Friday, March 21, 2008

Bin-Laden: 'Free Palestine' Via Iraq.

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Osama Bin-Laden, head of the international jihadist terror organization Al-Qaeda, issued a new call for Palestinian Authority Muslims to fight against the Americans and their allies in Iraq - as a step on the path to the destruction of Israel.

The audio tape of Bin-Laden, broadcast on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite TV network on Thursday, included a call for a renewed "holy war" on Israel. For its part, Bin-Laden declared, Al-Qaeda would increase its efforts to "free Palestine, all of Palestine, from the Jordan [River] to the [Mediterranean] Sea."

Among what Al-Jazeera newscasters said were excerpts from a new recording, Bin-Laden said: "My speech is about the Gaza siege and the way to retrieve it and the rest of Palestine from the hands of the Zionist enemy. Our enemies did not take it by negotiations and dialog, but with fire and iron. And this is the way to get it back."

The Saudi-born Islamic fundamentalist linked the jihad against Israel with the Iraqi insurgency: "The nearest field of jihad today to support our people in Palestine is the Iraqi field."

Bin-Laden added that those of "our brothers in Palestine who could not join the jihad in the land of Al-Quds [Jerusalem]" should "get rid of illusions of political parties and groups which are mired in trickery of the blasphemous democracy and to take their positions among the ranks of the mujahideen in Iraq."

The latest Bin-Laden audiotape follows on the heels of a recording publicized one day earlier, in which the Al-Qaeda leader threatened European nations with "severe" retaliation for the publication of cartoons mocking Islam's founder, Mohammad. The Al-Qaeda leader also accused the Pope of launching a "new Crusade" against Islam. 

Earlier this month, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an Al-Qaeda franchise in North Africa, linked its anti-Western activities back to Israel, as well. In a communique, the group announced that it was holding two Austrian tourists who were kidnapped in Tunisia in late February. AQIM threatened that more Westerners would be kidnapped and held in response to Israeli operations in Gaza and elsewhere. 

Not the First Al-Qaeda Threat Directed at Israel
In December of last year, Bin-Laden issued an audio recording in which he addressed the Arabs of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, saying, "I have not forgotten your struggle, and we plan to expand our jihad to Palestine as well. We intend to liberate all of Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea."

In that recording, Bin-Laden mocked unnamed "other Muslim leaders," because, unlike them, "we don't recognizeeven one centimeter of Palestinian land [sic] as belonging to the Jews." Even Hizbullah is too moderate, Bin-Laden feels, for having agreed to the stationing in southern Lebanon of an international peacekeeping force "to protect the Jews."

According to its foundational ideology, Al-Qaeda sees its mission as fighting against the "Jews and the Crusaders [i.e., Christians]" in a worldwide jihad until Islam reigns supreme. The various theaters of battle in which Al-Qaeda is involved and the various states in which it is operating - such as North Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, etc. - are considered by Al-Qaeda strategists to be different fronts in a global struggle for domination.

Al-Qaeda in Gaza
Defense officials have warned that Al-Qaeda operatives managed to infiltrate Gaza since the Hamas takeover of the region in 2006. The Al-Qaeda members are reportedly active in local terrorist cells.

In February, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that Al Qaeda agents crossed into Gaza from Egypt when Hamas gunmen blew up the barrier separating the PA from Egyptian Sinai in January. As far back as 2006, Abbas told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, "We have indications about the presence of Al-Qaeda in Gaza and [Judea and Samaria]. This is intelligence information."

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

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



Poll Shows 85% of PA Arabs Support Terror

by Ezra HaLevi

Two recent polls find a vast majority of Arabs supporting terror attacks and a growing Israeli majority opposed to further withdrawals.

A recent Palestinian Authority poll shows that 84 percent of PA Arabs approve of the massacre at Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where eight students were gunned down and ten wounded.

The poll, carried out by Ramallah-based pollster Khalil Shikaki, interviewed 1,270 PA Arabs. 64 percent support the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns such as Sderot and Ashkelon launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza. Those who oppose the attacks don't necessarily do so on moral grounds, but rather strategic considerations.

A slim majority of PA Arabs support Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas for president over Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas.

In February of last year, a Near East Consulting (NEC) poll found that 75 percent of PA Arabs do not think that Israel has a right to exist.

Referring to the most recent poll, Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein said the results were not surprising. "This poll, unfortunately, merely confirms the results of innumerable earlier polls, showing Palestinians to approve of terrorism that targets innocent Jewish men, women and children and rejecting peace or co-existence with Israel as a Jewish state. In these circumstances, it is clear that a Palestinian state would be nothing more that the world's newest terrorist state. It would be folly for either Israel or the United States to support the establishment of a Palestinian state under such conditions and it noteworthy that the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, former CIA director R. James Woolsey and pre-eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis have all come out in opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Israelis Tired of Withdrawals
A poll commissioned by SOS-Israel phrased the question about future withdrawals: "In light of the results of the Disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, are you in favor of a continued withdrawal from Judea and Samaria?"

64.9 percent answered that they oppose further withdrawals and 23.9 percent said are in favor. The others would not answer the question. Divided into religious demographics, 95 percent of Hareidi-religious opposed withdrawals, followed by 90.9 of the national religious and 57 percent of the non-observant public.

Ezra HaLevi


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


Thursday, March 20, 2008

BORN IN ISRAEL - Palestinian twins under rocket fire from Gaza

By Christoph Schult

When a Palestinian woman gave birth to twins in an Israeli hospital she experienced what it is like to be the target of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The humming noise in the sky over Beit Lahia grows slowly louder. It sounds as if the buzzing of a hornet were being amplified by loud speakers in a football stadium. Residents of the Gaza Strip call them "Sannana," or the humming ones, the small unmanned drones that the Israelis use to scan the border region for rocket commandos -and then to liquidate them with precisely targeted missiles.

