Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Hamas Said No to Egypt's Sisi

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas is probably interested in a cease fire, but not one that would bolster the standing of Sisi. Hamas is now aiming to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey. It now remains to be seen whether Qatar and Turkey will be able to save Hamas.

Hamas's rejection of Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire with Israel did not come as a surprise to many Palestinians.

On Wednesday, Hamas announced that it had officially informed the Egyptians of its opposition to the cease-fire proposal, which had been issued by the Egyptian authorities 48 hours earlier.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas was opposed to any cease-fire that "does not meet, from the outset, the conditions of the resistance groups."

One of the reasons that Hamas rejected the proposal, Abu Zuhri said, was because the Egyptians did not consult with the Islamist movement before announcing it.

Hamas's conditions included the reopening of all border crossings and the lifting of the blockade that was imposed on the Gaza Strip seven years ago.

But Hamas's rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire plan should be seen in the context of its strained relations with the regime of President Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Sisi's cease-fire proposal is not much different than that presented by deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in November 2012.

Then, Hamas accepted Morsi's proposal, entitled "Special Understandings For Cease-fire In Gaza."

Sisi's plan, rejected by Hamas, is entitled "The Egyptian Initiative For Cease-fire In Gaza."
Both plans called for a cessation of fighting between Israel and Hamas, and for the reopening of the border crossings for passengers and goods.

The main difference between the two plans was an invitation from Sisi to Israel and Hamas to hold separate talks in Cairo to "complete discussions about consolidating the cease-fire and pursuing confidence-building measures between the two parties."

Back then, Hamas had no problem accepting a cease-fire engineered by a Muslim Brotherhood president, who considered the movement a close friend and ally of Egypt.

But Hamas views Sisi as an enemy -- that is why its leaders are not prepared to accept anything he offers, even in the form of a cease-fire that is aimed at saving the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

By rejecting the cease-fire, Hamas has shown that it prefers Israel's bombs to Sisi's offer. For Hamas, Sisi represents a hostile regime that has declared war on the movement and its Muslim Brotherhood allies in Egypt.

Hamas holds Sisi responsible for tightening the blockade on the Gaza Strip by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed and destroying hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The last thing Hamas wants is to award Sisi -- and enhance his standing in the regional and international arena -- by accepting cease-fire "initiative" from him.

Similarly, Hamas does not want Abbas to play any role in a cease-fire agreement lest that strengthen his standing as the representative of all Palestinians.

Statements by Hamas leaders over the past week have been extremely critical of Abbas's stance regarding the war with Israel. Top Hamas officials have gone as far as condemning Abbas for conspiring with Israel and Egypt to eliminate the Islamist movement and end its control over the Gaza Strip.

A sign of growing tensions between Hamas and Abbas was provided on Tuesday when the Palestinian Health Minister, Jawad Awwad, tried to visit the Gaza Strip.

As soon as Awwad entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, Hamas supporters pelted his vehicle with stones, eggs and shoes, forcing him to flee the area.

The Palestinian Authority [PA] later issued a strong condemnation of the assault, holding Hamas "elements" responsible.

Palestinian Authority Health Minister Jawad Awwad is attacked by a mob upon exiting his official vehicle on a visit to Gaza.

Hamas leaders complained this week that President Sisi did not even bother to consult with them before drafting his cease-fire proposal. "We heard about the cease-fire proposal through the media," said a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip.

The official claimed that Sisi chose to negotiate with Israel and PA President Mahmoud Abbas instead of with Hamas and the other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is also suspicious of Sisi's true intentions. Leaders of the movement are convinced that the Egyptian president's ultimate goal is to disarm the movement and other terror groups and hand the Gaza Strip back to Abbas's PA.

Some Palestinians believe that Qatar and Turkey exerted pressure on Hamas to reject Sisi's cease-fire plan. Relations between the two countries and Egypt have deteriorated as a result of their continued support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Hamas is probably interested in a cease-fire, but not one that would bolster the standing of Sisi. This war is not only between Hamas and Israel. It is also a war also between Hamas and Sisi's Egypt.

Hamas is demanding that Israel halt its "aggression" on the Gaza Strip. But its main demand is that the Egyptians end their blockade on the Gaza Strip and reopen the Rafah border crossing.

Hamas is also demanding that the Egyptians stop their security measures against the Islamist movement and the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, including travel restrictions and the destruction of smuggling tunnels.

Hamas is now seeking to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey. The movement is determined to deny Sisi the "honor" of assuming a major role in solving the current crisis. So far, Hamas appears to have been successful in its effort to marginalize Sisi. It now remains to be seen whether Qatar and Turkey will be able to save Hamas.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

Hamas tells Civilians to Return to their Homes to act as Human Shields

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Two days ago, Israel warned Palestinians who live near the Israeli border in the Northern Gaza Strip, an area from which Hamas launches long-range missiles, to evacuate their homes to areas of safety before Israel bombed the launching sites. Hamas' Ministry of Interior immediately called on its civilian population to ignore Israel's warnings and remain in their homes in spite of the danger:
"An important and urgent message:

The [Hamas] Ministry of the Interior and National Security calls on our honorable people in all parts of the [Gaza] Strip to ignore the warnings [to vacate areas near rocket launching sites before Israel bombs them] that are being disseminated by the Israeli occupation through manifestos and phone messages, as these are part of a psychological war meant to sow confusion on the [Palestinian] home front, in light of the [Israeli] enemy's security failure and its confusion and bewilderment."

