The Islamic Jihad cell, which was uncovered following the arrest of another cell, was in the early stages of plotting the attack
The Shin Bet security service announced Sunday that the agency had arrested members of an Islamic Jihad terror cell that planned to assassinate Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The plot involved planting explosives along a highway that he was expected to use.
The suspects were taken into custody following the arrest of members of another Islamic Jihad cell operating in Bethlehem area villages in the West Bank. They had been recruited to carry out shooting attacks on Israeli residents and Israeli troops in the vicinity of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.
A total of six suspects from both cells were arrested.
The Shin Bet said that the first operatives arrested had also sought to obtain explosives and made contact with sources in the Gaza Strip for funding a terrorist attack. After failing to obtain the explosives, they decided to make a dummy explosive charge that they could use to garner recognition for their work and receive money that would be used to carry out terrorist attacks. Israeli forces obtained the dummy explosive when they arrested the suspects.
An investigation into the plan to kill the defense minister found that the cell members had been deterred by Lieberman's heavy security detail. The plot was uncovered very early in the planning process.
In a separate case in 2014, members of a Hamas cell headed by a senior Hamas figure from the Bethlehem area were arrested after trying to obtain a rocket-propelled grenade to be used to attack Lieberman’s car.
One of the six Islamic Jihad suspects was said to be motivated in part by a desire to be arrested so he would qualify for financial benefits from Islamic Jihad, as has been seen among other young people from the Bethlehem area.
Plans to carry out the attacks reflect recent attempts by Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based terror organization to step up their activity in the West Bank. The cell members’ attempt to seek support from terror groups in Gaza is seen as part of a continuing trend by terrorists in the West Bank to try to obtain funding, weaponry, training and sponsorship from outside forces. In addition to the recent arrests, Israel has foiled a number of attempted attacks in the West Bank by individuals who have had contact with Gaza-based terrorists in recent months.
Israeli defense officials have warned Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip that there will be grave consequences if attacks in the West Bank are carried out with the direction or involvement of terrorist forces in the Gaza Strip.
Increasingly, ordinary Poles, caricatured as staunchly Catholic, simple-minded and chauvinistic, are positioned as the quintessential Holocaust perpetrator. That's far more comfortable than blaming 'elite' German Nazis
To many observers, not least those who are neither Polish nor Jewish, the highly critical press coverage of Poland's new Holocaust law which seeks to criminalize declaring the complicity of the Polish nation in the murder of Jews in WWII, appears both simple and clear.
Poles contributed enthusiastically to the genocide of six million Jews. Poles did so because they are staunchly Catholic, simple-minded and chauvinistic. Right-thinking observers must perpetually goad Poles to drop their defenses, acknowledge their guilt, and make amends.
Polish-Jewish relations are thus reduced to a calculation performed with black and white beads on one rod of an abacus. The black beads represent the bad, anti-Semitic Poles. The white beads represent the exceptional, prejudice-free Poles. A "true" historical retelling is only achieved when the black beads far outnumber the white beads. The token righteous white bead – Jan Karski – is the main concession to any semblance of balance. Karski was the Polish Home Army officer who brought the first eyewitness account of the Holocaust to Roosevelt.
The abacus approach dominates public discussion. But it is intellectually and ethically bankrupt, not just because it distorts beyond recognition a thousand years of Polish-Jewish interaction and the unique horror of 1939-1945. The abacus prevents historical clarity and ethical responsibility. And this debate matters very much in the era of Trump.
In my book "Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype", I explored how people talk about the Holocaust, its victims and its executors. Many, though not all, of those I interviewed talked about Poles quite differently from how they talked about Germans.
Visceral vocabulary and animal references were prominent. This trend can be found in Fania Fenelon's Auschwitz memoir Playing for Time. Fenelon writes that Poles exhibit a "particularly disturbing" "bestiality;" they are "monsters," "brick-faced," "servile," "pigs," "bitches," "pests," and "a real cow." A Polish woman has "piercing little black eyes like two glinting gems of anthracite set in a block of lard; she was shapeless and gelatinous." A Polish woman "was big and fat and as strong as a man – a monster! One would have been hard put to find any human traits in her at all."
