My Mideast Punchlines: now, that’s what I call gratitude….

Palestinian protesters pelted the convoy of Qatar’s ambassador to the Palestinians, Mohammed Al-Emadi, with stones Friday as he came to observe the weekly demonstrations along Gaza’s border fence with Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.

Gazan media reported that those leading the attack against Al-Emadi were from the Palestinian faction of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. PFLP members had earlier refused to take part in the meeting with the Qatari ambassador and other Palestinian groups.

Friday’s incident came after Qatar, with Israeli agreement, had transferred $15 million in cash to Hamas in Gaza, funds that were used for the salaries of Palestinian civil servants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. The money was transferred in three suitcases in a heavily guarded vehicle, while officials made an orderly list of those who would receive salaries in the coming months.

biffSo there’s gratitude for you, folks. The next time–if there is one- the Qataris flood the Strip with brown envelopes, each one might contain, rather than bundles of cash, a tasty chicken royale sandwich from Pret A Manger. Hmm, delicious!



My Mideast Punchlines: sh’koach!

Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that his agency has thwarted 480 Palestinian terror attacks in the last year. The Shin Bet’s efforts, he said, were a major factor in the maintenance of a fragile calm between Israel and the Palestinians.

Argaman also referred to 590 potential lone wolf attacks that the security service had prevented. The organization also arrested 219 Hamas cells in the West Bank, he said, though it remains unclear how many Palestinians were in each cell and how senior the operatives were.

biffSo the next time you watch the superb Netflix series Fauda,  multiply the story hundreds of times and it’ll give you some idea of the incredible feats of the various special units involved in keeping Israelis safe. Sh’koach! (may they go from strength to strength).

My Mideast punchlines: lies, damned lies, and….

Since the massacre of 11 mostly elderly Jews at prayer at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, prominent left-wing American Jewish activists and Never Trump pundits have blamed Trump for the massacre by insisting that he has empowered antisemitic forces in the U.S.

The “proof” these commentators provide for their incendiary allegation is the Anti-Defamation League’s 2017 report on antisemitic incidents in the U.S. The ADL alleged that during Trump’s first year in office, there was a 57 percent rise in antisemitic incidents.

Prof. David Bernstein at Tablet online magazine noted that despite the fact that the ADL itself made its allegation, the data it included in its survey tell a completely different story.

First of all, as Bernstein pointed out, the data don’t describe actual antisemitic incidents. Rather, they describe reported incidents, including incidents that people perceived as antisemitic which may not have been antisemitic.

For instance, the ADL report includes 163 bomb threats that were made against U.S. Jewish institutions. But those weren’t incidents motivated by antisemitism. Those threats were the work of an Israeli mental patient.

The report also states that antisemitic incidents on university campuses in 2017 increased nearly 100 percent over the number of such incidents in 2016 – from 108 incidents to 204. But the report ignores the fact that the vast majority of those attacks are carried out by far leftists and Muslims — who are not Trump supporters.

biffNever was Disraeli’s phrase, “lies, damned lies and statistics” more apt. You can always trust the Left to be shorn of any scintilla of common decency. When the sole agenda is to get Trump, truth flies out of the top window of their headquarters at 430 South Capitol street.

My Mideast Punchlines: it’s twins!

Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.

The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged.

biffStuxnet stuck it to ’em. If we have to think up a name for this new attack, then why not Stixnet? Stuxnet and Stixnet has quite a nice ring to it. And may the twins soon become triplets. Trixnet would be my choice.

My Mideast Punchlines: tireless in Gaza…

Palestinians in Gaza have coped with shortages of just about everything in more than a decade of border closures — from chocolate to medicines to fuel and building supplies. Now, six months of protests against an Israeli-Egyptian blockade have added an unexpected items to that list: car tyres.

Tyres (spelled tires in Yankee English) are a favored item used by demonstrators during the weekly protests — they are set on fire, then tossed toward Israeli troops across the border.