Ashraf Shafii has climbed onto the roof his house and is looking across strawberry fields toward the border wall. The smoke-belching towers of the power plant in the Israeli city of Ashkelon jut into the sky along the horizon. His wife is over there in Ashkelon today.

Shafii, a 34-year-old lab technician at the Islamic University of Gaza, glances at his six-year-old daughter. "We were so desperate to have more children," he says. For years, he waited in vain for his wife to bear a son. When she turned 30, the couple decided to get fertility treatment.

Iman Shafii finally became pregnant. During an ultrasound examination, doctors discovered four small embryos. The first died in the fifth month of pregnancy and the second died a few weeks later. Shafii was admitted to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, but the condition of the two remaining embryos became increasingly fragile. "You have to go to Israel," the doctor told her.

Because Israel refuses to engage in any contact with the authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza, patients turn to private brokers who submit their entry applications to the Palestinian Authority of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But it can be a lengthy process.

The Shafiis were lucky. Iman was permitted to enter Israel after only 24 hours. She took a taxi to a spot near the Eres border crossing, and then she was pushed in a wheelchair across the last 500 meters of bumpy ground. She reached the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon just in time. She gave birth on Feb. 25, by Caesarean section, to a girl, Bayan, and to the couple's long-awaited son, Faisal.

Iman Shafii, 32, wearing a headscarf and oval glasses, and speaking in a soft voice, sits on a chair between two incubators. Today is the first day she is permitted to hold her babies in her arms. A nurse brings out the boy first, then the girl. As the tears well up in her eyes, Shafii kisses her children on their foreheads. "If the children had stayed in Gaza, they would not have survived," she says.

Her only impression of Israel has been the one she gets on Palestinian television, which usually shows tanks and soldiers, and celebrates attacks, like the recent shooting inside a Talmud school in Jerusalem, as acts of heroism. But now a doctor wearing a yarmulke walks into the room, says "Shalom" and asks her in English how she is feeling.

Dr. Shmuel Zangen, the director of the hospital's neonatal unit, doesn't care who he treats. "As a doctor, I enjoy the privilege of not having to think about it," he says. "It certainly is odd that we take care of Palestinian children while they shoot at us. It's the sort of thing that only happens in the Middle East."


In the past, Shafii saw the Israelis exclusively as perpetrators, but in Ashkelon she is encountering, for the first time, victims of the acts of terror committed by her own people. One of them is nine-year-old Yossi, who is sitting in a wheelchair. A steel frame holds his left shoulder together. It was fractured by shrapnel from a rocket that landed in the city of Sderot. "The people in Sderot are suffering just as we are in Gaza," she says.

There was a sharp increase in the Palestinian rocket attacks after Israel cleared the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in September 2005. The Israeli military counted 2,305 hits last year, and there have already been 1,146 in the first two months of this year. Until now, almost all of the missiles have been Qassam rockets, which are made in the Gaza Strip and have a range of about 12 kilometers (seven miles).

But the breaching of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Egypt by Hamas in January made it possible to bring in Russian and Iranian rockets with longer ranges. This means that cities considered safe in the past are now threatened. One of them is Ashkelon. On the second day after the birth of Bayan and Faisal, a Soviet-made "Grad" rocket landed on the hospital grounds. "I heard it hit, 200 meters away from me," says Shafii. The neonatal unit was moved to a bunker the next day. "The groups that are firing the rockets are not fighting a just war," says the Palestinian mother, adding that they are not abiding by what the Prophet Muhammad said: that wars may only be waged between soldiers, but not against civilians.

The buzzing drone in the sky over Beit Lahia has flown away to the south. The sound of an Israeli missile striking its target can be heard a short time later. Within a few minutes, there are reports that a member of the group Islamic Jihad was killed.

Ashraf Shafii describes how young, masked men repeatedly set up their rocket launchers under the cover of houses in Beit Lahia. "They shoot at Israeli civilians, which is completely unacceptable," says Shafii. "And they put us Palestinian civilians in grave danger, because the Israelis shoot back."

Why doesn't he object? "They are armed," says Shafii, "and they shoot at anyone who gets in their way."

The father is holding the first photos of his newborn twins in his hands. He is worried about the rockets being fired at Ashkelon. He says that he would never have believed it possible that he could be indebted to the Israelis for anything. "What a confusing situation," he says.

Christoph Schult

- Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


To the Westerner who "understands" the terrorist

By Bradley Burston

Spare us the explanations.

Spare us the learned, sociology-drenched justifications.

Spare us the reasons why you "get" Palestinians when they gun Jews down in cold blood.

Spare us the chapter and verse on how the plight of the Palestinians is at the root of Islamic terrorism the world over, and if the Palestinians were to receive full justice, Islamic terrorism would pass from the world.

Spare us.

You may well believe, with the blind faith of the hopeful and the fear-stricken, that when these people are through with the Jews, they won't come for you.

Think again.

Spare us the post-modernism and the radical chic and the guff.

Open your eyes.

When a gunman walks into a Jewish religious seminary at the main entrance to that part of Jerusalem which has been Jewish since 1948, and which was stolen from no one, pay attention.

When he opens fire on religious students hunched over books in a library, firing and firing until blood soaks holy book bindings and open pages of Talmud and the whole of the floor, pay close attention to the reactions of the self-styled people of faith who run Hamas.

Spare us the conclusion that the only reason Hamas kills Jews, and that its underlying motive for encouraging others to do the same, is to force Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

Spare us the "Israel's policies are responsible for the bloodshed" and "the seminary is, after all, an ideological bastion and symbol of the religious right" and all the other scholarly, arrogant, condescending and amoral ways of saying "they had it coming to them."

