Saturday, June 22, 2013

Caroline Glick: Jewish Civil Rights and Privatization

by Caroline Glick

OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon has done it again. You may recall that Alon was the "senior military official," who as commander of the Judea and Samaria Division blamed the massacre of the Fogel family in March 2011 on undefined acts of vandalism in Arab villages allegedly carried out by Israelis.

He also told The New York Times that he disagreed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's view that Hamas's takeover of Gaza following Israel's withdrawal demonstrated that a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would be reckless in the extreme.

Over the past four months Alon has been criticized for his refusal to take actions to end the massive proliferation of terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria. For months Alon ordered IDF soldiers to stand down as Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at them and at civilians. He set rules of engagement that are so restrictive that soldiers are better off running away from Palestinian mobs than defending themselves and Israeli civilians.

After Adele Biton, a three-year-old girl, was critically wounded when her mother's car was stoned, and as online videos proliferated of IDF soldiers fleeing from assaults, and of Israeli civilians being beaten and assaulted on the roads with firebombs, rocks and bullets, the media finally began reporting on the terror surge. Public pressure mounted for Alon to finally take action or be fired from his post.

You might think that given public scrutiny of his failures Alon would keep a low profile. But he hasn't.

On Tuesday he spoke to a group of foreign journalists and diplomats and said that in his "professional" opinion, if we don't start negotiations with the Palestinians soon, we are likely to see an escalation of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.

Alon's claims deserve scrutiny because they expose just how deeply his political views impede his ability to understand and competently perform his duties. Alon disclosed that the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements is the group behind the riots and the attacks on Israeli civilians and military forces. The group, he revealed, is bankrolled by the Palestinian Authority.

According to Alon, out of respect for US Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts to renew peace talks, the PA suspended the group's funding. He explained that this PA decision has led to a steep drop in terror attacks.

Alon said that the PA has kept its funding cutoff - like the funding itself - secret. He attributed the PA's silence to its leaders' modesty and moderation.

In his words, "They weren't looking for diplomatic recognition for the move but rather for the territory to quiet down."

Alon also mentioned that PA security forces are involved in stone and firebomb attacks on Israelis.

He warned that if Kerry's attempts to start peace talks between Israel and the PLO fail, then Palestinian terror will get worse. In his words, "If, in a few weeks, the attempt of the American involvement will go [away] with nothing, I'm afraid that we will see this trend of escalation even strengthening."

The implications of Alon's revelations are obvious.

The supposedly grassroots groups of local rioters - including children - attacking IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians with bullets, firebombs and stones are not at all independent or grassroots.

They are wholly owned and operated franchises of the PA. And the ones leading the attacks are the US-trained Palestinian security services.

Most people would take these two pieces of information and conclude the PA is an enemy entity engaged in a massive and sustained terror campaign against Israeli forces and civilians. But Alon missed this. Alon revealed the secret PA funding of the rioters to prove its moderation by also revealing that the funding was temporarily suspended.

Alon's strategy for dealing with the violence is not to do his job - deploy forces judiciously to defend the country and its citizens from our enemies.

His strategy is to pressure the government to surrender to all of the PLO's territorial and political demands.

Because that is Kerry's peace plan.

Since he entered office in February, Kerry has come here nearly half a dozen times to force Israel to accept all of the PLO's preconditions for negotiations.

These include an agreement in principle that in the framework of a peace deal, Israel will surrender to the PLO all of Judea, Samaria and northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem and expel the 550,000 Jews living in these areas from their homes. They also include a complete and continuous abrogation of Jewish property rights in Judea, Samaria and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, and the release of Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israeli prisons.

It ought to go without saying that there is no connection between military affairs and Alon's positions, and his ideological blindness to basic strategic realities renders him unfit for duty.

But it doesn't go without saying. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon continues to support Alon despite his ideologically induced incompetence.

Alon is just one - albeit an important one - of many unelected public officials whose actions stand opposed to his responsibilities, to the public interest and to the official policies of the government.

