My Mideast Punchlines: the natives are restless…..

An initially positive feature on the BBC Travel website focuses on the Israel city of Caesarea, specifically the discovery of 2,000 gold coins on the ocean floor, the largest stash ever found in the region.

The author of the piece covers Caesarea’s fascinating ancient history, referring to Phoenicians and Greeks and eventually the Romans:

“By 6AD, Caesarea was the capital of Roman Palestine….and when the native people revolted against Roman rule….

By 6AD, Caesarea was the capital of the Roman province of Judea and was not known as “Roman Palestine” or “Palestine.” It was only later, following the suppression of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt in the year 135AD that the Romans changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina.

And no prizes for guessing who were the “natives”. The name Judea is a clue, although this is seemingly lost on the “natives” of Bush House.


My Mideast Punchlines: well and truly cooked…..

Among the feeding frenzy of coverage in the UK media as government minister Priti Patel was forced to resign over undeclared meetings with Israeli politicians, so the Palestinians attempted to add their voices.

The self-styled Palestinian ‘ambassador’ to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, was quoted as such by almost every newspaper, although the Palestinians do not have an embassy in London, but simply a Representative Office.

Hassassian said Ms Patel’s actions were “shocking”, including her offer to send money to the Israeli army. He told ITV news: “how could a cabinet minister try to funnel funding for one side and pretend the other side is not existing?”

The same way the Cabinet funnels funding to the Palestinians that ends up in the coffers of their leaders, that’s how. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. The great pity of it all is that Ms Patel’s goose has been well and truly cooked by a British Foreign Office that remains as pro-Arab as ever.

My Mideast Punchlines: say cheese….

Switzerland’s Defense Ministry has admitted sending staff to test reconnaissance drones in contested land held by Israel – an embarrassing blow for the neutral European country’s status as an honest broker in the Middle East.

Swiss officials visited an airfield in the Golan Heights region on three occasions in 2012, 2013 and 2015 to monitor tests of the Israeli-built Hermes 900 aircraft that they are buying for $265 million . . .

The officials’ visits, which lasted several days, took place in an area that Switzerland does not recognize as being part of Israel, as it was seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

In this particular case, it’s nice to know that Swiss neutrality is like its cheese — full of holes.

My Mideast Punchlines: tunnel vision….

The IDF blew up a Hamas attack tunnel that reached into Israeli territory Monday, using new technology to detect terrorist tunnels.

According to Palestinian media, a total of six Palestinian militants were killed and nine wounded.

The “controlled explosion,” as the IDF called it, took place in Israeli territory. The tunnel, which was still under construction, began in Khan Younes in Gaza, and continued into Israel.

Arafat Abu Marshould, head of the faction’s armed wing in central Gaza, was killed along with a senior associate and two other gunmen. The group said it had put its fighters on “full alert” to respond to Israel’s “despicable actions”.
Yes, how dare we kill those intent on tunnelling into kibbutzim to kill as many innocent Israeli civilians as possible? The sheer effrontery of it. With mentally-challenged logic like this, Gaza will long remain as it is:  a hellish fly-blown backwater run by Neanderthals.

My Mideast Punchlines: they’re at it again, folks….

The head of Hamas security apparatus in Gaza, Tawfiq Abu Naim, was wounded on Friday when his vehicle was the target of an “explosion,” according to Iyad Dozm, the spokesperson of the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza.

“General Tawfiq Abu Naim, the general director of internal security forces, survived an assassination attempt Friday afternoon, after his car was targeted by an explosion in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the middle of Gaza City,” the statement read, adding that Abu Naim suffered moderate wounds but was doing well and was being treated in the hospital.

Didn’t take long , did it, before the new Hamas-PA pact claimed its first victim. Watch this space for news of more casualties. Just like the good old days, when throwing the opposition from the top of tall buildings was de rigeur in Gaza. Tawfiq Abu Naim was one of the prisoners released in the 2011 Gilad Schalit exchange. There’s nothing like a spell in an Israeli jail to give a Palestinian some street-cred, or street-dread, depending on whether you’re a perp or a victim.

