Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hamas: We'll Use Unity Accord To Move Terrorism To West Bank

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The international community does not seem to be listening to what Hamas is saying. Hamas is telling everyone not to believe Abbas when he say that the Palestinian Unity Government will renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.
"The reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance ... from one intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine." — Khaled Mashaal, leader of the Hamas political bureau.
"Who is this crazy guy who would be able to go to the resistance groups and ask them to hand over their weapons?" — Mahmoud Zahhar, senior representative of Hamas.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is busy these days trying to persuade the West to accept his recent unity accord with Hamas.

Abbas is especially interested in winning the backing of the U.S. and EU for the deal with the Islamist movement because his Palestinian Authority is almost entirely dependent on American and European financial aid.

Abbas's main argument is that the "reconciliation" deal with Hamas, signed last month in the Gaza Strip, would not affect the peace process with Israel.

Abbas was quoted as saying that there is "no contradiction" between the unity deal and the peace talks with Israel and that he remains committed to a "just peace on the basis of a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy."

Earlier, Abbas, in the context of his efforts to calm the U.S. Administration and EU governments over the unity accord, declared that the new Palestinian government would recognize Israel and reject violence. His remarks, however, have been strongly denied by Hamas leaders, who say their movement intends to pursue "jihad" against Israel.

Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas's political bureau, announced that his movement would never recognize Israel. "This is a red line that cannot be crossed," he said.

In other words, Hamas is telling everyone not to believe Abbas when he says that the Palestinian unity government will renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.

This week, further evidence emerged that Hamas has no intention of changing its ideology in the wake of the unity agreement with Abbas's Fatah faction.

Hamas's two most senior representatives, Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Zahar, have both made it clear that their movement is planning to continue "resistance" actions against Israel even after the formation of the unity government. They also emphasized that Hamas has no intention of dismantling its military wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, as part of the unity accord.

Mahmoud Abbas (left) and Khaled Mashaal. (Image source: Abbas - European Union / Mashaal - Wikimedia Commons)

Asked about the possibility that Hamas would disarm, Zahar said: "Who is this crazy guy who would be able to go to the resistance groups and and ask them to hand over their weapons? Who would dare to do so?"

Zahar also disclosed that Hamas is planning to take advantage of the unity deal to move its terror attacks against Israel to the West Bank. Worse, he declared that after its men set foot in the West Bank, Hamas will target Palestinians who "collaborate" with Israel. "Who said that those who are conducting security coordination with Israel would remain forever?" he asked, referring to the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank.

Zahar, who also said that Hamas would pursue the fight against Israel until the "liberation of all Palestine," is in fact sending a warning message to the Western-funded Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank. "We believe in what was mentioned in the Quran: that Palestine, all of Palestine, will be liberated," he added. "The Israeli entity should expect more from Hamas after our rockets reached Tel Aviv."

His remarks may also been seen as a direct and personal threat to Abbas, who has repeatedly vowed to continue security coordination with Israel.

Mashaal, for his part, also vowed that Hamas will never abandon the armed struggle against Israel. Like Zahar, he sees the "reconciliation" as an opportunity for Hamas and all Palestinians to "solidify the resistance" against Israel.

"The reconciliation and politics are not an alternative to resistance," he said. The reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance. Our steadfast people are continuing to move from one revolution to another and from one intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine."

Abbas says that the unity agreement with Hamas is a chance to bolster the peace process and achieve the two-state solution. This is the message that Abbas is trying to relay to the international community, above all, to American and European donors.

Hamas, on the other hand, considers the unity agreement with Fatah an opportunity to extend its control beyond the Gaza Strip and use the West Bank as a launching pad for more terror attacks against Israel.

The international community does not seem to be listening to what Hamas is saying.

Ignoring Hamas's declared intentions will pave the way for the movement to use the unity agreement to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and many parts of the West Bank. It will also facilitate Hamas's plans to launch terror attacks from the West Bank against Israel.

It now remains to be seen whether the U.S. Administration and EU governments, by blindly endorsing the new unity government, will help Hamas to achieve its goals.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

Dangerous Times: Benghazi Means Betrayal

by James Lewis

“Danged if I know!” answered Dr. Susan Rice when asked about the administration’s multiple betrayals of U.S. policy, its many violations of ordinary decency, its massive electoral coverups, Obama’s daily bad faith lies to the American people, and worst of all, their knowing betrayal of Constitutional command responsibility in the miserable Benghazi fiasco.

Instead of “Danged if I know!” Dr. Rice is perfectly able to speak educated English, and with her Oxford doctorate she fully understands the many levels of treachery revealed by the Benghazi assault last 9/11/13 -- the 12th anniversary of the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

The assault on America on 9/11/01 was conducted using ritualistic Muslim throat-slitting by trained Wahhabi murderers, killing American flight attendants and their cabin crews, the pride of American civil aviation, and crashing four civilian airplanes full of screaming human beings into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The Wahhabi butchers of 9/11/01 used the exact animal throat cutting technique that Muslims practice on the ‘Eid al Adha holiday at the end of Ramadan, when every devout family kills a sheep for Allah, amid general rejoicing. That is an ancient Arabian desert celebration that has not changed since the 7th century CE.

Obama has known about ‘Eid butchery since he attended Muslim school in Jakarta from age six to ten. Al Qaida simply applies animal butchery to human children and other innocents, if they refuse to convert to Islam.