Take Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein. A year ago today, a committee of distinguished jurists led by retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy submitted a report to the government on the legal status of construction in Judea and Samaria. The Levy Report was not a radical document. All it did was set out the legal basis for the positions that have been adopted by every Israeli government since 1967. Like every single government since 1967, the Levy Report stated that Judea and Samaria do not fit under the international legal definition of territories under belligerent occupation, and as a consequence, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply, and Israeli communities in these areas are completely legal and legitimate.

Weinstein is supposed to serve as the legal adviser to the government. But in the case of the Levy Report, and not only in this case, he acted instead as a political commissar. He abused his legal position to intimidate the government not to adopt the findings of a committee it impaneled, and whose recommendations were aligned with its own stated positions.

Post-Zionists like Alon and Weinstein, like their comrades on the Supreme Court and in the media, are intimidating enough on their own.

But their subversive behavior is supported by the US and the EU. Kerry's obsessive focus on forcing Israeli concessions to the PLO, like the EU's decision to support of an economic boycott of Israeli exports, strengthens the position of radicals like Alon and Weinstein. They make it all but impossible for the government to implement its own policies.

In many respects, Netanyahu has given in to these pressures. Not only has he overseen the appointment of post-Zionists like Alon and Weinstein.

By appointing Tzipi Livni to serve as justice minister and the minister responsible for negotiations with the PLO, he has ensured that nothing will be done to remedy the phenomenon of radicals being promoted to positions where they can undermine the policies of the government.

Moreover, as Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel acknowledged this week, due to the confluence of foreign pressure and the empowerment of post-Zionists in the public sector, the government is not respecting Jewish property rights in Jerusalem. It is banning construction for Jews in the capital by preventing planning committees from convening to approve building plans.

Netanyahu is using similar administrative tools to enact an undeclared freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

In taking these actions, Netanyahu is betting - probably correctly - that he will not be forced to surrender Judea and Samaria, because Mahmoud Abbas will never agree to negotiate with Israel.

Under Abbas's leadership, Palestinian society has been so radicalized that there is no Palestinian constituency that supports peace with Israel. So, too, the Islamic world has become so radicalized since US President Barack Obama came into office that there is no regional support whatsoever for a Palestinian decision to recognize Israel.

While Netanyahu's policies may allow him to survive Obama's second term without irrevocably destroying the country, on the ground, the lives of Israel's citizens are not being defended, and their legal and civil rights are being trampled.

Ariel, like Bayit Yehudi party leader Minister Naftali Bennett, doubtlessly wishes to end this state of affairs. But so far, their efforts in this area have been limited to calling for the government to change its policies. They and like-minded government ministers have the power to fix this situation.

And the time has come for them to act.

The Levy Report provides several recommendations for respecting the legal rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria. There is no reason for the government not to implement these recommendations - even without formally adopting the report.

The report's main recommendation is to take the government out of the zoning process. The property and civil rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria must be accorded the same respect as those of all Israelis, regardless of the political views of appointed officials or foreign governments.

Local councils and municipalities in Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem's municipal government, should have the power to approve building plans within their municipal boundaries.

To bring about this, the government must remove the Interior Ministry from the zoning process in Jerusalem. The government should not have the power to convene or block the convention of local planning boards.

As for Judea and Samaria, the sale of private land should not require the approval of the civil administration.

And in accordance with the recommendations of the Levy Report, a land registry should be established and anyone with legal title to land should be required within three to five years to register his holdings or lose his ownership rights.

So, too, in keeping with the Levy Report, Israeli courts should be empowered to adjudicate land ownership disputes in Judea and Samaria. The government's position on land disputes should be determined only after the disputes are adjudicated in properly constituted courts of law.

Beyond the Levy Committee's recommendations, to further privatize the field, as is the case in the rest of the country, state land that is within the boundaries of recognized communities should become the property of the communities, not the state.

Since 1967, the Israelis who support Jewish settlement of Judea and Samaria based their actions on the assumption that the government is interested in securing Jewish rights. Certainly after the government forcibly expelled the Jews of northern Samaria and Gaza from their homes, this assumption is unjustified. With the empowerment of ideologically driven radicals like Alon and Weinstein to key positions it is downright ridiculous.

Rather than expect the government to act as a partner or a defender, we should simply demand that it serve as a neutral facilitator, and privatize settlement activities. Only by taking the government out of local planning and zoning councils, focusing efforts on buying private land and establishing a land registry for Judea and Samaria, while requiring land disputes to be adjudicated by properly constituted courts, can Israelis secure their property and civil rights.


