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Five Fatalities in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion Terrorist Attacks identified

By DEBKAfile, VOA News &

The names of the five people murdered in Thursday's terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion were released. They are: Reuven Aviram, a resident of Holon; Aharon Yosayeb from Ramleh; Yaakov Don from Alon Shvut; Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American yeshiva student; and Shadi Zahadi Arafa, a Palestinian from Hebron.

Two Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis killed five people Thursday, in one of the bloodiest days for Israel in a nearly two-month-long wave of Palestinian stabbings and other attacks. In the first incident, a knife-wielding Palestinian man stabbed two Israelis in a Tel Aviv office building before being detained by bystanders and handed over to police, according to witnesses.

Later Thursday, three people, one confirmed as Israeli and another believed to be the assailant, were killed in a shooting and car attack near a Jewish settlement south of Jerusalem. A number of people were wounded. The shooter opened fire and tried to flee the scene before "intentionally" ramming his car into a group of pedestrians, according to the Israeli army. The military said security forces shot at the attacker, "identifying a hit."

A wave of violence has left at least 15 Israelis dead following knife and other attacks by Palestinians over the past month-and-a-half. More than 80 Palestinians, most of them assailants, according to police, have been killed by security forces at scenes of assaults and in violent protests in the West Bank and Gaza.

A Jerusalem holy site known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to Jews as the Temple Mount has been at the heart of the violence. The main Islamic organization in Israel, the Islamic Movement in Israel has been behind a campaign alleging that Israel is trying to take over the site. Israeli officials have banned the organization, accusing it of inciting violence.

A Russian RT TV crew, housed in the same Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv where two Jews were stabbed to death at prayer and a third was moderately wounded on Thursday, caught the frantic moments on film as police tried to track down the Arab terrorist. Viewer discretion is advised. The footage contains images of blood and victims..

RT's Middle East correspondent Paula Slier broadcast live coverage during the attack, after her crew was told to barricade in their office during the police hunt for the murderer. The terrorist was identified as a 36-year-old resident of Hura near Hebron in Judea, who had been given a work permit and was employed at a restaurant in the nearby suburb of Yafo.

The Arab terrorist who carried out the attack was tackled and held by a civilian until police arrived to arrest him, and sustained light injuries in the course of being captured.

The attack took place at a synagogue in the Panorama building along Ben Tzvi Street in southern Tel Aviv, as afternoon prayers were being conducted. Security forces scrambled to the scene initially responded to reports of a possible second terrorist by conducting a sweep of the area, but have confirmed that at this point those claims appear to have been mistaken.

MDA paramedics Moshe Danenberg and Younis Niniv recounted the disturbing scene they encountered. "The sight was difficult. At the entrance to one of the businesses in the building a 32-year-old man was lying (on the ground) unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing, after suffering from stab wounds to his upper body. Close to him lay a 30-year-old man with stab wounds to his upper body, and a floor below we located an additional casualty, a man of about 50, fully conscious. We quickly provided them with first aid at the scene and immediately evacuated them to Ichilov hospital."

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan responded to the attack:. "Terror is terror, and it doesn't matter where it occurs," he continued, hinting at the recent terrorist attacks in Europe. In Israel's case "its roots are the incitement from the Palestinian leadership which encourages (violence). Only destroying the homes of the terrorists swiftly after an attack and expelling their families will deter the next perpetrator."

Abbas' Fatah: All Israelis are Nazis


Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction has been caught once again demonizing Jews and inciting terror, in an offensive cartoon depicting all Israelis as Nazis - the genocidal German regime that sought to murder all Jews.

The cartoon, published last week on the website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission and revealed by Palestinian Media Watch Thursday, shows the upper bodies of six Nazi officials arguing but joined together in one body with two legs, wearing a belt with a large Star of David on it. The cartoon is headlined with the words "they are all the same," meaning all Israelis are Nazis, and additional text reads "the disputes inside 'Israel.'"

Fatah has long sought to demonize Jews with Nazi imagery. Earlier this year, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen said there is "no difference" between Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in an interview with the Fatah run Awdah TV.

"Basically, he (Netanyahu) is the patron of those settlers and patron of the extreme mentality, the Nazi mentality. Therefore I say there is no difference between Hitler and Netanyahu. Netanyahu is a man who murders, advocates expansion, destroys homes, Judaizes territories, arrests thousands, and destroys the peace process," claimed Muhaisen. Ironically given his comparison with the Nazis, Muhaisen just recently said Palestinian Arabs have the "right" to murder Jews and "cause Israeli women to cry."

Abbas Zaki, another Fatah Central Committee member, told the semi official Iranian Fars News Agency last week that "as long as barbaric, Nazi, fascist Israeli steps are being taken, our people will not surrender or wave a white flag, and in the end (we) will defeat the occupier." The statements are made ironic due to the current wave of Arab terror attacks that began in early October. Zaki praised "the heroic acts being carried out by the young Palestinians against the Israeli enemy," in open support for terrorism.

