Friday, August 1, 2014

Kerry Trying To Save Hamas, Restore Muslim Brotherhood

by Khaled Abu Toameh

There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai that the U.S. Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.
"The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region." — Palestinian official, Ramallah.
The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is now negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face to the anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world. By failing to invite the Palestinian Authority to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.

The U.S. Administration's main objective in cease-fire talks is clearly to empower Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas.

This is how the Palestinian Authority [PA] sees the recent efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

It is no secret that the PA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would like to see an end to Hamas's rule over the Gaza Strip. Moreover, they seem to support the idea of disarming Hamas as part of any agreement to end the current crisis.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been issuing strong condemnations of the Israeli "aggression" on the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks, is hoping that the war will result in the return of his loyalists to control the Gaza Strip or, at least to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Abbas and his Arab allies are not going to shed a tear if Hamas is removed from power and the Gaza Strip is demilitarized at the end of the war.

There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai, however, that the U.S. Administration is now working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.

This concern was reinforced by Secretary of State John Kerry's recent tour of the region. His trip ended with last week's Paris meeting to discuss the Israel-Hamas war.

That Kerry chose to invite Qatar and Turkey -- the only two countries that support Hamas -- to the conference was received with anger and shock by the Palestinian Authority and its Arab allies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shares a laugh with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah during cease-fire negotiations in Paris, on July 26, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)

The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face of anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world.
By failing to invite the PA to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip. Kerry chose to conduct indirect negotiations with Hamas through their patrons in Doha and Ankara.

By ignoring Egypt, which considers Hamas a threat to its national security and has been conducting its own war against the Islamist movement over the past year, Kerry sent a message to the Arabs and Muslims according to which the U.S. Administration is on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies.

"Kerry is exploiting the war to restore the influence of Muslim Brotherhood in the region," charged a Palestinian official in Ramallah. "The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, represented by Muslim Brotherhood, would be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region."

Another Palestinian official accused President Barack Obama and Kerry of organizing a "Friends of Hamas" conference in Paris. "How can you hold such a conference without inviting representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Egypt?" he asked. "Qatar and Turkey are happy to see the Obama Administration help them in their effort to save Hamas and embolden Muslim Brotherhood."

Alarmed by Kerry's alliance with Qatar and Turkey, Abbas flew earlier this week to Jeddah for emergency talks with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz.

According to a senior Abbas advisor, the Palestinian Authority president urged the Saudi monarch to exert pressure on the Obama Administration to keep Qatar and Turkey out of the picture.

The advisor said that Saudi Arabia voiced support for demands to demilitarize the Gaza Strip as part of any cease-fire agreement. "Demilitarizing the Gaza Strip would mean the end of Hamas," the advisor said. "The Egyptians, Saudis and other Arab countries also share this view. They are also upset with Kerry's effort to rely on Qatar and Turkey to solve the crisis. These two countries are interested in keeping Hamas in power."

Abbas and the PA continue to insist that any solution to the current crisis be achieved only through Egypt, which is interested in seeing an end to Hamas' rule over the Gaza Strip.

But the Obama Administration obviously does not share this view. It has chosen a different path -- one that would result in keeping Hamas in power and empowering the Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of moderate, pro-Western Arabs and Muslims.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah made it clear this week that they no longer trust the US Administration because of Kerry's attempt to "appease" Qatar and Turkey at the expense of the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.

"Someone needs to remind Kerry that Qatar is not the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians," said a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah.

Another official, Ahmed Majdalani, warned that the Palestinians and Egyptians wouldn't allow Kerry to "bypass" their leaders and meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinian people.

By siding with Qatar and Turkey, the Obama Administration is effectively expressing its opposition to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the Obama Administration now finds itself on the same side with Iran, which is also vehemently opposed to disarming Hamas.

By turning its back on the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the Obama Administration has paved the way for Iranian intervention in the conflict.

The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.

On Wednesday, a senior Iranian military official, Gen. Qassem Slimani, issued an unprecedented warning against any attempt to disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

"Disarming the (Palestinian) resistance groups is an illusion and it will not happen," he said.

Such a warning would not have been issued had the Iranians not sensed weakness on the part of the Obama Administration. Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and their patrons in Qatar, Turkey and Iran are clearly satisfied with the way the Obama Administration is handling the conflict.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

IDF Soldiers Killed in Booby-trapped UN Building

by Karin McQuillan

Why are US taxpayers sending a quarter billion dollars a year to a United Nations agency that shows every sign of cooperating with Hamas to kill soldiers of our ally Israel? Israel National News reports:

The three IDF soldiers who were killed on Wednesday in Gaza, were killed when explosives detonated within a booby-trapped UN building in Khan Younis,Breitbart reports.
An elite IDF tunnel unit was in the process of uncovering an opening to a Hamas tunnel located at an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) health clinic when all of a sudden the explosives detonated, causing the entirety of the building to fall on top of the soldiers.
Neither the UN nor UNRWA have commented on the incident that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli soldiers, according to Breitbart.