Caroline Glick


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

Salubrius on Judea and Samaria: Occupation or Liberation?

by Wallace Brand

Many in Israel such as Naftali Bennett, head of Israel's Jewish Home party, that were beguiled by the Oslo peace process, after a long detour in chasing a fantasy two state solution, have come to think as I do:   It is time, after these many years,  to determine whether efforts spent by Jews at this "peace process" is better spent in cultivating our garden in all of Palestine west of the Jordan River.  First we must, because of our Jewish ethics, answer these questions: 1. Is it moral? and 2. Is it lawful under International as well as Canon Law?
These are some of the more basic questions we must ask. The very first is:  If you "occupy" your own home, i.e., if you are not in "belligerent occupation" of someone else's lawful home, is that immoral or unlawful?  That's an easy "no" answer.  It is perfectly moral.  I have therefore turned my efforts to examine the question of the lawfulness of Jews in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem under International Law.    That question is "whose home is all of Palestine west of the Jordan River under International Law?  I have found that question was placed in issue and was resolved many years ago, not by the UN Partition Resolution No. 181 as many believe.  The result is displayed in an article that having reviewed much history and law is too long for your publications. You can find it at entitled: Roots of Israel's Sovereignty and Boundaries in International Law: In Defense of the Levy Report. It shows the conclusions of several lawyers as well as my own, each of us, independently,  reaching the same answer on questions of Jewish Sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. (Some of us took slightly different paths along the way.)   First it was recognized, at the end of WWI, by 52 nations as a "Jewish National Home".  These were the 51 Nations who were members of the League of Nations, and the United States that had declined to become a member.   Then, the Jews, having met the tacit standards originally set for statehood, these same nations under Article 80 of the UN Charter, under undisputed history and the legal doctrines of "acquired rights" and "estoppel" must recognize it as a reconstituted Jewish State.

 Basically, I am saying the Arab-Israeli conflict over who shall exercise sovereignty over Palestine was decided long ago in 1920 at San Remo. It is res judicata. Based on credible history and law, you can disregard the canard of the Jews stealing Arab land.   Since 1920, the Arabs have tried to take these political or national rights from the Jews by  threats of violence and actual violence even though Jewish development under Jewish rule brought many economic and political benefits to the Arabs.

If a member of the UN were to use threats of violence and actual violence to take land of another member, that would be outlawed under Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter.   When in this country the Mafia uses threats of violence and actual violence to take tangible or intangible property that does not belong to them it is referred to as extortion.  That seems to be currently the situation in Israel where the Arabs have for many years been claiming the ownership of political or national rights as their "inalienable right" and using threats of violence and actual violence to support their claim.  Curiously, world opinion apparently favors the Arab extortion.

Armed with this obscure history and law, when someone shouts at you the mantra "OCCUPATION!", "OCCUPATION!", "OCCUPATION", as someone did to me not long ago, referring to the Six Day War, you now can reply: "LIBERATION", "LIBERATION", "LIBERATION" as I did.

Wallace Brand (Salubrius)

Source: Middle East and Terrorism

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

Christendom's Greatest Cathedral to Become a Mosque

by Raymond Ibrahim

While unrest in Turkey continues to capture attention, more subtle and more telling events concerning the Islamification of Turkey — and not just at the hands of Prime Minister Erdogan but majorities of Turks — are quietly transpiring. These include the fact that Turkey's Hagia Sophia museum is on its way to becoming a mosque.

Why does the fate of an old building matter?

Because Hagia Sophia — Greek for "Holy Wisdom" — was for some thousand years Christianity's greatest cathedral. Built in 537 A.D. in Constantinople, the heart of the Christian empire, it was also a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.

After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Constantinople was finally sacked by Ottoman Turks in 1453. Its crosses desecrated and icons defaced, Hagia Sophia — as well as thousands of other churches — was immediately converted into a mosque, the tall minarets of Islam surrounding it in triumph.

Then, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as part of several reforms, secularist Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a "neutral" museum in 1934 — a gesture of goodwill to a then-triumphant West from a then-crestfallen Turkey.