King Abdullah of Jordan: "We Are Facing A Third World War"


King Abdullah II of Jordan has warned that humanity is "facing a third world war" due to the threat of ISIS, Agence France-Presse reported. "and this is what brings us all together. This is a war, as I've said repeatedly, within Islam," he said, stressing the high number of Muslim victims of the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

Abdullah said groups such as ISIS "expose themselves daily as savage outlaws of religion, devoid of humanity, respecting no laws and no boundaries." He called on the world to "act fast" and confront the threat posed by ISIS "whether it is in this region, Africa, Asia or in Europe."

King Abdullah made similar comments late last year in an interview with Charlie Rose. "This is no reflection of our religion. This is evil. And all of us have got to make that decision. We have to stand up and say, 'This is the line that is drawn in the sand. And those that believe in right should stand on this side. And those that don't have to make a decision to stand on the other.' It's clearly a fight between good and evil. I think it's a generational fight. As I said to, actually, to President Putin, I think this is a third world war by other means."

"I hope the short-term part of it is going to be the military. The medium-term is a security aspect of it. But the long-term is going to be the ideological one. So, what I'm saying is, we as Muslims have got to look ourselves in the mirror and realize that we have this problem; make this very difficult call, and then all of us come together and clearly say that, you know, these people are renegades. These people have nothing to do with Islam."

Are Arab Americans White? Maybe Not, According to US Census

By Dora Mekouar (VOA News)

For 71 years, the United States has classified Americans of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry as "white," but the federal government is now considering a plan to give this group of Americans its own classification on the next U.S. census.

It's a move Arab American civil rights groups have spent decades advocating for because, while people of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry are legally white, the reality is that, in everyday life, this population is rarely perceived—or treated—as white.

"You have popular perceptions of Middle Eastern and North African Americans as non-white and more than just non-white, but as prospective terrorists, national security threats, subversives," said Khaled Beydoun, an assistant professor of law at Barry University in Florida. "You have this rift between legal status, and popular and political conceptions of Middle Eastern and North African Americans' identities."

A new classification, "Middle East or North African [MENA]," is currently being tested and could make its debut on the next census in 2020. The U.S. Census, which takes place every 10 years, seeks to count every resident in the United States. States use the census information to redraw their congressional districts, while communities use it to plan where to build schools, roads, and hospitals. The data is also useful to governments when it comes to the allotment of funds and support.

No one knows exactly how many Arab Americans there are. The U.S. Census estimates there are 1.9 million. However, the Arab American Institute puts that number at 3.7 million. Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Dearborn, Michigan, thinks the true number could be closer to almost 6 million. The majority are concentrated in 10 states, including California, Michigan and New York, according to statistics from the American Community Survey.

A stand-alone designation could also lead to other legal benefits for MENA Americans, such as access to government-based grants and loans, and race- and ethnicity-conscious affirmative action in higher education.

However, it comes during a time of increased state surveillance and the emerging Countering Violent Extremism program, a new national security effort steered by the FBI, which works in conjunction with local police departments to combat terrorism. The effort, in effect, localizes national security and anti-terror policing, says Beydoun.

"If you have this MENA box which passes in 2020, the ability of the government to collect more precise and comprehensive data about communities that it associates with terrorism is greatly enhanced," he said. "Even though that is a possible peril that arises from the MENA box, I'm still a strong supporter of it."

Beydoun succinctly summed up the MENA dilemma facing Arab Americans in an essay he wrote for the Michigan Law Review. "For a population boxed out for decades," he wrote, "closer scrutiny reveals that being boxed in may be an even more perilous position."

Pollard to Leave Prison on Friday


Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is to be released from US prison on Friday after serving 30 years. Attempts to get Pollard freed over the years have failed, as have requests to ease the terms of his release. He is to be released by the federal parole board but remain under strict conditions. Among other things, Pollard will be banned from flying to Israel and forbidden from accessing the internet.

Pollard, 61, will also have to live and work in New York and regularly report to a parole officer. Any request to leave the area where he lives would require approval from the parole officer, with more substantial requests requiring special approval from the parole board.

Pollard spent the first seven years after his arrest in an Illinois jail before being transferred to a North Carolina prison. Prisoners are released daily from the facility at 6 a.m. (1 p.m. Israel time), and Pollard is expected to be released in the early morning. However, authorities refused to provide information regarding the precise time of his release.

The first people Pollard is expected to meet after his release are his wife Esther and his lawyer, who will likely meet him North Carolina, where the prison is, or in New York, where is supposed to live as part of his parole conditions.

Pollard's attorneys plan to keep a low profile because of concern that a media circus would taint efforts to convince the parole board to shorten the length of time he must abide by the strict conditions – and perhaps to permit him to leave the US and come to Israel. "Esther is so excited I can't describe it," said a source closed to the Pollards. "This will be the first time in 30 years that Jonathan can sit at the Sabbath meal table and say Kiddush over the wine. She prepared dishes he hasn't seen since he was 30."

Pollard's former wife Anne also arrived in the US in the hopes of seeing him. Anne was arrested with Jonathan in November 1985 at the entrance to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where they hoped in vain to find asylum. Pollard confessed to passing classified information to a friendly nation as part of a plea bargain, but the judge rejected it and sentenced him to a life sentence, the maximum allowed.

It was reported Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had asked the US to allow Pollard to return immediately to Israel upon his release. According to the reports, Netanyahu has been lobbying Washington to let Pollard travel to Israel instead of completing his five years' parole in the United States. A spokesman for Netanyahu would not confirm the report.

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