Tag: palestinian arab terror

IDF DEFEATS ISRAEL’S ENEMIES WITH HIGH-TECH WEAPONS, COMBAT TRAINING, & WAR READINESS

 

The IDF’s Priority: War Readiness: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, July 27, 2017— In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan…

The Merkava 4: Why Hezbollah Should Be Afraid—Very Afraid: Ari Lieberman, Front Page, July 21, 2017— Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, armchair pundits determined that the age of the tank as king of the battlefield had come to an ignominious end.

The F-35 Critics vs. the Facts: Chet Richards, American Thinker, July 4, 2017— The people working on various aspects of the F-35 fighter program must be very frustrated.

Why Israel Removed the Metal Detectors: Daniel Pipes, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party announced Saturday that the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.”

 

On Topic Links

 

Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis (Video): Camera, July 27, 2017

Historic Change on the Temple Mount: Moshe Feiglin, Zehut, July 26, 2017

Operation Good Neighbor: Israel Reveals its Massive Humanitarian Aid to Syria: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, July 19, 2017

When Will the F-35 Stop Being Controversial?: Sandra Erwin, National Interest, July 11, 2017

 

         

THE IDF’S PRIORITY: WAR READINESS

                                                 Yaakov Lappin

                                                  BESA, July 27, 2017

 

Israel is enjoying a period of relative calm, but in five to ten years, its strategic environment will likely be significantly more complex and challenging than it is today. For that reason, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has, under the Gideon multi-year working plan, placed combat training and war readiness at the top of its agenda.

 

The IDF General Staff has identified the objective of attaining a good state of war readiness, and keeping this readiness high, as a crucial objective for Israel in the medium to long term. It is an objective that has been neglected in past years due to budget instability and the lack of a clear strategic directive to place war readiness front and center. This dangerous blind spot appears to have been corrected. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is intensively promoting the objective of war readiness throughout the whole of the military. A multi-year working plan provides a stable funding environment in which this can be achieved.

 

The stable truces in place with Hamas and Hezbollah, and the freeze in Iran’s nuclear program, allow the IDF time and space to focus on combat training and force build-up, thereby giving Israel the ability to prepare for a more dangerous future. The truces are fueled by Israeli deterrence and an Israeli ability to skillfully leverage influences on enemy decision-making. Both of the hybrid terrorist-guerrilla armies, Hezbollah and Hamas, are bogged down by challenges of their own. Despite their ideologies, they are reluctant to initiate a full-scale clash with Israel at this stage, as that would expose them to devastating Israeli firepower.

 

Such deterrence, could, however, prove time-limited. The prospect of combat with these foes, even if unintended, seems likely to grow with time. The risk of clashes with Hezbollah and Hamas will also be joined over time by new threats, the seeds of which can already be discerned. As Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi, head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, said in June, “Israel’s power deters all enemies in all arenas, state and non-state … but there is a basic instability, and an increase in non-state actors. Their force build-up is intensifying, increasing the chances of scenarios of [a security] deterioration, even if no one wants these scenarios.”

 

Several factors point to a likely increase of threats. An assessment of these confirms the wisdom of Eizenkot’s directive to focus on achieving and maintaining good war readiness now, while conditions allow. The Iranian regime has not given up its strategic objective of obtaining nuclear weapons. The sunset clauses on the nuclear deal will lift key restrictions over the next eight to thirteen years. Assuming the hard-line Shiite ideological-religious camp and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) continue to control Iran’s foreign and military policies, the Islamic Republic will be able restart its nuclear program at the end of the sunset clauses (if it does not cheat and breach the agreement beforehand).

 

Iran could begin enriching uranium again (using improved techniques it is currently researching) to bring it to nuclear breakout, and could try to reach that point at a time of its choosing. Its missile program is already developing. This means Israel could find itself in a state-to-state conflict in the not too distant future. Additionally, Arab Sunni states threatened by Iran have launched civil nuclear programs of their own. These could turn out to be the initial stages of military nuclear programs, designed to counter Iran’s nuclear shadow.

 

The prospect of a nuclear arms race in the region is therefore very real. It might develop as an added layer on top of the fast-paced conventional arms race that already exists throughout the Middle East. An arms race in a region marked by instability and multiple failed states calls for an IDF that is capable of dealing with both non-state actors and state militaries that might, in the future, fall under the command of revolutionary Islamists. The latter are seeking to topple the pragmatic, rational Arab Sunni governments who currently share many interests with Israel.

 

Meanwhile, powerful hybrid non-state actors, which are part army and part terrorist-guerrilla, are building up their forces near Israel’s borders. Hezbollah in particular, though also Hamas, continues to build up its offensive capabilities. The Iranian missile factories set up in Lebanon are the latest indication of Hezbollah’s ambitious force build-up program, which threatens the Israeli home front as well as strategic targets inside Israel. Where Syria once existed as a centralized state, an assortment of well-armed Iranian-backed forces is gaining strength. The Shiite axis in Syria combats Sunni rebel organizations (some of them fundamentalist and jihadist) and receives Russian air support.

 

A number of these non-state entities are arming themselves with destructive firepower, including precision-guided heavy rockets and missiles. These capabilities were once reserved for the great powers. Halevi described this situation as one in which “great military power is falling into irresponsible hands.” The IDF is busy building up its own capabilities, and it remains the most potent military force in the Middle East. But as time progresses, Israel’s strategic depth is shrinking due to the mass production of precision weaponry by Iran’s military industries and the trafficking of such weapons to Iranian proxies…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

 

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THE MERKAVA 4: WHY HEZBOLLAH SHOULD BE AFRAID—VERY AFRAID

Ari Lieberman

Front Page, July 21, 2017

 

Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, armchair pundits determined that the age of the tank as king of the battlefield had come to an ignominious end. They argued that the introduction of anti-tank guided missiles rendered the tank obsolete. How wrong they were. Several post-war studies of the conflict demonstrated that the tank was still indispensable to modern warfare and when employed in a combined arms manner with artillery and mechanized infantry, still reigned supreme.

 

Israel learned many lessons from the Yom Kippur War and incorporated those lessons into the development of its own indigenous tank, the Merkava (Chariot). The Merkava 1 entered service with the Israel Defense Forces in 1978 and first saw action in 1982 during Operation Peace for Galilee when it engaged and destroyed no fewer than nine Soviet-made, Syrian T-72 tanks without sustaining a single loss. It also reportedly succeeded in downing a Syrian anti-tank helicopter with its main gun.

 

Since that time, the Merkava has undergone several modifications and improvements, the latest iteration of which is the Merkava 4. The Merkava 4 is considered by armored warfare experts to be among the finest tanks in the world, and in terms of crew survivability, the safest. In the summer of 2006, Israel was forced to go to war again, this time with the notorious terrorist organization Hezbollah. On July 12, two Israeli reservists were killed and their bodies snatched during a Hezbollah cross-border attack. Israel could not allow the outrage to go unanswered and decided to launch an offensive against Hezbollah. Nearly 400 Merkava tanks, mostly of the older II and III variants, were haphazardly deployed in the latter stages of the 34-day conflict.

 

During the course of the war, Hezbollah guerrillas fired thousands of anti-tank missiles – from the first generation Sagger to the highly advanced Kornet – at static Israeli infantry and tanks but only succeeding in damaging some 40 tanks and of these, there were only 20 penetrations. Despite these encouraging numbers, so-called experts began to once again challenge the utility of the tank and its place in modern warfare. IDF planners saw things differently. They went back to the drawing board in an effort to draw conclusions from the performance of the Merkava and tactics employed by its crew members.

 

With at least 1/3 of its fighting force permanently stationed in Syria, the probability of Hezbollah initiating war against Israel in the near future is low. Even in the absence of the Syrian conflict, Hezbollah will soon not forget the thrashing it took at the hands of the IDF during the 2006 campaign. Nevertheless, most experts agree that the next Lebanon war is not a question of if, but when, and when it does begin, Israel’s latest Merkava variant, the vaunted Merkava 4 will be in the thick of it.

 

The Merkava 4 incorporates many sophisticated design features including advanced electro optics that ensure a 100% first-hit kill capability from its formidable 120mm smooth-bore gun. The Merkava also features an internally operated 60mm mortar to deal with missile-armed infantry. The Merkava is also capable of firing the long-rang, third generation LAHAT laser homing, guided missile from its main gun, an advantage lacking in the Merkava’s contemporaries. Another feature possessed by the Merkava but lacking in its competitors is the ability to accommodate up to eight infantry soldiers or three litter patients.

 

But among its most outstanding features is its emphasis on crew safety and ability to negate anti-tank missile threats. The tank, whose well-sloped armor is composed of advanced spaced and composite materials, is arguably the best protected in the world. Unlike other tank designs, the Merkava’s 1,500hp diesel engine is located in the front, providing the crew with an additional layer of protection from frontal hits. Learning from past experience, the Merkava’s vulnerable underbelly was up-armored to provide additional protection against anti-tank mines and Iranian supplied explosively formed projectiles (EFP), which have been used to devastating effect by Iraqi and Afghan insurgents against American forces, claiming no fewer than 500 American lives. In addition, the Merkava 4’s armor is modular, allowing for quick battlefield repair and tailoring the armor for the tank’s mission-specific purposes.

 

But perhaps the Merkava’s most outstanding feature is its use of the Trophy active self-protection missile defense system, which acts like the tank’s personal Iron Dome missile defense shield. The system is designed to shoot down incoming missiles before the projectile reaches the tank’s armor. The IDF is the first military to deploy such a platform and all Merkava 4s and Namer (leopard) and Eytan armored personnel carriers (APC) are equipped with it. The United States Army is currently testing the Trophy system for use and adoption in its M1A2 Abrams tanks and other armored fighting vehicles such as the Stryker wheeled APC and the Bradley tracked APC.

 

The Trophy’s first baptism under fire occurred on March 1, 2011 when it successfully intercepted an RPG-29 anti-tank rocket fired by a Hamas terrorist from Gaza. Three years later, during Operation Protective Edge, the system proved itself again, shooting down no less than five anti-tank missiles fired by Hamas terrorists. Not a single Merkava tank was damaged thus depriving the enemy of any psychological or propaganda victory…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

 

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THE F-35 CRITICS VS. THE FACTS                                                        

Chet Richards                                                                        

American Thinker, July 4, 2017

 

The people working on various aspects of the F-35 fighter program must be very frustrated. The program is still highly classified, so that much that is taking place within the program is simply not available for discussion. And yet, the F-35’s critics are baying and howling and often deliberately misrepresenting the program and its products.

 

The F-35 program is not one program. It is several. Its products are three different aircraft and several brand-new, and highly innovative, technologies. It provides quantum leaps in aviation technology in many different areas. Simultaneously achieving all these technical breakthroughs has obviously proved difficult. But that is not surprising — it is the norm in innovative engineering.

 

The program is producing three very different aircraft: the F-35A is a conventional takeoff aircraft for the Air Force. The F-35B is a vertical takeoff and landing capable aircraft for the Marine Corps. The F-35C is a catapult takeoff and carrier landing aircraft for the Navy. From a distance, the aircraft look alike and inside they share much avionics and the core of the engine. But don’t be fooled. These are very different aircraft.

 

The F/A-18 Hornet and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet also look like they are the same aircraft. But they are really two completely different aircraft. The Hornet was developed in the 1970s and was manufactured in the 1980s. The Super Hornet was developed in the 1990s and was in production after 2000. The Super Hornet is 20% larger, up to 15,000 pounds heavier, has 40% greater range and 50% greater endurance. They look alike simply because the Super Hornet borrowed excellent aerodynamic design from the Hornet. Time and money saved. Then why are they both called "F-18"? Try selling a brand new aircraft to Congress! For that matter, try selling three different aircraft to Congress: just call them all F-35s and make sure they look alike.

 

The real intent of unifying the various F-35 programs under one management umbrella was to make sure that each of the three different aircraft, and innovative technologies, would be fully compatible for Joint Service Operations. Moreover, there is substantial fabrication and logistics commonality and this reduces overall unit cost and subsequent support cost. It should be noted that the F-35 development effort is not quite complete. There are still bugs to be fixed. This is normal, and normally provided for in the Integrated Master Plan and Schedule.

 

At a similar point in the development of the M1 Abrams tank, its critics were howling for program cancellation because of the tank’s many developmental bugs. The bugs were fixed and the M1 proved itself, in battle, to be by far the deadliest tank in history. Even though Initial Operating Capability (IOC) has been declared for the F-35A and the F-35B, this does not mean that these aircraft have their full combat capability — although some units have been forward deployed. IOC really means that these aircraft are training the crews that will eventually operationally fly improved production models. And, in a pinch, they could fight.

 

My old boss, mentor, and dear friend, the late Bill O’Neil, used to say that a fighter plane is a truck. Its job is to deliver a munition to the right place at the right time. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. Try telling that to a fighter jock. What he wants is something looking sleek and deadly! But Bill was right, and his contribution to the F-35 is major. I mentioned that several innovative programs existed under the F-35 umbrella. One of the most important of these is Bill’s Distributed Aperture System — the DAS. The DAS on the F-35 consists of six infrared sensors (cameras) placed at various parts of the aircraft. A complex computing system seamlessly fuses the imagery and presents it to the helmet visor of the pilot in such a way that wherever he looks he sees the world outside the aircraft as if the walls of the aircraft are simply not there. No need to roll the aircraft to see the ground below, just look down. No need to turn the aircraft to look straight behind, just turn your head. The wings are no longer there to obscure your vision.

 

Imagine a pilot about to land his nose-up aircraft on the deck of an aircraft carrier. It is night. It is storming. The carrier’s lights are doused because an enemy is nearby. To the naked eye the carrier simply does not exist. Only the lights of the Optical Landing System are visible. If you have any doubts about the seriousness of this scenario just talk to a carrier qualified pilot, as I have. It scares even the most experienced pilots! Because the DAS sensors see in the infrared, night looks like day. With DAS, the pilot looks down just below his instrument panel. The now brightly lit carrier’s deck is fully visible to him at all times. Landing is so very much easier. Carrier pilots are going to love the DAS. But the F-35 DAS is in its infancy. It is easy to envision where this technology is going to go, with greatly increased spatial resolution and hyperspectral imaging. DAS is definitely the future — the future for all aircraft — thanks to the F-35 program…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

 

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WHY ISRAEL REMOVED THE METAL DETECTORS

Daniel Pipes                                              

BESA, July 2, 2017

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party announced Saturday that the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.” Fatah demanded the removal of metal detectors and other security devices from the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. A week earlier two Israeli policemen were killed by terrorists who had stashed their weapons inside the mosque.

 

The Fatah statement was illogical and hypocritical. Many mosques in Muslim-majority countries use the same security technology to protect worshipers, tourists and police. Yet Mr. Abbas managed to force the Israeli government to remove them. He did it by deflecting attention from the policemen’s murders and stoking fear of a religious conflagration with vast repercussions.

 

The Temple Mount crisis highlights with exceptional clarity three factors that explain why a steady 80% of Palestinians believe they can eliminate the Jewish state: Islamic doctrine, international succor and Israeli timidity. Islam carries with it the expectation that any land once under Muslim control is an endowment that must inevitably revert to Muslim rule. The idea has abiding power: think of Osama bin Laden’s dream of resurrecting Andalusia and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes of regaining influence over the Balkans. Palestinians consistently report their belief that the state of Israel will collapse within a few decades.

 

A confrontation over the Temple Mount uniquely excites this expectation because it reaches far beyond the local population to arouse the passions of many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. The most prominent Muslim leaders and institutions overwhelmingly supported Fatah’s position on the Temple Mount security provisions. Islamic voices outside the pro-Palestinian consensus are rare. Palestinians rejoice in their role as the tip of an enormous spear.

 

Palestinians’ illusions of might enjoy considerable international support. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization routinely passes critical resolutions aimed at Israel. Columbia University houses something called the Center for Palestine Studies. Major corporations such as Google and news organizations like the British Broadcasting Corp. pretend there’s a country called Palestine. Foreign aid has created a Palestinian pseudo-economy that in 2016 enjoyed a phenomenal 4.1% growth rate.

 

In the Temple Mount crisis, the U.S. government, the Europeans and practically everyone else lined up to support the demand for the elimination of metal detectors, along with high-tech cameras or any other devices to prevent jihadi attacks. The Quartet on the Middle East welcomed “the assurances by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem will be upheld and respected.” With this sort of near-unanimous support, Palestinians easily imagine themselves stronger than the Jewish state.

 

Israel’s security services timidly avoid taking steps that might upset the Palestinians. This soft approach results not from starry-eyed idealism but from an exceedingly negative view of Palestinians as unreformable troublemakers. Accordingly, the police, intelligence agencies and military agree to just about anything that ensures calm while rejecting any initiative to deprive the Palestinians of funds, punish them more severely or infringe on their many prerogatives.

 

The Israeli security establishment knows that the Palestinian Authority will continue to incite and sanction murder even as it seeks to delegitimize and isolate the state of Israel. But those security services emphatically prefer to live with such challenges than to punish Mr. Abbas, reduce his standing and risk another intifada. The collapse of the Palestinian Authority and a return to direct Israeli rule is the security services’ nightmare. Mr. Abbas knows this, and this week’s fiasco demonstrates that he’s not afraid to exploit Israeli fears to advance his dream of debasing and eventually eliminating the Jewish state.

 

Daniel Pipes is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis (Video): Camera, July 27, 2017 —That’s the dishonest, cowardly, meaningless, and insulting apology offered by the Islamic Center of Davis in California after Imam Ammar Shahin called for the annihilation of Jews during a sermon he gave on Friday, July 21, 2017. After Shahin’s sermon was recorded and posted on the mosque’s website, it came to the attention of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) who translated it from Arabic into English for a shocked public.

Historic Change on the Temple Mount: Moshe Feiglin, Zehut, July 26, 2017—Although I anticipated that Netanyahu would remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, and although I very much hoped that I would be proven wrong, things are developing in such an amazing and fascinating manner, that you cannot but think that perhaps we are on the threshold of an historic change of direction.

Operation Good Neighbor: Israel Reveals its Massive Humanitarian Aid to Syria: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, July 19, 2017—The Israeli military on Wednesday unveiled the scope of its humanitarian assistance in Syria that has dramatically mushroomed over the last year to include treating chronically ill children who have no access to hospitals, building clinics in Syria, and supplying hundreds of tons of food, medicines and clothes to war-ravaged villages across the border.

When Will the F-35 Stop Being Controversial?: Sandra Erwin, National Interest, July 11, 2017 —It is a question that has nagged the Pentagon for years: At what point will the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter be out of the woods?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEMPLE MOUNT CRISIS: METAL DETECTORS REMOVED, PALESTINIANS CONTINUE PROTESTS

The Temple Mount Crisis — Far From Over, it’s Really Just Beginning: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 26, 2017— Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount…

Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors – Who Is Violating What?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017— The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors."

Caving in Cravenly to Terror, Acting Stupidly Towards Jordan: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017— Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances…

Victory Requires Patience: Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017— The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress.

 

On Topic Links

 

Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017

         

 

THE TEMPLE MOUNT CRISIS —

FAR FROM OVER, IT’S REALLY JUST BEGINNING                                                                      

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, July 26, 2017

 

Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount, we are evidently still in the midst of an impasse that may last for quite some time. Both sides, and especially the two leaderships, each for their own political reasons, appear to be exacerbating the situation, looking for confrontation rather than calm.

