Friday, August 8, 2014

Hamas' Phony Statistics on Civilian Deaths



by Alan M. Dershowitz


It's a mystery why so many in the media accept as gospel Hamas-supplied figures on the number of civilians killed in the recent war. Hamas claims that of the more than 1800 Palestinians killed close to 90% were civilians. Israel, on the other hand, says that close to half of them were combatants. The objective facts support a number much closer to Israel's than to Hamas'.

Even human rights group antagonistic to Israel acknowledge, according to a New York Times report, that Hamas probably counts among the "civilians killed by Israel" the following groups: Palestinians killed by Hamas as collaborators; Palestinians killed through domestic violence; Palestinians killed by errant Hamas rockets or mortars; and Palestinians who died naturally during the conflict. I wonder if Hamas also included the reported 162 children who died while performing child slave labor in building their terror tunnels. Hamas also defines combatants to include only armed fighters who were killed while fighting Israelis. They exclude Hamas supporters who build tunnels, who allow their homes to be used to store and fire rockets, Hamas policemen, members of the Hamas political wing and others who work hand in hand with the armed terrorists.

Is a Hamas member who stores weapons in his home a civilian or combatant? Pictured, weapons and ammunition found by the IDF in the bedroom of a Gaza home, July 2014. (Image source: IDF)

Several years ago I came up with a concept which I call, the "continuum of civilianality"—an inelegant phrase that is intended to convey the reality that who is a civilian and who is a combatant is often a matter of degree. Clearly every child below the age in which he or she is capable of assisting Hamas is a civilian. Clearly every Hamas fighter who fires rockets, bears arms, or operates in the tunnels is a combatant. Between these extremes lie a wide range of people, some of whom are closer to the civilian end, many of whom who are closer to the combatant end. The law of war has not established a clear line between combatants and civilians, especially in the context of urban warfare where people carry guns at night and bake bread during the day, or fire rockets during the day and go back home to sleep with their families at night. (Interestingly the Israeli Supreme Court has tried to devise a functional definition of combatants in the murky context of urban guerrilla warfare.)

Data published by the New York Times strongly suggest that a very large number—perhaps a majority—of those killed are closer to the combatant end of the continuum than to the civilian end. First of all, the vast majority of those killed have been male rather than female. In an Islamic society, males are far more likely to be combatants than females. Second, most of those killed are within the age range (15-40) that are likely to be combatants. The vast majority of these are male as well. The number of people over 60 who have been killed is infinitesimal. The number of children below the age of 15 is also relatively small, although their pictures have been shown more frequently than others. In other words, the genders and ages of those killed are not representative of the general population of Gaza. It is far more representative of the genders and ages of combatants. These data strongly suggest that a very large percentage of Palestinians killed are on the combatant side of the continuum.

They also prove, as if any proof were necessary to unbiased eyes, that Israel did not target civilians randomly. If it had, the dead would be representative of the Gaza population in general, rather than of the subgroups most closely identified with combatants.

The media should immediately stop using Hamas-approved statistics, which in the past have proved to be extremely unreliable. Instead, they should try to document, independently, the nature of each person killed and describe their age, gender, occupation, affiliation with Hamas and other objective factors relevant to their status as a combatant, non-combatant or someone in the middle. It is lazy and dangerous for the media to rely on Hamas-approved propaganda figures. In fact, when the infamous Goldstone Report falsely stated that the vast majority of people killed in Operation Cast Lead were civilians and not Hamas fighters, many in Gaza complained to Hamas. They accused Hamas of cowardice for allowing so many civilians to be killed while protecting their own fighters. As a result of these complaints, Hamas was forced to tell the truth: namely that many more of those killed were actually Hamas fighters or armed policemen. It is likely that Hamas will make a similar "correction" with regard to this conflict. But that correction will not be covered by the media, as the prior correction was not.

The headline—"Most of those killed by Israel were children, women and the elderly"—will continue to be the conventional wisdom, despite its factual falsity. Unless it is corrected, Hamas will continue with its "dead baby strategy" and more people on both sides will die.


Alan M. Dershowitz

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4585/hamas-phony-statistics-on-civilian-deaths

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Evelyn Gordon: How Hamas Deliberately Created a Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza



by Evelyn Gordon


There has been a lot of talk lately about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. What has gone curiously unmentioned by all the great humanitarians from the UN and “human rights” groups, however, is the degree to which this crisis was deliberately fomented by Hamas: Aside from starting the war to begin with, Hamas has done its level best to deprive Gazans of everything from food to medical care to housing, despite Israel’s best efforts to provide them.

Take, for instance, the widely reported shortages of medicines and various other essentials. Many of these products are imported, and since Egypt has largely closed its border, Gaza has only one conduit for these vital imports: the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel. Thus if Gaza’s Hamas government had any concern whatsoever for its citizens, ensuring that this crossing was kept open and could function at maximum efficiency would be a top priority.

Instead, Hamas and other terrorist groups subjected Kerem Shalom to relentless rocket and mortar fire throughout the 29-day conflict, thereby ensuring that the job of getting cargo through was constantly interrupted as crossing workers raced for cover. Hamas also launched at least three tunnel attacks near Kerem Shalom, each of which shut the crossing down for hours.