Survivors often did not apply such visceral language to German Nazis. Fenelon describes one Nazi officer: "Goodness, he was handsome. So handsome that the girls instinctively rediscovered the forgotten motions of another world, running dampened fingers through their lashes to make them shine, biting their lips, swelling their mouths, pulling at their skirts and tops. Under the gaze of this man one felt oneself become a woman again." This Nazi "wore his uniform with incomparable ease and style...Insouciantly he laughed and joked, conscious of his charm." Fenelon is describing Dr. Josef Mengele.
Nazis are not seen as representational of Germany, a nation frequently referred to as "civilized" and "decent" in contrast to "backward, gray, gothic, primitive, Catholic" Poland. One madman, Hitler, exploiting unique historical circumstance, Germany's humiliating WWI defeat, and the punitive Versailles Treaty, forced otherwise "decent" Germans to commit anti-Semitic crimes.
Poles, on the other hand, as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said, "imbibe anti-Semitism with their mother's milk." One online post I saw stated Poles "were like American rednecks from the Ole South who loathed blacks."
All Poles were, had always been, and would always be, chomping at the bit to murder Jews. Scholars who have abandoned such racist essentializing in reference to other ethnicities, apparently still believe it's legitimate practice in regard to Poles, such as Paul Berman's 1994 New Yorker article that referred to "darkest Poland."
Even scholarly reviews of books about Nazi war criminals and Polish war criminals use very different language. Scholars work hard to distinguish Nazism from German identity. When Poles commit crimes, Poles qua Poles are guilty.
Even when Jan Tomasz Gross published, in "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland" (2001) and 2006's "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz", which did not advance a theory of Polish ethnicity as essentially debased, the media response rushed to form that very conclusion.
Professor Joan Mellen's review makes this clear: Poles qua Poles are guilty. "Polish citizens of all classes...Poles of all social classes...The old order and the army, the new Communist apparatus, the cardinal and his bishops – all conspired to kill Poland's remaining Jews," she indicts. Note the adjective: "all." All Poles are murderous anti-Semites. Why? Because "Anti-Semitism was so embedded in the culture of Poland..[Poles express] pure, unregenerate evil."
Elie Wiesel described post-war anti-Semitism in Poland using this same vocabulary of bestiality: "Everything that is low, primitive, vile and ugly in the human animal."
With increasing frequency, Polish, Catholic peasants, not German Nazis, are positioned as the quintessential Holocaust criminal. It is easier for clean, well-educated, progressive audiences to accept dirty, backward, superstitious peasants as the perpetrators of the twentieth century's most notorious crime. German Nazis are too much like modern audiences.
Leading Nazis were, like us, clean, modern, progressive, and well-educated. In fact, though, Nazism was not the fruit of the village, the church, or the past. Scientific racism was a product of the university, the place that true moderns believe will rectify our primitive errors and make us better people.
America engages in a similar sleight-of-hand. Poor, white, rural, Christian Southerners are deployed universally as a personification of the ultimate hater. In our movies, "rednecks" are idiot savant banjo players and anal rapists, as in the film Deliverance. Poor white southerners, rednecks, trailer trash, and hillbillies, are to blame for slavery and Jim Crow. As long as a toothless, drawling pick-up truck driver dominates the crime scene, the rest of us are exonerated.
Poor whites recognize their demonization. Thus, they flocked to Trump, their putative champion.
Just so with the brute Polak stereotype being trotted out, with abacus accessory, to remove guilt from the "civilized" world for the Holocaust. As long as anti-Semitism is a crime committed by dirt-stained Catholic farmers, not by educated, "handsome" elites, modern, progressive Americans are insulated from the agony of confronting what human beings can do.
And Poles will recognize their demonization, and flock to ever-more nationalist champions.
We need to recognize that the monolithic stereotyping of Poles actually damages our understanding of complicity and responsibility for the Holocaust.
As Gitta Sereny wrote in her London Times 1996 article, "The Complexities of Complicity," challenging the anti-German essentializing of Daniel Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners": "Murderous bigotry is not ingrained in the character of any one nation but is part of the human condition. It is not only young Germans who, as did happen after 1945, needed to be retaught humanity, but all children [of all races] need to learn this now and forevermore."