[Hamas' Ministry of Interior spokesman Iyad al-Buzu, on Ministry's Facebook page, July 12, 2014]

However, many Palestinians did leave their homes, and yesterday Hamas called on them to return, saying that leaving only helps Israel "in carrying out its plans... to destroy [your] property and homes." Hamas' demand that people stay in their homes to prevent Israeli attacks on these missile sites is a demand that they act as human shields:

"Answering the occupation's calls will merely aid it in carrying out its plans to weaken the [Palestinian] home front and to destroy property and homes as soon as you leave them. We call on all our people who have left their homes to return to them immediately."

[Hamas' Ministry of Interior spokesman Iyad al-Buzu, on Ministry's Facebook page, July 13, 2014]

Hamas opposition to Palestinians leaving their homes is so great that after UNRWA opened schools to house those who had run for safety, Hamas TV broadcast a press conference protesting UNRWA's opening of schools. A representative of the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces read the decisions reached at the conference:

"We call on our Palestinian people, particularly the residents of northwest Gaza, not to obey what is written in the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli occupation army. We call on them to remain in their homes and disregard the demands to leave, however serious the threat may be."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 14, 2014]

Click to view
Palestinian Media Watch has reported in the past that using civilians as human shields is a strategy of choice for Hamas, which is why it places missiles near homes and mosques. Last week, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas' use of civilians as human shields has proven effective:

Al-Aqsa TV reporter: "Witnesses are talking about a large crowd. The residents are still gathering to reach the Kaware family home in order to prevent the Zionist occupation's fighter planes from striking it."

Al-Aqsa TV host: "People are reverting to a method that was very successful once."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri: "The people oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone... I think this method has proven effective against the occupation. It also reflects the nature of our heroic and brave people, and we, the [Hamas] movement, call on our people to adopt this method in order to protect the Palestinian homes."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 8, 2014]

The PA and Hamas death-seeking ideology fosters willingness to die as human shields

Hamas' success in convincing civilians to act as human shields is a direct outcome of years of PA and Hamas indoctrination that there is no greater achievement than dying for Allah. Dying in the conflict with Israel, as a fighter, suicide bomber, or a passive civilian in a combat zone, is defined by both the PA and Hamas as "achieving Shahada (Martyrdom)." Dying for Allah is an achievement to be sought. Recently, the essence of this Palestinian Shahada-seeking (Martyrdom-seeking) ideology was explained in great detail by then-PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, (today the Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs):

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "After prophecy and righteousness, there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada

(Martyrdom)... Allah forbade us to consider them [the Shahids - Martyrs] as dead or to speak of them as being dead... They went smiling to their deaths... The Shahid has merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... 'The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound...
The Shahid advocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell. The Shahid lives [in Paradise] together with the prophets and the righteous ones...'We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won't. So let us reach the level of the Shahids. I say to you, brothers, as the Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'He who honestly seeks Shahada, Allah will give him the status of the Shahids, even if he dies in his bed.'" 

[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013] (See longer text translated below)
In a later sermon, Al-Habbash preached:

"Brothers, Allah willing, only 'one of the two best things' (Quran) will happen to us - victory or Shahada (Martyrdom) - and what a great fate this is, what a great rank this is - victory or Shahada."
[Official PA TV, Dec. 20, 2013]

It is notable that this death-seeking ideology was delineated by a PA religious leader.

The great success of this indoctrination, which goes against the basic instinct for self-preservation, can be seen in numerous statements by adults and children broadcast on Palestinian TV stations glorifying Shahada and expressing yearning for this acclaimed Martyrdom death for Allah.

A few months ago, Hamas TV broadcast interviews with children in Jenin in the PA-governed West Bank, expressing the ideal of dying for Allah:

Newsreader: "For most of these children, resistance has become a dream...
When you speak to them, you're surprised by the strength and eloquence of their words."

Boy: "We love the resistance. We want to die as Martyrs. Long live the Martyrs."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) YouTube channel, May 8, 2014]

Hamas' call to use civilians as human shields is successful only because the PA and Hamas have educated their people to value the ideal of dying for Allah.

In 2008, PMW reported that Hamas openly took pride in comparing their preference for death to the "Zionist enemy's" preference for life:

Then-Hamas member of Palestinian Parliament, Fathi Hammad said:

"For the Palestinian people, death became an industry at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire Death, as you desire Life."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Feb. 29, 2008]

The following are longer texts of the items glorifying Shahada:

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "After prophecy and righteousness there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada (Martyrdom)... ''And think not of those who have been killed in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord.' Allah forbade us to consider them [the Shahids (Martyrs)] as dead or to speak of them as being dead... They went smiling to their deaths... The Shahid has merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... No one - not even the righteous - yearns to return to this world after death. Only Shahids. Why? Because they see the great honor Allah has prepared for them. One of them aspired to return to this world in order to be killed again, in order to die as a Shahid yet again... Allah spoke with one of them (a Shahid), Jabir ibn Abdullah... After all he saw in Paradise, he wanted to return and be killed [again] in order to taste the pain of death a second time. Abdullah said to Him: 'Lord, then tell those who follow us about what we have found.' Allah Himself is conveying to us the message from the Shahids. The prophets convey Allah's message and Allah conveys the message of the Shahids. What kindness! 'The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound... The Shahid advocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell. The Shahid lives together with the prophets and the righteous ones.' When they threatened Yasser Arafat, [he said] 'You threaten me with death?

I yearn to die! I come only to it; I seek only it.' We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won't. So let us reach the level of the Shahids. I say to you, brothers, as the Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'He who honestly seeks Shahada, Allah will give him the status of the
Shahids, even if he dies in his bed.'"

