Friday, July 26, 2013

Mordechai Kedar: Too Little, Too Late and Almost Totally Meaningless

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)
It took the Europeans more than thirty years to understand that the Hizb'Allah organization, founded in 1982, is a terror organization. Good Morning, Europe! It took them a while, but the European Union operates according to its own agenda. And the Europeans, bleeding hearts that they are, said that they can distinguish between the good Hizb'Allah, meaning the political, economic, educational and cultural branch of the organization, and the bad Hizb'Allah, which is the militant, jihadist part of the organization, which has tens of thousands of missiles, which is involved way over its bloody head in the Syrian bloodbath, and which carried out the terror attack in Bulgaria in 2012.

There had to be  a terror attack in a European country  for the Europeans to understand that Hizb'Allah is a terror organization. The terror attacks that the organization carried out in Israel, the missiles that it launched on the cities of Israel, the Israeli soldiers and citizens that were kidnapped and killed by the organization, the terror attacks that Hizb'Allah carried out in many other countries of the world, the assassination of Lebanese leaders such as Rafiq al-Hariri - none of this was a good enough reason for the hypocritical Europeans to view Hizb'Allah,  even just its military branch, as a terror group.

As if there is a difference between the military branch of Hizb'Allah and its other branches, especially the economic branch, whose role is to fund jihad, and turn the entire country of Lebanon into a base for the Shi'ite jihad against Sunnis - the Sunnis of Syria, for example - and against Jews. As if the purpose of Hizb'Allah's educational institutions is not to train the students' hearts for jihad, as if Hizb'Allah's hospitals are not to heal the wounded jihadis, and as if Hizb'Allah's communication media are not used to glorify, exalt, praise and extol the military branch's jihad. The Europeans do not see the connection between the various tentacles of the octopus through their rose-colored glasses.

So what will happen? The leaders of Hizb'Allah's military branch will not be able to come to Europe. Wow!!!  But can't they get passports with false names, since the Lebanese Ministry of Interior  is under the control of Hizb'Allah's civilian, non-terrorist branch? And the representatives of Hizb'Allah's military wing will not be able to collect tax-free donations in Europe!!! Wow!!! But the good, civilian, helpful Hizb'Allah can continue to collect donations for its schools and hospitals, which are - as every European knows - charitable institutions in every way. And Europe also will certainly assure that the monies donated to these institutions will never reach Hizb'Allah's military wing.

However, my European friends, I must tell you a secret: your continent is swamped with tens of millions of Muslims, who usually do not do business according to the rules, and therefore they do not need Hizb'Allah's  receipts in order to exempt their donations from tax. They donate to institutions that seem worthy to them, which is usually jihad organizations against anyone who is not Islamic, and they have many ways of transferring monies to Lebanon without you even knowing that European money is greasing the wheels of Hizb'Allah's jihad against Europe, against its culture and against Europe's friends in Lebanon, especially the Maronite Christians who are fleeing from Lebanon and by leaving, make it an easy prey - for Hizb'Allah's civilian, peace-loving wing, of course.

Obviously, the Europeans believe that Hassan Nasrallah will be very upset by their declaration and will immediately take his soldiers out of Syria, stop the slaughter there and cut off relations - military, of course - with Iran. However, the best part of the Europeans'  declaration is the timing: four days after the decision to distinguish between the State of Israel and parts of the Jewish people's  homeland. The holy European balance between Israel and its enemies is perfectly maintained: a decision against Israel and a decision against Hizb'Allah. But despite the European attempt to be balanced, there is yet a small difference between Israel and Hizb'Allah: when Israel becomes angry it speaks out, whereas when Hizb'Allah is angered it carries out terror attacks. And if the Europeans do not believe it, then they should study Hizb'Allah's history and its modus operandi. And a little more advice to the Europeans: you had better start getting ready to block the terror attacks in Europe, that Hizb'Allah will carry out in revenge for "Europe's surrender to Israeli dictates" (as was said on the al-Manar channel, which serves, of course, the peace-seeking, civilian wing of Hizb'Allah).


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures

Dr. Mordechai Kedar
( is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav with permission from the author.

Additional articles by Dr. Kedar

Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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

Are Peace Talks Moving Forward?

by C. Hart

The United States and Israel continue to confirm that the peace process will move forward in the coming weeks, and Israeli and Palestinian delegations will meet in Washington to hammer out the details. U.S. Secretary John Kerry issued a statement from Amman, Jordan on Friday, July 19, 2013 claiming that both sides "reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations." He added that the agreement is still in the process of being finalized. 

Despite the fact that American and Israeli leaders seem to think the process is being finalized, the Palestinians continue to say it is not. They deny that any agreement has been reached, and they will only admit to sending a low-level delegation to Washington to discuss their objections and preconditions for such peace talks to begin. 

While the Palestinians argue among themselves about whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should agree to sit down across from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the peace table, the alliance between the U.S. and Israel seems to be holding firm. It is the Palestinians that are looking as if they are retreating now, not the Israelis. 

There is a backstory tied to this latest peace development. As Netanyahu has proved his willingness to compromise with the Palestinians, the United States has shown a greater commitment to Israel's defense needs. 