 

On the one side, there is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who, along with his Fatah movement, explicitly called Tuesday for an escalation of the struggle and for large-scale demonstrations against Israel on Friday. This seems to be an attempt to extricate the PA leader from the depths of irrelevance.

 

On the other is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who seemed to be profoundly impacted by the results of Tuesday’s Channel 2 survey, which indicated deep public dissatisfaction with his response to the Temple Mount crisis. Hours after the poll’s publication, he ordered the Defense Ministry not to evacuate some 120 settlers who illegally occupied a contested home in Hebron, in addition to instructing police to individually check every worshiper ascending to pray at the Temple Mount — a decision perceived by the Palestinian public as a declaration of war.

 

Both sides continue their gallop toward a deeper, bloodier confrontation, and there is no responsible adult in the room to stop the deterioration. Anyone who may have expected Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to intervene in the police’s war against the security establishment, or perhaps speak out against Netanyahu’s decisions of late, has quickly learned that a country long acclimated to operating without a foreign minister has also functioned for the past two weeks without a defense chief. The man simply does not exist.

 

The indications that the crisis is far from over are evident on several levels. First, Tuesday’s demonstrations by Muslim worshipers, which spiraled into violence outside the entrances to the Temple Mount, involved thousands of demonstrators refusing to enter the Al-Aqsa compound despite all of their demands being met. Asked what exactly they were protesting at that point, their responses were as absurd as something you might hear on a TV sitcom.

 

The problem here is that the statements made by demonstrators, Muslim religious leaders and the Palestinian leadership are not funny. And the person most responsible for setting the tone at this stage is the mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who of all the Jordanian Waqf members is the furthest from being a representative of Amman. Hussein, who receives his salary from the Palestinian Authority, announced early Tuesday afternoon that Muslim prayer would continue to be held outside the Temple Mount. When asked why, he explained that only when the situation was restored to the way it was before July 14 would the worshipers return to the Haram al-Sharif.

 

The fact that there are no longer any metal detectors or security cameras did not prevent him and his followers from conjuring a list of new demands: “removing invisible cameras,” removing cameras overlooking the Temple Mount, removing barricades still lying around the Old City, the planting of trees on the Al-Aqsa compound, etc. It is as if “someone” is trying to invent demands in order to exacerbate the situation, and is unfortunately succeeding in doing so.

 

The second indication relates to Abbas. On Tuesday, the PA president gathered the leadership of the Jerusalem branch of Fatah’s militant Tanzim faction at his office in Ramallah. He understood that Israel had pulled the rug from underneath him when it removed the metal detectors and that he and his Fatah movement were accordingly in extreme political distress. If in the past Abbas was considered weak, now many in the Palestinian public consider him to be simply irrelevant. He was not part of the erupting crisis on the Temple Mount, nor was he involved in efforts to solve it. The Jordanians, according to a senior Palestinian source, did not even update the PA leadership regarding the arrangement it had reached with Israel to remove the metal detectors and cameras.

 

Consequently, it seems that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to escalate the struggle is intended to convey a message not only to Israel but also to Jordan: Anyone who tries to ignore us or erase our role with regard to the Temple Mount will receive an intifada in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. What we are therefore now seeing is a struggle for survival by Abbas and his Fatah movement. Abbas has given a green light to the Tanzim faction to organize demonstrations and rallies this Friday, but no one knows how they will end. This quite easily could lead to shooting battles with IDF soldiers, casualties, deaths and even a scenario, mentioned more than once in recent years, which includes all the ingredients necessary for an intifada. It certainly won’t end well…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

 

Contents

PALESTINIANS: METAL DETECTORS OR LIE DETECTORS –

WHO IS VIOLATING WHAT?

Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017

 

The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors." They have exposed Palestinian lies and the real reason behind Palestinian anger. Israel apparently removed the metal detectors from the gates of the Temple Mount as part of a deal to end an unexpected crisis with Jordan over the killing of two Jordanian men by an Israeli embassy security officer in Amman. The security officer says he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by one of the Jordanians with a screwdriver.

 

The crisis erupted when the Jordanian authorities insisted on interrogating the officer — a request that was rejected by Israel because the officer enjoys diplomatic immunity. US intervention and a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah helped end the crisis peacefully and quickly, and the officer and the rest of the Israeli embassy staff were permitted to leave Jordan and head back to Israel.

 

Shortly after the embassy staff returned to Israel, the Israeli authorities started removing the metal detectors that were installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14. The move sparked a wave of rumors and speculation, according to which the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff to return home in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors. Israel and Jordan have denied any link between the shooting incident in Amman and the removal of the metal detectors.

 

The crisis that erupted between Israel and Jordan over the killing of the two Jordanians was solved in less than 48 hours — much to the dismay of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were hoping to exploit the crisis to exacerbate tensions between Amman and Jerusalem. Their ultimate goal: to cause the Jordanians to scrap their peace treaty with Israel and return to the state of war with the "Zionist enemy." The Palestinians were also hoping to exploit the crisis to incite Jordanians against Israel and the Hashemite monarchy.

 

Fortunately, the Jordanian authorities did not fall into the Palestinian trap. They realized that it is in their own interest to resolve the crisis swiftly and peacefully. King Abdullah was wise enough not to allow the Palestinians to drag him into a confrontation with Israel.

 

Since the installation of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, the Palestinians have been waging yet another campaign of fabrications and distortions against Israel. This Palestinian blood libel claims that Israel is seeking to "change the status quo" at the Temple Mount by introducing new security measures such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the gates to the holy site. Yet if anyone has violated the status quo it is the Palestinians themselves. Status Quo Violation Number One: For the past two years, the Palestinians have been trying to prevent Jews from touring the Temple Mount — a practice that has been allowed since 1967.

 

Status Quo Violation Number Two: The Palestinians and their supporters have long turned the Temple Mount into a battlefield for clashing with Israeli policemen and Jewish visitors. In an ongoing arrangement that ought to interest the international community, they pay Muslim men and women salaries to come to the compound and harass policemen and Jewish visitors by hurling insults at them and throwing stones and petrol bombs. These individuals belong to an outlawed group known as the Murabitun. This is a group of Muslim fanatics who receive money from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel to do their utmost to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

 

Status Quo Violation Number Three: Over the past two decades, the Waqf (Islamic Trust) that manages the affairs of the mosques on the Temple Mount, and other parties, have been carrying out illegal excavation and construction work at the site in a bid to create irreversible facts on the ground. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority claim that the excavation work is aimed at refuting Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and showing the world that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem.

 

Status Quo Violation Number Four: The Palestinians and their supporters have been using the Temple Mount compound as a platform for spewing anti-Semitism and calls to murder Jews and all "infidels." This abuse of the holy site as a podium for spreading Palestinian poison is far from a new practice. Palestinians and other Muslims have been doing this at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques around the world for decades. Take, for example, when the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque predicted that the "White House would turn black, with the help of God." This prayer, attended by thousands of Muslim worshippers, came only a few weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks. Last week, another imam prayed to God that Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount would be widowed and orphaned. These are only a handful of the countless examples of how mosques are being used to indoctrinate the hearts and minds of Muslims with hate.

 

Status Quo Violation Number Five: The murder of two policemen on July 14 is the mother of all status quo violations. Until the murder, Muslims had resorted to less deadly weapons such as stones and petrol bombs to attack Jews and policemen. July 14 represents the first time that Muslims used firearms at the Temple Mount. While it is not unusual to see Muslims blowing up mosques and committing atrocities against fellow Muslims in many Arab and Islamic countries, the shooting attack at the Temple Mount was still unprecedented.

 

Smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount is a grave desecration of the holy site. Murdering two police officers, who were stationed there to safeguard the site and protect Muslim worshippers, takes the level of violation and desecration to new lows. It is worth noting that the two police officers were not murdered during a confrontation or a violent incident. One of them was shot in the back while he was standing at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.

 

After the July 14 murder, Palestinians began waging daily protests by refusing to enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities to prevent weapons smuggling for the safety of the Muslim worshippers themselves. Instead, Palestinians gather every evening at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where they complete their prayers with a volley of stones and petrol bombs lodged at police officers. Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

 

Contents

CAVING IN CRAVENLY TO TERROR,

ACTING STUPIDLY TOWARDS JORDAN                                             

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

          Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017

 

Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances, and perhaps even the cameras at the Lion's Gate and the other gates that lead into the Old City of Jerusalem, placed there just a few days ago after the cold-blooded murder of two Druze Border Police officers by Israeli Arab terrorists. The decision was linked to Jordan's freeing the security guard in the Israeli Consulate there, although the guard has diplomatic immunity, having been sent by the Shabak chief on a mission to Jordan and engaging in negotiations with colleagues in the Hashemite Kingdom.

 

The Cabinet decision talks about developing "smart checks" for the astronomical cost of 100 million IS to take the place of the detectors and cameras. I am willing to bet – you name the amount – that nothing of significance will be developed in the near future and the talk of "smart checks" is meant to mislead the public, deluding the man in the street into thinking that Israel has found a way to be sovereign in the Old City and the Temple Mount. In addition, even if a miracle occurs and new technology is developed, there is zero chance that it will be put in place without riots. For Israel-hating Muslims, there is  no difference between metal detectors, cameras and any other technology, because putting anything there means Jewish Sovereignty, contradicting basic Islamic tenets mandating that Jews have to live as dhimmis under the protection of the ruler but subject to his whims, and that they must pay the humiliating Koranic jyzia head tax.

 

Without doubt, the Israeli government caved and retreated from its decision to operate security apparatus at the entrances to the Temple Mount. From today on, only Jews and tourists will be expected to undergo a humiliating search to be sure they are not carrying phylacteries or prayer books when they ascend the Mount. Muslims, who proved their terrorist proclivities on the 14th of July this year, will continue to enter the holy site without being searched or supervised and will be able to smuggle weapons on to  the Mount. Pressure was exerted on the Israeli government from every direction: Israeli Arabs, PA Arabs, Arab and Muslim countries, Europe and the USA.

 

Israel's capitulation when faced with these pressures is of grave significance. The first failure is the fact that Israel's government did not coordinate its steps with the US government, particularly Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy to the Middle East. The government did not expect the crashing wave of Islamic opposition to the move and did not obtain American support for the security measures beforehand. After all, every American understands the necessity of these measures in light of the terrorist reality in which the enlightened world finds itself.

 

Muslim haters of Israel have received enormous encouragement from this affair. Their future demands will be much greater, in just the way one's appetite grows at the sight of food. Terror, it seems, does pay, and the state of Israel looks for easy, immediate and temporary solutions to problems instead of dealing forthrightly with challenges and emerging the victor over those who wish to harm us. The Jewish people will pay a high price for this questionable "achievement" of "defusing tensions on the ground," a result that is far from proven.

 

Removing the security apparatus proved that the Muslims have scored another victory over the Jews. Once again it has been made clear that Israel's government has melted down the steadfast sticking-to-our-guns mentality that characterized the Jewish people when the state was established in 1948 and during the wars that have since accompanied life on our ancestral lands. No declaration, no matter how bombastic, whether proclaimed by the president, prime minister, ministers, officials, IDF commanders or  police can hide the bitter and humiliating truth that terrorists forced the Israeli government  to cave in and retreat from its correct and completely justified – original – decision.

 

How will the government be able to look the families of the two Border Police officers in the eye?  What  will all those irresponsible ministers say to  the families hit by the terror that will unquestionably increase thanks to their weak and scandalous decision to remove the security apparatus guarding the capital of Israel? How will the Israeli Police deal with the wave of terror that this government's stupidity will bring about, without being provided with the means necessary to accomplish their mission? What nation with the will to live caves in to terror this way?..

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

 

Contents  

             

VICTORY REQUIRES PATIENCE

Efraim Inbar       

                                                Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017

 

The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress. The caucus hopes to sensitize the Israeli public, as well as politicians in Israel and abroad, to the need to attain a decisive victory over the Palestinians. Professor Daniel Pipes, the scholar behind this project, argues convincingly that a peace settlement will only be possible after the Palestinians realize that the 100 years of struggle against Zionism has failed.

 

To date, the Palestinians (not only Hamas) still entertain hopes that the Zionist enterprise can be dismantled. Israel's victories on the battlefield against Arab armies, its success in containing terrorism and the prosperity of the Jewish state have not yet cemented a sense of defeat among the Palestinians. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority continues the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Elements in Palestinian society even believe that Jewish society will inevitably crumble under the pressure of terrorist attacks and internal tensions.

 

The view that Israel will eventually disappear, just like the Crusaders in the 12th century, is widespread. The Palestinians are encouraged by the indiscriminate financial and diplomatic support they get from abroad and are pleased with the enhanced regional influence of Iran, which pledges the destruction of Israel. The assumption that their desire for a state leads to concessions needed for a peace settlement with Israel remains to be proven. Taking into consideration the nature of the "peace partner," the protracted struggle is likely to continue unless a new pragmatic leadership emerges. Alas, such a leadership is not in the offing, leaving Israel no choice but to wage a limited war on the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

 

Indeed, Israel is in a state of war, not in a peace process. This truth is not palatable to the international community that emphasizes diplomacy and wants to believe that the Palestinians are interested in peace. This predicament constrains Israel's military freedom of action in the pursuit of victory. Its ability to inflict pain on the Palestinians — which is what war is about — is limited. It is often accused of exercising excessive force by a liberal press that is inherently averse to any use of force.

Moreover, Israel is torn by a permanent dilemma. On the one hand, it tries to buy calm, and time, by providing economic means to sustain the weak Palestinian economy. Jerusalem understands that hungry neighbors attract international criticism of Israel and could turn into a security problem. On the other hand, it needs to punish the violent Palestinians to create deterrence, and to affect their behavior and aspirations. It is not easy to balance the first effort, basically a short-term consideration, with the attempt to deliver a costly defeat to the Palestinians that might bring an end to the conflict faster.

 

The Palestinian reluctance to adopt realistic foreign policy goals and Israel's hesitation to use its military superiority to exact a much higher cost from the Palestinians are the defining features of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…                                                                                                                                           

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017—Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017—While Israel wants Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and her staff to return as soon as possible to the Israeli embassy in Jordan, that probably won’t be happening.

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017—After years of backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the free daily Israel Hayom castigated the premier’s “display of feebleness” and his “helpless” response to the Temple Mount crisis on its front page on Wednesday, in a large above-the-fold headline.

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017—It’s extremely important to remember where exactly the current crisis about metal detectors on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem came from – to recall it all started when guns were smuggled onto the Temple Mount and actually used against two Israeli policemen.  Officers Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan were killed as a result of these illegal firearms that were brought in to a holy site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUSSIA SKILLFULLY PROJECTS GEOPOLITICAL STRENGTH, DESPITE EXTERNAL THREATS & ECONOMIC WOES

Trump Soars in Warsaw — But Gets Suckered in Hamburg: Ralph Peters, New York Post, July 7, 2017— In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan…

Russia’s Strategy: Built on Illusion: George Friedman, Geopolitical Futures, July 19, 2017 — Strong powers can underplay their hands and afford to make mistakes.

Chechnya’s Jewish Community Doesn’t Exist — But it’s Angry at Israel: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, July 21, 2017— While Russia’s mainstream Jewish leaders in Moscow firmly backed Israel’s actions in clashes this week with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the small Jewish community of Chechnya broke ranks with them and boldly condemned the Jewish state’s “provocations” against Muslims in the holy city.

Middle Eastern Islamism Threatens Russia: Daniel Pipes, Eurasia Expert, July 24, 2017— Why is the Middle East so unstable? Is there hope for improvement?

 

On Topic Links

 

Are Russia and America Headed for a Showdown?: George Beebe, National Interest, July 24, 2017

Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous: David Makovsky, Politico, July 14, 2017

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, March 6 2017

Taliban Fighters Claim Russia is Giving Them Weapons: Mark Moore, New York Post, July 25, 2017

         

 

TRUMP SOARS IN WARSAW — BUT GETS SUCKERED IN HAMBURG                                                           

Ralph Peters

                                                  New York Post, July 7, 2017

 

In Warsaw on Thursday, President Trump gave the most impressive speech by a US president on European soil since Ronald Reagan raised the challenge, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” His speechwriter served him splendidly, deservedly praising Poland’s long struggle for freedom and repeatedly calling out Russia for its invasions, occupations and atrocities.

 

The historical references, such as to the Katyn Forest Massacre of 15,000 Polish officers held as POWs, resonated with the Poles and galled Moscow. Listening to our president, I felt like standing up and cheering. Then Trump met Vladimir Putin on the rim of the G-20 summit in Germany, and he fell under the same spell that had seduced three US presidents, Clinton, Bush and Obama, the latter of whom ended up as Putin’s strategic punching bag.

 

Listening to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s summary of the two-hour-plus meeting was painful. The naivety on display played into Putin’s hands. We got nothing, Putin got a big win. While it seemed a fine thing that our president brought up Russian interference in our election, Tillerson undercut it by stressing that he and the president didn’t want to re-litigate the past but seek to move forward. That was terrific news for Putin, who needs to be punished harshly for his election-meddling (yes, the Russians indisputably meddled). Russia’s new czar got a free pass for a still-to-be-issued promise not to do it again. We held all the aces. And we folded.

 

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had his say, too, not only claiming Trump accepted that Russia had not meddled in the election, but implying, in the Russian version, that Trump personally rejected the notion of Russian interference. Follow-up US denials didn’t help; the damage was done. And that no-details-yet deal to suspend the fighting in southern Syria? The primary beneficiary — if it even works — will be Iran and its surrogates, who will be protected from interference as they tighten their grip on the border with Iraq.

 

The administration needs to grasp that Russia’s our enemy, and that’s because it chooses to be. The burden’s not on us to make up with Moscow, but on Putin to stop invading his neighbors, assassinating dissidents (including those in the West) and terror-bombing civilians in Syria. That’s how things could move forward. We somehow have convinced ourselves that we need Russia’s help. That’s nonsense. Russia desperately needs our support. And it needs sanctions lifted (watch that space). What do the Russians have? They have Putin. And he’s as canny as he is savage.

 

The live shots of Trump’s first handshake with Putin were telling. Trump was himself. Putin was the self he chose to be. Normally not a smiley-face guy, Putin advanced with an artificial smile — he’d studied Trump and decided that the best approach was chumminess. And he kept control of the situation. Short in stature, he was careful not to come too close to Trump, avoiding an embrace that would have made him look tiny compared to our president. Putin calculates every single move.

 

Czar Vladimir was more at ease in the second photo op, when both men were seated and Putin, who has a large torso, looked bigger beside Trump. Having watched Putin for many years, he always reminds me of a predatory cat, ever watching for the right moment to pounce. A judo devotee for five decades, he has a constant awareness of his environment, a sinewy alertness in the moment.

 

Perhaps our president will draw a lesson from the immediate propaganda use to which the Russians put this meeting. But he would have been better served had he at least included his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster — who has no ties to Putin — in this initial meeting. As it is, we’re stuck with a public disagreement between Lavrov and Tillerson over what actually was said. And sowing doubt is to Russia’s advantage.