Despite this, Israeli staffers risked their lives to keep the crossing open and managed to send through 1,491 truckloads of food, 220 truckloads of other humanitarian supplies, and 106 truckloads of medical supplies. But the numbers would certainly have been higher had the nonstop attacks not kept disrupting operations. On August 1, for instance, a shipment comprising 91 truckloads of aid had to be aborted on when Hamas violated a humanitarian cease-fire by launching a massive attack near Kerem Shalom.

Then there’s the shortage of medical care, as Gaza’s hospitals were reportedly overwhelmed by the influx of Palestinian casualties. To relieve this pressure, Israel allowed some Palestinians into Israel for treatment and also set up a field hospital on the Gaza border. But throughout the war, the field hospital stood almost empty–which Israel says is because Hamas deliberately kept Palestinians from using it.

Many pundits dismiss this claim, insisting there were simply no Palestinians who wanted to go there. That, however, is highly implausible. Gazans routinely seek treatment in Israel because it offers better medical care than Gaza does; as one Gazan said in 2012, “It is obvious that people come to Israel for medical treatment, regardless of the political conflict.” Even Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sends his family to Israel for treatment; over the past two years, Israel has treated both his granddaughter and his sister’s husband. So while some Palestinians undoubtedly objected to accepting help from the enemy, it’s hard to believe there weren’t also Palestinians who simply wanted the best possible care for their loved ones, and would gladly have accepted it from Israel had they not feared retaliation from a group with no qualms about shooting dissenters.

It’s also worth noting that “humanitarian” organizations in Gaza actively contributed to this particular problem. UNRWA and the Red Cross did refer a few patients to the Israeli field hospital. But you have to wonder why they opted to refer most patients to Gaza’s Shifa Hospital and then make videos about how difficult conditions there were instead of easing the burden on Shifa by referring more patients to the Israeli hospital.

Then, of course, there’s the dire electricity shortage–also courtesy in part of Hamas, which destroyed two power lines carrying electricity from Israel to Gaza and subsequently prevented their repair by shelling the area nonstop.

Finally, there’s the massive destruction of houses in Gaza, which has left thousands of families homeless. That, too, was largely courtesy of Hamas: It booby-trapped houses and other civilian buildings, like a UNRWA clinic, on a massive scale and also used such buildings to store rockets and explosives.

Sometimes, it blew up these buildings itself in an effort to kill Israeli soldiers. Other times, the buildings blew up when relatively light Israeli ammunition like mortar shells–which aren’t powerful enough to destroy a building on their own–caused the booby traps or stored rockets to detonate. As Prof. Gregory Rose aptly noted, Hamas effectively turned all of Gaza into one big suicide bomb. In one neighborhood, for instance, 19 out of 28 houses were either booby-trapped, storing rockets, or concealing a tunnel entrance, thereby ensuring their destruction.

Now, the organization is gleefully watching the world blame Israel for the humanitarian crisis Hamas itself created. And that gives it every incentive to repeat these tactics in the future.


Hat Tip: Sefton Bergson


Evelyn Gordon

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/08/06/how-hamas-deliberately-created-a-humanitarian-crisis-in-gaza/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Abbas is a Charlatan



by Ze'ev Jabotinsky


As the cease-fire takes effect, there is more talk about how now is the time to strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and trust him to bring about a solution to Gaza, meaning to demilitarize it. A cold, hard look shows that nothing is more dangerous for us than depending on this charlatan. 

First, the Palestinian Authority is incapable of preventing a military coup like the one Hamas carried out in Gaza in 2007. The only reason its people were not assassinated by their "unity" government partners was that the IDF was watching over them day and night. Here the PA shares mutual interests with Israel, which constantly eliminates militarization attempts and the buildup of terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria. We also hear enthusiasm for cooperation with Israel on security, but that stems from their own survival instinct and not because they have suddenly joined the Zionist movement. So the PA will not disarm terrorist organizations in Gaza, even if it promises to. 

Secondly, the moderate Arab countries currently have mutual interests other than Abbas, and sometimes even preclude supporting him. Their mutual interest with Israel comes from the fact that they have recognized that they might well need Israel's military assistance against ideological enemies like Iran or the Islamic State group. It would be exciting to see an Islamic State member, in front of his black flag, spitting and trampling on a Palestine Liberation Organization flag and cursing the PA because an Arab caliphate opposes its ideology. Jordan understands that it will need our help when the Islamic State reaches its eastern border, whether Israel dismantles the PA or builds it a state. 

Third, empowering Abbas is dangerous because of his ideology, which he hides in his contact with Israel and the Western world. In an interview with Palestinian television, his son Yasser made it unequivocally clear, despite what his father says, that they would "return to Safed, Palestine." He even called upon his son Nader to say the same thing to prove what he taught his children. All of Abbas' actions are intended to use the Palestinian charter and the PA school system to teach the next generation that we have to be expelled through force, even though he survives on the IDF's coattails. 

Fourth, the PA has already violated its commitment to demilitarize. Operation Defensive Shield was enough of a lesson in what will happen to us if there is a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. 

What's more, there is a fair chance that the PA regime will fall once we hand over Judea and Samaria. It could happen because of internecine Palestinian fighting or because it is taken over by a group like the Islamic State. Terror tunnels that lead to the heart of Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, or Ben-Gurion International Airport, combined with occasional mortar shelling and rocket fire, would force Israel to invade a sovereign nation. The damage such a violation of international law would cause to Israel's security and diplomatic standing would be enormous. 

