Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Deal For Gilad Schalit

by Steven M. Goldberg

In October of 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain triumphantly returned from Munich carrying an agreement with Adolph Hitler​ that achieved “peace with honor.” Although the English people were overjoyed, Winston Churchill​ was less sanguine. In a speech to the House of Commons, Churchill stated that England had “sustained a total and unmitigated defeat.” He then prophetically warned:

And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.

Churchill’s chilling words should haunt the decision of the Israeli government to release more than 1000 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Notwithstanding the approval of the media and much of the Israeli public, the decision is a tragedy, both morally
perverse and strategically shortsighted.

One must sympathize with the Schalit family and the agony it endured. It is normal for a parent to implore the government to pay any price to save the life of his child. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet, however, have a more profound responsibility. They were obligated to resist emotional appeals and instead safeguard the people of Israel as a whole. They have failed abysmally. Their capitulation to Hamas is disastrous on several levels.

First, the deal with Hamas is a betrayal of the families of the victims of the terrorists who will be released. Imagine the searing pain of knowing that the person who murdered your son or daughter will be released.

Second, the decision has validated kidnapping as a valuable “get out of jail free” card. Israel can expect more soldiers and citizens to be seized and held hostage, and to face ransom demands that will continue to escalate.

Third, it sends a message to the members of the Israeli security forces whose jobs are to hunt down and capture terrorists that their efforts are wasted. It makes no sense to confront danger and risk one’s own life to arrest terrorists who are likely to be released.

Fourth, statistics show that a substantial percentage of released prisoners return to terrorism. It is a virtual certainty that many Jews will pay for this deal with their lives; we simply do not yet know their names. What will Israel’s leaders say to the families of the future victims of terrorist attacks? One thing is for sure: they will not be able to claim they did not know what would happen.

There was another way for the government to demonstrate its determination to free Schalit. The Prime Minister could have appeared on television and announced that all food, water, electricity and other goods that had been flowing into Gaza would be stopped until Schalit was released. He could have announced that, should anything happen to Schalit, the consequences to Gaza would be even more devastating. The international community would have screamed about collective punishment, but it’s a sure bet that an urgent effort would have been made to free Schalit to avoid these consequences. It is very possible that such a strong approach would have succeeded in freeing Schalit, especially if the threat were credible. Even if this approach did not convince Hamas to release Schalit unharmed, as long as Israel kept its promise of a crushing retaliation, at least future kidnappings would have been convincingly deterred.

Instead, Hamas is jubilant about its victory over Israel, and justifiably so. Khaled Mashaal has every reason to crow about Hamas’ “great achievement.”

In contrast, the Jewish people have been “weighed on the scales and found wanting.” Sukkot, which is supposed to be a joyous holiday, has been stained and scarred. It will now mark our craven surrender to evil, to the shame of Israel and the entire Jewish nation.

Steven M. Goldberg is a trial lawyer in Los Angeles who is involved in a number of Jewish organizations, including Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.


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Coptic Church Construction and Egyptian Muslim 'Emasculation'

by Andrew G. Bostom

Traditional Islamic religious authorities regard church construction, or any display of non-Islamic religions as "emasculating" of Muslims. No wonder Egypt's Copts face such travails.

Because it was excerpted in Bat Ye'or's pioneering The Dhimmi, I obtained Moshe Perlmann's (1975) complete translation of a 1739 essay on the Churches of Cairo. Written by Sheikh Damanhuri (1689-1764), a highly esteemed leader of Al Azhar University, the pinnacle of learning in Sunni Islamdom, since 973 A.D., the learned jurist's tract was a reply to a query in that year when, "...the dhimmis began the construction of a church in Cairo...causing great agitation among Muslims." The good sheikh notes,

When I learned of the rise of this deplorable affair, and that in this community no longer is the prophetic injunction heeded to deter the infidels, the enemies of the faith, from their goal, I began to write the explaining the right path

Sheikh Damanhuri entitled his reply -- in accord with the conclusion of his learned, Islamically-correct argument, "The presentation of the clear proof for the obligatory destruction of the churches of Old and New Cairo."

Damanhuri states explicity (on p. 20) that areas "demarcated and settled by Muslims," including Cairo, Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, Wasit, as well as "any village that was taken by force," and not returned by a Muslim Caliph to those vanquished and dispossessed,

These are Muslim cities in which the protected people may not display any of their religious symbols, for example, erect churches, bring out wine or pork, or sound the clapper (calling to the church, a counterpart of bells). No new synagogue, church, monk's cell, prayer assembly of theirs is allowed in these cities, by the consensus of the doctors [of Islamic law]. It has been mentioned above that our city, Cairo, is an Islamic town, started after the conquest of Egypt, under the reign of the Fatimids. Therefore, no church, synagogue, and the rest, may be erected in it.

But what Bat Ye'or excerpted in The Dhimmi that is truly fascinating -- pathognomonic as we say in medicine -- is how this learned Muslim jurist, in conformity with the prevailing orthodoxy, viewed Church construction by Christians as a form of Muslim emasculation! From (p. 21) of Perlmann's 1975 translation of Damanhuri's tract:

The Prophet, peace and blessing upon him, said: "No emasculation [khisa] and no church in Islam." The word "emasculation," khisa follows the fial, as the verbal noun of khsy, "to emasculate." The relation between "emasculation" and "church" is that the erection of a church in Muslim territory denotes the elimination of manliness in the people of the territory, just as emasculation, in reality, is the elimination of virility in an animal. Though the sense of the word in our context is withdrawal from women by attachment to churches. The connection is evident. By "no church" the Prophet meant no construction thereof, a prohibition, that is, that no church in Islamic territory signifies the elimination of virility in the people of that territory, which is not permissible, even as the elimination of man's virility by castration is not.

I would maintain this perverse, ugly sentiment of perceived "emasculation" remains amongst Egyptian Muslims and accounts for their lethal mass violence directed at The Copts for simply, and peaceably, exercising what modern human beings regard as a basic freedom -- freedom of worship.

Andrew G. Bostom


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If They Are Like This Now, What Will They Be Like With Nukes?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is now threatening to ignite the Middle East and destroy Israel if NATO attacks his country, while his mufti is threatening to dispatch suicide bombers to Europe and the United States.

The threats coming out of Damascus are a sign of the growing predicament of the Assad regime, which has been facing a popular resistance since the beginning of the year. Syrian human rights and opposition groups say that about 3,000 Syrians have been killed at the hands of Assad's security forces.

Assad has been quoted as telling the Turkish foreign minister that, "if anything crazy happens to Syria, it will take me only six hours to move hundreds of missiles to the Golan Heights so they could be fired at Tel Aviv. At the same time, I will ask Lebanon's Hizbollah to open fire at Israel. All this will happen in the first three hours. In the next three hours, Iran will strike US warships in the region, while Shiites in the Gulf would start attacking Western targets and killing Americans and Europeans around the world. The Shiites will form suicide squads and hijack planes."