 

The president we need is the one we heard in Warsaw, praising and detailing the valiant, against-all-odds heroes of the Warsaw uprising, when Poles rose against the Nazis, expecting the Red Army — positioned just across the Vistula River — to come to their aid. Instead, Stalin ordered his troops to halt while the Nazis massacred the Poles. The speechwriter knew his or her history — and who the enemy was and still is today.

 

We need the Trump who, in that speech in Poland’s rebuilt capital, insisted that Western civilization is worth defending and that the fundamental question of our time is whether we’ll defend it. That sent the politically correct in the media into a weak-loined frenzy — all cultures are supposed to be equal — but, for the rest of us, it was heartening to hear someone defend a civilization that, for all its discontents, embodies the highest achievements of humanity: personal freedom, the rule of law, freedom of religion, opportunity and government of the people, by the people and for the people. As the president pointed out in that speech, the enemy doesn’t come only from the south, but from the east, as well. Ask the Poles.

                                                                       

 

Contents

RUSSIA’S STRATEGY: BUILT ON ILLUSION

George Friedman

Geopolitical Futures, July 19, 2017

 

Strong powers can underplay their hands and afford to make mistakes. Weak powers, on the other hand, need to exaggerate their power and be far more precise in its use. Power is like money; the less you have, the more you need to flaunt it and the fewer mistakes you can afford to make. But by trying to convince others that they have more power than they actually do, they run the risk of squandering a scarce resource. It’s nearly impossible to both flaunt power and preserve it at the same time.

 

This is the core strategic problem of Russia. On the one hand, it is still trying to find its way more than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event President Vladimir Putin has referred to as “the greatest political catastrophe” of the 20th century. In the lives of nations, a quarter of a century is not very long, and the reverberations of the catastrophe are still being felt. On the other hand, Russia lives in a complex and dangerous region, and appearing weak can be the biggest threat to its well-being. Therefore, like a wealthy person coming into hard times, Russia must simultaneously try to appear more powerful than it is and meticulously manage what power it has.

 

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has faced two fundamental problems. The first is geographic. The second, which we’ll return to later, is economic. Russia’s main geographic problem is that it needs to maintain a buffer zone to its west to stem the risk of attack from the European Peninsula. Russia has been invaded three times, once by France and twice by Germany. In each case, it survived because of strategic depth. The Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine created the buffer zone that gave Russia room to retreat and exhaust the enemy. Although the weather also played a role, distance was the main challenge for attacking armies. Even in World War I, Germany was unable to sustain the gains it won. In the Napoleonic Wars and World War II, the enemy was ground down and defeated.

 

After World War II, Russia’s buffer zone expanded dramatically. A second tier of nations to the West – Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania – came under Soviet dominion. Soviet power pushed into central Germany. For the first time in its history, it had strategic depth such that an attack from the European Peninsula was unthinkable. But maintaining the force that was needed to hold this deep buffer exceeded Soviet resources. The drop in oil prices, the inherent inefficiency in the economy, and the cost of defending what it had won in World War II had become unsustainable, and the Soviet Union collapsed. It first lost the deep buffer of Eastern Europe, and two years later, it lost the critical elements of its core buffer, the Baltics and Ukraine.

 

An argument can be made that given the situation on the European Peninsula, the threat to Russia has evaporated. But nothing in Russia’s history permits such complacency. In 1932, Germany was a weak and divided liberal democracy. Six years later, it was the most powerful military force in Europe. Russia understands the speed with which European (and American) intentions and capabilities can change. It must therefore continue to pursue strategic depth.

 

When the Baltic countries were brought into NATO, the Russians were unable to respond. But Ukraine was a different matter. It had become independent but was not absorbed by the West. It was also a critical part of Russia’s buffer. Ukraine is vast, and the cost of crossing it from the west is high. When Western countries, particularly the U.S., appeared to support the establishment of a pro-Western government in Kiev during the 2004 Orange Revolution, Russia believed they actually intended to undermine Russian security. A Ukraine armed or controlled by the West would make Russia very difficult to defend. The U.S. claimed the Orange Revolution was about human rights, but the Russians saw that as a cover. The Russians fought back with covert operations designed to install a pro-Russian government in Kiev. The Americans responded by supporting the uprising in 2014, and the Russians saw this too as a hostile act.

 

But Russia was in no position to do anything about it. Its intelligence services failed to understand or prevent what happened in Kiev. The Russians had to do something to demonstrate they were not impotent. So Russia formally annexed Crimea, a region that was historically Russian, and where Russian force was already overwhelming. This convinced the Americans that Russia was an aggressive power. Russia found itself in a strategic confrontation that outstripped its resources but which it could not abandon.

 

But with Russia unable to challenge Western forces and with the U.S. uninterested in an extended conflict with Moscow, the result was a frozen conflict in Ukraine. There was an implicit agreement: Russia would accept a pro-Western government in Kiev so long as that did not include a military alliance or deployment of Western forces in Ukraine. The U.S. and Europe would accept the status quo so long as the Russians did not become aggressive. The Russians had a buffer against the West, and the West had a buffer against Russia. This achieved a solution the West could live with because Ukraine was not a fundamental interest. But for the Russians, it was only minimally acceptable. Ukraine was vital to Russian interests and this solution was only just short of a defeat.

 

Russia decided it had to act to increase its strength. But it was dealt another blow in 2014, when oil prices began to decline as a result of increased supplies and constrained demand. And this brings us back to Russia’s second fundamental problem: its economic weakness. Russia is dependent on an economic variable it can’t control. It remains heavily reliant on oil exports but it can’t dictate the price of oil. At a time when it needed to expand its military power, it was facing deep economic constraints. This was precisely the problem the Soviet Union faced in the 1980s. It had to increase its military force while its major export, energy, plunged in price. This problem was instrumental in the Soviet Union’s collapse. To avoid repeating this scenario, the Russians had to decrease their defense budget rather than increase it.

 

After the dual shocks of 2014, Russia could either acknowledge its weakness or attempt to appear more powerful than it was. But if it acknowledged its problems, Russia was afraid, reasonably so, that the U.S. could impose a more aggressive policy on Moscow. Russia was forced into the maneuver of a formerly wealthy man down on his luck. It had to appear convincingly more powerful than it was, with the attendant danger of using up resources it couldn’t afford to spend. It pursued this strategy through low-cost, low-risk actions.

 

One such action was in Syria. The intervention there served no Russian strategic interests. There was speculation that Russia was interested in pipelines or ports. But no one believed that Russia’s commitment to Bashar Assad was so deep that it would intervene to save him. In reality, the Russians intervened to show that they could, and to prove that they could deal with the United States and Turkey as equals. From a strategic standpoint, it made little sense. From a psychological standpoint, it made some sense. The forces it sent were limited, and while they may have prevented the fall of Assad, they are now as bogged down as the Americans, unable to win and unable to leave. But being as bogged down as the Americans was not a problem. To the contrary, it made Russia a player on a bigger stage…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

Contents

CHECHNYA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY DOESN’T EXIST —

BUT IT’S ANGRY AT ISRAEL                                                 

Cnaan Liphshiz                                                                                

JTA, July 21, 2017

 

While Russia’s mainstream Jewish leaders in Moscow firmly backed Israel’s actions in clashes this week with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the small Jewish community of Chechnya broke ranks with them and boldly condemned the Jewish state’s “provocations” against Muslims in the holy city. At least that was the story reported in the national and local media, including the Echo of Moscow radio station and Chechnya Today – the most popular news site in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic.

 

There was just one problem with the news item: Chechnya apparently has no organized Jewish community, and according to some Jewish people who were born there, also next to no Jews. The reports about where Chechen Jews stand on the issue of Jerusalem, where police and Palestinians clashed Thursday night and Friday over Israel’s decision to place metal detectors near the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque, relied on a video message published Tuesday by a man called Mosei Yunayev.

 

Claiming to speak for the Jewish community of Chechnya, he joined Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in condemning Israel’s actions at the Temple Mount, where the mosque is situated. Chechen Jews, Yunayev said, “wholeheartedly support” the sharp-worded rebuke of Israel by Kadyrov. “Nonsense, I doubt there are even any Jews left in Chechnya, let alone an organized Jewish community,” Tamara Rafailova Kahlon, an Israeli who was born in the Chechen capital of Grozny, told JTA on Friday. Her father, Rafoi Rafailov, heads an association of Chechen Jews in the city of Pyatigorsk, situated 150 miles west of Grozny in the North Caucasian Federal District. “They all left, I don’t know who this man speaks for,” she said.

 

On July 15, Kadyrov called Israel’s heightened security on the Temple Mount, where the previous day three Arab-Israeli terrorists killed two police officers before they were shot to death, “deliberate provocation to foment riots.” He described as “violent” Israel’s detention of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who was called in for questioning after he urged worshippers to ignore a temporary closure of the compound immediately following the attack.

 

In response to the shooting, Israel for the first time placed metal detectors in gateways leading to the Haram al Sharif compound, which contains the Al-Aqsa mosque. Thousands of troops were deployed Friday following riots; two Palestinians were killed in the clashes. Security checks are a “provocation that invites resistance” by Muslims, Kadyrov said. Yunayev’s support for the condemnation by Kadyrov received considerable exposure in the Chechen media and other Russian-language publications. But Russian-speaking Jews, including community leaders, journalists and immigrants from Chechnya, dismissed and ridiculed Yunayev’s claim to represent a Jewish community that they said does not exist.

 

In an interview with Chechnya Today, Yunayev denied the assertions. “Those who claim that there are no Jews in Chechnya are far from being Jewish,” he said. And he presented his credentials: “I was sent to the Chechen Republic by the Council of Elders of the Jewish People to restore the Jewish community in the region. Only true believers know how right I am in my convictions.” JTA could not confirm the existence of an organization by that name; its only presence online originates in Yunayev’s mention in the Chechnya Today article. At other times, Yunayev presented himself as a member of the equally untraceable Congress of Jews of the North Caucasus Federal District.

 

Rabbi Boruch Gorin, a senior figure within the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, told JTA he is aware neither of that group nor of any other organized Jewish community active in Chechnya. “Chechnya is special in that there is no Jewish community, there are no Jews there,” he told the news site Open Russia on Thursday. “Not in Grozny, not anywhere. Perhaps there are a few individuals, but there is no social community of ethnic Jews after the Chechen wars” of the 1990s and 2000s. “Any statements from the Chechen Jewish community are made up,” Gorin said.

 

Chechnya did have a Jewish population in the past. Grozny had a 19th-century Ashkenazi synagogue that was turned into a music school in 1937 and then destroyed during the first Chechen war of 1994-96. But today, “Chechnya has no Jews,” according to the website Gorskie, the official website of the Mountain Jews Community, who have lived for centuries in the Caucasus…           

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

 

Contents  

             

MIDDLE EASTERN ISLAMISM THREATENS RUSSIA

Daniel Pipes (Interview)          

                                                Eurasia Expert, July 24, 2017

 

Why is the Middle East so unstable? Is there hope for improvement? Middle Eastern instability results from the region's particularly difficult transition to modernity. This can be explained by two main problems: historic Muslim-Christian tensions going back to the origins of Islam and acute differences between modern and Islamic ways at both the public and private levels. In all, Muslim-Christian relations are probably the most fraught of any two large bodies of people in the world…

Will Syria or its neighbors be occupied by terrorists? For me, the word terrorist has lost meaning; it's what everyone calls his enemies. Let me change your question from terrorists to jihadis. Jihadis have a great future in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq and could control those states. The other neighbors – Turkey, Jordan, Israel – can protect themselves from anarchy though not from specific attacks.

 

In the aftermath of the Putin-Trump meeting at which both presidents expressed a readiness to fight ISIS in Syria, do you expect their forces to cooperate against it? Every serious analyst recognizes that the real issue in Syria is the growing Iranian presence and the Sunni states' resistance to it. ISIS is a sideshow. As Moscow is basically supporting Tehran and Washington supports the Sunni states, their differences will preclude more than occasionally tactical cooperation. I hope the Trump administration supports the Kurds and others who are resisting Iranian domination.

 

After helping the Iraqi army take Mosul from ISIS, will the U.S. government also help take Syrian cities from it? Due to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Americans feel a special responsibility for Iraq; but no similar sense exists for Syria. Also, the presence of Turkish and YPG forces complicates matters in Syria. I therefore expect a lesser U.S. involvement in Syria than in Iraq.

 

Can ISIS export instability from Syria-Iraq to Central Asia? ISIS has a history of doing too much too fast, making too many enemies and paying a heavy price for these mistakes. Assuming it has not learned the lesson of making alliances and limiting ambitions, it will likely try to reach Central Asia. I doubt it will succeed as the lure of the caliphate has been broken and other Islamist competitors are better positioned there…

 

Estimates suggest 5-7,000 people from Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are fighting for ISIS; Putin has stated that "we certainly cannot allow them to apply experience gained in Syria in our home." Do these CIS fighters in fact pose a threat to Russia? Assuming that the Russian authorities are on the alert for former ISIS fighters, I expect their threat will be contained to occasional acts of jihadi violence but no greater challenge…                                                                 

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Are Russia and America Headed for a Showdown?: George Beebe, National Interest, July 24, 2017—The situation may have to get worse before cooler heads start to prevail.

Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous: David Makovsky, Politico, July 14, 2017—Israel has done all it could over the past six years to stay out of the maelstrom next door in Syria, where Bashar Assad’s regime has struggled for six years to beat back a peaceful uprising that became a bloody civil war.

The Prospect for Russia's Jews: Maxim D. Shrayer, Mosaic, March 6 2017—Why do you stay here?” “I have a son here,” he replied. And then he added: “God gave me as a Jew such a place in life—to live in Russia.” “What about the other Jews, why do they stay here?” “About the others I don’t know, but I imagine they too are needed here by nature and the Creator.”

Taliban Fighters Claim Russia is Giving Them Weapons: Mark Moore, New York Post, July 25, 2017—Two groups of Taliban fighters said they have weapons supplied by the Russians, CNN reported on Tuesday, reinforcing claims by US military officials that the Kremlin is arming its one-time foe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEMPLE MOUNT TENSIONS REFLECT PALESTINIAN ANTISEMITISM, NOT METAL DETECTORS

Cause and Effect: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017— Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36?  

The Argument Is About Jews, Not Metal Detectors: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, July 21, 2017— To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense.

As Temple Mount Tensions Persist, Where’s Donald Trump?: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017— With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.

The Rami Hamdallah Compliment: IDF Policy Towards the Palestinians Proves Its Value: Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, BESA, July 23, 2017— Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population.

 

On Topic Links

 

Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017

         

 

CAUSE AND EFFECT

                                                 Editorial

                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017

 

Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36? There is according to 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, who massacred the three and seriously wounded Yosef’s wife, Tova, 69. Before leaving his home in Kobar on Friday night to carry out his attack in the neighboring settlement Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) in Samaria, he posted a message on his Facebook page: “They are desecrating the Aksa Mosque and we are sleeping, it is an embarrassment that we sit and do nothing…all I have is a sharpened knife, and it will answer the call of al-Aksa.” He signed off with emojis including hearts.

 

But there is no connection. What Abed did is what people have been doing to Jews for millennia, refusing to recognize Jewish nationality, rights, statehood and connection to this land. This has nothing to do with metal detectors. It is about hatred and radical ideology, fueled by lies and incitement. Connecting between the two like Abed did is a convenient way of thinking. It absolves him of responsibility for his actions and shifts the blame to the victim.

 

In Abed’s case, the despicable act of murdering an elderly man, seriously wounding his wife and killing two of his children can be transformed into a heroic act that is part of the Islamist struggle for control over al-Aksa, or as retribution for perceived grievances said to have been perpetrated by Jews who have no right to political autonomy in this land, let alone on the Temple Mount. If a cause-and-effect relationship exists at all in this story it is the connection between the cold-blooded murder of two Israeli Druse police officers adjacent to the Temple Mount and the decision by Israel to place metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount to prevent similar attacks in the future.

 

In a world governed by reason, ensuring the Temple Mount remains safe and gun-free would be seen first and foremost as a Muslim interest, since Muslims make up the vast majority of people who pray at the site and do not want to see it desecrated by acts of murder. The three Arabs with Israeli citizenship who smuggled guns into the Temple Mount exploited the atmosphere of trust and reverence that enabled lax security arrangements. Perhaps it was naive to think that this sort of attack could not take place. But our government does not want to repeat its mistake.

 

Now, Netanyahu is being asked to cave in to the demands of the Islamists. A campaign in Israel is being led by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement, and by Hamas, and is receiving the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and North Africa. The governments of Turkey and Qatar are also supporting the struggle.

 

More “moderate” Arab leaders such as Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are gradually being forced to fall in line with the Islamists. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who initially denounced the murder of the Druse officers, has since changed course, suspending ties with Israel in protest against the metal detectors. The “Arab Spring” proved the power of the masses to bring about regime change. And its memory is still fresh in the minds of men like Sisi and Abdullah.

 

In retrospect, Netanyahu should have foreseen all this. He has extensive experience with the explosive potential of the Temple Mount. The decision to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount seems not to have taken into consideration all the potential ramifications. Did Netanyahu ask himself whether the security benefits gained by introducing the metal detectors outweighs the price paid in the form of unrest, rioting and a renewed wave of terrorism? Sometimes it is better to be smart than right.

 

At the same time, no amount of concessions will satisfy people like Abed, Sheikh Salah or the Muslim Brotherhood. Removing the metal detectors will not be the end of it. There will be new grievances, new “causes” for Muslim violence. Extracting concessions under threat of violence is one of the objectives of terrorism. The question is where do we draw the line. Perhaps we should have been “smart” when it comes to metal detectors. Ultimately, however, appeasing Islamists does not lead to real peace. When violence is rewarded it tends to become an incentive for more violence.

 

                                                                       

 

Contents

THE ARGUMENT IS ABOUT JEWS, NOT METAL DETECTORS

Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, July 21, 2017

 

To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense. Three Arab terrorists used guns they had smuggled up to the compound July 14 to kill two Israeli policemen, both of whom happened to be Druze rather than Jewish. In response, Israeli authorities set up metal detectors to prevent a recurrence of the crime. The response to this from Palestinians was general outrage, violence and a promise of mass riots if the offending machines were not immediately removed. Upon Friday afternoon prayers July 21, with Israel facing the prospect of even more violence that might get out of control, the metal detectors remained in place.

 

How could putting metal detectors to protect a holy site be considered a casus belli for what might, if the conflict escalated in the way the Muslim rioters promised, lead to a new holy war? The answer is that this isn’t about metal detectors. It’s about something much bigger: the right of Jews to be in Jerusalem.

 

What happened near the Temple Mount wasn’t about metal detectors. Nor was it another variation on the usual theme sounded from Israel’s critics about the infringement of Palestinian rights. To the contrary, Israel didn’t change the status quo at the Temple Mount, which denies Jews the right to pray at the holiest place in Judaism. The Islamic Waqf was left in charge of Jerusalem’s mosques, including the Temple Mount’s Al-Aqsa, inviolate.

 

Nor was the new security measure discriminatory. Any Jew or non-Jew who wishes to enter the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount compound must also pass through security, including metal detectors. The same is true for Muslims who wish to enter the holy places in Mecca during their annual pilgrimages.