With little press coverage of his visit, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Israel to meet with senior Israeli defense officials soon after Kerry's announcement. During Carter's first official trip to Israel, he confirmed that the defense relationship between both countries was stronger than ever. He discussed a range of security issues of strategic importance, including Iran and Syria. As part of Carter's visit, he observed Israel's military capabilities and tactical operations at army bases and training installations near Tel Aviv. He was quoted on an official American defense site (the American Forces Press Service) as saying, "protecting America means protecting Israel, and that's why we're here in the first place."

At the same time Carter visited Israel, the IDF Home Front Command launched an exercise in Tel Aviv, simulating a chemical and conventional missile attack. While Israel says the exercise was planned last year, it is interesting that Carter happened to be in the country during the preparation and staging of this drill. Israeli security officials have assessed that the chances of a chemical attack on the population is low. But, there are fears in the ranks that the risks have become higher due to the changing events in Syria. Reportedly, Syria is attracting thousands of radical jihadists, many of whom are basing their operations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Hoping not only to bring down the Assad regime, these Islamic fighters want to establish a caliphate state in Syria that extends to the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan and Lebanon.

So, while defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel continues quietly behind the scenes, the public is distracted by a process of peace that may be advancing or may not. Netanyahu's coalition partners are already voicing their concerns that he has conceded to Palestinian pre-conditions with a de facto settlement freeze and a willingness to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails with "blood on their hands." In order to keep right-wing members of his coalition from bolting the government, Netanyahu has said he will bring any final peace agreement to a national referendum.

If Kerry is able to get the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table, this will be considered a major U.S. achievement, advancing America's status as a formidable player in the Middle East peace process. In reality, it will be a temporary face-saving measure to prop up U.S. President Barack Obama's failing foreign policy. There has been an absence of American leadership in the region since the Arab Spring began, and now the U.S. may have an opportunity to show strength through renewed credibility as a power broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

This is why Israel's diplomatic cooperation has been so important, and why America's military commitment to the Jewish State has been demonstrated on the heels of Kerry's peace announcement -- linkage that both sides would deny.

Regardless of the outcome at this latest attempt to jump-start the peace process, the U.S. may be agreeable now to working closer with Israel's timetable regarding a possible strike on Iran's nuclear sites. Israel also needs American support for continued strikes on Syria's chemical plants and advanced weapons systems that threaten Israel's national security. One of Israel's major objectives is to stop Assad from using these weapons supplied by Russia and Iran.

Israeli leaders are also worried that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will try and exploit a moderate image of President-elect Hassan Rouhani to Western powers. The newly elected Iranian president is considered a loyal diehard of the regime and a strong proponent of the Islamic Revolution, despite his image in the media as a reformer. Israel wants to step up the pressure for greater international sanctions against Iran, while at the same time, keeping a credible military option on the table. Looking to push Iran into further diplomatic isolation, Israel needs strong U.S. backing now.

Netanyahu recently expressed concern that Iran is only weeks away from crossing his "red line" in the development of enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb. Rouhani's reaction was to laugh at Israel's warnings to the international community. Netanyahu sees Rouhani as a wolf in sheep's clothing; a man who could use charm and persuasion to try and get the West to ease sanctions while dropping the military option. 

Israel is seeking commitments from the U.S. and Western powers to keep all options on the table. By Netanyahu agreeing to the process of peace with Abbas, he should now have full American support concerning military action against the Islamic regime.

If Israelis and Palestinians do end up sitting at the peace table it will neutralize Iran's ability to stir up Arab strife on the streets of a region already boiling over in violence and chaos. Iran will have less capability to use leveraging to get Sunnis to side with Shiites against Israel, if the Palestinians are quietly cooperating with the Jewish State.

This is one reason why Netanyahu is willing to reach out to Abbas with the kind of concessions he feels he can offer without his government coalition breaking apart. But, currently, his concessions do not seem to be meeting Palestinian pre-conditions. So far, Netanyahu is holding his ground not to offer the Palestinians anything that would compromise the security of the Jewish State or cause civil war between the settlers and the rest of the country. Agreeing to pre-1967 borders, even before talks begin, would be political suicide for Netanyahu, and would cause a shakeup in his government from those who feel these borders are indefensible.

Another advantage of the Israelis and Palestinians being locked up together in peace negotiations would be to quench the aspirations of the Europeans. Recently, the EU issued new guidelines against rewarding prizes, grants, and funding to Israeli entities over the Green Line. This was the European Commission's attempt to bias the outcome of peace negotiations. Taking sides in the peace process, by making it clear that they want nothing to do with Israeli programs initiated within the pre-1967 borders, clarified the EU's position of favoring the Palestinians. This angered Israeli officials who felt like the Europeans were trying to undermine Kerry's peace initiative. 

Since that announcement, the Europeans have put Hizb'allah's military wing on their official terrorist list, which can be seen as an olive branch extended to the Israelis and the Americans. However, these recent attempts by the Europeans at leveraging in order to place themselves as players in the Middle East peace arena will not work. They will be neutralized, like Iran, from stirring up diplomatic trouble for Israel, as long as direct talks begin between Israel and the Palestinians. The question is: will they begin?

