Israel cancels Gazans’ entry permits for Ramadan following rocket attack


Israel canceled the permits allowing some 500 Gaza Palestinians to enter Israel and pray on the Temple Mount for Ramadan following a rocket attack from the coastal strip.

The coordinator of government activity in the territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told the Palestinian Maan news agency on Wednesday that the visits were canceled because “the security conditionsme around the crossing aren’t stable,” since the rocket landed close to the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza.

The rocket fired Tuesday evening landed in an open area near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, located near the Gaza border. The launch set off the Code Red rocket alert, causing the residents of southern Israeli towns near the Gaza border to run for bomb shelters and secure areas. No injuries or damage were reported.

The attack follows several similar ones from Gaza in the past month that are believed to have been fired by Islamic rivals of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that governs Gaza. Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks originating in Gaza.

“Hamas is responsible for depriving worshipers of prayer in Al-Aksa mosque during Ramadan,” Mordechai told Maan. “I am not saying that Hamas fired the missile, but Hamas is responsible because it controls the Gaza Strip.”

Also in response to the rocket attack, the Israeli military said an Israeli airstrike early Wednesday morning hit the rocket launcher in northern Gaza that fired the rocket at Israel.

Fatah-aligned group calls for attacks on Israel


The Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades called on followers to launch attacks against Israel.

The Fatah-aligned Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades on Tuesday distributed a leaflet calling for its “units and sleeping cells” to start launching attacks against “the Zionist enemy” beginning on Friday, the eve of Yom Kippur.

The attacks are a protest against the effort to “Judaize and divide” Jerusalem and the Al-Aksa mosque, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“We call upon our people to participate in a popular intifada on Friday in honor of the blood of the martyrs and to defend our land and Aksa Mosque, which is being subjected to Judaization and division,” the leaflet said.

It was distributed by Fatah in the Gaza Strip, according to the newspaper.

The Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades have historically been considered the military wing of  Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The group  launched suicide bombings against Israelis during the Second Intifada.

Islamic Jihad leaders killed in strike, Hamas’ Maashal shuns stop to bombings


As Hamas' leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, brushed off a halt to bombings, Israeli airstrikes hit a Gaza media center and killed several leaders of Islamic Jihad.

The Israel Air Force's strike Monday evening — the second on the center in two days — killed Ramaz Harab, a top leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing, the Al Quds Brigades. At least three other Islamic Jihad leaders were in the building when it was hit, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Hamas' main television station, Al Aksa, is located on the top floor of the high-rise building.

In Cairo, meanwhile, Maashal said Monday during an hourlong news conference, “Whoever started the war must end it.”

He told reporters that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested a cease-fire, a claim that Israel has denied, according to reports.

Maashal said there is a new spirit of cooperation among Palestinian factions due to the Israeli operation, which began on Nov. 14.

“Israel is the common enemy. Confrontation with the enemy is our moment of truth,” he said. “We must end the political divide and unite around common institutions and around resistance to Israel. Our enemy cannot be treated with words, but only by force. No concessions should be made with Israel, given the new atmosphere in the Arab world.”

Abbas denies Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage


Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.

Abbas also said that Israeli authorities want to build a Jewish Temple on the site of the al-Aksa mosque and Dome of the Rock, in a statement issued Tuesday on the anniversary of an attempted arson of the Al-Aksa Mosque in 1969 by an Australian Christian, who was later found to be clinically insane.

“Their ultimate goal is to rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy the Al Aksa mosque and build the alleged Jewish temple,” he said.

He also said that Israeli excavation work in Jerusalem, and in the Western Wall tunnels beneath the mosque, “will not undermine the fact that the city will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian.”

Abbas concluded that “there will be no peace or stability before our beloved city and eternal capital is liberated from occupation and settlement.”

The Orthodox Union slammed Abbas’ denial of Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. Nathan Diament, the OU’s executive director for Public Policy, said in a statement:
“President Abbas’ statement is only the latest in which he and other Palestinian leaders have outrageously denied the millennia-old connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  The existence of our two holy Temples is not ‘alleged’—it is fact. Just as it is fact that Jerusalem has served as the capital of Israel and the Jewish people since the times of King David; just as it is fact that only under modern Israeli sovereignty have Jerusalem’s holy sites been protected and open to access by people of all faiths; and just as it is fact that Jerusalem must and will remain a united city, and the capital of Israel and the Jewish people eternally.”

Netanyahu rips Abbas over Al-Aksa destruction claims


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas said that Israel was planning to destroy the Al Aksa Mosque.

“This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued from his office Sunday night. “The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality.”

Netanyahu said that in Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, “There is freedom of worship for all, and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions.”

In a speech Sunday at the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Qatar, Abbas said that “The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem” and spoke of Israel’s plans to “Judaize” Jerusalem, including ethnic cleansing of Arabs.

Abbas also denied the existence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and accused Israel of planning to harm the Al Aksa mosque. He also called on Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem.

“Abu Mazen [Abbas] knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the Al Aksa Mosque,” Netanyahu said in the statement.

Several Israeli-Arab lawmakers, including Ahmed Tibi, Taleb al-Sana and Ibrahim Sarsour of the United Arab List-Ta’al party, attended the conference along with representatives of 70 other countries.

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