Friday, August 22, 2014

Eliminating the Heads of Terror

by Dr. Ronen Yitzhak

In June 2006, one of the world's most infamous terrorists, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was assassinated. Zarqawi headed al-Qaida's Iraqi branch and was responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks against Western and Arab targets.

Terrorist attacks, taking hostages, gruesome beheadings -- such was the norm in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. The U.S., which set up the new government in Baghdad, kept the order and took on the responsibility of training new Iraqi security forces. The American administration launched a rigorous battle against Zarqawi-style terrorism, assassinating senior al-Qaida figures in Iraq, including ultimately Zarqawi himself. 

The method of eliminating terrorist organization leaders is known by anybody working in Middle East intelligence. It has become acceptable practice in the Western war against terrorism. For this reason, it is imperative that Israel adopt such methods here and now. Assassination policy -- or "targeted killings," as it is called today -- had been part and parcel of the overall Israeli policy in the war against Palestinian terrorism. And it is the appropriate, correct way to settle the score with terrorist leaders. 

The policy was adopted during the government of Prime Minister Golda Meir, after the September 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. At Meir's command, the leaders of the Black September group, which carried out the massacre, were eliminated, including the organization's commander Ali Hassan Salameh. As part of the Mossad's Operation Wrath of God, the heads of Black September were assassinated one by one in different locations worldwide, over several years, until the organization collapsed -- lacking any leadership -- toward the end of the 1970s. 

The effectiveness of assassinating the leaders of terrorist groups was demonstrated during the Second Intifada, which claimed more than 1,000 Israeli lives. Initially, through measured and carefully considered steps, Israel only assassinated the leaders of Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. But for lack of any other option, and as the pride generated by terrorism swelled unchecked, Israel did not hesitate to begin assassinating the leaders of Hamas' political arm as well. Israel ceased to distinguish between the political and military arms. It held all leaders of the movement culpable for terrorism, which is precisely how the founder and spiritual leader of the movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was assassinated in March 2004, followed by Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi a month later. 

Despite criticism and fears that these leaders' assassinations would ignite the Palestinian street, looking back, such fears proved false. Over time and with the new Hamas leadership's selection, the prevailing violence actually began to subside until it stopped altogether about a year later.

The assassination of Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip is a necessary measure. It is not an impossibility that Hamas will step up its terrorist activities and amplify violence in the West Bank to prove the ineffectiveness of such policy. But in the long term the ends will justify the means. Eliminating Hamas' field operatives, or the commanders of its military arm, will not suffice to overcome the terrorist threat, hence the need to eliminate the Hamas' leadership, without distinguishing between the military and political wings. 

Only through assassinations such as these can Israel inflict serious damage, build deterrence, erode Hamas' people's morale and force them to flee as wanted men. Assassinations will demonstrate Israel's unwillingness to accept terrorism, and, following in the footsteps of other countries, Israel will make it perfectly clear that its goal is to pursue terrorists and eliminate them, wherever they are.

Dr. Ronen Yitzhak


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

Khaled Abu Toameh: Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Not a Good Idea

by Khaled Abu Toameh

A third reason Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank. Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear.
This is precisely what Hamas wants, a weak Palestinian authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel.
Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of it responsibilities toward the residents of Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority.

Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.

The talk about restoring PA control over the Gaza Strip was first raised during the indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo.

The Egyptians made clear during the talks that they would like to see PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his forces reassume control over the Gaza Strip. One proposal called for deploying security officers belonging to Abbas's "Presidential Guard" along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The Egyptian proposal has won the backing of the U.S. Administration, many European governments and some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Abbas, who lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in the summer of 2007, has thus far refrained from publicly commenting on these reports.

Abbas would probably love to retake control over the Gaza Strip, especially as such a move would solidify his status as president of all Palestinians, and not just the ruler of certain parts of the West Bank.

Abbas is well aware, however, that under the current circumstances, his return to the Gaza Strip would be seen by Hamas and other Palestinians as an act of treason. The last thing he needs is to be accused of returning to the Gaza Strip "aboard an Israeli tank."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, in February 2007, before Hamas seized total control of Gaza. (Image source: MaanImages)

There are other reasons why Abbas is not eager, at least at this stage, to regain control over the Gaza Strip.

The main reason is that he still does not trust Hamas in spite of the unity agreement he signed with the Islamist movement last April.

When Hamas defeated his forces and toppled the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Abbas was lucky to leave the Gaza Strip alive.

After the Hamas coup, Abbas revealed that the Islamist movement had tried to kill him just before its militiamen seized control of the entire Gaza Strip.

In a televised speech in June 2007, Abbas accused Hamas of trying to assassinate him by using tunnels to target his motorcade.

