Tag: Terrorism

Turbulence Ahead: In Remembrance of Michel Bacos, the Hero of Entebbe

By Machla Abramovitz


Family reunion after the liberation of hostages (Source: Moshe Milner/Wiki)


On March 26, Captain Michel Bacos passed away in his home town of Nice, France at the age of 94. Bacos was the heroic Air France pilot whose plane was hijacked to Entebbe, Uganda, and who refused to abandon his Jewish passengers. “Michel bravely refused to surrender to antisemitism and barbarism and brought honor to France,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said on announcing his death.

 In 2014, I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Bacos for Mishpacha Magazine on the 38th anniversary of the Entebbe hijacking. Unable to obtain his contact information online, I tracked him down the old fashioned way: I called directory assistance in Nice, hoping that the Michel Bacos the operator noted was the one I was seeking. Indeed, it was. Despite being unprepared for my call, Captain Bacos was extraordinarily gracious and generous with his time. He was thrilled to answer my questions. “Is my story still of interest,” he modestly asked in French. I assured him it was. Below is an expanded version of my article that appeared in Mishpacha on July 2, 2014, which I wrote as a first-person narrative to convey the immediacy and terror of his experiences, the memories of which were still very ripe. 


Turbulence Ahead


On June 27, 1976, during a routine flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, Palestinian and German terrorists stormed the cockpit of an Air France Airbus A300 and commandeered the plane to Entebbe, Uganda. At the time of the hijacking, which occurred just after a short stopover in Athens, there were 246 passengers and 12 crew members on board. Eight days later, on July 4, Israel launched Operation Thunderbolt, the famed, swashbuckling mission that resulted in the rescue of over 100 hostages, the majority of whom were Jewish. It’s been 38 years since the hijacking, but Air France pilot Captain Michel Bacos, 90, still remembers that horrendous week as if it were yesterday.

Speaking from his home in Nice, France, Bacos comes across as charming and friendly, with a wry sense of humor. A hero in his own right, he was awarded France’s highest decoration, the National Order of the Legion of Honor, for refusing to abandon his post and standing by his plane and its passengers. A bomber pilot during World War II, he saw action over the skies of North Africa, fighting for France’s Forces Françaises Libres.

At the time of the hijacking, Captain Bacos had clocked 32 years of flight time. Married, with three sons and many grandchildren, he has the greatest admiration for one particular Israeli commando, Sorin Herschu, who was paralyzed from the neck down after being struck by a Ugandan bullet during the operation. They keep in touch. He and his family visited Herschu often over the years, and occasionally receive an email: unable to use his fingers, Herschu manipulates the keyboard through a small stick that he places in his mouth.

Since Entebbe, and especially after retiring in 1984, Bacos became a sought-after speaker and addressed many forums. In 1977, at the request of Air France, he recounted his experiences in front of an assembly of aviation specialists interested in revamping aviation laws dealing with security issues. The Israel government and many Jewish organizations have recognized Bacos for his bravery. Is there any event from that fateful week that especially stands out in his mind? “When the shooting began, I remember thinking, ‘Tzahal is here to rescue us. Who else but the Israelis could it be?”


The Hijacking


We were seven minutes out of Athens and had just turned off the seatbelt sign when I heard a loud commotion coming from behind the cockpit.

“A fire,” I asked my flight engineer Jacques Lemoine, “Check it out.”

He barely opened the door when a man brandishing a gun and a grenade charged in.

Quickly, the tall, dark-haired, mustached man pushed Lemoine back inside while wielding his weapons at my copilot Daniel Lom and me. Instinctively, our hands shot up into the air, as if we were under arrest.

“No! Please, please,” we instantaneously cried out.

“You,” yelled the man later identified as Wilfried Böse, pointing at Lom, “Get out now. I don’t want to look at you. We don’t need you.”

He then turned to Lemoine and ordered him to sit beside me at the controls. Böse grabbed hold of the microphone. “Don’t touch anything on the controls without asking me,” he commanded in heavily accented English, then instructed me to make a 180-degree turn due south, to Benghazi, Libya.

Instantly, the control panel lit up: Athens noted the sudden change in direction. Without my mic, I couldn’t respond to their repeated requests for clarification. Within moments, the Athens operator understood that something was dreadfully wrong. Israel, Italy, and France were immediately alerted that terrorists had hijacked Air France Flight 139.

Throughout the flight, Böse held a gun to the back of my head, occasionally poking me with it. We didn’t speak, except for instructions he sometimes gave me. Meanwhile, back in the cabin, the other German, a woman named Brigitte Kuhlmann, and two Arab terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] were pistol-whipping and terrorizing the passengers.

“This flight is under our command,” they declared.

Böse and Kuhlmann were founders of the German leftist Revolutionary Cells terrorist group, considered one of the most dangerous around by the West German interior ministry. But, at that moment, neither my flight engineer nor I had any idea who they were or what they wanted. We were isolated from our passengers and feared terribly for their welfare.

About two and a half grueling hours later, we arrived at the Benina International Airport in Benghazi, Libya, with only 20 minutes of fuel left in the tank. The plane was expected: The control tower operator welcomed us in President Gaddafi’s name. The heat was oppressive. One of our passengers, Patricia Martel, feigned a miscarriage. She was released and flown to Paris. She later identified the terrorists from among intelligence photos.

As we waited in the stifling heat, more terrorists boarded the plane. It took about two hours to refuel the aircraft. I insisted Lemoine oversee the process. The Airbus was new, and the Libyans did not know how to handle the refueling properly. Still, we didn’t leave till 10 p.m., hours later.

“Where are we headed,” I asked my captor.

“None of your business,” he replied.

I was instructed to fly at an altitude of 29,000 feet due south. We flew over Egypt. I gave the German our positions, which he immediately conveyed to Cairo. It was clear that our plane was being followed from point to point.

By then, it was the middle of the night, and outside it was coal black. Over the desert, there was no radar control to direct the plane: Only about 20 minutes before arriving was I told that Entebbe was to be our final destination.

But how to land? Our landing lights were off. I was mostly flying blind. Too terrified and exhausted to land the plane properly, I insisted my copilot take over controls. Daniel Lom was brought back into the cockpit, where he took control of the aircraft. Böse then contacted East African Airways, who gave us precise directions on where and how to land. Thank God for that: The Entebbe airway controller spoke a mixture of Swahili and English, and I didn’t understand a word he said.

Thankfully, the airport’s lights were on. I saw other planes landing in the near distance. At 3 a.m., we were finally permitted to land, but with strict instructions to remain on board. Except for Böse who quickly left, none of us moved. Outside, terrorists and Ugandan soldiers stood on guard brandishing guns.

As morning broke, dozens of additional troops gathered on the tarmac — our welcoming committee. They gave us breakfast; by midday, we were herded off the plane, with Ugandan guns pointed at us. There were two terminals — an old one and a new one. The soldiers shepherded us into the old terminal, which was located 100 meters from the plane and used as a warehouse. The station was filthy and dilapidated; the facilities inadequate for 258 people. Mattresses were strewn on the floor, still in their plastic wrappers — gifts from the Canadian Red Cross. We slept two to a mattress: The bedbugs were ferocious. They dug into our skin. There were bathrooms with showers in the back. The toilets kept clogging and backing up, and there were few towels. Many of us shared the same one. Despite our exhaustion and the filth surrounding us, we did our best to accommodate each other.

When Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, resplendent in his army fatigues, paid us his first visit later that day, many Israelis applauded, thinking he had come to our rescue. Idi Amin had been on good terms with Israel in the past. They were disillusioned soon enough. After bidding us “Shalom” and telling us he was our friend, he blamed Israel for our troubles and threatened to have us killed if our governments did not comply with the hijackers’ demands: The release of 53 Arab and German terrorists, 40 of whom were held by Israel, and the rest by West Germany, Kenya, France, and Switzerland. If these prisoners weren’t released by 2:00 pm Israel time on Thursday, we were told, they would begin executing the Jewish passengers.

However, we knew nothing of this. The terrorists didn’t talk to us. What we did know was that they were preparing for something dreadful. Kuhlmann, who hated Jews, began separating them from the other passengers. Some have since argued that only Israelis were isolated. That’s not what I saw. A Jewish American – Cohen – was included in the group, as were other Jews of various nationalities. They placed them in an adjacent room. They told us they had to do that because the main hall couldn’t accommodate everyone, but as a World War II veteran, I well understood what separating Jews meant.

On Wednesday, they freed 47 hostages. Many were French citizens, including Arabs who boarded in Athens. The crew and I had the option to leave with them. That’s when I took a principled stand. I told my crew that it is our moral and professional duty to remain with the passengers until the end, no matter what happens. During World War II, no crew member was permitted to leave their passengers alone, whatever their nationality. I was staying, I told them, but whether they did or didn’t was up to them, although I made it very clear what I expected of them.

Everyone, without exception, stayed. Thank God for that. The passengers were terrified. We were all terrified. None of us knew what to expect. However, it was our job to comfort them, which wasn’t easy to do. It was excruciatingly hot, and we were listless. We had no energy to do anything. Despite that, parents kept the children from running outside. The situation was life and death. Over 100 Ugandan soldiers surrounded the terminal. If anyone stepped out, even for a second, they would be shot. I don’t know how those parents managed. There was no place for the children to play. There was no music, no radio, absolutely nothing. All we did was talk to one another.

“Israel won’t abandon us; they’ll come to our rescue,” the Israelis assured us. Did I believe that? Perhaps on some subconscious level, I, too, waited for the Israelis to arrive. Maybe that’s why when the shooting started early Sunday morning; I was only half surprised. However, during those long, lingering, tension-filled days and nights, all we could do was hope that discussions between the PFLP representatives and the various governments were fruitful.

By Thursday morning, they released 101 non-Jewish prisoners, which was a huge tactical error on the terrorists’ part. These hostages later described the terrorist positions to the Israeli rescue mission in minute detail. The remaining 98 Jewish hostages then joined us in the main hall. Throughout, we remained ignorant about how the negotiations were going. We didn’t know that Israel had fallaciously agreed to the hijackers’ demands and that Idi Amin, impatient to attend the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Mauritius, convinced the PFLP representatives to extend the deadline for executing the Jews by 72 hours.

We also didn’t know that the Israelis were carefully interrogating the released hostages, and obtained from them a precise lay of the land. They learned that ten terrorists guarded us with machine guns and explosives who worked in shifts, two resting in the adjacent VIP lounge at any one time, and that at midnight we were commanded to lie on our mattresses; that by 1:00 am, we were usually asleep. This was crucial information, as it meant that after 1:00 am, only the terrorists were standing. As well, we were unaware that the Israelis had blueprints of the old terminal; Israeli architects and construction workers had designed and built it years before.

Operation Thunderbolt, as it was called, was one of the most daring rescue missions ever carried out. The plan called for Israeli Lockheed C-130 Hercules air transports to land undetected in Entebbe under cover of night, and for commandos to get from the airport to the terminal building unchallenged. At midnight Uganda time on July 4, the first Hercules landed, flown by Lt. Col. Joshua Shani and loaded with 72 tons of hardware. Lieutenant Colonel Yoni Netanyahu, the second-in-command, was on board.

Within moments, paratroopers from the Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s elite counterterrorism unit, jumped out to install landing beacons in case the terminal lights were turned off and made for the old terminal – their mission was to eliminate the soldiers on guard outside. Meanwhile, a black Mercedes limousine drove out, carrying a cardboard license plate and little Ugandan flags flapping in the wind. Two Land Rovers followed the Mercedes, the whole procession simulating a presidential escort. Riding in the Mercedes was Deputy Commander Moshe “Muki” Betser with an additional eight commandos. It was their job to rescue the hostages.

Driving at a steady 40 miles an hour, the Mercedes and Land Rovers drove past the Ugandan guards, unchallenged. It was when another guard suspected a problem and raised his gun to stop the escort, 70 meters short of the terminal building, that shooting erupted. There was then a mad dash over the remaining stretch, with gunfire resounding from all directions. Meanwhile, two other C-130s packed with 27 additional commandos and paratroopers descended onto the tarmac, guided by the beacons. Their task was to deal with the Ugandan soldiers, the Ugandan Air Force MiG-17s and MiG-21s, and to seize the new terminal and control tower. A fourth transport arrived shortly afterward.

Of course, we knew none of that. Hunkering down for the night, we sensed a tension in the air. The terrorists were agitated. Shooting soon shattered the stillness of the night.

“Stay down,” a German standing beside Lemoine’s mattress yelled.

Another threatened to kill us all should anyone come to our rescue. It was light inside, but outside it was pitch black. The German ran out and started shooting, but couldn’t see what he was shooting at. Everything was confused.

Within seconds, the Israelis burst into the room, killing the terrorists who stood out like ducks in a shooting gallery. One group closed the back doors to keep the Ugandan soldiers out, while the second group helped the prisoners. “Stay down. Stay down,” they rapidly commanded in Hebrew. Tragically, two prisoners stood up and were immediately gunned down. The Israelis assured us that it would all be over within half an hour. We heard gunfire outside; Ugandan soldiers were returning fire. Despite that, and right on schedule, the Israelis secured the two terminal buildings and control tower. Idi Amin and his senior officers, thinking that this was a coup, took shelter.

“Leave your belongings behind,” the Israelis commanded. Then they quickly rushed us onto a waiting Hercules that had taxied up to the old terminal. The entire operation, from start to finish, took 53 minutes, according to Israeli Chief of Staff General Mordechai Gur, two minutes under its rehearsal time. In all, seven terrorists died, as did 20 Ugandan soldiers, and tragically, three hostages, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Netanyahu, shot outside the terminal. Dora Bloch, an elderly lady, hospitalized in Kampala, was later killed by Amin’s thugs in retaliation for the raid; shortly afterward, four Ugandan flight attendants were executed for failing to see the approaching C-130s.

On board the plane, emotions ran high. There are no words to express our gratitude and relief. We couldn’t believe it was over. We stopped in Nairobi, Kenya for refueling, where the wounded were hospitalized. My future friend Sorin Herschu, one of the most courageous men I know, was among them.

Our flight back was uneventful. To keep off the Egyptian, Sudanese, and Saudi Arabian radar, the Hercules flew at less than 100 feet above the surface of the Gulf of Suez. Israeli fighter planes met us en route and escorted us to Tel Nof Air Base near Rehovot. We rested there and were given clothes and shoes, some of us having arrived in slippers. Our reception was magnanimous. Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres were on hand. They thanked us warmly for our courage and dedication throughout. We were debriefed and then flown to Tel Aviv, where we were ecstatically greeted by thousands of Israelis. The excitement of that spontaneous reception and the sense of comradery we all felt remains with me to this day.

After a quick meal in a hotel with the French ambassador to Israel, the crew and I flew back home, where our reception there was not as warm or as animated as in Israel. The minister of transport was too busy playing bridge to show up, and another minister sent his assistant in his stead. Air France, though, came through beautifully. Throughout that terrible week, officials continually kept in touch with my wife, keeping her updated on whatever information they had.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t traumatized by what happened. After 15 days of recuperation leave, I asked that my first flight back at work be to Tel Aviv. I needed to know how I would react to being there, and I felt fine. Those horrifying seven days are still with me. It’s not something one ever forgets. However, I rarely think about them now. The experience made me a lot more philosophical about life. I don’t take problems to heart as much as before. I try to remain happy and composed, reminding myself that it could always be worse. It’s an attitude that continues to serve me well.


Originally published in Mishpacha, July 2, 2014, p. 52-58, edited and expanded version


Is the Las Vegas Mass-Murderer a Terrorist?: National Review, Oct. 2, 2017 — In Las Vegas, (at least 58) people are dead, and perhaps hundreds of others have been injured, in the deadliest mass-shooting attack in American history.

The Big Middle East Lie: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 2, 2017— Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, the 37-year-old Palestinian terrorist who on September 25 murdered three Israelis at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, had a permit from the Israeli authorities to work in Israel.


Hamas Masquerade: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Oct. 1, 2017 — It took Hamas 10 years to completely ruin the Gaza Strip and prove to all that it can't and is not worthy of ruling over its inhabitants.

Interpol and the Palestinians: Where’s a Cop When You Need One?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Oct. 2, 2017 — The good news is that Interpol apparently isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe.


On Topic Links


Palestinian Leaders Unite in Praise of Deadly Terror Attack: United With Israel, Sept. 27, 2017

Don't be Fooled by Hamas and Fatah Reconciliation in Gaza: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 28, 2017

Iran and Hamas Reconnect: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Sept. 25, 2017

Abbas Says No to 'Hezbollah Model' in Gaza as Hamas Hopes to Retain Armed Wing: Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz, Sept. 30, 2017


AS WE GO TO PRESS: EDMONTON ATTACK SUSPECT CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER: A suspect has been charged in an attack in which an Edmonton officer was stabbed and four people were injured when they were hit by a rental truck fleeing police. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder, five counts of dangerous driving and one weapons-related charge. Although police have said that terrorism charges are expected, none has been laid so far. Sharif, who is 30, is a Somali refugee once investigated for allegedly espousing extremism. Edmonton police…said the events of Saturday night appear to have been the work of a single person. It started when a police officer handling crowd control at a football game was hit by a speeding car that rammed through a barrier and sent him flying five metres through the air. The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing the officer. A suspect was taken into custody by police hours later after a chase through downtown Edmonton in which four pedestrians were purposely hit by the driver… (National Post, Oct. 2, 2017)




Andrew C. McCarthy

National Review, Oct. 2, 2017


In Las Vegas, (at least 58) people are dead, and perhaps hundreds of others have been injured, in the deadliest mass-shooting attack in American history. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old Nevadan believed to be the lone gunman, fired upon attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort across the street. He killed himself before police reached him.


As we begin to process what has happened, it is important to remember — as we have learned from too many of these incidents — that initial reports are often wrong. We must wait for investigators and responsible journalists to do their work before we can have a clear picture of what happened.


On that score, news reports this morning are already referring to this atrocity as a “terrorist attack.” And that was even before the Islamic State jihadist organization claimed responsibility for the attack, a claim that has just been reported by the Washington Examiner. ISIS offered no proof of its assertions that Paddock was a recent convert to Islam and had carried out the massacre on the terror network’s behalf. Again, we cannot assess it until the investigation unfolds.


Clearly, Paddock did terrorize a community, particularly an event attended by 22,000 people, at least hundreds of whom he put in mortal peril. Does that make him a terrorist? Let’s put the unverified ISIS claims aside. If Paddock was a lone gunman acting independently and not under the influence of any organization or ideology, the answer to the question may depend on which law we apply — the federal penal code or Nevada’s criminal law.


We’ve recently had occasion to consider federal terrorism law in connection with a discussion over whether the violent “Antifa” movement should be legally designated as a terrorist organization. Under the U.S. penal code (section 2331(5) of Title 18), a violent act meets the definition of “domestic terrorism” if the actor was seeking: (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.


