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Michael Black, chairman of the Belfast Jewish Community, said the message contained a racist image. He said the group would not post dates and locations for events for now.

"We have to take security very seriously because of events that have been happening across Europe," Mr Black said. "We take advice from the police and from the Community Security Trust. … I find it very sad that there are people out there who feel that they have to express their anti-Semitism or racial prejudices in such a way."

150 years of Belfast's Jewish community

Police said they were investigating a complaint regarding abusive messages posted on social media on Wednesday.

Thirteen Jewish graves were damaged in an attack at Belfast City Cemetery in August.

Mr Black said he was not aware of any arrests in relation to the damage.—BBCi


A teenager who yelled "heil Hitler" while throwing gas canisters at Jewish shoppers has been jailed. Patrick Delaney, of Twin Oaks Caravan Park, near Braintree in Essex, admitted religiously aggravated harassment of four Orthodox Jews - including a 13-year-old boy - on 6 January 2016.

Wood Green Crown Court heard Delaney, 19, was intoxicated on nitrous oxide following a relationship break-up.  He was jailed for six months for the attack in Tottenham Hale retail park.

One victim told the court she was forced to take shelter in a nearby supermarket with her teenage son as Delaney, who was with two other men in a van, repeatedly yelled "Hitler" at her.  Nobody was injured by the thrown gas canisters.

Passing sentence, Judge John Dodd QC told the defendant his actions were unacceptable in "any civilized society."  His sentencing comes as new figures showed anti-Semitic hate incidents reached record levels in the UK.

                    HITLER'S PHONE SOLD FOR $243,000 AT US AUCTION

A telephone used by Adolf Hitler during World War Two has been sold for $243,000 (£195,744) at a US auction. The identity of the buyer, who bid by phone, has not been revealed. The bidding in Chesapeake City, Maryland, started at $100,000. The red phone, which has the Nazi leader's name engraved on it, was found in his Berlin bunker in 1945.

Soviet soldiers gave it to British officer Sir Ralph Rayner as a souvenir shortly after Germany surrendered. The phone was sold by auction house Alexander Historical Auctions.

Auction house officials said the phone was a "weapon of mass destruction", as it was used by Hitler to give orders that took many lives during the war.  A porcelain figure of an Alsatian dog, also owned by Hitler, fetched $24,300. It was bought by a different bidder. –BBCi


In June 1967, at the end of the Six-Day War, Israel literally tripled its territory, occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Stripe, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank.  Hundreds of thousands of settlers have made homes in these Occupied Territories since that time – their presence making a peace agreement with the Palestinians infinitely more complex, The Settlers takes their full message – its focus ranging from opportunistic families seeking less costly living conditions to Western –styled hippies; messianic, religious extremists to idealistic farmers; settler “patriarchs” to new converts.

Israeli intellectuals, politicos, and academics weigh in on this conundrum: How can approximately a half-million people be allowed to stand in the way of a Middle Eastern peace settlement the world so desperately needs?

Since Israel’s decisive victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens have made their homes in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank.  With unprecedented access to pioneers of the settlement movement and a diverse group of modern day settlers, religious and secular alike, the Settlers is a comprehensive exploration of the controversial communities that exert inordinate influence on the sociopolitical destinies of Israel and Palestine.

Even though no Jews lived in the historic Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria before the 1967 Six Day War, it is now home to hundreds of thousand s of Jewish settlers, who are almost as diverse in their outlooks, origins, ideologies, and socioeconomic backgrounds as Israeli society itself.  How did it happen?  What drew them there?

The story of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an intriguing, unavoidable feature of modern Israeli life: complex and elusive in its early years, and increasingly wild and tragic as the years go by.  It is a story that has been with us for almost half a century, and still shows sign of resolving itself.

Much like the Occupation itself, the settlement phenomenon has received extensive coverage in the media.  But this coverage tends to focus on fallout, and rarely on the ideological and historical forces that the led to the creation of the settlement and with them, the unflinching grip that Israel has on the West Bank, a grip that has become the new hallmark of a society once founded on the ideals of secular liberalism and equality.

Combining history and headlines, The Settlers is the first comprehensive look at the meeting point where radicals, idealists, messianic fanatics, true believers and political opportunists, living on the fault lines of an age-old conflict, come fact to face with history itself.  Today, the settlers threaten to ignite the Middle Eastern powder keg.

Shimon Dotan’s films have been the recipients of the Special Jury Price at Sundance (Hot House) the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival (The Smile of the Lamb), and numerous Israeli Academy awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Repeat Dive; The Smile of the Lamb).

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Donald Trump,BBCi photo

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Mr Trump says he believes achieving a long-elusive peace is possible, calling it "the ultimate deal".

He has stated his strong support for Israel after its relations with the US deteriorated under Barack Obama.

The former US president was a staunch critic of Jewish settlement activity - strongly advocated by Mr Netanyahu - in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

For decades successive US governments have backed a two-state solution - the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state that lives side-by-side with Israel.

But on Tuesday, an unnamed senior White House official suggested the US would support any form of final peace deal reached between Israel and the Palestinians, retreating from its long-term insistence of a two-state formula.

"A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said, speaking anonymously.

"Peace is the goal, whether that comes in the form of a two-state solution if that's what the parties want, or something else if that's what the parties want."

What is the two-state solution?

A "two-state solution" to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the declared goal of their leaders and the international community.

It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.

The UN, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and, until now, the US routinely restate their commitment to the concept.

State department officials were unaware of any policy shift and have been seeking clarification from the White House, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Palestinian officials have denounced the comments, with Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi telling AFP: "This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace."

Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the "two-state solution is not something we just came up with".

Meanwhile UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that there was no alternative plan for resolving the conflict, urging the international community to do everything it could to bring about a two-state solution.

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says hardliners in Israel want President Trump to drop the idea of two states, as they believe the land needed for a Palestinian state should be part of Israel.

Separately on Wednesday, two unnamed Palestinian officials said CIA director Mike Pompeo had held talks with President Abbas in Ramallah a day earlier, in what would be the first high-profile meeting between the Palestinians and a senior member of the Trump administration.

The meeting was described as "warm and positive," according to the Associated Press.

'Dangers and opportunities'

President Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have previously met and both have spoken of having a good relationship.

As he departed for the US, Mr Netanyahu said he and President Trump "see eye-to-eye on the dangers emanating from the region but also the opportunities".

Iran is also expected to be high on the agenda, with both leaders previously denouncing the nuclear deal reached under the Obama administration.

Mr Netanyahu sees Iran as the number one threat to Israel and has urged "responsible nations" to follow Mr Trump's lead after the president imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in response to a ballistic missile test.

Iran does not recognize Israel's right to exist and has called for its eradication. President Trump has described as a "terrible deal" the 2015 agreement which lifted international sanctions on Iran in return for scaling back its nuclear program.

Trump's position on settlements

Israel regards the election of Donald Trump as an opportunity to improve relations with the US.

After Mr Trump indicated he would take a much more tolerant approach to Jewish settlement activity, Israel advanced plans for thousands of new homes in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Soon after, however, the US president expressed some concern saying he did not see "going forward" with settlements as conducive to peace.

But, at the same time, the White House said it does not regard the existence of settlements as an impediment - a reversal of the long-term position of the US.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. BBCi



24-30 Shevat, 5777                                              Feb. 20-26, 2017 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES  --  596th Web Ed.



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