The dust-up in Israel started small, as these things almost always do, then grew exponentially before exploding onto every newswire almost as fast as the anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic haters were twittering and alternately flooding the electronic air salivating at their fresh meat which was falling into their laps by the minute. The initial comment was made by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan commented at a Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial. The unkempt and unacceptable comment made all the worse by coming from IDF Deputy Chief of Staff was, “If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.” There were reactions to the statement but nothing for reporters to write home…
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction suffered yet another humiliating defeat at the Bir Zeit University student council elections, held on April 27. Last year, for the first time since 2007, the Hamas-affiliated student list on campus also won the vote.
The results of this year’s election at one of the Palestinians’ most important universities reflects the growing discontent with Abbas’s Fatah faction among Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinian political analysts said that the Hamas victory is an indication of what would happen if general elections were held these days in the West Bank.
The Wafaa list, which belongs to Hamas, won 25 of the student council seats, while Fatah’s Martyrs Yasser Arafat list got 21 seats. A list belonging to the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won five seats.
Both Hamas and the PFLP are strongly opposed to any peace process with Israel. They continue to call for terror attacks against Israelis. The results of the election mean that most of the students at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, not Gaza, support groups that have chosen terrorism over peace.
David Cameron insisted last week that he wasn’t keen to debate a fellow Conservative like Boris Johnson head-on over Europe as didn’t want “too many blue on blue conflicts”. That won’t stop the Tories from clashing over it during this referendum campaign, with the biggest conformation set to be Boris Johnson facing off against Michael Fallon – we report today – in front of thousands at Wembley. The debate, pencilled in for June 21 – just 36 hours before the referendum, won’t just be a “Fallon v Johnson” duel, as it will be a three v three face-off. Labour MP Gisela Stuart is expected to join Johnson on the Brexit side, along with a businesss backer like JD Wetherspoon’s founder Tim Martin. Fallon could be backed up by Labour’s Alan Johnson and possibly Apprentice star Baroness Brady.
The debate is likely to produce what Cameron has been at pains to avoid – footage of senior Tories grappling with each other over Europe in scenes that will inevitably highlight the depth of Tory splits. But James Kirkup suggests many Tories are not as fanatical about Europe as the tone of the debate, and Downing Street’s gung-ho tactics, may suggest. Most members, he writes in today’s paper, are a “level-headed bunch” who don’t go for “political psychodrama”. “Such people will find it rather easier to work together after the referendum than the pessimistic forecasts of civil war might suggest,” he adds. You can follow today’s events on our liveblog here.
War may not be on many Tories’ minds, but the referendum battle has very much been joined today. General Sir Michael Rose is leading the charge this morning for the Out side as part of a 12-strong group of retired senior military leaders who have announced their support for “Veterans for Brexit”. Sir Michael’s decision is especially awkward for Downing Street as they were forced to apologise to him in February for mistakenly adding his name to a pro-EU letter. ”The European experiment, like Titanic, is sinking – and we should get off while we still have the freedom to do so,” explains fellow Brexit backer Major General Tim Cross in today’s paper.
Campaigners have to fight on the economic battlefield as well, with Remainers boosted by a new verdict from the Institute for Fiscal Studies about Brexit. A departure from the EU, they think, would force Britain to make an extra £15billion worth of cuts and tax rises or face another two years of austerity. This came as Mark Carney said the Bank of England might intervene again in the European Union referendum debate just days before Britons vote. The pro-EU side is also trying to get young people out to vote for them. So the inventors of “Talk to Gran” launched a new “Votin” campaign for young Europhiles, which has left many on Twitter “cringin”, while others called it “patronisin”.
In the meantime, Europe seems to be getting somewhere in its fight to save Greece’s economy after giving its firmest offer yet of debt relief in what finance ministers called a breakthrough deal. The Eurogroup ministers agreed to release 10.3 billion euros in new funds for Greece in recognition of painful fiscal reforms pushed through by Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, subject to some final technical tweaks. Brexiteers have liked to suggest that EU membership was the economic equivalent of being “shackled to a corpse”, but how will things change if – as Jeremy Warner suggests – the corpse is rising from the slab?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference with visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls earlier on Monday and informed him of Israel’s desire to continue direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
“This weekend you said that direct talks are very difficult right now, and you’re right, they are, but they’re the only way to proceed towards peace,” Netanyahu emphasized. “We want two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, and I urge you not to let the Palestinian leadership shirk this difficult choice.”
The French prime minister is visiting Israel primarily to promote his country’s initiative to implement a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told his French counterpart that the French initiative could very well discourage the Palestinian Authority from engaging in direct talks with Israel.
“The Palestinian leadership doesn’t see the French initiative as an inducement to compromise, but rather as a way to avoid it,” Netanyahu contended. “In fact, the Palestinian prime minister, Hamdallah, let slip the other day his hope for an imposed timetable, rather than a negotiated peace.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) media continue to glorify terrorist Bashar Masalha who attacked civilians in Tel Aviv and murdered an American tourist on March 8, Palestinian Media Watch reports.
Masalha went on a stabbing spree which killed U.S. citizen Taylor Force and injured 11 others, before being killed by Israeli police.
After the attack, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and the PA glorified Masalha as “the heroic Martyr.”
Since Israel returned the terrorist’s body to the PA last week, official Palestinian media outlets devoted considerable coverage to praising the terrorist’s actions.
PA TV referred to the terrorist as “Shahid” (Martyr) 11 times while reporting on his funeral, where hundreds of Palestinians participated.