Meanwhile, Israel needs to act fast in order to secure whatever deals it wants from its strategic defense relationship with the U.S., in order to prepare for military action against Iran and Syria. 

Because of the Israeli government's budget deficit, the IDF is involved in a wide range of defense cuts. Therefore, Israel remains even more dependent than before on the U.S. to sustain its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the region. American defense leaders say they are committed to offering Israel an unprecedented package of advanced military capabilities. Only time will tell if the U.S. comes through on its offer, and whether it will depend on how much more Israel bows to Palestinian demands in order to re-start direct peace talks at the negotiating table.

C. Hart reports on political, diplomatic, and military issues as they relate to Israel, the Middle East, and the international community.


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Want Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

by Fiamma Nirenstein

How can any public support a peace agreement with the "sons of monkeys and pigs"?

In Israel, even those who are afraid that the Israelis and the Palestinians may leave the negotiating table are hopeful. Talks may begin. The Palestinians waived their preconditions, which included the 1967 borders [sic] and halting construction in the territories, but will obtain the release of dangerous prisoners. Israel's Prime Minster, Binyamin Netanyahu, however, was categorical: before the start of true talks, as we've seen time and time again, the strategy has too often been "take the money (or the prisoners) and run." So long as there are no terrorist attacks, the hint of optimism in the air will continue. Negotiations, however, make sense only under one condition: Stop the Hate.

An agreement can be found for everything -- the territories, Jerusalem -- but not if the steady stream of fanatic hatred against the Jews continues. It forms the cornerstone of the Palestinian culture and effectively the raison d'être and the political nexus in the Islamic world. How can any public support a peace agreement with -- as the Jews are often described -- the offspring of "monkeys and pigs"? In Egypt, the only matter the supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt's military-backed interim leader, Adly Mansour, have in common is the belief that the other side is part of a Jewish plot. The same is true of Syria's President, Bashar Assad and the rebels trying to bring down his regime.

A few random examples of antisemitic hatred among Palestinians include: on July 5, on public TV, two sisters recite a poem: "You who killed the pious prophets of Allah... sons of Zion, the most evil among creatures, barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs." Another child explains that "Jerusalem, which is pious, vomits at the impurity of the Jews." On March 7, the newspaper, Al Hayat Al Jadid, features an editorial which stated 9/11 was a Western lie and was actually a plot by the Jews and Freemasons. The editorial went on to say that if Hitler were alive, it would be an honor. On July 3, the Palestinian Authorities honored terrorist Ahmad Abu Sukkar with a military funeral; in 1975, he killed 15 innocent people and wounded 60 with a refrigerator filled with explosives. On May 31, a mother on television praised her son, who had blown himself up: "I received the news of his death with a happy heart." Another mother, of suicide terrorist, Wafa Idris, wrote to her dead daughter on Facebook about the big funeral with Palestinian flags and all the tributes.

An image captured from a July 3, 2013 broadcast of official Palestinian Authority public television, with translation added. (Source: Palestinian Media Watch)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself, responding to Hamas, which in 2012, accused him of no longer wanting an "armed resistance" [terrorism], confirmed that he considered suicide bombing a valid tool. The governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghanam, accused the Israelis of "handing out drugs to kill our youth." Holocaust denial is commonplace among Palestinians, and the old antisemitic propaganda book Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still popular. Children grow up thinking, as a little one said on TV, that the "blood-thirsty Jews are condemned to humiliation and suffering." Television in Gaza broadcast a ten-year-old girl who wanted to die a martyr, and among many others, a video: "Dear Allah, strike the Jews and their friends, the Christians, and their supporters, the communists and their backers... get them all and do not leave anyone out."

Are people serious about wanting peace? This would be a great moment for Europe to help. But so long as the the Palestinians continue to be incited, their leaders will think that his people do not want peace -- and with good reason.
This article was originally published in Italian in slightly different form in Il Giornale; English translation copyrighted by the Gatestone Institute.

Fiamma Nirenstein


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Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own to Demonize Egyptian Military

by Raymond Ibrahim

Killing fellow Muslims, and even the most horrific crimes, are permissible so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam.

New evidence indicates that some of the pro-Morsi protesters reportedly killed by the Egyptian military, after the Muslim Brotherhood president's ouster, were actually killed by fellow pro-Morsi protesters. They did this, according to the report, to frame the military, incite more Islamist violence and unrest, and garner sympathy from America, which has been extremely critical of the military, especially in the context of the post-Morsi violence.

The Arabic satellite program, Al Dalil, ("The Evidence") recently showed the evidence, which consisted mostly of video recordings.

One video records events on July 8, during pro-Morsi protests in front of the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was being held, and where the bloodshed between the military and Brotherhood began. The video shows a young man with a shaven head and a Salafi-style beard approaching the Republican Guard barrier; he gets shot, collapses to the ground, and dies—as other protesters fly into a rage against the military. As the video plays, it seems clear that the military shot him.

However, watching the video in slow motion and in zoom clearly indicates that someone from behind him, from the pro-Morsi throng, shot him. The whole time he falls, in slow motion, he is still facing the Republican Guard. Yet when the camera zooms in, the bullet wound and blood are visibly at the back of his head; his front, facing the military even after he falls, does not appear to have a scratch. Considering that the military was facing him, it seems apparent that a fellow Morsi-supporter shot him from behind.