[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013]

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "We know for certain that as long as we [adhere] to the truth, we will face challenges and be made a target - as individuals and as groups - we know this for certain. Nonetheless, we are also confident in the words of Allah: 'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International). What do you expect, enemies, cowards (indistinct word), what do they expect will happen to us? 'One of the two best things.' Brothers, Allah willing, only one of the two best things will happen to us - victory or Martyrdom (Shahada) - and what a good fate this is, what a good level is this - victory or Martyrdom... 'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International). Await, wait a short while, I swear the signs heralding victory are seen on the horizon. I swear in a God, beside whom there is no other God, that the end of the tyranny and the tyrants is near. This occupation and its growths and creations that wish to spread corruption in our land... We tell them all, the occupation and the occupation's instruments and any who serve the occupation: 'Await for us except one of the two best things' - we, Allah willing, [will be] either Martyrs or victors on our land. [...]

Pay attention, it is Allah who says: 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' (Quran, Sura 3:111, translation Sahih International) - it is possible that they will harm you. I say to you, it is possible that they will kill us, it is possible that Allah will sentence us to Martyrdom. It is possible that we will be wounded, it is possible that terrorism will be laid on us - 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' - but in the end, 'and if they fight you, they will show you their backs' and the conclusion - 'then they will not be aided' (Quran, Sura, 3:111, translation, Sahih International). We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land."

[Official PA TV, Dec. 20, 2013]

Hamas TV reporter: For most of these children, resistance has become a dream... When you speak to them, you're surprised by the strength and eloquence of their words. Boy: We love the resistance. We want to die as Martyrs. Long live the Martyrs...
Boy: The Israeli occupation understands only resistance. We always love the resistance, to liberate our nation Palestine. And among us, the Martyrs are loved. Applause for the Martyrs...
Reporter: The atmosphere in the refugee camp is full of the spirit of resistance and of those who inscribed its stories of heroism. Most of the walls show you the images of the Martyrs...
Boy: The resistance, the armed resistance is what brings results in the Jenin refugee camp... The Jenin refugee camp continues to educate its children to resist, and passes on the flag to them, from generation to generation. They yearn for one of the two best outcomes --  the return to their occupied lands, or Martyrdom.

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) YouTube channel, May 8, 2014]

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik


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

Israel Watching Hizballah While Fighting a Cautious Battle With Hamas

by Yaakov Lappin

IDF photo
The 10th day of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) "Operation Protective Edge" featured a five-hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian supplies to reach people in Gaza. The ceasefire was violated by rocket launchers in Gaza, who fired three projectiles into Israeli regions in the south. Before the ceasefire took effect, Hamas sent 13 heavily terrorists, carrying RPGs and AK-47 assault rifles through a tunnel from Gaza into Israel, where it is believed they wanted to attack a nearby kibbutz.

The IDF says it "neutralized the threat" and video it released shows the tunnel opening being blown up seconds after the terrorists were seen retreating back underground. It believes several members of the cell were harmed in the blast. No Israelis were hurt thanks to the IDF's readiness, but army sources said a massacre of civilians had been narrowly averted.

Unlike past conflicts with Hamas, this Israeli operation – which is aimed at extinguishing rocket fire on Israeli cities – is slow-paced and deliberate. This approach enables the security cabinet and military planners to carefully examine the developing situation, set targets, and decide on their next move without a great deal of pressure.

This atmosphere, considered conducive to decision-making during war, is possible thanks to the dazzling success of the Iron Dome air defense system (10 batteries are currently in operation – double the number that were deployed during Israel's 2012 clash with Hamas).

The conflict began when Hamas ignored Israeli demands to cease firing heavy rocket barrages last week, and continued when Hamas rejected an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire in recent days.

Israeli military sources say that Hamas initiated the conflict due its growing regional isolation, which began when Hamas's ideological twin and founding movement, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, was ejected from power in Egypt last year. Hamas' crisis has grown ever since. Through a conflict with Israel, Hamas hopes to ends its isolation, reenter the Palestinian mainstream as a "hero," and secure a cash flow for its 43,000 members on the payroll, or risk seeing its Gaza regime sink into a sea of anarchy and debt.

But Hamas' decision to launch a war against Israel has backfired. The Arab world has largely given it a cold shoulder, and Hamas' military wing in Gaza, the Ezz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, is growing weaker by the day due to Israel's military blows.

Israel's Air Force and Navy have launched nearly 2,000 strikes on Hamas and Islamic targets in this operation, delivering a series of painful strikes, and knocking out many underground rocket launchers. An estimated 3,000 rockets (a third of Gaza's arsenal) have been destroyed, as well as command and control centers, while around 100 Hamas and Islamic Jihad field operatives have been killed.

Several tunnels dug by Hamas, earmarked for future attacks on the Israeli border, or for sending gunmen and suicide bombers under the border into southern Israel to carry out a killing spree among civilians, also have been destroyed.

Israel has thus far focused its efforts on deterring Hamas from continuing the fight. But faced with Hamas's insistence on continuing the conflict, Jerusalem may now be contemplating going beyond deterrence, and targeting all of Hamas's military assets for destruction.

While Israel's firepower has been highly effective, Hamas' has been the opposite, due in large part to the Iron Dome air defense system. Hamas and other organizations fired 1,400 rockets into Israel since the start of the operation. Of those, Iron Dome knocked out 272 that were heading toward high-population centers. More than 1,000 rockets fell in open, sparsely populated areas, and a few caused heavy damage to Israeli homes and injuries. One man was killed Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the constant barrages of rockets disrupt daily life in Israel, terrorizing its civilians and sends them fleeing for shelter every time an air raid siren goes off.