Assad's mufti, Ahmed Hassoun, was quoted as saying: "With the launching of the first missile at Syria or Lebanon, all our sons and daughters will go out to become suicide bombers in Europe and Palestine. I say this to Europe and America - we will prepare the suicide bombers if you attack Syria or Lebanon."

Given the Syrian regime's brutal record, the US and Europe should not underestimate the latest threats to set fire to the Middle East and launch suicide bombings against Westerners.

Assad will fight to the last Syrian to stay in power. In this regard, he is not different from Libya's mad man, Muammar Ghaddafi, who is continuing to fight even after the downfall of his regime.

A regime that does not hesitate to use artillery and tanks against peaceful protests and political opponents is capable of perpetrating the most unspeakable crimes against others.

This is a regime that has massacred thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese during the Civil War in Lebanon. In 1982, the Syrian army massacred thousands of Syrians in the town of Hama.

For decades, the Syrian regime has been harboring and supporting extremist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah. Without the support of Damascus and Tehran, these groups would not have been able to grow and pose such a real threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.

Syria is not only a threat to Israel, the US and Europe, but also to moderate Arabs in the Middle East. Some Arab countries, first of all Jordan, are facing direct threats from Syria because of their support for the anti-Assad uprising.

The Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US could signal the beginning of a wider scheme by Tehran and Damascus to take the fight against their critics to American and European soil. The uncovering of the Iranian plot coincides with reports that Syrian diplomats have been intimidating and spying on anti-Assad figures in the US and Europe.

Assad and his friend, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have long arms that are capable of reaching anyone they wish. Just this week it was reported in that Syrian diplomats were involved in the abduction of Syrians from Lebanon to Syria. There have also been reports about special Syrian forces that infiltrated Turkey to kidnap a number of army defectors.

Iran's assassination plot should be viewed as an act of war against the US and Saudi Arabia, and the response should be very strong to deter other terror-sponsoring countries such as Syria. Similarly, the Syrian regime's threats of war and terror attacks should also be treated as a declaration of war against Israel, the US and Europe. There is no reason why a ruthless dictator such as Assad should not be taken seriously when he says he will set the Middle East on fire.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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The Islamization of London: A Photo Tour

by Ned May

When I arrived in London in September it had been more than forty years since I had last spent any time in the city. If I hadn’t kept up with recent events through my British contacts, the changes would have been startling indeed.

The most popular tourist spots appear much the same, and the commercial areas are still thronged with shoppers. No matter where you go, however, the presence of Islam makes itself felt. With the rapid increase in the Muslim population over the past decade, the capital of Britain has moved that much closer to becoming an Islamic city.

The process of Islamization is not always as obvious as in this poster, which appeared one morning last July at a bus shelter on the corner of Mission Grove and Carisbrooke Road, in the Waltham Forest area of East London:

A straightened out close-up provides a clearer view of what the devout Muslims of Waltham Forest are demanding:

This is the new Islamic Britain as envisioned by the fire-breathing radical Anjem Choudary and Muslims Against Crusades. MAC’s latest initiative is called The Islamic Emirates Project, and its stated goal is “Breaking the Foundations of Western Civilisation”:

Muslims across the UK collectively declared their disgust of British values and their desire to live by the Shari’ah.

As Muslim enclaves across Britain rapidly edge closer to Islamic autonomy, Muslims Against Crusades in conjunction with several other leading Muslim organisations would like to declare the next chapter in the ongoing campaign to transform Britain into a thriving Islamic state.

Mr. Choudary lives in Ilford, but he and his supporters are also active in East London, Luton, and other parts of England where Islam is ascendant. He is the most forthright and plainspoken of Britain’s Islamic radicals. No taqiyyah or kitman (sacred lying) for him. He proudly proclaims the coming Caliphate in public, volubly and repeatedly, into the microphones and in front of the cameras.

Denial is rampant among the multicultural oligarchs of the political class. The British government prefers to believe that Anjem Choudary and other Islamic zealots are not serious in their avowed intentions. Their incendiary pronouncements are thought to be mere rhetoric — what they really want is more funding, more generous welfare benefits, new state-supported Koran schools, or more parking spaces around their mosques. Everything is business as usual to the politicos.

The leaders of the three major political parties find it impossible to accept that these “extremists” mean exactly what they say. Acknowledging the problem would force the government to actually do something to save the country from destruction. In the second decade of the 21st century — with millions of Muslims already in Britain, and hundreds of thousands more arriving or being born every year — what could they do? How could Islamization ever be reversed without enormous expense or unimaginable violence?

No, it’s better to pretend that everything is harmonious and peaceful and normal in Modern Multicultural Britain.

From time to time the coming Emirate intrudes even into the tourist zones of London. On Saturday, September 24, under the sponsorship of Mayor Boris Johnson, a huge officially-sanctioned Eid Festival was held in Trafalgar Square. The domed building in the background is part of the National Portrait Gallery:

The cave-like structure below is a stage for performers. When I arrived, loud drumming was coming over the speakers. In the background you can see Nelson’s Column, which serves as a reminder of the greatness that once was, but is no longer:

The drumming was soon replaced over the PA by “Muslim rap”. A large display screen behind the fountain provides an incongruous contrast between the rapper and the nautical-themed statue in the foreground:

The Islamic presence is visible all over London. From Marble Arch to Docklands, from Piccadilly to King’s Cross: on virtually every street can be seen women in hijab, often pushing strollers, and men wearing skullcaps and Islamic robes.

One of my British contacts is a longtime observer of Muslims in the capital, and has analyzed the pattern of their street behaviors:

I regularly walk up and down Ladbroke Grove, Portobello Road and Harrow Road and have noted a process of coagulation or clumping of the sidewalks by Muslim women:

• Two Muslim women, each with baby pushcars, can present a significant amount of biomass on a sidewalk — a phalanx of piety? — to the extent that evasive action is required.

• Groups of two or three Muslim women are increasingly common — more towards the North Kensington end — in Harrow Road and Kensal Road.

• It is also increasingly common to see non-Western dress among Muslim men, both old and young.

Mosques are prominent in many different areas of the city. For example, this is the Regent’s Park Mosque, in a leafy middle-class neighborhood not far from Marylebone Road:

Certain areas of the city are more thoroughly Islamized, however. Tower Hamlets, which hosts the East London Mosque, has a majority-Islamic borough council and a Muslim mayor, Lutfur Rahman:

The Finsbury Park Mosque in North London was once the hangout of the notorious and picturesque Abu “Hooky” Hamza al-Masri, who is now in prison for terrorism offenses:

As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once famously said, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” Allah’s faithful soldiers march up and down the streets of London every day. Their bayonets pierce the skyline, proclaiming to the city that Islam has come, Islam has seen, and Islam will conquer.

