Is the Las Vegas Mass-Murderer a Terrorist?: National Review, Oct. 2, 2017 — In Las Vegas, (at least 58) people are dead, and perhaps hundreds of others have been injured, in the deadliest mass-shooting attack in American history.
The Big Middle East Lie: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 2, 2017— Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, the 37-year-old Palestinian terrorist who on September 25 murdered three Israelis at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, had a permit from the Israeli authorities to work in Israel.
Hamas Masquerade: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Oct. 1, 2017 — It took Hamas 10 years to completely ruin the Gaza Strip and prove to all that it can't and is not worthy of ruling over its inhabitants.
Interpol and the Palestinians: Where’s a Cop When You Need One?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Oct. 2, 2017 — The good news is that Interpol apparently isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe.
Palestinian Leaders Unite in Praise of Deadly Terror Attack: United With Israel, Sept. 27, 2017
Don't be Fooled by Hamas and Fatah Reconciliation in Gaza: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 28, 2017
Iran and Hamas Reconnect: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Sept. 25, 2017
Abbas Says No to 'Hezbollah Model' in Gaza as Hamas Hopes to Retain Armed Wing: Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz, Sept. 30, 2017
AS WE GO TO PRESS: EDMONTON ATTACK SUSPECT CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER: A suspect has been charged in an attack in which an Edmonton officer was stabbed and four people were injured when they were hit by a rental truck fleeing police. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder, five counts of dangerous driving and one weapons-related charge. Although police have said that terrorism charges are expected, none has been laid so far. Sharif, who is 30, is a Somali refugee once investigated for allegedly espousing extremism. Edmonton police…said the events of Saturday night appear to have been the work of a single person. It started when a police officer handling crowd control at a football game was hit by a speeding car that rammed through a barrier and sent him flying five metres through the air. The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing the officer. A suspect was taken into custody by police hours later after a chase through downtown Edmonton in which four pedestrians were purposely hit by the driver… (National Post, Oct. 2, 2017)
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review, Oct. 2, 2017
In Las Vegas, (at least 58) people are dead, and perhaps hundreds of others have been injured, in the deadliest mass-shooting attack in American history. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old Nevadan believed to be the lone gunman, fired upon attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort across the street. He killed himself before police reached him.
As we begin to process what has happened, it is important to remember — as we have learned from too many of these incidents — that initial reports are often wrong. We must wait for investigators and responsible journalists to do their work before we can have a clear picture of what happened.
On that score, news reports this morning are already referring to this atrocity as a “terrorist attack.” And that was even before the Islamic State jihadist organization claimed responsibility for the attack, a claim that has just been reported by the Washington Examiner. ISIS offered no proof of its assertions that Paddock was a recent convert to Islam and had carried out the massacre on the terror network’s behalf. Again, we cannot assess it until the investigation unfolds.
Clearly, Paddock did terrorize a community, particularly an event attended by 22,000 people, at least hundreds of whom he put in mortal peril. Does that make him a terrorist? Let’s put the unverified ISIS claims aside. If Paddock was a lone gunman acting independently and not under the influence of any organization or ideology, the answer to the question may depend on which law we apply — the federal penal code or Nevada’s criminal law.
We’ve recently had occasion to consider federal terrorism law in connection with a discussion over whether the violent “Antifa” movement should be legally designated as a terrorist organization. Under the U.S. penal code (section 2331(5) of Title 18), a violent act meets the definition of “domestic terrorism” if the actor was seeking: (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
Many (perhaps most) mass killings will meet this test. Plainly, shooting at a crowd is an act of intimidation. But as the word “coerce” (also in that first clause) implies, the federal terrorism statute speaks to intimidation or coercion of a civilian population toward some identifiable objective. This kind of intimidation is easy to make out when the aggressor is a jihadist, whether associated with an outfit such as ISIS or merely “inspired by” sharia-supremacist ideology (which seeks the imposition of sharia law and to force changes in American policy). Establishing such intimidation is also straightforward when a group with a radical political agenda, such as Antifa, is involved. It is more difficult, though, when we are dealing with a lone gunman…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Gatestone Institute, Oct. 2, 2017
Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, the 37-year-old Palestinian terrorist who on September 25 murdered three Israelis at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, had a permit from the Israeli authorities to work in Israel. His family and friends say he also had a good life and was considered lucky to have been employed by Jews because he received a higher salary and was protected by Israeli labor laws. The night before Jamal set out in his murderous mission, he spent a few hours at the fitness gym in his village, located only a few miles away from Har Adar.