Abbas does not work for us. So not only is he not a solution, he is the problem.


Ze'ev Jabotinsky

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=9513

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Forgotten Child Victims of Hamas and ISIS



by Daniel Greenfield 

 


Hadeel Al-Haddad 

While furious mobs of leftists draped in Keffiyahs and corn syrup were shrieking about Gaza in the public squares of every major city, ISIS was continuing its genocidal advance on Baghdad. In the last 24 hours, the Yazidis, a non-Muslim minority, fled ISIS to a mountaintop where their children are dying of thirst.

The stark reality of their plight, caught between thirst and a genocidal army, is in sharp contrast to the phony claims made about Gaza where truckloads of goods continue passing from Israel during wartime, where the malls have iPhones and the five star hotels offer cakes so tall they can only be cut from a crane.

The dead Yazidi children won’t inspire any protests or much in the way of outrage. The hysterical rallies for Gaza won’t suddenly turn into anti-ISIS rallies. If any of the angry white hipsters with dead baby posters are asked about it, they will offer some variation on, “It’s Bush’s fault” or “It’s Tony Blair’s fault.”

And they had been out there in the early part of the century denouncing any move to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The dead children gassed by Saddam, along with the children in his prisons, were unfortunately created less equal than the photogenic, oddly blonde children of Gaza’s Hamaswood.

Anna, a two-year-old girl whose feet were crushed by Saddam’s torturers, never mattered to them.  It isn’t the children that they care about, not the dying Yazidi children in Iraq, the tortured children in Saddam Hussein’s prisons, or even the dead children of Gaza, used as human shields by Hamas in life and then brandished at rallies after their deaths as cardboard propaganda shields by furious Marxists.

When they thought that Israel had bombed a playground near the al-Shati refugee camp killing nine children, they went into murderous paroxysm of outrage. When it turned out that a misfired Hamas rocket was responsible, they fell silent.

They have equally little interest in the 3-year-old Gazan girl killed by a Hamas rocket in the early days of the war.

The same thing had happened in 2012 when a dead 11-month old baby, formerly an iconic front page photo, vanished into obscurity once the death turned out to have been caused by a Hamas rocket. The same thing happened to Hadil al-Haddad, a 2-year-old girl in Gaza, who went from iconic photo to yesterday’s news once it turned out that a Hamas rocket had been responsible for her death.

However the photos of those dead and wounded children, along with the dead children of Syria and perhaps soon the dead children of the Yazidi, will go on showing up at spitefully angry anti-Israel rallies.

If they genuinely cared about children, they would be at least as outraged, moved and pained by the death of a child at the hands of Saddam Hussein, as they were by ISIS terrorists dying at the hands of American and British soldiers. Instead dead Iraqi children inspired apathy and dead Al Qaeda outrage.

If it was the children that they cared about, then the death of an Israeli child or a Muslim child at the hands of Hamas would matter as much to them as the ones on the bloody placards they now brandish.

But they don’t and they never did.

They don’t love children or anyone else for that matter. They only hate. The dead children are only pieces of photographic paper to them which they use to shamelessly assault their ideological enemies.

Once Israel pulled out of Gaza, a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found a striking increase in the amount of internal violence as the majority of deaths were now being caused by clan feuds.

During 2007’s battles between Israel and Hamas, as many Palestinian Arab children died in clan feuds as they did in Israeli air strikes. And unlike air strikes, children killed in clan feuds aren’t accidents.

The dirty little secret is that while Palestinian identity is as phony as a three dollar bill, clan identity is a powerful and defining force. Furthermore it is often hard to tell whether Hamas and Fatah terrorists are aligned with a movement because of personal belief or because their clan is aligned with a movement.

Hamas and Fatah aren’t just ideologies. They are also large extended clan families which fight over land, honor and economic control.

The origins of Israel’s struggle with terrorism go back to the roots of the al-Husayni clan which arrived in Jerusalem after the Crusades and has been trying to control the city and everything else ever since.

Prominent members and associates of the clan include Hitler’s Mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, and Yasser Arafat. (Arafat however was more directly associated with the Al-Qudwas, a clan which extends from Iraq to Egypt. Both clans considered themselves to be a sort of titled aristocracy, yet another fact which makes their post-colonial posturing as oppressed peoples ridiculously hypocritical and laughable.)

Muslim children being killed in clan feuds between huge families whose local branches claim to be the leaders of the Palestinian people even as they fight with equal ferocity for control over Syria and Iraq is not a subject that any of the placard wavers are interested in. Open that door a crack and their whole self-righteous campaign collapses into incoherent bleating as they struggle to justify the primacy of one terrorist group over another based on the claims of descent from Mohammed by its leading clans.

There are stories that are simply not told.

When UN inspector and anti-war activist Scott Ritter visited Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, he encountered a prison which, in his own words, “appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene.”

Ritter refused to discuss it any further, “because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I’m waging peace.”

Scott Ritter, who was later arrested for soliciting underage girls on the internet, wasn’t waging peace. No more than the placard wavers in London, Sydney and Montreal are waging peace. He was fighting to keep Saddam Hussein power. And he was willing to sacrifice a prison full of children to do that.