My Mideast Punchlines: infamy…….

Does Palestinian unity deal pave the way for ex-Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal to become president of the Palestinian Authority? Israel HaYom reports that the reconciliation agreement allows in principle for the possibility of Hamas joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the umbrella organization of Palestinian factions of which Fatah is the currently the leading member.

The paper adds that A) Mashaal’s presidential ambitions are well known within both Hamas and Fatah, B) he could exploit Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to appoint a successor, and C) neither Israel nor Jordan would tolerate Hamas taking over the PA.

The latest Hamas-PA pact is a Trojan horse. If the lunatics do take over the asylum, then expect sparks to fly. Although why Mashaal would give up the relative safety of his palatial exile in Doha for a dangerous backwater pad in Ramallah and a possible Israeli drone attack is hard to fathom. On the other hand, the threat against Abbas is real. Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me.

My Mideast Punchlines: get it? Got it…..

In an interview with Ynet, Norwegian Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug said that because of Islamic terror attacks in Europe, “We now get what Israel goes through.”

We are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades,” said Sylvi Listhaug in an exclusive interview with Ynet in Oslo. “Many people now understand the situation you live in. We see what is happening in Sweden, in Britain and in France.”

What a breath of fresh air. Is the fog of the most anti-Semitic Scandinavian country beginning to lift? Ms Listaug’s comment is a welcome first step towards the light. To quote the Beatles:

So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good
Norwegian wood

My Mideast Punchlines: sticky fingers…..

Interpol fallout: After the the Palestinians got full membership in the international police organization, US Senator Ben Cardin said American justice officials won’t honor PA warrants and arrest warrants sent through Interpol. And what were PA officials saying?

A senior Palestinian official said there were no plans to sue any Israelis through Interpol. He said the purpose is “to pursue criminals who commit crimes here and escape.”

He said one target would be Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of Abbas.

Be careful what you wish for. Abbas and his cronies have been robbing the Palestinian people blind for years. Even a cursory inspection of the books is likely to reveal sticky finger syndrome amongst the Palestinian leadership. Will Interpol act? Don’t hold your breath.

My Mideast Punchlines: fact, or fiction….

Israel suffered a stinging diplomatic setback on Wednesday when the International Police Organization (Interpol) voted to accept “Palestine” as a full member state.

The move at Interpol’s annual General Assembly meeting, held this year in Beijing, came despite furious Israeli efforts over the last few weeks to thwart it. The US was also actively involved up until the last minute in trying to stop the move.

Read all about it: Al Capone joins the FBI. Besides which, I always believed any police organisation worthy of the name was based on its ability to reveal truths through investigation. You don’t have to be Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple to discover that there is no such state as Palestine. However, it’s clear that Interpol deals in fiction, so anything goes.

My Mideast Punchlines – NOT: a schmuck by any other name….

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency.

Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hands and wept as the sentence was announced by Judge Denise Cote. He must surrender to prison officials by Nov. 6.

 The sentencing completed the sordid downfall of the New York Democrat, whose penchant for exchanging lewd messages and photos with young women online destroyed his career in Congress in 2011, doomed his bid for mayor of New York in 2013, wrecked his marriage to Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and became entangled in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Admitting “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for illicit contact with a North Carolina teenager.

Okay, I admit it. This has got nothing to do with the Mideast. I just needed a break from the never-ending gloom, so what better than to write a few words about our very own sexting maniac, Anthony Weiner.

Now I’m sure Weiner was a nice Jewish boy in his mother’s womb, but it’s his father I blame. Weiner is pronounced ‘weener’ in the States, and everyone knows that weener is  slang for penis across the Pond. In this case, no one can say the euphemism isn’t an apt one for this particularly schmuck. As my Israeli sister-in-law of blessed memory used to say, when the cannon (weener) stands up, the seychel (sense) flies out of the window.