On the same day this man in the video and others were killed, Muhammad Mahsoub, a former Brotherhood member and politician tweeted the following: "The Brotherhood sacrifice their youth in the streets, even as the sons of their leaders are at the beach resorts… Allah curse the hypocrites [based on a Koran verse];" and "I repeatedly warned al-Baltagi against his plan to antagonize the military in order to implicate it an attack on the protesters, but he insists on his plan…"

Baltagi is a Brotherhood leader who has been especially vocal about "getting back" at the military; he apparently also enjoys close relations with the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson.

Another video shown on Al Dalil is even more obvious. An armored vehicle appears slowly driving by a group of pro-Morsi protesters, many easily discernible with their Salafi-style beards. A shot is heard and the man nearest the passing vehicle collapses. Again, at first it appears that the men in the armored vehicle shot him.

Played, again in slow motion, however, it becomes apparent that the man in a gilbab [long Muslim style robe] standing directly behind the murdered man is actually the one who shot him, then walked over to another man near him, gave him the weapon, and then quickly walked off the scene. Even the man on the roof who is taping this scene is heard to be asked, "Did the car [armored vehicle] shoot?" only to reply, "No, no."

Even so, the desired effect of all these "human sacrifices" by the Brotherhood was accomplished: as with the other man, shot in front of the Republican Guard, many other pro-Morsi protesters rushed to the fallen man, screaming Islamic slogans and vowing relentless war on the military, as it supposedly "shot first."

This second incident prompted the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, to call for "an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks."

To many Islamists, killing an ally to empower Islam is legitimate, especially in the context of two Islamic ideas: 1) jihad [war in the service of Islam], in Islamic jurisprudence -- for its function, under Muhammad, of making Islam supreme -- is considered the "pinnacle" of Islam; and 2) Islam's overarching juridical idea that "necessity makes the prohibited permissible" – in other words, that a pious end, such as empowering Islam, justifies the use of forbidden means. All that matters is one's intention, or niyya.

Thus, killing fellow Muslims, lying, prostitution, even sodomy all become permissible, so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam. Those who commit or promote even the most horrific crimes are exonerated, and those "sacrificed" to empower Islam -- as those pro-Morsi supporters killed by the Brotherhood -- are deemed martyrs who will achieve the highest level of paradise. From an Islamist point of view, it is a win-win situation.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of the new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, 2013). A Middle East and Islam expert, he is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Hizbullah: There Is No Distinction Between Hizbullah's Political And Military Arms


Following the July 22, 2013 decision by the foreign ministers of the European Union to include Hizbullah's military arm on the E.U.'s list of terrorist organizations, Hizbullah released a communiqué condemning the decision and attacking E.U. policy.
The communiqué stated: "This is an aggressive and oppressive decision that is base neither on justifications nor on evidence. The E.U. countries' submission to American and Zionist pressures, and their complete obedience to the White House's dictates constitute grave behavior. For it appears that the decision was drafted by American hands in Zionist ink and all that remained for Europe to do was to sign it."
The communiqué added: "...If the E.U. countries believe that with their submission to American extortion and their issuing such decisions they can attain status in our Arab and Islamic region, then we say to them that the U.S. has preceded them in such a decision, and got nothing for it but many losses and disappointments."[1]
Also, in referring to the decision, senior Hizbullah officials headed by deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassem, as well as Hizbullah associates and daily newspapers that support the organization, reiterated that there is no distinction between Hizbullah's political and military arms. These, they said, constitute a single organization, with a single leadership that makes decisions on both political activity and military and jihadist activity.
This report will review statements by senior Hizbullah officials and associates against the decision and against distinguishing between the organization's political and military arm.

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem: We Have No Military Arm And Political Arm

Two months prior to the E.U.'s decision, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassem argued that Hizbullah's organizational structure does not distinguish between a political arm and a military arm, and that such a distinction was invented by Britain in 2008 when it placed Hizbullah's military arm on its list of terrorist organizations. 

In a statement at a May 24, 2013 political meeting in Lebanon held by Hizbullah, Qassem said: "In our resistance, we do not distinguish between one position and another position, because we never divided our movement in such a way that we would have different projects. Therefore, all our martyrs in every position are martyrs [who perished] by force of the obligation [to wage] jihad... We do not maintain one status for a resistance fighter and another [for someone] who is not a resistance fighter. We do not have a military arm and another [arm] that is political. These Europeans are making themselves ridiculous by imitating Britain, which drew the distinction [Hizbullah's] military arm and political arm; [they are drawing this distinction] because they need relations with us, and they are manipulating their own peoples [by saying] that they are conducting a dialogue with [Hizbullah's] politicians rather than with members of [its] military [arm]. They have forgotten that for us, every child is both a military man and politician.

"We will not stand and look on from the sidelines at how the international community and the region, on all sides, are conspiring against the resistance enterprise... We will use all options at our disposal at the appropriate place and time in order to struggle against those who strive to strike the resistance directly or indirectly. We will never participate in the measures for recognizing Israel and expanding its influence and control in our region..."[2]

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Na'im Qassem
(Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, April 15, 2009).