Many (perhaps most) mass killings will meet this test. Plainly, shooting at a crowd is an act of intimidation. But as the word “coerce” (also in that first clause) implies, the federal terrorism statute speaks to intimidation or coercion of a civilian population toward some identifiable objective. This kind of intimidation is easy to make out when the aggressor is a jihadist, whether associated with an outfit such as ISIS or merely “inspired by” sharia-supremacist ideology (which seeks the imposition of sharia law and to force changes in American policy). Establishing such intimidation is also straightforward when a group with a radical political agenda, such as Antifa, is involved. It is more difficult, though, when we are dealing with a lone gunman…

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



THE BIG MIDDLE EAST LIE                                                               

Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 2, 2017


Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, the 37-year-old Palestinian terrorist who on September 25 murdered three Israelis at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, had a permit from the Israeli authorities to work in Israel. His family and friends say he also had a good life and was considered lucky to have been employed by Jews because he received a higher salary and was protected by Israeli labor laws. The night before Jamal set out in his murderous mission, he spent a few hours at the fitness gym in his village, located only a few miles away from Har Adar.


So, Jamal, the murderer of the three Israelis (two of the victims were Arab Israelis), was not poor. He was not unemployed. In fact, according his friends, Jamal earned much more than what a senior police officer or school teacher working for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas brings home every month. What was it, then, that drove Jamal to his murderous scheme, gunning down three young men who were supposed to be facilitating his entry into Israel? Was it because he could not provide for his children? No. Was it because his landlord was pressuring him about the rent? No: Jamal lived in a nice place of his own, complete with furniture, appliances and bedrooms that any family in the West would be proud to own.


Jamal wanted to murder Jews because he believed this was a noble deed that would earn him the status of shaheed (martyr) and hero among his family, friends and society. In Palestinian culture in particular, and Arab culture in general, murderers of Jews are glorified on a daily basis. They are touted as the lucky ones who are now in the company of Prophet Mohammed and the angels in Paradise. Male terrorists are also busy with the 72 virgins they were awarded as a prize for murdering Jews. The murderers — as Muslim clerics and leaders hammer into the heads of Palestinians — are also given access to rivers of honey and fine drinks once they set foot in their imaginary Paradise.


Jamal's friends and family are now convinced that he has been rewarded by Allah and Prophet Mohammed in Paradise for murdering three Israelis. They do not care about his children, whom he left behind, and certainly not about the families of the three Israelis he murdered. In his village and on social media, Jamal is being hailed as a hero and martyr. Not a single Palestinian has come out against the cowardly terror attack by a man who took advantage of a permit from the Israeli authorities to commit a terror attack.


The Jewish families that once employed Jamal as a cleaner had trusted him. They had opened their homes and hearts, as well as their wallets, to him. The Israeli authorities wanted to trust him and see him as a normal person who just wanted a job with a decent income to support his family. But Jamal, like many other Palestinians, betrayed the trust the Jews gave him. He chose to stab in the back the same people who had gone out of their way to help him. Sadly, this terrorist also betrayed the cause of thousands of Palestinian workers who enter Israel for work every day. These workers stand to lose the most from Jamal's terror attack and treachery. Luckily for them, the Israeli authorities are saying that the Har Adar murder will not affect Israel's policy of granting permits to Palestinians to work inside Israel, because the vast majority are not involved in violence.


The Har Adar murders ought to teach us at least one thing: that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about the economy or improving the living conditions of the Palestinians. Jamal, who had a job and freedom of movement and a lovely apartment, surely proves this point, as do the murders or attempted murders by other well-to-do terrorists such as Mohammad Atta, Osama bin Laden, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and many others. Jamal's bloody lesson, however, apparently still needs to be learned by the West, which, despite all evidence, doggedly persists in drawing an unbroken line between Palestinian terrorism and poverty.


Jamal, however, is far from the first terrorist to convey this crucial lesson: most Palestinian terrorists over the past decades were educated and had jobs. Some Palestinian suicide bombers were nurses, schoolteachers and lawyers. Some came from middle class and even wealthy families and clans. Money and education, however, did not stop them from committing atrocities against Israelis. Terrorists like Jamal are motivated by deep hatred for Jews and Israel. They have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by their leaders and Muslim religious clerics into believing that Jews are evil and need to be eliminated by all available means.


Not a single terrorist has complained of carrying out an attack because he or she were starving, had no food for the children and were unable to buy ice cream from the local grocery store. The terrorists, in fact, spell it out as it is: they openly announce that they are motivated by their indoctrinated hatred for Israel and Jews. This is what the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic propaganda machine has done to generations of Arabs and Muslims. Officials and people in the West may deny what they hear as hard as they like; but the terrorists could not be more are honest about what their murderous motives are.


What, then, about those on the West who continue to talk about the conflict as if it were about creating new jobs and paving roads and improving infrastructure for the Palestinians? This seems to be the approach endorsed in the U.S. by Donald Trump's administration. There is nothing wrong, of course, with boosting the economy and creating job opportunities. This might have a moderating effect on a few Palestinians. They will be happy to see a better economy and a drop in the unemployment rate. Such measures, however, will never change the hearts and minds of Palestinians. Palestinians will never recognize Israel's right to exist because Americans and Europeans built them an industrial park somewhere in the West Bank. Over the past 25 years, the Palestinians have received billions of dollars in aid from the international community. When they headed to the ballot boxes, they voted for Hamas because it told them it will destroy Israel. Palestinians are most likely to vote for Hamas once again if free and democratic elections were held tomorrow in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


We might remember this as Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, returns to our region to discuss ways of reviving the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The Trump administration and Jason Greenblatt seem to have bought the lie that "It's about money, stupid." No. The conflict is about an unbendable refusal to allow a Jewish Israel to exist in the Middle East. It is about the abiding interest in the Arab and Islamic world to obliterate Israel and murder Jews. It is about the ongoing, bloody Arab and Islamic incitement against Israel and Jews. Jobs are not the problem, and they are not the solution. Let us pay attention to reality for a change: Jamal and his fellow terrorists can teach us something — if only we would listen.




HAMAS MASQUERADE                                       

                                                Prof. Eyal Zisser

Israel Hayom, Oct. 1, 2017


It took Hamas 10 years to completely ruin the Gaza Strip and prove to all that it can't and is not worthy of ruling over its inhabitants. A decade after the terrorist organization forcefully seized control of the coastal enclave its government has crumbled, but more importantly, the situation for the people of Gaza has never been more desperate. Unemployment and poverty are rampant, quality of life is in sharp decline and infrastructure is collapsing. There has only been steady progress in one area – tunnel digging along the border with Israel is prospering and the group has expanded its missile arsenal.


The first place Hamas has looked for a solution is Tehran, which is looking to bring the group back into its fold after several years of severed ties. The Arab spring revolution in Egypt and Syria distanced Hamas from Iran, bringing it closer to Turkey and even Qatar. These Sunni countries have been a disappointment and their ability to help the organization has been and remains limited. Hamas can only receive unlimited weapons and money from the Iranians, even if doing so means it must sharply alter its positions. This pertains, for example, to the Sunni rebel groups in Syria, which Hamas has supported over the years but now must abandon.


At the same time Hamas is also working to improve its relations with the Palestinian Authority; more precisely it is trying to turn the PA into a human shield to perpetuate its rule over Gaza. In this context, Hamas' leaders declared an end to the "Hamas government" in Gaza, and their willingness to give the keys to Gaza to the Palestinian national unity government sitting in Ramallah. This is merely a charade, however, as Hamas is unwilling to truly relinquish its power and will not allow, for instance, the PA's security apparatus to deploy in Gaza. In this vein, it will permit the PA and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, to resolve the electricity crisis in Gaza and to try improving the economic situation there. Meanwhile, Hamas will still reserve ultimate say in Gaza and will be the only entity with weapons.


Hamas, therefore, is trying to mimic the Lebanese model. In Lebanon, the government maintains diplomatic relations with the international community and is responsible for the welfare of the population and bettering the economy; Hezbollah, meanwhile, is the driving military force without bearing governmental responsibility for the fate of Lebanon. This is a comfortable arrangement, as the Lebanese government provides protection for Hezbollah and mainly absolves it of any responsibility for the Lebanese population.


Abbas does have reasons to be happy with this arrangement, as it means the economic pressure and sanctions he has imposed on Hamas has borne fruit. Egypt, too, is satisfied and continues to advance Palestinian reconciliation, in the hopes that such a development will empower its protégé, Mohammed Dahlan, in Gaza and perhaps the West Bank as well. Without a doubt, however, the main winner is Hamas, which will cede governmental responsibility for the economy and welfare, which it never cared for regardless, in exchange for a security blanket from the PA and perhaps Egypt. All the while it will continue ruling the Strip with an iron fist.


Hamas' game is obvious, but its decision to pursue a two-pronged course of reconciliation with the PA and Iran poses a challenge to Israel. During Operation Protective Edge, Israel allowed Hamas to remain in power in Gaza because it believed that doing so would render it deterred and restricted. Now, however, Hamas is trying to shed these restrictions and essentially erase Israel's leverage against it. Israel cannot allow this to happen.                                                           





Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, Oct. 2, 2017


The good news is that Interpol apparently isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe. The bad news is that the international community just gave another seal of approval to those who traffic in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA), just as it has done at other international organizations, recently gained admittance to Interpol by an overwhelming vote of member nations.


Though the PA does autonomously govern most of the West Bank, it doesn’t exercise sovereign control over any territory. But the international community has nevertheless embraced every opportunity to grant recognition to Palestinian Arab aspirations for statehood — without first forcing them to conclude a peace with Israel that could resolve the dispute by the two peoples over one, small land.


The latest move sounds scarier than some of the others, because most of us assume that Interpol is an international police force with power to make arrests and act with impunity around the globe. Yet it turns out that this perception of Interpol is misleading. Interpol has no law enforcement agents, and arrests no one. It is merely a coordinating group that functions as an administration liaison between police departments of different countries. It does help fight international crime by making the large database that it maintains available to law enforcement agencies — but that’s about the extent of it.


One thing that members of Interpol can do is to issue so-called “red notices” about outstanding criminals; but these are not international arrest warrants. Nevertheless, this raises the possibility that the PA might copy the practice of leftist foes of Israel in various Western countries, who seek to indict Israeli officials on bogus allegations of war crimes. The US has already said it won’t recognize any red notices from the PA. And since the PA is dependent on cooperation with Israeli security agencies to defend themselves against Hamas and more radical opponents, this would be a risky strategy. If the PA does use the tactic, it would probably be directed against Palestinian political foes, rather than Israelis.


Seen in that light, the Interpol vote can be viewed as just another meaningless gesture that does nothing to advance peace — or Palestinian aspirations for actual statehood. But the decision is not entirely harmless — because the same PA that just joined Interpol actually funds terrorism. The PA pays salaries and pensions to Palestinians who commit terrorism against Israelis and others (including Americans). This program has an ascending scale of compensation, which gives greater rewards for more serious crimes involving bloodshed. The PA’s education system and official media also incite hate, and applaud acts of terror on a regular basis. Just last week, Abbas’ Fatah party lauded a deadly attack that resulted in the killing of an Israeli Border Police officer and two security guards, one of whom was an Arab Israeli. And now, the family of the slain terrorist can expect a generous pension from the PA.


Though some excuse this practice of paying terrorists as a legitimate aspect of their political culture, it is one more indication that Palestinians are still stuck fighting the same war on Zionism and Israel that they’ve been fighting for a century. And it illustrates the folly of any policy towards the Palestinians that does not start with an effort to impress upon them the necessity to accept the existence of a Jewish state. Until Israel makes it clear that its existence is conclusive and final, no peace plan, including a two-state solution, will be possible.


Unlike its predecessor, the Trump administration has made it clear that it regards the PA’s attitude toward terror as an impediment to peace. Congress might be on its way to passing the Taylor Force Act, which is named for an American veteran who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist; the bill would make future aid to the PA contingent on ending its incitement and terror funding. But with the Interpol vote, the world has once again sent the opposite message to the Palestinians about terror and ending the conflict. A group that honors and pays terrorists rather than arresting them just joined the international law enforcement establishment. Israelis, Jews and Americans that are targeted for death by Palestinians are justified in wondering: where’s a cop when you need one?



On Topic Links


Palestinian Leaders Unite in Praise of Deadly Terror Attack: United With Israel, Sept. 27, 2017 —The reactions to Tuesday morning’s terror attack that left three Israelis dead by the two largest Palestinian factions were of full endorsement and support for the terrorist’s actions.

Don't be Fooled by Hamas and Fatah Reconciliation in Gaza: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 28, 2017—Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar is ready to hand over the civil administration of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Don't be fooled by this gesture.

Iran and Hamas Reconnect: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Sept. 25, 2017—With an eye to Syria’s postwar period, Iran is working to unite the ranks of the “resistance camp” to continue the struggle against Israel and deepen the dissension in the Arab world. Iran views Hamas, despite its independent path, as an important element of this camp that challenges not only Israel but also the main members of the “moderate” Arab camp, and hence contributes to bolstering its influence in the region.

Abbas Says No to 'Hezbollah Model' in Gaza as Hamas Hopes to Retain Armed Wing: Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz, Sept. 30, 2017—Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and senior Palestinian Authority officials issued further declarations over the weekend about their commitment to reconcile and said both sides are committed to moving the process ahead.






How has the Face of Islamic Terrorism Changed Since 9/11?: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Sept. 11, 2017— 'Where were you on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001?' is to Millennials what 'Where were you when Kennedy was shot?' is to Baby Boomers…

Israel’s Bombing of a Weapons Factory in Syria: What Comes Next?: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Sept. 10, 2017— This week Israel bombed a site in Syria, from Lebanese air space.

Where is the Middle East Headed?: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Aug. 24, 2017— Since the Middle East events of 2011 (mislabeled "the Arab Spring"), the region has been in turmoil.

If Israel Played by America's Rules, Iraq and Syria Would Have Nuclear Weapons: Zev Chafets, Washington Post, Sept. 11, 2017— Israel and North Korea are on opposite sides of the Asian landmass, separated by 5,000 miles.


On Topic Links


In Israel, a 9/11 Memorial Like No Other (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 11, 2017

Israel Just Showed What a ‘Red Line’ is Really Supposed to Mean: Benny Avni, New York Post, Sept. 7, 2017

The Next Middle East War: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2017

Iran Versus Turkey, Again: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 22, 2017





Charles Bybelezer

The Media Line, Sept. 11, 2017


'Where were you on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001?' is to Millennials what 'Where were you when Kennedy was shot?' is to Baby Boomers; namely, questions representing moments that became etched into the nation's collective consciousness and subsequently shaped the views and experiences of a generation. On 9/11, as it would come simply to be known, Americans awoke to scenes of previously unwitnessed carnage on their home soil, as two commercial jets hijacked by al-Qaida terrorists slammed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.


Less than two hours later, the massive buildings, a symbol of US ingenuity, economic might and perhaps, until then, perceived invincibility, came crashing down in a heap of shattered humanity. Concurrently, a third plane was flown into the Pentagon, the emblem of American military dominance in a unipolar world while a fourth hijacked airliner was, heroically, downed by passengers in a Pennsylvania field while en route to the White House, where the leader of the free world resides. When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, 2,997 people were dead, another 6,000 were injured and the course of history was changed forever.


Prior to 9/11, terrorism, while rarely crossing the mind of the average individual, was viewed by analysts mainly as a geopolitical weapon limited primarily in scope to the Middle East. There had, of course, been various remarkable attacks outside the region such as the Munich Olympic Massacre in 1972 by the Black September Palestinian group, but that targeted Israelis. The 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, which killed 259 passengers and crew aboard Pan Am Flight 103, was attributed to then-Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi and was therefore viewed foremost through the prism of Mideast turmoil.


But 9/11 was different. While there were political undertones, it was inarguably religiously motivated, with Osama Bin Laden making clear that Islamic jihad was the driving force behind his targeting of America. The attack also brought into stark focus a fringe subject that had otherwise been relegated to the margins of the western psyche. In response, the US launched the "War on Terror" with a full-blown invasion of Afghanistan, where al-Qaida was being harbored by the Taliban. At the time, the terror organization was highly centralized and Washington's ostensible goal was to neutralize the group's capabilities by decimating its "core."


Even while on the defensive, though, attacks continued in the image of the "9/11 model," with al-Qaida orchestrating the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 192 people and injured some 2,000, and the multi-pronged attack in London the following year, which killed 52 people and injured hundreds more. Other groups that had either direct ties to al-Qaida, had sworn allegiance to it or merely shared its ideology carried out major acts of terrorism targeting foreign nationals or non-Muslims in, among other places, Bali in 2002 (202 dead), Turkey in 2003 (57 dead) and Morocco that same year (45 dead).


By the turn of the decade, however, mass-casualty attacks had become less frequent, as western forces were largely successful in destroying al-Qaida's infrastructure in Afghanistan, while intelligence agencies became much more adept at collecting the information necessary to thwart terrorism. But while Osama and his henchmen were on the run in the far-east, an offshoot was becoming firmly entrenched in nearby Iraq. And it is there, amid the American-led war, that the nature of terrorism would change once more.


The Islamic State originated around the year 2000 as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which would pledge allegiance to al-Qaida before participating in the post-2003 western invasion insurgency. During the ensuing decade, the group drew support from the local Sunni population that viewed itself as being under siege while over time becoming increasingly independent. In the process, ISIS was empowered to such a degree that it was able to take over large swaths of territory and, by 2014, declare the formation of a "caliphate" — a state run according to strict, fundamental readings of Islamic law —spanning some 75,000 square kilometers across both Iraq and Syria. At its peak, ISIS comprised some 30,000 fighters (many of them recruits from the West), had an annual operating budget of an estimated $1 billion and governed up to 10 million people under its bootstrap.


From its base, like al-Qaida before it, ISIS was able to coordinate large-scale operations against the West, specifically in Europe, where Paris in particular was brought to its knees in November 2015, with a spectacularly brutal attack targeting multiple venues that killed 130 people. But so too, as in the case of al-Qaida, the West would strike back, with ISIS since having lost nearly 75% of its territory in Iraq and 60% in Syria as a result of an ongoing US-led military effort which includes some 70 other states…

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



Charles Bybelezer is a Former CIJR Publications Manager






Elliott Abrams

Council on Foreign Relations, Sept. 10, 2017


This week Israel bombed a site in Syria, from Lebanese air space. This was the so-called Scientific Studies and Researchers Center in Masyaf, a city in central Syria, and it was hit because it is a military site where chemical weapons and precision bombs are said to be produced. Israel had made clear in a series of statements in the last six months that such a facility in Syria producing such weapons for use by Hezbollah against Israel would not be tolerated.


I was reminded of 2007 and 2008, when Israeli officials repeatedly told me and other American officials that the rocketing of Israel by Hamas in Gaza was intolerable. If it does not stop, they said, an operation is inevitable. They meant it, and the result was Operation Cast Lead, which began on December 27, 2008. We in the Bush administration had been given fair warning.


Today again, Israel has given the United States fair warning that there are limits to what Israel will tolerate in Iranian conduct and the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has long intervened, perhaps 100 times over the years, to stop advanced weaponry from being transferred by Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Those were moving targets: caravans of trucks carrying such weaponry. But this week there was a stationary target, and I imagine the decision to fire from Lebanese air space was also a message—to Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.


On August 23, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The goal, I believe, was to tell Putin certain actions by Iran in Syria would be intolerable, and to ask him to restrain Iran—his ally in Syria. Putin’s reply was negative. In effect, he told Netanyahu “I’m not restraining you and I’m not restraining them. Not my job. Take care of your own security.” Having learned that there would be no help from that quarter, the Israelis acted. The Russians seem not to object: Netanyahu is doing what he said he would do, and what Putin would do in a similar situation.