This latest incident comes in the wake of the discovery of Hamas rockets in three UNWRA schools, only to have UNWRA give the rockets back to Hamas. The UN is demonstrating clear support for Hamas in many ways.  For example, the UN immediately joined the propaganda war by blaming Israel for a strike on a Gaza hospital, which it was later reported was from misfired HAMAS rocket. 

UNWRA and the UN also failed to comment on the loss of Israeli life at the booby-trapped, missile stock pile they allowed in their school.

UNRWA -- the UN Agency dedicated solely to helping Palestinian “refugees” -- has 30,000 employees; all but 200 are Palestinian.  And we, the U.S. taxpayer, support them with almost a quarter of a billion dollars a year!  We pay for food, education and housing, and all sorts of other services like personal loans, irrespective of financial need.  We have perpetuated a welfare monster – an entire terrorist mini-state on the U.S. dole. 

Since there are only 30,000 Palestinians alive today who were displaced by the Arab war against Israeli in 1948, that’s a one to one staff to refugee ratio.  Of course, for the Palestinians there’s a special definition of being a refugee and qualifying for money -- no it’s not for life, it’s for the generations, and it makes no matter if you become the citizen of another country. (2 million Palestinian ‘refugees” became citizens of Jordan.)  It doesn’t matter how much you earn, or if you own a mansion. 

We are now supporting the fourth generation of Palestinians.  They need only have one-eighth of a connection to Israel, that is, one great-grandparent who once worked in Israel (not lived there, worked there – and part time counts). They are still entitled to your money.  The U.N. even defines Palestinians as refugees who always lived on the Arab side of the 1949 armistice line.  There are supposedly 5 million Palestinians whom we owe.   

In contrast, U.N. international staffing for all other refugee services in the world is less than 6,000 people – that’s for  126 countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and in Africa – where there are genuine refugees in need of emergency food and housing.  The most staff any one country gets is 437.  Yes, 437 compared to 29,800 for Palestinians.  Other people only get to be called refugees until they are resettled somewhere.

Where are our fiscal hawks?  Where is Ted Cruz’s golden tongue?  Senator Rand Paul, this is a case for you.  Here’s a beautiful example of international involvement we could do without.

The festering sore of the Palestinian grievance industry could not exist without American dollars.  We pay for their schools and their housing. Gaza lives on American welfare.  It is time to cut them off.

Karin McQuillan


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

Time for Hamas's Hollywood Sympathizers to Snap out of It!

by Dan Gordon

I love actors. Honestly -- that wasn't sarcasm. I started out as an actor before I began writing for a living. I shared my life with an actress who was/is a wonderful artist and woman. As they used to say about Jews And African Americans some of my best friends ... actors and writers, directors, musicians, artists of every type are the most empathetic people on earth. We have to be. It's not just a job, for the ones who are serious about it, it's our calling. When we say, "I feel your pain," we mean it. Because we must feel the pain of every character we portray or create. We feel the pain of that part of our own soul that corresponds to that of the character.

And no writer, actor or director ever plays, creates or directs a villain. Each character we create is the hero of his own story, and we find the humanity in each, no matter how villainous the character's actions may be.

That is even more so with the truly great artists like Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almadovar. Their work, collectively and individually, is an alter at which, I, as a screenwriter, playwright and novelist, worship often. They are my artistic Rabbis and teachers. They feel others' pain, no matter how villainous the character.

Bardem portrayed a chilling mass murderer in No Country For Old Men, and deservedly won the Academy Award for it. His portrayal was riveting, not because he portrayed the character's villiany, but because he somehow managed to convey his humanity, despite the fact that the character was a heartless serial killer who murdered, or not, depending on the outcome of the toss of a coin. That makes for great acting.

Unfortunately it can, and does, cloud both the moral and intellectual compass of many artists like the truly wonderful Bardem, Cruz, Almadovar et al.

They look at pictures of Palestinians, who truly are suffering in this war, which Hamas and its terrorist army have perpetrated against Israel and our civilian population, and they "feel their pain" or as close as you can get to doing that in Madrid or Malibu.

Palestinian homes are being destroyed. Israel is the one shelling them, as they rightly state, by land, air and sea. Therefore Israel, a white European Colonial transplant persecuting a brown skinned indigenous people, are the villains in this reality show watched by millions on TV. Therefore Israel must be condemned, damned, censured and stopped by the international community!

They have signed a letter stating," Palestinian homes are being destroyed!"

