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Islamic State’s Next Target: The Temple Mount

March 15 2018

Last summer, terrorists affiliated with the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement—a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that operates within Israel—opened fire on border police on the Temple Mount. Since then, Israel has rolled up two cells loyal to Islamic State (IS) that were planning attacks on the al-Aqsa mosque. Nadav Shragai explains what has brought these two jihadist groups to agree on a common strategy:

The leader of the Northern Branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, envisions Jerusalem as the capital of an international Muslim caliphate [in the Middle East]. . . . Islamic State and its supporters, by contrast, have never limited or defined the borders of the future caliphate, or named a capital for it. After their defeats in Syria and Iraq, the issues of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa are, for them, a new horizon—or at least a potential one.

The way that the Northern Branch sees it, the story about al-Aqsa’s being in danger, [a regular theme of its propaganda], is a tool to recruit the masses, and al-Aqsa itself is a place that must be “redeemed from the Jewish desecration” and “freed from its bonds.” . . . For the small cluster of Arab Israeli supporters of Islamic State, al-Aqsa is everything that the Northern Branch says it is, and more: it is a tool that IS can use to spread and promote the idea of an Islamic state, and active war against Jews and Christians—“the new heretics and Crusaders.” . . .

As in July 2017, each of the cells [recently broken up by Israeli police] included three young men from [the northern Israeli village of] Umm al-Fahm, some of whom [likewise] belonged to the Jabarin clan. . . . It’s not hard to picture what would happen if two IS cells from Jabarin, linked by family ties, were to execute an attack. In the Middle East, the Temple Mount is the ultimate powder keg. Any fire that breaks out there spreads quickly and is very difficult to put out. In previous incidents, the spinners of the “al-Aqsa is in danger” yarn found a way to foist responsibility for the attacks onto Israel, as the entity that “rules over Islamic holy sites.”

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More about: ISIS, Israel & Zionism, Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian terror, Temple Mount

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations