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Kerry's Revisions for US Troops on Jordan Valley Border Include a Gaza-Hebron Express Train Link

By DEBKAfile

In the face of stiff Palestinian opposition, Secretary of State John Kerry has stepped back from the American security plan for Israeli troops to secure the Jordan Valley border for an agreed period, in favor of deploying US forces, DEBKAfile's exclusive Washington sources report.

Kerry also gave in to the Palestinians on two additional security safeguards: one, for corridors through the West Bank through which Israeli forces would move back and forth from the Jordan Valley; and, two, for Israel monitors to be posted at Palestinian-Jordanian border crossings as a counter-terror safeguard.

Instead, Kerry has come up with the notion of "remote Israeli monitoring" of the border posts by means of electronic gadgets. The Secretary of State has therefore stripped the US framework for a peace accord of three vital elements for safeguarding Israeli security in a Palestinian state, before submitting it formally to the Israelis and Palestinians in the second half of January.

American and Israeli security experts agree that the revised Kerry security proposals would in practice enlist US soldiers out for the first time to defend Israel's eastern border, a task for which the IDF is perfectly capable, only to gratify the Palestinian demand to remove any Israeli military presence from its potential territory. The US would also find itself responsible for monitoring Israel's border crossings to the new Palestinian state as well Palestinian-Jordanian border stations.

The Secretary appears to be in tune too with the Palestinian demand for the "safe passage" to connect the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to be realized in the form of an express train. This rail link would require Israel to sacrifice a slice of the Negev in the south and turn it over to Palestinian sovereignty, with no stops on the way for Israel security officers to inspect the traffic and freight being ferried between the two Palestinian entities. Washington has informed Israel and the Palestinian Authority that it has opted for a railroad rather than a tunnel link.

The Palestinians now demand that the train run all the way to Ramallah instead of terminating further south at Hebron. This would take it through Gush Etzion and so create a precedent for one of the Israeli settlement blocks to be bisected by a transport route under Palestinian control. Our Jerusalem sources report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not so far rejected any of these "revisions" of the US security plan; neither has he accepted them.

Arab Knesset Members Join Calls for Pollard's Release


MKs from across the political spectrum attended a special Knesset session Wednesday, in a public call for the release of Jonathan Pollard to the administration of President Barack Obama. Jews and Arabs, left-wing and right-wing politicians, secular and religious parties alike came together in solidarity to call for Pollard's freedom. It was yet another campaign on behalf of the Israeli prisoner, who has been held in the US for over 28 years on spying allegations.

Much of the criticism was directed toward Obama. White House spokespeople declared Monday that the President has "no intention" to respond to the mounting calls for Pollard's release. MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) said that the failure of the Obama administration in that regard is "immoral and inhumane." MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) added that the delay constitutes "anti-Semitism for its own sake. They demand from us to release vile murderers," Yogev continued, relating to the upcoming release of 26 Palestinian terrorists. "This is immoral in itself." Addressing Obama specifically, he stated, "You continue to harden your heart; Jonathan is a bargaining chip for nothing. It is your moral obligation to release Pollard - today and without preconditions."

MK Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) stated, "This week we are going to release the terrorists because of American pressure. I call on the US President: listen to all of the officials in the senior U.S. administration, listen to the Israeli government as your friend and ally: it's time to release Jonathan Pollard. We want to see Jonathan, our brother, at home."

MK Ibrahim Tzartzur (United Arab List) also related to the terrorist releases in his own calls to Obama - albeit, a bit differently. "We, the Palestinian people, have thousands of prisoners, some of whom are jailed for thirty years like Pollard," he stated. He insisted that Arab prisoners "do not have their basic needs met" and stated that the treatment of both prisoners has been inhumane.

Despite reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to demand Pollard's release from the US - possibly in the framework of negotiations - some say that Israel's involvement in the release has been unnecessarily slow.