First level of Benghazi betrayal: The Benghazi attack on 9/11/13 was a deliberate signal, recognized by every Muslim in the world, and by every member of this administration, that Al Qaida was winning the Jihad War against America, contrary to a massive election-time lie by the Democrats and our beneath-contempt media that “Al Qaida is on the run.”

Six weeks before the U.S. presidential election, Al Qaida signaled plainly and clearly that it was expanding and killing more every day. Every informed person in the world understood that, except for the American people, who are bamboozled on a daily basis by our political media class.

Go back to the news headlines on that day, and you can’t see it plain as the nose on your face. If you did not understand the front-page photos that day, it’s because our oil-bought media have pulled the wool over your eyes. Your bad. Their win.

Benghazi was an open signal to the Muslim world, because the black Al Qaida flag was shown flying in triumph over the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Tunisia, while Ansar al Shari’a was killing our ambassador in Benghazi.
Multiple simultaneous murder assaults are the infamous signature of Al Qaida.

Benghazi was only one of the victories Obama has handed to the most radical butchers in the Muslim world. If you doubt that, ask any modern Egyptian or a freedom-loving Iranian. They will tell you, quietly.

Our country is at war today, and our media-political class have knowingly lied about the danger since the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. They lied again after 9/11/01, and hung out to dry the only president who dared to recognize the truth, George W. Bush. Indeed, our entire political-media class has smeared truth-tellers in America as “Islamophobes,” a whole new kind of racist sin that has never existed before in human history. There is no such thing as “Islamophobia,” because a phobia is a false fear. Fear of being killed by Al Qaida monsters in the Jihad War is not a false fear. It is a realistic fear in places like Syria, Iraq, and London, just as Americans feared Tojo’s Japan after Pearl Harbor, Stalin after the Soviet Bomb, and Communist infiltration in the 1950s. Those were not phobias. They were clear perceptions of a mortal national threat.

Modern Jihad war arose after fundamentalist Gulf oil theocracies gained control over the price of oil through the OPEC cartel, which still provides 40% of the oil used by Western Europe. Control of the oil supply gives them price control, as the Saudis showed the U.S. in the 1973 “Arab Oil Crisis.” By tweaking the oil price, the Saudis could destroy a politician in France or the United States. To keep the Saudis and Iranians happy, Western politicians have therefore colluded in four decades of massive Jihad penetration of their countries.

Carter’s response to Oil Crisis of the later 70s was to surrender U.S. diplomats to the first big jihadist tyranny in the world, the sadistic throwback regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. Today, Carter is still taking vast amounts of oil money, and no surprise, he is still dropping PR bombs for the most radical and women-hating regimes in the world. This is the real war against women.

Jimmy Carter is the biggest living fraud in U.S. politics, except for the Clintons and Obama -- all beholden to the same puppet masters. There is a reason why Hillary’s closest “aide” at the State Department was Huma Abedin, a Muslim Brotherhood plant.

The purpose of Jihad coverup in the West is to hide massive collusion between jihadist oil regimes and our political class. The signs of that collusion and threat to our society are plainly visible in the Democratic Party’s readiness to guzzle vast quantities of oil money in exchange for Muslim Brotherhood penetration at the very highest levels of our government. The Muslim Brotherhood spawned Hamas and even Al Qaida -- Bin Laden was an MB member before he founded Al Qaida, and his followers keep taking Arab and Iranian money to kill more innocent people.

Obama and his appointees understood the front-page news on 9/11/13 as quickly as every other Muslim sympathizer in the world. That multiple publicity attack, the murder of a U.S. ambassador, along with the black AQ flag flying over the Cairo Embassy, added up to a completely predictable signal to every student of jihadist terrorism in the last forty years. Every government in the world knows this, except for the American people.

Conservative journalists have done a lot of digging since 9/11/13, and we now know multiple levels of betrayal revealed by Benghazi. There are personal betrayals -- Ambassador Stevens was a political ally of Mr. Obama’s. There are betrayals of military command responsibility -- for a U.S. officer to leave soldiers under attack with no effort to save them is a capital crime under the Military Code of Justice, and it is a profound violation of the mutual trust that makes military units work.

The whole Stevens arms smuggling operation to Qaidaist butchers involved active U.S. collusion with crimes against humanity, since our “allies” in Syria routinely kill innocents, including the mass decapitation of children in the Syrian Christian village of Ma’aloula. The latest Boko Haram slave-taking kidnap of almost 300 young girls in Nigeria is just another Al Qaida gang doing its worst, and now we know that Hillary’s State Department protected Boko Haram during her tenure. (“Boko haram” means “education is forbidden.” Ignorance is how jihadists control women and children).

Ambassador Stevens, a CIA plant under State Department cover, was himself guilty of stirring up a major tribal revolt against Muammar Gadaffi, who was overthrown with active NATO collusion, leading to a massive civil war in which thousands of people are still dying today. Gadaffi posed no clear and present danger, and he had surrendered his nuclear program to the Bush Administration. Gadaffi’s regime, for all its foibles, managed to keep the peace in Libya, and was recognized as sovereign by the United States. But we stabbed him in the back anyway, and Ambassador Stevens wielded the dagger.

Want to see even more levels of betrayal? This is the administration of double- and triple-cross. Obama is, after all, the most anti-American president in history, his real claim to historic fame. Obama turns all our values upside-down -- morality, decency, tolerance, freedom, equality before the law, genuine democracy, loyalty, science, reason, and most of all, respect for the law. This is the first “oppositional-defiant” administration in our history, a true aberration that is listed in the psychiatric manual.