Spare us the understanding for the motivations of the mass murderer who kills with God on his lips. Spare us the understanding of the words of the Hamas official who says that after all the Israeli killings of Palestinians, the Jerusalem killings are "our only joy."

Spare us the sight of the thanksgiving prayers for the great victory, prayers that began in Gaza City mosques just after the slaughter of the Jews. Spare us the sight of the sweets being handed out by little children to motorists in passing cars in the Strip, sweets to celebrate the young Jews dead on the floor, the young Jews dead at their desks, the Jews killed for the crime of being Jews in that place of study and worship.

Spare us the righteousness of those who condemned Baruch Goldstein for entering a holy place with an assault rifle and murdering Palestinians, but who can understand why a Palestinian might do the very same thing,

Open your eyes.

Last week, when Israeli forces drove into Gaza, and some 120 Palestinians were killed, many of them were gunmen, but with children making up another sixth of the total, one grieving father spoke with quiet eloquence, saying "Other places in the world, when this happens, there is a great outcry. When this happens here, the world is silent. No one cares."

He's right. The world has grown content to let Palestinians die. The reason is not simple callousness. And it is not, as Hamas proclaims to its followers in Gaza, that the Jews control the world media and world finance, and thus Western government as well.

The reason is terrorism.

The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed, that only the armed struggle can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the only proper resolution is the end of Israel.

Even the Israeli left, which for decades championed the Palestinian with courage and determination, has, in large part, had it with the Palestinians. The reason is terrorism. The reason is murder. The reason is that the rulers of Gaza are people who see an intrinsic value in the killing of Jews for the sake of increasing the number of dead Jews in the world.

The rulers of Gaza cannot bring themselves to accept the concept of sharing the Holy Land with the Jews.

The best that the rulers of Gaza can do, is to bring an end to hope among their own people and ours as well.

They believe that the Jewish state is temporary, and that the Jews will soon abandon it to Islamic rule.

After all this time, you'd think they'd know the Jews a little better.

Bradley Burston

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


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Two-Year-Old Anti-Islam Book Infuriates Moslems

by Hillel Fendel

Al-Arabiya reports - 16 months late - that a U.S. weekly will distribute free copies of a book associating Islam with terrorism. Hamas is up in arms.

The site reports that a right-wing U.S. newspaper, Human Events, plans to distribute free copies of a book by Robert Spencer, entitled The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion.  The Arab site's report, replete with innuendoes implying that the book is anti-Muslim, quotes British writer Karen Armstrong as stating that the book is "written in hatred," contains "basic and bad mistakes of fact," and that the author "deliberately manipulates the evidence."

The Hamas website responded with fury to the news of the book's dissemination, strongly attacking what it calls the "campaign by Western extremists against the religion of Islam and values that are sacred to Moslems."  The Hamas site states that the dissemination of Spencer's work is "another in a series of actions designed to distort the image of Islam in the public eye.  This follows the re-publication of the Muhammad caricatures in Denmark and the intention of a Dutch Parliament Member to air a movie against Islam."

Spencer Rebuts
Spencer himself responded to the latest report with cynicism, writing, "Al-Arabiya discovers a sixteen-month-old promotion for my book The Truth About Muhammad, and the spittle starts flying. As for the [sub-]headline of their piece [which reads: "Book is said to contain lies and hate"], I challenge anyone at Al-Arabiya, or anyone anywhere, to substantiate a single lie or hateful statement within the book."

Spencer writes that the report is old news, and that "this promotion has gone out many times over the last year and a half."  More to the point, Spencer responds to Karen Armstrong's points directly, beginning with, "Actually, it was Karen Armstrong... who committed 'basic and bad mistakes of fact' and perhaps 'deliberately manipulate[d] the evidence' in her truth-free review of my book..."

The Al-Arabiya report notes, "[Spencer's] book claims that Muhammad said terrorism made him victorious and that he used to tempt people with paradise so they would crush his enemies" - to which Spencer retorted, "Yeah, I made all that up, and cast it into the canonical hadith [collection of traditions] by means of my Zionist black arts." 

Spencer then cites chapter and verse to back up his claim: "'I have been made victorious with terror' -- so says Muhammad not according to me, but according to Bukhari (Vol. 4, Book 52, Number 220). Sahih Bukhari is the hadith collection, that is, the collection of traditions of Muhammad, that Muslims consider most reliable."

Spencer quotes another hadith to back up his claim about Muhammad tempting would-be martyrs with paradise: "On the day of the battle of Uhud, a man came to the Prophet and said, 'Can you tell me where I will be if I should get martyred?' The Prophet replied, 'In Paradise.' The man threw away some dates he was carrying in his hand, and fought till he was martyred" (Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 377).

Muhammad: Kill Any Jew
Spencer also documents in detail how Muhammad breached the Treaty of Hudaybiya with the Meccan tribe of Quraish.  Regarding the Moslem leader's order to kill Jews, Spencer writes, "both of the earliest biographers of Muhammad, Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa'd, both zealous Muslims, record his telling his followers at a certain point: 'Kill any Jew that falls into your power.'"

After backing up other claims in his book, Spencer concludes, "The troubling aspect of all this for the folks at Al-Arabiya, as I show by the citations above, is that everything I say in the book is true, and it is they who are either lying or ignorant about what the earliest Islamic texts say about Muhammad."

The book by Spencer aroused strong negative reactions in the Moslem world when it was published in 2006, and has been banned in Pakistan.

