15 Tishrei 5778
5 October 2017
The News on the Israel Street
Palestinian terror continues unabated . . .
*Another horrific stabbing attack took place yesterday afternoon.
69-year-old Reuven Shmerling of Elkana was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. According to police, he was “stabbed repeatedly over his entire body.”
Shmerling operated a business located in the industrial area of Kafr Qasem, an Israeli Arab town right on the Green Line. He employed a number of Palestinian workers, and evidence shows that one or more of those workers committed the murder. Shmerling’s son discovered his slaughtered father.
Today would have been Shmerling’s 70st birthday.
*Despite the new Gaza Security Fence which is slowly going up, the border itself remains as porous as ever.
Yesterday, two more terrorists from Gaza were captured by an IDF patrol as they breached the border and made their way into Israel.
The Fatah-Hamas faux reconciliation marches on . . .
As your humble servant wrote on israelstreet last week, the current reconciliation going on is nothing more than a show.
Hamas has agreed to return responsibility for civil affairs in Gaza to Fatah. In other words, Fatah will again (as they were until three months ago) be responsible for collecting the garbage, supplying electricity and water, and paying the salaries of Hamas municipal workers.
But Hamas is not relinquishing any power whatsoever. All of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure including tunnels, training camps, weapons depots will remain under exclusive Hamas control. Moreover and obviously, Hamas fighters will answer to no one except Hamas.
The real mover behind the reconciliation is Muhammad Dahlan. Dahlan, as you may know, is Mahmoud Abbas’ chief rival in Fatah. So “chief” in fact, that he was forced to move to the U.A.E. several years ago to avoid being imprisoned, and then after he moved, he was tried in absentia for various crimes.
Now Dahlan is back behind the scenes in Gaza, and what has motivated Abbas to reconcile is the hope that he can keep him behind the scenes. Dahlan, on the other hand, is pushing for elections in which he would almost certainly defeat Abbas.
One final note. It appears that one of the reasons that the PLO joined Interpol was so it could have an arrest warrant issued for Dahlan.
The Great U.S. Visa Fiasco
Currently, there are 38 countries whose citizens do not need a visa to come to the United States. Here are the countries (with the date they entered the visa exemption program):
- Andorra (1991)
- Australia (1996)
- Austria (1991)
- Belgium (1991)
- Brunei (1993)
- Chile (2014)
- Czech Republic (2008)
- Denmark (1991)
- Estonia (2008)
- Finland (1991)
- France (1989)
- Germany (1989)
- Greece (2010)
- Hungary (2008)
- Iceland (1991)
- Ireland (1995)
- Italy (1989)
- Japan (1988)
- Korea, Republic of (2008)
- Latvia (2008)
- Liechtenstein (1991)
- Lithuania (2008)
- Luxembourg (1991)
- Malta (2008)
- Monaco (1991)
- Netherlands (1989)
- New Zealand (1991)
- Norway (1991)
- Portugal (1999)
- San Marino (1991)
- Singapore (1999)
- Slovakia (2008)
- Slovenia (1997)
- Spain (1991)
- Sweden (1989)
- Switzerland (1989)
- Taiwan (2012)
- United Kingdom (1988)
Why isn’t Israel on the list?
Back during Obama’s term in office, the State Department said that it was because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian-American visitors to Israel. According to the State Department then, many Palestinian-Americans had difficulty entering Israel through Ben Gurion airport because of intense questioning by Israeli security officials and therefore “had to choose” instead to enter through Jordan or Egypt.
To make a long story short, Israel wasn’t on the list because the Obama Administration wanted to punish Israel.
But what about before Obama? And what about now?
The simple answer is that the U.S. State Department is run by permanent bureaucrats who have a distinct animus against Israel. No matter who is president, their anti-Israel policy remains unchanged.
Now, let’s change gears for a moment.
Back at the beginning of June, Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority began forcing all Israelis to have biometric passports which will include among other things a person’s photograph and fingerprints. The old non-biometric passports will remain valid until their expiration date, but after that the passports must be biometric.
When the change to biometric passports was announced, your humble servant suggested that this was a gross infringement on Israelis’ rights, and that almost certainly the database of biometric information would end up being hacked. For example, just yesterday, Yahoo revealed that every one of its 3,000,000,000 (billion) accounts was hacked back in 2013.
So what does all of this have to do with the U.S. State Department and visas?
If you can believe this, the U.S. State Department is demanding that Israel turn over the biometric information of every one of our citizens in order for Israel to be included in the Visa Exemption Waiver. It is a breathtaking invasion of Israeli sovereignty, not to mention the privacy of every Israeli.
And if you can believe this, Israel has apparently agreed.
It is simply unbelievable.
Now, Israelis’ biometric information will be available for hacking here in Israel and also in the United States.