Which is why Ambassador Rice used ghetto slang to dismiss the Benghazi betrayal -- “Danged if I know!” Followed by staged laughter, on cue. This modus operandi is identical to Obama’s giving the finger to Hillary during their primary debate, followed by staged laughter from his buds. It was just another way of saying “up yours, middle class suckers of America!” In her Congressional testimony Hillary put it this way: “Who, at this point, cares about Benghazi anymore”?

But we care, ladies, because we see our country being corrupted and betrayed, and we will not stand for it.

Today, the Benghazi coverup is still going on, with CNN’s Zucker swearing up and down that no, he will never cover Benghazi because it’s a phony scandal.

Well, we will see, won’t we?

Intelligence analyst Clare Lopez and her committee of senior military and intelligence experts have estimated that U.S. arms to AQ amount to half a billion dollars. But our minds rebel at the mounting evidence that the United States has knowingly sided with the most barbaric and genocidal war ideology since the SS murder battalions and Japanese mass killings in World War II.

Around 1940, England’s King Edward VII tried to surrender Britain to Hitler, in anticipation of a Nazi invasion in World War II. Churchill became aware of Edward’s treachery, and exiled him to the Bahamas for the duration of the war. Though many of the English were vaguely aware of Edward’s treason, his betrayal has never been fully recognized in Britain, even today.

In the same way, vast oil-money penetration of American and European politics, media, and universities is an open secret, yet our minds are unwilling to take the next step: That Democrats since Jimmy Carter have knowingly colluded with jihadist regimes, first of all the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979, and of course the Saudis. We can now see jihadist money flows going straight to the Carter and Clinton presidential centers. Now we know why the Muslim Brotherhood wanted Huma Abedin to be Hillary’s personal aide. Now we know why Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt -- until the Egyptian elites revolted. Now we know why the radical Islamist Recip Tayyip Erdogan was allowed to take over Turkey a dozen years ago, and why he is still Obama’s “best friend” in the Middle East. Now we know why Israel had to be systematically betrayed starting with Jimmy Carter, and culminating in Obama’s surrender to Iran’s nuclear bomb program.

Obama’s Benghazi betrayal ripped the veil of secrecy from the pro-jihad policy in this administration. That is why Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic media had to cover it up in the weeks before the election.

The Benghazi betrayal is therefore not just a single time bomb, but a whole arms factory full of bombs, ready to blow up into the biggest foreign policy crisis in American history. Our political-media class has been bought up with oil money, creating the equivalent of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1938: A fundamental alliance between the radical Left and the medieval theocrats of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and the rest. Our political-media class has knowingly sided with jihadist theocrats for the last forty years. That is why Europe now has millions of militant Islamist immigrants in London, Paris and Berlin, a policy that is being followed by the Democrats in America.

A few days ago Cairo’s Al Ahram tried to explain Obama’s favorite “moderates,” the Muslim Brotherhood, to clueless Americans:
“Most if not all the terrorist outlaw groups ... stem from the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, are directly connected to Al-Qaeda and use the same explosive substances that that organisation uses in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...
Has not the Hamas movement, which the West has listed as a terrorist group, acknowledged that it is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that, in turn, never concealed its close ties and relations with Hamas? Did not the deposed president (Mubarak) help achieve a reconciliation between Hamas and Israel during his period of rule, which had never previously occurred in spite of many years of sustained efforts under the former regime?
Did not the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood refuse all invitations to take part in the political process and the formulation of the new political roadmap?
Has no one in the West asked who stands to benefit from the instability, unrest and terrorism that Egypt suffers and from the ongoing attempts to obstruct the roadmap, especially now that it is approaching its second juncture, the presidential elections?
Has no one in the West realised the magnitude of the threat of radical Islamism and how dangerous it is to support it? Has no one there understood that it threatens the West and the entire international community?
You know the answer.

The Democrats are now preparing to clown it up for the upcoming Congressional hearings. Benghazi, Benghazi! they will shout. What does Benghazi mean anyway?

(Lesson 1: “Ben ghazi” means “son of the desert warrior” in Arabic. That is another reason why violent Muslims love to bandy it about. If you hear a liberal ask “What does Benghazi mean?” you now have the first answer. Educate a liberal today.

The coming media defense of Obama will be all about the meaning of Benghazi. They will say it has no meaning. But we know the meaning.

Benghazi means betrayal.

James Lewis


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Obama Unhappy with America's Constitutional Balance of Powers

by Chris Banescu

President “I am not a dictator” Obama, the same man who once bemoaned that the U.S. Constitution is deeply flawed and America’s Founding Fathers had “an enormous blind spot” when they wrote it, is again complaining that our Constitutional Republic does not satisfy his dictatorial aspirations. Apparently, the inconvenience of having each state represented equally in the Senate is inconveniencing his ability to shove his leftist personal agenda down the throat of Congress and the American people.

As the Washington Times reports:
At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.
“Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage,” Mr. Obama said.
The Founding Fathers decided in the “Great Compromise” in 1787 to apportion House seats based on population and give each state two seats in the Senate regardless of population. The solution was a compromise between large states and small states in a dispute that nearly dissolved the Constitutional Convention.
The president also blamed “demographics” for the inability of the Democratic Party to gain more power in Congress, saying Democrats “tend to congregate a little more densely” in cities such as New York and Chicago. He said it gives Republicans disproportional clout in Congress.
Thankfully for us and for America, our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they drafted the Constitution and set up specific checks and balances to divest power away from any one individual or branch of government. As men who experienced tyranny first-hand, they understood what always happens when corrupt and unscrupulous individuals desire, acquire, and centralize power, at the expense of the life, liberty, and property of individuals. For now, their wisdom is providing us with some cover and protection from the relentless assaults from so many home-grown enemies of freedom and liberty.