Abbas said he had seen videotapes of Hamas terrorists digging a tunnel under a road where his car was supposed to pass in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists, he added, had planned to fill the tunnel with 250 kilograms of explosives.

Abbas said that the terrorists had boasted on the tape that the bomb was "for Abu Mazen" [Abbas's nickname]. He said that he sent copies of the videotape to Arab heads of state to expose the Hamas plot.

Today, when Abbas sees the dozens of Hamas tunnels discovered by the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], he must be asking himself if these are the same tunnels that were supposed to be used in the assassination scheme against him.

And there is no doubt that Abbas must feel relieved to see the IDF destroy the terror tunnels.
Another reason Abbas is reluctant to return to the Gaza Strip is the ongoing tensions between his Fatah faction and Hamas. These tensions have persisted despite the unity agreement between the two parties and despite the formation of a Palestinian "national consensus" government.

According to sources in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the war Hamas has placed more than 250 Fatah members under house arrest. Some Fatah activists who violated the cease-fire were shot in the arms and legs. The lucky ones only had their arms and legs broken.

Gen. Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, confirmed this week that Hamas has been targeting Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip. He said that some of the wounded men had been transferred for medical treatment in West Bank and Jordanian hospitals.

A third reason why Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank.

Thanks to the efforts of the Israeli Shin Bet and IDF, the coup plot was foiled after the arrest of dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank.

Abbas himself seems to be aware that were it not for Israel, Hamas would have removed him from power a long time ago and extended its control to the West Bank.

Today, Abbas seems to feel safer sitting with Israel in the West Bank than he does being with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas also knows that his return to the Gaza Strip would not stop Hamas and other terrorist groups from continuing their rocket attacks on Israel.

Many seem to have forgotten that even while he was in control of the Gaza Strip, Abbas could not stop the rocket attacks or disarm any of the terrorist groups. Even his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was not able to stop the rocket attacks or rein in the terrorist groups.

Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear.

The PA in the Gaza Strip would end up like the Lebanese government, which has no control over the terrorist Hizbullah organization.

This is precisely what Hamas wants: a weak Palestinian Authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel.

Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of its responsibilities toward the residents of the Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas and the PA cannot return to the Gaza Strip unless Hamas and its allies are completely disarmed or severely undermined as result of Israeli military action or international agreements to demilitarize the entire Gaza Strip.

For now, it would be better to keep Abbas and his Palestinian Authority away from the Gaza Strip instead of turning them into puppets in the hands of Hamas and its sponsors in Qatar.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

The End of a Dream

by Dr. Haim Shine

The Israeli Left was never so thin and helpless as it was at its peace rally in Rabin Square last Saturday night. A few thousand of the once-400,000-strong peace camp remain. The citizens of Israel have fled in droves from the version of peace presented by journalist Uri Avneri, writers David Grossman and Amos Oz, and former President Shimon Peres. A giant sign held by Israelis who did not show up at the square read "End the Naivete." Most already understood the message Hamas was sending with its rockets. 

The rockets once again being fired at our cities from Gaza have proved that the struggle between us and the Palestinians is not about the settlements in Judea and Samaria. The leftist traders in delusions are selling us the 1967 borders as a messianic solution to the bloody conflict. The Palestinian narrative has determined that all of Israel is an illegal settlement that must be eliminated by force. After many years, rocket fragments and the sound of sirens have made residents of metropolitan Tel Aviv realize that the enemy's sights are trained on them more than on Ariel, Emmanuel, or Beit El. 

National unity such as we have seen during Operation Protective Edge is unprecedented. This is the unity of a common fate and goal that became a show of strength. It's hard on the Left to see its ideology sinking in a sea of continual Hamas violence and admit out loud that it was wrong. The Left has never excelled at the nobility required to admit a mistake. 

Despite all the predictions, it seems that the young generation in Israel is not buying into the worthless dreams and is not enthralled by the idiotic slogan that the IDF is an army of occupation. Soldiers and commanders, who have exhibited unusual courage, were not affected by the moralism and righteousness that preoccupied the Left in the media. Jewish morality has won out over the Christian mercy that took hold in Israeli academia and prompted professors to sign petitions against their own country. 

The Israeli Left always needs partners for its deluded dreams of peace. Even today, the Left is busy looking for what it calls its peace partners. The most brilliant partner of all was Yasser Arafat. So many hopes they hung on him, and so much blood was spilled as a result of the lethal partnership. Arafat quickly perceived the twisted naivete of the Left and spun a web to trap the nation and strike a fatal blow to its citizens. 