He was willing to sacrifice little girls like Anna, who had her feet crushed in a torture chamber, to keep Saddam Hussein in power. Ritter was willing to do it because he had the same morals as Saddam.

That is the same attitude that the placard wavers have toward the children of Gaza, of Iraq and of countless other places. They use them to wage war in the name of peace when they come in handy.

And when they die of Hamas rockets and clan feuds, when they are killed by ISIS and the entire murderous alphabet soup of Islamic terrorism, they drop them like yesterday’s garbage.

For Hamas and its supporters screaming “Free Gaza” at the top of their lungs, children, dead or alive, are just another propaganda weapon in the arsenal of terrorist theocracy.

They are eager and willing to let Hamas go on killing Jewish and Muslim children in the name of its war.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/the-forgotten-child-victims-of-hamas-and-isis/


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. 



The Invisible Face of Hamas



by IDF Blog


The invisible face of Hamas
Hamas hides its actions from the world by threatening journalists, pressuring civilians over social media, and disguising its fighters in civilian clothing.

Despite the large number of international journalists reporting from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, images of Hamas terrorists have scarcely appeared in Western media outlets. This is primarily because Hamas threatens journalists who don’t tell the story the way Hamas wants it to be told.

terrorists you haven't seen

In addition, Hamas terrorists are often difficult to identify because they wear civilian clothing. By doing so, Hamas terrorists are not only trying to avoid being targeted by the IDF, but the are also causing international organizations to incorrectly label the death of many terrorists as civilians. It should come as no surprise that Hamas has ordered Gaza’s social media users not to post images of terrorists online and to refer to all terrorists killed in IDF strikes as “innocent civilians.”

Hamas Facebook message to social media users asking them not to publish photos of terrorists.

Hamas Facebook message to Palestinians asking them to hide information about terrorist casualties.

Hamas knows that it benefits in the international arena from images of civilian casualties in Gaza. It is for this reason that Hamas embeds its military infrastructure in, and fires rockets from, residential areas and civilian structures. Hamas knows that if it can make terrorists killed by Israel appear to be civilians, then it will gain points in the media war and win sympathy abroad.

They would simply shoot us and kill us

Filmmaker Michael Grynszpan wrote on Facebook that a Spanish journalist had given him a straightforward explanation as to why images of Hamas terrorists were not appearing in the media. “It’s very simple. We did see Hamas people there, launching rockets. They were close to our hotel, but if ever we dared pointing our camera on them, they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”

New York Times executive Eileen Murphy offered another reason for the lack of images of terrorist operatives appearing in newspapers. “It is very difficult to identify Hamas because they don’t have uniforms or any visible insignia.”


IDF Blog

Source: http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/08/07/invisible-face-hamas/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Netanyahu Lends Credence to 'Rosh Hashana Massacre Plan' Report



by Gil Ronen


Prime Minister's statement indicates Israel narrowly averted an unprecedented slaughter of civilians, raises crisis of trust with residents.
 

Motorcycles from tunnel
Motorcycles from tunnel
IDF Spokesman
 
In a statement Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lent credence to reports that Hamas had planned a large-scale operation against Israeli civilians, in which its terrorists would have emerged simultaneously and in large numbers from numerous tunnels dug into Israel. The terrorists would then have been able to carry out a large scale massacre of civilians, and to abduct other civilians back into Gaza through the tunnels.

The reports surfaced shortly after the start of the ground incursion into Gaza, and were said to have been based on confessions made by Hamas terrorists taken captive. Unverified reports claim the captives said that Hamas was timing the incursion for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

Netanyahu did not mention Rosh Hashana specifically but said that Operation Protective Edge “damaged a strategic array that Hamas put a huge effort into, for years. The ability that Hamas prepared in digging these tunnels would have enabled it to abduct and murder numerous citizens and IDF soldiers by a simultaneous attack from many tunnels that penetrate our territory."

IDF officials have been saying that the IDF knew about the terror tunnel threat when the operation began. However, had the IDF been fully aware of the extent of the threat, it undoubtedly would have mentioned the demolition of the tunnels as a major war aim from the outset. In reality, the initial stated aims related only to Hamas's rockets and did not mention the tunnels. The tunnels became a major goal only after Israel was repeatedly surprised by terrorist squads that emerged from tunnels.

The video showing 13 terrorists emerging from a tunnel near Sufa on July 17 sent shock waves through the Israeli public, which had never seen such a chilling sight or imagined it possible. The video of the incident was a major factor in prodding the government to decide on a ground offensive into Gaza, and guaranteed support from the public and media.

While the IDF claimed not to have been surprised by the penetration, the claim appears doubtful when one takes into account that the terrorists were not killed and reportedly escaped back into Gaza. The IDF video of the incident apparently edited out the time that elapsed between the last terrorist's re-entry into the tunnel, and the missile blast that hit the tunnel shaft entrance. There were no reports or photos of bodies of terrorists after the incident, and Hamas claimed that they all made it back to Gaza safely.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) explained on July 18 why she agreed to a ceasefire four days earlier, even though the IDF had not yet managed to destroy the Hamas tunnels network, but the explanation only seemed to cast further doubt on the seriousness in which the government regarded the tunnel threat.

