missing Peace, an Israel-based public diplomacy organization operating in Europe. Sharon Shaked has a BA in Middle East Studies from the Hebrew University and is a researcher for Missing Peace.

PA TERROR ATTACK IN TEL AVIV WAS AIMED AT 2000 TEENS!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

PA TERROR ATTACK IN TEL AVIV WAS AIRMED AT 2000 TEENS!
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (Arutz Sheva News)

Police prevented a huge catastrophe by stopping a Palestinian Authority terrorist who wounded eight people at a Tel Aviv nightclub patronized by approximately 2,000 young people.

Border Police had been preparing for terrorist attacks, and their presence enabled them to stop the terrorist, hailing from Shechem (Nablus), before he could continue his assault with a knife.

The police prevented a big disaster, said Police Commander Yochanan Danino.

Dozens of police officers brought down the terrorist, age 25, after he hijacked a taxicab, wounding its driver, and was surprised by a police roadblock, which he slammed into. He then drove on for another half a mile. He then reached a nightclub holding approximately 2,000 young people at a party and continued knifing his victims for a short while until police, alert to his presence and therefore out in numbers, apprehended him.

One Border Police officer suffered wounds in his neck, and the taxi driver was cut on his hands when he tried to yank the knife away from the terrorist.

All of those wounded suffered light to moderate injuries.

The Palestinian Authority has not commented on the terrorist attack. Shechem, from where the terrorist arrived, is under control by the Palestinian Authority, which is committed to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,

“The incident was further proof of the motivation of terrorists to attack,” Danino said.

The attack still is under investigation, but the terrorist appears to have acted on his own, bearing out warnings from intelligence officers that lone terrorists, without direct involvement of a terrorist organization, are prepared to carry out attacks at any time throughout the country.

A high alert against terror is in effect along the southern border

IRAN LAUNCHES BIBLE-BURNING CAMPAIGN!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

IRAN LAUNCHES BIBLE-BURNING CAMPAIGN!
By Tom O’Connell

Authorities began to systematically seize and destroy Bibles after a Shiite cleric issued an urgent warning about the spread of Christianity.

Authorities in northwestern Iran seized 6,500 Bibles, according to the Iranian Christian news organization Mohabat News, which quotes an official as saying of the seizure that “all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam; otherwise, what does this huge number of Bibles mean?” The agency has reported several other recent incidents of Bibles and other Christian literature being seized and sometimes publicly burned.

Mohabat reports that the government-connected cleric, Ayatollah Hadi Jahangosha, warned of “the spread of Christianity among our youth,” pointing to burgeoning satellite programming, literature, and religious articles promoting the Western tradition.

“Everyone in society should feel responsibility in this matter and play his or her role in spreading of pure Islam and fight false and distorted cultures,” the news agency quotes him as saying.

PALESTINIAN LEADER ABBAS: “NO TO A JEWISH STATE!”

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

PALESTINIAN LEADER ABBAS: “NO TO A JEWISH STATE!”
by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday delivered a fiery speech to Islamic clerics in Ramallah during which he warned the international community not to demand that he recognize Israel as the “Jewish state.”

The international community “cannot force us to recognize the nature of the Israeli state,” declared Abbas. “Do not force us to recognize a Jewish state. We will not accept it.”

One of Israel’s chief demands since the peace process started in 1993 has been that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people. Most Israelis would argue that only by doing so can they feel confident that the Arabs have relinquished their quest to destroy Israel.

Abbas also stated once again that he will not accept absorbing millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees” into a new Palestinian state. Despite being labeled a “moderate,” Abbas has been a champion of the hard-line position that Israel must open its borders to these millions of Arabs, thus demographically destroying the Jewish state.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas’ defiant speech was just further proof of the true nature of the Palestinian statehood bid scheduled for the UN in September.

“Countries around the world must make it clear to Abbas that the only way the Palestinians will be able to have a state is by stopping their attempt to destroy the only Jewish state in the world,” Lieberman told reporters.

Israel has been trying to rally nations supposedly committed to the bilateral Middle East peace process to vote against the unilateral statehood motion. But many have surprisingly signaled that they will vote with the Palestinian Authority, or at best abstain.

The statehood motion is expected to be vetoed by the United States in the Security Council, but will likely pass by a wide margin in a non-binding General Assembly vote.

ARAB WORLD: IS BASHAR ASSAD NEXT?

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

ARAB WORLD: IS BASHAR ASSAD NEXT?
By Jonathan Spyer

Those hoping Syria’s President will follow shortly in the steps of leaders of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia are likely to be disappointed.

The apparently imminent eclipse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has re-ignited hope among some Western commentators concerning the so-called Arab Spring. The entry of Libyan rebels to Tripoli is being depicted in some circles as the removal of a major obstacle to the onward march toward freedom alleged to be taking place this year throughout the Arabic-speaking world.

Some of the more enthusiastic observers are now turning their hopeful gaze toward Syria. They hope that with liberty victorious in Libya, the Assad regime will be the next to fall.