Israel is also acting in part because the United States does not seem willing to restrain Iran in any serious way in Syria. We are doing less, not more, while the Assad regime’s forces and Iran’s gain ground. Some news stories have suggested that war between Hezbollah and Israel is very likely now. In my view, the chances may have risen but I do not see why it is in Hezbollah’s interest to start such a war now. They are deeply involved in Syria, and they—and Iran—appear to be gaining ground steadily. Why start a war that may well involve Syria as well, with unpredictable effects on the conflict there? Why not continue making gains in Syria, and consolidate those gains?


Bottom line: Israel is protecting its security, exactly as it has been telling the world it would. Israel’s strategic situation has been seriously damaged in the last several years because there is now an Iranian presence in Syria. The Israelis are not going to go into Syria and try to drive Iran, the Shia militias, and Hezbollah out, but they are trying to establish some limits to acceptable Iranian behavior.


In my view this ought to be part of U.S. policy in the region as well. We do appear to have taken control of the Bab el Mandab strait leading to the Suez Canal, making it clear that Iran would not be permitted to threaten shipping there (on the seas or via missiles supplied to Houthi rebels in Yemen). We have not stopped Iran from threatening our ships in the Gulf. Candidate Trump said a year ago that “by the way, with Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures that our people — that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,” but Iran has continued to do this after a brief pause right after Trump’s inauguration. And the administration has not clarified its policies in Iraq and Syria when it comes to limiting Iran’s provocative and aggressive behavior.


What lies ahead is unclear because we cannot predict whether Iran will decide that the limits Israel is imposing are acceptable. Iran could well conclude that it does not absolutely need to have factories producing precision weapons in Syria. Iran can continue as it has for years producing such weapons in Iran and trying to move them to Hezbollah by land or sea. What would be useful at this point, it seems to me, is a statement by the United States that we approve of the action Israel took, and that in the event of a conflict Israel would have our support in defending itself—for example by allowing the Israelis to have access to the stocks of weapons that we store in Israel. This is the billion-dollar stockpile of ammunition, vehicles, and missiles in the “War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel.” Such a statement might, like the Israeli bombing of the weapons factory in Syria, help persuade Iran and Syria to observe the limits Israel is imposing, and might help avoid a wider conflict.

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





WHERE IS THE MIDDLE EAST HEADED?                            

Prof. Efraim Inbar       

Israel Hayom, Aug. 24, 2017


Since the Middle East events of 2011 (mislabeled "the Arab Spring"), the region has been in turmoil. The inability of the Arab statist structures to overcome domestic cleavages became very clear. Even before 2011, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, as well as the Palestinian Authority failed to hold together. After 2011, Syria and Yemen descended into a state of civil war. Similarly, Egypt underwent a political crisis, allowing for the emergence of an Islamist regime. It took a year for a military coup to restore the praetorian ancient regime. All Arab republican regimes were under stress. While the monarchies weathered the political storm, their future stability is not guaranteed.


Growing Islamist influence put additional pressure on the Arab states. The quick rise of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq was the most dramatic expression of this phenomenon that spread beyond the borders of the Middle East. Despite its expected military defeat, the ideology behind the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and variants of radical Islam remain resonant in many Muslim quarters. Therefore, the pockets containing ISIS and al-Qaida followers, as well as the stronger Muslim Brotherhood are likely to continue to challenge peace and stability in the Middle East and elsewhere.


The Sunni-Shiite divide, a constant feature of Middle Eastern politics, has become more dominant as Iran becomes increasingly feared. The 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) between Iran and world powers has been generally viewed in the Middle East as an Iranian (Shiite, Persian) diplomatic victory. Shiite-dominated Iraq (excluding the Kurdish region) turned into an Iranian satellite as well, while the military involvement of Iran and its proxies on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria appears to achieve the completion of a Shiite corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean. Iran continues its long-range missile program unabated and makes progress even in the nuclear arena within the limits of the flawed JCPOA. Its proxies rule Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sanaa, signaling increasing Iranian clout.


In contrast, the Sunni powers display weakness. Saudi Arabia (together with Sunni Turkey) failed to dislodge Assad, Iran's ally, in Syria. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman‎ pushed Saudi Arabia into a more muscular posture, but failed to win the civil war in Yemen — its backyard. Moreover, Riyadh has not been successful so far in strong-arming its small neighbor Qatar into dropping its pro-Islamist and pro-Iranian policies.


Egypt is an important Arab Sunni state in the moderate camp. Yet the traditional weight it has carried in the Arab world is lighter nowadays, primarily because of its immense economic troubles. Providing food for the Egyptian people is Cairo's first priority. At the same time, Cairo is fighting an Islamist insurgence at home. This situation, which leaves little energy for regional endeavors, is hardly going to change any time soon.


Israel is an informal member of the moderate Sunni camp since it shares its main concern — the Iranian quest for hegemony in the region. While powerful and ready to use force when necessary, Israel, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is reluctant to interfere beyond its borders. This prudent approach is based on the understanding that Israel, a small state endowed with limited resources, lacks the capacity for political engineering in the Middle East. A growing Iranian presence near Israel's borders and the reestablishment of an eastern front might become a serious military challenge.


The disengagement of the U.S. from the Middle East, accentuated by the foreign policy of then-President Barak Obama, continues. Under Obama, the attempts to engage Syria and Iran were generally viewed as weakness, perceptions that were reinforced by the signing of the JCPOA with Iran. The obsessive campaign to defeat ISIS, started by Obama and continued by President Donald Trump, primarily helped Iranian schemes. The new Trump administration has failed so far to formulate a coherent approach to the Middle East. Moreover, the gradual erosion in the U.S. capability to project force into the region amplifies the sense that America has lost the ability to play a role in regional politics. The vacuum created by American feebleness has been filled to some extent by the Russians. The Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war saved the Assad regime from defeat. It constrained Turkey's involvement in Syria and helped Iranian encroachment in the region.


We also see growing Chinese interest. The ambitious One Belt One Road infrastructure project tries to tie the Middle East to Chinese economic and political endeavors. China inaugurated its first overseas naval base in Djibouti in July 2017. Located astride a crucial maritime choke point, the military installation is symbolic of its growing confidence as an emerging global power, capable of projecting military force and directly protecting its interests in the Middle East, Africa and the western Indian Ocean. Yet extra-regional powers can hardly change the political dynamics in the region. The regional forces are usually decisive in determining political outcomes. Moreover, Middle East history provides many examples of external actors being manipulated by regional powers for their own schemes…

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




Zev Chafets

                                                 Washington Post, Sept. 11, 2017


Israel and North Korea are on opposite sides of the Asian landmass, separated by 5,000 miles. But Israelis feels close to the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang. They have faced this sort of crisis before, and may again.


In the mid-1970s, it became clear to Israel that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was working on acquiring nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Saddam had already demonstrated an uninhibited brutality in dealing with his internal enemies and his neighbours. He aspired to be the leader of the Arab world. Defeating Israel was at the top of his to-do list. After coming to office in 1977, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin tried to convince the U.S. and Europe that Saddam was a clear and present danger to the Jewish state, and that action had to be taken. Begin was not taken seriously.


But Begin was serious, and in 1981 he decided that Israel would have to stop the Iraqi dictator all by itself. His political opponents, led by the estimable Shimon Peres, considered this to be dangerous folly. Foreign minister Moshe Dayan, the legendary former military chief of staff, voted against unilateral action on the grounds that it would hurt Israel’s international standing. Defense minister Ezer Weizmann, the former head of the air force (and Dayan’s brother-in-law) was also against a military option. He thought the mission would be unacceptably risky. Begin had no military expertise. But his family had been wiped out in the Holocaust. He looked at Saddam, who was openly threatening Israel, and saw Hitler. To Begin, sitting around hoping for the best was not a strategy; it was an invitation to aggression. If there was going to be a cost—political, diplomatic, military—better to pay before, not after, the Iraqis had the bomb.


In the summer of 1981, Begin gave the order. The Israeli air force destroyed the Osirak reactor. The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack. The Europeans went bonkers. The New York Times called it “inexcusable.” But the Israeli prime minister wasn’t looking to be excused by the Times or the Europeans or even the usually friendly Ronald Reagan administration. He enunciated a simple rationale that would come to be known as the Begin Doctrine: Israel will not allow its avowed enemies to obtain the means of its destruction. The wisdom of this doctrine became clear a decade later, during the Gulf War, when Saddam made good on his threat to fire Russian-made SCUD missiles at Israeli cities. The SCUDs landed, and caused some damage and a fair amount of panic, but they were not armed with unconventional warheads. Israel had taken that option off the table.


Similarly, in 2007, Israel confirmed what it had suspected for five years: Syria, with North Korean help, was trying to build a nuclear reactor. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a Begin disciple, sent Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Washington, to ask for American intervention. The CIA chief, Michael Hayden, agreed with Israel’s contention that Damascus (with Iranian financing) was constructing the reactor. But Hayden convinced President George W. Bush that bombing the site would result in all-out war, and who wants that?


Acting on its own, Israel destroyed the Syrian site (reportedly killing a group of North Korean experts in the process). Hayden was wrong about how Syria would react, as he later admitted. If Israel had been reasonable and listened to the CIA, Bashar al-Assad would have nuclear weapons right now. A few years later, Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-defence minister Ehud Barak spent billions of dollars preparing and training to take out the Iranian nuclear program. Barak, not a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, explained, “There are instances where it appears it is not necessary to attack now, but you know that you won’t be able to attack later.” In such cases, he said, the “consequences of inaction are grave, and you have to act.”


Israel was prevented from kinetic action by the Barack Obama administration, which along with five other powers cut a deal with Iran in 2015—over Israel’s vociferous objections. Netanyahu warned that the deal was full of loopholes; it would allow Iran to hide its nuclear program and continue building new means of delivery. This was confirmed in 2016 when Iran tested a new missile. “The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometres,” Iranian Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said, “is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance.”…

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




On Topic Links


In Israel, a 9/11 Memorial Like No Other (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 11, 2017—Israel’s moving 9/11 memorial, created with remains from the Twin Towers and shaped into an American flag flickering like a flame in the wind, is the only one outside of the US with the name of every victim listed on it. Israel remembers.

Israel Just Showed What a ‘Red Line’ is Really Supposed to Mean: Benny Avni, New York Post, Sept. 7, 2017—A red line’s a red line. That was Israel’s message Wednesday, when it struck a major Syrian arms facility from the air.

The Next Middle East War: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2017 —Israel launched airstrikes on a military compound in Syria on Thursday, and the bombing should alert the Trump Administration as much as the Syrians. They carry a warning about the next war in the Middle East that could draw in the U.S.

Iran Versus Turkey, Again: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 22, 2017—News that Iran’s and Turkey’s governments reached an accord on Idlib, a Syrian town now the focus of American interests, brings relations between the two of the largest and most influential states in the Middle East momentarily out of the shadows.












Canadian Tax Dollars Shouldn't Subsidize Palestinian Terrorists: Casey Babb, National Post, Aug. 1, 2017 — On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist entered the home of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Halamish and killed Yosef Salomon, 70, his daughter Chaya, 46, and son Elad, 36.

How to Sell a Suicide-Bomber Subsidy to Congress: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, Aug. 1, 2017— Husam Zomlot does not have an easy job. He is the Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative in Donald Trump's Washington.

On Terror Payments, Use Taylor Force Act to Call the Palestinians’ Bluff: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Aug. 1, 2017 — The US Congress is just doing what it always does: pandering to the “Israel Lobby.”

Al Jazeera: The Terrorist Propaganda Network: John Rossomando, IPT News, Aug. 4, 2017Al Jazeera's support for terrorism goes far beyond on-air cheerleading.


On Topic Links


How Terrorists Use Foreign Aid to Fund Terror: Doug Lamborn and Elazar Stern, Washington Times, Aug. 1, 2017

Sophisticated Australian Airplane Bombing Plot a Warning To the West: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Aug. 3, 2017

Amid New US Sanctions, How Much of Iran’s Nuclear Deal Relief Funds Terrorism?: Ariel Ben Solomon, JNS, Aug. 8, 2017

India-US Counterterrorism Cooperation: The Way Forward: Vinay Kaura, BESA, August 8, 2017





Casey Babb

National Post, Aug. 1, 2017


On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist entered the home of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Halamish and killed Yosef Salomon, 70, his daughter Chaya, 46, and son Elad, 36. As a result of his attack, the assailant, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed will now be paid more than U.S.$3,120 a month by the Palestinian government.


Learning of this egregious arrangement will likely shock and sicken many of you. But for Israelis, these “pay-for-slay” stipends are nothing new. The Palestinian government has made terrorism the most lucrative job in the West Bank. If the international community continues to turn a blind eye to Palestinian terror payments and the role international aid plays in fuelling this cycle of violence, the conflict will only get worse.


For over 50 years, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have been making financial payments to Palestinian terrorists, prisoners and their families. It was in 1965 when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat established the Society for the Care of the Families of Martyrs (SAMED) that these payments started, at least in any official capacity. Originally called the Palestine Mujahidin and Martyrs Fund in 1964, the fund was created to provide financial compensation for families of deceased terrorists, as well as maimed or captured terrorists. In 1965-1966, it was transferred over from Fatah to the PLO, and renamed SAMED. According to Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, within 15 years of its establishment, this fund was providing pension payments and social assistance payments to more than 20,000 Palestinian families.


Today, the PA is responsible for administering the disbursement of these funds, which are funnelled through the National Palestinian Fund (NPF). The NPF, along with the Institute for Care for the Families of Martyrs, co-ordinates these payments to prisoners, released convicts and deceased terrorists. Embedded in actual Palestinian law, financial support for prisoners and the families of martyrs is rooted in Laws No. 14 and No. 19 of 2004, and Law No. 1 of 2013. Described as “a fighting sector and an integral part of the weave of Arab Palestinian society,” these laws guarantee “the financial rights of the prisoner and his family.” They specifically state that the PA must provide prisoners with a monthly allowance throughout the entirety of their incarceration, as well as salaries and/or jobs upon their release.


To put the $3,120 dollar payment to al-Abed in perspective, consider that the minimum wage in the Palestinian territories is approximately US$397 a month, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Furthermore, nearly 40 per cent of employees in the private sector earn less than the minimum wage in the Palestinian territories. The PCBS also states that, in 2016, nearly 20 per cent of West Bank employees in the private sector earned an average of US$292.


According to a new study by the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, the official 2017 PA Budget has committed to increase the salaries of imprisoned and released terrorists by 13 per cent to U.S.$154.4 million dollars. Moreover, the money allocated for the families of those “martyred” in the conflict against Zionism is set to be approximately US$192 million dollars, or about four to five per cent higher than 2016 figures. All in all, the total PA expenditures set aside in 2017 to pay terrorists and/or their families is set to be in the range of U.S.$344-$346 million. Shockingly, this figure amounts to 49.6 per cent percent of all foreign aid slated to be received by the Palestinian government in 2017.


If you’re wondering where the PLO is getting all of their money, experts such as Yigal Carmon, founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute and Yossi Kuperwasser, Project Director on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, suggest it’s coming primarily from international aid — including aid from Canada. Of particular concern is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Many, including Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, have stated that UNRWA has direct ties to the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas. While the UNRWA lost Government of Canada funding in 2010, following allegations of the organization being connected to Hamas, the Liberal Government announced in November 2016 it would restore funding to UNRWA to the tune of $25 million Canadian dollars. The United States is also a major supporter of the Palestinian Authority. It is abhorrent to think that any money from North America governments might be rewarding terrorism, yet it’s hard to conclude otherwise.


The compensation of terrorists is deeply immoral and incomprehensible in and of itself. But it is most problematic because it undermines peace. In addition to directly violating the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords, paying terrorists incentivizes terrorism, which cyclically fuels conflict, erodes Israeli support for peace talks, and further entrenches Palestinian intolerance and extremism. The international community owes it to Israelis, Palestinians, the Salomon family, and the countless other victims of Palestinian violence and terrorism to raise awareness of Palestinian policies to pay terrorists. If we don’t, only time will tell how many more will suffer.                           




Eli Lake

Bloomberg, Aug. 1, 2017


Husam Zomlot does not have an easy job. He is the Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative in Donald Trump's Washington. And despite Trump's early promise to seek the ultimate deal to bring peace to the Holy Land, his administration is focused on more pressing matters. Zomlot's biggest problem these days is a piece of legislation named for Taylor Force, a former U.S. army officer who was stabbed to death in 2016 when he was in Tel Aviv on tour with his fellow Vanderbilt University graduate students.


When Republican Senator Lindsey Graham learned that the family of the murderer would be receiving a lifetime stipend as part of a Palestinian program to pay the families of so-called martyrs and inmates in Israeli prisons, he drafted legislation to end U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority until the payments ended. The bill is now winding its way through the legislative process and, in some form, will likely end up on the president's desk. While the Trump administration has yet to take a position on it, Zomlot has had the unlucky task of defending the martyr payments to Congress.


In an interview last week, he gave me his argument for why the Palestinian Authority has budgeted more than $300 million for its next fiscal year to pay the families of terrorists and other prisoners. "This is a program that is used…for the victims of the occupation," he said. "It's a program to give the families a dignified life, they are provided for, so they and their kids can lead a different future." He said the money goes to pay for laptop computers and college tuition for children who otherwise would be facing a bleak future, and families who may have their homes razed by the Israelis as punishment for spawning a terrorist.


Zomlot says this gives no incentive for terrorism. Indeed, he assured me that some graduates of "the program" include high-ranking Palestinian security officials that have cooperated with the Israel Defense Forces. (The PLO has administered these martyr payments in some form since 1965.) What's more, he said, if the Palestinian Authority doesn't pay the families of prisoners, more radical groups likely will fill the void. All of this raises an obvious question. If the Palestinian Authority wants to give poor children laptops and college tuition, why not just do that? Why create a special allowance for only the children and families of Palestinians who kill Jews?


And here Zomlot gets to the heart of the matter. "Many of the U.S. officials and lawmakers judge us as if we are in a post-conflict scenario, as we have to behave like a social welfare state, we are not," he told me. "This is a conflict situation." Indeed it is. One needs no further proof of this than the clashes in the last two weeks over Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after three Israeli Arabs launched a shooting spree from the compound that hosts the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Add to this the occupation itself. Palestinians living in the West Bank accused of crimes are given Israeli military trials and almost always convicted. Many of those prisoners have committed ghoulish acts, but many have not, Zomlot said. In this respect, he believes Congress should increase the aid it doles out to the Palestinian Authority, because despite all of this, the Palestinian security forces have helped keep order in the West Bank.  


And that is true. But it's also true that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has in recent years encouraged a resistance to the occupation that is measured in Jewish blood. His Palestinian Authority honors murderers by naming streets and parks after them. When Israel released violent prisoners in 2013 as an inducement to restart peace negotiations, there were official celebrations in Gaza and the West Bank. Two of those released, the cousins Mohammed and Hosni Sawalha, were arrested as teenagers after they entered a bus and began stabbing commuters. Another releasee was Al-Haaj Othman Amar Mustafa, who along with two other assailants posed for a picture outside of the settlement of Ariel with Frederick Steven Rosenfeld, a U.S. Marine who had emigrated to Israel. They confessed to stabbing Rosenfeld and leaving him for dead.