Hamas has fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem repeatedly, and even fired long-range rockets, with ranges of 150 kilometers, at northern Israel.

As the fighting continues, Israel is amassing 56,000 ground troops on the border with Gaza, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu edges closer to ordering a ground offensive.

The IDF is preparing to encounter urban warfare, combat in underground tunnels, and terrorist cells armed with anti-tank missiles and automatic weapons that lie in wait.

Air power alone is not enough to achieve a fallout victory. Many of Hamas' nerve centers and rocket launching infrastructure are hidden deep underneath civilian buildings – targets that Israel refuses to strike for fear of harming Palestinian noncombatants.

As Hamas insists on continuing the conflict, the IDF is prepared to move to a new stage in its operation, aimed at systematically destroying what remains of its offensive capabilities.

Even in the midst of the fighting, the IDF is keeping a close watch on Hizballah in Lebanon, acutely aware that Hizballah is returning the same watchful gaze.

On the one hand, Hizballah is likely highly aware of the fact that the IDF dropped heavy bombs on the homes of Hamas's battalion and brigade commanders – structures that doubled up as command centers. The message to Hizballah seems clear – it, too, will face devastating firepower in the event of a conflict and its attempt to plant assets in the middle of civilian neighborhoods will not prevent that outcome.

Hamas and Hizballah are both experts at guerrilla-terrorist asymmetrical warfare, and both convert densely-populated civilian regions into rocket bases. They convert mosques and residential buildings into command and control centers, and bunkers dug under homes into rocket storage facilities.

But the similarities end there.

In terms of firepower, Hizballah's rocket arsenal is more than 10 times greater than Gaza's.
With 100,000 rockets in Hizballah's possession, including missiles with warheads of hundreds of tons, which have ranges of several hundred kilometers, the current pattern of conflict between Hamas and Israel cannot be replicated by Jerusalem in the event of a full-scale clash with Hizballah.

Some of Hizballah's projectiles can bring down whole buildings.

Israel does not have enough air defenses to cope with Hizballah's rocket onslaught, and the David's Sling system, designed to shoot down heavy Hizballah rockets, is not operational. Even if that changed, Israel's defense budget would not allow for the creation of sufficient numbers of interceptor missiles to deal with the level of firepower that Hizballah has amassed. According to Israeli estimates, the Lebanese terror organization is number five in the world in terms of its firepower (Israel is number two).

This means that Israel would have to rely on a far stronger offense against Hizballah than the one it has employed so far against Hamas.

Attacks would be characterized by a massive wave of air strikes, in which thousands of targets are destroyed every day. Israeli ground forces would likely be ordered to launch an immediate offensive aimed at seizing southern Lebanon, and put out the rocket fire.

As Israel prepares its next move against Hamas, it knows that a far larger and more dangerous enemy to the north is observing its every move, and searching for weaknesses.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post's military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.


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

Rampant Anti-Semitism Is Flourishing across the World

by Lauri B. Regan

Sitting in my office almost forty floors above ground level in midtown Manhattan last week, I was astounded to be drawn away from my work by chants of “Free free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  Even up in the clouds, the demonstrators’ voices were clear and loud, almost as if they were just outside my window. 

Based on the level of violent protests taking place across the globe, the pro-Palestinians in New York seemed comparably tame – yet no less offensive.  For if there is any question that chants of “from the river to the sea” are wishful thinking for the annihilation of the Jewish State of Israel, the calls for “Death to Israel” were anything but vague. 

Domestically, pro-Palestinians are using Israel’s defensive military incursion into Gaza as an excuse to let loose on the Jews.  In San Francisco, 300 anti-Israel protestors surrounded and threatened 30 peaceful pro-Israel demonstrators.  In addition to the usual chants, they screamed, “Long live the intifada, we support the intifada,” calling for violent uprising against Israelis. 

At a protest this weekend in Los Angeles, what began as a peaceful pro-Israel event escalated as pro-Palestinians attacked the demonstrators, drawing in Federal Homeland Security officers, one of whom was forced to fire a weapon.  Farther north in Seattle, signs and chants reflected more of a general hatred of Jews rather than simply protests regarding the current conflict in Gaza.  “Zionist Israel = Nazi Germany”; “Palestine screams terror, Israel screams greed”; “AIPAC Supports the Murder of Children”; and a poster depicting a Jew eating a gentile child with a cup of blood on the side are but a few examples of the anti-Semitic displays.

Not to be outdone by their anti-Semitic brethren out west, here on the east coast (aka the other left coast), protests were not limited to the streets of New York.  In Philadelphia, a pro-Israel vigil was interrupted by the typical chants for Israel’s destruction, but it was in Boston where things turned physical as a pro-Israel activist was assaulted by a woman shouting "that Muslims and Christians would someday take possession of Jerusalem and that the ‘Jews will go to hell, inshallah [God willing].’”

Alas, the domestic ugliness is in fact tame compared to the violent demonstrations erupting throughout Europe, reminding us that the hatred that led to the Holocaust during World War II remains alive and well.  Last week pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris led to hundreds of Jews being besieged inside a synagogue while police clashed with the violent extremists; three Jews were hospitalized.  While the pro-Palestinian demonstrators on Paris streets outnumbered domestic events, the violence, which the leader of the French ecology party justified, was quite distressing.  One reporter stated, “What I have seen today is Arab hatred against Jews. Pure hatred. Right in the middle of Paris. Don’t try to ‘explain’ or ‘understand’, it was hatred, period.”