Thus the fate of this ancient building is full of portents. And according to Hurriyet Daily News, "A parliamentary commission is considering an application by citizens to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque…. A survey conducted with 401 people was attached to the application, in which more than 97 percent of interviewees requested the transformation of the ancient building into a mosque and afterwards for it to be reopened for Muslim worship."

Even lesser known is the fact that other historic churches are currently being transformed into mosques, such as a 13thcentury church building — also named Hagia Sophia — in Trabzon. After the Islamic conquest, it was turned into a mosque. But because of its "great historical and cultural significance" for Christians, it too, during Turkey's secular age, was turned into a museum and its frescoes restored. Yet local authorities recently decreed that its Christian frescoes would again be covered and the church/museum turned into a mosque.

Similarly, the 5th century Studios Monastery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is set to become an active mosque. And the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, 5th century Mor Gabriel Monastery, is at risk. Inhabited today by only a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery's teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus, and the Orthodox Syriac tradition, neighboring Muslims filed a lawsuit accusing the monks of practicing "anti-Turkish activities" and of illegally occupying land which belongs to Muslim villagers. The highest appeals court in Ankara ruled in favor of the Muslim villagers, saying the land that had been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, absurdly claiming that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque — even though Muhammad was born 170 years after the monastery was built.

Turkey's Christian minority, including the Orthodox Patriarch, are naturally protesting this renewed Islamic onslaught against what remains of their cultural heritage — to deaf ears.

The Muslim populace's role in transforming once Christian sites into mosques is a reminder of all those other Turks not protesting the Islamization of Turkey, and who if anything consider Erdogan's government too "secular."

Their numbers are telling. In May 2012, Reuters reported that:
Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey's historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday [May 23] to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque. Worshippers shouted, "Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open," and "God is great" [the notorious "Allahu Akbar"] before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on. Turkey's secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world's greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.
The desire to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque is not about Muslims wanting a place to pray — as of 2010, there were 3,000 active mosques in Istanbul alone. Rather, it's about their reveling, and trying to revivify, the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest: Reuters added that Muslims "staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet's conquest of Byzantine Constantinople." According to Salih Turhan, a spokesman quoted by Reuters, "As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right."

Sultan Mehmet was the scourge of European Christendom, whose Islamic hordes seized and ravished Constantinople, forcibly turning it Islamic. Openly idolizing him, as many Turks do, is tantamount to their saying, "We are proud of our ancestors who killed and stole the lands of European Christians." And yet, despite such militant overtones, Turhan, whose position is echoed by many Turks, still manages to blame the West: "Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West."

So keeping a historically Christian/Western building — that was stolen by Islamic jihad — as a neutral museum is seen as "ill-treatment by the West," even as Turks continue destroying the nation's original Christian heritage.

And the historical revisions continue. Last May 29th, when Turks celebrate the Fall of Constantinople, Erdogan himself declared that the jihadi invasion — which saw countless Christians enslaved, raped, or slaughtered — was the true "time of enlightenment." After showing how Erdogan got it upside down, Ralph Sidway, an Orthodox Christian author, wrote:
Erdogan and Turkey celebrate the Fall of Constantinople, and the West congratulates them. "We are continuing to write history today," says Erdogan, and write it – or re-write it – they do, under the somnambulant gaze of craven Western leaders too ignorant, or too fearful, to challenge Islam's claim to moral superiority, historical righteousness and eventual world domination. By their policies, posture and pronouncements, Western European nations, and the United States, are conceding the future to a rapidly re-Islamicizing Turkey, and are aiding in Islam's stated goal of a new, global caliphate determined to conquer us, just as it conquered Constantinople 560 years ago. Every Turkish celebration of 29 May 1453 is a gauntlet flung down in challenge to the West. Each such event which goes unanswered and unchallenged by the West is another nail in the coffin of Christian culture, human rights, and free people everywhere.
Indeed, at a time when Turkey is openly reclaiming its jihadi heritage, Europeans are actively erasing their Christian heritage which for centuries kept the Islamic jihad at bay. Among other capitulations, Europeans are currently betraying church buildings to Muslims to convert to mosques and scrubbing references of the historic Turkish jihads on Europe from classroom textbooks, lest Muslim students be offended.