When these prisoners were released in 2013, Abbas personally met them and kissed them on the cheek. "We congratulate ourselves and our families for our brothers who left the darkness of the prisons for the light of the sun of freedom," Abbas said at the time. Abbas probably has to say things like this in order to survive. Palestinians have been celebrating such "martyrs" for decades. To speak honestly about Mustafa and the Sawalhas would be seen as betrayal. But Graham and his supporters are under no such constraints. They see Mustafa and the Sawalhas for what they are: murderers.     






          Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                    

JNS, Aug. 1, 2017


The US Congress is just doing what it always does: pandering to the “Israel Lobby.” That’s how the foreign policy establishment and some on the left regard the bipartisan support for the Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a non-Jewish US Army veteran who was killed in a Palestinian terror attack last year. The legislation would cut off American aid for the Palestinian Authority (PA), unless the PA stops funding terrorism. The bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on August 3 in a 17-4 vote, with all of the committee’s Republicans, and six of its 10 Democrats supporting the measure.


The notion that the US would halt aid to the PA merely because it doesn’t want to be morally complicit in a “pay for slay” scheme strikes some on the left as lacking sympathy for the Palestinians, as well as self-defeating — since ending the funding might lead to the collapse of the PA. Their assumption is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas means what he says when he and his Fatah Party threaten to disband their Ramallah-based government if the foreign money that keeps it afloat is cut off. This would force Israel to re-assume full control over all of the disputed territories, which most Israelis think would be a disaster.


Stopping the terror payments may also be impossible for Abbas, because doing so would contradict the basic narrative of Palestinian history — in which violence against the Jews is viewed as self-defense, and a heroic act of resistance that is deserving of praise. Asking Abbas to take such a step would be tantamount to requesting that he commit suicide. So why do it? The answer is that those demanding a halt to funding the PA are not merely venting their outrage at the Palestinians. They are also pointing the way toward the only possible path to peace.


In just the last four years, the PA has spent more than $1.1 billion on salaries for terrorists and pensions for their families. In the next fiscal year, The PA will spend half of all the foreign aid that it receives on this effort. The PA has created a set of financial incentives that not only give Palestinians a reason to commit terror, but embolden their belief that only by shedding Israeli blood, will they ensure that their families are provided with enough money to live comfortably.


Those who rationalize the continuation of the current aid to the PA point to the security cooperation that the PA offers to Israel as proof that the Jewish state has a partner for peace. But while this cooperation has value, it has two main purposes: making sure that Abbas’s Hamas rivals don’t gain a foothold in the disputed territories, and ensuring the safety of the Fatah leadership against attacks from the Islamists. Thus, when the PA threatens to halt security cooperation, as it did during the recent controversy over the Temple Mount, the biggest potential loser from such an action would be Fatah, not Israel.


That’s why the talk of a PA collapse that Abbas and his apologists continue to invoke is a bluff. Fatah’s survival depends on its ability to use foreign donations to fund its corrupt practices in the disputed territories. The Palestinian faction’s obstruction of economic development or any measures that might end the corruption that enriches its leaders has created a situation in which much of the Palestinian population in the territories depends on fake jobs that Fatah gives out in exchange for support. Thus, while it is true that ending funding for Palestinian terror would be deeply unpopular and might boost Hamas, it would also be the end of Fatah.


We also shouldn’t accept the notion that there is any moral equivalence between anger about Western donations rewarding Palestinians who slaughter Jews, and Palestinian anger about settlements. Even if you accept the dubious argument that settlements are the real obstacle to peace — if you think that building a new house in a place Palestinians think should be free of Jews is just as bad as killing people — then all you are doing is making a case that peace between two peoples with such different moral codes is clearly impossible.


That’s why it is imperative that the West force Abbas to choose between giving up power, and giving up the gruesome terror-funding scheme. Far from obstructing the chances for peace, as some on the left claim, compelling the Palestinians to reject a culture of violence is the only hope for the resolution to the conflict. No matter where your political sympathies lie, it’s time to realize that opposing the Taylor Force Act undermines any hope for peace.                            




                             John Rossomando

                                                  IPT News, Aug. 4, 2017


Al Jazeera's support for terrorism goes far beyond on-air cheerleading. Many of its employees have actively supported al-Qaida, Hamas and other terrorist groups. Concerns over the network's consistent pro-terrorist positions prompted several Gulf States to demand that Qatar shut it down in June.


Sheikh Said Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, director of Qatar's government information office, called such demands "a condescending view [that] demonstrates contempt for the intelligence and judgment of the people of the Middle East, who overwhelmingly choose to get their news from Al Jazeera rather than from their state-run broadcasters," Al-Thani wrote in Newsweek. But a week earlier, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash detailed Al Jazeera's connections to terrorists and terror incitement in a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Al Jazeera violates a 2005 U.N. Security Council resolution that called on member states to counter "incitement of terrorist acts motivated by extremism," Gargash charged.


The network has given a platform to terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Mohammed Deif, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah and others, Gargash wrote. "These have not simply been topical interviews of the kind that other channels might run; Jazeera has presented opportunities for terrorist groups to threaten, recruit and incite without challenge or restraint," Gargash wrote.


Al Jazeera took credit for the wave of Arab Spring revolutions in early 2011. Network host Mehdi Hasan noted in a December 2011 column that Al Jazeera gave a regional voice to the irate Tunisian protesters who ousted their dictator that they would not have otherwise had. Faisal Al-Qassem, host of Al Jazeera's show "The Opposite Direction," boasted that television, not the Internet or Facebook, was responsible for the revolutions. Al Jazeera's influence during the Arab Spring and the subsequent revolutions is a factor in the effort by Qatar's Gulf neighbors to clip its wings.


Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi used his widely viewed Al Jazeera a program to incite the masses against their dictators. "We salute the [Tunisian] people, which has taught the Arab and Islamic peoples … the following lesson: Do not despair, and do not fear the tyrants, and more feeble the than a spider-web. They quickly collapse in the face of the power of steadfast and resolute peoples," Qaradawi said in a Jan. 16, 2011 Al Jazeera broadcast. "The tyrants never listen and never heed advice, until they are toppled."


He likewise called on former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down on his program later that month. "There is no staying longer, Mubarak, I advise you (to learn) the lesson of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali," Qaradawi said referencing Tunisia's toppled dictator. A month later, Qaradawi issued a fatwa calling for the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Libya still has not recovered from the toppling of Gaddafi in 2011. Qaradawi urged the overthrow of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad after demonstrations began in Syria that March, sparking the ongoing Syrian civil war.


Even before the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera acted as a platform for violent terrorists. Qaradawi's endorsement of suicide bombings aired on Al Jazeera. The network also glorified a female Palestinian suicide bomber whose 2003 attack killed 19 people at an Arab-owned restaurant in Haifa as a "martyr." It also broadcast a 2006 speech by al-Qaida leader Abdel Majid al-Zindani at a pro-Hamas conference in Yemen, even though the United States and United Nations already had designated him as a terrorist. Proceeds from the conference benefited Hamas. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and the widow of slain Hamas leader Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi also attended.


"What is our duty towards this righteous jihad-fighting people, the vanguard of this nation? What is our duty? What is our obligation? " al-Zindani asked. "The Hamas government is the Palestinian people's government today. It is the jihad-fighting, steadfast, resolute government of Palestine. "I don't have it in my pocket right now, but I am making a pledge, and as you know, I keep my promises. So I'm donating 200,000 riyals. What about you? What will you donate? Go ahead."


Al Jazeera is not just another news organization like CNN, Fox News or the BBC, Qatari intelligence whistle-blower Ali al-Dahnim told Egypt's Al-Bawaba newspaper in April. Qatar's state security bureau both finances and operates Al Jazeera, he claimed. -"By and large, its [Al Jazeera] news content comes under the sway of security officials, rendering it as a mouthpiece for Qatar's security and intelligence apparatus," Al-Dahnim said on Egyptian television. "Not to mention its free publicity to hardened terrorists such as Osama bin Laden who used to use Al Jazeera as an outlet to disseminate his terror messages to the world."


Al Jazeera English likewise pushes the Qatari government's favored narratives, such as exaggerating the global importance of its emir. Its short-lived affiliate, Al Jazeera America (AJAM), aired pro-Palestinian propaganda. During the 2014 Gaza crisis, AJAM host Wajahat Ali pushed Hamas' talking points about the territory's population density without a single reference to how the terrorist group used mosques and civilian buildings to launch rockets. "I think it is simply providing one side of a story. It doesn't rise to Soviet propaganda, but it certainly is propaganda for one side," Temple University journalism professor Christopher Harper told the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 2014….

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




On Topic Links


How Terrorists Use Foreign Aid to Fund Terror: Doug Lamborn and Elazar Stern, Washington Times, Aug. 1, 2017—On July 14, three Arab citizens of Israel entered Jerusalem’s Temple Mount armed to attack. They shot and killed two Israeli police officers — Hayil Satawi, 30, and Kamil Dhanaan, 22, members of the Israeli Druze community. The terrorists were shot and killed. Their families will receive monthly reward checks from the Palestinian Authority for the rest of their lives.

Sophisticated Australian Airplane Bombing Plot a Warning To the West: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Aug. 3, 2017—Australia's arrest Saturday of four men suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on a commercial airliner signals more than a resurgent terror threat to airplanes. Because the alleged weapon involved smuggling explosives and poison gasses in a standard kitchen utensil – a meat grinder or mincer – it demonstrates, too, the rapidly increasing sophistication of these plots and the development of new means of attack.

Amid New US Sanctions, How Much of Iran’s Nuclear Deal Relief Funds Terrorism?: Ariel Ben Solomon, JNS, Aug. 8, 2017—As the Trump administration ramps up sanctions against Iran, how much of Iran’s sanctions relief from the nuclear deal of 2015 is funding the Islamic Republic’s support for sectarian conflict and terrorism across the Middle East?

India-US Counterterrorism Cooperation: The Way Forward: Vinay Kaura, BESA, August 8, 2017 —State visits are a good indicator of the strength of bilateral relations, in terms of the hospitality bestowed on the visiting leader and the deals reached. According to these criteria, Indian PM Narendra Modi’s June visit to the US was successful.








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





                                                  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.






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.







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.                           





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.]




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.






Temple Mount Turmoil: Preventing an Explosion of Mounting Tensions: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2017— Last week, The Atlantic rendered a great service to those of us who contend that America is in the midst of a civil war between the right and the left.

The Media Closes in on Netanyahu: Adiv Sterman, Times of Israel, July 14, 2017— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged involvement in a string of scandals is the number one topic for Israel’s major Hebrew-language papers Friday.

What the Labor Party Primary Says About Israel’s Consensus: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, July 14, 2017— Following Monday’s leadership primary for Israel’s main moderate-left party, much has been written about the outcome and its implications for the party.

The Harm in Trying: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, July 3, 2017— Among Israelis and Palestin­ians, there’s little optimism about renewed American efforts to negotiate a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.


On Topic Links


Israel to Reopen Jerusalem Holy Site After Terror Attack: New York Post, July 16, 2017

Herzog to Remain Opposition Head Under New Labor Leader Gabbay: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2017

Block Ehud Barak's Comeback: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 7, 2017

The Israelis Have Won: Daniel Pipes, Arutz Sheva, July 12, 2017




PREVENTING AN EXPLOSION OF MOUNTING TENSIONS                                                                   


                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2017


Referring to the area in and around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as “potentially explosive” would be an understatement. All the elements for a major explosion of violence exist: A plenitude of righteous Muslim anger at Israel’s security restrictions; an abundance of Arab-language media outlets well versed in fanning anti-Israel incitement; a desire on the part of Arab leaders and media outlets to shift attention away from internal Arab conflicts in Syria, Iraq or with Qatar to the “Zionist entity”; even the exceedingly hot weather in the region is conducive to bringing nerves to a breaking point.


Further exacerbating the situation is a general unwillingness by members of the United Arab List to denounce the attack, which was perpetrated by three Israeli citizens from Umm el-Fahm. The best they could do was iterate a general position against the use of violence in the struggle for Palestinian independence while blaming the “occupation” as the main cause for Palestinian violence. Lastly, were the calls by some Israelis on the Right for the state to use the attack to solidify its control over the holy site and to, for example, permit Jewish prayer there in response.


The government’s decision to swiftly close the Mount on Friday and declare publicly that it will not change the status quo appears to have worked for the time being. Further violence, as of Sunday evening, seems to have been avoided. Nevertheless, Arab and Muslim leaders need to be more responsible. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack in a rare telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Friday, he did not do so in Arabic before the Palestinian people.


Arabs with Israeli citizenship smuggled guns into a holy site and desecrated a place designated for prayers and supplication to God by shedding the blood of two innocent human beings. Yet, instead of denouncing this, Palestinians and the broader Arab and Muslim world has focused on the security measures taken by Israel in response to the attack.


Jordan’s King Abdullah publicly criticized Israel’s decision shortly after the attack on Friday morning to block access to the Temple Mount. The king was motivated by the need to demonstrate to Jordanians, most of whom are of Palestinian origin, that he is taking a tough position against Israel. Still, out of deference to his alliance with Israel, Jordan’s leader could have delayed his criticism of what was a supremely rational move by Israel, one aimed at preventing rioting and hot tempered reactions if Muslims were allowed into the compound for prayers.


Just as Netanyahu was right to decide – after consulting with security officials – to close the Temple Mount in the wake of the terrorist attack, he was acting responsibly when he moved to gradually reopen the site, this time with a new security arrangement: metal detectors. Unfortunately, this modest attempt to prevent a repeat of Friday’s bloodshed was met with characteristic Palestinian and Arab intransigence as an attempt by Israel to change the status quo. In a classic “blame the victim” argument, MK Taleb Abu Arar (Joint List) told The Jerusalem Post that introducing the metal detectors would bring more bloodshed.


He also accused Israel of taking advantage of the situation to “impose a complete control over the compound” – as though Israel relishes investing more manpower and energy in securing the Temple Mount area for the predominantly Muslim population that visits there. Entrance to the Western Wall area is possible only after undergoing a security check and passing through a metal detector. In the wake of Friday’s attack, it has become clear that a similar arrangement must be put in place at the entrance to the Temple Mount. Legitimate Palestinian concerns about long delays should be addressed by Israel.


Perhaps the introduction of new security arrangements should be done gradually and in dialogue with the Palestinians. Nerves are at breaking point. So far, our prime minister has acted responsibly, ignoring calls by some on the Right to change the status quo, and instead working with Israel’s Arab neighbors to prevent additional violence. That policy should continue. Irrational fears and religious fanaticism cannot be allowed to win.





Adiv Sterman

Times of Israel, July 14, 2017


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged involvement in a string of scandals is the number one topic for Israel’s major Hebrew-language papers Friday. And although no evidence of actual criminal activity on the part of the Israeli leader has been produced, some papers are covering the cases as though it’s patently obvious he should be behind bars.


Yedioth Ahronoth shows little restraint when it comes to attacking Netanyahu, with the paper’s front page determining that the latest developments in the German submarines affair, as well as the alleged violations of transparency rules related to regulating Bezeq, “are what corruption looks like.” The daily, traditionally hostile to the prime minister, plainly believes it knows where the investigations will end up. “Black on white, in an official document handed in by the Israel Securities Authority to the courts, are revealed dramatic suspicions regarding the method by which the Communications Ministry operated under [Bezeq head Shaul] Elovitz and Netanyahu,” the paper states authoritatively.


Yedioth mocks the prime minister for an interview he gave on the conservative Channel 20 late Thursday, in which Netanyahu responded to, and dismissed, the allegations against him. Referring to the right wing news outlet as Netanyahu’s “home turf,” Yedioth features a series of quotes by the prime minister that, when strung together one after another without context, look rather ridiculous, even Trumpesque. Yedioth also publishes a leaked version of a document handed out by Netanyahu to ministers in his government, which includes talking points about the various corruption affairs, and accuses the media of illegitimately attempting to topple the Israeli leader. Yedioth columnist Nahum Barnea continues with the same line of criticism he had been pushing all week, arguing that while Netanyahu may have individual excuses for each different case, the accumulation of affairs involving the prime minister points to something rotten in the leadership of the state.


The daily’s veteran analyst Sima Kadmon claims that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who was appointed by Netanyahu, understands that the chances are slim for the prime minister to avoid indictment in one or more of the cases. On the other hand Amichai Eteli, another Yedioth writer, reminds readers that Netanyahu has so far not been charged — indeed, he is not a suspect in the submarine or Bezeq cases — and implores the citizens of Israel, and perhaps his fellow journalists as well, to allow the wheels of justice to turn uninterrupted before jumping to conclusions.


Israel Hayom’s coverage of the investigations into the allegations involving the prime minister is particularly interesting, given the recent reshuffling of the daily’s editorial staff and the consequent, under-the-radar break away from the paper’s previous unstintingly pro-Netanyahu leaning. The daily’s front page is rather reminiscent of Yedioth, though more restrained, as it presents the developments in the various affairs as dramatic and serious. The paper does not directly criticize Netanyahu, but now, as opposed to the past, does seem ready to entertain the possibility that the prime minister may have been involved in some shady dealings. In contrast, its columnists Akiva Bigman and Haim Shine write respectively that no real evidence has yet indicated that Netanyahu acted illegally, and that the investigations are still at a very early stage, which renders most speculation on the matters to be premature as well.


Haaretz’s take on Netanyahu’s numerous possible entanglements is unsurprisingly harsh and unforgiving, and the paper dedicates a significant portion of its front page to a stinging analysis by political commentator Yossi Verter titled “A danger to society.” Verter argues that the stench of corruption surrounding the prime minister has become unbearable, and that with the publication of new details on each affair the problematics of the Israeli leadership becomes more and more evident. “Adviser after adviser [to Netanyahu], associate after associate, are exposed in their disgrace, are dragged to interrogation rooms, taken to custody… and only the person who they serves [conveniently] knows nothing,” Verter writes cynically. “The notion that after the next elections, whenever they may be, he and the characters surrounding him will return to the Prime Minister’s Office and other points of power should be enough to sicken every decent Israeli, regardless of their religion, gender, political leanings, or sectoral affiliation.”


The paper’s editorial argues that Mandelblit must hasten the investigations into Netanyahu, since the state of doubt surrounding the prime minister is terrible for governance, and weakens the trust of Israel’s citizens in the judicial system. “The situation is such that for over eight months Netanyahu and his inner circle are heavily suspected of corruption, but continue to hold the reins of power undisturbed,” the editorial protests. “The [protracted] continuation of the investigations raises a concern in the public that the attorney general is not doing enough in order to speed up the process and reach the decision of whether to indict or not.”






Evelyn Gordon

Commentary, July 14, 2017


Following Monday’s leadership primary for Israel’s main moderate-left party, much has been written about the outcome and its implications for the party. What I found far more interesting, however, was the campaign itself and what it said about the Israeli consensus. Since the primary electorate consisted solely of Labor Party members, one would have expected the candidates to veer left (and then move back to center in the general election). Instead, both candidates publicly disavowed several ideas popular among left-wing journalists and activists, indicating that those ideas are toxic even on the moderate left.