Now, without learning any lessons, the Israeli Left is holding up Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who barely controls his own bureau in Ramallah and is wandering to Qatar to plead with Khaled Mashaal to make him a leader. I suggest dialing down the enthusiasm: We should listen well to Abbas' son, who has clearly explained -- from deep personal conviction -- that their ultimate goal is to return home to Safed and Jerusalem. The hope of return he learned at his father's knee, in school, and in summer camp. 

We need to wake up from the delusions taken from a bunch of lies. Most of the Israeli public already knows that only an iron wall around Hamas and its partners can lead to security, and possibly later on to peace.

Dr. Haim Shine


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

PA Makes 'Political Decision' to 'Slaughter Settlers'

by Ari Yashar

Senior PA and Fatah official close to Abbas says all ties cut with 'enemy' Israel, not stopping anyone from 'slaughtering a settlement.'
Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Flash 90
A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official last Wednesday declared that his organization has made a "political decision" to support Arab terrorists "slaughtering" Jews living in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Jibril Rajoub, head of the PA Sports Authority and Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, made the statements on the independent Palestinian Arab TV channel Awdah. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) exposed and translated the interview.

"OK, brother, here is the occupation, am I stopping you from slaughtering a settlement? No one is stopping anyone...our political decision is resistance in the occupied territories in order to bring an end to the occupation [using] all forms of resistance," Rajoub said.

Rajoub opened by saying "I'm telling everyone: Fatah has decided that our relations with the Israelis are relations between enemies. There is no kind of coordination between the Israelis and us." Apparently he was referring to the coordination between the PA security forces and Israel.

The comments are especially meaningful because Rajoub holds a close relationship with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In February, Rajoub made an official trip to Iran as Abbas's representative, where he said "if the talks fail, armed struggle against (Israel) could be a strategic solution."

Fatah's "military wing," the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, this month announced a full return to terrorism, declaring "open war" on the Jewish state. Those calls have already been acted on in several shooting attacks and attempts at such attacks.

Just two weeks ago, the group falsely claimed to have murdered 11,000 Israelis, and has likewise called for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel.

Fatah's position is in line with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) charter of 1968, which calls for "armed struggle" and "armed revolution," declaring "armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine," and calling on local Arabs to "be prepared for the armed struggle."

Following the charter, the PLO and Fatah were defined internationally as terror organizations, a status which was removed during the 1993 Oslo Accords process.

Ari Yashar


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Shoshana Bryen: The Beheading of James Foley and Other Unintended Consequences

by Shoshana Bryen

Both the president and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. But ISIS speaks precisely in Islamic terms and holds itself out to be authentic Islam.
The goals of Hamas and the goals of ISIS, to create a society on its own principles -- "ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic and valueless evil," to quote Mr. Kerry -- are the same.

There is a reason the American military asks of its civilian commanders, "Don't tell us what to do, tell us what you want done." Giving the military an executable military mission to accomplish is the most important responsibility of civilian command. A strategic plan helps the military respond quickly to the unintended consequences that result from every mission, without sliding into incremental and often unplanned escalation.

President Obama has dispatched up to 800 American soldiers and authorized more than 90 air strikes with a general idea of our "humanitarian" responsibilities, not our strategic interests. (That did not work too well in Libya.) Mr. Obama even characterized as "humanitarian" U.S. air support for Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi troops to prevent ISIS from controlling the Mosul Dam.

"If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would have threatened the lives of thousands of innocents and endangered our embassy compound in Baghdad," he said.

The President was dutifully echoed by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, "The airstrikes that we conducted in and around Mosul Dam over the last 72 hours or so fit into both those categories, both helping prevent what could be a huge humanitarian problem should the dam be blown ... and also to protect U.S. personnel and facilities."

The Pentagon even changed its list of missions in Iraq to downplay the possibility of military action for strategic American aims. On 14 August, Kirby listed three missions: to protect American citizens and facilities; to provide advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle ISIL (emphasis added); and to join with international partners to address the humanitarian crisis. A week later, only the protection and humanitarian missions remained.

Here is the problem: No one beats the U.S. for the timely and effective relief of a humanitarian crisis. From earthquakes to floods to tsunamis, the American military can dispatch more effective aid than anyone. But an earthquake has no retaliatory capability, ISIS does. Our current missions are taking place in a war zone and in a place the U.S. has strategic interests.

Here are the unintended consequences: 1) the beheading of James Foley with a similar threat to Steven Sotloff; 2) the movement of ISIS forces off the main roads into civilian towns and villages where the U.S. can strike only with great collateral damage (read: civilian casualties); and 3) the open ISIS threat to kill civilians in retaliation for further U.S. strikes in ISIS territory. Even though members of ISIS are conducting themselves gruesomely, blaming the U.S. will have resonance with some people in the region.