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) was among them. According to Feiglin, the reason that Pollard is not in Israel it is because Israel does not want it enough. He noted that despite repeated requests from Pollard, Israel has not recognized him as a prisoner - and that "there are legal implications" to the move which have prevented his release.

MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) agreed. Margi claimed that the Israeli government has abandoned the Jonathan Pollard over the years. He called for the Prime Minister to appoint a special official to secure the release, who would make the release "his sole purpose" and who could "maintain friendly relations between the US and Israel."

Some MKs had an even simpler message: solidarity. MK David Azoulay (Shas) asked the Jewish people to pray for Pollard's release. MK Gila Gamliel (Likud), said, "We need to cry out now: this is the hour that opportunity calls for Pollard to be released." She stressed that "all of the Jewish people" feel that they are in prison with him.

Toward the session's conclusion, MK Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu) read the PM's personal comments. Netanyahu thanked the MKs for the efforts, and specifically for organizing the session. He guaranteed that he is working tirelessly to free Pollard, using every resource available. He also noted that he has met with Esther Pollard multiple times to help facilitate his release. "There is no doubt that Pollard's release has been a long time coming," the Prime Minister stated.

Pollard has been subject of a high-profile campaign for his release, after being held in the US for more than 28 years on spying allegations. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and held since. Public calls for Pollard's release have been made time and time again over the intervening years.

However, revelations earlier this week that the US has been spying on Israel - including on the Prime Minister himself - have added extra weight to calls for his release, after Israeli MKs and US politicians alike have deemed Obama's refusal "hypocritical."

Temple Mount Activist: Only the People Can Stop Desecration


A special Knesset committee which met to discuss the ongoing destruction of Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount, saw Knesset members and Antiquities Authority officials debating how best to end the alarming phenomenon atop Judaism's holiest site.

The destruction of Jewish artifacts by the Islamic Waqf trust is seen by many observers as part of a concerted effort to Islamize the Temple Mount, by erasing all traces of the Jewish Temples. Islamist and Palestinian Authority figures have long denied the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem in general, despite the wealth of archaeology and historical documentation to the contrary. Those present at the committee called for greater political involvement by government ministers in tackling the phenomenon - including the Prime Minister itself.

But speaking to Arutz Sheva, one veteran Temple Mount activist said he had little faith in the political establishment's willingness to tackle the problem, given the decades of inaction by successive Israeli governments.

Instead, Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute insisted that the Temple Mount can only be preserved through popular re-engagement, and increased awareness on the part of ordinary Jews worldwide. "The Waqf's destruction of Temple remnants is deliberate and calculated. It's not an 'accusation'," he asserted. "They've already been convicted. And as far as their organized, aggressive harassment of Jewish visitors – this, too, is a demonstrable fact, which can be observed daily.

"The Waqf engages in 'Temple Denial Syndrome.' They deny that there ever was a Holy Temple here – and thereby they delegitimize any Jewish claim to Jerusalem, by obliterating Jewish history in preparation for the far-reaching 'final status' of Jerusalem."

Richman also dismissed claims by police that the situation on the Temple Mount has "improved" in recent months as "utterly ridiculous", adding that the harassment of Jewish visitors was still "a daily occurrence." As part of a raft of restrictions, Jewish and other non-Muslim visitors are banned from praying at the site, and face arrest and summary bans from ascending if seen to break the rules. Religious Jews in particular are often harassed by Muslim extremists on the Mount.

"I visited the Temple Mount this morning and was mistreated and abused by members of the Waqf," he said. "Jewish visitors are discriminated against and degraded; their visits are barely tolerated... If it were reported that Jews were being treated this way in any other country, the State of Israel would protest strongly and condemn such acts of overt anti-Semitism."