Chris Banescu regularly blogs at and


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Saudi Shuffle

by Jonathan Spyer

A number of recent Saudi moves and official statements have led to speculation regarding a possible shift on the kingdom's stance toward Iran.

The Saudis appear to be moving, at least on a declarative level, away from a position according to which Iranian ambitions are a threat to be resisted – toward an attempt to accommodate Tehran.

The speculation regarding a changed Saudi stance rests largely on three recent public events.

The first was the meeting last month between newly minted Saudi ambassador to Tehran Abdul Rahman al-Shehri, and former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Shehri demonstrably kissed Rafsanjani on the forehead during the meeting. In addition to displaying the depth of the ambassador's patriotism, this act was held by some commentators to portend a renewed Saudi determination to set relations with Iran on a new footing.

The second was the Saudi announcement of an invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit the kingdom.

The third element that many analysts have pointed to in asserting a change in the direction of Saudi policy is the recent replacement of Prince Bandar bin Sultan from his position as head of the Saudi intelligence services.

Bandar had been associated with a proactive Saudi policy in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and other points of Saudi-Iranian tension. His replacement by Muhammad Bin Nayef was seen as portending a less activist regional policy.

This was accompanied by the replacement of deputy defense minister Salman bin Sultan. Bin Sultan is the half-brother of Bandar, and like him was associated with a policy of activist resistance to Iran's regional advance.

These Saudi gestures should be placed in a context of clear US pressure on their Gulf clients to get "on board" with Washington's regional diplomacy, close to the center of which appears to be a desire to "flip" Iran from foe to friend.

According to a report on the Intelligence Online website, both US President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stressed this matter in their recent visit to the Gulf. Obama reportedly raised the matter in his meeting with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Hagel, meanwhile, urged greater Saudi "openness" to Iran in meetings with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman, Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin and Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal.

As the nuclear negotiations with Tehran stumble on, and Iran's clients hold their own or emerge victorious in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, the US apparently remains convinced of its strategy to normalize relations with Tehran through meeting it halfway.

Saudia Arabia, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, has hitherto remained similarly convinced that Iranian ambitions cannot be accommodated, without Saudi and Western surrender of vital interests. It is for this reason that they have regarded the current US push for rapprochement with Tehran to be a fool's errand.

According to Intelligence Online, Gen. Khalifa bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, the Bahraini chief of staff, bluntly articulated the concerns of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with regard to the Iranian threat and the current US response to it.

The Gulf countries, he said, were "profoundly concerned about Iran's ambitions to destabilize the region, via its sponsorship of terrorism from the shores of the Mediterranean to the provinces of southern Yemen… Your [US] intelligence services have proof of this terrorism enterprise. What are you doing to halt its spread?" Khalifa went on to accuse the US of "backing down" over Syria and letting President Bashar Assad's "chemical attacks go unpunished."

Gulf concerns are not hard to understand. The goal of ending the presence of foreign (i.e. US) forces in the Gulf is a core Iranian strategic objective. Tehran regards its own domination of the Persian Gulf as a "natural" state of affairs reflecting Iran's greater demographic and societal strength compared with the fragile, energy-rich Arab monarchies on the other side of the Gulf.

Iran has also shown skill and determination in pursuit of its goals further afield, over the last turbulent decade in the region.

How, then, to explain the Saudis' apparent about-face and attempt to get behind US policy? The Saudis are aware that the US remains the main physical guarantor of Gulf security, whatever the problems with its current strategy. Other Gulf countries are aware of this, too.

There are no indications that the current administration has any intention of reducing the US military presence of 35,000 personnel in the Gulf, including the Fifth Fleet and a number of advanced missile defense systems.

Indeed, Hagel went out of his way during his visit to the Gulf to stress the continued US commitment to this presence and to Gulf security, regardless of the differences over Iran policy.

It has also long been the contention of the most astute Gulf analysts that it would be mistaken to imagine that Saudi Arabia will constitute an unyielding bulwark to Iranian ambitions, if it becomes clear that the US and the West prefer to accommodate the Iranians.

The Saudi kingdom is simply too fragile an entity to play such a role. Rather, if Western weakness in the face of the Iranian advance becomes apparent, Riyadh is likely to accommodate itself to the new situation.

The shifting Saudi strategy in Syria – which over the last three years has gone from supporting Islamist and jihadi groups to seeking to offer limited support to the rebels, largely within the definitions and dictates of US policy – may offer a window into the current broader direction of Saudi policy toward Tehran.

This runs along clear lines of basic disagreement toward the regional strategy being pursued by the Obama administration, a pragmatic awareness of the need to appear to accommodate Washington's declared direction, and energetic efforts to prepare as best Riyadh can to cope with the challenges of a Middle East in which a continued Iranian advance seems to be a given.

Are these, on the evidence available, likely to produce a changed Saudi policy with regard to Iran? The answer is yes. Increased direct or mediated dialogue between the two is, at the very least, likely.