President Obama, in a formal statement on the murder of Foley, said that ISIS, "speaks for no religion. No faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday or what they do every single day. We will do everything we can to protect our people and the timeless values they stand for. We will be vigilant, and we will be relentless ... to see that justice is done."

Secretary of State John Kerry followed the President with an equally harsh statement. "There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil. ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity."

Both the President and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. That is not an appropriate distinction for American political figures to make. Ours is a country that is secular in its governance and does not truck in "true religions" or parsing other people's religious beliefs. The organization speaks precisely in Islamic terms and holds itself out to be authentic Islam. Muslims themselves will either accept ISIS as part of their religious family or drum it out.

It is only possible for the United States to declare ISIS, whether part of Islam or not, to be an enemy organization to the United States and to declare our intention to destroy it. If the President now needs to recalibrate our military intervention in Iraq to include the decimation of ISIS, either his earlier promises of limitations will be broken or the chances of American success are slim to none.

The importance of a strategic plan BEFORE bombing people in another country becomes ever clearer.

Here is another unintended consequence, perhaps the only positive one to emerge: In the President and Secretary's words resides the basis for "recalibrating" on Hamas. They appear to have (belatedly) come to an understanding that the appropriate Western position toward unacceptably aggressive, "evil," behavior, is to not to negotiate with it, plead with it, "reform" it, or buy it off -- but to destroy it.

The terrorist group Hamas also massacres innocents. That Hamas cannot kill as many Israelis as it would like and cannot currently impose its version of Islam on West Bank Palestinians is irrelevant.

Spot the differences: Hamas or ISIS? Above, members of ISIS in Gaza. (Image source: ISIS YouTube video)

Most of the West ignored the child labor and the at least 160 children killed in the construction of the tunnels under Gaza, built to facilitate terror against Israeli innocents (as reported by the Institute for Palestine studies in 2012). Most of the West also ignore the Hamas rockets that fail to reach Israel and kill Palestinians in Gaza. But the goals of Hamas and the goals of ISIS, to create a society on its own principles -- "ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic and valueless evil," to quote Mr. Kerry -- are the same.

Israel and the United States and the rest of the West are, in fact, fighting the same intolerant, sadistic and unrepentant foe. The acknowledgment by the West would vastly enhance the chances of our success – that and a militarily achievable strategic plan.

Shoshana Bryen


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

Time to Part Ways with Erdogan

by Ari Lieberman

There is no question that Turkey, because of its size and geo-strategic location maintains a pivotal role in NATO. Its armed forces are NATO’s second largest and its troops had acquitted themselves well during the Korean War. Turkey had also played a constructive role in bridging relations between Israel and the Muslim world acting as an effective interlocutor. But with the ascent of the Islamist Justice and Development party in 2002 and the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as party boss, things have taken a stark turn for the worse.

Under the stewardship of an increasingly unbalanced Erdogan, Turkey has renounced secularism in favor of Islamist dogma and creeping sharia. Turkey’s new president elect has, through intimidation and strong-arm tactics, usurped control of Turkey’s judiciary and press. Indeed, Turkey holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest incarcerator of journalists followed only by Iran and China.

An increasingly paranoid Erdogan has also declared war on social media and in March threatened to ban Facebook and YouTube, accusing the sites of “every kind of immorality and espionage for their own ends.” Erdogan had already banned YouTube for two years though the restriction was lifted in 2010.

Erdogan’s disloyalty to the United States and NATO began early in his term of office as prime minister but his betrayals have only increased in recent years.

In March 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Turkey refused to allow the deployment of US troops on Turkish soil which would have enabled the US to open a second front against Saddam Hussein. Turkey also refused to allow the US to utilize Turkish airspace and airbases to launch strikes against Iraqi forces.

In 2010, Turkey was one of only two nations in the UN Security Council (the other being Brazil) that voted against imposing sanctions against Iran in connection with its nuclear proliferation activities. Turkey (along with China) is currently taking a lead role in helping the Islamic Republic circumvent sanctions, often fronting for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and instituting various other schemes to bypass legal obstacles.  Turkey’s stance on Iran has even drawn praise from mullah’s official propaganda outlet, Press TV.

It is clear that Turkey, acting as Iran’s conduit to Europe has become the Islamic Republic’s premier enabler. Turkey’s outreach to Iran represents a disturbing pattern by Erdogan to curry favor with nations and entities whose interests substantially diverge from Washington’s. Turkey has established itself as the world’s foremost supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are listed as terrorist organizations by the United States.  Turkey has also opted to purchase air defense platforms from a Chinese firm already on a designated sanctions list for violating embargoes against Iran and North Korea. Moreover, the Chinese systems are incompatible with NATO platforms but to Erdogan, NATO’s defense needs play second fiddle to his disconcerting policy of thumbing his nose at the West.