Yet the mosques are not the most striking evidence of the Islamization of London. Great Britain is metamorphosing into a formerly Christian nation. The grim truth really begins to sink in when contemplating, for example, what used to be St. Mary’s Priory on St Ann’s Road in Tottenham. At first glance the façade looks familiar enough — the cross on the gable, the Gothic Revival windows, the niche in the wall with a statue of the Virgin:

The inscription below the niche reads Sancta Maria Mater Dolorosa Ora Pro Nobis — “Saint Mary, Mother of Sorrows, Pray for Us”:

But the building is no longer a priory, and St. Mary is no longer the proprietress of the establishment. Take a look at the main entrance of the building:

St. Mary’s Priory is now a madrassa. We love you ya Mohammed Rasulullah.

For the past two years, resistance to the Islamization of England has coalesced around a group known as the English Defence League, a grassroots working-class volunteer organization. On the tenth anniversary of 9-11, in response to a Muslims Against Crusades demonstration in front of the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, the EDL mounted a counter-demonstration. Members of the EDL planned to show solidarity with the USA and respect for the victims of the terrorist attacks by laying wreaths in front of the embassy. When the day arrived, Anjem Choudary and his fellow radicals were allowed to declaim their invective against the United States and rant about the coming Caliphate through their bullhorns, while the peaceful demonstrators of the English Defence League were forcibly hauled away from the area by the police.

Such is the state of Modern Multicultural Britain.

Later that evening a large crowd of EDL people gathered in a pub on Edgware Road, not far from Grosvenor Square. A group of Muslims came into the place and attacked two men from the EDL with knives, sending them to the hospital with serious stab wounds.

When I visited the same pub two weeks later, there was no sign of any trouble. It was a peaceful, friendly place with ordinary English people sitting around talking, eating, and drinking beer. But a reminder of what had happened was posted on the window glass next to the main entrance:

Any witness who chose to come forward might want to consider this poster, however:

The police officer who talked to the witness and took down the report could well be a member of the Association of Muslim Police, recruited for the force under one of the many diversity outreach initiatives. Police procedures mandate that Muslim officers be included on the scene in cases where Islamic “sensitivities” might be an issue.

So a witness might have to talk to a Muslim cop under those circumstances. If you were an EDL supporter, would you step forward?

This is what London has come to. Halal food in all schools. No eating in front of your Muslim colleagues during Ramadan. Special accommodations for Muslims in public buildings. Officially sanctioned Sharia courts.

And above all, no “racist” speech. Muslims may gather and scream “Death to those who insult Islam!” with impunity. But a non-Muslim who objects to the spread of Sharia may be arrested, charged, convicted, fined, and slapped with an Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO) forbidding him from taking part in any activist events for several years.

This is the reality of 21st century Britain. This is not creeping Sharia, it is galloping Sharia.

Many thanks to Henrik Ræder Clausen of Europe News and Aeneas of the International Civil Liberties Alliance for allowing the use of their photographs in this article.

Ned May


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Khamenei Cheers On Occupy Wall Street

by Joseph Klein

Barack Obama​ has finally found the common ground he has been searching for with the Iranian regime. They share support for the Occupy Wall Street protest, whose premise is to pit the “virtuous” oppressed 99% of Americans against the top 1% of “wealthy, greedy” Americans.

Last week, Obama said that the protest “expresses the frustrations that the American people feel.” The protesters, he claimed, “are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works…and that’s going to express itself politically in 2012 and beyond.” Obama had previously told Americans on national television that their country is a nation “with a system in which the deck seems stacked against middle class Americans in favor of the wealthiest few.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was so enthusiastic about the Occupy Wall Street protesters that she came as close to offering a prayer as she probably ever has in her lifetime. “God bless them,” Pelosi said.

Ayatollah Khamenei​, Iran’s Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, who considers himself to be the earthly deputy of both Prophet Muhammad and the hidden 12th Imam​, must have heard Pelosi’s invocation. He came out in support of the Occupy Wall Street protest this week. He said that it shows how the capitalist system in the U.S. and the West has reached a dead end. When people use the slogan “we are the 99 percent,” Khamenei declared, the remaining one percent is “condemned.”

Obama and Khamenei would have been able to share their support for Occupy Wall Street as an ice breaker if they ever got together for those unconditional negotiations with Iran that Obama promised during the 2008 campaign. Sure, Obama would have had to endure a repetition of Khamenei’s charge this week that the demonstrators were being harshly treated by U.S. officials. Prophet Muhammad’s self-declared earthly deputy said with a straight face that such treatment is not seen even in underdeveloped countries with dictatorial regimes. No doubt, to keep the peace, Obama would have bowed to the Supreme Leader and apologized, while continuing his own failure to respond forcefully regarding the brutal crack-down by Khamenei’s security forces against peaceful Iranian dissidents in June 2009.

Too bad that the Iranian regime’s attempted assassination on American soil of the Saudi ambassador to the United States and its plot to blow up two embassies in Washington, D.C. intruded and will probably end the chance for such a meeting any time soon. The Obama administration is finally getting upset with the Iranian regime – something that Iran’s march towards a nuclear arms capability, its announced intention to send its warships off the coast of the United States, its infiltration of terrorists into Latin America and its plans to build a missile base in Venezuela, have not aroused. But while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton​ is calling up world leaders to rally expressions of international outrage against Iran, the Iranian government is using the Occupy Wall Street protests to shift blame for the episode to the United States.

Iranian government officials complained that the Obama administration was fabricating the alleged plot to divert attention from the Occupy Wall Street protests. In an interview with the Iranian news agency Fars, transcribed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Majlis Supreme National Security Committee chairman Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi said, “Without a doubt, this new American-Zionist plot was aimed at diverting public attention from the crisis in which [President] Obama has become entangled – [that is,] the Wall Street popular uprising.”

Apparently, Boroujerdi missed Obama’s statement last week giving his presidential seal of approval to the protests as an expression of “the frustrations that the American people feel.”

As usual, Obama is out of touch with the feelings of most Americans. The protests express the frustrations of the far Left, his own base. The core includes significant contingents who hate capitalism and think they are bringing the Arab Spring to America. They are much closer to Khamenei’s way of thinking than they are to ordinary Americans’.

“One problem is that the corruption of capitalism has become clear to the people. Of course this movement might be suppressed, but they cannot destroy the roots of the movement,” Khamenei said.

Khamenei claimed the protests proved that U.S. capitalism was on the “verge of full collapse.” He predicted that the movement “will grow so that it will bring down the capitalist system and the west.”

General Masoud Jazayeri of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, whose Qods Force unit was allegedly involved in the aborted ambassador assassination and embassy bombing plot, said the protests were “a revolution and a comprehensive movement against corruption…in the making. The last phase will be the collapse of the Western capitalist system.”