 

So what exactly is this all about? For a century, Palestinian Arab leaders have been playing the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” card. The cries that Jews were seeking to destroy the mosques or in some way harm Muslim rights led to a series of pogroms against Jews, including the riots of 1929 in which Jews were massacred in Hebron. But the appeal to holy war isn’t only a vestige of the horrors of the distant past and the influence of the Nazi sympathizer Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem who incited those riots.

 

It was the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose inflammatory statements helped incite the so-called “stabbing intifada” in recent years by also claiming Jews were going to harm the mosques. It was Abbas, not just his Hamas rivals or other violent Islamists, who called on Palestinians to resist the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. It was Abbas who said “stinking Jewish feet” should not profane the holy places.

 

Abbas’s motives were cynical, since he was waving the bloody banner of holy war to compete with his political foes. But the impact of his statements gave the lie to the notion — so prevalent on the Jewish left — that a peace agreement could be easily reached if Israel had the will to try for one. His rhetoric sought to remind Palestinians that the conflict wasn’t over borders or settlements, but something far more basic: a religious war that mandates Arab opposition to the Jewish presence. This is why the PA goes to such trouble to foment fights at United Nations agencies like UNESCO intended to deny Jewish ties or rights to holy places, even those that are self-evidently proof of Jewish history like the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

 

This is also why the new security measures are merely the latest pretext for Arab violence intended to make the point that Jews should not merely have no say over the Temple Mount, but have no right to be there at all. The demonstrations and threats of more violence are just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn’t Al-Aqsa that is in danger, but any hope for peace.

 

 

Contents  

             

AS TEMPLE MOUNT TENSIONS PERSIST,

WHERE’S DONALD TRUMP?

Raphael Ahren                       

                                                  Times of Israel, July 23, 2017

 

With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.

 

Two days after a terror attack in Halamish in which a grandfather and two of his children were stabbed to death, and after a week of clashes over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that have seen several Palestinian protesters killed, the US president has yet to comment. Some of his closest confidants are said to be involved in ongoing efforts to calm the situation, but Trump himself has not yet made any public effort to help restore calm.

 

The White House is holding talks with Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other regional players in a bid to quell the current wave of violence, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Saturday night, quoting Israeli and Arab officials. Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, who reportedly discussed the matter last week with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is said to be leading the US effort, together with Trump’s special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, his ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman, and the US consul-general in Jerusalem, Donald Blome.

 

But Kushner’s team is working behind the scenes. On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement saying the US was “very concerned about tensions” surrounding the Temple Mount, and calling on Israel and Jordan to “find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”

 

But the statement was vague, and did not indicate how the administration viewed Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following the July 14 attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two on-duty Israeli police officers there with guns they had smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Mount’s Waqf Muslim authority has successfully discouraged worshipers from walking through the gates, and they have instead prayed outside. Numerous Arab leaders have demanded that Israel remove the metal detectors.

 

On Saturday night, the Middle East Quartet released a statement strongly condemning “acts of terror,” and, noting the “particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites in Jerusalem,” urging all sides to “demonstrate maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation.” Though his name was not mentioned in the statement, Greenblatt represents the US in the Quartet, and would have been party to its drafting. But the vague statement carries less weight than clear US intervention would.

 

Trump has declared his intention to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and has invested considerable time and effort trying to bring the two sides closer together. He has established good relations with all key players in the region and potentially holds considerable influence over them. To date, in this crisis, he has chosen not to use it. It’s not as though he’s been hesitant to make his voice heard on Israeli-Palestinian issues: Trump has already spoken out on such abidingly sensitive matters as settlements and Palestinian incitement.

 

Trump’s advisers would likely urge him to proceed with caution, cognizant that any crisis surrounding the Temple Mount can snowball from a local affair into a religious war that sets the region ablaze. The White House would also seek to tread carefully lest it be seen as biased toward either party, thus jeopardizing its declared interest in restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

 

Careful diplomacy would therefore seem wise. But careful need not mean private. The prospects of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only recede further so long as the current Temple Mount crisis rumbles on, whereas the US president weighing in constructively might have an immediate cooling effect. Thus far, nothing is known about how the president feels about the current situation. He was likely briefed on it, but has kept his silence.

 

With passions so high, it is difficult to predict how a clear-cut US presidential statement assigning blame and/or defining a solution would be received by the sides. If the president were to declare flat out that it was absolutely legitimate for Israel to have installed metal detectors to secure the holy site, and that such a move does not constitute a change to the sensitive status quo there, that might alienate Arab and Muslim leaders. Or it might move the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, to lower the volume of their protest, allowing it to gradually quieten down.

 

Were he to firmly declare the metal detectors an unnecessary infringement on worshipers’ rights, and publicly urge Israel to reinstate the status quo ante, he might infuriate Israel. Or possibly provide Netanyahu with an urgent imperative to find an alternate arrangement. A more subtle intervention, though, could reasonably be expected to be welcomed by all sides. Were the president to personally urge the various parties to seek a mutually acceptable solution, and offer American good offices to help achieve that, it is hard to imagine that anybody would reject him.

 

When the leader of the free world speaks, the Middle East does sometimes listen. The more so when the leader of the free world is unpredictable, and when many of the parties involved in this crisis share an interest in staying on his good side.                           

Contents

                                               

 

THE RAMI HAMDALLAH COMPLIMENT:

IDF POLICY TOWARDS THE PALESTINIANS PROVES ITS VALUE                                                                                            Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman                                                                                                              

BESA, July 23, 2017

 

Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population. First came the positive meeting between PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, during which the former offered uncharacteristic praise of Israel’s measured response to the wave of violence that began in October 2015. Then came the July 10 inauguration in Jenin of the power plant project, jointly launched by Hamdallah and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, which indicates once again the utility of Israel’s gas exports as a tool of regional policy.

 

Palestinian praise for Israeli policies – amid a regular pattern of abuse, defamation, absurd UN resolutions aimed at denying the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and intermittent violence by Palestinian attackers who win moral and material support from the PA leadership – sounds like a “man bites dog” story the media should love. But little attention was paid to the highly unusual comments made by Hamdallah during his meeting with Kahlon. Side-by-side with a wide-ranging discussion of economic arrangements, Hamdallah felt obliged to take note – in public! – of Israel’s moderate and well-calibrated response to the violence that erupted late in 2015.

 

It is true that perpetrators and would-be perpetrators are apprehended and sometimes killed. But the attitude towards the population at large, and towards the economy of the West Bank, is deliberately geared to avoid collective punishment and give the peaceful majority a stake in stability.

 

This approach, as well as other major decisions (such as building permits in area C), reflects a consistent set of policies that are based, to some extent, on American lessons learned in the realm of counterinsurgency as well as on Israel’s own extensive experience on the ground. They do not insure against further violence – in fact, a major clash erupted in Jenin just a day after the power plant ceremony. But they do serve three key purposes. They create a stake in stability for a growing segment of Palestinian society; they reduce a potential point of friction between Israel and her key Arab neighbors and partners in the region-wide struggle against Iranian ambitions and Islamist totalitarians in their various forms; and they play a role in creating an atmosphere conducive to Israel’s recent burst of successful foreign policy activities.

 

The approach makes it easier for the Palestinian security forces, despite brutal criticism from Hamas and others, to sustain its security cooperation with Israel, which ultimately not only saves lives but also reduces the level of direct friction between the IDF and the population (not to zero, as was demonstrated on July 11 in Jenin). Israeli commanders in the field instruct their officers and soldiers to deal courteously with civilians whom they meet in the daily conduct of life at checkpoints and on patrol.

 

Many of the senior officers are themselves veterans – as younger officers – of the intensive clashes of 2000-04 (mistakenly referred to by many as “the second intifada,” though this was not a popular uprising but a campaign of violence conducted from above – “Mister Arafat’s War,” as Tom Friedman called it back then). They well remember the lessons learned during that period. Some have also internalized aspects of American field manuals on counterinsurgency, which bear the marks of what David Petraeus and others learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

These policies towards the Palestinians, which are enhanced at the national level by a more generous policy on finances, trade, and infrastructure, are not universally popular. It is difficult, after all, to advocate for them while the PA continues to nurture the families of “martyrs” and jailed murderers. While some on the left see the policies as insufficiently lenient, many on the right see them as signs that the IDF has lost its edge. It now panders to the Palestinians and strives for international approval, they claim, when it should be striking hard at those who hate us. But a balanced response is not a matter of political preference, submission to international pressure, or naïve notions of who we are up against. Considerations of public image, both domestic and international, may play a secondary role, as does the long shadow of the ICC. But the choices made by the IDF and the Cabinet are rooted in Israel’s national security interests.

 

At the Palestinian level, these attitudes reduce tensions and offer incentives for the uninvolved to stay that way. The ideologically committed elements are relatively well-mapped in terms of intelligence coverage and are dealt with much less leniently, with impressive statistical results. Moreover, this approach enables the PA Security Services under Majid Faraj to sustain their cooperation with the IDF and the Shin Bet, which greatly reduces the load on our forces and the level of friction with the local population. This is not to say that the Palestinian security forces can now fend for themselves. They are at best half-ready, and if left to their own devices would be swept away by Hamas (as happened in Gaza in 2007). Still, the mutual support is a win-win, and it cannot be sustained in a more confrontational atmosphere.

 

Moreover, at the regional level, the careful management of the conflict, and the measures taken to avoid escalation, make it easier for Israel to husband the broad and robust set of relationships it has with its two peace partners: Jordan, whose stability is vital and could easily be threatened if things go wrong on the other side of the river; and Egypt, which looks upon itself as a custodian of basic Palestinian rights. The same is true, to a large extent, for other, less overt friends in the region, who share Israel’s view of the Iranian threat. For all these countries (or, rather, for their leaders), the Palestinian cause as such is not of primary importance. They cannot, however, do much business with Israel if the Arab media is flooded by visuals of clashes and casualties…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017—Thousands of mourners gathered in the central Israeli town of Modi’in on Sunday afternoon to attend the funerals of the three members of the Salomon family murdered on Friday night by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank community of Halamish.

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017—I spoke to several Fatah sources in east Jerusalem on July 17, 2017, as the “metal detector” crisis began to build, and their bottom-line is that they feel they are left alone to defend Jerusalem. They fear they may lose control of the situation; some individuals may take action on their own with serious consequences.

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017—Three Arab Israelis opened fire last Friday on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Two Israeli policemen were killed, as were the attackers.

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017—Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a moderate when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict. I still believe in a two-state solution and I have gone so far as publicly advocating dialogue with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I understand that along with much of the hype and irrationality, there are legitimate grievances on the other side and that it is in everyone’s best interest to think more creatively about ways to come to some sort of political solution.

 

 

 

 

THE WEEK THAT WAS: WORLD REMEMBERS HOLOCAUST VICTIMS, BUT MEDIA BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL CONTINUES

The Fading Lessons of the Holocaust: Reflections on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016: Dr. Charles Asher Small, ISGAP, Jan. 27, 2016 — (Wednesday, Jan. 27 was) International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 71st anniversary of the date in 1945 when the Russians liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland. 

Palestinians are Knowingly Bringing Knives to a Gun Fight. These are Suicide Attacks: David Sacks, National Post, Jan. 28, 2016— Since mid-September, more than three out of every four people killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have been Palestinian.

Special Report: Globe and Mail Bias Against Israel Continues Unabated: Mike Fegelman, Honest Reporting, Jan. 21, 2016 — “One day India may discover that her one-sided orientation in the Middle East is neither moral nor expedient.”

Associated Press Semantics – a Simple Tactic for Bias: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Jan. 13, 2016— Ability to manipulate language is crucial if a journalist is to transmit a biased message. 

 

On Topic Links

 

How Much Do Young People Know About the Holocaust?: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016

UN Condemns Israel as the World Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day: IPT, Jan. 29, 2016

Italy Has Special Responsibility to Remember Holocaust, Envoy Says: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2016

Here’s a Holocaust Story with a Happy Ending: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016

 

                  

                 THE FADING LESSONS OF THE HOLOCAUST:

REFLECTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 2016

Dr. Charles Asher Small

                                                ISGAP, Jan. 27, 2016

 

(Wednesday, Jan. 27 was) International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 71st anniversary of the date in 1945 when the Russians liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland.  In 2005, 60 years after that liberation, the UN finally established a day of commemoration for the six million Jews, plus five million non-Jews, whom the Nazis murdered.

 

Nations throughout the world are commemorating the day in distinctive ways.  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is addressing a memorial event. German Government officials are gathering in the Bundestag to focus on the legacy of forced labor.  The Polish Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum is streaming an event live on YouTube.

 

And in Iran, the Regime has just announced another Holocaust Denial Cartoons Contest. The announcement is not an aberration. This is, after all, a regime whose president once tried to organize a research mission to Poland to determine whether it was really possible for millions to have died at Auschwitz. (The Polish Government denied his request.) Ten years ago, after a Danish newspaper ran cartoons of Mohammed, an official Iranian newspaper offered prizes for cartoons about the Holocaust.  Some entries were based on Holocaust denial; others merely drew a parallel between the Nazism and Zionism. In 2015, when the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of Mohammed after the terrorist massacre at its headquarters, the Iranians announced the Second International Holocaust Cartoons Contest.

 

This year the Iranian Holocaust Denial cartoon contest will attract participants from more than 50 countries. Emphasis will also be placed on caricatures dehumanizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Even more disturbing on this Holocaust Memorial Day, representatives of the Iranian Regime are in Europe meeting heads of state and captains of industry to sign major economic agreements. This year marks the normalization of relations with a regime that denies the Holocaust while it openly prepares for another, a fundamental element of the Regime's ideology. 

 

On this Holocaust Memorial Day, nations of Europe, where the Holocaust was actually planned and perpetrated, and other leading nations, like the United States, are not only engaged in economic relations with this human-rights-abusing nation but are now accepting it as a stablizing force in the blood-drenched Middle East. The fact that on Holocaust Memorial Day, European Governments are hosting a representative of a regime that is dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish state, and a regime with a dismal human rights record which subjugates women and religious minorities, is a tragedy. It is a tragedy for Europe. It represents the selling of fundamental principles of democracy and human rights for two pieces of silver. Profit and short-term gain have replaced notions of democratic principles, the rights of Iranian citizens, and the memory of the victims of the Shoah.

 

The last time Europe set aside values of human decency for short term gain, not only did the Holocaust occur, but Europe was essentially destroyed.  It is inevitable that setting aside democratic principles will have a cost. Antisemitism begins with Jews but never ends with Jews. The deadly virus of hate affects the very fabric of society.  The question is what the cost will be and when will the chickens come home to roost. 

 

Dr. Charles Asher Small is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Contents

                                       

PALESTINIANS ARE KNOWINGLY BRINGING KNIVES

TO A GUN FIGHT. THESE ARE SUICIDE ATTACKS                                                   

                               David Sachs

National Post, Jan. 28, 2016

 

Since mid-September, more than three out of every four people killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have been Palestinian. Sounds like Israel is the aggressor, doesn’t it? In fact, for the last four months, Palestinians have waged a terror campaign of random civilian attacks, often using cars and knives as weapons. This wave has been called the “Stabbing Intifada.”

 

Among these random attacks on Israelis, which are supported by the Palestinian leadership, a pregnant mother was stabbed, a mother of six was killed in front of her children, a 15-month-old baby and her mother were rammed by a car and a 13-year-old girl and an 80-year-old woman were also stabbed. In all, 30 victims have died in over 100 attacks in the last four months — thank God, it’s hard to kill with a knife, particularly in a country with so much security — and close to 300 Israelis have been wounded. Sixty Palestinian attackers have been arrested and over 90 have been shot and killed while carrying out their attacks.

 

Israel is often been accused of using “disproportionate force” because of such death toll ratios. That accusation is absurd. After all, if Palestinians continue to stab, and get killed for it at a high rate, should they be allowed to kill a few Jews to catch up? No society on Earth would attempt to protect murderers and purposely leave victims more vulnerable.

 

When someone is trying to stab a child, you shoot them, if you can. The attackers are counting on this, in fact. These are suicide attacks. They are knowingly bringing a knife to a gun fight. Martyrdom, or dying for the cause, is seen as an honour for many Palestinians. Their families are rewarded by the Palestinian government and West Bank streets are often named after them. The Palestinian leadership uses the statistics on the “disproportionate” death toll to fuel their people’s rage, to encourage copycat attacks against Jews in France and to arm the Western anti-Israel movement with more “proof” of the evilness of the Jewish state.

 

The broader picture of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian forces is similar. More Palestinians are killed than Israelis, and Israel is condemned for using “disproportionate force.” But should Israel ignore Hamas rocket attacks until some magically sufficient number of Israelis have been killed? If Israel does retaliate, with better bombs delivered by jets, but their attackers still don’t stop, regardless of their losses, should Israel just give up and accept the attacks?

 

In 2008, bragging of the war crime of using human shields, Hamas MP Fathi Hammad said, “The Palestinian people has developed its (methods) of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry.” Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh echoed this when he said, “We love death like our enemies love life.”

 

When a society worships death, honours suicide attackers and forces civilians to serve as human shields, they are going to have a high death count. As I mentioned above, this is their stated goal. In 1957, the future prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir, captured the horror of the situation in a way that still rings true: “We can forgive (them) for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with (them) when they love their children more than they hate us.”

 

“Disproportionate force” is a code word for Jews winning. Only Israel — the one Jewish state in the world — has this concept used against it. When Russia kills hundreds of Syrian civilians, none of whom are threatening Russia, we hear no talk of a proportionate response. When Saudi Arabia bombs civilians and hospitals in Yemen, there is hardly any attention paid to it in Western media. That is what is disproportionate.

 

So when Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion stated this week that Canada is concerned over the violence that has taken place in Israel and the West Bank over the past 100 days and called “for all efforts to be made to reduce violence,” one has to wonder: why is the context of the violence not mentioned? And what exactly is Israel to do? Let them stab?    

                                                                       

 

Contents                       

SPECIAL REPORT:

GLOBE AND MAIL BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL CONTINUES UNABATED

Mike Fegelman

Honest Reporting, Jan. 21, 2016 

 

What our media report today, often times becomes foreign policy tomorrow. In Canada, the Globe and Mail, our country’s “paper of record” prides itself as being a broadsheet of influence whose reporting and commentary platforms are observed by our nation’s thought leaders and policy makers. Though duty bound at being impartial, fair, accurate and balanced, in the past couple months, the Globe has produced problematic content with an overt anti-Israel slant and has failed to remedy its journalist shortcomings.

 

Here are just five recent examples of Globe and Mail media bias against Israel:

 

1) Globe gives platform to incendiary Michael Bell commentary: Writing in the Globe and Mail on December 14, Michael Bell, former Canadian ambassador to Israel and co-director of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative, excused Palestinian terrorism while baselessly charging that a “Judaization” of Jerusalem exists. In truth, Bell’s op-ed was just another example of Palestinian incitement. Without substantiation, Bell claimed Israeli “zealots” are attempting to change the Temple Mount’s status quo while seeking the destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque, efforts which Bell claimed are prompting Palestinians to commit terrorism.