Central to any defense pact and cooperation between allies is trust. But Erdogan has proven that he is anything but trustworthy. In fact, he has established himself as the premier betrayer of trust when, in violation of all norms and protocol within the intelligence community, he betrayed a network of spies working to compile data on Iran’s proliferation activities.

Israel and Turkey have had numerous understandings and agreements with respect to intelligence sharing dating back to the 1950s and it was thought that despite strained ties between Ankara and Jerusalem, the intelligence protocols which had withstood the test of time, would remain intact. Erdogan’s perfidious actions torpedoed those assumptions. Intelligence and security officials from across the political spectrum termed Turkey’s act of betrayal, “despicable” and intimated that Turkey could no longer be trusted with sensitive data.

With every passing day, Erdogan appears more irrational and unbalanced. Protests against his authoritarian style are met with cryptic claims that the unrest was sparked by the “interest rate lobby” and just in case anyone had any doubts about what he meant, his deputy prime minister, Besir Atalay put them to rest when he blamed the “Jewish Diaspora” for the strife.

The Turkish leader’s vitriolic hate toward Israel has veered uncomfortably close to outright Jew-hatred. In September 2011, he absurdly claimed that Israel had killed “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians in Gaza and adopting a classic anti-Semitic canard, boorishly stated that Israel used the Holocaust as a mechanism to gain world sympathy. In February 2013 Erdogan compared Zionism to fascism and further declared Zionism to be a “crime against humanity.” He also bizarrely accused Israel of engineering the coup that deposed Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood ally, Mohammed Morsi prompting the State Department to issue a stern rebuke terming Erdogan’s histrionics, “offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong.”

During Israel’s recent counter-insurgency efforts against the Hamas terrorist group, Erdogan accused the Jewish State of committing genocide, lamented the fact that not enough Jews had been killed during the conflict and compared Israelis to Adolph Hitler.

These examples just scratch the surface when it comes to Erdogan’s Judeophobia. His hatred of Jews is ingrained and is inspired by a convoluted and radical interpretation of Islam, an interpretation with roots firmly embedded in the teachings of the fascist Muslim Brotherhood. But where there is hatred of Jews, there invariably is hatred of other minorities and misogynistic proclivities. In August, Erdogan lashed out at a female journalist telling her that she “should know [her] place.” That very month, he made pejorative and deprecatory references to Armenians.

There can no longer be any doubt that Erdogan is rabidly xenophobic. His war against social media and cryptic references to international conspiracies to dethrone him are indicative of a delusional mind, one wracked by extreme paranoia and fantasy. His efforts to distance Turkey from the West and undermine American foreign policy are demonstrative of a nefarious agenda. His betrayal of intelligence agents crystallizes the fact that so long as Erdogan maintains the reins of power, Turkey cannot be trusted as a reliable NATO partner. It is time for the United States to reevaluate Turkey’s role in NATO and make clear to Erdogan that there are consequences for his actions.

Ari Lieberman


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

Israel: A Congenital Act of Aggression?

by Deborah Weiss


As rockets rained into Israel on the third day of the current Israel-Hamas conflict, the irony of the situation was not lost: Capitol Hill held a symposium on July 9, 2014, the tenth anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion denouncing the legality and necessity of Israel’s national security fence. The event was organized by Richard Heideman, former Chief Counsel for Israeli Victims of Terrorism, author of the Hague Odyssey and cofounder of the Israel Foundation. The high-profile speakers all spoke ardently in opposition to the ICJ’s opinion. No doubt, the unforeseen war currently in progress demonstrated the legitimacy of Israel’s security fence and the folly of the ICJ’s assertion to the contrary.


The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN, seated in The Hague, and established in 1945 by the UN Charter. It has the jurisdiction to settle legal disputes submitted by States when the parties agree to the Court’s jurisdiction. It also has the authority to issue advisory opinions on legal questions submitted by authorized UN bodies and specialized agencies. It consists of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly (GA) and the UN Security Council, each to serve out a term of 9 years.


After the Palestinian Authority was unable to successfully pass its proposed resolution in the Security Council, it initiated a resolution in the UN GA, which regularly passes anti-Israel resolutions.

Thus, on December 8, 2003, the GA passed the resolution (in a special emergency session) to send the ICJ a question requesting an advisory opinion. The question read, “[W]hat are the legal consequences of the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the Occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory?”