Hillel Fendel


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



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The war against the west

Thursday, 6th March 2008

Last night I attended the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust, the organisation that provides the astounding degree of security now needed to help protect Britain's tiny Jewish population against attack. Sitting there listening to the appeal for money to finance this organisation, and watching the video of what it does and why it is needed, I was struck afresh by the shocking nature of this situation. The video showed Jewish schools in Britain being fitted with bomb-proof windows, Jewish children in Britain being taught how to fend off attack. Jews in Britain are now attacked more frequently than any other minority group.
Although racists have always attacked each and every minority group and that situation has not changed, the fact remains that minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims don't need to be guarded at their communal events; it is only Britain's Jews for whom that is considered a necessity, and they are guarded at every single synagogue service or communal event. Indeed, the street outside the London hotel where last night's dinner was held was knee-deep in police and CST volunteers. I was sitting with some very decent people, non-Jews, of the kind who might have been called in a different age the backbone of England. Did they not think that all this was quite extraordinary? I asked them. Shameful, they said; absolutely shameful and appalling; and they shook their heads in sorrow that such a thing should be the case in Britain in 2008, that British Jews should be at such risk that the task of guarding them was quite beyond the regular police and had to be undertaken in large measure by a standing force of Jewish volunteers.

At this dinner the guest of honour was David Cameron. He made a simply outstanding speech ripping into the moral bankruptcy of the useful idiots and worse who are appeasing Islamism in Britain ­ a speech of a strength, clarity and passion that I had not heard before. It marked a notable step change in Tory policy on terror and Islamism. It was basically a speech which said in effect 'They shall not pass' and it threw down the gauntlet to the government which has effectively been prostrating itself before the Islamists instead.

I can't find the speech at present on the Conservative Party website, but here are some highlights of what Cameron said:

To us, it seems self-evident that there is a clear dividing line between those who set out to kill and maim innocent civilians and those who do not. But the extremist mindset constantly seeks to muddy the water, to blur the distinction and even to invert the reality. Last year I visited Birmingham Central Mosque. While there, I was told that the 7/7 bombers were innocent and that, in fact, MI5 may have carried out the atrocities.I was particularly shocked because the person who said this was not some teenage hothead…he was the chairman of the Mosque…

During protests against the conflict in Lebanon, we witnessed the nauseating sight of well-scrubbed, middle class English people… marching through central London holding placards that read 'We are all Hizbollah'. That is the extremist mindset in action. These are the same people who urge a boycott of Israeli goods and academics… while saying nothing about China, Iran or Zimbabwe. Unless we challenge such attitudes and expose them for the morally-bankrupt nonsense they are… they will spread through the body politic and become the received wisdom of millions…

Gordon Brown recently banned Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a notorious preacher of hate, from Britain. A man who justifies suicide bombing and calls for homosexuals to be murdered has no place here. That's why I raised the matter in the House of Commons and asked the Prime Minister to keep him out. But at the same time I also called for him to exclude the head of Hezbollah's notoriously anti-semitic TV station, Ibrahim Moussawi. Moussawi was recently banned by the Irish government but for some reason he has now been allowed into Britain. He's here at the moment, on a speaking tour, spreading his vile message. The government cannot afford to split the difference with the extremists – excluding Qaradawi, letting in Moussawi. Terrorist apologists should be kept out. Full stop. Period…

Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an extremist organisation that poisons the minds of young Muslims against Jews, Christians and other unbelievers. Some of those who have been through its ranks have ended up in Al Qaeda. In short, it is a conveyor belt to terrorism. Tony Blair declared in 2005 that it would be banned. That didn't happen. Instead it is still active, recruiting on campuses and from London street gangs. There's only one responsible course of action. It's time to close down Hizb-ut-Tahrir

The government has allocated hundreds of thousands of pounds to local authorities to improve community cohesion. But there are worrying signs that ministers have taken their eyes off the ball. Tower Hamlets council has received extensive funding for such projects. But it has now been revealed that one of the organisations it has given thousands of pounds to is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood called the Cordoba Foundation. And what was the first thing this organisation did with the money? It organised a public debate with the title 'Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?' And who did they invite to speak? The leader of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Even the most basic research would reveal that the Cordoba Foundation has close connections to people with extremist views, including Azzam Tamimi, the UK representative of Hamas.

There are indications that this problem is more widespread. In the weeks ahead I will be making proposals to isolate extremists and make certain they cannot obtain public grants or get invited to sit on public bodies. That won't just apply to Islamic extremists. We will be equally vigilant in ensuring that groups linked to the BNP or animal rights militants are excluded too. The message should be clear: To those who reject democracy. To those who preach hate. To those who encourage violence. You are not part of the mainstream. You will not get public funding. You are not welcome as part of our society. We will only defeat the extremist mindset if we understand and confront it.

It was, as I say, a very good speech. But the problem is yet deeper and wider still. For the Islamisation of Britain is proceeding apace. Here is a press notice that has reached me from the London law firm Clifford Chance about the £1 billion Islamic financing of Chelsea Barracks:

Clifford Chance has advised Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited in the acquisition and financing of Chelsea Barracks. Chelsea Barracks, situated in the City of Westminster, is the most valuable development site purchase in UK history. The purchase was completed on 31 January 2008 for a price of £959 million, with the payment split evenly over five years. The Islamic financing was for an amount in the region of £1 billion and is believed to be the largest Islamic financing of UK land.

Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited is majority owned by Qatari Diar, with investment from CPC Group, a Guernsey based Development Company owned by Christian Candy. It has appointed Candy & Candy as development managers and interior designers for the proposed residential scheme for the site. Clifford Chance real estate partner Mark Payne comments, 'This extraordinary site continues to set the bar for acquisition and residential development. Its many fascinating aspects now include one of the most complex and innovative financings ever seen in the UK. We are breaking new ground by creating and implementing an Islamic financing on this scale on a major development site in the UK. It was a tremendous team effort with a Clifford Chance real estate team combining market leading expertise in real estate, finance and tax…The site was sold by the Ministry of Defence advised by Philip Page of Michelmores LLP. The banks who underwrote the financing were Masraf Al Rayan, HSBC Amanah, BNP Paribas, Calyon Credit Agricole and Qatar National Bank, advised by a team from Norton Rose led by Anthony Pallett and Lucy Wolley Dod.