 

Bell claimed: “The spate of frequent and growing knife attacks has been provoked by the perhaps unsurprising misperception that Mr. Netanyahu plans to change the “status quo” step by step, given the pressures he is subject to.” As commentator Richard Levy observed: “Mr. Bell is determined to put a halo around the violent and often murderous knifings by those whose passions are inflamed by such incendiary charges. He says that “frequent knifings by Palestinians” are “in reaction to these perceived encroachments”. Note the passive voice which makes the sequence of events look like a physical phenomenon. Perception of an undesired outcome inexorably leads to knifings. In the same way that a very strong wind leads to branches breaking. Bell outdoes himself in making it clear that persons stabbing other persons on the street with intent to maim and kill merit a free pass, when he sums up his whitewashing analysis by writing: “The spate of frequent and growing knife attacks has been provoked by the perhaps unsurprising misperception that Mr. Netanyahu plans to change the “status quo” step by step, given the pressures he is subject to.” The misperception (of change to the status quo) is “unsurprising” in Mr. Bell’s words (even though Mr. Netanyahu strongly denied it). So naturally ” knife attacks” were provoked. It is as if, in Bell’s mind, the knives took action on their own without human control instead of being wielded by persons who stab randomly choosing pedestrians to death because of a misperception.”

 

In truth, as Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, recently put it: “Israel stringently maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount. Last year, some 3.5 million Muslims visited the Temple Mount alongside some 200,000 Christians and 12,000 Jews. Only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Mount, and non-Muslims may visit only at specified times, which have not changed. Though the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site—where Solomon built his Temple some 3,000 years ago—Israel will not allow a change in the status quo. The ones trying to change the status quo are Palestinians, who are violently trying to prevent Jews and Christians from even visiting a site holy to all three faiths.”

 

Since Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, Dermer observed, “Israel has vigorously protected the holy sites of all faiths, including al-Aqsa. In the Middle East, where militant Islamists desecrate and destroy churches, synagogues, world heritage sites, as well as each other’s mosques, Israel is the only guarantor of Jerusalem’s holy places. Palestinians have been propagating the “al-Aqsa is in danger” myth since at least 1929, when the Palestinian icon, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, used it to inspire the massacre of Jews in Hebron and elsewhere. Nearly a century later, the mosque remains unharmed, but the lie persists.”

 

Those who protest the “Judaization” of Jerusalem are themselves guilty of trying to deny and destroy Jewish history in Jerusalem. Rather than “Judaization,” the facts point to a systematic de-Judaizing of Jerusalem by the Palestinian leadership evident in illegal Arab building in Jerusalem and the wanton destruction of ancient Jewish artifacts by the Waqf. Furthermore, Interior Ministry statistics show Jerusalem’s Arab population has increased faster than the Jewish population, from 27% to 37.3% of total Jerusalemites, with a projected Arab majority by 2040. This speaks arguably to an “Arabization” of Jerusalem.

 

2) Globe whitewashes Palestinian terror: On December 15, HRC called on the Globe and Mail to amend a headline to the following article it published the day prior on its website which whitewashed Palestinian terror and which was recirculated via the Globe’s Twitter account: As a result of this misleading headline, readers may have wrongly concluded that this was a simple traffic accident, whereas Israeli police claimed that the Palestinian man intentionally rammed his car into a bus stop and wounded 14 Israelis in what they referred to as a terror attack. One baby in fact, had to undergo extensive surgery to save his foot. Importantly, the Hamas terror group claimed that the Jerusalem car-rammer was a member of theirs and within this terrorist’s car, was an axe that the Israelis believe shows he was prepared to inflict further carnage post attack.

 

In the interests of fairness, accuracy and best informing Globe and Mail readers, we submitted to the Globe that this headline should be amended to reference Israeli claims that an attack took place, or that the Palestinian was an “assailant”. Or, instead of placing emphasis on the death of this Palestinian, perhaps an appropriate headline would state “Fourteen Israelis wounded in Palestinian car ramming attack in Jerusalem: police”. This was no simple traffic accident and the Globe should be familiar with how readers are more inclined to read a headline exclusively and not the article itself. Accuracy, fairness, and balance is of paramount concern in headlines, and it’s compounded by the fact that these headlines become the message of Twitter blasts. Though the Globe circulated our complaint to their editors, to our dismay, the Globe did not feel a correction was needed.

 

3) Mark Mackinnon’s Report About Palestinian Refugees was Misleading and Inaccurate: Also on December 15, HRC called on the Globe to publish a correction and to take remedial action in regards to a misleading and inaccurate front page report by Mark Mackinnon entitled “Impoverished war-weary Palestinians remain the forgotten refugees”. Mackinnon wrote the following: “Like millions of Palestinians scattered around the Middle East, the 46-year-old Mr. al-Laham was born a refugee. He grew up in the Yarmouk camp, on the edge of Damascus, where his parents lived after fleeing their home in Jaffa during the 1948 war that created the state of Israel.“

 

The concept that a war – rather than the United Nations vote to partition Palestine – created the State of Israel,  is not just an error, but is tantamount to historical revisionism. In reality, the Partition Plan set out to create two states (a Jewish and an Arab state) and while the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs rejected it and combined Arab armies launched a war to wipe the Jewish presence from the region. This error was deserving of a corrective notice.

 

Mr. Mackinnon also stated: “He was a toddler when his family moved from Yarmouk to Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp to escape a Syrian crackdown on Palestinian groups, and just 13 when they fled back to Yarmouk after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which included a bloody massacre of Palestinians living in Shatila that was carried out by Israel’s Lebanese Christian allies.”

 

In this sentence, readers likely concluded that Mr. Mackinnon was implying that Israel backed and perhaps even ordered the Christian Phalangist’s massacring of these Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila. This is misleading. In fact, as Jewish Virtual Library notes: “The Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia was responsible for the massacres that occurred at the two Beirut-area refugee camps on September 16-17, 1982. Israeli troops allowed the Phalangists to enter Sabra and Shatila to root out terrorist cells believed located there. It had been estimated that there may have been up to 200 armed men in the camps working out of the countless bunkers built by the PLO over the years, and stocked with generous reserves of ammunition…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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ASSOCIATED PRESS SEMANTICS – A SIMPLE TACTIC FOR BIAS

Manfred Gerstenfeld

CIJR, Jan. 13, 2013

 

Ability to manipulate language is crucial if a journalist is to transmit a biased message.  Apparently Associated Press journalists have both the ability to manipulate language and the guidelines driving them to do so. AP apparently believes that Palestinians can never be terrorists, however many Israeli soldiers and civilians they kill or attempt to kill, whether with bullets, knives, stones or scissors.

 

One wonders whether journalists new to AP’s Israel office get an introductory session where they are told that they must not — when it is on behalf of AP — make use of the words “Palestinian terrorists.” It seems however AP-approved to quote an Israeli official saying that a perpetrator of a terror attack is a terrorist, as long as the journalist does not use such incendiary terminology himself. The same goes for terms such as “Palestinian attackers” and “assailants.”

 

Perhaps newcomers are also offered a convenient list of AP-approved synonyms for use in describing murderous activities by Palestinians which sidestep what the terrorists actually do:  murder others, particularly civilians, out of ideological motives.

 

Thus the Palestinian killer of Israelis becomes, in the agency’s jargon, a Palestinian extremist, militant, gunman, lone wolf, or a Palestinian rebel. The United States considers Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist groups. They are on the list of foreign terror organizations prepared by the US Department of State, France,  Canada, and Australia. The EU considers both to be terrorist organizations as well. Despite this official categorization, the AP commonly refers to Hamas and Hezbollah as “militant” organizations.

 

One might wrongly assume that the AP believes it impossible for Muslims to be terrorists. However when spouses Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot fourteen civilians dead in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, apparently without the support of any organization, the AP showed no such restraint.  It described them as terrorists, without quotation marks. It did not term them “gunmen” or “lone wolves.” AP reporting on members of the Pakistan-based Muslim terror group that carried out the 2006 Mumbai attacks, killing more than 160 people, also described them unequivocally as terrorists, again without quotation marks. The AP also used this term for the ISIS-backed terrorists who perpetrated a series of attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people. Even Richard Reid, the Muslim “Shoe Bomber” who was caught before he managed to commit an intended act of terror on a 2001 flight was described as a “terrorist plotter,” without quotation marks, by the AP.

 

The large international news agencies are a major source of information abroad concerning Israel. Their bulletins are used by many media channels worldwide, and when this information is disproportionally and incorrectly negative about Israel, the impact of that negativity has far reaching consequences on a global level. It is therefore hugely important to expose double standards in their reporting of what may falsely appear to be ‘facts on the ground.’ There is much more to say about the special set of semantics the AP uses in anything to do with Israel. In 2001, 16 year old Shoshana Ben-Yishai was murdered in a random Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem. With complete irrelevance to the attack, the AP described the victim as a “settler,” because she lived in Beitar Illit, roughly one mile away from the Green Line…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic

 

How Much Do Young People Know About the Holocaust?: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016—One author interviewed multiple random university students to find out what they knew about World War II. The answer: Almost nothing.

UN Condemns Israel as the World Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day: IPT, Jan. 29, 2016— As the world commemorated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Nations (U.N.) compared Palestinians to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide, according to an opinion piece by Anne Bayefsky posted on FoxNews.

Italy Has Special Responsibility to Remember Holocaust, Envoy Says: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2016—Former Nazi ally Italy “was in the middle of the war [and] has a special responsibility” to commemorate the genocide of the Jews, Ambassador Francesco Maria Talo told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, as the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Here’s a Holocaust Story with a Happy Ending: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016—Most of the major figures or sites of modern European history play at least a minor role in this book. Not only do we see Germany’s Jewish laws play out, the obstinance of German Jewry in refusing to believe Germany would turn on them, the flight of often newly-impoverished Jews to Palestine (the real one), the German railroad system, Auschwitz, and German Communists, but the Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie also have cameos.

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS DRIVEN BY HATRED OF ISRAELIS & INCITEMENT, NOT DESPAIR

More Lies from Abbas about the "Intifada": Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 17, 2015 — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas now wants us to believe that the Palestinian "youths," who are sent out to murder Jewish soldiers and civilians, are acting out of "despair."

The Price of Unjustifiable Murder: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Dec. 15, 2015 — There are tipping points in history in which trends that were once thought permanent prove to be temporary.

A Portrait of the Terrorist as a Young Man, or Woman: Simona Weinglass, Times of Israel, Dec. 6, 2015— Ever since the current wave of stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks began two and a half months ago, commentators have expressed perplexity at the seeming pointlessness of it all.

The Hamas 'Legacy': Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash, Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2015— Hamas released another propaganda video this week, in honor of the anniversary of the terrorist group's establishment.

 

On Topic Links

 

'Jerusalem Ramming Terrorist was a Hamas Member': Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2015

On its Anniversary, Hamas Vows to 'Keep its Weapon Directed at the Israeli Occupation Only': Coral Braun, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 15, 2015

Hamas and the Islamic State: Growing Cooperation in the Sinai: Ehud Yaari, Washington Institute, Dec. 15, 2015

The Facebook Intifada: Robert Fulford, National Post, Nov. 6, 2015  

 

 

MORE LIES FROM ABBAS ABOUT THE "INTIFADA"                                                                  

Bassam Tawil

           Gatestone Institute, Dec. 17, 2015

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas now wants us to believe that the Palestinian "youths," who are sent out to murder Jewish soldiers and civilians, are acting out of "despair." He wants us to believe that these "youths" decided to murder Jews because their dream of a two-state solution has not been realized. Abbas is also trying to convince us that these "youths" are upset about Israeli checkpoints, construction in settlements, and visits by Jews to the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount).

 

These latest statements by President Abbas show that he is either completely disconnected from reality, or else thinks that everyone will believe whatever he tells them. His claim — that the Palestinian assailants who carry out stabbing and car ramming attacks against Israelis, are frustrated because the two-state solution has not yet been realized — is, frankly, an insult. We still have never encountered one case — ever — where a terrorist complained about the absence of a two-state solution. Also, contrary to Abbas's claim, none of the terrorists has ever complained about settlements or checkpoints. In fact, these "youths" that Abbas is talking about are mostly affiliated with Hamas, and do not believe in any two-state solution. Like Hamas, these terrorists want to see Israel wiped off the map.

 

Abbas's "youths," who, since the beginning of October, have murdered 22 Israelis and wounded dozens of others, set out on their missions because their leaders have been telling them that the Jews are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These "youths" are driven by hatred, not by 'despair," as Abbas has been claiming. His allegation that the "youths" are "lone wolves" acting on their own initiative is also not true. What is true is that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have publicly admitted that some of the terrorists were members of these two Islamist groups.

 

Take, for example, the most recent case, of 21-year-old Abdel Muhsen Hassouneh, the east Jerusalem terrorist who rammed his car into a group of Israelis at a bus stop earlier this week. He wounded 14 people, including an 18-month-old infant who remains in hospital in critical condition. Shortly after the attack, Hamas announced that this terrorist was one of its group.

 

Similarly, Islamic Jihad also endorsed some of the terrorists who carried out the recent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank — again exploding the claim that the "youths" were acting on their own. On October 3, Islamic Jihad took credit for a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City, in which two Israeli men were killed. The group announced that the terrorist, Muhannad al-Halabi, was an active member of Islamic Jihad. A review of the Facebook accounts of most of the terrorists shows that their main intent was to murder as many Jews as possible in order to become "martyrs." Their goal was to impose a reign of terror and intimidation on Jews to force them to leave Israel.

 

Abbas is well aware that the "youths" are not complaining about the "occupation" of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. The "occupation" these "youths" have a problem with is the one that began with the creation of Israel in 1948. As recently as last month, official Palestinian Authority TV was stating this, adding that Israel would cease to exist: "The occupation must know… [Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Nazareth] – all of this land belongs to us… and will return to us." Jewish visits to the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple Mount, are merely an excuse being used to proceed with the plan to eliminate Israel. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has not been destroyed or desecrated by Jews. The terrorists nevertheless continue to launch attacks against Israelis under the pretext that Jews are seeking to destroy Islamic holy sites.

 

The person who bears much of the responsibility for these attacks is Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. His ongoing lies and inflammatory, anti-Israeli rhetoric have contributed significantly to the poisoning of the hearts and minds of many of these "youths." It was Abbas who told his people, a few days before the current wave of terrorism erupted, that he would not allow Jews to "contaminate with their filthy feet our holy sites." It was also Abbas who announced that, "Every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood."

 

The Palestinians, unfortunately, have already seen this movie. In September 2000, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority lied to their people about Ariel Sharon's visit to the Noble Sanctuary. Then, Arafat and the PA told Palestinians that Sharon and the Jews were planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As a result of this incitement, Palestinians took to the streets and we found ourselves in the midst of something called the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which lasted from 2000 until 2005, and consisted of a wave of suicide bombings and various terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians. This intifada was supposedly meant to prevent the Jews from "destroying" the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinians knew — they saw — that Sharon and the Jews had not destroyed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, yet that did not prevent them from waging a massive campaign of terrorism against Israel. The Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, as always, unharmed in its place.

 

Today, history seems to be repeating itself, as a new generation of Palestinians has once again been deceived into believing that the Jews are plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Palestinian youths were not driven by "despair," and they are not driven by "despair" now. They are driven by hatred and bigotry towards Israel and Jews. The generation of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, like the "youths" of today, believed that suicide bombings and drive-by shootings would ultimately lead to the destruction of Israel.

 

We are now witnessing the same scenario. Although the Al-Aqsa Mosque has neither been desecrated nor destroyed, the stabbings and car attacks continue almost on a daily basis. Would you like to know why? Because there is a new generation of Palestinians who believes that this from of terrorism will bring them closer to achieving their goal of destroying Israel. President Abbas knows that he is lying when he talks about the "despair" of Palestinians because of checkpoints and settlements. The terrorists from east Jerusalem held Israeli-issued ID cards which gave them the right to travel around freely and work in Israel…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                                                                       

Contents                       

THE PRICE OF UNJUSTIFIABLE MURDER

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, Dec. 15, 2015

 

There are tipping points in history in which trends that were once thought permanent prove to be temporary. Sometimes we don’t even notice when such events occur because we are too caught up in the immediate concerns of the day. Such a moment may be happening now to the Palestinians. Not only do they seem to be unaware of it, but they may be under the mistaken impression that nothing can or will change. They should understand that if they continue to practice in discriminate terror, they may ultimately pay a price, even if mass murder is something their leaders tell them is not only justifiable but think is a smart tactic.

 

“Justified” happens to be the word that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas used on Monday when he addressed a United Nations-sponsored event. Abbas’s narrative about the conflict with Israel didn’t merely include the usual disingenuous litany about how settlements and Israeli intransigence have victimized the Palestinian people. Abbas isn’t content merely to lie about his own refusal to make peace or the independence and control of territory he eschewed simply because he can’t bring himself to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

 

Abbas has now reached the point where his pose as a champion of peace that earned him the praise of President Obama has become such a burden that he can’t manage to keep it up even part of the time. That his latest bout of incitement came only hours after a Palestinian rammed his car into a crowded bus stop, injuring 14 people including a 15-month-old baby, showed that he long ago stopped caring about trying to cultivate the Israeli left or center that would happily accept a two-state solution.

 

It needs to be remembered that in the infancy of international terrorism as we know it now, the Palestinians had a difficult time being heard. The problem was that their national movement and its leader, Yasir Arafat, was so thoroughly associated with the most brutal forms of terrorism that few in civilized societies were prepared to listen to their case against Israel. In the decades since Arafat’s followers slaughtered Jews at the Olympics and made plane hijacking fashionable, that has changed. That was largely due to the ability of both Arafat and his successor, Abbas, to play a double game in which they pretended to accept the concept of peace with Israel while speaking to Western and Israeli audiences while simultaneously signaling Palestinians that the long war to eradicate the Zionist entity was just getting started. It was that deception that allowed the Oslo Accords to be signed and celebrated as the beginning of a new era of peace in the Middle East. So successful was this piece of stagecraft that it survived the collapse of Oslo when Arafat turned down the first Israeli offer of statehood and answered it with a terrorist war of attrition.

 

Arafat lost all credibility as a peacemaker, but his replacement quickly earned the confidence of a credulous Bush administration, as well as other supporters of the peace process. Abbas looked the part of a responsible leader in his suit. That was a good image adjustment for a people that had been led by a man who couldn’t bear to take off his faux battle fatigues even for a peace ceremony. Though he had the consistent support of the Obama administration as it tilted the diplomatic playing field in his direction in its quest for “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem, that wasn’t enough to entice Abbas to recognize a Jewish state or negotiate seriously. Despite his antipathy for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ardent support for a Palestinians state, President Obama has clearly given up on the peace process even if Secretary of State John Kerry still harbors messianic hopes about cutting the Gordian knot.

 

It’s one thing to have exhausted your friends; it’s quite another to throw away all of your questionable international credibility. That’s what Abbas has done in the last few months as he first fomented a new surge of violence with lies about mythical Israeli plots against the Temple Mount mosques. Since then he’s doubled down on his slurs about preventing “stinking Jewish feet” from polluting Jerusalem’s holy places and treated those Palestinians that attempt to murder random Jews they see on the street as “martyrs” or victims of Jewish persecution and part of a “popular peaceful uprising.” At the UN ceremony, he continued in this vein saying that Arabs that seek to butcher Jews are engaging in “justified” behavior because of the stalled peace process or the canards he’s floated about the Temple Mount.