That is indeed true. The reason for that, my brothers and sisters in Cinema, are the actions of Hamas, a murderous and cynical terrorist organization which seized power, not from Israel but from the Government of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas!

They lined up their fellow Palestinian brothers against walls and machine gunned them to death. If you have the stomach for it the videos are still on YouTube. They blindfolded and bound their Palestinian Brothers and pushed them off multiple storied buildings to horrific deaths.

That's Hamas. That's how they seized power.

Those were their crimes against their fellow Palestinians.

With the greatest respect, Javier, Penelope and Pedro, from one who admires your artistic achievements more than words can express, did you write any letters of outrage and condemnation then? Did you call on the international community to end the suffering then?

Well, but the deaths were only in the hundreds then, not over a thousand like now, and besides that was a Palestinian internal affair, one, which I'm sure, you felt uncomfortable in condemning.

But what Israel is doing is clear-cut.

It's genocide!

Is it really?

We're all visual artists at the end of the day, creating images for the screen. Look, then, at the picture below.

I can get you literally hundreds more just like it. I'd be happy to. Just ask. The picture is of the entrance to a terrorist tunnel that was uncovered in the tiny space between two Palestinian homes. The tunnel to which it connects goes underneath the internationally recognized borders of Israel, the borders you demand we return to  put a pin in that thought for a moment). The tunnel, and scores of others like it, then comes up next to and in some cases inside Israeli civilian farming communities. One tunnel came up in the communal dining hall of a farming village where as many as eight hundred people would have been gathered for holiday meals in normal times. Terrorists armed with anti tank missiles, machine guns, hand grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition, handcuffs and tranquilizers then come up out of those tunnels with the intent of murdering, maiming and kidnapping hundreds of Israeli men, women and children. That's not in theory. Hamas terrorists have tried to do that almost half a dozen times in the last few weeks.

Well, but you say, no such killings of hundreds of Israelis have taken place!

Meanwhile the poor Palestinian people are suffering from Israeli bombardment.

My dear friends, no such killings of hundreds of Israeli civilians have taken place because of Israeli bombardment.

They have not taken place because my brothers and sisters in arms watch the border diligently, and when necessary, lay down their lives to protect our men, women and children from the terrorists who entered those tunnels next to, and many times from within, those very Palestinian homes whose destruction you rightly bemoan, as by the way do I, and, oddly, most other Israelis.

Those Palestinian homes are being destroyed because Hamas is committing a war crime under the Geneva accords, which you cite, against their own people, by launching their rockets, hiding their terrorist tunnel entrances and missiles, rockets mortars and machine guns, inside those homes, thus turning their own people's dwellings into Military targets . Why in the name of all that is holy, don't you at least acknowledge, let alone condemn, that clear and cruel war crime, not just against Israeli civilians but Palestinian civilians?

In your letter you state, "they (the Palestinians) are being denied.. electricity and free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."

My friends, Hamas has fired from, launched rockets from, put terrorist tunnel entrances in, and hidden weapons inside, not just people's homes, but inside their schools and mosques and hospitals. Hamas has hidden their rockets in UN operated schools! That's not a wicked Zionist lie, that's a UN finding, against which they have, albeit weakly, protested.

I personally have been in Gaza as an Israeli soldier and have had Palestinian farmers come up to me, personally, because I wear an officer's rank, and demand of me that we, the Israel Defense Forces, not stop until we have killed all the Hamas operatives. Those aren't my words. They were the words of Palestinian farmers in El Atatra, and the reason they made that demand of us was because Hamas had confiscated the fields that had once supported them and their family by growing sunflowers, and now used them as rocket launching sites aimed at Israeli civilians.

Why in the name of the humanity I know you treasure, are you not condemning that?

That was a rhetorical question.

I know why you're not condemning that.

It's because they look weak and we look strong. And one always roots for the underdog in the movies. Except this isn't a movie. There's no one to say "cut" when the terrorist comes up out of the tunnel or the rocket or mortar is hurtling toward you.

It's not even a reality show though I know many in the media try to milk the ratings by presenting it as such.

But we're not Honey Boo Boo or The Housewives of whatever.

We're a country that was attacked, that said calm would be answered with calm and was answered instead with thousands of rocket attacks aimed almost exclusively at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas is committing war crimes against both our peoples not only while the international community dies nothing, but while well-meaning, empathetic people like you enable them like a well-meaning friend turning a blind eye to a junkie's addiction. Except in this case the junkie is a terrorist organization as wicked as any on earth.  Don't you see that your misguided enabling is killing both our peoples?

I know it takes more effort to understand something than to simply emotionally react with whatever the bumper sticker mentality if the day is. But honestly, both the Palestinian people and we deserve better of you.

But you may excuse Hamas's terrorist tactics because they don't have an air force or tanks and thus is the only way they can fight back against a wicked force of Zionists who have invaded" the Palestinian territories instead of returning to the 1967 borders."