These hopes are mistaken on two levels.

First, it is mistaken to maintain that a great battle for liberty is currently under way in the Arabic-speaking world. Sober analysts of the region have long noted that the key stand-off in the main countries of the Arab world is between sclerotic and dictatorial regimes, and popular Islamist movements seeking to overthrow them.

Nothing has yet happened in the Arab Spring to radically alter this picture. Rather, what has changed is the relative strength of these rival forces. Until this year, the regimes had largely managed to contain the Islamist forces. Today in Egypt, this is no longer the case. In Libya, too, the balance looks about to be upended.

Second, the Assad regime in Syria still stands a fair chance of surviving the current revolt against its rule. The eclipse of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi will not cause Bashar Assad to alter his assessment of his own chances of survival. This is because he is aware of the very different arrangement of forces regarding Syria, both within the country itself and internationally.

The Assad regime is undoubtedly beleaguered. Its claim to any legitimacy was always paper-thin. Its information outlets blared out endless propaganda against Israel, the West and, famously, the “half-men” of the Western-aligned Arab countries. In practice, it rested on the narrowest of bases: the support of Syrian Alawites, and the acquiescence, with greater or lesser degrees of consent or fear, of all other sections of the population.

The events of the last few months have torn through this thin veneer. The Assad regime now rules over the large majority of the Syrian population by open coercion.

International anger at the regime is coalescing. US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton all issued statements last week saying that Assad should step down.

Even the United Nations Human Rights Council turned against Assad this week. The council, which for years maintained a polite silence (or concentrated on condemning Israel) as the regime jailed and disappeared its opponents, now suspects Assad of possible crimes against humanity. A team of redoubtable inspectors are to be sent to Syria to look for evidence of this.

The sanctions are intensifying. The US has already imposed a ban on Syrian oil imports. EU countries are currently drawing up plans for a similar embargo. The oil sector accounts for between one-quarter and one-third of Syrian state revenue, so sanctions would be significant.

A draft UN resolution drawn up by the US and the EU will call for sanctions against Assad himself, 22 officials and the country’s General Intelligence Directorate.

Yet with all this, the regime shows no signs of yielding, and apparently remains confident that it can continue its rule. Why? Is Assad now simply delusional, like an earlier dictator who spent his last days in his bunker marshalling phantom divisions that existed only on paper?

He is not. Ramadan, the month that was supposed to witness the mass protests that would take the revolt against Assad to new heights, is almost finished. But Assad is still there. His security forces and Alawite irregulars are still moving from town to town, energetically butchering their fellow countrymen.

At the beginning of the Syrian uprising, it was clear that for as long as Assad maintained the following elements, he stood a good chance of survival: unity of the regime elite, unity of the security forces, the geographically limited nature of the uprising, the support of allies, a weak international response, and a divided opposition.

Of these, items one to three are largely intact. There are no indications yet of cracks in the regime elite’s stance of unity. Evidence of strains in the security forces is patchy and appears partial at best. The Alawite elite around Assad appear convinced that their choice remains to survive with the dictator or go down with him.

The vital, practical support of Iran is also there. Tehran considers Assad’s survival a key strategic goal. Russia and China voted against the condemnation of Assad in the UN Human Rights Council.

The dimensions of the uprising have spread. But the two main cities of Damascus and Aleppo remain largely untouched by it. The absence of foment in the commercial center of Aleppo is vital for the regime.

The differing international response remains the central factor keeping Assad from a Gaddafi-like fate. If NATO air power were to be deployed against him, it would be a game-changer. This looks highly unlikely.

And finally, despite efforts at unity, the opposition remains divided. Attempts in Turkey to create a single “National Council” for the opposition appear to have foundered. The Syrian Kurds are staying away, incensed by what they perceive as the Arab nationalist tones of other elements. The strong representation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the unity discussions in Istanbul should also be noted.

None of this guarantees the survival of the Assad family dictatorship. But the prospect is for a long, drawn-out struggle ahead, rather than a rapid resolution of the matter. In this struggle, the key opposing forces are the Iransupported regime, and a divided opposition in which the most determined elements are Sunni Islamist and local tribal forces. Those still hoping that this situation will deliver democracy to Syria by immaculate conception are likely to be disappointed.

ISRAEL WIPES OUT TERRORIST LEADER!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

ISRAEL AIR FORCE WIPES OUT TERRORIST “MOST IMPORTANT” LEADER!

Abu Awad’s friends predict his death will “complicate” efforts to secure the release of Gilad Schalit, who he played a major role in abducting.

About two hours before he was killed in an IDF air strike, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Kamal al-Nayrab, packed his bags and told his wife, “Today a lot of blood will be spilled… I’m going to be away for some time.”

Nayrab took clothes and documents from his home before bidding farewell to his wife and children.

He and senior figures in the Popular Resistance Committees had arranged to meet last Thursday at the home of Khaled Sha’ath, who is in charge of manufacturing rockets and bombs for the group, to discuss the repercussions of the terrorist attacks.

