On Wednesday, a series of three stabbings in Petah Tikvah, Kiryat Gat, and Jerusalem, as well as other attacks occurred on Wednesday as a wave of terror continues. There were at least 105 rock attacks, 35 firebombings, and three stabbing attacks. The victims of the three stabbings and the car-ramming attack have survived. However, last Thursday an Israeli couple was shot and killed in a drive-by attack in the West Bank and two days later two Israelis were stabbed to death in Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to condemn the attacks on Israeli civilians. On Tuesday, documents obtained by Israel Radio revealed that the PA has been sending tens of millions of shekels to convicted terrorists, most of whom are members of Hamas, responsible for deadly attacks against Israeli civilians. Ashraf al-Aajrami, a former Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs, confirmed the reports and referred to the imprisoned terrorists as “heroes.”
Although the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Hamas or lone wolves, the PA has been accused of exacerbating tensions through incitement. Members of the Fatah Central Council, including Abbas, “saluted” the public for “rising to defend their al-Aksa Mosque” and called on Palestinians to “preserve the popular nature” of protests. The PA has also spread rumors about Israeli intentions on the Temple Mount. During his speech to the UN General Assembly last week, Abbas claimed that Israel is trying to undermine Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and attempting to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. In response to recent riots near the Temple Mount, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Jews “have no right to desecrate [the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre] with their filthy feet” and that Palestinians “won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” The Israeli government is committed to protecting all religious sites and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he will maintain the status quo that prohibits Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, despite its importance to the Jewish faith.
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is further distancing herself from the foreign policy of the administration she served by calling for the removal of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and imposing a no-fly zone over that country.On the campaign trail yesterday, Clinton said of Syria, “We need to be putting together a coalition to support a no-fly zone,” adding that Russia would have to lend their support to the initiative for it to be successful, The Huffington Post reported. Her statement reflects a position expressed in a television interview last week, during which Clinton called for enforcing a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors in the war-torn country, according toThe New York Times.Ha’aretz reported Monday that Clinton also called the removal of Assad a “top priority.” While the administration has long called for Assad to step down, Secretary of State John Kerry has suggested that in the short term it may be enough for Iran and Russia “to keep Assad from dropping barrel bombs,” in order to form a basis for cooperation between the United States and Assad’s backers.
When asked about alternatives to his current Syria policy, President Barack Obama criticized those who “half-baked ideas.” While he later clarified that his statement did not refer to his former Secretary of State, the president suggested that Clinton was taking her positions because she was posturing as part of her campaign for the White House.
Clinton’s tough talk regarding Syria is not her first break from Obama over foreign policy. In a major foreign policy address at the Brookings Institution last month, Clinton advocatedtaking stronger positions against Iran and strengthening ties with Israel. She also said that the administration’s failure to respond to Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on civilians, “cost us.” The Washington Post characterized her speech as highlighting “instances overseas where she would have taken a tougher stance than Obama.”
On Friday, activists from the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) staged a protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington, calling for an end to Moscow’s airstrike campaign and the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Syria. (via TheTower.org)