Friends, there's no excuse for not getting the facts straight -- you can Google them. With regard to Gaza, which is, after all, where the war is, Israel unilaterally withdrew to the 1967 borders almost ten years ago!!

In that time Hamas had launched three wars against us. There was no air campaign against Hamas until they began firing hundreds of rockets a day against us.

Because of the Iron Dome anti-missile system we developed, the rockets caused no loss if life on our side and so when Egypt proposed a cease fire and the Palestinian President and the Arab League endorsed it...we accepted it. I know history is a bore but this was only two weeks ago!

That's when Hamas launched its first terrorist tunnel attack against our civilians. Had we not intercepted and killed and driven back the terrorist force, it would have resulted in the worst terrorist attack, the highest loss of civilian life, in Israel's history .

That's when we had no choice but to begin the ground operation … after Israel, Egypt, the Arab League and the President of the Palestine Authority all agreed to end the violence, stop the killing And destruction and try to create a cycle of peace. It Is Hamas that has brought about this awful cycle of death.

I wrote a movie called The Hurricane that Norman Jewison directed. It gave me an opportunity to complement what I thought was one if the best scenes he had ever directed. The scene is in Moonstruck between Cher And Nicholas Cage, in which an emotional Nick Cage prattled on about his endless love blah, blah, blah.

Cage is pitch perfect the sincere, emotive lover. But he's just spewing so much nonsense that Cher hauls off and slaps him so hard his grandchildren probably felt it. She then shouts the same two words that, with the greatest respect, we who are suffering from Hamas' dual war crimes, have every right to demand of you, and every other armchair enabler, snap out of it!

Dan Gordon is a captain in the IDF (Res)


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

Mordechai Kedar: Why Hamas is Still Holding Out

by Mordechai Kedar

There are six differences between Israel and Hamas that have a role to play in addition to the bravery and initiative of the IDF.

Translated by Arutz 7

Before the start of Operation Protective Edge, an entire bevy of so-called "experts" appeared on Israeli media informing  us of the weak state of  Hamas, how its oxygen supply is cut off because the smuggling tunnels from the Sinai are closed and Egypt has turned against it, as has Saudi Arabia, it cannot pay salaries, it wants to preserve the state it has created in Gaza at all costs - and so one and so forth.

Because of that, they concluded, its power of resistance is limited and since we have the Iron Dome to protect us, our decision makers can act judiciously, using our military power – particularly from the air – which is immeasurably more massive than that of Hamas. Even the world is on our side, they said, and surprisingly, supports us.

Now, after four weeks of air attacks and two weeks of a ground operation, Gaza has seen over 1200 of its people killed and 7000 wounded, and has not capitulated, has not raised a white flag, continues to launch rockets to Tel Aviv and the south and the Gazan population has not rebelled. Just imagine what would happen to Israel's government if something like that, G-d forbid, happened here. It has suddenly become clear that all the "weakness factors" attributed to Hamas – the closed smuggling tunnels that Sisi sealed, Saudi Arabia, money and state – do not have the effect the "experts" predicted for the organization. Perhaps Hamas is not exactly the organization these "experts" painted for us.

Unfortunately, our mistakes result from continuing to look at the enemy through our own cultural lenses: we need money, a strong army, protection from rockets, friends in the region and international approval, and we think that if Hamas has none of these, it will be as weak as we would be if we lacked them. There is no greater error than that line of thought, because Hamas is the product of a vastly different culture where the strength and weakness factors are totally different from ours.

1. The Spiritual Element
The basic and most deep-seated difference between us is that Hamas depends on a "power player" in the form of Allah, who dwells on high. The organization's raison d'etre is a plan whose end goal is Allah's reign over the entire world and Hamas' activity is aimed at succeeding in that Jihad for Allah. Hamas fighters are filled with fervor and the bandanna on their heads says the "Shahada", the testimony that there is no deity besides Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet.

Our army is fighting valiantly for our nation, people and land, all of which are human and tangible, and if a commander dares to write his soldiers something with an allusion to religion, he is attacked by the thought police of Haaretz, and defamed along with the Jewish message he was trying to put forward. (An allusion to IDF Brigadier General Winter, who wrote his soldiers a letter of encouragement using biblical expressions from the fight of David and Goliath and was attacked by anti-religious coercion advocates). Many of us have distanced ourselves from the "Power Player" who dwells on high and have erased the concept from our cultural experience. Hamas continues to stick to spiritual goals and in this regard, has the advantage.

2. Culture and Ethos
Our culture sanctifies life, health, education, progress and economic, scientific and civil success. Death negates all of these and therefore, naturally, we ty to prevent it when it comes to our lives and also those of our enemies.  The terror organizations in our region, on the other hand, sanctify death for Allah, and even mothers rejoice when their sons go out to die.