Khamenei and his henchmen are not in favor of Marxism as a replacement for capitalism. Their goal is a worldwide revolution based on Islamic principles. “Today the Islamic Republic’s claims concerning the futility of Marxism have been proven,” Khamenei said, “and its claims regarding capitalism are being proven, so religious scholars and the clergy should present the logical and deep-rooted truths of Islam to the increasing number of enthusiasts throughout the world by using firm rational principles which are appropriate for the needs of the modern audience. ”

But the common thread uniting the Iranian leaders and the far Left today is “revolution” against their common enemy, capitalism.

When Occupy Wall Street protesters were asked by reporters what they were doing there, some said they wanted to topple capitalism. Early on, according to a New York Magazine poll, 37% of the protesters who said they were in it for the long haul agreed with the statement that “capitalism can’t be saved; it’s inherently immoral.”

While the number of protesters has grown considerably since then and their messages represent “a bouillabaisse of views,” as ABC News described them, the organizing and funding muscle lining up behind the protests is decidedly anti-capitalist. They include the Democratic Socialists of America, ACORN, the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the New Party and the Working Families Party.

Indeed, a former executive with SEIU, Stephen Lerner, had called last spring for a mass escalation of protests, strikes and civil disobedience to create crisis and revolution in America. Just the kind of destabilization of American capitalism that Khamenei had in mind.

“We have to think much more creatively,” said Lerner. “The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. We hope to inspire a much bigger movement about redistributing wealth and power in the country.” A few months later Occupy Wall Street miraculously appeared, and unions like SEIU came forward to publicly endorse the supposedly spontaneous movement.

Former Obama “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones, a self-proclaimed communist and senior fellow at the far Left Center for American Progress (which also supports Occupy Wall Street), inspired the Occupy Wall Street crowd with words that Khamenei can relate to. Van Jones proclaimed last Friday to its mass General Assembly: “People are asking what we’re here to get. They don’t understand we’re not here to get anything. We’re here to give everything to the people from whom you stole everything!”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a frequent visitor to the Obama White House, also visited Occupy Wall Street last week and expressed his union’s solidarity. “We are going to support them in any way we can,” he promised. In a conference call with reporters he said the AFL-CIO has been pushing a similar agenda as that of the protesters.

Trumka’s agenda, like Khamenei’s, is the downfall of capitalism. He previewed his agenda last year when he said “…we need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That’s a long-term job, but one we should start now.”

Occupy Wall Street and groups associated with the movement have gone global, planning protests around the world on October 15th. The goal, according to a message posted on Occupy Wall Street’s website, is to help bring about “one revolution in each single city of the world.”

The Iranian regime has its own goal of spreading revolution around the world and views capitalism’s demise as a necessary step to achieve that goal. It is more than happy to latch on to Occupy Wall Street to help achieve that objective.

Khamenei, Barack Obama and his base on the far Left – locked arm in arm in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and its global offshoots. How fitting.

Joseph Klein


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Schalit Swap Will Put More Terrorists on the Streets

by IPT News

Nasser Abu Hameid had been given five life sentences for murdering Palestinian "collaborators" with Israel. He was released in September 1999 as part of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement signed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Hameid was part of a lynch mob a year later that mutilated the corpses of two IDF reservists after they were dragged out of jail and murdered in Ramallah on Oct. 12, 2000. During the next 17 months, he also murdered a pair of Israelis near the settlement called Givat Zeev, helped plot a terrorist attack that killed a policewoman, and was responsible for a shooting and hand-grenade attack on a Tel Aviv seafood restaurant, which killed three people. In late 2002, he was sentenced to seven life terms for murdering Israelis.

As Israelis across the political spectrum welcome the news that Cpl. Gilad Schalit, kidnapped by Hamas in a June 2006 cross-border raid, will soon be reunited with his family, they also confront a grim reality. More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them affiliated with Hamas and other jihadist organizations, will go free as a result.

A partial list of some of the 450 Palestinian prisoners set to be released in the first stage of the exchange was published on the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV website on Thursday. Among those listed are several top Hamas leaders, including Yehya al-Sinwar, and Nael al-Barghouthi, a member of a Fatah squad who killed an Israeli soldier in 1978. He is the longest serving Palestinian prisoner.

Also on the list is Abdel Hadi Ghanem, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist responsible for killing 16 Israelis by crashing an Israeli bus into a ravine in July 1989.

The identities of the remaining prisoners have yet to be revealed, but if history is any indication, many will return to terrorism and try to kill more Israelis.

"I think that we will be able to deal with the threat and potential dangers," said Yoram Cohen, head of Israel's Shin Bet security service. "We cannot promise that they will not produce terror," he added.

In the Schalit deal, 280 people serving life sentences will go free. Among the more than 1,000 total inmates, 110 can go to the West Bank and East Jerusalem (Fifty-five of the 110 are known Hamas operatives). Others will be sent to Hamas-controlled Gaza, while about 40 will be deported abroad.

Israeli security services have informally estimated that about half of all terrorists set free "returned to the path of terror, either as perpetrator, planner, or accomplice," veteran Ha'aretz correspondent Nadav Shragai in this 2008 study for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). "In the terror acts committed by these freed terrorists, hundreds of Israelis were murdered, and thousands were wounded."

Since 1985, Israel has freed more than 10,000 Palestinians serving prison sentences for terrorist actions or hostile activity. Some were freed as part of deals with terrorist groups in which a small number of Israelis (some living, others killed in combat) were exchanged for hundreds or more terrorists. In other cases, terrorists were freed because their sentences concluded or were reduced, or as part of Israeli diplomatic goodwill gestures to the Palestinians pursuant to the Oslo peace process.

According to statistics provided by an official in the IDF Central Command, 6,912 terrorists were freed after various diplomatic agreements between 1993 to 1999, with 854 of them (12.4 percent) returning to terrorist activity.

In January 2004, Israel freed 400 Palestinian prisoners and 23 Lebanese in return for an Israeli businessman abducted by Hizballah and the bodies of three soldiers kidnapped in an October 2000 cross-border raid by that terror group. By April 2007, people freed in that deal had murdered 35 Israelis, according to data provided by Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

A study by the Almagor Terror Victims Association, an Israeli organization that opposes terrorist prisoner swaps and fought to block the deal, found that at least 30 terrorist attacks committed since 2000 were perpetrated by people freed in negotiations with terror groups.

"Many were freed in the framework of deals, understandings, or goodwill gestures because they were defined by Israel as 'without blood on their hands,'" Shragai wrote in his JCPA study. "The bloody swath cut by these terrorists claimed the life [sic] of 177 persons, with many others wounded and made invalids. These statistics have been informally confirmed by security officials."

The actions by these recidivist terrorists have taken a devastating human toll on the Israeli people. Seven people were killed and 60 injured in a September 2003 suicide bombing at a Jerusalem café. The killer was Ramez Sali Abu Salim, a West Bank Hamas operative released from an Israeli prison in February 2003.

