The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Joel Greenberg, McClatchy Foreign Staff (TNS)

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government moved to dispatch soldiers to Israeli cities and weighed posting checkpoints outside Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem after Palestinian assailants carried out multiple attacks Tuesday, leaving three Israelis dead and more than a dozen wounded.

A 2-week-old wave of violence that has unsettled many Israelis has raised the pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has struggled to contain the surging Palestinian unrest. His security cabinet met for hours on Tuesday to discuss further countermeasures.

Daily stabbings by Palestinian assailants have spilled over from Jerusalem and the West Bank to other Israeli cities, and clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops have erupted across the West Bank and along the perimeter fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday morning, the wail of police sirens in Jerusalem signaled another attack in the city. Two Palestinians armed with a gun and a knife boarded a bus in the Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv in East Jerusalem and attacked passengers, killing two men and wounding seven other people, one of them seriously, police and hospital officials said.

A witness said that one of the Palestinians shut the doors of the bus, trapping passengers inside as the attack went on, until police who rushed to the scene fired into the vehicle, killing one assailant and seriously wounding the other.

Across town a short time later, a Palestinian employee of the Israeli phone company drove one of its vehicles onto a sidewalk and rammed people at a bus stop. Police video showed the driver emerging with a meat cleaver to attack the victims before he was felled by a shot, then shot again on the ground by a security guard. An ultra-Orthodox Jew was killed in the attack, and three other people were wounded.

Police reported two more stabbings in Ra’anana, a town north of Tel Aviv, where five people were wounded.

All of the Palestinian attackers Tuesday were from East Jerusalem, whose residents carry Israeli ID cards and can move freely around the country. The national police operations chief, Aharon Aksol, told Israeli Channel Two television that there were plans to erect manned barriers at exits from Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to check cars and pedestrians. He said police would be bolstered by army soldiers who would be posted in public places and on city streets.

So far the Israeli measures have been unable to stop what appear to be spontaneous attacks by individuals with no organizational support of militant groups.

Alaa Abu Jamal, who plowed his vehicle into the bus stop, worked with Israelis at the phone company. Though his employers said he gave no outward signs of his intentions, he had publicly justified an attack by two of his relatives who killed five people in a shooting and stabbing attack at a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014.

In a videotaped news interview at the time, he called the assault a “natural reaction” to “the pressures of the occupation forces on the Palestinian people, the humiliation in Jerusalem in general, and the ongoing raids on Al-Aqsa.”

He was referring to Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.

Clashes last month in the mosque compound, a contested holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, triggered the current wave of unrest.

A Facebook posting last December by Baha Alayan, one of the attackers on the bus, listed “The Ten Instructions of the Martyr” and a last will and testament, which ended with the words, “See you in Paradise.”

(Greenberg is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

(c)2015 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

An Israeli policeman perform a security check on a Palestinian man at a checkpoint in Jabel Mukaber, in an area of the West Bank that Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed to the city of Jerusalem October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}