So, Jamal, the murderer of the three Israelis (two of the victims were Arab Israelis), was not poor. He was not unemployed. In fact, according his friends, Jamal earned much more than what a senior police officer or school teacher working for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas brings home every month. What was it, then, that drove Jamal to his murderous scheme, gunning down three young men who were supposed to be facilitating his entry into Israel? Was it because he could not provide for his children? No. Was it because his landlord was pressuring him about the rent? No: Jamal lived in a nice place of his own, complete with furniture, appliances and bedrooms that any family in the West would be proud to own.
Jamal wanted to murder Jews because he believed this was a noble deed that would earn him the status of shaheed (martyr) and hero among his family, friends and society. In Palestinian culture in particular, and Arab culture in general, murderers of Jews are glorified on a daily basis. They are touted as the lucky ones who are now in the company of Prophet Mohammed and the angels in Paradise. Male terrorists are also busy with the 72 virgins they were awarded as a prize for murdering Jews. The murderers — as Muslim clerics and leaders hammer into the heads of Palestinians — are also given access to rivers of honey and fine drinks once they set foot in their imaginary Paradise.
Jamal's friends and family are now convinced that he has been rewarded by Allah and Prophet Mohammed in Paradise for murdering three Israelis. They do not care about his children, whom he left behind, and certainly not about the families of the three Israelis he murdered. In his village and on social media, Jamal is being hailed as a hero and martyr. Not a single Palestinian has come out against the cowardly terror attack by a man who took advantage of a permit from the Israeli authorities to commit a terror attack.
The Jewish families that once employed Jamal as a cleaner had trusted him. They had opened their homes and hearts, as well as their wallets, to him. The Israeli authorities wanted to trust him and see him as a normal person who just wanted a job with a decent income to support his family. But Jamal, like many other Palestinians, betrayed the trust the Jews gave him. He chose to stab in the back the same people who had gone out of their way to help him. Sadly, this terrorist also betrayed the cause of thousands of Palestinian workers who enter Israel for work every day. These workers stand to lose the most from Jamal's terror attack and treachery. Luckily for them, the Israeli authorities are saying that the Har Adar murder will not affect Israel's policy of granting permits to Palestinians to work inside Israel, because the vast majority are not involved in violence.
The Har Adar murders ought to teach us at least one thing: that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about the economy or improving the living conditions of the Palestinians. Jamal, who had a job and freedom of movement and a lovely apartment, surely proves this point, as do the murders or attempted murders by other well-to-do terrorists such as Mohammad Atta, Osama bin Laden, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and many others. Jamal's bloody lesson, however, apparently still needs to be learned by the West, which, despite all evidence, doggedly persists in drawing an unbroken line between Palestinian terrorism and poverty.
Jamal, however, is far from the first terrorist to convey this crucial lesson: most Palestinian terrorists over the past decades were educated and had jobs. Some Palestinian suicide bombers were nurses, schoolteachers and lawyers. Some came from middle class and even wealthy families and clans. Money and education, however, did not stop them from committing atrocities against Israelis. Terrorists like Jamal are motivated by deep hatred for Jews and Israel. They have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by their leaders and Muslim religious clerics into believing that Jews are evil and need to be eliminated by all available means.
Not a single terrorist has complained of carrying out an attack because he or she were starving, had no food for the children and were unable to buy ice cream from the local grocery store. The terrorists, in fact, spell it out as it is: they openly announce that they are motivated by their indoctrinated hatred for Israel and Jews. This is what the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic propaganda machine has done to generations of Arabs and Muslims. Officials and people in the West may deny what they hear as hard as they like; but the terrorists could not be more are honest about what their murderous motives are.