This past weekend, a rabbi walking to synagogue in Casablanca was badly beaten while his cries for help were ignored by passersby.   Earlier this week, neo-Nazi Islamists took to the streets in Frankfurt chanting, “You Jews are beasts.”  The police allowed the protestors to use their vehicles and megaphones, purportedly in order to “deescalate” the situation.  In London, protestors stood in front of the Israeli embassy and in “blood curdling speeches” compared “Palestine” to Auschwitz and Dachau as “some mocked the Holocaust, others disfigured the Israeli flag, a few screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’, [and] they all called for the destruction of the Jewish state.”

Despite the latest wave of pro-Palestinian demonstrations, it is important to recognize that anti-Semitic voices are not new.  In Europe, anti-Semitism is so pervasive that some are questioning whether Jews even have a future living there.  Even before the violent demonstrations in response to Operation Protective Edge, Jews in Europe have been targeted – e.g., the recent murder of four people at the Jewish Museum in BrusselsFrance is particularly hostile, with 50% of all racist crimes in France motivated by anti-Semitism despite Jews representing 1% of the population. 

In the U.S., our college campuses are rampant with anti-Semites making their voices heard.  From NYU and Harvard to the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley, it is not uncommon for Jewish students to receive death threats or faux eviction notices while administrators remain silent.  Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and others have been documenting and fighting the growing anti-Israel movements on colleges across the nation while the average American, the mainstream media, and our government take little notice of the dangers this trend poses.

But it is not just colleges that have been infiltrated with anti-Israel views.  The mainstream media has been obsessed with demonizing Israel for decades.  HonestReporting has been documenting the media bias in reporting on Israel, and it is without question that this bias has helped lead to anti-Israel indoctrination across the globe.  As this sickness takes hold in the minds of mostly leftists, the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement is also growing with hate-filled supporters who call for boycotts of Israeli products (reminiscent of those that occurred against Jewish businesses in Europe pre-WWII). 

A new Pew Research poll reflects the partisan divide in support for Israel: “the share of Republicans who sympathize more with Israel has risen [since April] from 68% to 73%; 44% of Democrats express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians, which is largely unchanged from April (46%).”  This is not surprising.  Note the cities where anti-Semitic, anti-Israel demonstrations have occurred.  They are all in blue states where Jews live and thrive.  Sadly, many of those Jews join the Israel-haters with their progressive ideology and politically correct obsessions that lead to anti-Semitic views being not only tolerated, but permitted to flourish.

Not all anti-Semites in the U.S. are peaceful protestors who simply shout hateful speech while encouraging violence.  Many are in fact violent.  The knockout game involves black youths beating people until they are knocked unconscious.  Although little mentioned by the media, Jews have been disproportionately targeted by these haters in cities across the country.  And the FBI’s hate crime statistics indicate that Jews are the most targeted faith, constituting 62.4% of victims.  By comparison, Muslims constituted 11%.  So much for Islamophobia.

In an article entitled “Does Anti-Semitism Threaten American Jews?” Kenneth Marcus of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law observed:
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) important new study, there are now one billion adult anti-Semites in the world. As Rabbi Yoffie acknowledges, this is fully a quarter of the world’s adult population. Can American Jewry shrug this off?
As the post-Holocaust taboo against anti-Semitism erodes, the ramifications are troubling. Suppose that one in ten thousand anti-Semites should physically harm or threaten Jews or Jewish institutions in a given year. Under this scenario, serious anti-Semitic incidents would increase to 100,000 per year, even if anti-Semitic attitudes remain constant. In other words, things can get much worse.
While despots around the world murder and maim their citizens with poison gas, torture, and work camps, it is Israel, a democratic, tolerant, and free society, that faces demonization, U.N. and international condemnation, and boycotts.  While Jews are a charitable people who have contributed to the advancement of medicine, technology, academia, and the like, hate for them is irrationally exploding worldwide.

The sickness known as Nazi Germany is rearing its ugly head under the guise of pro-Palestinian movements.  Despite the fact that it is not state-supported outside Arab lands, as it was during WWII, it is no less dangerous and far more open and pervasive today.

While my office may sit up in the clouds, anti-Semitism had no trouble reaching me last week.  It is my hope that world leaders, Jewish leaders, and sane citizens of the civilized Western world come down from the clouds to help stop this psychosis before it spreads too far and wide to contain.

Lauri B. Regan


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

This Time, Re-possess the Philadelphi Corridor

by Victor Sharpe

It is under this corridor that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist entities have dug hundreds of tunnels through which they smuggle their weapons into Gaza.

Almost three years have passed since that article was published and enormous quantities of Iranian, Syrian and homemade missiles - all lethal - have flooded into Gaza through the smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor.

With the possibility of yet another ceasefire coming into effect at this time of writing, the same dreary and perilous situation will likely apply again.

The first Egyptian brokered ceasefire on July 14th was accepted by Israel but immediately broken by Hamas, which launched salvos of missiles against Israeli towns and villages. Rumors abound that now Hamas seeks a 10 year hudna – another bogus ceasefire – complete with outrageous demands and conditions.

But as surely as night follows day, Hamas will attack again and again and again when it deems the moment is favorable to it.

This rumored ceasefire is based on the ten-year treaty of Hudaibiya which was ratified between Muhammad and his Quraish opponents in Mecca (628). Ten years is the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels and is based on Muhammad’s example of breaking the treaty after only two years. The sole function of the “peace-treaty” (hudna) is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup for a renewed offensive.

Muhammad is quoted in the Hadith saying: “If I take an oath and later find something else better, I do what is better and break my oath.” Let us hope that Israel will not fall for this duplicitous Muslim ploy.