The Prime Minister has said Britain must become the global centre of Islamic banking. More and more public companies are being taken over by Islamic interests; we now have 'sharia-compliant' mortgages, and the Treasury is moving towards a system of Islamic bonds. The government seems completely unaware however that sharia banking comes with a devastating IOU­the Islamisation of all those who use it. That's why Investor's Business Daily recently warned:

Shariah-compliant finance involves investments and other transactions that have been structured to conform with the orthodox teachings of Islamic law…

Wall Street is jumping into this hot new market oblivious to the risks not just to the bottom line, but to national security. It knows little about Shariah law and is turning to consultants to create 'ethical' products to sell. Lost in the hype over these Muslim-friendly funds is that they must 'purify' their returns by transferring at least 3% into Islamic charities, many of which funnel funds to terrorists. So the Street may unwittingly be helping the evildoers launder blood money. Shariah law obligates that a sizable portion of zakat, or giving ­ one of the pillars of Islam ­ go to support jihad. So many of the purification donations generated from Shariah finance could wind up in the hands of our enemy…

These funds offer little transparency. They fail to disclose either the radical ties of the scholars who are advising and running them or the tenets that dictate the structuring of the investments. The prospectuses explain simply that the investments are 'ethical' or 'socially acceptable,' when in fact they're grounded in a religious doctrine that threatens America and the West. The main purpose of Shariah law is to promote Islam as the only legitimate governing system and to help establish its rule worldwide. Shariah-compliant finance is a means to that end. Ignoring in a time of war the moral hazards associated with such financial products, and treating them as if they were as benign and secular as any other, may be the height of corporate recklessness.

The attitude towards Islamism displayed by the British government and significant parts of the security establishment is reckless, ignorant and lethally misguided. If David Cameron keeps up this new approach and finds the courage ­ and he'll need it ­ to develop it yet further, he could find that finally his moment has arrived.
The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9HP. All Articles and Content Copyright ©2007 by The Spectator (1828) Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Palestinians Admit Using Human Shields.

by Carlos

March 15, 2008 - To enlighten those who may have harbored any doubts, Fathi Ahmad Hammad, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said it loud and said it proud: Palestinians deliberately use women and children as human shields.
This is the transcript of his remarks (but it is worth watching the clip just to hear the hatred in his voice):

[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'

Hammad is a leader of the Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and in 2006 was elected to the Palestinian Parliament as a Hamas representative. He is also director of Al-Aqsa TV, which aired his comments on February 29.
You may remember Al-Aqsa TV. This is the TV station that fills dear little ears with hate, that brought Palestinian children Farfur Mouse and Nahoul Bee

. Among its many poisonous features are music videos, such as one showing a four-year-old girl singing a song to her mom, who blows herself up and kills four Israeli soldiers. Afterwards the girl holds a bomb and sings: 'I am following Mommy in her steps.' Other videos feature children in military uniforms and holding guns.
Now Hammad discloses the Hamas strategy, which some have suspected but few have actually believed: use people, especially women and children, as human shields. If you won't believe me, will you believe a member of Hamas?
This strategy has been immensely successful. Fire at Israeli cities from schoolyards, and make Israel choose between allowing its own children to be targets or risking harm to others. Now we know beyond a doubt that Hamas knows what it is doing, and is doing it intentionally.
But people still will not believe. The prevailing attitude is typified in the words of Javier Solana, head of foreign policy for the European Union:

'I cannot imagine that the religious imperative, the real religious imperative, can make anybody destroy another country.... Therefore that is an abuse of religion.... I don't think the essence of Hamas is the destruction of Israel. The essence of Hamas is the liberation of the Palestinians, the liberation of their people, not the destruction of Israel.'

This is the mistake Westerners, profoundly ignorant of history, make over and over again: to assume that all cultures everywhere hold the same values they do. This is a dangerous form of ethnocentrism.
Perhaps if Solana had been listening, he would have heard how Hamas repeatedly proclaims its intention to destroy Israel.

He might have read the following from the Hamas Charter:

Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it.

Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave.

The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.