Meanwhile, here are neighboring Turkey's Muslims openly praising the same jihadi warlords who brutally conquered a portion of Europe centuries ago, converting thousands of churches into mosques, even as they openly prepare to finish the job — which may not even require force, as Europe actively sells its own soul.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of the new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery Publishing in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, 2013). A Middle East and Islam specialist, he 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.

Spain: "Soon the Muslims Will Be the Kings of the World"

by Soeren Kern

While Spanish Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse…The requirement which will be enshrined in Spain's legal code law, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence.
Spanish police have arrested a Muslim immigrant in Mallorca after he claimed to have been sent by Allah to "kill all the Spanish."

The arrest follows a series of other Islam-related incidents in recent weeks and months which reflect the mounting challenge that radical Islam is posing to Spain.

In the latest incident, police on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca arrested a German national of Tunisian descent on June 13 after he repeatedly threatened to carry out terror attacks in the name of Allah.

According to Spanish authorities, the man made "constant threats of death and references to being a Muslim" and warned, "I do not mind dying; if I have to die, I will die, but I will take plenty of others with me." The man threatened to blow up a hairdressing academy in the Mallorcan capital of Palma and "kill everyone."

The man said he had "terrorist friends who could plant bombs" and warned that "soon the Muslims will be kings of the world."

Spanish police said the man -- who had previously been arrested on February 15 for threatening to kill a local policeman -- became radicalized after visiting Tunisia in 2012.

On June 12, police in Barcelona arrested five Tunisian jihadists for "inciting Islamist terrorism" after they shared more than 400 videos on social networks of speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as footage of summary executions, terrorist attacks and tutorials on bomb-making.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said the individuals had undergone "strong processes of self-radicalization which led them to embrace the thesis of Salafist jihad."

The arrests were part of Operation Carthage (Operación Kartago), a nationwide, year-long effort to "neutralize" so-called lone-wolf jihadists as well as Islamists with combat experience returning from conflict zones in Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Shortly after the arrests, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz announced that the government would seek to amend the Penal Code to make it a crime of terrorism 1) to give or receive "passive training" by means of "proselytization in prisons" for those serving sentences for crimes of jihadist terrorism, and 2) for imams to "indoctrinate" in mosques or on the Internet or by travelling to Islamist training camps abroad.

Díaz said the legal change is necessary because although Spanish law already makes it a crime of terrorism to "indoctrinate," prosecutors have found it difficult to prove that those who are involved in terrorism-related training are personally committed to carrying out actual attacks.

Spanish judges have long been accused of using the ambiguous legal framework to justify the lenient treatment of suspected terrorists. For example, four of the five individuals arrested in Barcelona were released from jail on June 14 after a judge decided that keeping them in preventative detention constituted "excessive" punishment.

On June 5, police in Barcelona arrested a Pakistani immigrant after he attacked the bodyguard of local politician with a metal rod. The politician in question was Alberto Fernández Díaz, the leader of the center-right Popular Party in Barcelona who also happens to be the brother of Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz. The Pakistani, whom police describe as being a "radical Islamist," was shouting chants of "for Allah!" while carrying out the attack.

On May 24, police in the Basque city of Bilbao arrested a 44-year-old Muslim immigrant from North Africa after he raped and cut the toe off a 25-year-old female social worker. According to local police, the man tied the woman to a chair and gagged her with a curtain after she told him he would be evicted from an apartment building for violating the housing rules.

On May 10, police in Gibraltar deported to Spain a Turkish member of Al-Qaeda who entered the British territory illegally. Cengiz Yalcin had been arrested in Spain in August 2012 along with two Chechens for plotting to drop explosives from remote-controlled airplanes onto a shopping mall in Gibraltar during the 2012 London Olympics.

A police raid of Yalcin's apartment in 2012 yielded enough explosives "to blow up a bus." The raid also yielded three motorized para-gliders and a video in which Yalcin is filmed flying a large remote-controlled model airplane.

Spanish investigators said they suspected the cell was testing a remote-controlled airplane as a potential bomber. The video footage showed the aircraft -- about three meters, or nine feet, long -- being maneuvered into a descent during which two packages were dropped from both of its wings.