Channel Two news anchor asked Livni over the weekend how it developed that the government basically agreed to a ceasefire on July 15, while on two days later it suddenly "remembered" that "the tunnels are a strategic problem that must be urgently taken care of." 

Livni answered, "First of all, in truth the tunnels aren't something new…. There is a difference between a problem that still hasn't taken place and you still don't see it inside the territory of the State of Israel, [and between] that infiltration [from the tunnel] at Sufa that basically meant that it's not only a tunnel, but that Hamas continues and intends to use them inside Israel against the citizens of Israel."

On July 19, one day after Livni's interview, nine terrorists penetrated Israel through a tunnel near the kibbutz community of Be'eri. Two IDF soldiers and one terrorist were killed before the terrorists escaped back to Gaza. On July 21, terrorists entered Israel through a tunnel near the kibbutzim Erez and Nir Am. They fired an anti-tank missile that killed four IDF soldiers. At least ten terrorists were killed.

On July 28, terrorists entered Israeli territory through a tunnel that opened up into the area near kibbutz Nahal Oz. They attacked an IDF pillbox position, killing five soldiers, and made it back to the tunnel. One terrorist was reported killed in that incident.

The IDF's version of this event has also not stood up to scrutiny. While it claims that the IDF force thwarted an attempt by the terrorists to kill and/or abduct civilians in Nahal Oz, Hamas's own video of the incident clearly shows that the terrorists surprised the soldiers in the pillbox, and that they were the ones who initiated the contact.

Later evidence showed that the tunnel these terrorists used was equipped with motorcycles, too. These would have made it easy for them to rapidly cover the distance from the tunnel's shaft in Israel to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, had they chosen to use them. It seems, however, that with the IDF inside Gaza, they preferred to opt for a military target rather than incur the full wrath of the Israeli public with a massacre of civilians.

All of this leaves Israelis with a disturbing picture of events, made worse by the IDF's apparent tendency to cover up its tunnel-related failures.

The IDF certainly knew that some tunnels into Israel existed, ahead of the Gaza incursion: five Hamas terrorists were killed on July 8 in an explosion inside one such tunnel, near Kerem Shalom, after the IDF became aware of its existence.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that the IDF treated the tunnels as an extremely serious threat, believed that there were more than 30 such tunnels waiting to be used, or imagined the kind of massacre that Netanyahu described Tuesday –  and there is a lot of evidence to suggest the opposite. For one thing, the IDF had told the Gaza Belt communities in recent months that it will cut funding for community security coordinators, after an inexplicable decision to remove IDF guards from the communities. This decision has now reportedly been reversed. Had it been carried out, the communities would have had absolutely no ability to fend off a terrorist incursion, and even their ability to notify the IDF in real time of such an event would have been in doubt.

A deep chasm of mistrust has opened up between the Gaza Belt residents and the IDF in the matter of the tunnel threat. Many residents feel that the IDF misled them and failed to guard their lives. There are now numerous reports about residents who refuse to return to their communities until the issues are resolved, despite the fact that the military has said it is now safe to go back. Judging by media reports, most of these appear to be mothers, who opted to relocate with their children after the tunnel threat was exposed, and are hesitant about returning.

Arutz Sheva asked the IDF to respond to this report but has yet to receive a reaction. We will publish the response as soon as it is received.


Gil Ronen

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/183770#.U-PxY2MYjLN

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

U.S. Plays Directly into Hamas' Hands



by Dan Calic


In a moment of political correctness meant to appease the enemies of its single most trustworthy ally in the entire Middle East, the United States chose to blacken the eye of Israel regarding the attack on the UNRWA school which took place on Sunday.

“Political correctness” is an oft-used method of taking the easy route by doing nothing more than what is popular. This is precisely what the U.S. did. If however they had chosen to do something which is actually appropriate instead of politically correct, their statement would have been  entirely different. For example:
“Israel faces an enemy which has consistently violated virtually every humanitarian law known to mankind. Hamas has fired a combined total of over 15,000 rockets at Israel since 2001, which are designed to murder civilians. They place their rocket launching infrastructure in civilian facilities and residential neighborhoods intentionally to increase the chances of homes being destroyed which causes hatred toward Israel. This also ensures there will be civilian deaths. They require their civilians to be human shields.  These are internationally recognized crimes against humanity.
Their goal is to ensure civilian casualties, so no matter how careful Israel is, there will be some who are in harm’s way and get killed. It’s a tactic designed to have Israel criticized by the world.  The United States fully understands the tactics of Hamas and recognizes that no other army in human history has taken more measures to minimize civilian casualties than the IDF. In the case of the incident at the UNRWA school, Israel indicated it had targeted terrorists on a motorcycle and took them out. Unfortunately, there were civilian deaths. This is an occasional unintended consequence when terrorists intentionally operate in civilian areas. In response to international criticism the IDF indicated it is investigating the incident. Until they release their report we will refrain from passing judgment.”
But instead of being the leader in seeking truth and standing up for what is right, the U.S. took a spineless approach and joined in with the chorus of Israel’s critics. It’s yet another example of the U.S. following, instead of what it’s been known for, which is leading the way. This has been a strident criticism throughout the Obama presidency.
By criticizing Israel, the U.S. played right into the hands of Hamas, proving that its strategy worked. Hamas saw Israel heavily criticized by its most significant ally. Congratulations, America! You have given Hamas a chance to give itself high fives.