It may also be that the shift will produce concrete policy results in specific regional "files" of contention – such as Yemen, Lebanon or even Syria – as the Saudis seek to avoid confrontation with the advancing Iranian power.

The lesson of all this is that there is no simple regional substitute for US leadership in the effort to hold back the advance of Iran – both on the nuclear track and with regard to Tehran's broader regional ambitions, of which the nuclear drive constitutes a crucial component. The problem is that the current US administration is embarked on a course which is producing Iranian victories.

Saudi Arabia, because of perceived necessity, appears for now to be adjusting its own course to follow this path.

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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A Palestinian State -- not a Priority

by Yoram Ettinger

The Palestinian issue has benefited from the Arab/Muslim talk, but -- due to the Palestinian record of intra-Arab subversion -- has never been supported by the Arab/Muslim walk. Arab/Muslim policy makers have never considered the Palestinian issue a strategic interest, but rather a tactical instrument to advance intra-Arab or Muslim interests and to annihilate the Jewish state.
Irrespective of this, Palestine has been a geographic, not a national, concept, as evidenced by the lack of distinct, cohesive national character of its Arab inhabitants. This lack of cohesion has been intensified by the violent internal fragmentation along various lines: cultural (such as Bedouin vs. rural vs. urban sectors), geographic (e.g. mountain vs. coastal Arabs, southern vs. northern, Hebron vs. Bethlehem, Nablus vs. Ramallah, Nablus vs. Hebron), ethnic, ideological, political (pro- or anti-Jordan), historical and tribal identity. Such turbulent fragmentation was fueled by the multitude of Arab or Muslim migration waves from Bosnia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Lebanon.
The establishment of a Palestinian state was not on the agenda of the non-Arab Muslim Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area from 1517 through 1917. The Ottomans linked the area, defined by most Arabs as a region within Southern Syria or the Levant, to the Damascus and Beirut provinces.
The British Empire, which dominated the Middle East from 1917 until the end of World War II, did not contemplate a Palestinian Arab state, while establishing a series of Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Moreover, the 1917 Balfour Declaration dedicated Palestine, including Jordan, to the Jewish homeland. The 1920 San Remo Resolution, formulated by the principal Allied Powers, formalized the Balfour Declaration-based British Mandate for Palestine, which was ratified on Aug. 12, 1922, by the League of Nations, eventually transferring 77 percent of Palestine (Jordan) to the Arabs. The U.S. House and Senate approved it unanimously on June 30, 1922. In 1945, the Mandate for Palestine was integrated into the U.N. Charter via Article 80, which precludes alterations, and is still legally binding.
Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea and Samaria and Gaza from 1949 through 1967, but did not ponder the establishment of a Palestinian state; nor did the Arab League.
According to Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohanna of Ariel University, who headed the Palestinian Desk at the Mossad Research Division, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, stated in September 1947 that the core problem was not a Palestinian state or Jewish expansionism. The only priority was the duty to uproot the Jewish presence from Palestine, which was defined by Muslims as "Waqf" -- an area divinely endowed to Islam and not to the "infidel."
The elimination of Jews was the top priority of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the founder and president of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee and a collaborator with Nazi Germany. In September 1941, he submitted a memo to Adolf Hitler on "the resolution of the Jewish problem in the Middle East in the same manner it is resolved in Europe," planning the construction of Auschwitz-like crematoriums in the Dothan Valley, adjacent to Nablus in Samaria. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas recently expressed his admiration for al-Husseini as a hero and martyr. Abbas appointed the current grand mufti of Jerusalem, who continues al-Husseini's anti-Jewish hate education.
The limited role of the Palestinian issue was highlighted during the 1948 War of Independence. Jordan launched the war to eliminate the Jewish state, expand to the Mediterranean and advance the goal to dominate Greater Syria. Egypt and Saudi Arabia entered the war despite their inadequate military infrastructure, in order to abort Jordan's imperialistic strategy. Iraq joined the war, aiming to control the oil pipeline from Iraq to Haifa. Syria assumed that the destruction of the Jewish state would facilitate the reassertion of Greater Syria. On Sept. 20, 1948, the Arab League recognized the Arab government of the whole of Palestine, but ignored it, declaring it null and void in 1951-1952, causing the U.N. to refuse Palestinian participation in the General Assembly proceedings.
None of the Arab countries fought on behalf of, or due to, Palestinian Arab aspirations. They did not share with the Palestinian Arabs the spoils of war. Iraq occupied Samaria and transferred it to Jordan, which occupied Judea. In April 1950, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria to the east bank of the Jordan River, naming it the West Bank. Egypt occupied Gaza and, just like Jordan, did not allow Palestinian nationalistic activities. None of the ensuing Arab-Israeli wars (1956, 1967, 1969-70 and 1973) were Palestinian-driven.
Furthermore, the Israel-Palestinian/PLO wars of 1982 (in Lebanon), 1987-1991 (the First Intifada) and 2000-2004 (the Second Intifada) and Israel's wars with Hamas in 2009 and 2012 (in Gaza) did not engage the Arab states militarily or financially.
During the October 1994 Israel-Jordan peace signing ceremony, top Jordanian military leaders told their Israeli counterparts that "a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the Hashemite kingdom east of the river."
The Arab League and the U.N. did not raise the issue of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza until 1967, when the issue was raised as a means to undermine the survival of the Jewish state.
In fact, the Palestinian issue has never been a chief axis of U.S.-Israel relations. While the two administrations have never agreed on the Palestinian issue, their strategic cooperation has surged dramatically due to joint interests, mutual threats and shared values, which significantly transcend the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
However, ignoring reality, Western policy makers consider the Palestinian issue the crown jewel of Arab policy-making, the core cause of Middle Eastern developments and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. An erroneous underlying, Palestinian-driven assumption has produced an erroneous policy, radicalizing Arab and Palestinian expectations, fueling terrorism and inherent Middle Eastern instability, distancing the parties from peace and bringing them closer to war, and undermining Western national security and vital economic interests.