Ostensibly, winner Avi Gabbay and runner-up Amir Peretz couldn’t be more different. Peretz is a veteran hard-left activist, an early leader of the Peace Now movement, who was advocating Palestinian statehood back when most Israelis still considered the idea anathema. Gabbay is a moderate who once supported Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party and, more recently, co-founded the centrist Kulanu party. Yet they sounded almost indistinguishable when answering five questions posed by Haaretz (in Hebrew) before Monday’s run-off…


Asked about the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from parts of the West Bank, for instance, both men rejected it. “I don’t believe in unilateral withdrawal,” Gabbay said bluntly. Peretz was wordier, but still quite clear. “We won’t continue to settle the territories, but at the same time, we mustn’t forget the lessons of the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza (and also from other conflict areas around the world),” he said.


What makes this surprising is that several Labor-affiliated former senior-defense-officials-turned-activists have been pushing unilateral withdrawal. Among them are former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, the man slated to be Labor’s defense minister had it won the last election, and former Shin Bet security service chief Ami Ayalon, a one-time Labor Knesset member. Thus one might expect the idea to appeal to rank-and-file members.


But Peretz and Gabbay thought otherwise. Israel’s unilateral pullout from Gaza in 2005 resulted in three wars and 16,000 rockets on Israel (compared to zero from the Israeli-controlled West Bank), while its unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 enabled Hezbollah to grow from a terrorist nuisance into a major strategic threat. That terrorist organization’s arsenal of 150,000 rockets is larger than that of most national armies. The candidates evidently concluded that even left-of-center Israelis no longer believe the activist “experts” who persist in denying that unilateral withdrawal endangers Israel’s security.


Moreover, both candidates promised to freeze settlement construction, but only outside the major settlement blocs. This is a sharp rejection of the line the Obama Administration spent eight years peddling—that construction anywhere beyond the 1949 armistice lines, even in areas everyone knows will remain Israeli under any agreement, is an obstacle to peace. It turns out even left-of-center Israelis consider it ludicrous for Israel to stop building in the settlement blocs and large Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. They simply don’t buy the idea that construction in these areas, which will clearly remain Israeli, is a legitimate excuse for the Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to negotiate.


No less noteworthy was one glaring omission. Though both candidates promised immediate final-status negotiations with the Palestinians and deemed a peace deal essential, their only stated reason for this position was to keep Israel from becoming a binational state. Neither so much as mentioned the fear that Israel could face growing international isolation if it didn’t resolve the conflict. That claim has been a staple of left-wing advocacy for years. It was most famously expressed by former Labor chairman (and former prime minister) Ehud Barak who, in 2011, warned that Israel would face a “diplomatic tsunami” if the conflict continued.


This argument has been getting harder and harder to make in recent years, as Israel’s diplomatic reach has steadily expanded. But it would have sounded particularly fatuous coming just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel, which caused many who had previously parroted Barak’s warning to throw in the towel. Typical headlines from center-left commentators included “Where’s the diplomatic isolation?” and “Modi visit shows Israel can improve foreign ties even without a peace process.” Judging by the fact that neither Peretz nor Gabbay mentioned this argument, they evidently think even Labor Party members will no longer buy it.


As an aside, it’s far from clear that diplomatic ties would continue expanding under a Labor government, because center-left governments typically view the Palestinian issue as their top priority, and therefore devote much less time and energy to expanding ties with the rest of the world. In contrast, since Netanyahu’s government believes a Palestinian deal is currently unobtainable, it has invested enormous effort in expanding Israel’s other diplomatic relationships. And that effort matters. As Kenya’s UN ambassador said last week, it’s only recently that “the lights have gone on” in Israel and it has started engaging. Previously, he spent years asking Israeli officials, “Why are you not engaged? Where is Israel?” But the possibility that Labor might choose to focus on the Palestinians instead doesn’t change the fact that Israel clearly can expand its diplomacy even without a peace process…

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




Elliott Abrams

Weekly Standard, July 3, 2017


Among Israelis and Palestinians, there’s little optimism about renewed American efforts to negotiate a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. In Ramallah and Jerusalem, officials, journalists, and policy analysts have watched as industrious U.S. activity in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations came to naught—and they expect the same outcome for the Trump administration.


There is a lot more optimism in the Trump White House, and of course it starts at the top. The president said this in a February press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I think a deal will be made. I know that every president would like to. Most of them have not started until late because they never thought it was possible. And it wasn’t possible because they didn’t do it. But Bibi and I have known each other a long time—a smart man, great negotiator. And I think we’re going to make a deal. It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand.”


In April, President Trump added, “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians—none whatsoever.” And in a May press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas he made his most categorical statement: “We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done. .  .  . It is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”


The attitude I’ve detected outside the Oval Office is more realistic about the chances of success. But arguments suggesting that there is little or no chance are met with a standard reply: “Okay, but what’s the harm in trying?” This is not a new idea; it was Bill Clinton’s. As he put it, “We always need to get caught trying—fewer people will die.” So the Trump administration wishes to get caught trying as well, and operates under the assumption Clinton made: that there is no harm in trying, and that indeed it saves lives. But that conclusion is wrong, as round after round of terrorism should attest. To put it slightly differently, there is harm in failing—and it does not save lives. What’s the harm?


To begin with, it is always harmful for the United States to fail—and for a president to fail. Influence in the world is hard to measure, but when a president devotes himself—as Bill Clinton, especially, did in the Camp David talks in 2000—to any project and fails to pull it off, his influence and that of the United States are diminished. Yes, he does get credit for trying, but there’s no benefit in failing. Opinions may differ as to why this happened: The United States misjudged Yasser Arafat, the White House prepared poorly, the timing was all wrong, the conditions were misunderstood. But getting an A for effort isn’t enough when other people’s security hangs in the balance.


Results matter. When the United States succeeds, as it did for example in the 1995 Dayton Accords on the Balkans or in the Camp David deal under Jimmy Carter, American prestige and influence grow. But that coin has two sides, and failure is never a good thing. With U.S. influence on the wane in recent years, devoting significant effort to a goal that is unlikely to be attained looks like a misplaced priority.


What’s more, the United States has been championing the “peace process” now for about 30 years, if we start with George H. W. Bush and the Madrid Conference of 1991. Palestinians and Israelis have seen negotiators come and go—or in many cases, never go, and instead just age and write memoirs. Round follows round, claims of progress and angry denunciations for blocking progress follow each other, and the “unsustainable occupation” continues. What this produces is cynicism about peace talks and about peace. On the Palestinian side many view the “peace process” as a formula for sustaining the occupation. Many Israelis see it as a shield protecting Palestinian malfeasance and worse: When they demand a stop to official Palestinian glorification of terrorism, they hear, “Don’t rock the boat now, negotiations may start.”


A further reason to be wary of another big peace effort is the opportunity cost. When each successive American administration works for a comprehensive peace deal, it tends to neglect the many opportunities to make less dramatic but still consequential real-world progress. If the goal were instead to leave things better than we found them, every incremental bit of progress would be a victory. That was the “bottom-up” approach taken by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who was fiercely dedicated to Palestinian independence but thought this required building the institutions of a viable state first. That meant concentrating on better financial controls and a reduction in corruption, better courts and police, and a more productive economy. Unfortunately, the incremental approach lacks drama and did not win the international support it deserved—including the Israeli and American support it deserved.


During the George W. Bush administration, those of us on the American side often demanded concessions from Israel to “set the tone for talks” or to “get things moving in the talks.” The steps often gave Abbas symbolic victories but they rarely contributed to state-building. For example, we were more concerned with getting Israel to release some Palestinian prisoners—who may have committed acts of violence—than we were about getting Israel to remove checkpoints or barriers that prevented Palestinian mobility in the West Bank and thereby made both normal life and economic activity harder. How returning convicted criminals to the streets contributed to building a Palestinian state was never explained…

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



On Topic Links


Israel to Reopen Jerusalem Holy Site After Terror Attack: New York Post, July 16, 2017—Israel will gradually reopen a Jerusalem holy site Sunday after taking the rare step of shutting it down following a deadly assault there that sparked concerns of a fresh round of violence.

Herzog to Remain Opposition Head Under New Labor Leader Gabbay: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2017—Former Labor chairman Isaac Herzog will remain the head of the opposition, he announced on Wednesday at a ceremony at Labor Party headquarters in Tel Aviv with new party leader Avi Gabbay. At meetings on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Gabbay persuaded Herzog to accept the post, which Gabbay could not take for himself because he is not a Knesset member.

Block Ehud Barak's Comeback: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 7, 2017—Desperate for a political messiah who will transform Israel's so-called "peace camp" and pose a viable alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some on the Left are concocting a campaign to call forth the ghost of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

The Israelis Have Won: Daniel Pipes, Arutz Sheva, July 12, 2017—What does the Jewish Israeli public think about convincing Palestinians that they lost their century-long war with Zionism, that the gig is up? In other words, what do Israelis think about winning? To find out, the Middle East Forum commissioned the Smith Institute to survey 700 adult Israeli Jews. Carried out on June 27-28, the poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.













Why it’s Naive to Argue that Trump’s Travel Ban is ‘Helping’ to Create Islamic Terrorists: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017— Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists.

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017— In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack.

Turkey's 'Lifestyle Massacre': Burak Bekdil, Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017— Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Can Islam be Reformed? Who Will, or Even Can Be, a Muslim Martin Luther?: Robert Fulford, National Post, Feb. 10, 2017— “I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.


On Topic Links


The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017                                                                                     


IS ‘HELPING’ TO CREATE ISLAMIC TERRORISTS                                                    

Eli Lake

                      Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017


Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists. Leading Democrats, counterterrorism experts and even Iran’s foreign minister have all asserted that Trump’s travel ban will end up being used by the Islamic State to recruit new terrorists. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, made this point forcefully on Jan. 30, when he told MSNBC that Trump’s executive order “ultimately is going to get Americans killed.”


The argument goes like this: Jihadists believe there is a Manichaean struggle between Islam and the West. An alleged “Muslim ban” plays directly into this worldview, telling Muslims that they are not safe in the un-Islamic world. No wonder they are calling the executive order a “blessed ban” on Islamic State web forums.


This is a familiar line to anyone who has followed the national security debate since 9/11. Democrats in particular have argued that the Iraq War, the Guantanamo Bay prison and anti-Muslim web videos help to radicalize otherwise peaceful Muslims to murder us at random. Hence Trump’s travel ban is now a “recruitment tool.” If only jihadi recruitment were so easily disrupted. Sadly it’s much more complicated.


To start, the process by which an individual gets sucked into the death cults of al Qaeda or the Islamic State cannot be reduced to a single cause. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, the research director for the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, put it like this: “The argument that the Trump policy will radicalize people is predicated on the flawed premise that people radicalize as a response to government policy. The reality is it’s a highly complex process that involves religious and personal factors. A government policy may play a role, but it’s one of many factors.” Meleagrou-Hitchens’s program released an invaluable report last year that studied motivations of Americans who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It found that the motivations ranged from sympathy for the plight of Syrians suffering under their dictator’s war to a sense of religious obligation to join a new utopian Islamic caliphate.


Another problem with this argument is that it fails to account for the significant rise in radical Islamic terror under President Barack Obama. He went out of his way to counter the jihadist worldview. He began his presidency by delivering a speech to the Islamic world from Cairo, in which he stressed his own administration’s respect for Islam. He promised, and ultimately failed to, close Guantanamo; he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and he scrubbed terms like “radical Islam” and “war on terror” from the government’s lexicon.


And yet despite his efforts, the FBI arrested more Americans for joining Islamic terrorist groups during his presidency than during that of George W. Bush. And while Obama decimated al Qaeda’s central leadership following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s franchises in Yemen, Somalia and Libya grew stronger. Meanwhile, the Islamic State broke away from al Qaeda during Obama’s presidency and managed to gain territory in Syria and Iraq. Only now has the military campaign to liberate Mosul shown some success.


It’s true that Obama also did many things jihadists did not like during his presidency. For example, he used drone strikes against more of them than his predecessor did. And when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the legal right to gay marriage, Twitter accounts affiliated with the Islamic State posted video of gay men being thrown to their deaths off of high buildings in Raqqa, with the hashtag #lovewins. The Islamic State didn’t like the Iran nuclear deal, either. After all, Shiites like the Iran regime are seen as apostates, and in the battle for Syria, the Iranians are on the side of the oppressors. This gets to the most important point. The fanatics who seek to recreate an eighth-century caliphate have an endless supply of grievances about our open society. If we succumb to the fallacy that we can counter their propaganda by not doing things they could exploit for propaganda purposes, we are giving them too much power.


A far better argument against Trump’s executive order is that it undermines our own recruitment efforts to counter the jihadists. At first the travel ban applied to translators who helped the U.S. military in Iraq, not to mention leading advocates for the Islamic State’s victims like the Yazidi-Iraqi legislator Vian Dakhil. Fortunately the Trump administration has reversed these elements of the travel ban in the last week. But the perception that America would close its doors to the people who helped us makes it harder to recruit allies against the Islamic State going forward. Critics of Trump’s travel ban are not inclined to make that argument. After all, Democrats were silent when Obama abandoned the Iraqi sheiks who helped to temporarily drive al Qaeda out of the Anbar province between 2007 and 2009. At the time, they were too busy insisting the Iraq War helped create more terrorists.







Uzay Bulut

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017


In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States. Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.


"This attack," stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), "showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors…NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root."


Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target "kafirs" (infidels) in the West. In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK: "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."


It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop. FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. "At some point there's going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris," said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on "an order of magnitude greater."


How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as "heroes" while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.


It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies. The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.


Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His "crime" was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim. Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported. Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the "religion of peace".


Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology? They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others. Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices "courageous"? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security…

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





Burak Bekdil

Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017


Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Bomb attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed another 330 lives. Those numbers exclude 248 people who died during the bloody coup attempt of July 15, as well as 9,500 apparent PKK members who were killed by Turkish security forces. Turkey also claims that it killed 1,800 ISIS members since July 2015. These numbers put the total death toll in Turkey at 13,056, in a span of fewer than 17 months.


Just when most people thought that would be the final death toll for 2016, on December 10, a twin bombing in Istanbul outside a soccer stadium killed at least 38 people, and injured another 136. A week later, a suicide car-bomb in central Turkey killed 13 off-duty soldiers aboard a bus and wounded 56 more. After so much bloodshed, Turks thought they could now enjoy New Year's festivities in peace. They were wrong.


About an hour into the New Year, a mysterious man, later identified as a Kyrgyz ISIS terrorist, walked into Reina, a posh nightclub on the Bosporus, took out an assault rifle and started to shoot at the hundreds of guests celebrating the New Year. The assailant killed 39 people and injured 65, changed his clothes, and, pretending to be a customer, walked out of the club. As of January 8, the killer was still on the run.


ISIS terror attacks are no more than violent expressions of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey. The attack at Reina was ISIS's 15th major act of violence in Turkey since 2014, but its first targeting a nightclub. There was, in fact, a "sociology" behind the jihadists' choice of target. ISIS clearly wanted to send various messages at many wavelengths. One was to tell "infidel" Turks that they should not celebrate the New Year; another was to tell conservative Muslim Turks that ISIS was on their side. Actually, ISIS's terror attack was no more than a violent expression of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey.


About 10 days before ISIS's attack, Turkish authorities banned teachers and pupils at Istanbul Lisesi, an elite school in Istanbul that is partly funded by Germany, from singing carols or celebrating Christmas in any way. German teachers at the school received an email from the headmaster early in December, informing them of the new rules.


Around the same time, a soap opera broadcast on Samanyolu TV, a conservative Muslim station, featured Santa Claus as a "terrorist." Meanwhile, Turkey's top religious authority, the prime ministry's General Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), declared at Friday prayer sermons that New Year celebrations were religiously "illegitimate."


Elsewhere in Turkey, banners were unfurled, showing a bearded man punching Santa Claus; another banner showed a group pointing guns in the face of another Santa. On December 31, a headline in an Islamist newspaper read, "This is our last warning, DO NOT celebrate."


Taha Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, calls ISIS's latest attack "a lifestyle massacre." He wrote: "Innocent people who were having fun were massacred because of their lifestyle." He reminds that about 8% of Turks sympathize with ISIS. That makes nearly 6.5 million people. ISIS's attack on Reina was a salute to those millions of Turks who admit their sympathy for ISIS, and millions of others who hide their sympathy.


With its increasing vulnerability to jihadist terror and with a homegrown jihadist ideology that provides a safe haven for terror, Turkey is becoming like Iraq, where violence takes lives almost daily. ISIS's first act of terror targeting Christmas celebrations took place on December 25, 2013, when the radical group killed 38 Christians in Baghdad. Three years later, ISIS visited New Year's celebrations in Istanbul.


Where, you might ask, are the Turkish authorities? They are busy. The Turkish police, unable to prevent ISIS's attack, instead detained a woman in Istanbul who called for secularism in a speech protesting jihadist groups. Aysegul Basar, a leftist, was detained after her speech, given at an Istanbul teahouse, emerged on social media. "We say 'enough!' From now on we won't allow ISIL or any reactionary jihadist group into our neighborhoods," Basar had said. From a law enforcement point of view, Istanbul is safer for an ISIS gunman than for someone who pledges to fight jihadists.      






                                                            Robert Fulford

National Post, Feb. 10, 2017


“I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.”


She remembers being in the Frankfurt airport in 1992, waiting for the plane that would take her to Canada for a marriage arranged against her will by her father. Something cracked, a spirit of individualism stirred within her, and suddenly she needed to escape. Somalia-born, she fled to the Netherlands, obtained asylum and learned Dutch. She studied John Locke, Voltaire and John Stuart Mill while doing a graduate degree at the University of Leiden. It was, she recently said, a journey “from the world of faith to the world of reason.” She decided that Islam is, among other things, too intolerant of free thought. Now she’s an ex-Muslim and an articulate author. She’s also very much an American and a believer in democracy.


Probably to the surprise of her admirers, she sees good intentions in Trump’s executive order about refugees. It was clumsy and confusing but it demonstrated, she says, that Trump has a realistic view of “the hateful ideology of radical Islam” and its continuing threat to democracy. She shows no sympathy for those, like Barack Obama, who could not utter a phrase like “Islamic violence” lest he encourage bigotry.


She cites a survey showing that large numbers of Muslims in many countries believe Sharia law is the word of God and should govern where they live. Many also think Muslims who leave Islam (as Hirsi Ali did) deserve execution, that suicide bombing in defence of Islam can be justified, and that honour killing of women is not always deplorable.


This way of thinking is spreading, and works against the reformation of Islam that she considers necessary. She believes the Trump administration should not only fight Islamist violence but should oppose Dawa, the proselytizing of Islam, “which is already well established right here in the United States.” This movement has “for too long been going on with impunity.” She wants to see it dismantled. The U.S. should start with a commission on Islam so that the public can know what it’s facing.


Having dedicated herself to reforming Islam, she believes the U.S. government should play a vigorous part in that process. How will that happen? By mass education? A propaganda campaign? How could Muslims accept enormous changes in their thinking?