But simply blaming the Waqf for the discrimination of Jewish visitors and destruction of Jewish antiquities is disingenuous, said Richman. The root cause, he insists, is a lack of education and awareness within the Jewish community, which translates into apathy and a lack of popular resistance to the current situation, and in turn facilitates the continued inaction by authorities.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site and the location of the two ancient Jewish Temples; yet centuries of anti-Semitic decrees by Christian and Muslim occupying powers banning Jews from it altogether - coupled with halakhic (Jewish legal) disputes over how to properly manage access to the site - has left the site vulnerable to abuse by political and religious extremists who oppose Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel in any form.

"Generations of Jews have been raised and taught that we have no connection to the Temple Mount; that it is a Muslim site and that we Jews belong down below at the Kotel (Western Wall). This complicit Jewish 'Temple Denial Syndrome' aids and abets our own destruction," he lamented.

The only way to force action on the part of the government is through popular re-engagement, he said. "If that which should be the holiest thing to us, is literally trashed before our eyes, and we do not react – if we can be so insensitive to the life's blood of our own heritage – then we are deserving of every ignominy which befalls us," he concluded.

French JDL Members Arrested For Beating Up Neo-Nazis

By Reuters

Six members of the French Jewish Defense League - the Ligue de Defense Juive (LDJ) - were arrested after allegedly beating up Neo-Nazis. The group reportedly the group tracked down the Neo-Nazis from photos on the internet, showing them making Nazi salutes at anti-Semitic demonstrations. The six were arrested over suspected connection to the string of attacks in eastern France; two of them were charged. The LDJ denies involvement in the attacks.

Anti-Semitism has been skyrocketing in France, spurring many Jews to take matters into their own hands. A report found anti-Semitic incidents rose 58% in 2012, with most attributed to Muslim extremists. The Toulouse shooting in 2012 that left a rabbi and three Jewish children dead was carried out by an Al Qaeda-linked Islamist.

According to the claims, at least two of the attacks last weekend occurred in Lyon and Villeurbanne, and targeted locals who had made a modified Nazi salute known as quenelle, reports Walla!. The gesture consists of a lowered straight arm salute with the other arm folded across the shoulder, and was made famous in France by controversial comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, who has been accused of anti-Semitism on numerous occasions.

The gesture has since gained popularity among French anti-Semites, many of whom photograph themselves making the "modified" Nazi salute in front of Jewish establishments, holocaust memorial sites and even with unsuspecting Jewish passersby. The phenomenon is not only popular with neo-Nazis though - many of those recorded giving the salute have been young French Muslims.

In September two soldiers in the French Alpinist unit were punished after being documented making the salute in front of a Paris synagogue. World Zionist Organization (WZO) declared the salute as a clear Nazi symbol. The September incident was not the first evidence of Neo-Nazi French soldiers.

In the recent attacks, French newspaper La Parisienne alleges that roughly 40 members of the LDJ arrived at a Lyon hotel to attack a worker suspected of being a Neo-Nazi. After an altercation broke out with hotel security, police showed up and promptly fired tear gas at the members. Nevertheless, the paper claims JDL members managed to hit and kidnap another person, not their original target. Meanwhile on Sunday, the French paper reports six members attacked a man they identified from Neo-Nazi pictures on the internet, locking him in the trunk of their car.

The Jewish Defense League was founded in America by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968, shortly before he immigrated to Israel. The organization set up neighborhood patrols, using force to defend Jews from rampant anti-Semitic attacks in cities around the country, though it is now largely defunct.

Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, a follower of Kahane, in 2009 called on the Knesset to recognize the rabbi's legacy of standing up for Jewish rights and fighting against anti-Semitism.

Abbas Adopts Jesus as a Palestinian

By DEBKAfile

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas sent this Christmas message to the world: "In Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born, a Palestinian messenger who would become the guiding light for millions around the world."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Abbas should check his facts, read the New Testament before spouting such nonsense. Palmor said. "But we forgive him, for he knows not what he does."

Palestinian officials said Abbas used the term "Palestinian" in a historic context, applying to all those in the Holy Land at the time, regardless of religion.


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