This is not the first time that Qassem stated that Hizbullah does not have separate political and military arms, and that all its capabilities serve the resistance; he has made such arguments numerous times in previous years. At an October 6, 2012 student commencement ceremony, he said: "In Lebanon there is one party that is called Hizbullah. We do not have a military arm and a political arm. We do not have [a political party that is called] Hizbullah [and at the same time] a resistance party. Hizbullah is a political party; it is a resistance party and the party of action on behalf of Allah and in the service of the people. In short, this is Hizbullah. 

"Therefore, all these distinctions, that some people are attempting to disseminate, are something that we reject; they do not exist. All the senior officials and activists, and the diverse capabilities that we in Hizbullah possess, are at the service of the resistance. We have no priority save for resistance – from the organization's leadership till the very last of its fighters..."[3]

Qassem: The Hizbullah Leadership Makes Both Political Decisions And Decisions On Jihad Activity

In an interview with Global Viewpoint in April 2009, that was republished a few days later by the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Qassem said: "Britain has even tried to justify establishing relations with Hizbullah by distinguishing between two different sections that don't actually exist because the party is by nature unified. Hizbullah has a single leadership as represented in the Shura (the organization's council) and at its head, the secretary general [Hassan Nasrallah]. All political, social and jihadi work is tied to the decisions of this leadership. The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihadi actions in the struggle against Israel. There is one decision that has a mechanism and structure for implementation. That is how Hezbollah is even if other parties need to picture it otherwise in order to justify their actions..."[4]

Other Hizbullah Officials And Associates: No Such Distinction Can Be Made

Former MP from Hizbullah Ismail Sukariyya said: "The military issue is basic to Hizbullah. [Hizbullah] has an ideological objective that is politically belligerent, and therefore on the basis [of this fact] it is impossible to separate the political [arm] from the military one."[5]

Several hours before the E.U. announced its decision, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, of the Shi'ite Amal faction, who is a close associate and supporter of Hizbullah, said, "It is not possible to separate Hizbullah's political arm and military arm."[6]

The Lebanese daily Al-Safir, which is known for its support of the March 8 Forces and Hizbullah, pointed to an internal contradiction in the E.U. decision. In a July 23 report, it stated: "The decision contradicts itself. On the one hand, the Europeans have conferred the title of terrorist on military Hizbullah, and on the other hand they have left open the channels of communication with political Hizbullah..."[7]


Cartoon from Iran's Fars News agency: Israel and the U.S. manipulate both the E.U., which terms Hizbullah terrorist, and the jihadists in Syria (Fars, Iran, July 23, 2013).

Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar: The Military Arm And The Political Arm Of Hizbullah Are Intertwined

The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, published reports and articles claiming that the E.U.'s decision had sparked derision in Hizbullah, because no distinction can be made between the political and military arms because they are intertwined.

One article noted: "The E.U. decision aroused derision within [the Lebanese] resistance. Jokes about this are flooding the social networks, and the men of the resistance have transformed [this decision] into an object of mockery... How could the E.U. distinguish between the military [arm] and the political [arm]? The men of the resistance claim that we are dealing with a bid'ah [unacceptable innovation] and nothing more."[8]

The Sons Of Hizbullah Ministers And MPs Are Fighting For Assad In Syria

Nicolas Nassif, a regular contributor to Al-Akhbar, wrote: "In a situational assessment conducted by [Hizbullah] officials hours after the decision, the following details were discussed: The [E.U.'s] distinction between the military arm and the political arm of Hizbullah is merely an illusion with respect to a party whose military arm brought it prestige and served as the central pillar of its role and presence – [and this] is due to its focus on resistance and bearing arms... 

"[The political arm and the military arm] are inseparable twins. The truth is that two months ago, Hizbullah ministers and MPs sent their sons to the [Syrian city] of Al-Qusayr in order to participate in the war alongside the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad against his armed opponents... This is an indication that removes any ambiguity regarding the connection between the two [arms of Hizbullah] that are linked..."[9]

Civilian Residents Of South Lebanon Participate In Hizbullah Fighting

On July 24, 2013, Al-Akhbar reported that "residents of the South Lebanon villages bordering on occupied Palestine do not comprehend... the distinction between Hizbullah and its military arm, or how the Europeans distinguish between the two, and according to what criteria [they did so]. As far as they know, anyone who carries out military activity or assists Hizbullah's military activity is included in this decision. That is, [the residents of South Lebanon] are all being targeted... 

"Most [residents of the South] consider themselves an inseparable part of the [military] resistance arm of Hizbullah, particularly after the July 2006 war 'when,' according to one of them, ''Imad Mughniyeh decided to expand the circle of resistance so it would include more residents [of the South]...

"Citizen Hassan Yassin, from Majdal Selem [in South Lebanon] wonders.: '... Don't the E.U.'s [foreign] ministers know that most of the people of the south participate in the wars against Israel, and that the women [from the town] of 'Aita Al-Shaab, for example, participated by conveying weapons to the Hizbullah fighters?... 

"According to one farmer, in this region 'there is no distinction between the civilian and the soldier, or between a Hizbullah member who clandestinely carries weapons in the field of the struggle and a farmer who plants tobacco... It is no secret that everyone knows how to use weapons, and is prepared for war. The 2006 war is testimony that young students vanquished the most hostile army in the region.'