Could they change something so large, reaching into many lives? The all-time champion in the revision of religious belief is Martin Luther, the friar who started a new phase in European history by disobeying Catholic authority on the question of selling indulgences. When he challenged church authority with a protest that he nailed on a church door in Wittenberg in 1517, half a millennium ago, he inadvertently created the Christian Reformation and became the most famous man in Europe. But someone dealing with Islam will have an even harder job than he had. Islam has no pope, no overall authority to defy. It differs from community to community, from imam to imam.


How could Muslims accept radical changes in their thinking? She believes that the U.S. won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism. Now the U.S. must expose the ideology of radical Islam. There are many reformed Muslims in America, she argues, immigrants who have adopted “the core values of Western democracies, using the freedoms they have found in the West.” Many thrive.


They are her models, the beginning of a free and tolerant Islam. Hirsi Ali seems to believe that Muslims can be converted to democracy, presumably because democracy will work better for them than a theocratic tyranny. But many or most Muslims can barely believe in the existence of nations that pride themselves on their tolerance, in which one religion is as acceptable as another. At the outer extreme, the soldiers of the Islamic State are so convinced of Islam’s total and exclusive truth that they take pleasure in destroying monuments left behind by religions that died before Islam was born. To many in the Christian and Jewish traditions, that’s outlandish, but within Islam it makes a kind of sense.


If Muslims were to accept another form of religion, they would have to give up their politics as well, since many countries govern by Islamic rules. They cannot easily change, as countries in the West try socialism for a while, then switch back to a market economy. Just contemplating that sort of transition would be unthinkable for many.


From the perspective of the West, the world would be more peaceful if Muslims were persuaded to adopt some version of Hirsi Ali’s proposal. It seems more likely that many, from the depths of their convictions, will brusquely dismiss her as a heretic and go on their way. Still, it’s stimulating that a world citizen like Hirsi Ali devotes her attention to this issue. In her courageous way she opens a pressing issue and demands we think seriously about it.




On Topic Links


The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012—The Third Jihad is a film that exposes the threat that Islamic extremism poses to the American way of life.

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017—Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017—Less than 24 hours before the official end of the Obama presidency, while White House staffers were pulling pictures off the walls and cleaning out their desks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted without fanfare another installment of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017  —‘All Muslims are terrorists.’ “Islam will destroy the world.” “All the Muslims want to kill us.” What are we to make of these political slogans? Is every person who calls out Allahu akbar intending to kill people? Let’s take a step back and learn some facts.                       








Defending the Civilized World: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2017— In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism…

How Trump Could Help a Broken Middle East: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Jan. 23, 2017— As President Donald Trump plans for his first year in office, he will not have to make space in his calendar for a December trip to Oslo.

Is Europe’s Jihadist Problem Generating Empathy Toward Israel?: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Jan. 12, 2017— Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel?

What Do They Want? Graeme Wood Speaks With Supporters of ISIS: Dexter Filkins, New York Times, Jan. 19, 2017— In early 2011, as American forces were packing up to leave Iraq after eight years of fighting and occupying…


On Topic Links


Sarsour's Defenders Choose to Ignore March Organizer's Liberal Critics: IPT News, Jan. 25, 2017

Trump’s History-Changing Vow to Eradicate ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’: Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, Jan. 23, 2017

A Moderate Muslim Goes to Ottawa: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Jan. 17, 2017

How American Charities Fund Terrorism: Sam Westrop, National Review, Jan. 12, 2017




Clifford D. May

Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2017


In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” I hope we can agree, across party and ideological lines, that those are worthwhile objectives. But let’s acknowledge, too, that achieving them will require a much more strenuous and strategic effort than previous administrations have undertaken.


The least likely place for uniting nations: the United Nations, an organization that has never managed even to define terrorism. A few U.N. members fight terrorism day after day (e.g., Egypt, Jordan, Israel). Others, however, condone and even sponsor it (e.g., Iran). The U.N. includes representatives of both the civilized and uncivilized worlds, and cannot be said to prefer one over the other.


Our Europeans allies are civilized — perhaps to a fault. Many embrace moral relativism as expressed in the mantra: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Bringing Europe into a meaningful union against terrorism will require a heavy lift. A straightforward definition of terrorism: violence intentionally directed against noncombatants for political purposes. That should, indeed, be seen as a barbaric practice. But terrorism is not the enemy. It is only a weapon the enemy deploys.


Most contemporary terrorism is, as Mr. Trump suggested, driven by “radical Islam,” an adequate term for a variety of ideologies rooted in totalitarian, supremacist and medievalist readings of Islamic scripture. Those who understand this also grasp why the Islamic State and the Islamic Republic of Iran are more alike than different.


Not for the first time is America threatened by such totalitarian foes. The goal of the Communists was domination by one class. The Nazis sought to establish the supremacy of one race. Today, the Islamists fight for one religion uber alles. They want all of us, Muslim and “infidel” alike, to obey Shariah — Islamic law as they interpret it. And if you don’t think they’ve been making progress over recent years you haven’t been paying close attention.


To defeat the Nazis and their allies required battles on many fronts from North Africa to the South Pacific. World War II, though relatively brief, was exceedingly lethal: More than 60 million people killed, about 3 percent of the world’s population at the time. The Cold War followed. In 1946, diplomat George Kennan sent his “Long Telegram” from Moscow analyzing Joseph Stalin’s ideology and intentions. Largely on this basis, President Truman, in 1947, decided to “contain” the Soviet Union and assist those threatened by communist aggression.


Three years after that, as military strategist Sebastian Gorka recalls in his 2016 book, “Defeating Jihad,” a State-Defense Policy Review Group was established under the chairmanship of Paul Nitze, then director of policy planning in the State Department. It produced NSC-68, a 58-page National Security Council report on the USSR, its “fanatic faith” and its determination to “impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.”


NSC-68 explained why the Soviets were unlikely to sincerely embrace peaceful coexistence: “The United States, as the principal center of power in the non-Soviet world and the bulwark of opposition to Soviet expansion, is the principal enemy whose integrity and vitality must be subverted or destroyed by one means or another if the Kremlin is to achieve its fundamental design.” On this basis, Truman implemented a robust set of policies, including covert actions and psychological warfare, aimed at weakening the Kremlin and frustrating its imperialist designs.


Fast forward to 1983, when President Ronald Reagan came to the conclusion that containment had proven insufficient and attempts at detente unavailing. He accused his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, of “vacillation, appeasement and aimlessness.” It is sometimes said that Reagan’s strategy was “We win, they lose.” In fact, that was his desired outcome. The essence of his strategy was articulated in National Security Decision Directive 75. “NSDD-75 was an extraordinarily ambitious, across-the-board assault on the Soviet Union,” in the words of Paul Kengor, author of “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.”


To the disapproval of many academics and State Department officials, Mr. Reagan would call the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and exert pressure — diplomatic, political, military, ideological and, not least, economic — on a regime that was not as strong or stable as it looked to most observers, the CIA included. On Dec. 25, 1991, three years after Reagan left office, the hammer-and-sickle flag that had flown over Moscow since early in the 20th century would be lowered for the final time…

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



HOW TRUMP COULD HELP A BROKEN MIDDLE EAST                                                     

Father Raymond J. de Souza

National Post, Jan. 23, 2017


As President Donald Trump plans for his first year in office, he will not have to make space in his calendar for a December trip to Oslo. Unlike Barack Obama, he will not be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for just marvelously being Obama. Neither will he be grandiosely addressing the “Muslim world,” as Obama did in Cairo during his first months. But he might be rather more welcome in the capitals of Muslim countries than one might expect.


Even in the Trump world of employing reckless hyperbole to make a general point, the campaign promise to “temporarily ban” Muslim immigration was inexcusable. Likely he meant that admitting 10,000 Sunni Muslims from an ISIL-controlled refugee camp in Syria poses different security issues that taking 10,000 Christian software engineers from Kerala, and to pretend that all immigrants from all parts of the world are identical is both false and foolish. Certainly Canada’s selective immigration policy has never taken that view.


Nevertheless, the Muslim ban is fairly cited as evidence that Trump’s relations with the Islamic world will be rocky. Perhaps. But as Obama takes his leave it is fair to ask what happened to the great religion-and-politics project of his presidency. Obama thought that his Muslim father and his childhood years in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, would endear him to Muslims and lead to a rapprochement with the West. Yet much of the Muslim world today is worse off after Obama.


Certainly that’s true for the part of the Muslim world that Obama focused attention on — the Middle East. Given his Indonesian roots, it remains a mystery why so little effort was made to include the experiences of Indonesian Muslims in the global conversation about Islam and violence. It is a more hopeful tale. Jakarta, rather than Cairo, would have been a better place from which to address the Islamic world, and might have helped displace the Arab terrorist as the malevolent face of Islam in popular imagination.


Nearly half of the world’s Muslims live on the subcontinent — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh — but little attention was paid to what lessons, for good and for ill, could be learned from those massive Muslim populations. Aside from drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama showed very little interest in the subcontinent in terms of global security, despite the fact that Muslims encounter pluralism there more than elsewhere. Indeed, the great engagement promised by Obama with the Muslim world really meant a disengagement with the Middle East. American troops would be greatly reduced in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States would “lead from behind” on the Arab Spring, and would make a deal to lift sanctions on Iran. The great withdrawal would remove the American finger from the Islamic eye.


What Obama did not see, or chose to ignore, is that an American vacuum would be filled by someone. By early in Obama’s second term, it was clear that the candidates were ISIL on the Sunni side, and Iran, together with its allies in Moscow and Damascus, on the Shia side. The price of disengagement in Iraq was the rise of ISIL. The price for a deal with Iran was allowing Assad and Putin to brutally seize control of Syria. Obama willingly paid both prices.


The most haunting failure of Obama’s engagement with the Islamic world is that so many are desperately trying to leave it. The millions of Syrian refugees are largely Muslim, desiring at all costs to get out of Syria and into Europe. The Mediterranean Sea has become a watery grave for tens of thousands fleeing life in Muslim lands. As Obama leaves office, the pathologies of the refugee resettlement have turned northern European populations against both refugee resettlement and continued Muslim immigration. On the whole, Muslims are less secure, less free and less welcomed after eight years of Obama. It’s not all his fault, but it does mean that his central religion-and-politics realignment failed to improve the lives of actual Muslims.


Who knows what Trump will bring? There is the possibility that he might make things worse. But not necessarily. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt want a Middle East dominated by Iran. They might welcome Trump’s skepticism over the nuclear deal. The Gulf states consider Israel a greater force for security and stability than the various Iranian proxies in the region, and would welcome American diplomacy that did not seek to isolate Israel. While many Arab states have shut their border to Syria’s refugees, Turkey and Jordan have been overrun, and would no doubt welcome any alternative to Obama’s consignment of Syria to the tender mercies of Assad and Putin. Trump’s rhetorical hostility toward Muslims is not welcome. But it might prove more welcome than the eight years of rhetorical peace and actual suffering. 







Cnaan Liphshiz

JTA, Jan. 12, 2017


Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel? When a Palestinian terrorist used a car to ram and kill an Israeli soldier in eastern Jerusalem in 2014, the European Union urged “restraint” and, without condemning the attack, called it merely “further painful evidence of the need to undertake serious efforts towards a sustainable peace agreement.” The statement by EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini was “a typical EU reaction, which blames the victim for getting attacked,” Oded Eran, a former ambassador of Israel to the European Union and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said at the time.


Two years later, however, European officials had a much different reaction to a similar attack in eastern Jerusalem, which killed four Israeli soldiers on Sunday. “The European Union condemns the murder of these four young Israelis, as well as any praise or incitement for terrorist acts,” Brussels said in a statement, which unlike the 2014 communique omitted any reference to the fact that the attack happened in an area of Jerusalem that it considers occupied.


Unusually, following Sunday’s attack the Israeli flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Paris City Hall, signs of solidarity with the Jewish state permitted by local authorities. Rotterdam City Hall flew the Israeli flag at half-mast. To Eran and other observers of Israeli-EU relations, this change in tune is indicative of greater understanding and empathy in Europe to Israel’s fight against terrorism following a a wave of terrorist attacks on the continent beginning in 2012.


“I think it’s a new development that sincerely stems from the change in the mind of many people in Europe, in government and beyond, who now understand better than a few years ago the impact and influence of terrorism on the daily lives of innocent victims,” Eran told JTA on Wednesday. He was referring to the cumulative effect of at least a dozen major attacks on Western European soil since 2012 in which local or foreign jihadists killed hundreds of victims using methods long associated with Palestinian terrorists.


Last month, a terrorist whom the Islamic State terrorist group described as its “soldier” killed 11 people, including one Israeli tourist, at a Berlin Christmas market by plowing a stolen truck through the crowd. In July, a similar attack claimed over 80 lives in Nice, France. Days later, an Afghan man injured four people with an axe on a train in southern Germany.


These events happened just months after the murder of over 30 people in a series of explosions in Brussels in March, and fresh on the heels of a horrific series of bombings and shootings that left 130 people dead in Paris in November 2015. The Israeli government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, have been persistently drawing an equivalence between the attacks in Europe and attacks against Israelis by Palestinians. “The terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris,” Netanyahu said about the November 2015 Paris attacks. “It is time for states to condemn terrorism against us like they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.”


Some European leaders clearly see his point. Following the Berlin attack, German President Joachim Gauck said as much in a reply he sent to a condolence message from Gauck’s Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin. “You and your country are in a position to understand fully what being threatened by terrorism means for a people and a nation because in your country it has become almost a daily phenomenon. We know that you can feel with us and commiserate,” Gauck said.


Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Avraham Nir-Feldklein, further drove home the message in a statement following the projection of the Israeli flag on the Brandenburg Gate, a gesture initiated by pro-Israel activists. “We all find ourselves facing the same terror, from Nice through Berlin to Jerusalem, but together we will stand against evil, and we will prevail,” he wrote. On Twitter, the German Foreign Ministry shared a picture of the projection, stating it was “in solidarity with Israel.” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, by contrast, described the gesture in her city merely as a “tribute to the victims of the attack” in Jerusalem.


Muna Duzdar, an Austrian state secretary, insisted in an interview Wednesday with JTA that “Europe always understood that Israel has a right to defend itself and have security,” and that greater empathy in Europe for terror victims extends not just to Israel but to victims around the world. But following the attacks in Europe, “now we’re having the situation that we have daily terrorist attacks. I wake up and there’s an attack in Israel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Germany. No country is left unaffected. And it might be that someone who was affected himself has a better understanding of this.”


Duzdar, who was born in Austria to Palestinian parents and heads the Palestinian Austrian Society, rejected during the interview claims that the attack was not a terrorist incident because it was directed against soldiers on land that Palestinians consider occupied. “This attack targeted human beings, and as far as I understand it was a jihadist who did that, whose intention was to attack people,” she said.


In Belgium, the firebrand anti-Israel columnist Dyab Abou Jahjah, who for years justified violence against Israelis and Americans in the pages of the De Standaard daily, was fired Monday for defending Sunday’s Jerusalem attack on social media. “An attack on occupation soldiers in occupied territory is not terrorism! It is an act of Resistance. #FreePalestine,” Abou Jahjah wrote. In a statement, De Standaard editor-in-chief Karel Verhoeven wrote that Abou Jahjah “has placed himself beyond the borders of acceptable debate” by endorsing violence.


Yet the gestures of empathy toward Israel will not likely carry over to EU policy, according to Eran, the former ambassador. “These gestures are heartwarming and indicative of a positive change, but there is a clear distinction between empathy and policy in the corridors of the European Union, which is likely to remain as critical as ever of Israeli settlements and continue to oppose them on every international arena,” he said.                                                  






Dexter Filkins

New York Times, Jan. 19, 2017          


In early 2011, as American forces were packing up to leave Iraq after eight years of fighting and occupying, one of the war’s most hideous byproducts was lurching toward what appeared to be certain death: Al Qaeda in Iraq, which had recently renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq, had seen most of its leaders killed and its membership whittled to a handful of dead-enders, who were huddled in sanctuaries in and around the northern city of Mosul.


But then the Americans departed, and a vast uprising against the government across the border, in neighboring Syria, took off. Suddenly, the Islamic State in Iraq, led by an ambitious former graduate student who called himself Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saw its fortunes brighten anew. Baghdadi dispatched a handful of fighters to Syria and within a few months they were running operations across much of the country. Iraq promptly returned to chaos, and in April 2013, Baghdadi, presiding over a vast fief that stretched from the Iraqi desert to the outskirts of Damascus, rechristened his group yet again — as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — and appointed himself caliph. Tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world flocked to defend his far-off kingdom in the sand.


In the years since, ISIS’ breathtaking lust for anarchy — temple-smashings, beheadings, crucifixions — has inevitably prompted the question: What do these people want? The usual answers — money, power, status — do not seem to suffice. Graeme Wood, a correspondent for The Atlantic and a lecturer at Yale, believes he has found something like an answer, and that it can be located in the sacred texts, teachings and folklore of early Islam. In “The Way of the Strangers,” Wood, through a series of conversations with ISIS enthusiasts, shows that many of them claim to want the same thing: a theocratic state without borders, ruled by a leader who meets a series of strict qualifications, and who adheres to a brand of Islam that most people — including most Muslims — would find stifling and abhorrent.


The most novel aspect of Wood’s book is that he shows, convincingly, that the stifling and abhorrent practices of the Islamic State are rooted in Islam itself — not mainstream Islam, but in scriptures and practices that have persisted for centuries. There’s no use denying it. “For years now, the Islamic State and its supporters have been producing essays, fatwas, . . . films and tweets at an industrial pace,” Wood writes. “In studying them we see a coherent view of the world rooted in a minority interpretation of Islamic scripture that has existed, in various forms, for almost as long as the religion itself.” That goes for the most barbarous practices as well: “Slavery has been practiced by Muslims for most of Islamic history, and it was practiced without apology by Muhammad and his companions, who owned slaves and had sex with them.”


Wood has obviously studied the old Islamic texts. And he makes clear, in the conversations he has with Islamic State supporters, that they have, too. The value of “The Way of the Strangers” is that it gives the lie to the notion, repeated so often in the West as to become a cliché, that ISIS zealots are betraying Islam, and that their practices are un-Islamic. They are Islamic, and in that sense, the end-state of their murderous program is not hard to discern.


The Islamic State, such as it is, is a dangerous place, and Wood’s book amounts to a tour around its far edges, where it can be safely traversed. And so we sit down with Hesham Elashry, a suit tailor in Cairo who tries to convert Wood to his Salafist ways. We meet Yasir Qadhi, a Houston-born scholar who abandoned his hard-line views and earned a Ph.D. at Yale. We tag along with Wood as he travels to Footscray, Australia, to meet a jihad-minded young man named Musa Cerantonio, who writes about ISIS on Twitter and Facebook, and who follows an obscure strain of doctrinaire Islam, popular in the Islamic State, known as Dhahirism. And we trace the path of John Georgelas, a.k.a. Yahya Abu Hassan ibn Sharaf, a native of Plano, Tex., who rebelled against his middle-class upbringing, converted to Islam and made the pilgrimage to Syria in 2013 to join the Islamic State; he was wounded soon after and since then has been one of the group’s chief propagandists. Together, Wood’s conversations amount to a thorough discussion of the theological underpinnings of the Islamic State…

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



On Topic Links


Sarsour's Defenders Choose to Ignore March Organizer's Liberal Critics: IPT News, Jan. 25, 2017—By all accounts, last Saturday's Women's March protests generated huge crowds in Washington, D.C. and in similar rallies throughout the country.