This difference explains the fact that the over 1200 dead do not bring Hamas to ask for a ceasefire. As long as the dead are called "shaheeds", they are considered not dead, according to the Koran: "Do not think that those who have been killed for Allah are dead; they are alive and nourished by the hand of Allah (Chap. 3, v. `69).

Hamas terrorists are proud of their often-used slogan: "The Jews wish for life and we wish for death."

This is the reason for their using human shields, for even if those "shields" are killed, they are not really dead, so their death is not seen as something bad. In general, in the Middle East there is no dividing line between citizens and combatants, everyone is considered "the enemy".

3. Attitude to the Media
The media has a critical role to play in wartime, as it has direct influence on large audiences worldwide and determines the public's  opinion of the operation.

Public opinion has immediate influence on politicians, who try to act in accordance with their voter's inclinations. Israel adheres to journalistic ethics and limits its announcements to the media, refraining from showing bodies, body parts and other horrors that can influence viewers. Hamas, on the other hand, does not care about causing people to  be shocked by horrible pictures of the dead and wounded, and supplies photographs that are intended to create a sympathetic audience.

4. Legal Restrictions
Israel is a country based on law, it limits military actions to the strictures of international law. Soldiers and officers can find themselves facing the Israeli courts or international ones. Hamas is not a state, does not act like one and does not limit its activities to the accepted laws of warfare.

The obvious example: Israel attempts to prevent harm to non-involved citizens, while Hamas intentionally launches deadly rockets to heavily populated Israeli areas.

5. International Support
We have been hearing that "the world understands us" from the beginning of hostilities and therefore, that it supports our actions.  However, this is a highly fragile support, easily shaken by one picture of a rocket – even a Hamas rocket – hitting a school.

The change in America's position is a gigantic plug for Hamas' steadfastness, for even the US president has adopted Hamas conditions for cease fire, first among them removing the sea blockade of Gaza, although at the beginning of the operation he supported Israel and its right to defend itself.

Hamas enjoys unlimited and unquestioning outside support from Qatar and Turkey. Despite the losses and destruction in Gaza, those two countries will stream material and financial aid to Gaza, including building materials that will allow it to rehabilitate the organization, its weapons arsenals and rockets, enlist new soldiers, train and equjip them as well as dig more tunnels so as to infiltrate Israel and sow death.  

6. Consensus from Within
There was wall-to-wall consensus in Israel at the beginning of the ground operation aimed at destroying the tunnels Hamas had built in order to attack civilian targets in Israel. As the number of losses grows, support is declining somewhat and criticism – almost non existent at first – is being voiced. Hamas has no internal critics, as anyone who has lived in Gaza for the seven years during which Hamas has ruled the area, knows well what will happen to he who dares to criticize Hamas.

In conclusion, these six differences create an assymetrical combat reality. We will say that we have won, but Hamas will say the same. Even if most of its people are dead or taken prisoner, all its weapons confiscated and all its tunnels blown up, the organization's leader will come up out of his underground shelter wearing a blood-soaked bandage, stand on the ruins of a home and raise his fingers in  a "V" salute. The rest of us may find it infuriating, delusionary, weird and grotesque, but he  knows the truth: within a year at most, he will enlist thousands and train them, within three years, he will rearm and resupply his rockets and missiles arsenal completely  and therefore, he sees the victory as his.

He feels that the future is his because he is fighting the battle of Allah and Allah has come to his aid. He is not afraid to die and the lives of citizens mean nothing to him.  He takes cynical advantage of international and national law, manipulates world opinion using a compliant media.

Hamas leaders have a new goal and it is to have the war continue for 33 days, the number of days of the Second Lebanon War. It wants to prove that it can hold on longer than Hezbollah. This is part of the Sunni (Hamas) i-Shiite (Hezbollah) rivalry played on the backdrop of the war in Syria. The competition also explains the fact that Hezbollah has not launched rockets from the north. It has no desire to help Hamas, which did not come to Assad's aid against Syrian rebel forces. It is hard to predict if the schism between them will continue to hold fast.

That's the situation in Gaza. These are the reasons for it. Let us hope for the best.

Mordechai Kedar


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

VIDEO: IDF Finds Terror Tunnel in Gaza Mosque

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Hamas does not only use schools to store weapons and launch rockets, as the IDF discovered.

Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers do not only use schools to store weapons and launch rockets towards Israel.

On Wednesday, a joint IDF task force uncovered a tunnel entrance on the ground floor of a mosque that had been used by Hamas terrorists to attack Israeli soldiers.

The following video released by the IDF shows aerial footage of the tunnel’s demolition:

Arutz Sheva Staff


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

Son of Hamas Founder: Israel Needs to Finish Off Hamas

by Yaakov Levi

In a TV interview, Mosab Hassan Yousef said that the only way to save the lives of Gazan civilians was to destroy Hamas.