"Muhammad, a teacher in one of the schools of Bint Jbeil, told how dozens of his students fought in June 2006, and 13 of them died as martyrs... Other Bint Jbeil and Marj'ayoun residents said similar things, and [according to them] know nothing about anything called 'Hizbullah's military arm':  'We hear about an apparatus that is called the resistance, but we cannot know its real operatives... Any one of us can be among the operatives; no one here has a military title, except after he's been killed. So we don't distinguish between a military man and a civilian, except posthumously... 

"[A south Lebanon citizen named] Kifah says... 'In a battle [during the 2006 war] in the olive grove near the Bint Jbeil vocational school, the school's students, together with some of their teachers, killed dozens of Israeli soldiers. None of the residents had known that these students were resistance fighters...'[10]

[1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.
[2] Na', May 24, 2013.
[3] Na', October 6, 2012.
[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat  (London), April 15, 2009;, April 13, 2009.
[5], July 23, 2013.
[6] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 22, 2013.
[7] Al-Safir (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.
[8] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.
[9] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 23, 2013.
[10] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 24, 2013.



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Turkish Official Rejects Israeli 'ex Gratia' Reparations

by Dan Lavie, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Turkish deputy prime minister says Israel must accept that it is paying the families of Turkish activists -- killed during a 2010 IDF raid on the Gaza-bound protest ship Mavi Marmara -- because the IDF acted illegally, not because of Israel's good will.

The Mavi Marmara docked at a port in Turkey
Photo credit: AP

Dan Lavie, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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France: Muslims Attack Police for Enforcing Burqa Ban

by Soeren Kern

Muslims say they are upset over police who are enforcing the secular laws of France.

Police in the suburbs of Paris are working to restore order after hundreds of Muslims went on a rioting spree to protest the simple identity check of a Muslim woman who was wearing a full-face Islamic veil.

It is against the law to wear the face-covering niqab or the body-covering burqa in public spaces in France; violators are subject to fines of up to €150 ($200).

The latest round of violence erupted the evening of July 19 in Trappes, a gritty suburb situated 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Paris. Trappes has 30,000 inhabitants, many of whom are Muslim immigrants.

Police say a crowd of possibly 400 Muslims gathered outside the Trappes police station in response to the arrest on July 18 of a man who had assaulted a police officer during an identity check on his wife, who was entirely veiled.

The niqab-wearing woman in question is 20-years-old; her 21-year-old husband, a convert to Islam, reportedly objected to the policeman interrogating his wife, and allegedly tried to strangle him, an act that lead to his arrest. Muslims insist the man was provoked.

After police in Trappes rejected Muslim demands to release the husband, the mob went on a rampage, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police, pelting police with firecrackers from rooftops, burning cars and trucks and destroying public property, including several bus stops, before being repelled by riot police.

A nine-minute video on YouTube shows police helicopters buzzing overhead amid burning cars and trash bins, as well as a building that was torched. Photos of the unrest can be viewed here and here.

Although no one died in the disturbances, five people were injured, including four police officers and a 14-year-old boy, who lost his eyesight from a projectile.

Despite a heavily reinforced police presence, on July 20, approximately 50 people were involved in fresh clashes with riot police. Around 20 cars were torched and four people arrested. A seven-minute video of the violence can be viewed here.

The violence also spread to the surrounding towns of Elancourt and Guyancourt.

The rioting continued on July 21, when police in Trappes dispersed several dozen protesters after fireworks and other projectiles were tossed towards police lines.

At least six people have been arrested in connection with the riots, and on July 22 a French court sentenced a 19-year-old North African youth to six months in prison on charges of committing acts of violence and throwing projectiles at the police during the riot in Trappes.

Clean-up crews are now clearing away shattered glass from bus shelters, burned trash bins and stones littering the pavement; tow trucks are carting away burned cars.

A similar outbreak of unrest occurred in June, when police stopped a 25-year-old woman for wearing a niqab in Argenteuil, a suburb 12 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Paris.

According to the French newspaper Le Parisien, the woman had initially agreed to the identity check, but a passerby got involved, saying that, in his opinion, the check was illegitimate. He then began to attack the police; apparently in almost no time, some 60 Muslims joined the melee. Outnumbered, the police were forced to call in reinforcements, who eventually used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

A local resident who witnessed the riot said Muslims attacked, insulted, beat and punched the police. Two men, including a cousin of the woman, were arrested for "provoking the crowd" and "inciting violence against police officers."

In the southern French city of Marseille, Muslims went on a rampage a year ago, in July 2012, after police ordered an 18-year-old woman Muslim woman who was wearing a niqab to show her identity card. The woman refused: "I don't obey the laws of the French Republic," she said, and allegedly bit one of the officers. Scuffles then broke out, with around 50 Muslims present, including the woman's partner. Three police officers were injured.

Four people, including the woman and her partner, were arrested and taken to a police station, but were released shortly afterwards "in a gesture of appeasement during Ramadan," according to the public prosecutor.