What, then, about those on the West who continue to talk about the conflict as if it were about creating new jobs and paving roads and improving infrastructure for the Palestinians? This seems to be the approach endorsed in the U.S. by Donald Trump's administration. There is nothing wrong, of course, with boosting the economy and creating job opportunities. This might have a moderating effect on a few Palestinians. They will be happy to see a better economy and a drop in the unemployment rate. Such measures, however, will never change the hearts and minds of Palestinians. Palestinians will never recognize Israel's right to exist because Americans and Europeans built them an industrial park somewhere in the West Bank. Over the past 25 years, the Palestinians have received billions of dollars in aid from the international community. When they headed to the ballot boxes, they voted for Hamas because it told them it will destroy Israel. Palestinians are most likely to vote for Hamas once again if free and democratic elections were held tomorrow in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
We might remember this as Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, returns to our region to discuss ways of reviving the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The Trump administration and Jason Greenblatt seem to have bought the lie that "It's about money, stupid." No. The conflict is about an unbendable refusal to allow a Jewish Israel to exist in the Middle East. It is about the abiding interest in the Arab and Islamic world to obliterate Israel and murder Jews. It is about the ongoing, bloody Arab and Islamic incitement against Israel and Jews. Jobs are not the problem, and they are not the solution. Let us pay attention to reality for a change: Jamal and his fellow terrorists can teach us something — if only we would listen.
Prof. Eyal Zisser
Israel Hayom, Oct. 1, 2017
It took Hamas 10 years to completely ruin the Gaza Strip and prove to all that it can't and is not worthy of ruling over its inhabitants. A decade after the terrorist organization forcefully seized control of the coastal enclave its government has crumbled, but more importantly, the situation for the people of Gaza has never been more desperate. Unemployment and poverty are rampant, quality of life is in sharp decline and infrastructure is collapsing. There has only been steady progress in one area – tunnel digging along the border with Israel is prospering and the group has expanded its missile arsenal.
The first place Hamas has looked for a solution is Tehran, which is looking to bring the group back into its fold after several years of severed ties. The Arab spring revolution in Egypt and Syria distanced Hamas from Iran, bringing it closer to Turkey and even Qatar. These Sunni countries have been a disappointment and their ability to help the organization has been and remains limited. Hamas can only receive unlimited weapons and money from the Iranians, even if doing so means it must sharply alter its positions. This pertains, for example, to the Sunni rebel groups in Syria, which Hamas has supported over the years but now must abandon.
At the same time Hamas is also working to improve its relations with the Palestinian Authority; more precisely it is trying to turn the PA into a human shield to perpetuate its rule over Gaza. In this context, Hamas' leaders declared an end to the "Hamas government" in Gaza, and their willingness to give the keys to Gaza to the Palestinian national unity government sitting in Ramallah. This is merely a charade, however, as Hamas is unwilling to truly relinquish its power and will not allow, for instance, the PA's security apparatus to deploy in Gaza. In this vein, it will permit the PA and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, to resolve the electricity crisis in Gaza and to try improving the economic situation there. Meanwhile, Hamas will still reserve ultimate say in Gaza and will be the only entity with weapons.
Hamas, therefore, is trying to mimic the Lebanese model. In Lebanon, the government maintains diplomatic relations with the international community and is responsible for the welfare of the population and bettering the economy; Hezbollah, meanwhile, is the driving military force without bearing governmental responsibility for the fate of Lebanon. This is a comfortable arrangement, as the Lebanese government provides protection for Hezbollah and mainly absolves it of any responsibility for the Lebanese population.
Abbas does have reasons to be happy with this arrangement, as it means the economic pressure and sanctions he has imposed on Hamas has borne fruit. Egypt, too, is satisfied and continues to advance Palestinian reconciliation, in the hopes that such a development will empower its protégé, Mohammed Dahlan, in Gaza and perhaps the West Bank as well. Without a doubt, however, the main winner is Hamas, which will cede governmental responsibility for the economy and welfare, which it never cared for regardless, in exchange for a security blanket from the PA and perhaps Egypt. All the while it will continue ruling the Strip with an iron fist.
Hamas' game is obvious, but its decision to pursue a two-pronged course of reconciliation with the PA and Iran poses a challenge to Israel. During Operation Protective Edge, Israel allowed Hamas to remain in power in Gaza because it believed that doing so would render it deterred and restricted. Now, however, Hamas is trying to shed these restrictions and essentially erase Israel's leverage against it. Israel cannot allow this to happen.