 

Though the Obama administration hasn’t specifically condemned Abbas’s incitement, as they should, they’ve grown tired of justifying him. The more inflammatory rhetoric Abbas uses, the less likely it is that Obama would risk his remaining political capital on another confrontation with Israel or by abandoning it at the UN since he knows it will never be enough to get Abbas to make peace. The question now is whether the Palestinians’ European enablers will start to wise up, too. Abbas doesn’t seem too worried about that prospect because many European governments have already moved toward delegitimizing Israel and accepting selective boycotts of its goods…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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A PORTRAIT OF THE TERRORIST AS A YOUNG MAN, OR WOMAN                                                 

Simona Weinglass

           Times of Israel, Dec. 6, 2015

 

Ever since the current wave of stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks began two and a half months ago, commentators have expressed perplexity at the seeming pointlessness of it all. Young people, many of them teenagers, set out to stab random Israelis, frequently losing their lives in the process. Are these stabbers lone wolves? Acting out of desperation? Incited by Facebook? What are they hoping to achieve?

 

Likud MK Anat Berko thinks she knows. Berko, who joined the Knesset this past March after two decades as a criminologist specializing in suicide terrorists, is sui generis. Her politics are aligned with those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but during her years of counterterrorism research she became the closest Israeli confidante of many Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. “People have often asked me why terrorists are willing to talk to me,” she wrote in her 2012 book “The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers.”

 

“I tell them that if you know how to create the right atmosphere, you can’t get them to stop talking…The security prisoners waited to speak to me the same way they waited for visits from friends and family. I became part of the jail scenery, and they felt they received something from our conversations because they were for research purposes and not interrogations.” So great were her listening skills that prisoners would talk to her for hours, hug her, cry and even give her their babies to hold…

 

First of all, says Berko, unlike suicide bombers, the current attackers “don’t necessarily think they won’t get out alive. They think they might not get out alive. It’s not the same.” Berko says the attackers are committing these acts for the sake of “glory,” both on social media and in Palestinian society, and like all teenagers, they compete over who can be the biggest hero. The terrorists do not think death is the end, but fully believe they will enter paradise, “where they will meet 72 virgins, drink until they’re intoxicated and have lots of sex.”

 

Indeed, in the meetings with prisoners described in the book, some go into great detail about what paradise is like. “All the would-be shaheeds [martyrs] I spoke to described paradise in similar terms,” Berko wrote in the book. “As far as they were concerned, beyond meeting Allah, the prophet Muhammad, and other shaheeds, paradise was a place for the pleasures of the flesh. There were eternal virgins with transparent white skin, and there were no physiological needs. There was food, rivers of honey and alcohol. [One prisoner] added it would be a place where sexually inexperienced adolescents met virgins.”

 

As for what female attackers can hope to get in paradise, it is often as basic as the right to marry for love. One prisoner, who tried but failed to carry out a suicide bombing, told Berko, “In paradise I will be like a queen and sit in my kingdom and marry anyone I want to. I want someone who is handsome [giggling], and Allah will receive me.”

 

Berko says many young Palestinians live in communities with a tremendous amount of social pressure, prohibitions and shame. In paradise, they can experience all the things that are forbidden in real life. “A few years ago I met a 15-year-old boy who had tried to be a suicide bomber. He told me that he is a virgin and had believed his first sexual experience would be in paradise. They hate the West but are dying to live like in the West, in both sense of the word ‘dying.’”

 

Many of the terrorists Berko interviewed did not come from poor families, but did suffer from violence at home. For instance, a woman she interviewed who had tried to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint related: “My brother is twenty-five; he rapes me and doesn’t want me to tell anyone. I’m twenty-three. My father died four years ago. I told my mother and uncle about my brother, and my uncle hit me and said my brother hadn’t raped me. My brother said he hadn’t done anything. I asked them to take me to a doctor. I went to the Palestinian police and a policeman said, ‘I can help you, but your brother is a friend of mine.’ He wanted to have sex with me, and he said, ‘Your brother won’t know.’”

 

Indeed, says Berko, there is a normalization of violence in Palestinian society, with children’s television praising martyrs while Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have upped the ante for brutality among would-be terrorists. “When a kid watches videos and doesn’t shrink from seeing blood or watching a person dying, you understand the effect.”

 

Another reason, Berko believes, this wave of violence is happening now is that “Palestinians see waves of refugees to Europe and they think who will deal with refugees from 70 years ago when there are refugees from a recent war in the Middle East?” Beyond that, says Berko, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is 80 and Hamas is hoping to seize the power vacuum by opening another front with Israel.

 

“I don’t accept the idea that these are lone wolves. This wave of terror is directed from above. The incitement is insane. It’s on TV, satellite broadcasts, in mosques, on the street and in schools, including East Jerusalem, in schools that we actually pay for. It’s so bad that it’s a surprise that not everyone is a terrorist. If you look at the website of the Palestinian Authority, they speak of all of Palestine, pre-1948, not just pre-1967.”

 

As for how to stop the current wave of terrorism, Berko says, “We have to think out of the box, not just do regular things but conduct a more sophisticated war that understands the enemy.” For instance, she says, “we have to make the attack not worthwhile from the point of view of the terrorist and their family, so families start controlling their young people. The family should pay a price. It doesn’t have to be with house demolitions, it can be with other punishments like fines.”                

                                                                       

 

Contents

                                       

 THE HAMAS 'LEGACY'

            Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash

                                            Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2015

 

Hamas released another propaganda video this week, in honor of the anniversary of the terrorist group's establishment. The video, which is supposed to help popularize the group among Palestinians, is shot in the style of Islamic State videos: Footage of weapons, combat units, terrorist attacks, rockets being launched and the killing and kidnapping of IDF soldiers. This show of force and hatred is, ironically, more proof of the reality with which Israel deals. A terrorist organization that systematically built for itself a terrorist state over the course of several years.

 

Terrorism is no longer a faraway reality for Americans and Europeans, who sit comfortably and securely watching the chaos on a screen as it takes place way off in Asia or Africa. And Hamas is not a terrorist organization that, once in a while, carries out attacks in the West, rather it is one that shares a border with us and carries out attacks against us over and over again. If not for geographic limitations, it would have attacked around the world, just like the Islamic State group.

 

Hamas declared that it has carried out more than 80 suicide attacks against Israel and fired more than 15,000 rockets its way. All of this with the explicit intent to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible. Summer after summer, year after year, and notably so since Israel ended its "occupation" of Gaza. And there is no international coalition calling to eradicate Hamas. Even its classification as a terrorist organization is not iron-clad among European Union institutions. Israeli airstrikes and responses are framed as "war crimes." Above all, we are subject to repeated calls to hold negotiations with Hamas. At the same time, the disengagement from Gaza led world leaders to pressure Israel to do the same in Judea and Samaria — which will cause irreversible damage that could end not only with another Hamas regime, but even with Islamic State members on the outskirts of the Jordan Valley.

 

Moreover, even as frustration builds due to growing global hypocrisy — or, perhaps, ignorance — we cannot forget that this monster conquered Gaza via democratic elections, which were forced on Israel by the United States after the disengagement. The latter insisted upon "free" and democratic elections in Gaza, despite the warnings from Israeli officials and even from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' emissaries. They were deluded in their belief that it was possible to tame the terrorists. If only we gave them a population, a state and bureaucracy, they would become moderates. And more than anything, "they will have something to lose." This lesson was certainly not learned by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

 

With 10 years of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, there is no civilian side to the story. It is a militant organization that does nothing for its citizens — no schools, no universities, no employment and no health care. Each of these services has suffered dramatically since the disengagement. Hamas is prepared to lose everything as long it can continue with terrorism. So when countries around the world voice anger over the blockade on Gaza and call for the Palestinians to be freed from the occupation, we must remind them that the only occupation Gazans are under is that of the Hamas terrorists that they voted into power.

 

On Topic

 

'Jerusalem Ramming Terrorist was a Hamas Member': Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2015—Hamas claimed on Tuesday that a terrorist who rammed his car and ran over a crowd of Israelis at a bus station in Jerusalem on Monday was an active member of their organization.

On its Anniversary, Hamas Vows to 'Keep its Weapon Directed at the Israeli Occupation Only': Coral Braun, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 15, 2015 —On Monday, tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to march in celebration of Hamas' 28th anniversary, chanting slogans of support and waving their hands in the air with green-washed-banners and Palestinian flags.

Hamas and the Islamic State: Growing Cooperation in the Sinai: Ehud Yaari, Washington Institute, Dec. 15, 2015 —In recent months, Hamas has been increasing its clandestine military cooperation with the Islamic State's so-called "Sinai Province." This cooperation culminated in a prolonged secret visit to Gaza this month by IS Sinai's military chief Shadi al-Menai, who held talks with his counterparts in Hamas's military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (IDQB). Menai has been at the top of Egypt's most wanted list since an attempt to kill him failed in May 2014.

The Facebook Intifada: Robert Fulford, National Post, Nov. 6, 2015—Riding on a Jerusalem bus one day in mid-October, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old American-born Israeli, was attacked by Palestinian terrorists. They shot him and stabbed him many times. He was a victim of the scattered, almost random violence that now afflicts Israel. His death was also one of the first fatalities that could be clearly connected to social media, which has become a 21st-century tool used for fomenting anarchy and insurrection.

 

 

 

 

 

                   

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

Frederick Krantz: THE POWER OF EVENTS: ISRAEL’S SUDDEN ELECTION & INCREASING TERRORISM, ARE COMPLICATED BY THE U.S.’S M.E. AMBI

The Power of Events: Israel’s Sudden Election Complicated

By Increasing Terrorism & U.S.’s M.E. Ambivalence

 

It is an old dictum that what the French call histoire évenémentielle, the often-determining role of  events in history, can unexpectedly change politics. The sudden collapse of Israel’s governing coalition is a good example: it means a March election and new uncertainty, and this as terrorism, in and around Jerusalem as well as across the M.E., Iran, and Africa, continues.

 

Meanwhile, Israel’s situation is worsened by the ambivalence, political and military, of its major (indeed, only) ally, the U.S. A lame-duck Democratic Administration, led by America’s Hamlet-like President Barack Obama, is first in (Syria), then out, then back (ditto re Iraq and Afghanistan); first he’s affirming “no boots on the ground”, then it’s 1,500, now it may be 3,000; first US forces will only be “trainers”, then they will be armed, now they’ll support forward Iraqi echelons; and so on and on.

 

Yet even as Obama seems, however unwillingly, to backtrack on earlier withdrawal commitments to his “base” by ramping up US “assets” in Iraq and Afghanistan, he continues to downsize (“sequestration”) American armed forces. The stated goal? To arrive at a fighting force not appreciably larger than the woefully inadequate Army and Navy of December 7, 1941, at the outbreak of World War II. And this not only as the Middle East heats up, but as Russian aggression in Ukraine, and a threatening Chinese naval expansion, continue.

 

Then, the icing on the disintegrating cake: Obama forces out his hand-picked Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, a former U.S. Senator and battle-tested U.S. Army veteran, who evidently proved too hawkish (and too pro-Israel). His replacement, as the fourth Secretaryin six years? A more compliant Pentagon bureaucrat, Ashton B. Carter, a neutral administrator with absolutely no military background or credibility.

 

Two recent articles appearing simultaneously in a major newspaper summed up the contradictory, and dangerous, implications of such American ambivalence. One noted that, despite the resumption of American bombing of terrorist Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, their expansion seems not have been appreciably slowed. The other article reported on growing concern in the American military that the new campaign was ill-conceived, too little, too late, and that extreme fear of the negative media impact of civilian casualties was rendering much of the bombing ineffective.

 

(Authorization for each mission has to be preceded by detailed reconnaissance flights, with each potential target then relayed to the U.S.-based Command Center for approval at the highest level. Such a slow, cumbersome process often results in the target moving on or disappearing. The Islamic State fighters—who of course are unconcerned about civilian casualties–have quickly learned how to disperse, hide, and otherwise evade both the reconnaissance process and the actual postponed follow-on attacks.)

 

America’s continuing foreign policy and military hesitations (confusion?) have emboldened its, and Israel’s, enemies. Together with the post-Arab Spring collapse of the M.E. state system, the advance of a new kind of territory-acquiring terrorism, and ongoing Iranian nuclear development (yet another example of American irresolution), this was surely not the most auspicious moment for Israel’s governing coalition to collapse.

 

But sudden, unexpected events can be turned to political advantage—as Machiavelli said, virtù vince fortuna, “virtue” (intelligence and boldness) can conquer the sudden, unexpected blows of chance. Ongoing terrorism and Palestinian rejectionism, and the Israeli electorate’s across-the-board disillusion with the U.S. Administration’s cherished, and increasingly utopian, “two-state” solution,  may well see Netanyahu winning a more stable center-right coalition in March. And (as the 2016 Presidential election looms) the recently-returned Republican majority in both Houses of Congress can put consistent foreign–policy pressure on the vacillating White House.

 

Hence, however unwanted the current domestic turmoil may be, the balance in 2015 may yet turn in Netanyahu’s, and  Israel’s,  favor. 

 

(Prof. Frederick Krantz is President of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

Editor of its ISRAFAX journal and Daily Isranet Briefing.)

  
   
  

ABBAS, HAMAS FUEL LATEST JERUSALEM UNREST — IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE THIRD INTIFADA?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Is the Third Intifada Here?: David Brinn, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2014— There’s a sense of free fall in Jerusalem, of events spinning out of control – they are no longer isolated incidents.

Is the Post-Abbas Mideast Already Here?: Seth Mandel, Commentary, Nov. 5, 2014 — Hamas celebrated an act of suicide terrorism in Jerusalem today that mirrored both late October’s attack at a Jerusalem light rail stop and another attack later today in the West Bank.

The Role of Hamas and Fatah in the Jerusalem Disturbances : Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Oct. 26, 2014 — The deterioration of the security situation in Jerusalem cannot be understood only on the Israeli-Palestinian level

Palestinians: Stop the Children’s Intifada!: Khaled Abu Toameh, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 30, 2014—The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and the media.

On Topic Links

 

Israeli Leaders, Left and Right, Hold Abbas Responsible for Jerusalem Terror Wave: Dave Bender, Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2014

Jordan Recalls Envoy From Israel Over 'Unprecedented Escalation in Jerusalem'.: Tovah Lazaroff & Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2014

Jerusalem in the Unholy Grip of Religious Fervor: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2014

Israel Surrenders the Temple Mount: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2014

For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution: Naftali Bennett, New York Times, Nov. 5, 2014

 

                             

IS THE THIRD INTIFADA HERE?                                                                           

David Brinn                                                                                                

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2014

 

There’s a sense of free fall in Jerusalem, of events spinning out of control – they are no longer isolated incidents. And they’re not subsiding – riots on the Temple Mount, ongoing rock attacks on the light rail, rioting in Arab neighborhoods, the attempted assassination of Yehudah Glick, and on Wednesday another fatal sidewalk terrorist attack on the seam line between western and eastern Jerusalem. Anyone who lived here through the first and second intifadas will recognize the same jittery, nervous spirit in the streets. It used to be unsafe to board a bus; now it’s unsafe to stand at a bus stop or light rail station. Pedestrians look suspiciously out of the corner of their eyes as they walk on the street.

 

They are no longer isolated incidents. Wednesday’s riot at the Temple Mount was not spontaneous. It was premeditated by Palestinians who gathered the night before with their weapons, prepared for a morning attack on Jewish visitors to the site. A few hours later, Ibrahim al-Acri, a Hamas-affiliated resident of Shuafat, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians, killing a border policeman – another premeditated act of terrorism that was hailed by Hamas as the act of a “holy martyr” defending so-called “Israeli aggression” at al-Aksa Mosque…Whether it’s the third intifada or a new spin-off, Jerusalem is in the throes of the worst spate of Arab violence against Jewish residents in over a decade. The question is not what to call it. The question is: What are our leaders going to do about it? Build more Jewish housing in post- 1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods? Encourage Jewish groups to buy up more property in Silwan? Increase the maximum punishment for rock throwing? Call to change the status quo on the Temple Mount to enable free Jewish prayer? None of those moves appears to be helpful, and they have in fact exacerbated the situation.

 

However, nothing Israel has done justifies Jordan’s decision Wednesday to recall its ambassador to Israel for consultations, following what it called Israeli ”violations.” That absurd doublespeak – placing the blame for rising Palestinian violence on the Israeli victims – does nothing to calm the situation. And neither does Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praising Glick’s attacker as a Palestinian hero. It’s clear that the Jerusalem uprising has the backing and support not only of Palestinian terrorist groups but also the PA, purportedly our potential partners in a two-state solution. That eventuality seems farther away with each Palestinian terrorist attack and each security and political response by Israel. All the moves and countermoves seem to be adding fuel to the already scorching fire. Unfortunately, as time has proven, we can’t expect the Palestinian leadership to stop inciting and egging on unrest by creating hysteria over an imaginary Israeli takeover of the Temple Mount – it’s so much easier to foment hate and revenge than it is to actually sit down and try to create a better future for its people. And we can’t expect the current Israeli coalition to take a step back from its policy of building Jewish housing in all parts of Jerusalem or allowing the continuing parade of ministers and politicians onto the Temple Mount campaigning for changing the long-standing status quo.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy, as expressed at Wednesday’s official state memorial ceremony for slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, is to bring in as much security as necessary to crush this intifada. He has, perhaps rightly, blown off Abbas as a potential partner and sees only a military solution to the battle for Jerusalem. Let’s hope his way is the right one… because the third intifada is apparently here, despite Israel Police Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino’s statement to the contrary Wednesday, spoken only an hour or so after the surviving victims of the van attack were whisked away to the hospital. They are no longer isolated incidents.

                                                                       

Contents      

                                                                                

IS THE POST-ABBAS MIDEAST ALREADY HERE?                                            

Seth Mandel                                                                                                        

Commentary, Nov. 5, 2014

 

Hamas celebrated an act of suicide terrorism in Jerusalem today that mirrored both late October’s attack at a Jerusalem light rail stop and another attack later today in the West Bank. It is not suicide bombing, but more like a form of Islamist suicide by cop. Terrorists are driving cars into civilians–a tool of attack not new to the conflict but which is currently happening with some regularity–and in the first two attacks the terrorist killed a civilian and the terrorist was also killed, in each case by Israeli police arriving at the scene to stop more violence. In this afternoon’s attack, the third in the last two weeks, the driver of the vehicle sped away.

 

Hamas and other Palestinian “resistance” groups have not, apparently, abandoned suicide terrorism after all and are now engaged in a renewed campaign. This type of violence is, of course, reminiscent of the second intifada, which is why it has Jerusalem on edge. The Palestinians have responded to each attack by rioting, so they are basically in a consistent state of violent agitation.