In response, Israel has halted tyre imports into the strip, sending prices skyrocketing and forcing Gaza motorists to find creative solutions to keep their vehicles on the road.

biffSamuel Johnson famously said, “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of Londonhe is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

I wonder what old Sam would say of Gaza, where there is nothing that life can afford, and everyone is tired, but no one is tyred. As Wimpy in Popeye also famously regaled (and I paraphrase), “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a horse and buggy today.”


My Mideast Punchlines: excuse me while I yawn….

The PLO Central Council decided to suspend its recognition of the State of Israel until it recognizes the state of Palestine at the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital, according to the Palestinian News Agency Wafa.

They also decided to cut security and economic ties with the state of Israel. The decision, taken at the end of the two-day meeting in Ramallah, is a non-binding one.

A committee will now be created to examine the recommendation, which would also need the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The council essentially wants to cease compliance with the 1993 Oslo Accord, which set out a transitional phase during which time the Palestinians would move toward statehood. The council instead wants that statehood to be recognized now.

biffFirst of all, where exactly was there a state of Palestine, either pre- or post-1967? Secondly, if they want to cut all economic ties with Israel, Ramallah can look forward to enjoying a Hamas-style economy. We’ll see how long that lasts before the more educated denizens of the PA decide that they don’t really want to be without water or electricity for most of the day and night. Thirdly, forming a committee will give them something to do before they come to the realisation that no one gives a damn what they decide. As for security, it works both ways. I wonder how many times intel from Shabak has saved Fatah members from the evil intent of their Hamas opponents.

Anyway, the old adage that one shouldn’t make threats from a position of weakness still holds true, so kindly excuse me while I yawn over this one.

My Mideast Punchlines: the dark arts…

The Cairo Film Festival has cancelled an award for French Jewish filmmaker Claude Lelouch over his relationship with Israel.

biffEr, excuse me. Cairo, too, has a relationship with Israel. It’s called a peace agreement. When I was living in Israel back in the seventies, I always used to watch the Friday evening Egyptian films, invariably black and white and formulaic. At the end of an hour-and-a-half of romantic hilarity, the last scene was always the sun setting over the Med. Well, the sun has definitely set over the Cairo Film Festival. It’s simply bathed in the dark arts.










My Mideast Punchlines: three knockout blows…

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would not have murdered prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi without American protection, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

“No one would imagine that in today’s world and a new century that we would witness such an organized murder and a system would plan out such a heinous murder,” Rouhani said, according to IRNA.

biffMoscow and Salisbury come immediately to mind.

“I don’t think that a country would dare commit such a crime without the protection of America.”
biffNah, didn’t happen.
“If there was no American protection, would the people of Yemen still have faced the same brutal bombing?” Rouhani said.
biffYup, Mr Rouhani, you reap what you sow.

My Mideast Punchlines: pot, kettle, black…

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was planned days in advance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told MPs from his ruling party.

He said Turkey had strong evidence Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated and “savage” murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

He also called for the suspects to be tried in Istanbul.

He demanded Saudi Arabia provide answers about where Khashoggi’s body was, and who had ordered the operation.

biffAnd we, Mr Erdogan, demand to know where are all the bodies of the Turkish journalists you have had abducted and murdered. Maybe in the concrete supports of the 1,000-room presidential palace you built for yourself. As tyrants go, Mr Erdogan, Saudi Arabia’s MBS is small beer as compared to you.

Punchlines update: miss(ed) congeniality…

The IDF said a Gaza man arrested while trying to enter Israel deliberately let himself be caught so he could stay in Israel. The IDF said the man would be returned to the Strip later today.

biffDisgraceful Israeli hospitality. I mean, if it was the other way around, Hamas would have extended the full range of their congeniality, i.e. a cell with all mod cons, a slops bucket and even cold running water. Maybe. Meanwhile, the unfortunate Gazan reprobate can expect a far more unforgiving welcoming committee upon return to his homeland.