The three suspects , however, were quietly released on bail in March 2013 after a judge in Madrid ruled that there was insufficient evidence to keep them in custody.

In April, it was revealed that up to 60% of Moroccan immigrants in Spain are unemployed and living off the Spanish social welfare state. According to the Barcelona-based Friends of Morocco Association (ITRAN), many Moroccans in Spain do not know the language "despite having lived here for many years…they are uneducated and qualified only to work in construction, farming and restaurants. The ghettos are becoming larger, the various government administrations are guilty of a remarkable neglect and now the excuse is that there are insufficient financial resources."

Also in April, an Islamist group known as the Moroccan Ghosts [fantasmas marroquíes] hacked a local government website in Huelva, a town in southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

The hackers uploaded an apocalyptic image showing the Spanish flag in flames with the words: "By attacking your websites we are going to destroy your economy." The text continued, "You have always believed that our silence in relation to your continual mortal errors towards the kingdom of Morocco and the great Moroccan people is due to fear." The message continued with a call for Islamic terrorism, and warned Europe and Spain that they will be the targets of a series of attacks that will turn into their "worst nightmare."

The message also included innumberable references to Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.

Many Muslims believe that the territories they lost during the Christian Reconquista of Spain still belong to them, and that they have every right to return and establish their rule there.

While radical Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse.

In May, the Socialist government running the northern Spanish region of Asturias passed a new law that prohibits schools from using "religious terms" when referring to the Christmas and Easter holidays.

In an effort to "avoid offending the sensibilities" of Muslims students, teachers and pupils in Asturias classrooms will now have to refer to Christmas as "winter holidays" and Easter as "second term holidays."

In February, Spain acceded to the demands of the Islamist government in Morocco by agreeing that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim.

The agreement obliges the Spanish government to establish a "control mechanism" that would enable Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to ensure they have not converted to Christianity.

The requirement, which will be enshrined in Spain's legal code, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence. The move also represents a frontal assault on the freedom of religion or belief, which is protected by Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón's decision to make Spanish law comply with Islamic Sharia law has generated considerable controversy. But it remains to be seen if any lawsuits emerge to challenge what some are calling the "Islamization" of Spanish jurisprudence.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

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Lebanon's Apartheid Laws

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Lebanon is not the only Arab country that openly enforces Apartheid laws against Palestinians. What is disturbing about the Apartheid laws in Lebanon and the mistreatment of Palestinians by Arab countries is the silence of the media, the international community and human rights groups -- even UNRWA, which is supposed to look after the well-being of Palestinian refugees.

About three years ago, the Lebanese government decided to amend its Apartheid law that denies Palestinians the right to work in as many as 20 professions.

Then, Palestinians were told that from then on they would be able to work in many professions and even own property in Lebanon. But now Palestinians have discovered that the Lebanese government, like most Arab countries, has lied to them.

Although Palestinians have lived in Lebanon for more than six decades, they are still treated as foreigners when it comes to obtaining a work permit, according to Lebanon's The Daily Star newspaper.

Lebanon is not the only Arab country that openly enforces Apartheid laws against Palestinians.

Palestinians have, in fact, long been treated as third-class citizens in most of the Arab countries, where they are denied not only basic rights such as employment and health care, but also citizenship.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRWA], Lebanon's 450,000 Palestinian refugees have long been subject to many employment restrictions.

For example, Palestinians in Lebanon are banned from working as doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers or accountants.

By contrast, anyone visiting an Israeli hospital or medical center would quickly notice the presence of a significant number of Arab doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Yet, although three years have passed since the law was amended, nothing has changed for the Palestinians in Lebanon. And there is no indication whatsoever that the Lebanese authorities intend to ease restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the forseeable future.

According to a report in The Daily Star, the revisions to the law remain unimplemented.
Human rights activists say the Lebanese government is now using the war in Syria and its impact on Lebanon to avoid abolishing the Apartheid laws. This, of course, is a weak excuse: the anti-Palestinian Apartheid laws have been in effect long before the crisis in Syria erupted.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled to Lebanon from neighboring Syria over the past two years, providing the Lebanese government with an excuse to avoid implementing the amendment to the Apartheid law.