Has it occurred to the U.S. that if it was Israel’s intent to kill civilians Operation “Protective Edge” would look quite different? If Israel didn’t take every possible measure to reduce civilian casualties not a single building would remain standing in Gaza. The death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands.

Israel is the only free democracy in the region. It is governed by civil laws. If the investigation confirms that fault lies with Israel, the Israelis will face up to it. Let’s not forget a judge recently sentenced former prime minister Ehud Olmer to prison for corruption. So there is a checks and balance system in place.

Has the U.S. forgotten how this most recent war in Gaza got started? It was Hamas that abducted and murdered three Jewish teenagers for doing nothing other than being Jews. It was this heinous crime that lead up to the war in Gaza. How was Hamas punished for this crime? It wasn’t.

Moreover, UNRWA has proven itself to be less than honest about their endeavors in Gaza. For example, they have been accused of vilifying Israel in the various schools they run. Evidence has been made public they actually teach school children to promote jihad. This “education” goes on in the public schools as well as the summer camps they run in Gaza.

Plus, whenever an UNRWA representative is interviewed by the media, they focus exclusively on the “humanitarian crisis” going on in Gaza. Their statements are full of accusations against Israel, while not containing a single word about the atrocious tactics of Hamas. Israel is portrayed as a vicious bully that is recklessly killing innocent people.

What country would tolerate a single rocket, yet alone thousands? Yet there is no mention of Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Then again we shouldn’t expect them to criticize an organization which demands civilians stand in between them and Israeli weapons. No doubt any criticism of Hamas would likely be met with a swift execution. The fact than UNRWA capitulates rather than tell the truth is shameful and discredits them from being a trustworthy voice.

Furthermore, the United States deserves to be additionally called out. Let’s not forget that we have accepted the PA unity government which is backed by Hamas. Due to Hamas’ falling out of favor in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood being once again outlawed, they needed cash. So the U.S. chose to back the PA unity government, which means they are able to receive U.S. taxpayer support given to the PA.  This, despite the fact that Hamas is listed by the State Department as a terrorist group.  The PA in turn is using 6% of the $400 million it receives from the U.S. to pay stipends to terrorists in Israeli jails, many of whom are Hamas members. Those who committed the worst crimes earn the highest payoffs. 

I suggest the United States do some serious soul searching and realize Israel is on the forefront of fighting against Islamic fundamentalism. If the U.S. wants to be seen as standing for what is right as opposed to what is politically correct, it will recognize the critical role Israel is playing, one that serves the interest of every American who loves freedom. We should stop trying to appease those who will not settle for appeasement. Their goal is the destruction of the state of Israel and eradication of every last Jew. The sooner the U.S. realizes this, the more apt it might be to stop submitting to the enemies of Israel, who are also the enemies of the U.S.. BTW, Islam means “submission.” That’s exactly the opposite of what the U.S. stands for: freedom.


Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook page.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/us_plays_directly_into_hamas_hands.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Twisted Path of Judeophobia



by Ari Lieberman



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Europe likes to think of itself as enlightened but Operation Protective Edge and Israel’s counter-offensive against Hamas terrorism has highlighted the extent to which Jew hatred is still ingrained on the continent. To be fair, much of the anti-Semitism we are witnessing there manifests itself among the Muslims who have made Europe their home. But in all honesty, European authorities have allowed the malignancy to fester and metastasize to the point where it is now uncontrollable and threatens other non-Muslim communities. Naturally, Jews, because of their small size are the focus for now but once the Muslim community reaches sufficient numbers, Sikhs, Hindus and yes, even Christians will be next. One need look no further than Gaza, Egypt, Iraq and Syria to witness first-hand the fate of Christians who live in majority Muslim states.

Of course, the irony is difficult to ignore. The Muslims who are currently demonstrating and displaying their blood-curdling hate and vitriol in a free environment would likely be mowed down en masse had they ever dared to protest in the fundamentalist and fascist countries they profess to support. Moreover, many of these Muslim provocateurs despise the very democratic institutions that sustain them. But Judeophobia and xenophobia have no rational basis precisely because they are ideologies rooted in a convoluted mixture of hate, jealousy and ignorance. Detesting the “enlightened” country that provides you with all sorts of entitlements and supporting despotic regimes who would deny freedom to all is consistent with the doctrine of anti-Semitism.

Then of course, there is the so-called intelligentsia and those among the cultural elite, the actors and actresses who feel compelled to weigh in on the Gaza issue and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict despite their extreme ignorance on the matter. Selina Gomez, a product of the Disney machine whose good sense of judgment compelled her to tattoo some Arabic gibberish on her back, posted on Instagram the message, “It’s About Humanity. Pray for Gaza.’’

Of course Gomez likely has no clue where Gaza is and as Joan Rivers sardonically pointed out, probably doesn’t even know how to spell “Palestinian.” Gomez quickly realized the minefield she walked into and backtracked some with a subsequent post stating, “I am not picking any sides. I am praying for peace and humanity for all.’’