Mossab Yousef
Mossab Yousef
Flash 90

In an interview on Fox News Channel Wednesday, Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, praised Israel for fighting against Hamas, saying it was the only way to prevent future wars and save the lives of civilians in both Israel and Gaza. Yousef has appeared on other news channels in recent days, including CNN (see link below) discussing the issue.

Yousef, 36, was born in Ramallah and was raised as part of the burgeoning Hamas terror movement. In a 2010 autobiography, Yousef said that he was first arrested at age ten for throwing rocks at IDF soldiers, and was arrested several times afterwards as well. After he was arrested in 1996, he said he began to have doubts about Palestinian terrorism and Islam in general. He agreed to become an Israeli informant, eventually converting to Christianity and moving to California, where he was granted provisional political asylum in the US.

In the interview, conducted by Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel, Yousef discussed the issue of Hamas' “humanitarian” activities. Speaking Sunday, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi described how she had been told by Qatari officials that “we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization,” although there were terrorist elements in the group as well, she added.

Yousef said that there was no way Hamas could be considered “humanitarian. It is a terrorist organization with a humanitarian face to it. Basically Hamas hijacked the Palestinian cause to push their political and religious ideological agenda. Even if Israel were to come tomorrow and offer Hamas the 1967 boundaries, Hamas wouldn't care. It doesn't have boundaries to its ideological agenda. It wants to destroy Israel and any country that does not agree with its ideology,” he said.

As far as Qatar is concerned, that Gulf country is responsible for the many deaths in Gaza because of its support for Hamas.

The Qataris are responsible in part for what is going on, and so is Turkey,” he said. “Qatar has been funding Hamas for years and in Turkey lives one of Hamas' top leaders, Salah al-Arouri, who gave the command to kidnap and slaughter the three Israeli teens in Hevron. Hamas organization is simply a terrorist organization and it does not care about the lives of Palestinians or Israelis,” he said.

When asked by Hannity why he was speaking out, Yousef said that he had had enough of Palestinian politics. “We paid a high price for the sake of Hamas and Palestine,” he said. “I witnessed the violence and the dirty politics behind it growing up and I decided to go my own way. But now I feel I need to speak up. The children of Gaza remind me of myself 20 years ago, how we were crying in the streets, and the politicians were sending us to die. When the children of Gaza stop dying many people will be out of business. This is the time to speak up and unmask the faces of Hamas and the others promoting terror.”

And instead of pressing Israel to accept a cease-fire, said Yousef, US President Barack H Obama should “make a hard leadership decision. It's true that the children of Gaza are suffering, but how many more wars will there be if Hamas is allowed to continue? Israel is in the middle of the job; let's help them to uproot Hamas. Without this there will be more Gaza wars and more Gaza children being killed. This is not the first Hamas war, it is the fourth and there will be many more.

“So I am asking the President: As the supreme power he has the responsibility to see this through. It is not about siding with Israel,” Yousef added. “I have a lot of family in Gaza and I feel for them. But Israel is doing them the biggest favor by fighting against Hamas.”

Yaakov Levi


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

Islamic Jizya: ‘Protection’ from Whom?

by Raymond Ibrahim


Is jizya—the money non-Muslims historically paid their Muslim conquerors—meant to buy them “protection,” including from outside enemies, as modern Western academics maintain?  Or was it simply extortion money meant to buy non-Muslims their lives, as Islam’s scriptures mandate?

The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

Keeping the above in mind, consider the following July 18 report from Reuters:
Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….
It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”
“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.
“After this date [July 19], there is nothing between us and them but the sword,” it said.
The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.

Note how straightforward the Islamic State’s words are—jizya, conversion, or death—compared to the language of Reuters, which twice invokes the concept of “protection” without explaining from whom:  1) “a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”; 2) “demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.”

Reuters doesn’t bother to clarify this notion of “protection,” but rather leaves it vague, implying that the protection Christians receive is against some random elements.

The reason for this obfuscation is that Mideast academics in the West have been whitewashing the meaning of jizya for decades.  After all, the concept of jizya is one of the most ironclad proofs that Islam is innately intolerant of non-Muslims.

A very typical Western definition for jizya can be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis [conquered non-Muslims] and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection [from whom?] and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya.”

Other academics have gone so far as to claim that non-Muslims paid jizya to buy Muslim protection against outside forces.  Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.  It essentially makes the idea of being subjugated to Islamic overlords and paying them tribute appear as an enviable position for non-Muslim minorities:
In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …
The idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie—one that, as the equivocal tone of the aforementioned Reuters report indicates, has taken root in the West.

Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their despised “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad without first converting to Islam.