Yoram Ettinger


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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Open to Unity Government

by John Rossomando

Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) top leader says he welcomes the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah even though his group is not a party.

PIJ, which is devoted to Israel's destruction, is widely regarded as more violent than Hamas but has been an outlier in the reconciliation process between the two larger Palestinian factions. Still, it might be willing to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the right conditions.

"… [W]e welcome the reconciliation and any step that serves our people and our cause on the condition that it does not violate any of our national fundamentals," PIJ Secretary General Ramadan Shallah told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

Shallah, whose previous position involved teaching state university students in Florida and was set up by Sami Al-Arian, noted that PIJ would not participate in any scenario that is "part of Oslo's political framework," referring to the 1994 peace deal between Israel and the PLO that created the Palestinian Authority.

"The common denominator in this case is that it does not lead to any move to perpetuate the reality of the occupation, open the door to more concessions, or abrogate or withdraw the weapons of resistance, which is a red line for us," Shallah said.

Dawoud Shehab, a PIJ spokesman, similarly told Iran's Press TV, "However, what we are concerned about is that they build a real national unity and a strategy based on resistance as the way to freedom. The reconciliation should end the process of negotiation with occupation."

If Hamas has its way, PIJ will get exactly what it is looking for. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Tuesday that the terrorist group would continue its violent campaign against Israel, and said no compromises would be made.

"The reconciliation does not mean an end to our resistance against the invaders, resistance will continue as long as the occupation exists," Meshaal said.

John Rossomando


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Barghouti and the PA Succession Question

by Seth Mandel

The Tower magazine calls attention to the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion’s latest survey, which finds that Marwan Barghouti would be the popular pick if presidential elections were to be held for the Palestinian leadership. Barghouti, a founder of an Arafat-era paramilitary wing of Fatah, is currently serving life sentences in Israeli prison for his role in several murders, though he is believed to be behind even more terrorist attacks than those for which he was convicted.

Two things about Barghouti have remained constant over his career: he is soaked in the blood of innocents, and he is exceedingly popular among Palestinians. The two are, obviously, not unrelated. Such a result is of course troubling, but it should be noted that, according to the poll, the Palestinians are merely choosing one terrorist over other terrorists. The problem goes much deeper: the pipeline for Palestinian leadership remains greased with blood.

An understandable reaction to the poll will be: So what. Mahmoud Abbas is now in the tenth year of his four-year term, so immediate succession doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue right now, and Barghouti is in prison anyway.

But there are a few differences this time around. First, the Hamas-Fatah unity deal means it’s more likely that there will actually be elections in the near future. Second, Salam Fayyad’s exit means there isn’t at least a competing pipeline to leadership. Had Fayyad stayed on, he probably couldn’t win an election himself, but he might have staffed the bureaucracy with future contenders who were also reformers, and he might have effected some sort of change in the governing culture. Third, it is not out of the question that Israel would release Barghouti in some sort of prisoner exchange if the Israeli government thinks he’d be a preferable successor than the others in the race.

It’s interesting to note just how similar these stories have been throughout the post-intifada years. Contemplating the Abbas-Barghouti rivalry in the debate over succeeding Yasser Arafat, the New York Times noted in late 2004:
While it is not certain that Israel would release Barghouti if he won the election, the fact remains that whatever the outcome, he will present the Palestinians and Israelis with very difficult options. If he wins but is not set free, the Israelis and the Bush administration would be seen as depriving the Palestinians of democratic choice — something they have advocated as part of enabling Palestinians to create a democratic and responsible political system.
In such an event, Barghouti would become as much a symbol of Palestinian democracy and resistance as Arafat was the embodiment of the Palestinian nationalist movement.
If he loses the election, he will nevertheless have split the vote to the extent of depriving Abbas of a clear mandate to marginalize his radical Islamic opponents, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to negotiate with the Israelis and Americans for a lasting settlement from a position of popular strength. And there is the additional possibility that a third candidate, like Barghouti’s cousin Mustafa, a human-rights activist, could emerge as the marginal winner.
Palestinians have always found Abbas somewhat underwhelming, and Barghouti has always presented this complicated challenge to Israeli political strategy. But the Israelis must also ponder whether their preference for Barghouti is worth releasing an arch-terrorist. Their dealings with Arafat may have convinced them that just because a Palestinian leader has the credibility to lead doesn’t mean he will. Yitzhak Rabin famously dismissed concerns about how Arafat would get his people in line as long as he actually did. In the end, Arafat was a coward, and Israelis have to wonder if Barghouti is as well.

This all demonstrates, once again, the steep hill to climb to strike a just and lasting peace deal with the Palestinians. It rests on the remote possibility that someone like Abbas or Barghouti would transform themselves into a Mandela or even a Michael Collins. It’s not impossible, sure, but no one would advise holding your breath.