Marseille's deputy mayor, Nora Présozi, supported the police: "Many women wearing the burka are looking for confrontation with the police," she sad. " By doing so, they are conveying a poor image of Islam."

Rioting in French suburbs is nothing new. France has Europe's largest Muslim population, and tensions are high in all major French cities, especially in the immigrant suburbs known as banlieues.

French authorities, however, reportedly fear a repeat of the riots in 2005, when the deaths of two Muslim teenagers in Clichy near Paris sparked weeks of looting and car-burning, and led to the imposition of a state of emergency.

A car burns in Sèvres, France, during the 2005 riots. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

More recently, Muslims say they are upset over police who are enforcing the secular laws of France.

These laws include France's much-debated "burqa ban" which entered into force in April 2011. This law, which prohibits the wearing of burqas and niqabs in all public spaces in France, comes amid rising frustration that the country's estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.

With certain exceptions, anyone in France covering her face on the street and in parks, on public transportation, in public institutions such as train stations and town halls, and in shops, restaurants and movie theaters, will be subject to a fine of €150 ($200). Exceptions to the ban include covering of one's face with a motorcycle helmet, sunglasses, a bandage, a welding mask, a fencing mask or a fancy dress mask.

More severe penalties are in store for those found guilty of forcing others to cover their faces by means of "threats, violence and constraint, abuse of authority or power for reason of their gender." Clearly aimed at Muslim fathers, husbands or religious leaders, anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear an Islamic veil against her will is subject to a fine of €30,000 ($40,000) and one year in jail, or €60,000 ($80,000) and up to two years in jail if the case involves a minor.

The ban does not apply in private homes, hotel rooms and office buildings, except for elevators, conference rooms and lobbies and other spaces open to the public. The law also defines the inside of an automobile as a private space, exempt from the measure.

Around 300 women have been issued fines since the face-veil ban took effect.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has defended the country's ban on wearing full-face veils in public. In an interview with the French radio station RTL on July 22, Valls said the "police did their job perfectly." He added: "The law banning full-face veils is a law in the interests of women and against those values having nothing to do with our traditions and values. It must be enforced everywhere."

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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Hamas Reels In Wake Of Morsi Downfall

by John Rossomando

Hamas finds itself in an uncomfortable predicament following the ouster of its longtime allies, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The terrorist group's leaders worry that a wave of popular demonstrations similar to those that pushed Egypt's military to depose Morsi could threaten their hold on Gaza. They also are worried that Egypt's military rulers may try to reassert the sovereignty they held over Gaza prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.

The presence of Egyptian military helicopters over Gaza's skies as part of Egypt's crackdown on terrorists in the Sinai is particularly spooking Hamas. In addition, Egypt's destruction of Gaza smuggling tunnels is crimping the economy.

"Even [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak did not starve the Gaza Strip," a Hamas official told Reuters. "By destroying the tunnels without providing an alternative, the Egyptians are punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip and deepening the humanitarian and economic crisis."

Al-Monitor reports that numerous social media sites calling for similar protests in the Palestinian territories spurred Hamas's worries. As a result, it has moved to stifle public gatherings in Gaza regardless of the reason.

Repression of dissent is nothing new for Hamas, which has used harsh measures to keep opponents under wraps since it wrested Gaza from the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority following the 2007 civil war. It has repeatedly moved to breakup any demonstrations by opponents.

Hamas even intervened in a recent planned protest against an Israeli bill that opponents say would displace thousands of Bedouins. Hamas security forces moved in and interrogated Ibrahim al-Talaa, 24, the creator of a Facebook page against the plan.

The interrogators wanted to know if he had connections with the Egyptian Tamarod, or "Rebel," movement that prompted Morsi's ouster. Al-Talaa said he didn't, but told Al-Monitor that "I spent the whole day of the demonstration" being questioned.

Palestinian Facebook pages have been popping up calling for demonstrations against Hamas and Fatah, as well as against the division between the two factions, Al-Monitor reports.

A Facebook group calling itself "You Palestinian, Rebel" formed by young Palestinians in the territories and abroad is calling for the overthrow of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and the end of Israeli control. A Gaza spokeswoman said the online movement was influenced by the events in Egypt.

But some observers say an Egyptian-style street protest movement against Hamas' control of Gaza is unlikely because the conditions in Gaza are different from those in Egypt.

"I believe that what happened in Egypt will absolutely affect life in Gaza at lead in the long term, especially if Hamas isn't wise enough to deal with all these changes in Egypt," Atef Abu Sef, a lecturer at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, told Al-Monitor.

John Rossomando


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Who gets the most US Foreign Aid?

by Daniel Pipes

Israel, of course. Except it does not, not even remotely during the past decade. Totting up the most recent figures, 2002-2011 from the U.S. government's own statistics and using constant 2011 U.S. dollars, one finds that the numbers for all economic and military aid look like this:
  • Afghanistan: $60,017,650,000
  • Iraq: $64,373,630,000
  • Israel: $30,645,470,000
Source: U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (known as the Greenbook).

Further, these numbers substantially understate U.S. support for the economies and militaries of Afghanistan and Iraq, including neither the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the U.S. war fighting effort in those countries, which purchased substantial amounts in the local market, employed many locals, and led to unspeakably vast amounts of graft; nor do the above numbers include the military equipment declared excess and donated to their armed forces.