Trump’s History-Changing Vow to Eradicate ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’: Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, Jan. 23, 2017—The establishment media has been too involved with comparing crowd sizes to take any significant notice, but Trump’s words heralded a change that was momentous — and could make all the difference in our civilizational struggle against the global jihad.

A Moderate Muslim Goes to Ottawa: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Jan. 17, 2017—On Jan. 10, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a decision that made ripples throughout the world. From Singapore to India, to the BBC and beyond, the only news from Canada that made headlines was about Ahmed Hussen, a Somali-born refugee who arrived on our shores in 1993 and rose to become our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

How American Charities Fund Terrorism: Sam Westrop, National Review, Jan. 12, 2017—As the president-elect has repeatedly made clear, his first full day in office will be a busy one. He has promised to effect a wide array of changes. But what about his second day? If he has some free time, we have some suggestions.













Merkel Government Still in Denial: Vijeta Uniyal, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 20, 2016 — Monday's terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market killed at least 12 people and injured 50 others.

Jordan’s Image as a Stable Oasis Takes a Hit After Karak Attack: Ben Lynfield, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2016 — Jordan’s King Abdullah visited King Hussein Medical Center in Amman on Sunday to check on the condition of security forces and civilians injured in the attack in southern Jordan that killed seven officers…

Turkey Gripped by Terror as Russian Ambassador Killed in Ankara: Barın Kayaoğlu, Al-Monitor, Dec. 19, 2016 — A suicide bomber struck a bus full of Turkish army conscripts on leave in the central Anatolian town of Kayseri on Dec. 17, killing 13 and wounding more than 50.

Resurgent Terror in Egypt: Yoni Ben Menachem, JCPA, Dec. 18, 2016— The suicide bombing at the Coptic church in central Cairo on December 11, 2016


On Topic Links


Turkey, Russia and an Assassination: The Swirling Crises, Explained: Max Fisher, New York Times, Dec. 19, 2016 

Egypt’s Deadliest Church Attack: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 13, 2016

The Fall of Aleppo Is a Huge Gift to ISIS : Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan, Daily Beast, Dec. 18, 2016

Hezbollah vs. ISIS. vs. Israel: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2016




Vijeta Uniyal

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 20, 2016


Monday's terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market killed at least 12 people and injured 50 others. Islamic State took responsibility for the truck-ramming attack, as recommend by the al-Qaeda magazine, Inspire, and similar to the July 14 attack in the French city of Nice, and countless car-rammings in Israel. Now Europeans feel what Israelis live with every day.


Earlier this year, Germany was hit by a series of ISIS-inspired attacks and failed terror plots. Despite that almost all the perpetrators were recent Syrian or Afghan migrants, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the middle of a re-election bid, has stuck to her claim that there is "no connection" between terror attacks in the country and uncontrolled mass migration from Arab and Muslim lands.


Ahead of an election year, Merkel and her coalition partners also want to avoid another mass sexual attack — in Cologne. Adding insult to injury, the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, is planning to put on a big show this coming New Year's Eve in the city's main square. After an elaborate year-long cover up, the city will be lighting up the crime scene as part of a multi-media show. "The City of Cologne has announced plans for a spectacular multi-media show in the area immediately surrounding the famous Gothic cathedral, close to the main train station," state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.


"Cologne will send good images to the world," says the city's mayor. The taxpayer-funded spectacle has been named "Time Drifts Cologne." The "light artist" running the show, Philipp Geist, considers last year's crime scene "a fantastic place for an art installation." Of an estimated two thousand exclusively Muslim men who raped, assaulted and robbed more than 1200 women, almost all the attackers have managed to walk free. Ralf Jäger, Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, admitted recently that "most of the cases will remain unsolved."


An estimated 1,800 police officers will be on duty in Cologne on New Year's Eve, compared to just 140 last year. Barricades have been erected in the city center to check the flow of the crowd. The city's historic cathedral and adjoining area have been placed under a crush barrier. Police will man observation posts and fly helicopters to monitor the crowd, and deploy mounted police and six armoured vehicles for riot-control. "No expense will be spared," assured the mayor. In an important election year, the government wants to defend the city to the last taxpayer dime.


Even before it can face any real onslaught, however, Merkel's fortification is showing some serious cracks. Just days ahead of the News Year's Eve, the police union in the eastern German state of Thuringia has issued an open letter describing the crumbling law-and-order situation amid the rising migrant crime. "[You] are abandoning us completely helpless to a superior force," says the desperate note addressed to the Interior Minister of Thuringia. The union claims that politicians have been repeatedly briefed on the deteriorating conditions under which police have been working. "But what changes? Nothing. One instead gets a sense of uninterest."


Unwilling to acknowledge the breakdown of law and order in face of the rising migrant crime wave, the German media and politicians are going after the messenger. Their latest target is the head of German Police Union, Rainer Wendt. Wendt's crime, after a series of rape crimes this December, was to speak the obvious truth. "The criminals are using open borders," he said. Ralf Stegner, deputy leader of Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a fervent supporter of Merkel's "Refugees Welcome" policy, denounced Wendt's statement as "politically disgusting and stupid as one can get." …


The Merkel government can turn the center of Cologne into an impenetrable fortress for a day or two, but the threat is not going away. The problem lies in the Ruhr region that encircles Cologne. "Have foreign clans turned Ruhr region into a No-Go-Area?" asks the leading German newspaper, Die Welt, just days ahead of News Year's Eve. Meanwhile, representatives of Arab community were reported telling the police in Ruhr, "The police will not win a war with us because we are too many."


Chancellor Merkel, Germany's ruling elites and the media can continue putting a happy face on uncontrolled mass-migration from Arab and Muslim lands, or suppress news reporting on rising migrant crime, as much as they want, but they cannot wish away the country's deteriorating law-and-order situation. As the desperate plea of the police union shows, the Merkel government has decided to ignore the plight of law enforcement, at least for now. It should be evident to even a casual observer that her government still does not care about the victims of its own failed "refugee" policy: Germany appears to be heading toward another rough year.                                                               





A HIT AFTER KARAK ATTACK                                                                             

Ben Lynfield                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2016


Jordan’s King Abdullah visited King Hussein Medical Center in Amman on Sunday to check on the condition of security forces and civilians injured in the attack in southern Jordan that killed seven officers, two Jordanian civilians and one tourist from Canada. Another casualty of the attack, the bloodiest and most audacious in recent years, is Jordan’s self-image as an oasis of stability amid the turmoil swirling around it, notably the civil wars and devastation in Iraq and Syria.


The attack, in addition to its human toll, is threatening at many levels. It reached its bloody conclusion at Karak castle, a popular tourist site that became the venue for an hours-long standoff between Jordanian security forces and the gunmen. This is a powerful symbolic blow to Jordan, and the fallout for the kingdom’s already faltering tourism industry will be substantial.


Another cause for concern is the geographical scope of the attack. It started when gunmen opened fire on police in Qatraneh, nearly thirty kilometers north of Karak. Gunmen then drove to Karak and went on a shooting spree aimed at officers patrolling the town before holing up in the castle. This means that not only were the security forces unable to detect plans for the attack, they were unable to prevent it from spreading. “There is a lapse in the field security here,” said Daoud Kuttab, a columnist for the Jordan Times. “But the public is extremely supportive of the regime and that shows how isolated are the individuals who carry out these acts.”


Still, it must be cause for concern for authorities that the attack took place in an area of Jordan that has traditionally been a bastion of support for the Hashemite monarchy. “If this was an Islamic State attack, it shows that there are holes in the intelligence system since they managed to penetrate the stronghold of the regime,” said Oded Eran, former ambassador to Jordan and a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies.


A not insignificant number – estimates range from hundreds to 2,000 – of Jordanians have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State and other radical Sunni groups, and a spate of attacks over the last nine months indicates that there is a spillover of radicalism into Jordan as well as homegrown extremism. Last month, three US military trainers were shot dead at a southern Jordanian base. According to Reuters, they were shot when their car failed to stop at the base’s gate by a Jordanian soldier in an incident in which Washington did not rule out political motives.


On June 21, an ISIS attack killed seven Jordanian soldiers at a Syrian-Jordanian border checkpoint. Two weeks earlier, an attack on a Jordanian intelligence post in Baqa refugee camp killed five members of the security forces. In March, seven members of a jihadist cell in the northern town of Irbid were killed in a clash that left one soldier dead.


Still, the violence, while worrying, is not seen by Israeli analysts interviewed by The Jerusalem Post as threatening the monarchy. “There is nothing in these attacks to suggest that the fundamental stability of the regime is in danger or that there is a serious deterioration of the legitimacy of the regime in the eyes of the population,” said Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a specialist on Arab politics at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center. “The monarchy at this point is sufficiently rooted in the society as a symbol of Jordanian identity and has made sure to cultivate the loyalties of key sectors of society. There are often rumblings in those sectors but fundamentally the key sectors that make up the elite – civilian and military – view the monarchy as a bulwark against radicalism and chaos that they see breaking out all around them,” he added.


Eran put it this way: “The regime is stable because when you are in Jordan, when you watch television and see the atrocities in Aleppo you think twice, three times, four times before you want to get into that situation. The population is close to the destruction in Iraq and Syria and doesn’t want to rock the boat.” Moreover, there is no organized opposition beyond parliament, which the regime monitors, Eran said. “There isn’t any leader or any contender with charisma to attract support. The regime doesn’t face any movement that captures the imagination of people.”


Eran contrasts the situation in Jordan with that of Egypt, where Islamic State has a territorial foothold in Sinai. “There is nothing like that in Jordan, there is no danger to the regime. Even if tomorrow morning something happens to the monarch, there will be change but there will be no power or any force that takes over from the current regime.”


Still, King Abdullah is on the hot seat with no easy solutions for important issues. Youth unemployment is soaring at about 30% and poverty is widespread. The 630,000 registered Syrian refugees and a similar number of unregistered ones strain the economy and take jobs from Jordanian citizens. The government prides itself on having been able to hold parliamentary elections in September but turnout was low and the legislature lacks legitimacy and power. Sunday’s attack adds to the sense that the former oasis is increasingly becoming a deeply troubled country.


Within this setting, Israel should maintain the close security cooperation with Jordan and help Amman grapple with its Syrian refugees, says Maddy-Weitzman. “We should be extending humanitarian aid, assistance without a footprint, to help with the refugees, whatever Jordan thinks would be helpful, be it medical supplies [or] vital humanitarian aid.” At the same time, Maddy- Weitzman advocates “being extremely sensitive to Jordanian concerns on Jerusalem, the holy sites and the peace process and taking a more proactive approach on the Palestinian issue.”






Barın Kayaoğlu

Al-Monitor, Dec. 19, 2016


A suicide bomber struck a bus full of Turkish army conscripts on leave in the central Anatolian town of Kayseri on Dec. 17, killing 13 and wounding more than 50. The attack, allegedly perpetrated by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), comes in the wake of the dual suicide bombings on Dec. 10 that targeted riot police outside a soccer game in Istanbul. TAK claimed responsibility for the Istanbul attack that killed 36 officers and eight civilians.


While these tragic events have worsened tensions in Turkey, many observers emphasized the symbolic value of attacking unarmed troops from the 1st Commando Brigade. Some media outlets referred to the brigade, also known as “Kayseri Hava Indirme” (Kayseri Airborne), as “the PKK’s nightmare” for its role in fighting the militant Kurdish group. Kayseri Airborne’s sister unit, the Hakkari Mountain and Commando Brigade on the Iraqi border, also serves as a vanguard in the front lines of the Turkish state’s decadeslong struggle against the PKK.


Meanwhile, many Turkish media outlets underscored that the Kayseri attacker had received “military training” and snuck into Turkey from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which the Turks accuse of aiding the PKK. The English edition of the Sabah newspaper, which is close to the Turkish government, specifically emphasized how the bomber had received training at camps run by the PYD. Today’s front page of pro-government Yeni Akit ran the sensational headline “The swamp in Qandil should be drained,” referring to the PKK’s various bases in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan.


Turkish news outlets, however, overlooked a critical aspect of the story. Groups such as the PYD, PKK and TAK often emphasize the retaliatory nature of attacks like the ones in Istanbul and Kayseri. As several Al-Monitor writers have pointed out in recent months (including Kadri Gursel, who is currently in pretrial detention for his journalistic work), militant Kurdish groups often attack “softer” targets in western Turkey instead of directly confronting security forces. The PKK and TAK legitimize their attacks against civilians or security forces in western Turkey as a way to avenge the Turkish government’s heavy-handed operations in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. In turn, the government’s vengeful responses after PKK and TAK strikes worsen the vicious cycle of violence in Turkey.


In other news, as this article went to publication, reports came in that Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, had been shot and killed by a Turkish police officer at an art opening in the Turkish capital Ankara. Observers as diverse as Iranian-American scholar Trita Parsi, neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol and Al-Monitor’s own Laura Rozen compared the episode to the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914, an event that triggered World War I. The attacks in Istanbul, Kayseri and now Ankara prove that without a Christmas (or New Year) miracle, 2017 is poised to be even more unpleasant than 2016 for Turks. At the moment, Turkey looks helpless.





RESURGENT TERROR IN EGYPT                                                                           

Yoni Ben Menachem                                                     

JCPA, Dec. 18, 2016


The suicide bombing at the Coptic church in central Cairo on December 11, 2016, which killed 25 and wounded 50, and the terror attack a few days earlier on the road to the Giza pyramids that killed six police officers, reflect two fateful developments: the Muslim Brotherhood’s recovery from the blows inflicted by the Sisi government, and the slackening of the government’s security efforts and possibly its fatigue from fighting terror.


There is growing public criticism of the security failures that allowed these attacks. Egyptian authorities have already announced that they are considering new plans for augmenting the military and security laws that pertain to the war on terror. The public has reacted to the attacks with fury. Even the newspaper, Al-Ahram, which is the government’s official mouthpiece, has published articles on the security failures and the need for enhanced measures such as installing cameras in crowded places and using sniffer dogs. A December 13, 2016, article in Al-Ahram by writer Masoud al-Hanawi called on the Egyptian government to learn from Israel and Turkey about how to wage all-out war on terror and strike it with an iron fist.


The Muslim Brotherhood appears to be recuperating from the assassination a few months ago of Muhammad Kamal, who headed its military wing, by Egyptian security forces in a raid on the Cairo apartment, where he was hiding.


On December 13, 2016, the Islamic State issued an official announcement that it was behind the bombing of the Coptic Church. Egyptian security officials, however, believe the attack was a joint operation of the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the Muslim Brotherhood office in London issued a statement condemning the attack, the Egyptian authorities claim the condemnation was made out of fear of Western countries’ reactions.


Some of the Facebook pages of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled to Qatar expressed elation over the attack. Earlier, an organization known as Hassam released a statement pinning the blame for the attack on police officers who, it said, had set an ambush on the road to the pyramids in Giza. According to Egyptian security officials, this organization is part of the Muslim Brotherhood. In recent months, its members have perpetrated a string of terror attacks against the police and against a judge in one of the trials of the previous president, Mohamed Morsi. They also tried to assassinate Dr. Ali Gomaa, the former mufti of Egypt.


This is not the first time radical Muslims have struck at the delicate social fabric between Egyptian Muslims and Christians of the Coptic community, which forms about 10 percent of the population.  In January 2011, a car-bomb attack on the Al-Qiddissin Coptic Church in Alexandria killed 21. The newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on December 13, 2011, that since Sisi became president, there have been 130 attacks on Coptic churches and property in Egypt. These appear to be radical Muslims’ acts of vengeance for the Coptic Church’s support for Sisi’s government, which has outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood members accuse the Coptic Christians of abetting the overthrow of former President Morsi’s government.


Official statements by the Egyptian Interior Ministry and reports in the Egyptian media indicate that the attack on the Coptic church was carried out by a cell whose creation was initiated by Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Qatar, which gives political refuge to the movement’s operatives, and by Muhammad Kamal’s successor as head of the military wing, with help from the Islamic State branch in northern Sinai. Egyptian security officials’ investigation indicates that Kamal’s successor is 32-year-old Mohab Mostafa el-Sayed Kassem, whose codename in the Muslim Brotherhood is “the Doctor.” It was the Doctor who recruited Mahmoud Shafiq, who carried out the attack on the Coptic Church with a suicide vest, and the other members of the cell.


The Doctor has been able to evade the Egyptian security. However, it appears from the interrogation of four members of the cell who were quickly captured that he went to Qatar a few months ago. There he seems to have met with some of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled from Egypt, the most prominent among them is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. It was in Doha that the attack was planned – as retribution for the Copts’ support for Sisi’s government and also in an effort to damage Christmas tourism in Egypt. The Doctor returned to Cairo via the Sinai Peninsula, where he received military training from Ansar Beit al-Makdis, the Islamic State branch. He then recruited the other members of the cell including the suicide bomber.


President Sisi’s government now faces a new challenge of waging a war on terror. The Muslim Brotherhood, having failed to organize mass anti-government demonstrations on November 11, 2016, against the backdrop of the country’s difficult economic situation, appears more determined than ever to overthrow Sisi and destabilize the country by resuming terror attacks. Recently a Cairo court annulled the death sentence that had been meted out to Morsi.  This was seen as Sisi’s signal to the Muslim Brotherhood that he was prepared for reconciliation. The movement, however, hastened to issue a statement a few days later that it rejected any possibility of mending fences with Sisi’s government.


During the funeral of those killed in the attack on the Coptic Church, Sisi called on the government and parliament to make changes in legislation that would enable a tougher struggle against terror. He denied that there had been a security failure. Members of parliament, however, are already calling for electromagnetic gates to be installed at the entrances to the country’s churches. The government emphasizes the fact that the terror endangers both Muslims and Christians. The parliament, for its part, is already considering changes in the constitution that would enable the military’s legal system to try civilians suspected of involvement in terror. President Sisi’s challenge is to stop the new radical-Islamic wave of terror while it is still only beginning.




On Topic Links


Turkey, Russia and an Assassination: The Swirling Crises, Explained: Max Fisher, New York Times, Dec. 19, 2016  —Turkey and Russia, whose up-and-down relationship has helped shape the Syrian war and its related crises, shared a new trauma on Monday after an off-duty Turkish police officer assassinated Russia’s ambassador.

Egypt’s Deadliest Church Attack: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 13, 2016 —The worst attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in recent years occurred yesterday, Sunday, December 11, 2016. St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo, packed with worshippers celebrating Sunday mass, was bombed; at least 27 churchgoers, mostly women and children, were killed and 65 severely wounded. As many of the wounded are in critical condition, the death toll is expected to rise.

The Fall of Aleppo Is a Huge Gift to ISIS : Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan, Daily Beast, Dec. 18, 2016—Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “Caliph Ibrahim” of the so-called Islamic State, had an excellent week last week. The fall of Aleppo to a consortium of Iranian-built militias backed by Russian airpower and special forces constitutes not only a loud victory for Damascus but also a quieter one for ISIS, or the Islamic State, which mounted a surprise attack that retook the ancient city of Palmyra.