Sure Selena, don’t pick sides after all, a genocidal organization like Hamas whose charter calls for the murder of every Jew on the planet is morally equal to the Mideast’s only liberal democracy. A democracy that has dispatched its specialized rescue and medical teams to Haiti, Japan, Turkey and countless other places to provide humanitarian assistance while Hamas was busy digging tunnels for ghoulish purposes with cement earmarked for building schools.

Our attachment to celebrity endorsements is inexplicable and this is especially true when those very celebrities profess ignorance on the subject they’re talking about. Consider the Spanish acting duo Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz. Both penned a letter accusing Israel of genocide likely because it’s fashionable to do so these days. Both then backtracked on their criticism with Bardem claiming that he has “great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.”

Cruz went on to acknowledge that she was not an “expert” on the subject and only intended on signing the letter in the hope that there would “be peace in both Israel and Gaza.” Again we are faced with an almost laughable situation where an actor who professes ignorance after the fact makes outrageous and absurd proclamations about Israel’s war against a Nazi-like, genocidal organization. What is even more ironic is that Cruz, whose ancestors were responsible for ethnically cleansing Spain of its indigenous Jewish population, is now attacking Jews for defending themselves against an organization that wishes to ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish inhabitants.

It is also ironic that these actors, these self-professed guardians of morality, never once expressed revulsion over the fact that Hamas has fired over 3,000 rockets at Israeli cities with the intent of inflicting maximum civilian casualties. They have yet to express revulsion over the Hamas practice of using human shields and have yet to express any condemnation of Hamas for storing rockets in UN schools and for Hamas rocket misfires that have caused untold Palestinian civilian casualties.

But anti-Semitism in any form never followed a rational track. By its very nature it is perverse and convoluted, and hypocrisy follows it like a malevolent shadow. That is how raging anti-Semites like Roger Waters and his idiot minions can ceaselessly malign the Mideast’s only liberal democracy while ignoring and whitewashing abhorrent and ongoing human rights abuses in the medieval Muslim world.

To be sure, there are indeed many celebrities who despite current trends among the cultural elite have had the fortitude to speak out for what’s right. Scarlett Johansson, Simon Cowell, Mayim Bialik, Joan Rivers, Bill Maher, Vanessa Williams, Jon Voight and Howard Stern have in one way or another expressed strong support for Israel. To them I say; the people of Israel and indeed all peoples of the free world, who cherish liberty and abhor servitude, salute you. On the other hand, those like Cruz and Bardem who sit and criticize are nothing but mindless, useful idiots who are helping to sustain echoes of Europe’s dark past and the ignominious flame of anti-Semitism.


Ari Lieberman

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/ari-lieberman/the-twisted-path-of-judeophobia/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Catalonia to Muslims: Support Independence, Get Mega-Mosque



by Soeren Kern


The tentative plan calls for the Emir of Qatar to purchase the stadium and cover all costs associated with converting the property into a mosque, which would be the third-largest in the world after those in Mecca and Medina.
The mosque would be accompanied by a towering 300-meter (985-foot) minaret which, if approved, would dominate the Barcelona skyline and overshadow the spectacularly emblematic Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic cathedral less than one kilometer away.
The mega-mosque is "not suitable" for Barcelona because the "people and countries" involved in the project may have "values which collide with ours," according to Alberto Fernández Díaz, leader of the Popular Party.
Analysts say that Catalonia, which has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, is already a main center for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent and has the potential to become one of the top incubators for Islamist terrorism in the West.
"Muslims should vote for pro-independence parties, as they need our votes. But what they do not know is that, once they allow us to vote, we will all vote for Islamic parties ... and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented." — Abdelwahab Houzi, a Salafi jihadist preacher in Catalonia.

Muslim leaders in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia say they have been promised a mega-mosque in Barcelona if they support independence from Spain in a referendum set for November 9.

Officials from the Catalonia's ruling Convergence and Union Party (CiU) are seeking the ballots of all of the roughly 100,000 Muslims in the region who are eligible to vote. "If you support us in the referendum, there will be a mosque," CiU officials are said to have promised Muslim leaders, according to Spanish media.

The mega-mosque in question is said to involve a 2.2 billion euro ($3 billion) project to convert a historic bullfighting stadium in Barcelona into the third-largest mosque in the world, after those in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The tentative plan calls for the Emir of Qatar to purchase the stadium, known as the La Monumental, and to cover all costs associated with converting the property into a mosque. The five-year project would be completed sometime around 2020.

The historic bullfighting stadium "La Monumental" in Barcelona may become the largest mosque outside of Saudi Arabia, under a tentative plan worked out between Catalan nationalists and the Emir or Qatar. (Image source: Sergi Larripa/Wikimedia Commons)

The mosque would have an interior capacity for 40,000 worshipers and an exterior capacity for another 80,000. The mosque complex would include a Koranic study center, a library, a conference room and a museum of Islamic art and history.

The mosque would also include a research center on the history of Al Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.

Moreover, the mosque would be accompanied by a towering 300-meter (985-foot) minaret which, if approved, would dominate the Barcelona skyline. The proposed minaret would completely overshadow the spectacularly emblematic Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic cathedral that is situated less than one kilometer from the bullfighting arena. The spires of the church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are only 170 meters (560 feet) tall.