The Lebanese, who have always despised Palestinians, are afraid of incorporating them into their economy and workforce. Many Lebanese hold the Palestinians and the PLO responsible for destroying their country, especially during the civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people during the 1970's and 1980's.

What is disturbing about the Apartheid laws in Lebanon and the mistreatment of Palestinians by Arab countries is the silence of the international community and media.

Even UNRWA, which is supposed to look after the well-being of Palestinian refugees, continues to turn a blind eye to Lebanon's Apartheid laws.

When contacted by The Daily Star for comment on the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, UNRWA's public information officer Hoda Samra said she had "no public statement to make regarding this particular issue."

This is the same UNRWA whose spokesmen regularly condemn Israeli military operations and house demolitions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas governments are also continuing to bury their heads in the sand with regards to the mistreatment of Palestinians in Lebanon and other Arab countries. The two governments are too busy fighting each other while at the same time inciting Palestinians against Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

US Interests, Energy Independence and Israel

by Yoram Ettinger

The most critical, clear and present dangers to U.S. national security, homeland security and economy are Iran's nuclearization, Islamic terrorism, the explosive impact of the seismic Arab street, the potential disruption of the supply and price of imported-oil and the declining American posture of deterrence. 

The most clear and present policy to alleviate these threats would be U.S. energy independence, ending dependence on unpredictable Arab oil producers, bolstering the U.S. posture of deterrence, accelerating economic growth, improving the trade balance, reducing the budget deficit, lowering energy costs, expanding employment and putting more funds toward infrastructures, education, the elderly, Medicare and human services in general. 

As demonstrated by the stormy, seismic Arab Winter, and irrespective of the Palestinian issue, the Arab street is increasingly anti-U.S., Islamist-oriented, violently intolerant, unpredictable, unstable and terror-dominated.

The U.S. mainland and vital U.S. interests abroad are targeted by Muslim regimes and organizations. They adhere to a 14-century-old transnational, imperialistic ideology that they are divinely ordained to rule the globe. They are energized by their assessment that Europe is caving in, while the "Great Satan," the U.S., is increasingly vulnerable.

Iran is systematically defying the U.S. A nuclear Iran would trigger a meltdown of the pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes, traumatize the supply and price of oil, devastate the U.S. economy, embolden Islamic terrorist sleeper cells, intensify the anti-U.S. policy of Venezuela, and accelerate nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and beyond, all of which would further erode global sanity and undermine vital U.S. interests.

A tour of the Middle East reveals that Iraq has become a central theater of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, increasingly controlled by Iran. Yemen is afflicted by a 14-century-old intra-tribal civil war, posing a threat to the House of Saud, Oman and oil tankers passing through the straits of Ban el-Mandeb and Hormuz. 

The Syrian lava -- boiled by intra-Arab and intra-Muslim wars by proxies -- threatens to sweep through Lebanon, Jordan and possibly the Persian Gulf. Jordan's pro-U.S. Hashemite regime is facing lethal threats from Syria, Iraq, disgruntled Bedouins, Hamas terrorists, the Palestinian majority and the Muslim Brotherhood. Post-Mubarak Egypt improves ties with Iran and provides a tailwind to Muslim Brotherhood cells throughout the Arab World, advancing its trans-national, expansionist anti-US agenda. Libya and Tunisia undergo a rapid process of Islamization, and Morocco and Algeria face a major challenge by Islamic oppositions. Since 2002, Turkey has veered toward the Muslim world away from the U.S. The current upheaval on the Arab street highlights the Middle East as a region of unpredictable geo-political shocks.

U.S. energy independence -- via precision horizontal drilling and fracking -- would be a game-changer in the international arena, constituting an effective shock-absorber for the U.S. and its allies. It would minimize U.S. dependence on foreign markets and multilateral/international entities, enhancing the independence of U.S. unilateral national security actions. 

U.S. national security and economic interests are also bolstered by Israel, which has adopted the independent oil producers' state of mind: defiance of the jagged cutting edge of nature, a can-do mentality, independent action and out-of-the-box-thinking. 