(1) I have long opposed economic and military aid to Israel's mature economy that can stand on its own two feet. Its 2011 gross domestic product was $243 billion, meaning that U.S. aid came to a paltry 1 percent -- not worth the trouble in terms of political resentment and financial distortion.

(2) In contrast, to take the opposite extreme, Afghanistan's 2011 gross domestic product was $19 billion, meaning that American aid alone made up two-thirds of the entire country's income that year, a sure recipe for political and financial havoc. I even more strenuously oppose such handouts -- what used to be called development aid -- which long before 2002 was known not to work as intended. More than ever, this latest experience vividly shows how it amounts to thrown-out money.

Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum.

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No, Hezbollah Isn’t a “Stabilizing” Force

by Seth Mandel

Although last year’s terrorist attack in Bulgaria against Jewish tourists served to renew the pressure on the European Union to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the civil war in Syria seemed all along to be a more significant catalyst for EU action. European countries had been pressing the U.S. for more assistance to the Syrian rebels while the U.S. had been pressing European officials to blacklist Hezbollah. Both efforts had some success: the EU blacklisted Hezbollah’s “military wing,” while the Obama administration has signaled it will increase help to the rebels.

Hezbollah has been fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad, and the West’s desire to see the fall of the house of Assad convinced both the EU and the U.S. to take steps toward that end. But in an essay at Foreign Policy’s website, RAND analyst Julie Taylor makes an unconventional–and, in the end, terribly unconvincing–argument: leave Hezbollah alone, because you won’t like them when they’re angry. Taylor’s case rests on the idea that Hezbollah is showing restraint and maintaining a precarious, mostly nonviolent, state of affairs within Lebanon. Push them too far, and they’ll be tempted to show their strength, Hezbollah-style:
Between the continued bloodshed in Syria and the military takeover in Egypt, it might be easy to overlook recent events in Lebanon. But Middle East watchers need to keep a sharp eye on the current turmoil in Lebanon because spillover from Syria could cause the security situation to flame up quickly into a full-scale sectarian civil war. Several stabilizing factors have kept the situation in Lebanon from escalating out of control, one of these being Hezbollah’s resistance to being drawn into conflict with other Lebanese. However, recent attacks on Hezbollah interests, coupled with the EU’s decision this week to blacklist the organization, are backing Hezbollah into a corner. Feeling its position in Lebanon to be under threat, the organization may change course, and decide to take up the fight against its domestic rivals. 
It should be clear why Taylor’s argument is at a disadvantage right off the bat. Taylor’s line of reasoning is based on speculation of what Hezbollah might do, while the U.S. and EU have based their actions against Hezbollah on what the terror group has already done. It doesn’t make much sense to fret that Hezbollah might get violent when this entire scenario is plausible because of the violence Hezbollah has recently been engaged in.

It’s not like Hezbollah is the victim of a witch hunt in Europe. The group has been implicated in terrorist attacks on the continent, and the EU is simply attempting to take modest steps to defend its soil. Of course, Taylor is specifically concerned with Hezbollah lashing out in Lebanon if pushed out of Europe. But the Europeans can hardly be expected to defenselessly accept and absorb Hezbollah’s murderous pursuits in the hopes that the terror group gets it out of their system by killing Europeans and feels no need to kill (more) Lebanese.

And Hezbollah, as Taylor concedes in the article, is not exactly a bystander to violence in the region right now. Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Assad’s forces is widely credited with helping Assad’s forces turn the tide and gain back the momentum by winning crucial battles. Hezbollah is therefore doing its part to keep the war in Syria going and to help Assad believe he doesn’t need to surrender or accept a negotiated exit. It is that violence that is spilling over the border into Lebanon, and it is violence that is fueled by Hezbollah itself.
As Taylor writes:
Lebanese territory is increasingly becoming an extension of the Syrian battle zone: the Syrian army is firing on villages along the border and the FSA is firing rockets into Shiite areas, including Hezbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut. There are inter-communal kidnappings both for profit and revenge for actions occurring in Syria. Assassinations, especially of Hezbollah members and Assad supporters, have become commonplace.
Need it even be said that the EU’s watered-down blacklisting is not to blame for this? Elsewhere, Taylor says that the war could provoke renewed fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. But Israel has already blacklisted Hezbollah, and that certainly didn’t stop the terror group from touching off the Second Lebanon War against Israel in 2006. The plain fact is, Hezbollah commits terrorism because it is a terrorist group. It will always attempt to justify its actions, and Western countries should not fall into the easy trap of pretending Hezbollah won’t find a casus belli if it decides it needs one.

Finally, there is another benefit of the EU’s decision to restrict Hezbollah’s operations in Europe. As Herb Keinon reports in the Jerusalem Post, in order to enforce its blacklisting of Hezbollah, European countries are now receiving the necessary intelligence briefings from Israel. That means countries such as Germany, France, and Spain are now improving their antiterrorism capabilities. Though Britain already worked with Israel in that capacity, any weak link in the EU would threaten the rest of the continent. They are now better prepared to protect their citizens thanks to “backing Hezbollah into a corner,” where they belong.
Seth Mandel


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