 

There is something more concerning about this latest round of Palestinian violence, however. Though it is perpetrated in some cases by members of Hamas, it has a spontaneous quality to it, and the riots in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem are keeping the atmosphere that engenders it going seemingly around the clock. And as much as it is reminiscent of past such campaigns of violence, there is indeed something a bit different about this one: it is heralding the arrival of the post-Abbas Palestinian polity. Now it’s true that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not only still present and accounted for but is also helping to spark the violence by calling for resistance against Jewish civilians in Jerusalem. But Abbas is not leading; he’s merely following in the path of those who started the party without him. Abbas was famously opposed to Yasser Arafat’s decision to launch the second intifada, and he surely knows that chaos and disorder and Hamas-fueled anarchy only undermine his own power. But he can’t stand around with his hands in his pockets either, because support for spilling Jewish blood drives Palestinian popular opinion.

 

If Abbas survives this current attempted intifada–and make no mistake, Abbas is in the crosshairs of Hamas’s terror campaigns as well–it will be nominally and, in fact, quite pathetically. And the current disorder is precisely why Israel has been protecting Abbas and helping him hold power: Abbas is no partner for peace, but he is the least-bad option available. A powerless, irrelevant, or deposed Abbas means these terror campaigns of Iran’s Palestinian proxies are all that remains of concerted Palestinian strategy. Concern over a post-Abbas Middle East is becoming more common. Last month, the Times of Israel’s Haviv Rettig Gur wrote a typically incisive essay on the state of play between Israel and the Arab world, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–often one to embrace ideas that seem absurd only to soon solidify into conventional wisdom–was preparing for this eventuality. Last year Jonathan Schanzer explained, quite rightly, that it was time for Abbas to name a successor to ensure continuity in the peace process.

 

But what if the more dangerous scenario is not an absent Abbas but an irrelevant one? That’s what seems to be playing out right now. It’s possible that an Abbas-led PA is a leaderless PA. There is no old guard and no new blood, but something in between that leaves the Palestinian polity not yet in league with the Islamist fanatics of Hamas in a fluid, precarious state on the precipice. And so we have the vicious yet cartoonish spectacle of the Palestinian president effectively joining a Palestinian intifada that started without him. Arafat wanted an intifada, and he got one. Abbas didn’t, and for a time was able to prevent it. Does Abbas want an intifada now? He can’t possibly be that stupid. But it doesn’t appear to matter. Just what is Abbas actually doing, as leader of the PA? Getting the Palestinians closer to a peace deal? Certainly not; he walked away from it (more than once). Preventing Hamas from setting the terms of the debate? Hardly. Keeping a lid on an angry Palestinian polity inclined to violence? Not anymore. Abbas may or may not get swept away by a new uprising. It’s ironic that what could save him from such a fate is the fact that, increasingly, it might not even be worth the trouble.

 

                                                                       

Contents         

                                                                                                                                            

THE ROLE OF HAMAS AND FATAH

IN THE JERUSALEM DISTURBANCES                                                                 

Pinhas Inbari                                                                                                                

JCPA, Oct. 26, 2014

 

The deterioration of the security situation in Jerusalem cannot be understood only on the Israeli-Palestinian level; it is umbilically connected to the chaos in the Middle East and to the great struggle between the moderate Sunni regimes and the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to make the Jerusalem issue a rallying cry of the “Arab Storm.” The Brotherhood’s strategy hopes to unite all of the region’s Islamic movements around the idea of the Muslim Caliphate with the Al-Aqsa Mosque as its hub. As demonstrated during Operation Protective Edge, the Brotherhood flaunted the banner “the siege of Gaza” to incite European Muslims to demonstrate in the streets with their leftist allies, thereby advancing the status of Islam on the Christian continent. Today, the Muslim jihadists use the “Save Jerusalem” campaign to again bring millions of agitated Muslims into the streets of Europe.

 

Before the recent hit-and-run terror attack on a Jerusalem light rail platform that killed an American-Israeli infant, the head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, published a special announcement calling “on our people to hasten immediately to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and on the Muslim nation to send a painful message of rage to the world that the Palestinian people and with them the Arab and Islamic nation will not keep quiet about Israeli crime.” Thus, in Hamas’s view it is the Jerusalem issue that can place the Palestinians at the forefront of the revolution unfolding in the Arab world, and of the Muslim awakening in Europe.

 

The clarion call of Al-Aqsa was sounded by the eminent Muslim Brotherhood jurist, Doha-based Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, when in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in February 2011, immediately after the ouster of President Mubarak, he called for Al-Aqsa’s liberation. Subsequently, he published a book titled Jerusalem: The Problem of Every Muslim. In the introduction, the preeminent scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood says, “O nation of Islam, arise, the hour has come, and the hour of danger beckons – to Jerusalem, to Jerusalem – Al-Aqsa, Al-Aqsa!” Sheikh Qaradawi got into a bitter polemic with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, after Abbas called to inundate Jerusalem with massive Muslim tourism so as to preserve its Muslim nature in the face of  the “Judaization of the city.” Sheikh Qaradawi has ruled that visiting Jerusalem is forbidden so long as it is under Israeli occupation; Jerusalem must be liberated by force and not by “tourism.” The leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, who belongs to the circles closest to Sheikh Qaradawi, stated that “Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic Caliphate.”

 

In monitoring Hamas’s websites, one gets the impression that pressure to sow discord in Jerusalem greatly intensified after the overthrow of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood there and its designation as a terrorist movement. Meanwhile, a crisis erupted between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the funding of the Brotherhood branches in the Arab world, including Hamas, based on the claim that these are terror organizations. Presumably, Qatar tried indirectly to help the Brotherhood in Egypt by inspiring support for them on the Jerusalem issue. It is also evident that in Syria, Qatar has funded an attempt to establish terror groups that put Jerusalem at the top of their concerns, such as the “Al-Aqsa Army.” The fact that Khaled Mashal is living in Qatar has helped the Qataris realize that by ratcheting up the Palestinian issue it can reignite the passion of the Arab masses throughout the Arab world in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. As we saw in Operation Protective Edge, Qatar dictated a tough line against a ceasefire in the hope of bringing the Arab masses out into the streets. Qatar failed in the Arab world – but succeeded in Europe.

 

The use of the Jerusalem issue to exert pressure on the Arab world in general has greatly increased the pressure on Jordan, which was recognized in its peace treaty with Israel as custodian of the Jerusalem holy places.9 The pretension of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement to represent the Jerusalem issue has led the Brotherhood in Jordan to censure the Hashemite government in this regard and question whether Jordan is really safeguarding Al-Aqsa. The fact that the Palestinian Authority has joined Hamas’s campaign to “Save Al-Aqsa,” notwithstanding the agreement that the Authority has signed with Jordan, will likely lead to difficulties between the latter two. King Abdullah has harshly castigated Israel on the Jerusalem issue;11  it must be understood that he himself is in distress. During the two previous intifadas, Fatah of Jerusalem in fact took pains to exclude Jerusalem from the sphere of the conflict. Fatah sources say it was indeed the Fatah Tanzim in Jerusalem that told Arafat, “The interest of the residents of east Jerusalem in steadfastness – sumud – requires excluding them from the sphere of violence.” Hence, whereas the West Bank and Gaza engaged in terror, the Fatah Tanzim made the struggle an issue of sumud, such as safeguarding illegal construction; and even though the Second Intifada was dubbed the “Al-Aqsa Intifada,” Fatah took care to distance it from the holy place.

 

Today, the situation is the opposite: quiet Gaza is licking its wounds, the West Bank is also – relatively – quiet, while most of the focus is on Jerusalem. The main reason is a drastic decline in support for Fatah in Jerusalem, so that it is the Islamic movements such as Hamas and the international Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which advocates a caliphate, that are directing the events. For Fatah there is nothing left but to be pulled along by Hamas.

 

With an eye to the seventh Fatah conference, planned for the end of the year though its date has not yet been set, Abbas met with members of the “Jerusalem district” of Fatah. Fatah sources in Jerusalem say that the makeup of the cadres has been changed so that “street punks” and even the “underworld” have been recruited to foment an intifada in Jerusalem. They have demanded payment for their activity but so far no budget has been provided to them.  Legal costs for those arrested are supposed to have been paid, but receipt of the funds is not certain. Fatah’s Silwan (Jerusalem) branch was quick to glorify the hit-and-run killer of the three-month-old American-Israeli baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, posting an obituary for the murderer on its official Facebook page, and also using the words “heroic Martyr.”

 

On the issue of funding Fatah activity in Jerusalem, eyes are turned to Qatar, the great financier of all the movements that are undermining regional stability, including in Israel. The large sums evidently being used by the websites of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to wage the Jerusalem campaign indicate that much Qatari money has already flowed their way, and Fatah is now waiting in line. Fatah’s very weak standing in the Al-Aqsa compound was apparent in the attack –wild to the point of life-endangering — on Palestinian religious affairs minister Mahmoud al-Habash when he visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the end of June this year. His attackers were Hamas and Hizbat ut-Tahrir men, and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces had a very hard time rescuing him. The joint attack also conveyed a message that these two movements, which have struggled over hegemony on the Mount, have reconciled and are now acting in unison. Yet everyone is competing for Qatar money – a fact that only spurs local groups towards greater levels of violence. Fatah’s joining of the Al-Aqsa campaign as a wagon hitched to fundamentalist Qatar may well herald a takeover of Ramallah by the radical Islamic movements – unless the Palestinian Authority regains its bearings in time.

 

                                                                       

Contents       

                                                                                                                          

PALESTINIANS: STOP THE CHILDREN’S INTIFADA!                                       

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                    

Jewish Press, Nov. 4, 2014

 

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and the media. Human rights groups and the UN have chosen to turn a blind eye to this human rights abuse. Instead of condemning it, these groups are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors. This strategy works out well for Hamas and Fatah, who can always blame Israel for “deliberately targeting” Palestinian children — an allegation the media in the West often endorses without asking questions. Even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families, who then become less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives. Adult activists who encourage and send children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israel but by their own people. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers.

 

Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian groups are using children from east Jerusalem and the West Bank in what appears to be a new intifada against Israel. Nearly half of the Palestinians arrested by Jerusalem Police over the past few months are minors. Some of them are as young as nine. These children are being sent to throw stones and firebombs, and launch fireworks at policemen and IDF soldiers, as well as at Israeli civilians and vehicles, including buses and the light rail in Jerusalem. The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and media. Human rights groups and United Nations institutions have chosen to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses. Instead of condemning those who exploit the children and dispatch them to confront policemen and soldiers, these groups and institutions are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.

 

Most of the children’s attacks occur after school, so they are not deprived of education. But sadly, some of the Palestinian minors get killed or wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces. Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy from the village of Silwad near Ramallah, was shot dead by IDF soldiers last week. The IDF says he was spotted preparing to hurl a firebomb at Israeli vehicles. Earlier, 13-year-old Bahaa Bader was shot dead by IDF soldiers in the village of Beit Likya, also in the Ramallah area. An IDF spokesman said soldiers responded with live fire when residents threw firebombs at them as they were exiting the village. Last month, 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokort from the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of Jerusalem was killed during a stone-throwing incident.

 

This is not the first time that Palestinian groups use children in the struggle against Israel. During the first intifada, which erupted in 1987, children and women were often at the forefront in clashes with Israeli security personnel…Moreover, the Palestinian groups know that the children who are being sent to confront Israeli soldiers and policemen will not be held accountable. Most of the minors detained by the Jerusalem Police for their involvement in the violence are released to house arrest. In cases where the children are aged nine to 13, they are referred to social welfare authorities without being detained. The majority of these children are going out to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis because they are come from poor families or are lacking in good education and other economic and social privileges. But many of them come from middle-class families and do not live in refugee camps.

 

These children are victims of a campaign of indoctrination and incitement that is being waged by various Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. It is a campaign that is being waged through the media, mosques, educational institutions and the fiery rhetoric of leaders and activists. What is even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families of the children by hiring lawyers and paying fines imposed on them by Israeli courts. As a result, the families are less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives. There are also reports that Fatah and Hamas activists in Jerusalem have been paying children small sums of money to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis and block roads in several Arab neighborhoods.

 

Hamas and Fatah had long discovered that children are one of the most effective tools in the fight against Israel — especially because of the damage Israel sustains in the court of international public opinion. Thus far, it appears that the Palestinian groups have been successful in their effort to depict Israel as a country that deliberately targets Palestinian minors whose only crime is that they “resisted occupation.” Dressing children in military uniforms and allowing them to carry rifles and pistols during rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is one way of encouraging them to put their lives at risk. But of course Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions do not see anything wrong with this practice. The adult activists who send and encourage children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israeli authorities, but also by their own people and international human rights organizations. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers. The time has come for the international community and media to pay attention to their disturbing conduct and demand that Palestinian groups stop hiding behind children.

 

           

Contents                                               

 

On Topic

 

Israeli Leaders, Left and Right, Hold Abbas Responsible for Jerusalem Terror Wave: Dave Bender, Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2014 —Multiple Israeli officials on Wednesday condemned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for what they charged was his direct and indirect incitement leading to a string of terror attacks, including today’s lethal vehicular assault in Jerusalem.

Jordan Recalls Envoy From Israel Over 'Unprecedented Escalation in Jerusalem'.: Tovah Lazaroff & Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2014—Jordan recalled Ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat for consultations in Amman to protest Israeli “aggression” on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem in general, further fraying its already tense relationship with the Jewish state.

Jerusalem in the Unholy Grip of Religious Fervor: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2014 —In his ominously titled book, “The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount,” author Gershom Gorenberg quotes a staggering conversation that took place at the Temple Mount immediately after it was captured by Israeli paratroopers on June 7, 1967, while the victorious soldiers still “wandered about the plaza as if they were dreaming.”

Israel Surrenders the Temple Mount: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2014—Since Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, ending nearly two thousand years of Jewish exile and dispersion, only one other moment has rivaled its stunning historical significance.                                                                                                                                                                 

For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution: Naftali Bennett, New York Times, Nov. 5, 2014—Recent events in the Middle East are a reminder of how the old models of peace between Israel and the Palestinians are no longer relevant. The time has come to rethink the two-state solution.

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ZACHOR, REMEMBER: THE ROMANIAN HOLOCAUST, THE JEWS OF ITALY AND GREECE, & POLLARD ROTTING WHILE OBAMA & KERRY PRESSURE ISRAEL TO RELEASE MURDERERS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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That Sunday— Romania, June 29, 1941- July 6 1941: Baruch Cohen, Aug. 9, 2013—The Yassi pogrom horrors should never be forgotten, no matter how many years have passed since then: June 29, 1941, That Sunday, will forever remain inscribed in the history of Romanian Jewry and of the Holocaust.

 

United Jewish Declaration: Jews Are Indigenous To The Land Of Israel: Yosef Rabin, GoPetitions, June 24, 2013

The Land of Israel fits all the criteria to be recognized internationally as the land in which Jews are indigenous natives, and the only current requirement is a public declaration from a representative body of the Jewish people.

 

Prisoner Release Highlights Erosion of Israel’s Will: Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel , The Jewish Press, Aug. 8, 2013—Under pressure to restart talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Israel has diverged from its refusal to accede to Palestinian preconditions and agreed to free 104 Palestinian terrorists from its jails. It’s a mistake. Israel should withstand the pressure and say no.

 

What about Pollard, Mr. President?: Ben Caspit, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013—The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and according to double standards.

 

An Accidental Odyssey: Jews In The Mediterranean: Ilana Brown, eJewish Philanthropy, June 25, 2013—I had been to Italy and Greece fifteen years before, but in those days I was not interested in finding remnants of Jewish communities and exploring the Jewish past of the area. This summer I had the opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of a few locations in Italy and Greece. Having lived in Israel for the past 11 years, I was now much more curious about Jewish communities.

 

On Topic Links

 

Former-American Mks Disappointed Pollard Not Free: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013

For Zion's Sake: Not in Our Vital Interest: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013

Top 10 Ways Israel Fights Desertification: Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c, July 15, 2012

 

 

THAT SUNDAY— ROMANIA,
JUNE 29, 1941- JULY 6 1941

Baruch Cohen

                                                                             In memory of beloved Malca z’l

 

The Yassi pogrom horrors should never be forgotten, no matter how many years have passed since then: June 29, 1941, That Sunday, will forever remain inscribed in the history of Romanian Jewry and of the Holocaust.

 

The Sunday that Was became known as the bloodiest day in the history of Romanian Jewry. The Yassi pogrom was the first huge planned massacre, heralding the horrors to come during the years 1940-1943. 14,850 Jews were killed in Yassi. Ultimately, over 200,000 Romanian Jews would be murdered.

 

“By the number of its victims, by the bestiality of the means used to torture and kill, by the vast scope of killing; the pillaging and destruction, by the participation of the agents of the public authorities to whom the life and property of the citizens were entrusted, the pogrom of Yassi marked at the local level the crowning of an accursed, injurious effort which violated the Romanian conscience for a period of the three quarters of a century, and it opens at the worldwide level the most tragic chapter in history,” writes Matatias Carp in Cartea Neagra—The Black Book. June 29, 1941, That Sunday, remains forever the blackest day in the history of Romanian Jewry.

 

In his book, Kaput, Italian journalist Curzio Malaparte described the scene with a sharp pen dipped in gall and disgust! In the summer of 1941, black was the predominant color in Yassi, and yellow was the color of the stars sewn onto the clothing of all Jews.

 

Contents

 

 

UNITED JEWISH DECLARATION:
JEWS ARE INDIGENOUS TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL

Yosef Rabin

GoPetitions, June 24, 2013

 

Target: United Nation's, Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

Petition Background (Preamble):

The United Nations currently recognizes as indigenous any nation that declares itself as such, and according to section 10 of the UN General Assembly’s 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, “indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.”

 

The Land of Israel fits all the criteria to be recognized internationally as the land in which Jews are indigenous natives, and the only current requirement is a public declaration from a representative body of the Jewish people, whether it be from Israel’s Knesset, the WZO or even the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.    Sign the petition

 

Contents

 

 

PRISONER RELEASE HIGHLIGHTS EROSION OF ISRAEL’S WILL

Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel

Jewish Press, Aug. 8, 2013

 

Under pressure to restart talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Israel has diverged from its refusal to accede to Palestinian preconditions and agreed to free 104 Palestinian terrorists from its jails. It’s a mistake. Israel should withstand the pressure and say no. Why? Because it makes a mockery of justice – and inflicts unimaginable pain on families of the victims – when multiple murderers walk free.

 

It also boosts the standing of terrorist groups; encourages the kidnapping of Israelis for the purpose of extorting the release of further terrorists; demoralizes Israeli counter-terrorism personnel who risk life and limb to capture these murderers; erodes Israeli deterrence to vanishing point when the most bloodthirsty murderers know they are likely to be freed early; and, above all, results in the subsequent murder of additional Israelis by terrorists freed under such deals. In short, we’ve been here before and the results have been tragic.

 

The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA) disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists who had been previously freed from Israeli jails. An earlier ATVA report showed that 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during the period 1993-99. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has observed that the terrorists released in the 2004 Elhanan Tenenbaum prisoner exchange deal caused the death of 231 Israelis. In agreeing to this morally unjust, tactically unwise, strategically harmful, militarily hazardous and life-endangering unilateral concession, we see the profound and purposeless erosion of Israeli will. In the past, Israel at least scrupled not to free those with “blood on their hands” and demanded the return of living Israelis, however lopsided the exchange.