Hezbollah vs. ISIS. vs. Israel: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2016 —Two incidents in recent weeks showcase the complexity of the challenges facing Israel on its northern front. In the first, an air strike killed four members of the Islamic State-affiliated Khalid Ibn al-Walid Army after a patrol of the Golani reconnaissance unit in the southern Golan Heights was targeted by the organization. Israeli aircraft then targeted a facility used by the group in the Wadi Sirhan area.







Why the Arab Terror in Jerusalem?: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 20, 2016— Hope, not despair, is the reason for Islamic-Arab terror in Jerusalem.

A Stark Prognosis for the Middle East: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 4, 2016 — Several major developments in the Middle East will keep the region a wellspring of Islamic terror and a source of inspiration for Islamist radicals for the foreseeable future.

Islamist Violence Will Steer Europe's Destiny: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2016  — While visiting predominantly Muslim suburbs emerging outside nearly all northern European cities, one question keeps recurring…

Guess Who Is Helping Islamists to Oppress Women?: Thomas Quiggin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 10, 2016— Advocating violence against women and other misogynist practices are increasingly being accepted by individuals who identify themselves as "feminists" and "female leaders."


On Topic Links


Teach the Truth About Islamophobia: Barbara Kay, National Post, Sept. 14, 2016

Bombing Suspect is No Lone Wolf, But a Terrorist With a Family of Sympathizers: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Sept. 24, 2016

Terror Crossroads: On Europe’s Doorstep: Gordon N. Bardos, World Affairs, Spring 2016

A Debate About Terror: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2016




Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                             

Breaking Israel News, Oct. 20, 2016


Hope, not despair, is the reason for Islamic-Arab terror in Jerusalem. A glance at the Islamic-Arab map of terror against Jews makes the picture clear: The terror attacks in Jerusalem are on a larger scale and are more complex and intensive than in other Israeli cities which have a significant Israeli Arab Islamic population – Jaffa, Nazareth, Acre and Haifa. That is what gives rise to the question – why the Arab terror in Jerusalem? What makes this city such an attractive goal for terrorists and terror?


In previous articles, we discussed the historical and religious factors behind Israel’s conflict with its neighbors; namely, that Israel’s very existence and its capital’s establishment in Jerusalem pose a religious challenge for Muslims, who view Islam as the true religion while Judaism, like Christianity, is considered a religion of lies. The return of the Jews to their homeland and historic capital city puts the lie to that concept and threatens Islam’s status in the world.


In addition to the religious component, there is the nationalist one: Israel’s existence is a reflection of the Arab failure to prevent its establishment in 1948 and the additional failure of the Arab nations in every war whose main goal was the destruction of the entire State of Israel. The Arab nations were humiliated – and making peace with Israel is an admission of the continuing shame they feel at the very existence of a Jewish state.


However, all this does not explain why the Arabs living in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre (Akko) for the most part do not take up terror, while many of the Arabs living in Jerusalem spend their days and nights planning terror attacks. Some say that the proximity of the Al Aqsa Mosque is the reason, but that is not true, because the Muslims in Jaffa and Nazareth consider Al Aqsa to be holy as much as the Jerusalem Arabs do, and still they avoid committing terrorist attacks while the Jerusalem Arabs are actively involved in terror.


There has to be another difference between Jerusalem and the other Israeli cities with sizable Arab populations. One could claim that the difference is a result of the length of time Israel is in control of these cities: The four cities of Nazareth, Acre, Haifa and Jaffa have been under Israeli sovereignty for 68 years, while Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods have been part of the Jewish State for only 50 years. But the four cities were tranquil and free of terror way before Israel’s 50th birthday, so why aren’t 50 years enough to calm down the Arab-Muslims in Jerusalem?


The answer is elementary. There is a fundamental difference between Jewish control in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre and Jewish control of Jerusalem. It has to do with the finality of Israeli sovereignty: from that day in June 1949 when armistice – by no means peace!! – agreements were signed in Rhodes between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the Arabs in those four cities realized that they had been transformed permanently, against their will, into citizens of Israel – and will remain that way unless Israel disappears (inshallah!). While Israel exists, there is no other possibility open to them, and that means the end of the struggle and a coming to terms on some level with Israeli sovereignty, whether or not they like it.


The 1949 Arab de facto recognition of Israel brought them to the realization that the Arab world had betrayed them and so they set aside any hopes of being liberated by Arab armies. International recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over their cities increased the feelings of helplessness in the face of the Jewish state and they accepted the rules of that state’s societal, economic and political game, not out of love but because there was no other political game in town that they could join. And most important: they never saw any Israeli, from the radical left to the extreme right, call on Israel to give Jaffa, Haifa, Acre or Nazareth over to Arab control. Facing Israeli unanimity on the subject as well as Arab and international acceptance, they understood that their struggle had ended in failure and that their lives would be lived and their interests pursued within a Jewish state.


In contrast, the Arabs in Jerusalem live in a totally different state of mind, one in which Israeli rule over eastern Jerusalem is not the end of the story. There are many reasons for this: they, too, hear all the Jews who call themselves Zionists and who want to divide Jerusalem in order to establish the capital of a Palestinian State in the eastern sector of the city, the area that has been holy to Judaism for over 3000 years.  They cannot help seeing delusional NGO’s such as “Ir Amim” (literally city of nations”) whose agenda includes recognition of Arab “rights” to establish an Arab capital in Jerusalem although the city was never the capital of any Arab or Islamic state. They cannot but see the environmental neglect in the eastern part of the city as compared with the investment in the appearance of the western part. They see that Al Quds University is not under the aegis of Israel’s Higher Education Council – and they see another thousand proofs that Israel is not really serious about annexing eastern Jerusalem, although 50 years have passed since the  “occupation” began…                                                         

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




A STARK PROGNOSIS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST                                                                             

Efraim Inbar                                                                                                        

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 4, 2016


Several major developments in the Middle East will keep the region a wellspring of Islamic terror and a source of inspiration for Islamist radicals for the foreseeable future. Attempts to perpetrate acts of terror against the “enemies of Islam” should be expected to continue. The first development contributing to the growth of terror has been the historic disruption of the Arab state system. The relatively new Arab states failed to instill deeply held national identities (with the exception of Egypt, a true historical state). This failure allowed for the breakdown of states along ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines, and for the emergence of armed militias.


The rise of numerous failed states, characterized primarily by the loss of monopoly over the use of force, started before the Arab Spring. Lebanon, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Somalia are prime examples. This trend intensified with the weakening of the central governments in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Those states were transformed into vast battlefields containing many militias notable for their lack of inhibitions against using terror to attain political goals.


The crumbling of state structures also facilitated access to weapons. National arsenals, once guarded by state organs that have since disintegrated, became accessible to militiamen and terrorists of all kinds. Indeed, the Islamic State (IS) is fighting with weapons supplied by the Americans to the Iraqi army, while insurgents in Syria are using Russian weapons intended for use by the Syrian army. The collapse of state structures also destroyed border controls, allowing for freedom of movement for both terrorists and weaponry. The chaos and internecine fighting that accompany the destruction of a state cause people to flee for their safety beyond the borders of their country, and terrorists can hide easily among waves of refugees.


A critical historic trend in the Middle East that is feeding the terror phenomenon is the rise of political Islam. Islamic identity is deeply entrenched in the region, making the population susceptible to Islamist messages couched in traditional content. The Islamists have also capitalized on the Arab states’ inability to deliver decent services to their citizens by establishing educational networks as well as health and social services. This has been a winning strategy for them, in that it has allowed them to capture popular support. When free elections are allowed in the Arab world, Islamist parties do very well. However, most Islamists are anti-modern and anti-Western. Radical Islamist circles advocate violence and terror in the interest of installing “true Islam,” first in Muslim lands and eventually everywhere else. Islamists despise “the decadent West” and believe it will inevitably fall under Muslim rule.


The Islamic wave is present not only in Arab failed states. Saudi Arabia, whose stability and territorial integrity of which should not be taken for granted, exports a fundamentalist version of Islam (Wahhabism) throughout the Muslim world by building mosques and funding schools. The strand of Islamic extremism that promotes and legitimizes violence is linked to this Saudi-centered strain of Islam. Al Qaeda is one of its offshoots. The wealthy, maverick state of Qatar also supports a variety of radical Islamist organizations. It even hosts an Afghan Taliban “political office” on its soil. The “moderate” Arab states grapple with the Islamist challenge. In the largest and most important Arab state, Egypt, the most potent political force – the one able to bring multitudes of supporters into the streets – is still the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.


The two strong non-Arab states in the Middle East (excluding Jewish Israel), Iran and Turkey, also display Islamist tendencies. Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran adopted a radical Shi’ite program intertwined with Persian imperialist ambitions. Its quest for hegemony in the region was abetted by the ill-advised nuclear agreement with the US, which was not linked to any changes in Iranian international behavior and freed great amounts of money for Iranian mischief. The modus operandi in Tehran includes terror, and Iran remains on the Americans’ list of state sponsors of terror.

Turkey under Erdoğan, particularly after the botched military coup, is increasingly authoritarian, with stronger domestic pressure being applied to urge conformity with the mores of the Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey’s international behavior is imbued with neo- Ottoman and Islamic impulses. It lends support to Islamist factions in the Syrian and Libyan civil wars (including IS) and to Hamas in Gaza. It is also involved in the Balkans, particularly in the Muslim states (Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo).


The Middle East, more than any other region in the world, is beleaguered by religious fanatics ready to use violence indiscriminately against people who do not adhere to the “right” religious approach. These zealots have a great deal of energy, and many frustrated Muslims are ready to blame their miserable predicament on the West. The majority of Muslims in the region do not condone abhorrent terrorist acts, but they are largely silent. Many who would not participate in such acts show understanding when they are committed by others. Most tragically, they are reluctant to take responsibility for bringing their societies into the 21st century…

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




ISLAMIST VIOLENCE WILL STEER EUROPE'S DESTINY                                                                     

Daniel Pipes                                                                                                          

Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2016


While visiting predominantly Muslim suburbs emerging outside nearly all northern European cities, one question keeps recurring: Why have some of the richest, most educated, most secular, most placid, and most homogeneous countries in the world willingly opened their doors to virtually any migrant from the poorest, least modern, most religious, and least stable countries?


Other questions follow: Why have mostly Christian countries decided to take in mostly Muslim immigrants? Why do so many Establishment politicians, most notably Germany's Angela Merkel, ignore and revile those who increasingly worry that this immigration is permanently changing the face of Europe? Why does it fall to the weaker Visegrád states of eastern Europe to articulate a patriotic rejection of this phenomenon? Where will the immigration lead? There's no single answer that applies to multiple countries; but of the many factors (such as secularization) behind this historically unprecedented acceptance of alien peoples, one stands out as most critical: a west European sense of guilt.


To many educated western Europeans, their civilization is less about scientific advances, unprecedented levels of prosperity, and the achievement of unique human freedoms, and more about colonialism, racism, and fascism. The brutal French conquest of Algeria, the uniquely evil German genocide against the Jews, and the legacy of extreme nationalism cause many Europeans, in the analysis of Pascal Bruckner, a French intellectual, to see themselves as "the sick man of the planet," responsible for every global problem from poverty to environmental rapacity; "the white man has sown grief and ruin wherever he has gone." Affluence implies robbery, light skin manifests sinfulness.


Bruckner labels this the "tyranny of guilt" and I encountered some colorful expressions during my recent travels of such self-hatred. A French Catholic priest expressed remorse over the record of the Church. A conservative German intellectual preferred Syrians and Iraqis to his fellow Germans. A Swedish tour guide put down fellow Swedes and hoped he would not be perceived as one. Indeed, many Europeans feel their guilt makes them superior; the more they dislike themselves, the more they preen – inspiring a strange mix of self-loathing and moral superiority that, among other consequence, leaves them reluctant to commit the time and money required to bear children. "Europe is losing faith in itself, and birth rates have collapsed," notes Irish scientist William Reville…


South Asians in the United Kingdom, North Africans in France, and Turks in Germany, plus Somalis, Palestinians, Kurds, and Afghans all over, can claim innocence of Europe's historic sins even as they offer the prospect of staffing the economy. As the American writer Mark Steyn puts it, "Islam is now the principal supplier of new Europeans." The Establishment, or what I call the 6 P's (politicians, police, prosecutors, the press, professors, and priests), generally insists that everything will turn out fine: Kurds will become productive workers, Somalis fine citizens, and Islamist problems will melt away. That's the theory and sometimes it works. Far too often, however, Muslim immigrants remain aloof from the culture of their new European home or reject it, as most clearly manifested by gender relations; some violently attack non-Muslims. Far too often too, they lack the skills or incentive to work hard and end up an economic liability.


The influx of non-integrating Muslim peoples raises the profound question whether Europe's civilization of the past millennium can survive. Will England become Londonistan and France an Islamic republic? The Establishment castigates, dismisses, sidelines, ostracizes, suppresses, and even arrests those who raise such issues, demeaning them as right-wing extremists, racists, and neo-fascists. Nonetheless, the prospect of Islamization prompts a growing number of Europeans to fight on behalf of their traditional way of life. Leaders include intellectuals such as the late Oriana Fallaci and novelist Michel Houellebecq; politicians such as Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, and Geert Wilders, head of the most popular Dutch party.


Anti-immigration political parties typically win about 20 percent of the vote. And while a consensus has emerged that their appeal will stay about there, perhaps reaching 30 percent, they could well continue to grow. Opinion polls show that very substantial majorities fear Islam and want to stop and even reverse the effects of immigration, especially that of Muslims. In this light, Norbert Hofer recently winning 50 percent of the vote in Austria represents a potentially major breakthrough. The greatest question facing Europe is who, Establishment or populace, will steer the continent's future. The extent of Islamist political violence will likely decide this: a drumbeat of high-profile mass-murders (such as in France since January 2015) tilts the field toward the people; its absence allows the Establishment to remain in charge. Ironically, then, the actions of migrants will largely shape Europe's destiny.




Thomas Quiggin

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 10, 2016


Advocating violence against women and other misogynist practices are increasingly being accepted by individuals who identify themselves as "feminists" and "female leaders." The process of normalizing Islamist misogyny is well underway while so-called feminists remain silent on issues such as wife beating, child marriages, female genital mutilation and "forced suicides." For current feminists, it appears as though political correctness and fantasizing that they are "social justice warriors" outweighs the rights of women, especially brown women. When it comes to the issue of opposing violence against women, feminists are as silent as beaten wives. Nothing – including the advocacy of wife beating, pedophiliac sex acts with nine-year-old girls and the generalized oppression of women – can draw feminists into the debate on the role of women under the Islamist ideology that is prevalent in Canada and the USA.


Premier Katherine Wynne of Ontario (population 13.6 million) recently visited the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), along with Education Minister Mitzie Hunter. They met on August 26, 2016 with female members of the Islamic Circle North America Sisters (ICNA Canada) in Scarborough. The ICNA directly advocates misogynist positions such as wife beating, the taking of slave girls and the position that women are, overall, inferior to men. ICNA also notes that Islamic women have been "emancipated" from the obligation of earning their own livelihood. Therefore, women can be kept at home and cannot leave the house without the permission of the husband. Quite alarmingly, the Premier of Ontario did not criticize the organiztion or its heavily misogynistic beliefs. Rather she publicly claimed to have been "honoured" to have been there. The Minister of Education, Ms Hunter, appears to have remained silent on her views concerning this visit.


The Minister of the Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, for the federal government of Canada does not appear to have any problem with those advocating violence against women, either. Her cabinet colleague, Minister John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, received an award for his "outstanding service" from the Canadian Council of Imams. The chairperson of this group is Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvi, who is also the Amir of ICNA. Why the Minister of Immigration should be accepting an award from an individual whose own organization (ICNA) openly advocates violence against women is not clear. Minister Hajdu, despite her role as Minister for the Status of Women in Canada, has remained silent on this issue despite being made aware of it directly.


Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga has repeated allowed Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), a leading Islamist organization, to use city-owned property in Mississauga to hold conferences. In addition to stating that democracy is not compatible with Islam and that all Canadian soldiers are war criminals, HT is running an education campaign to teach women about "women's rights." To HT, women's rights are a Western concept and Islamic women should be aware of their obligation under sharia law. Ironically, the City of Mississauga withdrew permission (once) for Hizb ut Tahrir to have a meeting on city-owned property. Gerry Townsend, the CEO of Mississauga Living Arts Centre, confirmed the cancellation explaining that "there has been a bit of publicity about this organization." The meeting, it seems was not cancelled because HT is misogynist or listed as a terrorist group in multiple countries, but rather because of "publicity." Other meetings carried on without incident.


Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid is another woman who maintains silence in the face of the advocacy of violence against women. Prior to being a Member of Parliament, Ms. Khalid was the head of the Muslim Student Association at York University. In 2015, the same York University Muslim Student Association was handing out books for Islam Awareness Week. According to a book handed out, wife-beating is permissible under certain circumstances and some women enjoy being beaten because they are submissives. Ms. Khalid, who has close ties to the Islamic Society of North America and others, has not spoken out against the violence advocated by her former student association, the ICNA, the ISNA or any other such Islamist organization.


Perhaps the most disturbing example of all, however, is Joyce Thacker of the United Kingdom. She was the £130,000-a-year Strategic Director of the City of Rotherham's children's services department for five years. During that time, the ongoing rapes, drugging and enslavement of eleven to fourteen-year-old girls carried on in Rotherham. Not only did the child services department do nothing to help the 1400 girls being raped and forced into prostitution, in fact she (and others) went out of their way to silence anyone who tried to speak out. The reason for the enforced silence over a period of years was later identified in the official UK government report as "institutionalized political correctness." The rapists were primarily identified as Pakistani/Kashmiri/Muslims and the victims were identified as being primarily white girls. Rather than face the fact that a problem of mass rape on a wartime level existed, Joyce Thacker played a role in the cover-up…

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




On Topic Links



Teach the Truth About Islamophobia: Barbara Kay, National Post, Sept. 14, 2016—Exactly 14 years ago today, the National Post published an op-ed by Neil Seeman, “Are we all Islamophobes? Not really.” In it Seeman debunked the idea, promoted by Riad Saloojee, then executive director of CAIR.CAN (the Canadian chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, now known as the National Council of Canadian Muslims, or NCCM, without apparent change of mission or affiliations), that “a very well-documented, anti-Muslim hate wave” had swept through Canada.

Bombing Suspect is No Lone Wolf, But a Terrorist With a Family of Sympathizers: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Sept. 24, 2016—Last weekend’s NYC bombing is yet another case of terrorism and hatred for America not being isolated to a “lone wolf” but running in the family. We’ve seen this horror before, in Orlando, San Bernardino, Chattanooga and Boston — Muslim families playing dumb after their son goes on a terrorist rampage, only to find out later that the family sympathized with terrorism.

Terror Crossroads: On Europe’s Doorstep: Gordon N. Bardos, World Affairs, Spring 2016—Just how large the Balkans loom over Europe’s security problems should be clear from the dramatis personae of last year’s Paris terror tragedies. The man who took credit for the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, Nasser bin Ali Ansi, was a veteran of the Bosnian jihad in the 1990s and subsequently became a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

A Debate About Terror: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2016—The Commission on Presidential Debates, which is in charge of Monday night’s cage match between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, lists three topics on its website for the 90-minute debate: America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity and Securing America.