Numerous other countries filed briefs with the ICJ, primarily asserting the Court’s lack of jurisdiction to entertain the question. First, the PA is not a state so it cannot submit a dispute for settlement. Second, Israel never agreed to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction on this matter. Third, per prior legal agreements between Israel and Palestine, conflicts should be resolved through bi-lateral negotiations, not through a court. Fourth, the issue is really a political matter, not a legal matter. But even if the GA does have standing to request an advisory opinion, the court’s opinion does not constitute binding law.

None of this stopped the ICJ from rendering its opinion, however, which wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian position and rejected entirely Israel’s argument that the wall was needed for security purposes.

The ICJ issued a press release explaining that “the Court finds the construction of the wall being built by Israel’s Occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem and its associated regime, are contrary to international law.” It further stated that Israel has an obligation to cease construction of the wall, dismantle what has been erected, and make “reparations for all damage caused by the wall.”

The Court dismissed Israel’s argument that the wall was necessary to achieve its security objectives and that it was justified self-defense. Further, the ICJ suggested that the UN, and the GA in particular, “consider what further action is required to bring an end to the illegal situation…”

This opinion came one week subsequent to, and in disregard of, the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling, ordering a section of the barrier outside Jerusalem to be re-routed to accommodate Palestinians and reduce the hardship they were experiencing as a result of the fence’s location, demonstrating Israel’s humanitarian values.

The Symposium

In his opening remarks, Richard Heideman noted that the fence has indisputably saved lives and is legitimate and necessary. He also pointed out that all countries have an obligation to defend their citizens and that the wall was erected for security reasons alone, that it is not an apartheid wall as some claim. Finally, he questioned the legality of the ICJ’s advisory opinion.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer explained what readers will not hear in the mainstream media: that ¾ of Israel’s population is threatened by Hamas rockets, that many have had to relocate, and that those who remain in their homes in the shelled areas are hearing alarms to run to shelters numerous times a day and throughout the night.

He emphasized that there is no moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Hamas is a terror organization which uses children as human shields, celebrates the deaths of Israelis and uses the deaths of Palestinians as PR fodder, while Israel considers the loss of any innocent life to be a tragedy.

He pointed out the double standard to which Israel is held: no other country in the world is held to the standard of perfection to which Israel is held. And, the only reason that hundreds of innocent Israelis have not died in this war is not for Hamas’ lack of effort, but due to Israel’s iron dome missile defense program.

Ambassador Dermer referred to Netanyahu’s concept of “the reversal of causality” where the press confuses cause with effect. It is false that the “occupied territory” is the cause of Palestinian hostility, when in fact it is their hostility that caused the need for the wall. Indeed, the PLO was fighting Israel three years prior to any so-called “occupation”, not to mention that the “occupied” land was acquired in response to a war started by hostile Arab states who want to see Israel obliterated.

The Palestinians would have had their own state by now, but for the fact that in 1947 Arab leaders rejected a two state resolution at the UN.

The Ambassador aptly pointed out that it was the stance of the Arabs which created the Palestinian refugee problem, and the wall was a response only to waves of terror. Palestinians are attempting to turn the wall into a grievance and falsely claim it is the cause of their hostility, when in fact it was the result.

Professor Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Member of the Canadian Parliament, and human rights attorney, discussed “masking the delegitimization of Israel by cover of rule of law.” He argued that delegitimization is a buzz word to attack Israel’s right to exist and to defend herself. In order to avoid criticism for delegitimization, many are masking this goal with the pre-textual language of law, human rights and combatting genocide.

Though the conflict is political in nature, using legal or human rights language makes the Palestinian position seem more credible. The masking of delegitimization began with a UN resolution that asserted “Zionism is racism”, thus giving the appearance of international law to a politically motivated anti-Israel bias. Indeed, UN resolutions regularly make assertions without evidence and then these resolutions are used as evidence that Israel is violating human rights law. Still, the UN turns a blind eye to real human rights abusers.

Cotler noted that delegitimization is not new, but existed from the creation of Israel. Israel’s “original sin” was her establishment, and her mere existence was referred to as “a congenital act of aggression.”

Ken Marcus, President of the Louis D. Brandeis Center and former Staff Director for the US Commission on Civil Rights, discussed the proliferation of anti-Israel sentiment rampant on US college campuses. He argued that college campuses are no longer oases of tolerance as they once were. When universities are informed of discrimination, they address it promptly unless the discrimination is against those who are pro-Israel. Marcus refers to it as “the Israel exception.”

Marcus provided real life examples of college student who were called names such as “kike” or “dirty Jew.” Some were spit on or assaulted for wearing Jewish stars or supporting Israel. In California, one female student was trampled for holding up a sign that read, “Israel wants peace.” Yet, universities do nothing to provide protection in these circumstances. Instead, they proclaim that such hatred is “political expression” or “free expression.”