Solana's dangerous naïveté is a luxury the world cannot afford.
So what does all of this add up to?
The Palestinians have successfully sold the idea that they are resisting an occupation. Israel is the occupier, the Palestinians are resisting, so the problem can be solved by pressuring Israel politically, economically, and militarily. This is the big lie of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
For when we examine both Palestinian words and actions, we see that this is really something much different from what it seems. The rhetoric of hatred, the indoctrination of children, the Palestinians' willingness to use their own people as martyrs for the sake of blackening Israel's image, the constant threats to destroy Israel and to liberate 'all' of Palestine, are all signs that this is no revolutionary movement in the Western mold. This is a jihad in the most traditional and most extreme sense of the word. This is a war for Israel's extermination.
The Palestinians say they want Israel to withdraw, but they punish Israel when it does. The most extreme factions have taken over Gaza and are threatening the same in the West Bank. And the influence of outside parties, particularly Iran, is growing.
The most disruptive force in this conflict is Iran, yet international attention is focused on Israel. The pressure on Iran to contain its nuclear program is totally ineffectual, but it is at least visible. There is no international pressure at all on Iran to withdraw its tentacles from the Palestinian territories, and to stop using Hamas and Hezbollah to torpedo any movement towards peace barely as soon as it begins. Meanwhile all the pressure in the world on Israel is not going to halt the forces trying to destroy it and push the world towards a global catastrophe whose reach will far exceed the Middle East.
When Fathi Hammad ran for the Palestinian Parliament in 2006, his campaign promise was that Hamas "will continue to develop its armed wings by recruiting more members and making more rockets and bombs." And the people voted for him and elected him. His TV station is now helping to prepare the next generation of holy warriors. Samir Abu Mohsen, who directs one of the station's hate shows for kids, says that the character Nahoul Bee exists to remind Palestinian children that they are in exile and must commit themselves to getting back their land. What land? These children live in Gaza, and Israelis are gone from there. The land these children are being trained to reclaim by force is clearly Israel.
Note also how much of the imagery and rhetoric is not just anti-Israel but anti-Jewish: the poster of the Hasidic Jew, 'our struggle against the Jews' from the Hamas Charter, 'O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!' What's the meaning of all this?
Instead of yet another barrage of complaints about the irrelevance of 'anti-Semitism,' what we really need is to understand these expressions of hate in their historical context. They are nothing new. The pronouncement to kill the Jew hiding behind the tree comes from the Hadith, the teachings of Muhammad himself (Sahih Muslim, 41:6985). In one children's television episode, Nahoul Bee says 'we will go as Islamic fighters" to fight 'the enemies of Allah, the killers of prophets.' The charge that the Jews killed their prophets is way older than the State of Israel and has been a mainstay of both Christian and Muslim anti-Semitism. It is indeed found in the Qur'an (2:61, 2:87, 5:70-71).
Anti-Jewish sentiment is deeply ingrained in Muslim tradition, and it comes from projecting forward through history Muhammad's conflicts with the Jews of his own time. Muhammad did speak in generalities about 'Jews,' and since his words are considered timeless, many Muslims apply them to the Jews of today. One can still hear Muhammad's words applied this way in countless Friday sermons from mosques around the world.
It is important to recognize this in order to understand why a Jewish state of all things is anathema to so many Muslims. The Jews were the tribes that Muhammad defeated and expelled when he unified Arabia under Islam. Jews are supposed to recognize the authority and dominance of Islam. They are not supposed to rule anything, especially not right in the middle of the Muslim world. A Jewish state in the heart of the Muslim world is a desecration of Muslim history. This feeling runs very deep. It is not me crying anti-Semitism like the boy cried 'Wolf.' It is history.
Therefore a historical consciousness is necessary in order to fathom what Hamas is doing. The symbols that Hamas uses, from the Qur'an, from the Hadith, and from later Christian anti-Jewish literature, all point towards a continuation of the original jihad. This is hard for Westerners to understand, but this is what the fight means to Hamas. They are completing the work that Muhammad started. It is not something about which they can compromise. And international condemnation of Israel only gives it more power.
For this cause Hamas is willing to sacrifice its own children as martyrs. And if Israel gets the blame for it, so much the better. If we do not understand the present Palestinian violence for what it is - not an effort to end an occupation of some territories but a continuation of the real, original jihad and a fight to the death - then attempts to force an end to the conflict will only help make inevitable the catastrophic conclusion that all but the religious fanatics are dreading.
We must at least respect the religious mind of Hamas enough to understand it on its own terms. It may seem too strange to us to believe, so like Solana we impose our own reality on it. That is foolish and perilous. We must not ever forget that in the Middle East the word 'occupation' has a double meaning. To the West, it means Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza. That is not what it means to Hamas. To Hamas, 'occupation' means the existence of an entity that defies Islam. And when Hamas fights to end the 'occupation,' obliterating that entity is precisely what it aims to achieve.