It is helpful to be aware of relatively recent history to better understand what is going on now. Ever since Egypt invaded and occupied Gaza in the 1948 Arab-Israel War, the area has been a perilous finger of death pointing into the very heart of the Jewish state.

In subsequent years, Arab terrorists (fedayeen) from Gaza infiltrated as far north as Rehovot and beyond, murdering hundreds of Israeli civilians including children.

In October, 1956, Israel finally struck back against the Egyptian occupied Gaza Strip and the terrorist bases during the Sinai Campaign. But bowing to savage pressure from the United States, Israel withdrew from Sinai and Gaza. It was not until the 1967 Six Day War, however, that Jewish villages and farms were established and, in some instances such as Kfar Darom,reconstituted in the Gaza Strip.

But all this ended when the late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, drove the Jewish residents and farmers from Gaza in the vain hope that the Palestinians would live in peace next to Israel. Of course, they did not and anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knew that no Muslim entity would ever make peace with the Jewish state. 

Later still, under U.S. pressure, especially from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sharon signed an agreement in Sep 2005, called "Agreed Arrangements," that withdrew Israeli forces from the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14-km long and 100-meter wide area between Gaza and Egypt.

It is under this corridor that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist entities have dug hundreds of tunnels through which they smuggle their weapons into Gaza. The retreat from the Philadelphi Corridor at the urgings of Condolleza Rice was one of many disastrous concessions and risks taken by Israeli leaders in their naïve search for peace with the Muslim and Arab world.

It was only a matter of time before Hamas, the little Muslim Brotherhood, evicted their Fatah rivals in a bloody coup in 2007. Hamas, with its charter calling for Israel’s extermination, has ruled the Gaza Strip since then, including occupying the Philadelphi Corridor.

As Israel endures this third act of Palestinian aggression by Hamas in Gaza, repossessing the Philadelphi Corridor is again a militarily and strategically wise decision. Doing so will no doubt evoke screams of rage from the morally compromised world, but then they will always condemn Israel however peaceful and restrained the Jewish state acts. So with that truism, it is surely better to be hung in the media and the international corridors of power as a wolf than a sheep.

Repossessing territory as punishment for Palestinian crimes and aggression is also a salutary move which strikes at the very heart of Islamic supremacy and expansionism.

It is just as much in Egypt’s best interests as well as Israel’s to frustrate Hamas aggression and so far Egypt’s President al-Sisi, has shown no love for Hamas. It is definitely Israel’s only hope of security to arbitrarily liberate and re-possess the narrow Corridor.

After all, should al-Sisi be overthrown by the Muslim Brotherhood at some future time in the ever shifting sands of Arab and Muslim internecine strife there would be no more need for smuggling tunnels beneath the Egyptian - Gaza border. Instead, endless fleets of trucks will bring into the Strip from Egypt - the big Muslim Brotherhood - the most sophisticated weapons and missiles needed for Hamas - the little Muslim Brotherhood. Only by possessing the Philadelphi Corridor again can Israel hope to stem such a lethal tide.

Remember that when the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979, the 14 km long security and buffer zone known as the Philadelphi Corridor was under Israel’s control. Its purpose was to prevent the illegal importation into the Gaza Strip from Egypt of weapons and terrorists to be used against Israel.

The Oslo Accords, signed in 1995, allowed Israel to retain the security corridor along the border and it soon became apparent that Sinai Bedouin and the Palestinian Arabs were digging ever more sophisticated smuggling tunnels under it. But following the infamous and tragic disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and Condoleeza Rice’s subsequent urging, Israel foolishly gave up control of the Philadelphi Corridor to the Palestinian Authority in September of that year and was no longer able to monitor and destroy tunnels.

Interestingly, the Fatah wing of the Palestinian Authority, according to David Poort in Al Jazeera, had later pleaded with the Israeli government to re-occupy the Philadelphi corridor on the Gaza-Egypt border, in order to tighten the siege on its rival Hamas in Gaza.

“In a meeting in Jerusalem, Ahmed Qurei, the former Palestinian Authority prime minister and member of Fatah, asked Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, if Israel could retake the Philadelphi corridor to seal the border and cut off military supplies to Hamas.” Apparently Livni did nothing and Hamas, as we know, was greatly strengthened ever since.

Whether one accepts as sincere the deep concerns expressed by the PA leadership regarding Hamas and its urging of Israel, specifically Tzipi Livni at the time, to re-possess the Philadelphi Corridor, it nevertheless is crystal clear that not to do so this time will inevitably bring even more dire security problems for the increasingly beleaguered Jewish state.

In fact, David Eshel of Defense Update, argued back in 2009 for the IDF to take back the Philadelphi Corridor, which is some 14 kilometers in length but only 100 meters in width. He suggested increasing its width to "a fully sterile security line of about 1,000 meters."

So, as I urged as far back as August 2011, take it, Israel, and take it soon, for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the other haters of the Jewish state neither sleep nor rest. 

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of the trilogy, Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.


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

Israel is Dealing with Hamas, a Death Cult

by Carl Olsson

In the whole history of human warfare, has there ever been a combatant chided for inflicting too many casualties on the enemy while not suffering enough of its own?  Can you imagine if we’d fought WW II that way?  The only place we suffered more casualties than the Japanese in our island hopping campaign was on Iwo Jima.  I guess that means that every other island invasion was immoral, or at least somehow tainted. 

