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Secret Helsinki Deal: US & Israel Hand Russia Controlling Role Along Syria's Israeli, Jordanian Borders

By DEBKAfile

The scandal over President Donald Trump's defense of President Vladimir Putin against US intelligence at the Helsinki press conference – for which he, sort of, apologized – served him too as a distraction from a momentous military-intelligence deal the two presidents secretly contracted at their summit, with Israel's approval. DEBKAfile has obtained exclusive access to this deal and can reveal for the first time that it provides for the handover to Russian responsibility of all parts of southern and southwestern Syria abutting on the Israeli and Jordanian borders, including, most importantly, surveillance and observation elevations that oversee all parts of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean. Trump and Binyamin Netanyahu thereby gave Putin a valuable asset for boosting Russia's military presence in Syria and the region at large.

US Report: Only 20,000 Palestinian `Refugees' in the World, Not 5.1 Million

By JNS & Israel Hayom

Members of the U.S. Congress are demanding the State Department make public a key report that includes precise figures on the number of people who became refugees in the 1948 War of Independence. The existence of the State Department assessment, compiled and classified under the Obama administration, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon six months ago. Lawmakers say the report could impact how the United States views the refugee issue when the actual number of refugees is made public and is significantly smaller than the number of Palestinian refugees according to the United Nations. Once the largest donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in January the United States cut $65 million of a planned $125 million in aid funds to the agency. The agency, which asserts that there are 5.1 million Palestinian refugees worldwide, focuses exclusively on providing aid to Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, while all other refugees in the world receive services from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, told the Free Beacon that access to the report was necessary for Congress to provide oversight for American taxpayers. "UNRWA lashes out against America and engages in anti-Semitic incitement. Hamas terrorists use UNRWA facilities to target Israeli civilians," Cruz was reported as saying. "The American people deserve to see this reported State Department assessment, so Congress and the administration can have a transparent and productive debate about America's role in the organization." Sources who have seen the report say that the State Department's assessment was that only 20,000 of the 700,000 Arab refugees who fled Palestine during the War of Independence are still alive and displaced from their homes. While researching material for her 1984 book From Time Immemorial, American journalist Joan Peters learned that the United Nations made the conscious decision to differentiate Palestinian refugees from all other refugees. Refugees are generally defined as people who fled a permanent home, while in the Palestinians' case, someone who lived in Palestine for as little as two years before Israel's establishment in 1948 could be considered a refugee. Also, unlike all other refugees, Palestinians refugees pass their status on to their descendants. As a result, Palestinian refugees are said to number in the millions. Israel has begun to raise the issue in the international arena, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that UN funds should be transferred to Palestinians through the UN refugee agency and that UNRWA should be abolished. Doing so, however, would require the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution in favor of the move, which is unlikely given the international forum's anti-Israel bias.

Netanyahu Nixes Vote on 'Facebook Bill'

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nixed the vote Wednesday on the so-called 'Facebook bill,' which seeks to give the State of Israel the authority to order online companies to remove content inciting to violence and terrorism. "For fear of harming the freedom of expression and in order to ensure Israeli citizens' right to express criticism online freely, the prime minister has asked to stop the legislative process for the 'Facebook bill' and return it to its original version and purpose—preventing incitement to terrorism online," a statement from Netanyahu's Likud Party said. "The prime minister believes the current version of the bill enables a broad interpretation that may allow the censorship of opinions and cause serious harm to the freedom of expression in the State of Israel," the statement added. The legislation was scheduled to go to a vote in its second and third readings on Wednesday, the last day of the Knesset's summer session. Knesset members will now go on hiatus until the end of the High Holy Days in October. This means the Facebook bill will be delayed by at least a few months. Under the proposed legislation, which passed its first reading in the Knesset in January 2017, the Court of Administrative Affairs may, at the request of the state, order websites—such as Facebook or Google—to remove inciting content. Such an order may be issued under two conditions: when the content constitutes a criminal offense, and when there is a real possibility the content will pose a real threat to an individual, to public security or state security. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), who sponsored the bill, came out again Netanyahu's decision to cancel Wednesday's vote. "I regret the decision to stop the vote. Incitement to violence and terrorism online has become in recent years one of the main factors driving terrorists to carry out attacks. A direct link has been shown between the level of incitement online and terror attacks being committed.