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).

So jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves.  Whether it’s the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it’s the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their non-Muslim subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.

There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else become one of us and convert to Islam, or else die.

And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.

In short, jizya is an ugly fact of Islam—one that, distort as they may, the academics can’t whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).


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

The Jewish Mind will Find a Solution to the Tunnels

by Ben Hartman

'Post' correspondent embedded with IDF unit observes Gaza attack tunnel on the front lines.

Guy Algranati
Lt. Col. Manor Yinai Photo: BEN HARTMAN

If you’re looking to destroy Hamas attack tunnels before they’re used to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers, send in an accountant.
In civilian life, Maj. (res.) Noah Hershkovitz, 32, works as an accountant and attorney for Ernst & Young in Tel Aviv.

For the past 26 days, though, he’s been in places such as this pit of sand and dust less than a kilometer from the Gaza Strip, where combat engineers work to map and disable a Hamas tunnel discovered 10 days ago. He is head of engineering operations for the Nahal Brigade.

“When you’re here, you understand why you were sent [to the army]. You’re putting yourself directly in the place where your enemy is trying to hurt you,” Hershkovitz said on Wednesday, near the opening of a tunnel not far from Kibbutz Erez, on the northern border with Gaza.

Like other soldiers, (and CNN chief correspondent Wolf Blitzer), Hershkovitz has been inside the tunnels, which have become the focus of the IDF operation, and the sum of all fears for the Israeli public watching the fight from home.

The feeling below is “suffocating” and intimidating, and presents its own challenges, he said. The enemy knows that underground it can overcome many of the advantages the IDF has above ground, he said.

Hershkovitz was speaking to a handful of members of the press taking part in the latest of a number of IDF embedments for reporters on the Gaza border; there have been others for Israeli reporters inside the Strip. Speaking to the officer, it’s unclear if the scope or the sophistication of the tunnels came as a surprise to the troops, though it was obvious Hamas’s success in infiltration and killing soldiers has made a statement.

“When I got called up [for reserve duty] I didn’t think it would be to fight a war against tunnels, but I knew it’d be a war against Hamas. I don’t think we were surprised [by the tunnels], but the chutzpah and audacity of Hamas may have surprised us,” he said.

Hershkovitz started out as a soldier in the Engineering Corps, working against the smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor between the Gaza Strip and Sinai. Since then, Hamas has had years to become more sophisticated in its tunnel construction and what he’s seeing today is a different ballgame, he said.

Nevertheless, the tunnel shown to the press on Wednesday did not appear to be a massive, highly sophisticated undertaking.

Its walls were lined with thick wood, not concrete, and it looked cramped, not fit to send in a column of gunmen for an infiltration. Looks can be deceiving, and this particular tunnel was used 10 days ago in an infiltration, during which gunmen emerged and fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF patrol, killing Geffen Battalion commander Lt.- Col. Dolev Keidar and three of his men.

The area around the tunnel opening was a hive of activity, with or without the press contingent.

Dozens of soldiers in battle gear stood around waiting for orders, as more arrived in private cars, D-9 armored bulldozers and armored personnel carriers moved back and forth across the dusty expanse, and despite it being a military zone closed to the public, a haredi civilian was helping a soldier put on tefillin.

In the distance, a geyser, accidentally uncovered this week during the excavations hunting for tunnels, spouted warm water into the air, sending the stench of sulfur into the breeze as mortar and artillery shells echoed in the distance.

The tour was given a day after Hamas’s armed wing released a chilling first-person video filmed by one of its gunmen, a member of the cell that infiltrated Israel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Monday, killing five soldiers before sneaking back into Gaza by tunnel, losing only one member. In the video, they go unnoticed for what seems like hundreds of meters in broad daylight as they approach a seemingly unguarded IDF post, which looks like it may as well be in suburban Tel Aviv and not on the Gaza border in the middle of a war.

Next to the tunnel exit, Lt.-Col. Manor Yinai, commander of the Engineering Corps 601 Battalion, described the painstaking task of dismantling the shafts, which takes patience and not merely setting up charges and then hitting a button after reaching daylight.

Once a tunnel is discovered on the Israeli side, soldiers must trail it back to its source on the Gaza side and then detonate it piece by piece, Yinai said. He said he believes this particular tunnel reaches as far as 1.5 km.

into Gaza, possibly into a home or some other building in Beit Hanun, on the northeast corner of the Strip. Ones that aren’t discovered due to an infiltration must be found on the Gaza side before terrorists use it to attack.

The message transmitted by the officer, and by others at the scene, was clear – if the IDF wants to locate and dismantle all of the tunnels, it must stay in Gaza for while.

Standing in this pit next to the exit, about 10 meters below ground, he spoke about the determination of his troops to destroy all the tunnels and prevent what could be a “mega terror attack.” That said, it was clear there was a bit of uncertainty if this is possible.