Richard Baehr makes many good points about fighting under such an atmosphere in his Israel Hayom article, titled, Hamas death cult celebrates first 'success':
The death cult known as Hamas is celebrating its first great success of the current campaign to murder Jews indiscriminately across the length and width of Israel. Today it struck gold as Israel suffered its first death from rocket or mortar fire from Gaza. This required The New York Times, America's paper of record for those who would vote for President Barack Obama for a third term if they only could, to point out that this one Israeli casualty has to be placed in context with the approximately 200 dead Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli bombing attacks. This disproportionality of Israeli versus Arab deaths has been a constant concern for Israel's enemies on the Left in every engagement the nation has had with terror groups starting with the war with Hezbollah in 2006.
For pretty much every other nation in the history of the world, the goal in any war has been to win quickly and decisively, with the lowest casualty cost to your own side, and if morality is a part of your culture (which of course eliminates many war participants, including all of those who have fought Israel in its modern history), with no needless suffering caused to the other side's civilian population. William Saletan, hardly a down-the-line supporter of Israel (he is a fierce critic of home demolitions of the families of terrorists) has applauded Israel for its enormous efforts to accomplish its military goals in the current air campaign, while avoiding civilian casualties.
He goes on to point out that there is substantial evidence in the ratio of male to female deaths (3 or 4 to 1) that Israel is targeting combatants. If, like Hamas, Israel attempted to inflict damage on civilians, the ratio would be roughly 1 to 1.

The only way to understand this “proportionality” thing is as anti-Zionism, if not outright anti-Semitism.  It just makes no sense at all otherwise.

The only way the threat of violence acts as a deterrent is when you are seen as being able to inflict more damage on your enemy than it’s worth.  Hamas is perfectly willing to let Israel kill Palestinians because it understands that this “proportionality” nonsense common to the western world’s Left is a significant tool in undermining support for Israel.  Hamas figured out long ago that a few Jewish dead and a lot of Palestinian dead works in its favor.  It won’t stop until it doesn’t work in Hamas’ favor.  And it will work in Hamas’ favor so long as people believe that it is immoral for Israel to kill more than one Palestinian for every dead Jew.

If the people upset about the lack of proportionality in Jewish/Palestinian casualties really wanted to help keep Palestinians alive, they’d support Israel’s right to defend its citizens using massive retaliation.  Then Hamas’ calculation would change.  But they don’t really care about helping Palestinians; they care about hurting Jews.

Baehr writes a good article.  It makes rational points. But the enemy here is not irrationality, it is hatred, swelling in Europe and washing onto the shores of the United States.  I fear for the future of Jews, even in this country.

The basic problem is that the Arabs never had the Enlightenment.  At best, they are at the point where Europe was during the 30 Years War.  My hope is that western values will reach an increasingly thoughtful Arab (and Iranian) professional class and trickle down.  This seems not to be happening because of animus towards the West.  For this, European colonialism bears much, though certainly not sole, responsibility.  (Another is Saudi oil money lavishly underwriting fundamentalist Islam.)

Carl Olsson


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

Mordechai Kedar: Gaza, A Tragedy of Errors

by Mordechai Kedar

Every organization, like every group, has goals and objectives, and every group organizes its objectives according to its own priorities, with these objectives and their order of importance serving to reflect the group's culture. Different groups have different objectives and different priorities, and it is the interaction between groups that exposes the objectives of each of them as well as their individual priorities and cultures.

Disputes between groups occur when their goals are diametrically opposed.

For example, the Jewish people living in Israel see the Land of Israel as their land and their primary goal is to survive there forever, while the so-called (Pan) Arab Nation has chosen destroying Israel as one of its goals, but not as the chief one. The reason that Israel still survives in the Middle East is that its destruction –for the time being – is not the main thrust of the Arab Nation, which has not united in an attempt to destroy her. 

Peace between parties in conflict arrives when one of them, or both, changes its opposing goals or priorities.

When Egypt and Jordan defined themselves as  independent from the Arab Nation (supposing there really is a united Arab entity) and its primary goals, and when the rulers of these countries understood that the meta-goal of eliminating Israel is not achievable, they further changed their order of priorities, placing economic issues in higher priority - and making peace with Israel.

Did the change filter down to the general population? – That is a different question, which has no clearcut answer.

Sometimes one group temporarily changes its priorities for a short period due to other concerns. A humanitarian catastrophe such as tidal waves and heavy rains that cause flooding can cause the group to cease its jihad against Israel for a while so as to rescue women and children from homes that have been flooded.

Does that mean that the flooding has erased the jihad from its place at the top of the list of priorities? Most definitely not. 

Unemployment and famine can also temporarily change the order of priorities, explaining the desire of Gazans to work in Israel. At the moment, they need to make a living and are willing to come to work in Israel, letting the jihad wait for a more opportune time.

Mistakes happen when one group thinks that the rival group has permanently changed its priorities, when it is actually only pretending to do so, or has done so temporarily.  This is the major error of those who pushed for the Oslo process, among them Israelis, Europeans and Americans. Someone bamboozled them into thinking that the artificial new group, self-defined as "Palestinians", had left the Arab Nation and adopted objectives and priorities that differ from those of the Arab Nation.

Because the Israeli Arabs worked in Israel from 1967, some, both in and out of Israel, believed that they had separated themselves from the Arab Nation and erased the destruction of Israel from their culture and objectives.

This is also the reason that the tired souls among us - and in the world - make sure to call them "Palestinians" and not "Arabs" – not only because they want to create a new nation, but in order to allow for a new culture that does not include the meta-objective of the Arab and Islamic Nation, destroying Israel.

The concept of a New Middle East that spawned the Oslo Accords was based on the premise that the Arab Nation changed its priorities, erased destroying Israel from the top of its list of priorities, and has replaced it with welfare, development, education and health. The Palestinians, according to this concept, have changed their priorities, erased the destruction of Israel and replaced it with the state, economy and welfare.