I support free speech and I oppose this new Polish law. But the tumult that prompted the law will not die down till the false stereotypical calculus of the abacus is smashed.
We need, rather, a mirror. The author of atrocity is not them; it's us.
Danusha Goska is the author of Bieganski, the Brute Polak Stereotype (Academic Studies Press, 2010)
Gilad Atzmon on Rosie Charalambous' Cyprus Digest.
We spoke about Palestine, the Right of Return, Israel, Judaism, Jewishness and Zionism. I explained why Jewish solidarity is a problematic concept and why Early Zionism was a promising development.-- it vowed to make Jerusalem into the new Athens. Zionism obviously failed. It was hijacked, initially by Jewishness and later by Judaism.
Jerusalem is united, there's no occupation, the settlements are legal – all lies. That’s why the right finds nothing wrong with Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a loyal representative of the latest on Israel’s right wing. The right never eschewed lying and so it doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Even when Education Minister Naftali Bennett dared preach to Netanyahu, he was sanctimonious about it; he too knows that lying is the language of his camp. It’s in its DNA, part of its life cycle. Without it, it wouldn’t exist.
After all, for the sake of the Land of Israel one is permitted to lie – and steal, too. And for the sake of other matters. And so the Israeli right never stopped lying; that’s why it finds nothing wrong with Netanyahu.
The Israeli right has someone to learn from; there’s nothing like the American right wing when it comes to lies. Guns everywhere are portrayed as the protection of individual rights, health insurance for everyone is considered a violation of rights, and neoliberal economic policies are said to be an example for the entire society.
In Israel, too, right-wing politicians no longer make statements that don’t depend on lies. Jerusalem is united – a lie. There is no occupation – a lie. The settlements are legal – heaps and heaps of lies. The right wing’s conscience is so accustomed to lies that it can’t distinguish between lies and truth anymore.
And so when Netanyahu says he doesn’t want to close Channel 10and the next day says he does, that he’s not going to an election because of Israel Hayom and the next day he is – that’s no problem at all. True, the right wing didn’t inherit pure truth from its predecessors in government, who ruled from the time of the Nakba to the changeover from Labor to Likud. But the right has brought lying to unknown proportions. In the Israel of 2018, lying is the norm and truth is the exception.
In this country it’s permissible to deceive people into believing that Rwanda is a safe place for asylum seekers and Israeli officials will take care of them there. Anyone who says this knows that it’s an utter lie, but’s what’s wrong with that? Lying is the way. Without noticing, lying has become the heart of our political culture, absolutely fine. Lying has become so much the norm that no one gets excited about it.
One can lie and claim that an Iranian drone on Israel’s border is a brazen form of baiting, while routine Israeli bombing doesn’t violate anything. One can claim that the Israeli film “Foxtrot” is anti-Israeli without having seen it, because lying is allowed. One can say the Tamimi family is a terror family and call a girl who slaps an armed soldier a “terrorist,” because lying is allowed. The police commissioner can falsely accuse a teacher, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, of being a “disgusting terrorist” linked to the Islamic State, because lying is allowed.
Huge amounts of money can be transferred to the settlements because lying is permitted and necessary, and so is stealing. It can be claimed that the tunnels from Gaza are an existential threat and that Hamas endangers Israel’s existence; that we’ve left Gaza and it’s free, and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is an anti-Semite. Of course it can, it’s all lies.
The occupation, the heart and soul of the right, can’t continue without lies and theft; this is the foundation of the entire enterprise. There have been a bunch of pretexts for settlements: Rabbi Moshe Levinger’s Passover vacation at Hebron’s Park Hotel in 1968, Israel’s “work camp” at Kadum, the need to guard the antenna at Ofra, and the archaeology at Susya. Ever since, the whole settlement enterprise would collapse without its two main tools: lies and theft. What are the outposts if not theft and lies? And the settlements? Not one room in them was built without stealing and lying.
