The New York Times came under fire on Monday for publishing an opinion piece by imprisoned Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti without mentioning that he was convicted of multiple murders.
Barghouti, who announced in a Sunday op-ed that he was launching a hunger strike with other Palestinian prisoners in Israel, was described by the Times only as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”
No mention was made either in the op-ed or by the Times that Barghouti, who sought to portray himself as a political prisoner and a “victim” of the Israeli judicial system, was in fact sentenced to multiple life terms over his role in the killing of five people.
Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s Yesh Atid party, blasted the Times’ omission as “an intentional deception,” writing in a Times of Israel op-ed: "The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States. Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind."
In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said Barghouti’s op-ed “was full of lies” and noted that it was published during a Jewish holiday, meaning that the Israeli government could not formally respond to its claims.
The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an Israeli military unit that manages day-to-day operations with Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, also denounced the Times’ characterization of Barghouti. “By referring to him only as a political figure, the Times failed to point out that after a fair trial in 2004, Barghouti was convicted of murder and carrying out terrorist acts and was therefore sentenced to five life sentences and an additional 40 years in prison. Barghouti is a murderer of Israeli civilians,” COGAT noted in a Facebook post.
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro echoed these criticisms, writing on Twitter, “NYT was wrong not cite [Barghouti’s] terrorism conviction.”
The failure was also noted by the American Jewish Committee, which tweeted that the Times “must have forgotten to mention that Marwan Barghouti is a convicted terrorist, responsible for the murder of innocent civilians.”
Barghouti gained prominence during the second Palestinian intifada as the leader of Tanzim, the armed wing of Fatah, which carried out multiple terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including children. He also helped establish Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in 2000, which has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the European Union.
Under Barghouti’s leadership, the al-Aqsa brigade helped escalate the second intifada by launching numerous terrorist attacks against civilians. These included the January 2002 Bat Mitzvah massacre, in which a Palestinian gunman killed six people at a birthday celebration for a 12-year-old Jewish girl, as well as the March 2002 Yeshivat Beit Yisrael massacre, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber killed eleven Israeli civilians, including two infants, three children, and two teenagers.
Barghouti was arrested by Israel in April 2002 and charged in relation to suicide bombings and shooting attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers, and wounded hundreds more. He was convicted in May 2004 of his involvement in three terrorist attacks in Israel that killed five people: Greek Orthodox monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus; police officer Sgt.-Maj. Salim Barakat, 33; Yoela Hen, 45; Eli Dahan, 53; and Yosef Habi, 52.
An Iran-backed threat to global trade--
Yemen’s government launched a military operation on Sunday to clear naval mines planted by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in and near the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait, Al Arabiya reported. The mines are “believed to have been sourced from Iran” and “threaten fisherman and residents of island near the coasts of Midi [in northwestern Yemen]” as well as “international navigation in the Bab al-Mandeb strait.”
The Associated Press reported last month that the Houthis had planted a naval mine in the strait, which killed two Yemeni sailors and wounded eight others.
The United States Office of Naval Intelligence warned in February that Houthi “naval mining threatens commercial ships traveling … near Mokha port and the Bab al Mandab Strait,” the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project reported. An estimated 4.7 million barrels of oil pass daily through the strait, which links the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.
Iran and its proxies have significantly stepped up their aggressive naval behavior in recent years. Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, accused Iran in October of orchestrating several attacks against U.S. vessels in the area that month.
The Islamic Republic is sending military advisors and advanced weapons, including drones, to the Houthis to sway the outcome of a civil war that could tip the balance of power in the Middle East, regional and Western sources told Reuters last month. The weapons are being sent via ship, either directly from Iran or indirectly via Somalia, and arrive along Yemen’s extensive coastline in typical fishing boats, which makes them harder for anti-smuggling authorities to spot.
The Houthis’ slogan is “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, a curse upon the Jews, victory for Islam.” They seized control of the Yemeni government in 2015, prompting a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. After the capture of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, Iranian parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted that Iran now controlled four Arab capitals, the other three being Damascus, Baghdad, and Beirut.
Danger from below--
A militant belonging to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas was killed in a tunnel collapse Sunday night underneath Gaza City, Israeli media reported Monday. Three other militants were also injured in the cave-in.
Another member of Hamas died in a tunnel collapse this past February. Hamas, an Islamist terror group openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction, said in January that it lost 22 of its members in tunnel collapses in 2016. Also in February, a Hamas engineer was killed when a rocket he was testing exploded.
A senior IDF official told Israel’s Channel 2 in February that Hamas had rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal to the levels it maintained before its 2014 war against Israel. Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas spends some $40 million of its $100 million military budget on tunnel construction, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. An Israeli official estimated last July that Hamas digs some six miles of tunnels every month.
In February, Hamas elected Yahya Sinwar — an influential hardliner convicted by Israel of multiple murders — to be its new Gaza-based chief.
Nature shows the way--
When whiteflies take off, they don’t just spread their wings and fly. Just .03 of an inch long, these tiny insects possess a variety of sophisticated techniques to achieve exceptional stability in the air. Tel Aviv University researchers believe that makers of small robotic manmade flyers, such as miniaturized drones, can learn a lot about a stable takeoff from whiteflies. Their research, presented at a recent Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities conference, explored how whiteflies take off without flapping their long folded wings. They raise only their wingtips to provide air resistance and stability. “Whiteflies take a powerful ‘jump’ before they start using their wings in flight,” said lead researcher Gal Ribak, head of TAU’s Biomechanics of Animal Locomotion Laboratory. “Then, when the insects are moving through the air, they have to stop the rotation of their bodies to reorient themselves for flapping flight. They are able to do that by extending the tips of their folded wings, causing high air resistance behind the body. This aerodynamic force stabilizes the take-off and only then do the insects spread their wings and start flying.” This entire process takes less than 12 milliseconds and doesn’t require feedback from the nervous system. “Nature is providing us with guidance on how to stabilize the take-off of small robotic manmade flyers,” Ribak said. (via Israel21c)