Abdullah Kawasme was in and out of Israeli prisons during the early 1990s for his involvement with Hamas. Following his release in 1994, Kawasme became a senior Hamas operative in Hebron. He was involved in a series of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed more than 30 people and wounded more than 100 in 2002 and 2003. Kawasme was killed by the IDF in 2003.

Karim Awis, serving a life sentence for killing an Arab "collaborator," was freed in an Israeli goodwill gesture to the Palestinians. On Nov. 27, 2001, he sent two terrorists to the Afula bus station, where they opened fire, killing two people and wounding 84 more.

Iyad Sawalha, head of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in one region of the West Bank, was serving time for killing "collaborators." He was freed in 1998 in the wake of the Oslo accords. On June 5, 2002, he helped orchestrate the suicide bombing of a bus at Megiddo junction, killing 17 people and wounding 42. These attacks are but a small fraction of those carried out by released terrorists.

Despite the clear and catastrophic threat posed by prisoner releases, Israelis are torn over the Schalit deal.

"I want to see him coming down the stairs of the house and then the circle will be closed. It's been a long road and it's time for Gilad to come home," said Schalit's father Noam.

Meir Indor, head of the Almagor group, denounced the prisoner swap. He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of capitulating to popular pressure.

"We know from our experience that hundreds of people will pay with future terrorist attacks, and that they'll organize more and more kidnappings," he told the Jerusalem Post.

The spokesman for Hamas' military wing agreed, saying that Schalit won't be the last IDF soldier kidnapped.

But many Israelis, including terror victims, support the prisoner swap – with caveats. Kay Wilson survived a December terrorist attack in which she was wounded but a friend of hers, Christine Luken, was stabbed to death. Wilson said she cried with happiness when she found out that Schalit would go free. But she would have "very mixed feelings" if the men who perpetrated the Luken attack were among those released.

Lea Schijveschuurder, whose parents and three siblings were murdered in the August 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, countered that the Schalit prisoner exchange will come at a heavy price for Israelis. "Do they want them to kill more people?" she tearfully asked a Jerusalem Post reporter after learning that the Schalit prisoner swap would free numerous terrorists. "For me, enough people have died."

IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)


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

Hillary Clinton Promises to Save Egypt's Christians?

by Raymond Ibrahim

Soon after Sunday's Maspero massacre, where the Egyptian military slaughtered Christians demonstrating over the destruction of their churches—including by running them over with armored vehicles—some Egyptian media began reporting that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, having seen enough, declared that the U.S. plans on directly intervening in Egypt.

Of course, Hillary said no such thing. According to Al Ahram:

Reports that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US plans to intervene to protect Egypt's Copts are false, a US State Department source has revealed. Yesterday, several internet sites circulated quotes attributed to Clinton that the US plans to send Special Forces to protect Egyptian churches after the attacks directed at Copts yesterday in front of the State TV building in Maspero.

Any American must instinctively recognize such rumors as false: our political leaders do not say or do such things. But alas, some Christians in the Middle East, who have no direct experience of the West, still think of the U.S. as a "Christian" nation that will surely empathize with their plight and take action—hence why this rumor began and resonates.

The real question, of course, is: Would direct U.S intervention in Egypt even help the Copts?

First, we must understand the context wherein the U.S. would justify intervening in a country: to promote "democracy."

So how have the first manifestations of "democracy"—in the guise of the "Arab spring" and "people-power," all hailed and supported by the U.S.—worked for religious minorities in the Arab world?

In post-revolutionary Egypt alone, Christians are suffering more abuses today, including from the state, than under ousted president Hosni Mubarak. After all, Egyptian military crushing the heads of Christian civilians with tanks, opening fire on them, and reportedly even dumping their bodies in the Nile to cover their deeds—all of this occurred under Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi's command, not during Mubarak's 30 year reign.

But to return to our question—whether U.S. intervention would help the Copts in Egypt—the deplorable fact is, the Christians who have it worst are precisely those living in Muslim nations where the U.S. has intervened and is spending billions to create "democracies."

Consider the silent extermination of Iraq's "Christian Dogs." Ever since the U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein, beheading and crucifying Christians are not irregular occurrences; messages saying "you Christian dogs, leave or die," are typical. Muslims threaten to "exterminate Iraqi Christians" and authoritative clerics issue fatwas asserting that "it is permissible to spill the blood of Iraqi Christians." As John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International put it:

The threat of extermination is not empty. Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, more than half the country's Christian population has been forced by targeted violence to seek refuge abroad or to live away from their homes as internally displaced people. According to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, over 700 Christians, including bishops and priests, have been killed and 61 churches have been bombed. Seven years after the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk reports: "He who is not a Muslim in Iraq is a second-class citizen."

In other words, Christian persecution has increased exponentially under U.S. occupation. As one top Vatican official put it, Christians, "paradoxically, were more protected under the dictatorship" of Saddam Hussein.

As for Afghanistan, earlier this week, CNS News reported that

There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime. In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan's new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country. The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010.

The State Department's report makes it clear that the Afghan government—which the U.S. helped install—is partially responsible: "The lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals [persecuted religious minorities] contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom"; "the right to change one's religion was not respected either in law or in practice."

Even so, the State Department report concludes with the requisite yet meaningless jargon: "the United States continues to promote religious freedom in Afghanistan"—this even as the nation just saw its last church destroyed.

And then people wonder why Syrian Christians are backing autocratic Bashar Assad: they have seen the fruits of "democracy" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and anywhere else "people-power" is burgeoning, whether organically, or—if not especially—under the auspices of the U.S.

Raymond Ibrahim a widely published Islam-specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Pact Signed in Jewish Blood

by Caroline Glick

No one denies the long suffering of the Schalit family. Noam and Aviva Schalit and their relatives have endured five years and four months of uninterrupted anguish since their son St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit was abducted from his army post by Palestinian terrorists and spirited to Gaza in June 2006. Since then, aside from one letter and one videotaped message, they have received no signs of life from their soldier son.

There is not a Jewish household in Israel that doesn't empathize with their suffering. It isn't simply that most Israelis serve in the IDF and expect their children to serve in the IDF.

It isn't just that it could happen to any of our families.

As Jews, the concept of mutual responsibility, that we are all a big family and share a common fate, is ingrained in our collective consciousness. And so, at a deep level, the Schalit family's suffering is our collective suffering.

And yet, and yet, freedom exacts its price. The cause of freedom for the Jewish people as a whole exacts a greater sacrifice from some families than from others.

Sometimes, that sacrifice is made willingly, as in the case of the Netanyahu family.

Prof. Benzion and Tzilla Netanyahu raised their three sons to be warriors in the fight for Jewish liberty. And all three of their sons served in an elite commando unit. Their eldest son Yonatan had the privilege of commanding the unit and of leading Israeli commandos in the heroic raid to free Jewish hostages held by the PLO in Entebbe.