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


Monday, March 17, 2008

The Myth of the Palestinian Underdog

by Carlos

March 13, 2008 - This is for all who defend the Palestinians because they are "resisting an occupation" and have no option other than violence. This is for all who justify the Palestinians because Israel is an "oppressor." This is for all who defend the Palestinians because they are the "underdog."
After members of Hamas broke through the Gaza/Egypt border in January they came back with Iranian Grad rockets, much more powerful than the Qassams they are used to using. They immediately fired those rockets at Israel's southern cities, with devastating effect.
The symbolism reaches far beyond the event itself. We are getting a snapshot of the future.
It is also a flash from the past. During the Lebanon war of summer 2006 Hezbollah unleashed its missile capability against Israel in the north. Israel's northern cities were devastated. And there was no way to strike back. Since Hezbollah was hiding in civilian areas, Israel could not strike at Hezbollah without appearing to attack Lebanon. Israel's efforts to eliminate the missile threat in the north were futile, and the threat remains, stronger than before, the missiles poised for firing at any moment of Hezbollah's choosing.
The Palestinians are learning from Hezbollah's success, and are seeking to duplicate it. They have learned the Hezbollah tactic of firing at Israel from civilian areas, using their own people as human shields. And they will find more powerful weapons than Qassams to throw at Israel. And they will do so with the help of Iran.
Iran now has proxies fighting Israel in both the north and the south. Its hope is that the West Bank will also fall under its influence once the occupation ends, and it will have a front against Israel from the east. It doesn't need one from the west - the Mediterranean Sea will take care of that.
How real is the threat from the West Bank? Hezbollah activity in the West Bank is becoming more visible. And today the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, repeated its demand that Mahmoud Abbas fire Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and form an alliance with Hamas. In Ramallah they distributed a leaflet saying: "We renew our call to President Abbas to fire Salam Fayyad and form a new government that would not abandon the armed struggle." They also called on Abbas to cut off contact with Israel and stop the peace process. The Gazan malignancy is spreading.
We are now witnessing the intermediate stages of a strategy to surround Israel with batteries of increasingly powerful missiles, capable eventually of reaching its major cities. On the ground this is already happening. We have further evidence in the pronouncements of Iran and its partner Hezbollah.
Last month Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in remarks that were
televised, called Israel a "filthy germ" and a "savage beast" established by Western powers to interfere in the Middle East. Just a few days earlier Muhammad Ali Jafari, Commander-on-Chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, stated: "In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous germ of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hezbollah combatants."
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also predicted Israel's demise: "The West has tried to impose a fabricated regime on the Middle East but even after 60 years, the Zionist regime has neither gained any legitimacy nor played any role in this region." And with astounding irony he continued: "The era of imposing policies on other states by military threats is over. The nations in the region will no longer surrender to any threats."
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah corroborated the Iranian threats. He stated that Hezbollah is preparing for a new war with Israel within the coming months. Speaking to a rally of thousands he proclaimed: "No one can protect the entire Israeli home front from our missiles. If they think of entering the south, to any valley, any hill, I swear you [Israelis] will carry your tanks and soldiers and your entire army will collapse under the feet of Imad Mughniyah.... Destroying Israel is an inevitable outcome, a historic law, a divine doctrine. When Israel won't have an army it won't survive, and that's what I said about Mughniyah's blood leading to the elimination of Israel."
Destroying Israel? So maybe this isn't really about an "occupation" after all? Hold that thought; we will come back to it.
So who is Imad Mughniyah? At first he was Hezbollah's head of security; later he became its chief of staff. He was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, not only by Israel but also the U.S. Among his exploits: In 1985 he hijacked a TWA airliner to Beirut, and one passenger was killed. During that same period, through his planning and execution, dozens of foreigners were kidnapped in Lebanon. He masterminded Hezbollah's international terrorist attacks. He was responsible for two attacks in Buenos Aires: against the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center in 1994. More than 100 were killed in those attacks.
Mughniyah was also associated with the fateful bombings of the Beirut Barracks and U.S. Embassy in 1983. He was at the top of the FBI's most wanted list, with a five-million-dollar price on his head. Only bin Laden surpassed him.
And Mughniyah had ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and symbolized Iran's presence in Lebanon.
The ostensible occasion for Nasrallah's ire was Mughniyah's death by a car bomb on February 12. Hezbollah and Iran immediately blamed Israel. Israel has denied it. But no matter, Israel is guilty until proven innocent. Nevertheless, Mughniyah was involved in a lot of infighting, and even his widow claims that Syria was behind his death. As proof she notes that Syria has refused to allow the Iranians to investigate it. Mike McConnell, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, believes that either Syria or factions within Hezbollah itself may be responsible. But in the Middle East it doesn't matter. When a Muslim terrorist meets the fate that he deserves, the fault always lies with Israel.
So Hezbollah now proclaims as its sacred duty the sacrifice of Israel's people on the altar of a mass murderer. And not only Israel's people. It has also pledged to attack Jewish targets around the world.

And now back to the Palestinians. They say they are fighting an occupation, and the world believes them. But in the context of what we have just seen with Iran and Hezbollah, the Palestinians are an integral part of a much greater enterprise. The object is not to end the occupation - in fact it never was. The object is to end Israel. But to Hamas, Israel's very existence is the occupation.
Yossi Klein Halevi writes:

The Palestinian struggle is no longer about creating an independent state. It is about being a front-line participant in the Iranian-led jihad to destroy Israel, evolving from a nationalist to a religious war. The thousands of celebrants in Gaza who, following the yeshiva massacre, offered prayers of thanksgiving in the mosques and distributed candies to passersby weren't only indulging in feelings of revenge for Israel's recent military incursion but heralding the coming jihadist victory over the enemies of God.

Indeed, it seems that Hamas and its terrorist allies are doing everything they possibly can to prevent a separate Palestinian state. Whenever any serious movement towards peace takes place, they can be counted on to destroy it by escalating their violence. Just today Palestinians fired at least 10 mortar shells and 30 rockets and counting into southern Israel, two of them hitting Sderot. So much for encouraging the peace talks that are supposed to be going on.
The Palestinians say they want an end to the occupation. Kadima, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's political party, was elected on a platform for ending the occupation, for extending Israel's withdrawal from Gaza to the West Bank as well. One might have expected the Palestinians to welcome this. But instead they cranked up their war in the south, sending a clear message that this is what Israel can expect in the east if it withdraws from there too.
So why shouldn't the Palestinians want to end the occupation, if they are suffering so much from it? Why settle for half the pita when you can get it all? This is not a war to end the occupation, if indeed it ever was. This is a war to end Israel. And the way to end Israel is to cut off every avenue for peace while you build your capability to strike Israeli cities at will.
To get away with this war, the Palestinians need to keep selling their victim image, and to convince the world that the occupation is as strong and oppressive as ever. And so they engage in a bizarre game of semantics, claiming that Gaza is still occupied even though every last Israeli left the territory three years ago. As Eran Lerman writes in his cogent analysis:

Why should any electricity be provided, under the present circumstances, from the Ashkelon power station to people who fire at it? The facile answer from the UN and the humanitarian NGOs is that Israel is still "the occupying power." But this raises the question whether international laws are a sane answer. After all, we not only left Gaza, down to the last inch, but forcibly dragged out each and every living Jew therein, and even the graves of dead ones. Why are we still the occupying power? Because the presence of a terror government forces us to ensure that the avenues of communication into Gaza not be abused for the supply of more means to kill us? The logical loop here is impossible to resolve, since the terror state hides behind the irresponsible claim of statelessness.