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, Oct. 2, 2017
The good news is that Interpol apparently isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe. The bad news is that the international community just gave another seal of approval to those who traffic in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA), just as it has done at other international organizations, recently gained admittance to Interpol by an overwhelming vote of member nations.
Though the PA does autonomously govern most of the West Bank, it doesn’t exercise sovereign control over any territory. But the international community has nevertheless embraced every opportunity to grant recognition to Palestinian Arab aspirations for statehood — without first forcing them to conclude a peace with Israel that could resolve the dispute by the two peoples over one, small land.
The latest move sounds scarier than some of the others, because most of us assume that Interpol is an international police force with power to make arrests and act with impunity around the globe. Yet it turns out that this perception of Interpol is misleading. Interpol has no law enforcement agents, and arrests no one. It is merely a coordinating group that functions as an administration liaison between police departments of different countries. It does help fight international crime by making the large database that it maintains available to law enforcement agencies — but that’s about the extent of it.
One thing that members of Interpol can do is to issue so-called “red notices” about outstanding criminals; but these are not international arrest warrants. Nevertheless, this raises the possibility that the PA might copy the practice of leftist foes of Israel in various Western countries, who seek to indict Israeli officials on bogus allegations of war crimes. The US has already said it won’t recognize any red notices from the PA. And since the PA is dependent on cooperation with Israeli security agencies to defend themselves against Hamas and more radical opponents, this would be a risky strategy. If the PA does use the tactic, it would probably be directed against Palestinian political foes, rather than Israelis.
Seen in that light, the Interpol vote can be viewed as just another meaningless gesture that does nothing to advance peace — or Palestinian aspirations for actual statehood. But the decision is not entirely harmless — because the same PA that just joined Interpol actually funds terrorism. The PA pays salaries and pensions to Palestinians who commit terrorism against Israelis and others (including Americans). This program has an ascending scale of compensation, which gives greater rewards for more serious crimes involving bloodshed. The PA’s education system and official media also incite hate, and applaud acts of terror on a regular basis. Just last week, Abbas’ Fatah party lauded a deadly attack that resulted in the killing of an Israeli Border Police officer and two security guards, one of whom was an Arab Israeli. And now, the family of the slain terrorist can expect a generous pension from the PA.
Though some excuse this practice of paying terrorists as a legitimate aspect of their political culture, it is one more indication that Palestinians are still stuck fighting the same war on Zionism and Israel that they’ve been fighting for a century. And it illustrates the folly of any policy towards the Palestinians that does not start with an effort to impress upon them the necessity to accept the existence of a Jewish state. Until Israel makes it clear that its existence is conclusive and final, no peace plan, including a two-state solution, will be possible.
Unlike its predecessor, the Trump administration has made it clear that it regards the PA’s attitude toward terror as an impediment to peace. Congress might be on its way to passing the Taylor Force Act, which is named for an American veteran who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist; the bill would make future aid to the PA contingent on ending its incitement and terror funding. But with the Interpol vote, the world has once again sent the opposite message to the Palestinians about terror and ending the conflict. A group that honors and pays terrorists rather than arresting them just joined the international law enforcement establishment. Israelis, Jews and Americans that are targeted for death by Palestinians are justified in wondering: where’s a cop when you need one?
Palestinian Leaders Unite in Praise of Deadly Terror Attack: United With Israel, Sept. 27, 2017 —The reactions to Tuesday morning’s terror attack that left three Israelis dead by the two largest Palestinian factions were of full endorsement and support for the terrorist’s actions.
Don't be Fooled by Hamas and Fatah Reconciliation in Gaza: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 28, 2017—Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar is ready to hand over the civil administration of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Don't be fooled by this gesture.
Iran and Hamas Reconnect: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Sept. 25, 2017—With an eye to Syria’s postwar period, Iran is working to unite the ranks of the “resistance camp” to continue the struggle against Israel and deepen the dissension in the Arab world. Iran views Hamas, despite its independent path, as an important element of this camp that challenges not only Israel but also the main members of the “moderate” Arab camp, and hence contributes to bolstering its influence in the region.
Abbas Says No to 'Hezbollah Model' in Gaza as Hamas Hopes to Retain Armed Wing: Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz, Sept. 30, 2017—Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and senior Palestinian Authority officials issued further declarations over the weekend about their commitment to reconcile and said both sides are committed to moving the process ahead.