Additionally, Marcus pointed out that anti-Semitic discrimination was not considered discrimination against ethnicity by the US Commission on Civil Rights until ten years ago. Never-the-less, getting the Commission to enforce this policy is another matter, as to date the office insists that it has found not one instant of anti-Semitic discrimination despite the complaints that have been filed.

Colleges profess to value diversity, but as Marcus pointed out, that diversity does not include diversity of opinion when the subject is Israel.

Sarah Stern, President of Endowment for Middle East Truth, gave a moving speech in which she told the story of her aunt in Poland, who was ordered to strip naked and stand by the edge of a ditch. She and her twin baby girls were then gunned to death. Others were similarly murdered. What was their crime? They were Jewish.

Stern explained that the old anti-Semitism against Jewish individuals is now levied against the collective Jewish State of Israel. The Oslo Accords, she noted, were predicated on the notion that the Jews would relinquish land in exchange for peace. Yet, when Israel pulled out of Gaza, what they received was not peace, but the firing of 10,000 Kassam rockets into Israel proper.

Arab nations, Stern explained, always refused to recognize the state of Israel. Hamas’ stance is no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, and no recognition of Israel. College campuses and international organizations like the UN are replete with anti-Israel bigotry, despite the fact that Israel is one “tiny” state in the Middle East and the only state in the region that upholds values of freedom, human rights and equality. “Why is Israel so reviled?” Stern asked. “Because it is a Jewish State.”

There were other speakers at the symposium as well, all of whom passionately argued in favor of Israel’s terrorism prevention security fence and against the ICJ’s advisory opinion.


The coincident and subsequent events to the symposium, that constitute the Israel-Hamas war, could not have been foreseen at the time the symposium was scheduled. Yet, the current war in that region makes the points articulated by the symposium’s speakers crystal clear.

After weeks of unprompted Hamas rockets shooting into Israel, followed by the brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, Israel finally responded with a campaign to destroy the tunnels built by Hamas to smuggle in weapons. Despite the fact that Israel is the only nation in the world that calls, texts, and drops warning leaflets prior to bombing, she is still condemned for acts that constitute self-defense. The “disproportionate” number of Palestinian deaths (approximately 1800, half of which are Hamas or other militants) to that of the Israeli deaths (approximately 68 IDF soldiers and three civilians) does not indicate the nature of the parties’ intent. Israel goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, targeting only Hamas militants, their weapon storage areas and tunnels. It mourns the death of every innocent Palestinian. And yet, it is Hamas who should be held responsible for the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians because it purposely puts them in harm’s way.

One cannot have peace without a partner for peace. This war, like those that preceded it, are not about land or territory. It is an existential issue for the Jewish State of Israel, against those who want her extinction simply because she’s Jewish. Some naively believe that Palestinians only want Israel to evacuate the “occupied territory.” But the rallying cries call out, “[P]alestine shall be free, from the river to the sea.” That constitutes ALL of Israel. The schoolbooks disseminated by Palestinians that refer to all of Israel as Palestine, the cartoons that teach children hatred, and the celebrations by Palestinian mothers of their sons’ martyrdom all bely the claim that most Palestinians want peace with Israel.

Hamas’ repeated declinations or violations of all truce offers and ceasefire agreements to date, prove the point made by the July 9th symposium. The security fence IS necessary to meet Israel’s national security objectives and the ICJ was wrong to dismiss Israel’s arguments. Israel is the only nation in the world expected to adhere to a standard of utter passivity in the face of war.

Regardless of her commitment to freedom and humanitarianism, Israel will always be demonized. As Professor Cotler noted, Israel’s real crime is her mere existence, “a congenital act of aggression.”

Deborah Weiss, Esq. is a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine and the Washington Times. She is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network” and the primary writer and researcher for “Council on American Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation.” You can find more of her articles on

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Watch: Islamic State Forcibly Converts Hundreds of Yazidis

by Ari Soffer

Amid reports of widespread massacres, IS fighters say they are 'misunderstood', urge Yazidis to abandon their faith.
The Islamic State terrorist group has released a video, purportedly showing hundreds of members of the Yazidi minority sect converting to Islam.

The video was uploaded not long after IS released footage of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, in an act that underlined the brutal methods of the group, formerly known as ISIS.

In the latest video, filmed in the Sinjar mountain region where tens of thousands of Yazidis had fled to escape Islamic State forces, the jihadis try to portray a softer image, embracing the new converts and saying that the Islamist group has been "misunderstood".

"Right now you are infidels," one Islamic State member tells a large group of Yazidi men sitting in what appears to be a school. "After this you will become Muslims and you will have rights."

"Repeat after me," he orders, after which the men undergo their forced conversion process.