The soil surrounding the tunnel exit was so soft that bare hands could dig deep into it, and according to Yinai, anyone with a tool can do it and there’s no sensors that can be used from above ground to find the shafts.

Yinai, who has been in the reserves and away from his wife and six-year-old twins in Tel Aviv for 10 weeks, was nonetheless optimistic, even as he acknowledged that it is unclear if Military Intelligence knew the extent of the Hamas tunnel infrastructure before the war.

When asked the million-dollar question, whether he thinks the IDF can provide a military solution to eliminate the threat, he expressed confidence in technology, saying, “Jewish brains came up with the Iron Dome [anti-missile system] against rockets, I think we’ll find an answer to this too.”

Ben Hartman


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

No Home for Israel in the Democratic Party

by Gidon Ben-Zvi

It's official: The Democratic Party has abandoned Israel to its fate. This development ‎has nothing to do with that most ancient of hatreds, anti-Semitism. Rather, in an age ‎when a compelling narrative increasingly trumps a cold, hard history lesson, Israel's ‎version of the events leading up to Operation Protective Edge, while factually sound, ‎is a snoozer.‎

The results of a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed the largest partisan gap in 40 years on the issue of supporting Israel.‎

Conducted July 8-14, the week Israel began its air operation against Hamas in ‎the Gaza Strip but before its ground invasion, the poll asked 1,805 respondents: "In ‎the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side to you sympathize with ‎more -- Israel or the Palestinians?"‎

The poll found that respondents considering themselves conservative Republicans ‎supported Israel by 77 percent, compared to 68 percent of moderate Republicans. ‎Among Democrats, 48 percent of moderate Democrats supported Israel, compared ‎to 39 percent of liberal Democrats.‎

In other words, 61 percent of liberal Democrats either sympathize with Hamas, a ‎group of war criminals designated as a terrorist organization by, among many other ‎countries, the United States, or are utterly apathetic to the plight of a small, faraway ‎democracy whose millions of citizens are being forced to flee for their lives under ‎daily, sometimes hourly, rocket fire.‎

While the Israeli government and its supporters have done a valiant job of delivering ‎just the facts to a ravenous international media, the fix is in. After all, you would ‎have to be made of stone to not be moved to tears by the sight of defenseless ‎Palestinians being mowed down by the Israeli war machine.‎

Israel vs. Hamas. Goliath vs. David. Got it.‎
Now, at the risk of throwing cold water on the misguided passions of Hamas ‎supporters and the otherwise uninformed, let us compare founding documents.‎

The Hamas Charter states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam ‎will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."‎

Doesn't leave much room for a Turkish and Qatari-backed cease-fire, does it?‎

Now, let us get a glimpse into the heart of darkness that is, to the mind of many ‎liberal Democrats, the Israel Defense Forces.‎

"The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being ‎is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or ‎position."‎

Sounds positively progressive.‎

The Israel Defense Forces is sending soldiers into the hornets' nest of Palestinian ‎terror -- booby-trapped with mines and riddled with subterranean tunnels -- when it ‎could simply be carpet-bombing these areas.‎

Let's not forget that during World War II, the British army responded to Nazi attacks ‎by leveling entire German cities from the air, with tens of thousands of innocent ‎civilians being killed as a result.‎

I don't recall a war crimes tribunal being convened against the winners of World War II.‎

Yet, the IDF's unimaginable restraint has left good American liberals in a tizzy of ‎moral outrage.‎

What is it about men in uniform that never fails to make good-hearted (is there any ‎other kind) progressives see red?‎

This phenomenon may be connected to how the liberal Democrat processes ‎information. Slaves to gut emotion, and averse to rigorous academic research, ‎liberals do not bother to figure out who is right or wrong in any conflict.‎

Instead, they instinctively root for the scruffy-looking student, professor or terrorist, ‎and against the uniformed military.‎

Hamas is responsible for the murder of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians in terrorist ‎attacks since 1996. Its founding charter calls not only for the destruction of the State ‎of Israel, but the murder of all Jews.‎

Each missile that Hamas is now launching against Israel constitutes a crime against ‎humanity because it is directed at civilian targets.‎

Forced to respond to such attacks, Israel is doing so, but only after warning Gazans to ‎evacuate their homes before bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, ‎international law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing.‎

Back to American partisan politics. In 2014, you will find Israel's ‎staunchest and most consistent defenders in the Republican Party.‎ Meanwhile, the ranks of Democrats include a good number of the State of Israel's ‎harshest, most vocal critics.‎

As such, Israel has no home in today's Democratic Party.‎

Gidon Ben-Zvi is the Jerusalem correspondent for the Algemeiner newspaper and blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind.


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