Reality was more complex: Hamas appeared on the stage in 1987 and did not hide its goals and priorities.In addition, there was Yasser Arafat searching for a way to bring a Trojan horse, that is Arab military forces, into the land of Israel, with some naïve Israelis believing that the PLO would "take care of Hamas without a Bagatz or Betselem (without having to obey the courts and face hostile NGO's) ".

They thought that Arafat was telling the truth and fell right into his trap, despite it being obvious that he had no intention of changing his objectives and priorities. He only changed his way of speaking, in order to be able to continue with his nefarious plans.

In 2004, the blood-soaked Second Intifada was beginning to recede. Israelis were weary and exhausted from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PLO terror attacks and the more than 1000 victims killed in them. Many Israelis searched for a solution and building on the foundation of this national depression, then PM Ariel Sharon decided to leave Gaza unilaterally.

The decision was greeted with approval not only by the left, but also in the political center and even to its right. Many people felt that the expulsion of residents from the Katif Bloc was a fair price for disengaging from Gaza. Many Israelis expected the PLO to establish normal life in Gaza and that it would control Hamas and other terror groups because of its interest in establishing a strong entity that could eventually become a state. This opinion ruled in Sharon's government and he was party to it. On June 6, 2004, the government met to discuss the plans for the "Disengagement" and in Decision no. 1996 of that date, wrote:

"…The goal of the plan (the Disengagement, M,.K.) is to bring about an improved political, secure, economic and demographic situation. In any future permanent agreement, there will be no Israeli settlements in Gaza. The state of Israel supports the efforts of the United States, in conjunction with the international community, to advance the progress of reforms, establishment of institutions and economic improvement for the welfare of he Palestinian civilians, so that a new Palestinian leadership will arise and prove itself able to fulfill its commitments as expressed in the Roadmap.

"Leaving Gaza should serve to minimize friction with the Palestinian population.  Bringing the plan to fruition will nullify the claim that Israel is responsible for the Palestinians in Gaza… Israel will supervise the encircling border of the land in Gaza, it will have sole control of the air space over the area and will maintain a naval presence in the sea bordering Gaza.

"Gaza will be demilitarized except for those weapons permitted in the agreements reached by both sides. The state of Israel retains the right to self defense, including preventive measures as well as responding with the use of force against threats that may develop from Gaza…"

This agreement is a clear expression of the self-delusion that Israel convinced itself was true: a demilitarized Gaza, new leadership, new priorities (establishment of institutions and improvement of the economy and citizen's welfare), and the PLO's ability to control Gaza in the long term. 

There were voices that warned against a Hamas takeover after the "Disengagement". As the date for leaving Gaza approached, the Institute for National Security held several sessions on possible scenarios. In the discussion that took place on July 5, 2005, over a month before the retreat from the Katif bloc and the expulsion of its residents, one of the participants brought up the possibility that Hamas would take over Gaza.

One of the experts present, a man with a doctorate who published a book on the Palestinians, claimed that "Gaza is the diamond in the crown of the PLO" and therefore "the PLO will fight Hamas until the last drop of its blood."

The facts turned out to be quite different.

After the expulsion from the Katif Bloc and as a resul tof it, Hamas gained a majority in the Legislative Council in the January 2006 elections, and succeeded in a violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007. At that point in time, there were still those in Israel who believed that Hamas is a "rational player" whose goal is the establishment of a state, institutions, a viable economy and the "good life". This assumption was based on the premise that our goals and objectives are the same as those of the PLO  - a state, a working economy, the "good life" – and that their order of priorities match ours.

The mistake those believers made stemmed from the fact that the Hamas goals and priorities stayed the same as they had been. At the top of their list they had destroying Israel and the jihad against her, with all the other objectives occupying lower spots. This egregious error is what caused Israel not to act with the required forcefulness immediately against the smuggling tunnels from Sinai to Gaza which were used to transfer rockets from the Sinai to Gaza, turning it into the second largest rocket stockpile in the area, second only to that of the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Another problem that makes a credible ceasefire difficult to achieve is the fact that Hamas is not one unified, cohesive group, so that even if what is termed the "political echelons" want to reach a ceasefire in order to take a breather and prepare for the next round, those who launch the rockets do not necessarily heed the "political echelons" and continue launching missiles and rockets towards civilian communities in Israel. These rocket launchers refuse to change their priorities, even temporarily.

The dead and wounded, the suffering of the population and destruction of infrastructure are very low on the priorities list of the Jihadists and they are not willing to change that order despite the people's suffering. They even take advantage of that suffering to fight a political, legal and media war with Israel.

The Gazan tragedy is first and foremost the result of its transformation into a base for jihad against Israel, but also a result of Israeli mistakes – and those of Europe and the United States, who assumed that their goals and priorities are those of the PLO members, Hamasniks  and Jihadists.

It is crucial that the present reality serve to open everyone's eyes to the truth, that it is understood that the Middle East has its own priorities and objectives – quite unlike those of the West – and that in this part of the world the only survivors are those who cannot be defeated.

Proper government, a viable economy, health, education and welfare are far less important than the main objective – destroying Israel.

Although hard to achieve, I would like to believe that the day will come when the Israelis and their friends in the world will actually understand the bitter reality of the Middle East and Israel's resulting challenge - survival in this part of the world, whose culture posits that human life, welfare, economics, health, development and education occupy a different and much  lower place than they do in the West. Here, near us, there are several meta-objectives that are much higher up on the list than we and the West suppose, and at their head stand the elimination of Israel and the hegemony of Islam.

Mordechai Kedar


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