The Yazidis are a tight-knit community of Kurdish ethnicity who practice an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism. In recent weeks they have borne the brunt of the Islamic State's bloody campaign in northern Iraq, with thousands of civilians murdered in cold blood after refusing to convert.

There have also been numerous reports of the systematic rape of Yazidi women, with large numbers of women and children also being sold into slavery by the Islamists.

Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes to escape a similar fate, but roughly 50,000 became trapped on Mount Sinjar after Islamic State forces surrounded it.

Those reports, triggering concerns of an impending genocide, prompted the US to bomb IS targets, aiding Kurdish forces in their campaign to take back territory seized by the IS.

Witnesses said that those Yazidis who did not flee the advance hung white flags from their homes in an attempt to avoid being slaughtered.

But in the video, one of the Islamic State fighters claimed that "what has been said is the opposite of reality," and that once the Yazidis abandoned their religion to embrace Islam, everything would be provided for them.

"Men, women and children have converted and I was with them and they are happy with their conversions," he said.
Dismissing deliveries of western aid, he said refugees should surrender to IS to survive.

"We advise the Yazidis to come down from the mountain and convert.
"If they stay on the mountain, they will die of starvation and thirst. This talk about aid from Western and crusader countries is all lies. If they convert, we will give them everything they need. They will live a happy life."

Ari Soffer


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Destroy the Caliphate!

by Brian W. Lynch

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, the Islamic State posted a video on YouTube showing the decapitation of American journalist James Foley.  A second American, Steven Joel Sotloff, was paraded in front of the camera.  Foley’s executioner, totally clad in black and speaking with an English accent, stated “the life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”     

It remains to be seen how the administration will respond to this cowardly war crime.  Up to this point, their approach has been weak-kneed and contradictory.  While the administration reluctantly authorized “limited airstrikes,” it stressed that the United States “will not be dragged into another war in Iraq” nor act as the Iraqi Air Force.  James Foley’s execution demonstrates that a more forceful, direct role for the United States military against the Islamic State is required.  To an understandably war weary U.S. public, the thought of more blood and treasure being expended to defeat the Islamic State may sound unpleasant.  However, at this point, there is no other choice. 

Limited airstrikes are not enough.  We have to unleash the full military might of the United States on the Islamic State.  That may mean boots on the ground -- be it conventional or Special Operations forces.  That means that Islamic State forces, equipment, and infrastructure should be targeted relentlessly by U.S. air power.  There should be no place in Iraq, the Middle East, or the world for that matter that these Islamist fascists feel safe or have sanctuary.  Furthermore, the President should make absolutely clear that any group or country providing financial assistance or quarter to the Islamic State will face the wrath of the U.S. military.

We can no longer be blind to the threat posed by the Islamic State.  Obama stated that a political settlement is needed.  The absurdity of that statement underscores the extent to which the administration does not understand the threat of Islamist fascism.  When will the administration learn that you can’t negotiate or reason with Islamists.  As Senator Marco Rubio put it: “For more than a year, ISIL has been murdering civilians, raping women and young girls and enslaving them, and carrying out systematic genocide of anyone who does not share their warped and extremist Islamist views.  ISIL cannot be reasoned with, they can’t be negotiated with, and their views of the world is irreconcilable with civilized society.”

For over 30 years, Islamist fascists have been waging war on the United States, culminating with the September 11th attacks.  However, the Islamic State is a threat unlike any terrorist or Islamist group we have ever faced.  There was a time when an Islamic caliphate sounded like a pipe dream.  Due to the administration’s abandonment of Iraq and refusal to recognize our enemy for what it is, the Islamic Caliphate is now a reality.   Shashank Joshi noted in the Telegraph:   “Terrorist groups have beheaded hostages and prisoners, Westerners and non-Westerners, for many years. What is shocking is not that they are extreme sadists, but that they are extreme sadists with a conventional army and nation-building aspirations. This is what makes them different. By their own admission, their aim is to “drown all of you in blood’. They are incapable of compromise, uninterested in moderation, and hell-bent on territorial expansion.” 

Aggravating matters, the threat posed by the Islamic State is not limited to the Middle East. Thousands of American and European Muslims have joined the Islamic State’s ranks.  It is only a matter of time before these individuals begin filtering back to their respective countries.  Unsurprisingly, the Islamic State already vowed to attack American and European targets.

Unless there is bold action on the part of the West and the United States, the situation may spiral out of control.  James Foley’s death is only the beginning.  There is only one option at this point -- total and utter annihilation of the Islamist state and its sympathizers. 

Brian W. Lynch is an attorney, Captain in the Army Reserves, and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.  Views expressed in this paper are his own, not the Army’s


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