Nayrab, 43, who is better known by his pseudonym Abu Awad, knew that it was only a matter of time before Israel retaliated for the day’s attacks near Eilat and the Egyptian border that claimed the lives of eight Israelis.

Although the group had denied responsibility for the attacks, Abu Awad, who had long been wanted by Israel, knew that he and his friends were potential targets. That’s why they decided to go into hiding.

What they did not know was that the IDF had already discovered the place where they were staying.

About six hours after the terrorist attacks, Abu Awad and four of his friends were killed by two rockets that hit the house where they were hiding in Rafah.

The four were identified as Khaled Sha’ath, the owner of the targeted house, Emad Hammad, commander of the group’s armed wing, Emad Nasr, a member of the group’s military council and Khaled al- Masri, a senior figure with the group.

The homeowner’s two-year-old son, Malek, was also killed.

The death of Abu Awad, who played a major role in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit five years ago, has been described by his friends and family as a “severe and painful blow” to the Popular Resistance Committees.

“His death is a huge loss for the resistance groups in the Gaza Strip,” said Ziad Sha’ath, a longtime friend of Abu Awad.

“It has really hurt us.”

A Palestinian journalist described Abu Awad as one of the most senior militiamen in the southern Gaza Strip. “He was considered a big military commander,” the journalist said. “The Popular Resistance Committees will never be the same after Abu Awad.”

According to the journalist, the Israeli air strike wiped out the most important leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees, an alliance of armed groups that has been responsible for dozens, if not hundreds, of attacks on Israelis over the past decade.

Abu Awad co-founded the Popular Resistance Committees with Jamal Abu Samhadanah (nicknamed Abu Ataya) after the start of the second intifada in September 2000.

The group is one of the most significant and powerful militias in the Gaza Strip and its membership is estimated at several hundred.

Abu Awad and Jamal Abu managed to increase the range of rocket-propelled grenades and were responsible for manufacturing bombs that penetrated an IDF Merkava tank a year later in the Gaza Strip.

Under their leadership, the group also launched scores of attacks on Jewish settlements in Gush Katif and on IDF soldiers during the second intifada.

In June 2006, while the two men were planning an operation to infiltrate Israel to carry out a large attack, IDF missiles killed Abu Samhadanah along with at least three other PRC members at one of the organization’s camps in Rafah.

However, the death of Abu Samhadanah did not stop the group from carrying out the operation two weeks later, resulting in the abduction of Schalit.

Schalit’s kidnapping was seen as an act of retaliation for the targeted killing of Abu Samhadanah.

Abu Awad’s friends predicted that his death would “complicate” efforts to secure the release of Schalit. They said that he was one of the few people in the Gaza Strip who knew where the soldier was being held.

Abu Awad joined Fatah during the first intifada, which began in 1987. A few years later he fled to Egypt, where he was detained by Egyptian security forces being allowed to travel to Libya.

After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, he and a number of his colleagues returned to the Gaza Strip, where he worked as an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.

IRANIAN ARMED FORCES: GROUNDS READY FOR VICTORY OVER QUDS (Jerusalem) OCCUPIERS!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

IRANIAN ARMED FORCES: GROUNDS READY FOR VICTORY OVER QUDS (Jerusalem) OCCUPIERS!
TEHRAN (FNA)

The Iranian Armed Forces’ Headquarters in a statement said that ongoing revolutions and popular uprisings in the region have prepared the grounds for the creation of a comprehensive Muslim front to clinch a final victory over the Zionist regime and free the holy Quds from the Zionist occupation.

The statement issued on Wednesday called for a massive turnout by the Iranian nation in the International Quds Day rallies on Friday, reminding that the rallies show that the Zionist regime of Israel is sinking in the gulf of Islamic awakening and popular anti-Zionist uprisings.

Initiated by the late Founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Khomeini, the International Quds Day is observed on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims all over the world hold rallies in support of the Palestinian resistance against what Imam Khomeini commonly referred to as “the illegitimate Israeli regime occupying Palestine.”

The Iranian Armed Forces Headquarters also said that the serial collapse of the US and Zionist-backed dictatorial regimes has created the potential for the formation of a comprehensive Muslim front against Zionism.

The statement underlined that the recent developments have also provided the grounds and the opportunity for the final victory of the oppressed Palestinian people over the Zionist regime of Israel.

Since the beginning of 2011, the region has witnessed an unprecedentedly overwhelming wave of change.

Tunisia saw the overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a popular revolution in January, which was soon followed by a revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in February.

Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have since been the scene of protests against their totalitarian rulers, who have resorted to brutal crackdown on demonstrations to silence their critics.

In a most recent case of people’s victory over tyrannical rulers in the region, the euphoric Libyan revolutionaries seized control of most of Tripoli in a lightning advance a few days ago, celebrating the victory in Green Square, the symbolic heart of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.


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