 

In July 2008, however, Israel agreed to release to Hizbullah a gruesome murderer, Samir Kuntar, and four others prisoners in return for merely the corpses of two kidnapped Israelis. In August 2008, Israel freed 198 jailed terrorists, including two with blood on their hands and 149 others guilty of attempted murder, as a “confidence-building measure.” In October 2009, Israel freed 20 Palestinian terrorists – not for a life or a corpse, but for a video of a kidnapped Israeli. And in October 2011, Israel freed 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of convicted terrorists, in exchange for a single kidnapped Israeli serviceman, Gilad Shalit, leading Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal to crow that “This is a national achievement for the Palestinian people…we promise the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them…. Those released will return to armed struggle.”

 

On this occasion, however, Israelis cannot even take refuge in the consolation that they freed a loved one, retrieved a corpse or even obtained a video. They cannot even say that they exacted any concession from the PA. To the contrary, Mahmoud Abbas just reiterated that he will not permit “the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is not unaware of the danger; to the contrary, he once warned against the very thing he now intends to do.

 

In his 1995 book Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu observed that refusing to release terrorists was “among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.” With this release, he erodes his credibility by dishonoring his pledge to withstand Palestinian preconditions. U.S. pressure alone explains Netanyahu’s decision, not some valuable quid pro quo. How else to account for a decision opposed by 85 percent of the Israeli public and the Shin Bet head, Yoram Cohen? The Obama administration has not expressed a new determination to see Iran cross no red lines in its march to a nuclear weapon….

 

The idea that the U.S. needs some Israeli concession to unify its Arab allies against the Iranian nuclear threat is in any case absurd, given the imploring of Arab leaders for Washington to deal with the problem, as revealed by the Wikileaks documents. The Obama administration has made Israel no secret promise of action on Iran, military or otherwise – top Israeli officials have privately told us as much, and it is hard for any country to insist on secret commitments of this type anyway. All of which suggests that Israel will rue this decision. The U.S. would never release Guantanamo detainees because the Taliban demanded it in return for talks. Why should Israel? It is still not too late for Jerusalem to refuse to release the terrorists – and say why.

 

Contents

 

 

WHAT ABOUT POLLARD, MR. PRESIDENT?

Ben Caspit

Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013

 

The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and according to double standards. Yesterday, Udi Segal of Channel 2 TV announced that the US had rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that Jonathan Pollard also be released when Israel releases dozens of murderers serving life sentences.

 

The Americans have no problem asking Israel to release savages who’ve slaughtered innocent civilians. This is a no-brainer for them. They urge Israel to make “gestures” toward Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to promote peace, to strengthen the moderates, to help calm things down and to get the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. But then, when in return we ask for one basic humanitarian gesture – for Pollard to be released – the Americans are horrified.

 

We should release Pollard? What the heck are you talking about? Where did this come from? Did Pollard kill anyone? No. Was he responsible for someone’s death? Absolutely not (despite the fact that they did try to pin this on him, too). Pollard passed on classified information to Israel. This offense usually comes with a relatively light sentence; many people indicted for such offenses in the US have been sent home after serving for just a few years. Pollard has been sitting in jail for almost 30 years. That’s three decades. Pollard has spent most of his life in prison. He has been deprived of a family life and was not allowed to attend either his mother’s or his father’s funeral.

 

I understand, my dear Americans, that you need to prove a point, to set a precedent for other American Jews who might also feel a dual loyalty. But I think we passed that point a long time ago, and that now it is time for you to go back to being civilized and to make amends for your vindictiveness and recklessness by releasing Pollard.

 

It must be said – to Netanyahu’s credit – that of all of Israel’s leaders, he has been the only one to consistently fight for Pollard’s release (not that it’s done us or Pollard any good.) At the Wye Plantation conference, president Bill Clinton promised Netanyahu Pollard would be released, but reneged at the last minute (due to pressure from the CIA.) Netanyahu tried again with George Bush and Barack Obama – and now once again with Obama.

 

But when it comes to its own prisoners, the US is much less flexible. When it concerns prisoners sitting in Israeli jails who’ve murdered innocent citizens and who still swear every morning to continue to fight until Israel is completely destroyed, they are flexible. Israel is expected to release these prisoners, many of whom will go on to carry out additional terrorist attacks, while the Americans continue with their own style of cruelty by keeping Pollard locked up. This is a morality lesson, American style.

 

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Contents

 

AN ACCIDENTAL ODYSSEY:  JEWS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

Ilana Brown
eJewish Philanthropy, June 25, 2013

 

I had been to Italy and Greece fifteen years before, but in those days I was not interested in finding remnants of Jewish communities and exploring the Jewish past of the area. This summer I had the opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of a few locations in Italy and Greece. Having lived in Israel for the past 11 years, I was now much more curious about Jewish communities.

 

The Jewish Cathedral of Florence

 

My journey began in Florence. My first order of business was to climb to the top of the Duomo and to the top of the campanile. I decided that if I had time, I would also visit the synagogue, which I missed 15 years ago. From both of these high perches, I saw a small, beautiful, green-ish dome in the distance that I knew to be the synagogue. After the 463 steps of the Duomo and the 414 steps of the campanile, I was ready to walk on flat ground to the synagogue and back in order to catch my bus that afternoon.

 

Arriving at the synagogue, the first sight is the high gates and the protective detail guarding the site, but the green-ish dome beckoned from its hiding place. The security is high – no bags, no photos, metal detectors. And the price seems high as well – €6.50 to enter.

 

I entered a pleasant, well-kept, clean courtyard and made my way to the synagogue. I noticed that there were groups of Italian (non-Jewish) schoolchildren visiting, which I thought was a good thing for the Jewish community of Florence. Instead of entering the sanctuary first, I went directly to the museum and viewed the beautiful religious and ritual objects of the synagogue. And then I went into the women’s section, the balcony, of the synagogue. I was overwhelmed by emotion. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe. As much as I had admired cathedrals in the many cities in Europe I had visited, they did not speak to me on a deep level. I have also been to several very beautiful mosques, but again they did not speak to me. Here I was in a cathedral, but it was a Jewish cathedral. David Levi, the man who donated the funds to build it in the late 1870s, said that he wanted to build a synagogue worthy of Florence.

 

Hidden Treasure in Siena

 

My next stop was a visit to my college professor in Siena. As we entered the Campo, the main square of Siena, I thought to ask my professor if he happened to know where the synagogue of Siena was. He did and we went, but it was already closed. The next day, after a climb up another tower (503 steps), I went directly to the synagogue. The synagogue is a hidden synagogue in that there is little outward evidence of its existence. There are opening hours, but the door is not open. I knocked on the door several times and finally someone opened the door.

 

The entrance of the synagogue in Siena

 

“Hello! Where are you from?”

“I live in Israel.”

“Oh! Baruch habah!

And the conversation continued from there in Hebrew. As I was speaking to the enthusiastic woman in Hebrew in the doorway of the synagogue, two more Israelis entered the synagogue. We all went together to tour the museum (€4 or €3 upon showing the ticket from the Florence synagogue) and sat in the sanctuary with our guide who happily chatted in perfectly fluent Hebrew. She has family in Israel and Rome. Sadly, the community in Siena today is approximately 50 people. Yet, the sanctuary has a beautiful marble ahron kodesh in the traditional Italian style and a large bima. The feeling is that there is a rich and deep history, but today it is only an echo of the past. The entrance to the museum contains many pictures of the Jewish community in Siena and our guide would have happily talked through the day about its history. One of the interesting pictures was of a wedding that took place during WWII between a Jewish woman of Siena and a Jew from Britain, who was serving in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army….

 

An Unexpected Encounter in Corfu

 

The next day in Corfu a sign saying “Jewish synagogue” caught my eye. From the main street we followed the signs like clues in a scavenger hunt. In each square, we looked for another sign, until the next square and another sign. At one sign, my mother looked into a store and spoke to the owner, but we went on to the synagogue. The synagogue is a large building and at the entrance, we saw a woman sitting and welcoming guests. My mother and I went in (entrance is free).

 

“Hello! Welcome! Welcome! Where you from?”

“I live in Israel.”

“Yaffe! Baruch habah!”

 

We could have had the conversation in Hebrew, but we switched to English and my mother and I sat and spoke with this large, friendly woman, who sat with her sunglasses on and unapologetically smoked (on Saturday!) in the community room of the synagogue. Ruti, as we learned her name was, lived in Israel for six years and returned to Corfu to care for her sick father. Eventually, she married and stayed in Corfu. She told us that the Jews of Corfu were taken away in WWII, ten families were hidden. Two thousand Jews left and only about 150 returned. Once there had been three synagogues and now this one was the only one left and was used only during holidays when they brought in a rabbi from Italy, Greece, or Israel. Today there are approximately 50 Jews, eight are children.

 

Dedicated to the Lost

 

On our way back to the main street, we passed the store that my mother had stopped into. The owner called out, “Did you find the synagogue?”

“Yes.” How did he know? Did my mother mention it?

“Where are you from?”

“Israel.”

“Bohenna!”

 

At this Hebrew suggestion, I went right in. “I want to show you something.” He pulled out a package from behind his sales counter. “This is the shirt that my father was wearing when he left Auschwitz and came back to Corfu. From his family of 13, only he and his sister returned. From my mother’s family of 12, only my mother and her sister returned. They met here and made our family.”

 

In shock, I asked his name and if I could take a picture of him with the shirt. Moshe (Zinos in Greek) agreed. During WWII, the island had first been under the control of the Italians and then in late 1943, under the Germans. The story of the Jews of Corfu is that only as late as June 10, 1944 (coincidentally I was there on June 15) the Jews were taken to Auschwitz. Looking around the store, I saw that the back wall had an Israeli flag and Beitar Yerushalayim memorabilia. A quick search on the internet later revealed that Moshe is the President of the Jewish community of Corfu. As we left, we wished each other a Shabbat Shalom.

 

Final Thoughts

 

I went to Italy and Greece for a vacation and to revisit places I had been before to see the sights I had missed. When I entered the synagogue in Florence, I understood that I needed to not only revisit the places I had been before, but revisit them with curiosity about the Jewish community that was there – or in many cases, that was once there. That is what I missed 15 years ago. Living in Israel has blinded me somewhat to the situation outside of Israel for Jewish communities. The Jewish communities are small, but proud. The best surprises were those that in the smallest communities, there was Hebrew, there was pride, there was still a connection. I was saddened a bit by the communities in Rome and Venice. It is expensive to enter the synagogue and the “Ghetto” is a tourist attraction, no more. Hebrew is not spoken and the community is Roman, Venetian or Italian first, with Jewishness as a close second.

 

That is why this was an accidental odyssey. Until I arrived in Italy, I did not know what my quest would be. Now, upon my return, what I went to find was a connection to the Jewish community and to be inspired anew to live in Israel.

 

Ilana Brown lives and works with the Im Tirtzu Zionist-Advocacy Organization in Jerusalem. She is a donor relations professional, editor, Zionist, and intrepid traveler.

 

(This article has been shortened in the interests of space. For the full piece I including photographs please click on the link or download a pdf here – Ed.)

 

Contents

 

Former-American Mks Disappointed Pollard not Free: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013—Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman, who both renounced their American citizenship to enter the Knesset, expressed frustration on Tuesday with the American decision to keep Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in prison while Israel releases more than 100 Palestinians terrorists as a gesture at the start of diplomatic talks.

 

For Zion's Sake: Not in Our Vital Interest: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013—In a matter of days, Israel will resume its bad habits: It will begin releasing a large number of convicted terrorists, with reports varying from 82 to up to 350, and it will bar its citizens from building, which for many of them means living, in the communities of their choosing east of the 1949 Armistice Line.

Top 10 Ways Israel Fights Desertification: Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c, July 15, 2012—Israel has gained a worldwide reputation for its ability to turn barren desert into useful and arable land. ISRAEL21c takes a look at the country’s top 10 eco-strategies.

 

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CHARLES BYBLEZER: A Brief History of Palestinian Prisoners Releases

 

A Brief History of Palestinian Prisoners Releases

CHARLES BYBLEZER

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2013

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/A-brief-history-of-Palestinian-prisoners-releases-310960

 

Last Wednesday [Apr. 17], Palestinians worldwide held protests to mark “Prisoner Day,” an annual event meant to highlight the alleged plight of, and to celebrate, Palestinian criminals and terrorists imprisoned in Israel. The matter has gained notoriety over the past two years as the Palestinian Authority has made the release of prisoners a precondition for renewed peace talks with Israel.

 

“The Palestinian leadership gives priority to the prisoners issue and [to] ending their suffering,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas proclaimed earlier this month. “We cannot be silent about their staying behind bars…. [We] have demanded the freeing of all prisoners.”

 

Abbas reportedly stressed the importance of the subject both during last month’s visit to Ramallah by US President Barack Obama, and in a recent meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, following which a PA official reiterated that “without the release of a significant number of prisoners… there can be no talk about resuming the peace process.”

 

While there is nothing unique about Palestinian preconditions to negotiations – which presently also include that Israel cease construction in settlements; accept the 1967 borders as a basis for talks; and cede territory from Area C in the West Bank, under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction as per stipulations in the Oslo Accords, to Palestinian control – demanding the release of prisoners, many with “blood on their hands,” is particularly perverse and revealing.

 

Abbas predictably assumed this position not long after the October 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner-swap deal with Hamas, in which 1,027 Palestinians – nearly 20 percent of all Palestinians either imprisoned or detained in Israel at the time – were exchanged for a single captive IDF soldier.

 

Hamas’ popularity ballooned following the deal, so Abbas felt compelled to demonstrate his own pro-terrorist bona fides in order to reinforce his standing as the “legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

 

Contrary to popular belief, the Schalit deal was not particularly ground-breaking.

 

In fact, Israel conducted its first prisoner deal directly with a Palestinian terror faction in 1971, when Shmuel Rosenwasser, a night watchman abducted by Fatah forces on January 1, 1970, was exchanged for Mahmoud Hijazi, jailed for his involvement in Fatah’s first terrorist attack on the Jewish state in 1965. Since then, however, the cost of redeeming an Israeli life has increased incrementally, in parallel to the government’s slide further down the proverbial “slippery slope.”

 

On March 14, 1979, IDF soldier Avraham Amram, captured by PLO terrorists the year before during clashes in southern Lebanon, was traded for 76 Palestinians jailed in Israel. On November 23, 1983, six Israeli soldiers, held by Fatah, were swapped for 65 Palestinian prisoners, in addition to some 4,700 Palestinians and Lebanese incarcerated at Ansar camp in the aftermath of the First Lebanon War.

 

In 1985, the stakes were raised even further with the largely-forgotten Jibril Agreement, conducted with the PFLP, which saw Israel exchange 1,150 Palestinian prisoners, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, for three IDF soldiers. Many of the Palestinians exchanged in the Jibril Agreement would later form the backbone of the first intifada, which erupted in 1988 (overall, of the 238 prisoners who returned to the Palestinian territories after their release, nearly 50% were eventually re-jailed in Israel). For his part, Yassin went on to found Hamas, which, for obvious reasons, led to his re-arrest by Israeli authorities and a sentence of life imprisonment in 1989.

 

Unbelievably, though, Yassin was exchanged for a second time in 1997 – for two Mossad agents captured in Jordan during a failed attempt to assassinate current Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal – on condition that he renounce suicide bombings against Israel. A free man, Yassin retook the reins of Hamas and immediately dispatched suicide bombers to Israel; attacks which over the course of the next several years killed dozens, if not hundreds, of Israelis and ultimately necessitated Yassin’s targeted killing on March, 22, 2004.

 

Then-prime minister Ariel Sharon best described Yassin’s legacy: “Mastermind of Palestinian terror.”

 

Seemingly undeterred by the experience, Israel released at least 650 additional Palestinian prisoners between the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 2000; in accordance with various agreements such as the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (1995) and The Wye River Memorandum (1998), or simply as a “goodwill gesture” to the Palestinian leadership.

 

This policy continued into the millennium, with, for example, the exchange in 2004 of nearly 400 Palestinian and 30 Lebanese prisoners for Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three other IDF soldiers. (Although this deal was conducted with Hezbollah, the majority of prisoners released were Palestinian, of whom 364 returned to the Palestinian territories and 30% were ultimately rearrested for involvement in terror. In 2011, then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan claimed that “231 Israelis were slaughtered by those freed in the Tannenbaum exchange.”) In 2005, Israel also released 500 Palestinian prisoners following a summit in Sharm e-Sheikh.

 

Notably, after Abbas emerged as leader of the PA, Israel twice attempted to entice him back to the negotiating table, as well as to prop up his new regime, by freeing 422 Palestinian prisoners in two installments, in August and December 2008 respectively.

 

But Abbas refused to talk, instead increasing the scope of his demands, and has since gone so far as to threaten Israel with the prospect of a third, albeit “peaceful,” intifada – likely to be spearheaded by Palestinians exchanged in the Schalit deal, many of whom have already returned to terror – unless his conditions are met.

 

To summarize, then, in four decades, Israel’s policy with respect to Palestinian prisoners has progressed (?) from exchanging one captive Israeli for one jailed Palestinian, to a few dozen, then a few hundred and, most recently, more than a thousand, to releasing Palestinians as part of supposedly reciprocal agreements, to unilaterally and unconditionally freeing Palestinians in hope of coaxing the Palestinian leadership into honoring its obligations. Finally, the blackmail has become simple extortion, with the PA demanding that Israel free Palestinians “or else.”

 

This descent into irrationality was inevitable, as the Palestinians’ decadeslong obsession with prisoners has never been predicated on the quest for justice, but rather is a manifestation of the consecration, and resultant pursuit, of terror which to this day pervades every aspect of Palestinian society. For Hamas, this is understood by most observers; but it no less true of the Abbas-led PA.

 

The so-called “moderate” Palestinian faction habitually names monuments, parks, and public squares – even day camps – after “martyrs” (i.e. terrorists), in addition to conducting ceremonies in their honor and broadcasting programs in its official media lionizing these Palestinian “heroes.” Naturally, the PA annually commemorates Martyrs’ Day.

 

Despite its perpetual financial crisis, the PA allocates more than NIS 200 million each year to paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and to the families of suicide bombers. Most despicably, the longer the prisoner’s sentence, which invariably is correlated to the severity of their crimes, the higher the salary received.

 

Incredibly, these dispensations, codified in Palestinian law in 2003, were increased by 300% in 2011 by none other than the West’s darling, former PA prime minister Salaam Fayyad. The PA also maintains a Ministry for Prisoner Affairs, headed by Issa Qaraqi, who in his ministerial capacity has repeatedly accused Israel of torturing Palestinian prisoners and even of stealing their organs.

 

This glorification of criminality is, quite simply, mind boggling, and precludes the possibility of any talk of “peace,” as any meaningful Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation is impossible under such circumstances.

 

It also instills significant doubt with regard to the genuineness of Palestinian national aspirations, which are so readily sacrificed to an Israeli agreement to free convicted criminals and terrorists.

 

The peace process itself is equally impugned when the international community entertains, or at least fails to condemn, such a grotesque Palestinian precondition to negotiations.

 

Lastly, it confirms, incontrovertibly, that in the absence of fundamental change on the part of the Palestinian leadership, Israel cannot benefit in any way by succumbing to the vile demand to release its enemies.