There, on July 4, 1976, Yonatan and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the Jewish people. Yonatan was killed in action. His parents and brothers were left to mourn and miss him for the rest of their lives. And yet, the Netanyahu family's sacrifice was a product of a previous decision to fight on the front lines of the war to preserve Jewish freedom.

Sometimes, the sacrifice is made less willingly.

Since Israel allowed the PLO and its terror armies to move their bases from Tunis to Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1994, nearly 2,000 Israeli families have involuntarily paid the ultimate price for the freedom of the Jewish people. Our freedom angers our Palestinian neighbors so much that they have decided that all Israelis should die.

For instance Ruth Peled, 56, and her 14- month-old granddaughter Sinai Keinan did not volunteer to make the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the Jewish people when they were murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber as they sat in an ice cream parlor in Petah Tikva in May 2002.

And five-year-old Gal Eisenman and her grandmother Noa Alon, 60, weren't planning on giving their lives for the greater good when they, together with five others, were blown to smithereens by Palestinian terrorists in June 2002 while they were waiting for a bus in Jerusalem.

Their mothers and daughters, Chen Keinan and Pnina Eisenman, had not signed up for the prospect of watching their mothers and daughters incinerated before their eyes. They did not volunteer to become bereaved mothers and orphaned daughters simultaneously.

The lives of the victims of Arab terror were stolen from their families simply because they lived and were Jews in Israel. And in the cases of the Keinan, Peled, Alon and Eisenman families, as in thousands of others, the murderers were the direct and indirect beneficiaries of terrorists-for-hostages swaps like the deal that Yonatan Netanyahu's brother, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, made this week with Hamas to secure the release of Gilad Schalit.

The deal that Netanyahu has agreed to is signed with the blood of the past victims and future victims of the terrorists he is letting go. No amount of rationalization by Netanyahu, his cheerleaders in the demented mass media, and by the defeatist, apparently incompetent heads of the Shin Bet, Mossad and IDF can dent the facts.

IT IS a statistical certainty that the release of 1,027 terrorists for Schalit will lead to the murder of untold numbers of Israelis. It has happened every single time that these blood ransoms have been paid. It will happen now.

Untold numbers of Israelis who are now sitting in their succas and celebrating Jewish freedom, who are driving in their cars, who are standing on line at the bank, who are sitting in their nursery school classrooms painting pictures of Torah scrolls for Simhat Torah will be killed for being Jewish while in Israel because Netanyahu has made this deal. The unrelenting pain of their families, left to cope with their absence, will be unimaginable.

This is a simple fact and it is beyond dispute.

It is also beyond dispute that untold numbers of IDF soldiers and officers will be abducted and held hostage. Soldiers now training for war or scrubbing the floors of their barracks, or sitting at a pub with their friends on holiday leave will one day find themselves in a dungeon in Gaza or Sinai or Lebanon undergoing unspeakable mental and physical torture for years. Their families will suffer inhuman agony.

The only thing we don't know about these future victims is their names. But we know what will become of them as surely as we know that night follows day.

Netanyahu has proven once again that taking IDF soldiers hostage is a sure bet for our Palestinian neighbors. They can murder the next batch of Sinais and Gals, Noas and Ruths. They can kill thousands of them. And they can do so knowing all along that all they need to do to win immunity for their killers is kidnap a single IDF soldier.

There is no downside to this situation for those who believe all Jews should die.

In his public statement on the Schalit deal Tuesday night, Netanyahu, like his newfound groupies in the media, invoked the Jewish tradition of pidyon shevuim, or the redemption of captives. But the Talmudic writ is not unconditional. The rabbinic sages were very clear. The ransom to be paid cannot involve the murder of other Jews.

This deal - like its predecessors - is not in line with Jewish tradition. It stands in opposition to Jewish tradition. Even in our darkest hours of powerlessness in the ghettos and the pales of exile, our leaders did not agree to pay for a life with other life. Judaism has always rejected human sacrifice.

The real question here is after five years and four months in which Schalit has been held hostage and two-and-a-half years into Netanyahu's current tenure as prime minister, why has the deal been concluded now? What has changed? The answer is that very little has changed on Netanyahu's part. After assuming office, Netanyahu essentially accepted the contours of the abysmal agreement he has now signed in Jewish blood.

Initially, there was a political rationale for his morally and strategically perverse position.

He had Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Labor Party to consider.

Supporting this deal was one of the many abject prices that Netanyahu was expected to pay to keep Labor and Barak in his coalition.

But this rationale ended with Barak's resignation from the Labor Party in January.

Since then, Barak and his colleagues who joined him in leaving Labor have had no political leverage over Netanyahu.

They have nowhere to go. Their political life is wholly dependent on their membership in Netanyahu's government. He doesn't need to pay any price for their loyalty.

So Netanyahu's decision to sign the deal with Hamas lacks any political rationale.

WHAT HAS really changed since the deal was first put on the table two years ago is Hamas's position. Since the Syrian people began to rise up against the regime of Hamas's patron and protector President Bashar Assad, Hamas's leaders, who have been headquartered in Syria since 1998, have been looking for a way to leave. Their Muslim Brotherhood brethren are leading forces in the Western-backed Syrian opposition.

Hamas's leaders do not want to be identified with the Brotherhood's oppressor.

With the Egyptian military junta now openly massacring Christians, and with the Muslim Brotherhood rapidly becoming the dominant political force in the country, Egypt has become a far more suitable home for Hamas.

But for the past several months, Hamas leaders in Damascus have faced a dilemma. If they stay in Syria, they lose credibility. If they leave, they expose themselves to Israel.

According to Channel 2, in exchange for Schalit, beyond releasing a thousand murderers, Netanyahu agreed to give safe passage to Hamas's leaders decamping to Egypt.

What this means is that this deal is even worse for Israel than it looks on the surface.

Not only is Israel guaranteeing a reinvigoration of the Palestinian terror war against its civilians by freeing the most experienced terrorists in Palestinian society, and doing so at a time when the terror war itself is gradually escalating. Israel is squandering the opportunity to either decapitate Hamas by killing its leaders in transit, or to weaken the group by forcing its leaders to go down with Assad in Syria.

At best, Netanyahu comes out of this deal looking like a weak leader who is manipulated by and beholden to Israel's radical, surrender-crazed media. To their eternal shame, the media have been waging a five-year campaign to force Israel's leaders to capitulate to Hamas.

At worst, this deal exposes Netanyahu as a morally challenged, strategically irresponsible and foolish, opportunistic politician.

What Israel needs is a leader with the courage of one writer's convictions. Back in 1995, that writer wrote: "The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmail situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best.

"Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse."

The writer of those lines was then-opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu wrote those lines in his book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists.