The real path to peace would be a transformation of Palestinian society that didn’t elevate whichever candidate killed the most innocent men, women, and children. And such a society needs a government that doesn’t promote violence and hate; a government that provides services instead of no-show jobs; a government that empowers its own people rather than subjugates and steals from them; a government that allows real political competition so the people have a choice instead of a mirage of democracy or accountability.

If Marwan Barghouti is the best option to succeed Abbas and lead the Palestinian government, then Abbas is destined to leave the Palestinian Authority no better than he found it.

Seth Mandel


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The New York Times’ Propaganda War on Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim

A recent New York Times article exemplifies why the Times simply cannot be trusted. Written by one David Kirkpatrick and titled “Vow of Freedom of Religion Goes Unkept in Egypt,” the article disingenuously interprets general truths in an effort to validate its thesis.

Much of this is done by omitting relevant facts that provide needed context. For example, Kirkpatrick makes Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the military—widely recognized as the heroes of the June 2013 revolution that toppled former President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood—appear responsible for the poor state of religious freedom in Egypt, when in fact the military has no authority over the judicial system, which is independent.

Even so, there is much evidence that Egypt, while far from becoming a Western-style democracy, is on a better path—certainly than under the Muslim Brotherhood. But these are seldom mentioned in the NYT report. Most recently, for example, the military-backed government jailed a popular Islamic scholar for contempt against Christianity—something that never happened under Morsi, when clerics were regularly and openly condemning and mocking Christians.

Similarly, Sheikh Yassir Burhami, the face of Egypt’s Salafi movement, is facing prosecution for contempt against Christianity for stating that Easter is an “infidel” celebration and that Muslims should not congratulate Christians during Easter celebrations. Previously under Morsi, Burhami was free to say even worse—including issuing a fatwa banning taxi drivers from transporting Christian priests to their churches.

Some positive developments are twisted to look as attacks on religious freedom. Kirkpatrick complains that “The new government has tightened its grip on mosques, pushing imams to follow state-approved sermons,” as if that is some sort of infringement on their rights, when in fact, mosques are the primary grounds where Muslims are radicalized to violence, especially against religious minorities like Coptic Christians. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of attacks on churches and Christians occur on Friday, the one day of the week when Muslims congregate in mosques and listen to sermons.

“State-approved sermons” are much more moderate and pluralistic in nature and the government’s way of keeping radicals and extremists from mosque podiums.

If Kirkpatrick truly cared about the religious freedom of Egypt’s minorities, he would laud this move by the government, instead of trying to portray it as an infringement of the rights of the radicals to “freely” preach hate.

Another positive development overlooked by the article is that Egypt’s native church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, was involved in drafting the new, post-Morsi constitution, and was allowed to voice its opinion over controversial Article Two, which deals with how influential Islamic Sharia will be in governing society. The Church accepted a more moderate version than the previous one articulated under Morsi, which the Church as well as millions of Egyptian Muslims, were against due to its draconian, Islamist nature.

Speaking of the Copts—who are Egypt’s litmus test concerning religious freedom—a closer examination of them alone demonstrates the disingenuous nature of Kirkpatrick’s observations.
Early in the report, and in the context of stating that “the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades,” Kirkpatrick asserts that “Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians …. on charges of contempt of religion.”

Interestingly, while this suggests Christians are being jailed under the current government on charges of blasphemy, a close reading reveals that that is not the case. Rather, Kirkpatrick is referring to the many Copts who were incarcerated under Morsi’s reign, some of whom still remain in jail.

Kirkpatrick seems to think that those not yet freeing Christians—due to the chaos it would likely cause among the already highly aggrieved Islamist/Salafi population—are as religiously intolerant as those who threw them in prison in the first place. 
Of course, back then under Morsi, when the full extent of “legal” persecution of Christian Copts in the context of “blasphemy” was revealed, the NYT and Kirkpatrick were remarkably silent.

The dissembling continues. Writes Kirkpatrick: “Many Coptic Christians and other religious minorities cheered the military takeover because they feared the Muslim Brotherhood, a religiously exclusive movement whose leaders have a history of denigrating non-Muslims” (emphasis added).
Christians did not “fear” the Brotherhood because their leaders have a long “history of denigrating non-Muslims,” but rather because their leaders have a long history of inciting violence and hate against Christians, leading to countless attacks and atrocities on Copts and their churches over the decades.

Under Morsi, Coptic Christianity’s most symbolic church and papal residence, St Mark Cathedral, was savagely attacked by an Islamist mob, aided and abetted by state security. Then, Coptic Pope Tawadros said that Morsi had “promised to do everything to protect the cathedral but in reality we don’t see this…. We need action not only words… There is no action on the ground… This flagrant assault on a national symbol, the Egyptian church, has never been subjected to this in 2,000 years.”
Kirkpatrick also fails to inform his readership that due to Muslim Brotherhood incitement against the Copts for “daring” to participate in the June revolution against Morsi, in “retaliation,” some 80 churches in Egypt were bombed, burned, or simply attacked by Brotherhood supporters.

Also left unsaid by the NYT is that it was Sisi who pledged that the armed forces would rebuild and renovate the destroyed churches. According to church officials, the army will be done renovating and rebuilding 16 of the churches destroyed by the Brotherhood by the end of June, at which point they will begin phase two of renovating the rest of churches.

Far from pointing this out, Kirkpatrick implies Sisi is indifferent to the Copts, writing for example that “unlike a rival presidential candidate, [Sisi] declined to attend Mass” at the Coptic cathedral during Easter. The fact is, due to Brotherhood assassination attempts—which the rival presidential candidate need not worry from—Sisi has had to decline many public events, not just Easter.