Austrian State Mulls Limiting Kosher Meat Sale Only to Registered Jews


A regional politician in Austria defended a plan to limit access to kosher meat, conditioning its sale on permits that would be individually issued to observant Jews. The Wiener Zeitung daily reported Tuesday about the draft decree in the state of Lower Austria, one of nine states that make up the Federal Republic of Austria. Gottfried Waldhäusl, the Cabinet minister in the state government of Lower Austria in charge of animal welfare and several other portfolios, defended the plan as necessary "from an animal welfare point of view." Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Jewish Community in Vienna, warned that in practice, the plan would require compiling a list of Jews, which he called "like a negative Aryan clause," referencing racist laws passed by Nazi Germany and implemented in Austria after its merger with Germany in 1938. The American Jewish Committee's Berlin office also referenced Nazi decrees in opposing the plan. "Soon with a star on the chest?" a spokesperson for the group wrote on its official Twitter account. "This is an attack on Jewish and Muslim life! #Anti-Semitism." Jewish and Muslim religious laws require animals to be conscious when their throats are cut for the mean to be kosher or halal, respectively. Judaism imposes stricter limitations on how animals should be slaughtered to ensure swift dispatching. Critics of the production of kosher and halal meat say it is cruel, though advocates of the practices argue they cause less suffering overall because they are designed to be as painless as possible and cannot be fully mechanized. The Wiener Zeitung did not say whether the draft decree also extends to halal meat. Waldhäusl, the animal welfare official from Lower Austria, is the state's only Cabinet minister from the populist Freedom Party, which was created by a former Nazi SS soldier in the 1950s and opposes immigration from Muslim countries. The party has had many scandals involving anti-Semitism by its members and representatives, though its leaders say their party is not anti-Semitic and will not tolerate expressions of such sentiments in its ranks. Klaus Schneeberger, the regional leader of the ruling Austrian People's Party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, told the ORF broadcaster that the plan would not be implemented. "Of course, nobody will have to register to buy kosher meat. There will be no such thing," he said. The Austrian People's Party last year entered a coalition agreement with the Freedom Party following a federal election. In Lower Austria, Gov. Johanna Mikl-Leitner is from the Austrian People's Party, along with seven out of the nine Cabinet ministers. "In Lower Austria, we are not here to provide meat to the Viennese," Waldhäusl told the daily about his state, which contains vast farmlands and encircles the far smaller state of Vienna, where the vast majority of Austria's some 8,000 Jews live.

Did Birthright Give In to Terrorism?

The Taglit-Birthright Israel project, which brings thousands of young Diaspora Jews to Israel each year, forbade its participants from traveling to the Negev in light of the continuing arson attacks from Gaza terrorists and the recent wave of rocket attacks, the Walla news site reported. "These are the borders of the sector in the south of the country: there is no permit to cross Route 7 south of Gedera and Ashdod, there is no permission to cross Route 40 on the section between the Gedera Junction and Tlalim Junction," Birthright announced on its website. Taglit-Birthright Israel said in response: "The safety and well-being of Taglit-Birthright Israel participants is of paramount importance to us, and the constant monitoring of the situation allows us to maintain a particularly high safety standard, which is sometimes even more stringent than the directives of the Israeli security authorities. "The daily tours are approved by the Situation Room, run by the Ministry of Education and in cooperation with the IDF, the Israel Police and the Ministry of Public Security, while minor changes apply according to the security situation. Taglit has a well-known reputation for meticulous care and security, an image that we gained in 18 years of activity in which we hosted 650,000 participants without security issues." Birthright participants had continued to visit the Gaza periphery over the last few months when terrorists from the Gaza Strip launched kites and balloons with explosive devices and materials at Israel. The participants saw the thousands of acres which were burned in the arson attacks,

Jordanian Reporter: 'Earthquakes are an Attempt to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque'


Maal Zakarna, a columnist for Jordan's Ad-Dustour daily claimed several days ago that Israel caused the recent earthquakes by testing nuclear weapons or a new type of weapon underground. While nuclear testing does cause the ground to shake, the earthquakes it produces are unique enough that seismologists have been able to differentiate between nuclear tests and earthquakes for decades. MEMRI reported that according to Zakarna, these "experiments" are part of Israel's attempt to cause a man-made earthquake to collapse Al-Aqsa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. "The earthquakes focused especially on the area of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee - ed.) and its surroundings and measured around 4 on the Richter scale," Zakarna wrote in his article. "This raises the question of what caused these earthquakes, their timing, and their location. It could be that they were caused by experimental explosions carried out by the Israeli occupation's army at a certain depth under the Kinneret. [This would be done] to test new weapons, such as smaller nuclear bombs which have limited influence, or a conventional weapon created for use against regional armies, which the occupying state believes.... constitute a new kind of threat.

"It could be that these actions are preparation for a major criminal action against sites in occupied Jerusalem which are holy to Islam and Christianity, and especially against the Al-Aqsa mosque, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while [at the same time] create a pre-planned earthquake to destroy them in preparation for creating a Holy Temple in the attempt to Judaize Jerusalem. "We cannot trust the Israeli occupation, since it acts, plans, and plots, and at the end of the day - destroys - in order to achieve political, geographic, and Biblical goals. It does not hesitate to use the technology, knowledge, and science in its hands in order to complete its planned expansion, while blaming nature and natural causes. It also is not ashamed to ask for aid from other countries in the region and the world, in order to cover up its crimes and carry out its plans for Judaization at their expense. "The other thing that raises suspicion that the occupation had a hand in creating these earthquakes is the fact that it did nothing and did not take any preparatory or cautionary steps of any sort to [help] deal with the large earthquake which its own expert geologists claimed would occur after the smaller earthquakes. The occupation continued to watch the public's reactions, until it understood that its mischief had been discovered and that no one had fallen for it. So they stopped the experiments." Israel and Jordan both sit on the Syrian-African rift, a strike-slip fault which is geologists believe produces a major earthquake every century or so. While geologists agree that Israel needs to prepare for a major earthquake which could strike at any moment, they are divided over whether the recent smaller earthquakes are a sign of an upcoming major earthquake or stand "alone." Earlier this year, a councilman in Washington, D.C., suggested on Facebook that rich Jews who control the weather caused an unexpected snowstorm.

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