Israel needs that Netanyahu to lead it. But in the face of the current Netanyahu's abject surrender to terrorism, apparently he is gone.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick


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

Radical Islam: A Problem World Leaders Must Confront

by Neil Snyder

Radical Islam is a growing problem throughout the world. In Europe, it's a burgeoning issue that politicians have been unwilling to address properly because of the influence of Muslims there, but it's a critical problem in the United States, too -- especially in our nation's prisons.

The mood in the U.S. is so anti-anti-Islam that politicians run for cover whenever Islam is raised as an issue. Not so with Representative Peter King (R-New York). He endured death threats and ridicule from liberals because he held hearings in the House of Representatives to investigate the Islamist threat we face as a nation. The people who castigated King because he took his job in the House seriously will be the first in line to raise a ruckus if/when a homegrown terrorist, maybe an ex-convict who is out on parole, attacks innocent men, women, and children in this country.

I'm reminded of a scene in the movie Ghost Writer. Pierce Brosnan plays a former British prime minister being charged with crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Geneva, Switzerland for trying to prevent terrorist attacks in Great Britain. Toward the end of the movie, Brosnan tells his ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) that if he had it to do all over again, he would have two lines for people boarding planes out of England. The first line would lead to planes carrying passengers whose terrorist affiliations and connections were not investigated. The second line would lead to planes carrying passengers who had been cleared. He says, in effect, "You know which planes the chronic complainers would board. Every one of them would choose a plane that we cleared."

The movie is fiction, but the problem is real. World leaders who attempt to deal with the growing Islamist militancy problem that's spreading across the globe like a putrid infection are at risk of being charged with crimes against humanity or worse in the ICC. For example, President George W. Bush was forced to cancel a trip to Geneva in February 2011 to avoid being charged with crimes against humanity for the role he played as president of the United States in creating the federal prison in Guantánamo Bay, where the U.S. holds captured terrorists.

Radical Islam Is a Global Threat

An article in a June 2011 issue of The Weekly Standard titled "From Somalia to Nigeria: Jihad" stops far short of revealing the extent to which radical Islamists have infiltrated countries around the world. "From Somalia to Nigeria" is across the heart of Africa, from the Arabian Sea to the South Atlantic, but jihadists have a major presence in every North African country, too, from Morocco to Egypt. Their presence in the Middle East is obvious as well, from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon and Syria, but it doesn't stop there. They have created strongholds in Iran, Afghanistan, and the Indian subcontinent. Their reach extends from India to the Philippines and Indonesia and into the heart of Asia from China to Russia.

Jihadists are active in Europe, too, but their presence doesn't stop there, either. They have footholds in most South American countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil. Like a thriving cancer, jihadists have extended their reach to North America from Mexico to the United States to Canada.

Radical Islam is a problem that the entire world must confront. It's not about politics. It's about eradicating a festering sore before it turns into gangrene and threatens our very existence.

The YouTube videos below showing recent violent outbursts in Cairo aimed at Coptic Christians who dared to stand up for their rights demonstrate what the Arab Spring has become. Discrimination against Christians and Jews in the Muslim world isn't limited to Egypt. It exists in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and most other predominantly Muslim countries.

The U.S. doesn't need a president who bows and scrapes before Islamic despots in hopes of currying favor -- something that President Obama is prone to do. We need a president who is willing to lead the leaders of the world in a global mission before it's too late. We didn't declare war on jihadists. They declared war on us, and they are deadly serious. We should be, too.

We Don't Need Dilettantes in Leadership Positions

In a recent article, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out that after a terrorist attack on Norway, Norway's ambassador to Israel said that Hamas' terrorist activity against Israel is more justified than terrorist attacks against Norway. The ambassador's logic was simple, naïve, and asinine. "We Norwegians," he said, "consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel."

First things first: the land in question in Israel isn't "occupied." It's "disputed land." There's a huge difference. People in Norway need to get it straight, and so do people in other nations around the world.

Second, Islamofascists have made it clear that they have set their sights on the entire world. They say that they want a one-world caliphate under sharia law. They don't really mean that, though -- they don't want the rule of any law. They are subversive butchers, murderers, and thieves -- Islamist anarchists, as it were. They are a threat to everyone, Muslims included. They don't like even each other.

Third, the terrorist attack on Norway wasn't carried out by a radical Islamist. It was perpetrated by Anders Breivik, a man who was reported by the Western media to be a Christian. His manifesto proves that that's not so, but the anti-Christian point of view sells in a world where it's okay to attack Jews and Christians, but not Muslims.

We may be witnessing the beginning of a global backlash against radical Islamists in the wake of government unwillingness to address the problem. In a nutshell, I'm saying that I don't think Breivik was a lone wolf. Neither do I believe that the anti-Islamists of the world are connected in a formal sense -- not yet, anyway, but that day may come.

When governments fail to do their jobs, people take matters into their own hands. I'm not excusing Breivik's brutal, unprovoked attack on innocent victims, many of whom were children. I'm simply stating a fact, and I'll repeat it to make sure that my message is crystal-clear. If people who are charged with the responsibility to secure our nations won't do their jobs, vigilantism will result. It's a dangerous consequence of government failure.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog,, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.


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

Get Off Your Knees, Iran Warns Palestinian Leader

by Reza Kahlili

Iran is stepping up its condemnation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after his recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly seeking statehood for the Palestinian people.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last week denounced a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, saying Abbas's appeal for statehood is doomed.

The Palestinians should not limit themselves to seeking a country based on the pre-1967 borders because "all land belongs to the Palestinians," Khamenei said in an address to the 5th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, being held in Tehran.

"We neither propose dumping the migrant Jews in the sea nor the U.N. arbitration. Rather, our proposal includes a referendum to be participated in by all Palestinians," Iran's semi-official FARS news agency reported Khamenei as saying.

"Today the West is standing on a crossroads, and it should either leave its age-old bullying and recognize the rights of the Palestinians or wait for harder blows in the near future," Khamenei warned.

Iranian leaders have always seen Abbas as an appeaser of the West and a barrier to the Iranian regime's influence in the Palestinian territories. In order to challenge his authority, the Iranian leaders have continuously provided funding and arms to its terrorist proxies in the region such as the Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Brigades, and Hamas.

The Mahramaneh Online Website, which is close to Khamenei, in a recent analysis wrote that "[u]nfortunately what we witnessed in the ... speech ... by Abbas, the so-called representative of the Palestinians, at the United Nations was nothing more than a feeble and dispassionate speech that felt more like begging for affection; one can say that Abbas begged away a part of the Palestinian people's rights, and giving that main part away for acceptance, he pleaded and supplicated at the United Nations."

Mahramaneh Online implied that Abbas is a "stupid, inexperienced politician" because he should know that "begging, pleading and supplicating do not help one obtain one's rights. No politician ever gives up something that he has arrived at through force and invasion," referring to Israel's conquest of Palestinian lands.