This is the most bizarre catch-22 of all! Israel disengaged completely from Gaza, but is still called the occupying power. Why? Because it still exercises control over the border. Why? Because Palestinians are attacking Israel from Gaza and Israel wants to keep the weapons out! Therefore, if Israel is still "occupying" Gaza, it is because the Palestinians insist!
Clearly, if there were no traffic into Gaza of weapons used against Israeli citizens, there would be no need for any Israeli vigilance over the Gaza border. And therefore no "occupation." Now just what part of that doesn't the world understand?
We do not understand this conflict until we see the Palestinian "resistance" as part of something greater: a proxy war against Israel that is being waged by Iran, a jihad, a final overturning of the naqba (or "catastrophe") by which Palestinians describe Israels creation.
It has long been known that Hezbollah is Iran's surrogate in the north. But Iran has also been extending its influence into Gaza. As Klein Halevi writes:

Ironically, Hamas was initially more reluctant than Fatah to enter into an Iranian alliance, precisely because the Sunni Hamas takes religion more seriously than Fatah and was loathe to accept the authority of the Iranian Shiites. But that squeamishness ended three years ago with a formal alliance, orchestrated by the Damascus-based Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, and today Hamas is an integral part of the Iranian war against Israel. Iran has trained hundreds of Hamas operatives - and, according to the former intelligence chief, continues to fund individual members of Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigades. Iran's goal is twofold: to extend its influence in the Arab world, and to transform itself, via proxies, into a frontline confrontation state with Israel.

So instead of the popular picture of little lone Palestine standing up to the Israeli behemoth, what we really have is an 800-pound Iranian gorilla in the back of the room helping its Palestinian proxies slowly tighten the noose around Israel from all sides. If the Palestinians wanted peace, they could simply start practicing it - stop the rockets and allow the talks to proceed. There is enough domestic as well as international pressure on Israel to make sure that concessions will be made. But why should Palestinians settle for only half, when the whole seems finally within reach?
Many believe that Israel's way out of this should be to declare a ceasefire with Hamas. But there is no need to declare a ceasefire. If the Palestinians stop trying to build up their rocket war, Israel will stop trying to stop them. A ceasefire declaration would play right into the jihad.
Lerman asks:

How would Hamas use a prolonged ceasefire, given the lessons we learned from the bitter years of Hezbollah's build-up in Lebanon (now resumed, in breach of 1701 and I would love to pressure Israel to end the occupation, if doing so would actually mean there would be peace. But this occupation seems to have a life of its own. It just doesn't want to end. Israel disengaged from under UNIFIL's noses)? And what would this do to the already tattered standing of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Palestinian society?

And Klein Halevi answers:

A ceasefire with Hamas - which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seems to be implementing even as he denies it - may well be the worst option of all. Hamas will likely use that interim period to turn itself into a second Hezbollah, equipped with Iranian weapons. And when Hamas feels empowered to break the ceasefire and resume its attacks, Israel will face a far more formidable enemy.

Dealing with Iran should not have to mean attacking Iran militarily. Recognizing the source of the threat, pressuring Iran through public opinion and through meaningful sanctions, can go a long way towards putting out the fire. Open war with Iran would be a disaster for the entire world. But that could still come as long as people in places that matter keep looking the other way.
One such person is U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who badly needs a copy of Middle East for Dummies. Here is what he said today to an Islamic summit in Senegal's capital Dakar: "Israel's disproportionate and excessive use of force has killed and injured many civilians including children.... I condemn these actions and call on Israel to cease such acts." How about mentioning the Qassams? How about mentioning Iran? How about mentioning Hamas deliberately putting "civilians including children" in harm's way? But this was an Islamic summit, and Ban apparently felt the need to pander to it.
So that's it, folks. Iran is prosecuting a proxy war on several fronts, and Ban's solution is to pressure - Israel! They must be laughing in Tehran. Ban does not want a "disproportionate" use of force. Would he like a proportionate use of force? How about one rocket fired into Gaza City for every rocket fired into Sderot? Maybe that would satisfy him.
By focusing the vitriol on Israel for responding to the provocations of Hamas, Ban and many others like him are enabling this terror war. They are helping to make certain it will continue until, God forbid, it becomes an open war with Iran for Israel's survival. Israel is becoming convinced that no solution can be reached in Gaza until Iran's role is addressed. "Israel will not exist side by side with this Iranian entity three kilometers from Sderot and 10 kilometers from Ashkelon," former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Army Radio. And Klein Halevi states:

To deal effectively with the jihad requires an awareness that Israel is in fact at war with the Iranian regime, which manipulates proxies along Israel's borders, supplying them with weapons and training, and energizing them with the promise of imminent victory.

So why should anybody care? Because the price of Armageddon is too high, not only for Israel and the Palestinians but for everyone. Concentrating the pressure on Israel while Iran presses its jihad through its Palestinian proxies completely misses the root of the problem and pushes Israel into a desperate situation, in which the present conflict becomes more and more a fight for Israel's survival. As the rockets increase in number, in range, and in power, as inevitably they will, staving off a cataclysmic showdown  becomes increasingly unlikely.

I would love to pressure Israel to end the occupation, if doing so would actually mean there would be peace. But this occupation seems to have a life of its own. It just doesn't want to end. Israel disengaged from Gaza, leaving the Palestinians to govern themselves, but Gaza won't disengage from Israel. The Gazans are following the withdrawing Israelis all the way into the Negev. They smuggle in weapons by the ton, and when Israel tries to control the flow they accuse Israel of still occupying Gaza. The rockets keep falling and the Qassams morph into Grads. How does this create any incentive for Israel to start uprooting settlements in the West Bank?
The Palestinians have far more control over their own destiny than they want spectators to believe. The ostensible resistance to an occupation that the Palestinians don't really seem to want to end masks a holy war whose aim is not Israel's withdrawal but its destruction. Meanwhile world reaction continues to push the parties toward the precipice.
Klein Halevi concludes:

So long as the international community tries to create a Palestinian state without seriously confronting the jihadists, Iran and its proxies will continue to make peace impossible - not by "derailing" negotiations, but by making those negotiations irrelevant.

The whole world wants an end to this conflict before it grows into a regional war.
Surprise. It already has.
- Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.