In 2013, Israel constitutes the only stable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional U.S. ally, upgrading the shock-absorbing capabilities of the U.S., reducing regional instability, serving as a critical line of defense for Jordan and other U.S allies. Israel is a unique source of intelligence and battle and counter-terrorism tactics. The U.S. receives from Israel more intelligence than from all NATO countries combined. 

Moreover, U.S. special operation forces benefit from Israel's experience in facing improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and car bombs. U.S. pilots employ Israel Air Force tactics to evade Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. U.S. homeland security officials, first responders and police chiefs systematically receive Israel's lessons for combating Arab terrorism and tracking terrorists. 

Israel has become a unique pipeline of cutting-edge technologies for the U.S. defense and commercial industries. For instance, the F-16, F-15 and hundreds of additional U.S. military systems, employed by Israel, are systematically upgraded through lessons learned by the Israeli battle-tested "laboratory." These lessons are shared online, in real time, with the U.S. manufacturers, providing the U.S. with a mega-billion dollar global competitive edge, expanding U.S. exports, employment, research and development. 

A similar process has benefited some 300 U.S. high-tech giants, who established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel's innovative technologies, establishing production lines, creating more jobs and exports in the U.S.

Israel's unique capabilities extend America's strategic arm at a time of U.S. withdrawal and defense cuts. According to the late Gen. Alexander Haig, "Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier which does not require even one U.S. soldier, cannot be sunk, deployed in a most critical area for U.S. interests. If there would not be an Israel, the U.S. would have to deploy a few real additional aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, which would cost the U.S. taxpayer about $15 billion annually."

In the battle against Iran's nuclearization, Islamic terrorism and threats to the supply and price of imported oil, U.S. interests would be well served by energy independence and by enhanced U.S.-Israel mutually beneficial, win-win defense and commercial cooperation.

Yoram Ettinger


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Muslim Brotherhood with Show of Force in Egypt's Streets

by Rick Moran

They came from many parts of Egypt, most of them bused to the rally in support of Islamist President Morsi, and declared their allegiance to the president and Sharia law.
Tens of thousands of Egyptian Islamists gathered for a show of strength in Cairo on Friday ahead of planned opposition protests against President Mohamed Morsi, highlighting the tense political divide in the Arab world's most populous state.
Carrying Egyptian flags and portraits of the president, they flooded into the large square outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the Nasr City neighbourhood and into the surrounding avenues.
Islamist groups led by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails, had called for the rally ahead of planned June 30 protests to demand an early presidential election.
Morsi has been in office for just one year.
Inside the mosque, worshippers finished their prayers and broke out into chants of "Morsi is a president for all Egyptians" before joining the crowds on the streets.
The turnout, they said, was proof that Morsi enjoyed the support of the Egyptian people.
"We are here in such huge numbers so that the secularists don't think we are a minority... We are capable of protecting legitimacy and Sharia (Islamic law)," said Hamida Bakkout, 43, holding a picture of Morsi.
Omar Mostafa, 18, who had come from the Nile Delta province of Beheira, said "this is a message that there are many of us behind the president. We don't care about the mobilisation of the opposition."
Many supporters had been bussed in to Cairo for the event, AFP reporters said.
The Islamists accuse the opposition of being remnants of the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and of seeking to sow chaos.
"Democratically elected presidents are never removed through protests," Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said.
A campaign dubbed Tamarod (rebellion in Arabic) first called for the anti-Morsi rally to coincide with the first anniversary of his becoming president.
Egypt is, quite literally, falling apart. It's economy cannot survive without massive foreign investment. And that's just to keep the people from starving to death. Any thought of economic reform by Morsi cannot be realized because, simply, there's no economy to speak of.

The opposition is kidding itself if it really believes they can get the Brotherhood to call for an early presidential election. They've already postponed the parliamentary elections. Why would they move up elections for president?

The Muslim Brortherhood has the power and they're not going to give it up without a fight.

Rick Moran


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Assad's New Bodyguards

by Dr. Reuven Berko

The elite forces protecting Bashar Assad's regime no longer contain his Alawite faithful but thousands of Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah fighters who are making tactical inroads against the rebels. The new arrangement could drag the entire Middle East into a Sunni-Shiite war.

Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad
Photo credit: Reuters

Dr. Reuven Berko


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