And what’s the claim that the country that controls the lives of 4.5 million subjects without rights is democratic if not the mother of all lies? And equality of Israel’s Arab citizens – that’s not a lie? The High Court of Justice controls the country, there’s no increased religiosity, there’s no discrimination against the Mizrahim, all the Arabs fled in 1948 and all the wars have been wars of no choice – all lies. The right can’t do without them. Israel can’t do without them by now. So what do we want from Netanyahu?
It was said of the first right-wing deputy prime minister, Simha Erlich, that it was so rare for him to tell the truth that a warning light went on when he did. Now there’s no longer a need for one.
Answering a question from an Israeli journalist regarding controversial Holocaust law, Mateusz Morawiecki reiterates that Polish people aided their Jewish brothers and sisters
MUNICH — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday that the Holocaust had Polish perpetrators, just as it had Jewish ones.
Moraweicki made the statement at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman regarding the controversial law that criminalizes mentioning the Polish nation's complicity in the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply rebuked the 'outrageous' remarks.
Bergman told of his mother's past as a Holocaust survivor and concluded by asking, "If I told her story in Poland, I would be considered a criminal. What are you trying to do? You're drawing more fire to the matter." The crowd applauded following the question.
The Polish prime minister said that according to the amended law, those who claim that there were Polish perpetrators in the Holocaust would not be punished, since there were Polish perpetrators, "just as there were Jewish and Russian perpetrators, as well."
He reiterated his government's policy that there were no Polish death camps, as Poland was under German occupation and the correct term should be German death camps. He added that the Polish people aided "their Jewish brothers and sisters" in the Holocaust. You must not confuse the perpetrators with the victims of the Holocaust, he said.
Zionist Union lawmaker Tzipi Livni, who is also attending the conference, responded to Moraweicki's remarks by saying, "It is hard to believe the Polish prime minister's answer, and his intolerable comparison between the Polish and the Jews, between the victims and those who actively took part in the killings."
Other Israeli lawmakers similarly criticized the Polish premier and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to respond harshly.
Livni added that it was moving to hear Bergman attack the Polish prime minister regarding the Holocaust law while telling his mother's survival story.
Israel has vehemently criticized the bill ever since it's proposal, with Morawiecki recognizing the poor timing of the bill but stressing that "All the atrocities and all the victims, everything that happened during World War II on Polish soil, has to be attributed to Germany."
"We will never be accused of complicity in the Holocaust. This is our 'to be or not to be,'" he has previously said.
The legislation, which was approved by the Polish parliament, had referred the legislation to the Constitutional Tribunal to consider its constitutionality, and added that possible prison sentence and fines "are not really designed to punish anyone." The law will also be difficult to enforce, he acknowledged, and may be subject to changes required by the country's constitutional tribunal.
Regardless, the law will go into effect next week.
Mohammed Zarif accuses Israel of using 'aggression as a policy,' saying Israel's 'so-called invincibility has crumbled' when Syria downed its jet
MUNICH - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Sunday called remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he waved wreckage of an Iranian drone shot down over Israel, a "cartoonish circus."
Zarif said some at the conference "resort to cartoons to justify strategic blunders or maybe avoid domestic crisis," possibly hinting at Netanyahu's legal trouble at home.
Netanyahu, who spoke earlier at the conference, said held up a piece of an Iranian drone Israel shot down last week, and asked Zarif, who was sitting in the crowd: "Do you recognize it? You should, it’s yours. Don’t test us."
When asked about Netanyahu's speech, and what should happen for Iran to recognize Israel, Zarif accused the prime minister of using "aggression as a policy."
"The entire speech was trying to evade issue. What has happened is the so-called invincibility has crumbled. Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors."
Zarif referred to an incident earlier this month in which an Israeli F-16 fighter jet was downed while striking targets in Syria, in response to an Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace.
"It’s the problem of aggression," Zarif said. "Domestic corruption is another problem, I'm not talking about that."
When asked about what would Iran do if the United States happened to abandon the nuclear deal, Zarif said Iran will respond "seriously" if its interests are not secure, adding that the world will be "sorry for taking this erroneous course of action."
Zarif however said that the deal was struck the accord "in spite" of Netanyauh, adding that the world "will maintain" the agreement, "despite his [Netanyahu's] delusional attempts" to dismantle it."