Middle East Roundup: April 25, 2017

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Tel Aviv terror attack prompts Israeli government to suspend entry permits

(JNS.org) The Israeli Defense Ministry suspended the issuing of single-day permits for Palestinians to enter Israel Sunday, following a terror attack initiated by an 18-year-old Palestinian who stabbed four people on Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade.

The injured pedestrians—a man in his 70s, and two men and a woman in their 50s—were hospitalized with moderate injuries after the terrorist went on a stabbing spree near Herod’s and Leonardo Beach hotels on Hayarkon Street.

The terrorist, whose name is not being released by Israeli authorities, used work tools to attack pedestrians and was apprehended by police. He had entered Israel on a single-day permit facilitated by a group known as “Natural Peace Tours,” whose stated mission is to develop positive relations between Israelis and Palestinians. The terrorist has yet to be officially charged and remains in the custody of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories stated the issuing of one-day entry permits would be suspended until a full investigation into Sunday’s terror attack has been conducted.


Trump administration to increase aid to Palestinians, report says

(JNS.org) As the Trump administration prepares to initiate significant foreign aid cuts around the world, State Department documents published Monday indicate the White House plans to increase aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The documents, published by Foreign Policy magazine, detail the State Department’s internal budget plan and show a planned increase of 4.6 percent in aid to Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza for the fiscal year of 2018. The increase in U.S. aid would amount to $215 million for the year.

According to the documents, Syria, Iraq and Libya will also see increases in aid for the 2018 fiscal year, but aid will to Egypt will be cut 47.4 percent and Jordan will see a drop of 21 percent.

The proposed budget changes strike a different tone than the Trump administration expressed in January, when it informed the PA it had frozen President Barack Obama’s transfer of $221 million to the Palestinians in the last hours of his administration.

Reports of the potential aid increase to the PA come ahead of a May 3 meeting at the White House between President Donald Trump and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.


BDS movement founder receives Gandhi Peace Award at Yale

(JNS.org) Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the anti-Israel BDS movement, received the Gandhi Peace Award from the Connecticut-based organization Promoting Enduring Peace at Yale University Sunday.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, presented Barghouti with the peace prize. Barghouti accepted the award in the presence of several hundred people and received a standing ovation.

The event was co-sponsored by the Yale chapter of the anti-Israel student group Students for Justice in Palestine. Yale University officials, meanwhile, attempted to distance the school from the award ceremony.

“A student organization reserved space for the awarding of the Gandhi prize, which is given by an organization not affiliated with Yale,” the university said in a statement. “Yale honors requests by our community to invite speakers and groups to campus in accordance with our academic mission of fostering the free exchange of ideas. Views expressed at these events are those of the individuals involved and do not represent the views of the university as a whole.”

Barghouti, who resides in the Israeli city of Acre, was able to attend the ceremony after an Israeli court temporarily lifted a travel ban imposed on him. Israel issued the travel ban and placed Barghouti under house arrest in March after he was suspected of evading taxes on $700,000 of his income.

Palestinian terrorist who murdered British student to receive monthly PA stipend

(JNS.org) A Palestinian terrorist who murdered a British student in Jerusalem in mid-April will receive a stipend of approximately $1,000 per month from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The terrorist, 57-year-old Jamil Tamimi, murdered 21-year-old British woman Hannah Bladon, who was riding Jerusalem’s light rail, on the Christian holiday of Good Friday April 14.

“According to PA law, everyone who is imprisoned for ‘resisting the occupation’ receives a PA salary,” said Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, the Daily Mail reported.

“In PA practice, 100 percent of the suicide bombers, stabbers, shooters and car-rammers have been included in this category and do receive PA salaries,” he added.

Israeli authorities have said Tamimi, who allegedly has a history of mental health issues, initiated the terror attack in the hope that he would be killed by security forces. Following a psychiatric assessment, an Israeli court ruled Tamimi is fit to stand trial and should be considered a terrorist.


BDS activists, including Roger Waters, demand Radiohead cancel Israel concert

(JNS.org) A group of musicians and anti-Israel BDS movement activists, including former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have written an open letter to the British rock band Radiohead urging the group to cancel its upcoming summer performance in Israel.

“We understand you’ve been approached already by Palestinian campaigners. They’ve asked you to respect their call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and you’ve turned them down,” the BDS activists wrote.

“By playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, U.N. rapporteurs say, ‘A system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’…Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over,” they wrote.

The letter was issued on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and appeared on a website dubbed “Artists for Palestine U.K.”

Radiohead has previously played three shows in Tel Aviv, prior to becoming a world-famous rock band. Their upcoming July 19 performance at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv will be opened by Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis, a Jewish-Arab band.


Candidate for NYC office accuses ‘greedy Jewish landlords’ of ‘ethnic cleansing’

(JNS.org) New York City Council candidate Thomas Lopez-Pierre vilified “greedy Jewish land-lords” in an anti-Semitic tirade released on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day this week.

Lopez-Pierre’s anti-Semitic rant appeared in a campaign video that went viral on social media Monday. He accused Jewish landlords of “ethnic cleansing” and causing the city’s problems.

The video was released as part of Lopez-Pierre’s campaign to head the 7th Council District in Upper Manhattan, which includes the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights and Washington Heights—areas that have large Jewish populations.

The controversial candidate will face the district’s incumbent, Councilman Mark Levine, in the Democratic primary this fall.

“Mark Levine is controlled by Jewish landlords. Jewish landlords own more than 80 percent of the real estate in Upper Manhattan. They are at the forefront of pushing black and Latino people out of Upper Manhattan,” said Lopez-Pierre in the campaign video.

Similar anti-Semitic statements appear on the candidate’s campaign website.


Second British venue cancels event honoring Palestinian terrorist Barghouti

(JNS.org) The Copthorne Tara Hotel in London canceled Sunday’s scheduled screening of a film honoring Palestinian arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, after being informed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) that doing so may violate British law.

The Palestinian Mission in the U.K. had changed the original venue for the screening of the film, “Marwan: A film about the life and struggle of Marwan Barghouti,” to the Copthorne Tara Hotel after another London venue, the May Fair Hotel, canceled a screening of the film a few days earlier.

“We were recently approached by the State of Palestine to host a private screening at the May Fair Theatre. As is usual business practice, we reviewed the request and undertook standard due diligence, following which we have decided to not progress this event any further,” said a spokesperson for the Edwardian Hotels London company.

The Copthorne Tara Hotel canceled the screening after being contacted by a representative from PMW, an organization monitoring Palestinian incitement. Maurice Hirsch, PMW’s legal director, wrote a letter noting that Barghouti is a convicted terrorist responsible for the murder of five Israelis. The letter emphasized that holding an event glorifying a terrorist may have “potentially criminal repercussions.” The U.K.’s Terrorism Act of 2006 prohibits the glorification of terror.


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