Mahramaneh Online concluded that no nation will be able to achieve its rights without war.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards' website, Javan Online, added in a recent commentary that it is only through war and destruction of Israel that a free Palestine could be achieved.

"The biggest goal of supporting the Palestinian Intifada is the fall of Israel, and that with the current events in the region (the Arab Spring), Israel is next in the line," Javan Online warned.

Negotiations are not the way forward, Javan Online said.

"History attests to the fact that any discussion between the Palestinians and Israel will either end in indignity or will be diverted onto the path of corruption," Javan Online said. "The downfall of Yasser Arafat, the living director of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was his acceptance in 1988 of Article 242 of the U.N. Security Council."

Article 242, passed unanimously after 1967's Six-Day War, refers in its preamble to the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security." That article has been the basis for all Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

"The only way to liberate Jerusalem," Javan Online said, "is for the resistance of the nation of Palestine and their firm stance, as well as an international united and defiant front which will send shivers through the weak Israeli posture, but given the new regional shifts and the awakening of the Islamic masses, it will quicken the liberation of Palestine and the downfall of Israel."

It is time to realize that in the view of the Islamists ruling Iran, there is no room for Israel in the future of the region and that they are committed to the elimination of Israel even if that means a destructive war, which would destabilize not only the region, but also the world.

"The murderous Zionist regime of Israel ultimately is reaching the final fall and destruction of its own non-existence," Khamenei has warned.

Reza Kahliliis a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America and the author of A Time to Betray, a book about his double-life as a CIA agent in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, published by Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, April 2010. A Time to Betray was the winner of the 2010 National Best Book Award and the 2011 International Best Book Award.


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Palestinian Claims and the "Arab Spring"

by Fabio Rafael Fiallo

It has become fashionable to assert that the so-called Arab Spring will give a boost to the Palestinian claims against the State of Israel, based on the view, presumably, that the Arab-Muslim dictatorships being contested today had forsaken the Palestinian movement to reach an accommodation with Israel (as Egypt and Jordan did); whereas the Arab Spring, the argument runs, is giving birth to a political environment more responsive to the expectations of the Palestinian movement.[1]

This assertion is not supported by the facts: it is not true that the dictatorships of the Middle East and North Africa have been congenial to Israel; nor is it true that the Arab Spring is showing a clear empathy, at least yet, with the Palestinian people..

With a few exceptions, the region's dictatorships have served as megaphones for the Palestinian narrative. For these dictatorships, to inveigh against Israel on behalf of the "Palestinian cause" has always been a handy means of both playing a geopolitical role diplomatically, and of diverting public attention away from their own failures and crimes.

It was a dictatorship, that of Iran, that called for wiping Israel off the map; two other dictators, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi and Syria's Bashar al-Assad, never missed an opportunity to anathematize the Jewish State. Still another dictator, the President of Yemen, in power for 33 years, disingenuously qualified the Arab Spring as "a storm orchestrated from Tel-Aviv."

The dictatorships of North Africa and the Middle East have, in fact, been at the origin of all the resolutions condemning Israel at the UN Council on Human Rights and other UN and international forums.

It was autocrats and dictators who declared war on the incipient State of Israel in 1948; who were ready to try to destroy it again in 1967, and who launched a surprise attack on Israel in 1973. It was one of the secular tyrants of the region, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, who, after sending 39 scud missiles into Israeli territory during the first Iraq War, offered rewards amounting to thousands of dollars for any suicide attack on Israeli soil.

The Palestinian movement has thus been backed -- politically, militarily and financially - by most of the autocratic regimes that have today fallen - better late than never -- into disrepute.

This effective connivance between the region's dictatorships and the Palestinian movement might help to explain why the Arab Spring's protesters have kept their distance from the Palestinian question. With the exception of the assault on the Israeli embassy at Cairo, and the attack on the television journalist Lara Logan ,during which her rapists kept repeating "Jew! Jew! Jew!" (even though she is not one), anti-Israel slogans and the burning of Israeli flags have been absent since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Although the recent application for Palestinian Statehood, addressed by Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly, was, as expected, greeted cheerfully in the streets of the West Bank, primarily for his having rebuffed the request of the United States and the West in general not to proceed with the proposal, it aroused no manifestation of support among the population of neighbouring countries -- an indifference all the more remarkable as, at nearly the same time, slogans of solidarity were being chanted in the streets of Yemen's capital, Sana'a, in favour of the Syrian people[2].

This does not mean that there are no risks ahead. The protest movement may be hijacked by Islamist organizations, not least the Muslim Brotherhood, whose entire reason for being is the destruction of the State of Israel. Moreover, the region's governments may continue to resort to their customary reflex of railing against Israel as a means of diverting attention away from their lack of interest in meeting their people's wishes to have a better life.

At the same time, however, the Arab Spring may have an impact of a radically different nature on the Palestinian question and induce Palestinians to settle scores with their own leadership -- a leadership that has proven to have, as its main priority, staying in command no matter what.

Conditions for such score-settling certainly exist. Elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should have taken place a long time ago, but they are systematically put off. Palestinians are thereby prevented from choosing how they want to be ruled, and by whom. The mandate of Mahmoud Abbas, as president of the Palestinian Authority, expired two years ago. He therefore continues to exercise his functions without the legitimacy that only the popular vote may confer -- or take away.

Not surprisingly, no one talks any longer about the elections that both Fatah and Hamas - in a short-lived show of unity mounted last April - promised to hold at the beginning of next year. Moreover, because of the internecine war between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Parliament (Legislative Council), based in Ramallah, has been unable to vote one single law through during the past three years[3].

As for the Palestinians of the Diaspora, in particular the hundreds of thousands who live in Lebanon, they are deprived of the right to acquire the nationality of the host country because the Palestinian leadership is keen on keeping them in the disgraceful condition of refugees so they can continue to request a "right of return," designed to making Jews a minority in their own country and thereby converting Israel into yet another Arab state.[4]

For all these reasons, Palestinians might soon be tempted to reproduce the Arab Spring by massively contesting those who pretend to represent their interests and speak on their behalf.

Mahmoud Abbas's petition for Palestinian Statehood was clearly an attempt to foreclose that possibility. But for how long?


[1] See, for instance, "Israel's new problem with the Arab street", by David Ignatius, The Washington Post, 09/14/ 2011.
[2] Le Figaro (Paris), 10/1/2011.
[3] BBC News, "Will Arab revolt spread to Palestinian territories?", 02/23/2011.
[4]See "Abbas rules out naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon", The Daily Star, 02/28/2008.

Fabio Rafael Fiallo is an economist, writer and retired UN official. He writes on issues related to international relations and the world economy. His latest publication, "Ternes Eclats", or "Dimmed Lights" (Paris, L'Harmattan), presents a critique of international organizations, including of the anti-Israel bias that prevails in a number of international forums.


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