An interior view of "La Monumental" stadium in Barcelona. (Image source: Re Artù/Wikimedia Commons)

Catalonia is home to an estimated 465,000 Muslims, who account for more than 6% of the total Catalan population of 7.5 million. This gives Catalonia the largest Muslim population in Spain.

By way of comparison, if Catalonia were to achieve independence, it would emerge as the country with the third-largest Muslim population in Western Europe, in percentage terms, just behind France and Belgium, and far ahead of Britain and Germany.

Nevertheless, there are no official mosques in Catalonia, and Muslims normally worship in makeshift prayer centers that are located in shops and basements. Although the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, is home to an estimated 50,000 Muslims, it remains one of the only major cities in Spain without an official mosque.

The Muslim community of Barcelona has pleaded with municipal officials for a purpose-built mosque for more than two decades, and although many promises have been made, none has materialized.

"The law says that everyone has the right to pray in a dignified place, not in a shop," says the leader of the Catalan Islamic Federation, Mowafak Kanfach, who is heading the push to convert the stadium into Barcelona's first real mosque.

The stadium, which opened in 1914, has been closed since January 2012, when a Catalonia-wide ban on bullfighting entered into effect. The current owners of the property, the Balañá Group, are said to be prepared to accept the Qatari offer.

Kanfach says that a "pre-project proposal" was submitted to municipal officials in Barcelona in early 2014. He believes that the project stands a good chance of being approved because the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by the current Emir's father, already has a strong presence in the city, and the state-owned Qatar Airways sponsors Barcelona's football team.

But a leader of the Catalan branch of the center-right Popular Party (PPC), Alberto Fernández Díaz, says the mega-mosque is "not suitable" for Barcelona because the "people and countries" involved in the project may have "values which collide with ours."

Others are worried that the mosque could become a hub for Islamic terrorism. Analysts say that Catalonia, which has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, is already a main center for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent and has the potential to become one of the top incubators for Islamist terrorism in the West.

Adding to those concerns, at least three Muslim proponents of the mega-mosque with close links to the CiU have recently been tied to radical Islam.

Spanish counter-terrorism officials say that the individual representing Pakistani immigrants within the CiU, Khalid Shabaz (aka Chuhan), is believed to "hold extreme ideological views." He was arrested in 2011 for fraud and document forgery. During a recent trip to Pakistan, Chuhan was photographed wearing traditional Pakistani dress and holding an assault rifle in his hands.

Shabaz's right-hand man, Shaoib Satti, was arrested in January 2013 for heroin trafficking in a major Catalan anti-narcotics sting operation. Noureddine Ziani, a well-known Moroccan proponent of the Barcelona mega-mosque, was deported in May 2013 because the Spanish intelligence agency CNI considered him to pose "a grave danger to the security of Spain."

Kanfach counters concerns about terrorism by saying that the citizens of Barcelona "should be proud that Muslims are transforming the pain of the bulls into a spiritual center."

City officials have so far denied that the mosque project even exists, possibly to forestall public opposition to the plans.

Kanfach says that Catalan nationalism is at play in the official denials. "The only reason they are denying the existence of the project is clear," Kanfach claims. "They want Catalan construction companies to have part of the pie. They do not care whether or not the project is 'in the local interest,' they simply want guarantees that Catalan, and not Spanish, companies will get contracts."

According to Spanish media reports, the project as currently envisioned involves only German firms. So far, the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani, has commissioned KSP Engel, Zimmermann Architekten and Krebs und Kiefer International.

In mid-July, the PPC called for a vote on a proposed municipal regulation that would prohibit the stadium from being used for religious purposes. The CiU abstained from voting on the basis that it cannot vote against a project that does not exist. All of Barcelona's other political groupings rejected the proposed regulation on the grounds that it was "discriminatory and incoherent."

It remains unclear whether Catalan Muslim leaders will rally Muslim voters for Catalan independence in the absence of clear guarantees on the mosque issue.

Catalan multiculturalists have long attempted to bribe Muslim immigrants into voting for Catalan independence. Catalan pro-independence activists, for example, often post signs in front of unofficial mosques around Catalonia which state that "Catalan sovereignty will help to integrate Muslim immigrants."

Muslim mass immigration has been a key component of the Catalan independence movement for many decades. In an effort to promote Catalan nationalism and the Catalan language, Catalonian pro-independence parties have deliberately promoted immigration from Arabic-speaking Muslim countries for more than three decades, in the belief that these immigrants (unlike those from Latin America) would learn the Catalan language rather than speak Spanish.

But many of those immigrants are attached to Salafism, a radically anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic Sharia law in Catalonia and other parts of Europe.

In an ominous sign for the future of Catalonia, Salafi preachers—who reject democracy because it is a form of government designed by man rather than by Allah—are calling on Muslims who are eligible to vote to support Catalan separatist parties as a means firmly to establish Islamism in Catalonia.

Consider Abdelwahab Houzi, a Salafi jihadist preacher in the Catalan city of Lleida who adheres to the radical Wahhabi sect of Islam. He recently declared: "Muslims should vote for pro-independence parties, as they need our votes. But what they do not know is that, once they allow us to vote, we will all vote for Islamic parties because we do not believe in left and right. This will make us win local councils and as we begin to accumulate power in the Catalan autonomous region, Islam will begin to be implemented."


Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.
Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4581/barcelona-mega-mosque

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.