From here one can understand why Kirkpatrick’s next assertion makes perfect sense, even as he offers it with some puzzlement: “But the complaints about continued sectarianism have not deterred church leaders from firmly supporting Mr. Sisi as their protector against worse treatment by the Muslim majority. The Coptic pope, Tawadros II, has hailed Mr. Sisi as overwhelmingly popular, ‘a competent patriot’ on ‘an arduous mission,’ and ‘the one who rescued Egypt.’”

In short, when it comes to religious freedom and tolerance, the current government, although far from perfect, is also better than its Brotherhood predecessor. Hence why, not only the Coptic Church, but the majority of Egypt’s millions of Christians, support Sisi.

Needless to say, that is not the impression that Kirkpatrick gives, as he quotes an unknown Copt calling the pope’s statements which were supportive of Sisi “stupid and myopic.”

Thus it is only in the most general of ways that Kirkpatrick’s NYT article is accurate—in that, yes, religious freedom is still very problematic in Egypt, especially for minorities such as the Copts. It is true that police and security often do little to protect the Copts and their churches from Islamists–but this is partially because police stations are also under attack. Pope Tawadros recently confirmed that, in light of the circumstances, the police and government in general are doing better than under Morsi.
Overlooked and ignored are the true culprits of radicalization—the Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamists, who, through the mosques and satellite stations, have been radicalizing Egypt for decades. It will take a long time, if ever, to eradicate their influence, but the post-Brotherhood government is a first step in the right direction—despite the NYT’s nonstop propaganda to whitewash the Muslim Brotherhood and sometimes even al-Qaeda.

Raymond Ibrahim


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Jews, Get Out of Europe

by P. David Hornik


The Anti-Defamation League created a stir last week by releasing the results of a global survey of antisemitism, the most comprehensive ever.

These results are considered shocking by many. Actually, for those who bother to keep up with reality, they contain no surprises.

The Middle East and North Africa come out worst, with 74 percent among population groups qualifying as antisemitic according to the poll’s 11-question index. The most antisemitic political entities in the world? The West Bank and Gaza, coming in at 93 percent. (Yes, those same Palestinians with whom Israel is always under pressure to “make peace.”)

The next worst region is Eastern Europe, with 34 percent scoring as antisemites. But not too far behind is Western Europe—the home of multiculturalism, advanced environmental awareness, bevies of human rights NGOs, and so on—at 24 percent.

The West European countries scoring highest for antisemitism were Greece with a whopping 69 percent, France at 37 percent, and Spain at 29 percent. Germany did itself proud by coming in above the West European average at 27 percent—a bit over one-quarter antisemitic seven decades after the Holocaust.

Over the weekend the European Jewish Association (EJA), along with other European Jewish organizations, held a briefing on the survey in Brussels for EU ambassadors and officials.

One of the West European countries scoring lowest for antisemitism was the Netherlands at 5 percent. Yet Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Netherlands, told this gathering:
Today, there is a strong political polarization, especially in Holland. Radicals from both sides of the political spectrum have become more extreme, and the middle ground is disappearing. I can’t walk a whole day in the street without having at least one person shout the words “dirty Jew” at me, because I am visibly Jewish.
If so, one hates to think what it’s like in the high-scoring countries.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the EJA, “called upon all EU member states to establish central committees, directly accountable to the respective prime ministers, in order to lead the fight against anti-Semitism.”

But would establishing committees really be an adequate response at this stage?

Then things got really ugly.

In Milan, Spain on Sunday night, the Israeli professional basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv won the European championship in a stunning upset by beating Real Madrid. Many Israelis—not least the 9,000 loyal fans who flew to Milan to cheer their team—were ecstatic. The prime minister and the president congratulated the team, and on Monday night Tel Aviv held huge celebrations.

Spanish fans reacted differently. Of course, they weren’t expected to be happy that their team lost. But it wasn’t just a matter of not being happy.

It turns out that Spanish Twitter users reacted to the loss by “post[ing] 17,500 messages of anti-Semitic abuse.” After the game they “created an expletive anti-Semitic hashtag in their messages…, which briefly became one of the most popular keywords on Twitter in Spain.”

Specific reactions included “Jews to the oven” and “Jews to the showers.”

By the way, in Spain today—with its antisemitism ranking of 29 percent—there are about 45,000 Jews out of a total population of 47 million.

The report goes on to say that “Twelve Jewish groups in the northeastern Catalonia region lodged a legal complaint over the messages.” The leader of one of these groups “presented copies of anti-Semitic tweets to state prosecutors.”

Again, getting some of these vicious people in trouble—if that indeed happens—might be worthwhile; but would it really solve the problem?

Instead of committees, lawsuits, and the like, I would suggest a different solution: for Jews, at last, to give up on Europe. For good. To leave it and not go back to it (to live, at least) for a long time, if ever.

If the Holocaust was not enough to convince some Jews that they are not wanted in Europe; if, seven decades later, the situation is one where a rabbi in one of the less antisemitic countries cannot walk the streets without being called “dirty Jew,” is it not time to conclude that one is in the wrong place?

I would prefer for European Jews to come to Israel—which also has to cope with an antisemitic environment, but where Jews are in a qualitatively different situation because they stand on their own two feet and look out for themselves.

But if not Israel, at least not Europe.

The only remaining dignified response is for Jews to bid Europe adieu.

P. David Hornik


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