Saturday, December 5, 2015

Who Is Stealing Palestinian Land? - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • The lands that once housed Jewish settlements were supposed to transform the Gaza Strip into the Middle East's Singapore.
  • Instead, all the grandiose and ambitious plans went down the drain when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Since then, the entire Gaza Strip has been transformed into a base for various Islamist groups, which have used Gaza to launch terror attacks against Israel and threaten Egypt's national security.
  • By stealing their people's land and distributing it among their followers, Hamas and Fatah are further undermining the Palestinian dream of establishing a proper state based on the principles of democracy, accountability, transparency and the rule of law.
The beleaguered Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, has found an original way to solve its financial crisis. The movement is now planning to pay its unpaid civil servants with former Israeli settlement land in the Gaza Strip.

Abandoned by Israel in 2005 as part of the "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip, the land was supposed to provide a solution to the severe housing crisis in the Palestinian-controlled area. Back then, there was much talk about building new housing projects for thousands of Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli "disengagement" prompted some oil-rich Arab countries to propose plans to help solve the severe housing crisis in the Gaza Strip. The lands that once housed Jewish settlements were supposed to transform the Gaza Strip into the Middle East's Singapore.

Instead, all the grandiose and ambitious plans went right down the drain when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007. Since then, the entire Gaza Strip has been transformed into a base for various Islamist groups. In addition to suppressing and intimidating the local population, these groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other jihadi militias, have used the Gaza Strip to launch terror attacks against Israel and threaten Egypt's national security on the other side of the border.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which was ousted from the Gaza Strip by Hamas, has since failed to provide any kind of assistance to the 1.8 million Palestinians living there. Today, it is clear that the PA's chances of returning to the Gaza Strip are zero. The Palestinian Authority is, in fact, lucky still to be in power in the West Bank.

Were it not for the presence of the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority would have collapsed long ago and Hamas leaders would be sitting today in the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Several attempts during the past few years to end the dispute between Abbas's ruling Fatah faction and Hamas have failed to bridge the wide gap between the two parties. For now, it appears that Palestinians will have to live, for many more years, with the reality that they have two separate states -- one in the West Bank and another in the Gaza Strip.

Last year's "reconciliation" agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which resulted in the formation of a Palestinian "national consensus" government, came at a time when the Islamist movement was facing its worst financial crisis. This crisis was the direct result of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi's relentless war on Hamas and other terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas leaders were hoping that the "reconciliation" accord with Abbas would at least help them solve the issue of tens of thousands of their civil servants in the Gaza Strip who have not received salaries for more than a year. In other words, the cash-strapped Hamas was hoping that the new "national consensus" government, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, would pay salaries to tens of thousands of Hamas employees. The money, of course, was supposed to come from the U.S. and the EU countries that continue to fund the Palestinian Authority.

However, Abbas has since refused to pay the Hamas employees for two reasons. First, he knows that such a move would invite American and EU sanctions against his government. Second, Abbas fears that once he pays salaries to the Hamas civil servants, he would be empowering the Islamist movement and helping it further tighten its grip on the Gaza Strip.

After months of failed negotiations between Abbas and Hamas to solve the crisis of the unpaid civil servants, the Hamas authorities decided to lay their hands on 1000 dunams (247 acres) of land -- part of which once housed the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip -- and distribute them among its employees.

The controversial decision, which is being denounced by many Palestinians as "the biggest land theft," was taken by members of the Palestinian Legislative Council during a meeting in Gaza City last week.

Ziad al-Thatha, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, explained that the confiscated land would soon be distributed among civil servants who have not received salaries for more than a year. He said that the seized land would also be used to cover the debts of several municipalities in the Gaza Strip.

Another top Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, defended the decision by arguing that the Palestinian Authority had also previously seized 7000 dunams (1729 acres) in the Gaza Strip for its own interests.

So what Hamas is actually saying is: If the Palestinian Authority was able to steal large portions of land in the Gaza Strip in the past, there is no reason why Hamas too should not have a taste of the cake.

At least they agree on one thing: Confiscating land.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) shakes hands with Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, during negotiations in 2007 for a short-lived unity government. (Image source: Palestinian Press Office)

The Palestinian Authority and many Palestinians have expressed shock over Hamas's decision to compensate its employees with parcels of land. But besides strongly condemning the move by Hamas, Abbas and his lieutenants in Ramallah know that there is nothing they can do to prevent the land-grab.

The Palestinians are once again paying a heavy price for the continued power struggle between Fatah and Hamas and failed leadership -- both in the West bank and Gaza Strip. By stealing their people's land and distributing it among their followers, Hamas and Fatah are further undermining the Palestinian dream of establishing a proper state based on the principles of democracy, accountability, transparency and the rule of law.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

Father Gabriel Naddaf: EU labeling ‘betrayal of Christian values in Europe’ - Jeremy Sharon

by Jeremy Sharon

Prominent Christian leader Father Gabriel Naddaf spoke out strongly on Wednesday at the European Parliament against the recent decision of the European Union to label products made by Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Naddaf is a Greek Orthodox priest and activist for Christian Arab integration into Israeli society, and established the Forum for Christian Enlistment to the IDF and the Israeli Christian Empowerment Council.

The priest declared that labeling goods from the settlements goes against Christian values and is part of a de-Christianization of Europe.

“Labeling Israeli produce [from the settlements] is another betrayal of Christian values in Europe, and another weakening of the Christian spirit in Europe,” Naddaf told a symposium at the European Parliament in Brussels organized by the pro-Israel evangelical group International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

“As a Christian leader, raised in Nazareth, living among the Arab Muslims, I tell you clearly: This decision affects Muslims, Christians, Druse and all other minority citizens of Israel, not just the Jews.”

Naddaf called the move to label Israeli settlement goods “a racist, anti-Semitic decision, stupid.”

He continued, “In the Middle East today there is only one state where Christians live in security, prosperity, where they have freedom of expression, freedom of religion and worship, where they can vote and be elected to parliament, where they have democratic rights and where their population is increasing.

“This is the Jewish state, the State of Israel, this is what we must protect, we have to protect our freedom, protect our state, our democracy which has proven itself, and protect the Holy Land, the cradle of Christianity.”

Jeremy Sharon


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

There is a partner, but not exactly the one you may think - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

There is an alternative to establishing another failed state in the Middle East.

Last week's Israeli government cabinet meeting included a discussion of possible scenarios for when the Palestinian Authority collapses. This would bring the Jewish and Arab population of Judea and Samaria to where they were before the Oslo Accords were signed, and leave Israel responsible for finding a way to deal with the Arab population of the region. This is, of course, taking into account that Gaza now has a stable and legitimate government, a Hamas government, a fact Israel is willing to live with indefinitely.

The important question is what Israel will do with Judea and Samaria, when the world demands a two state solution. Does Israel have a partner on to deal with?

The first time Israel agreed to establish an official Palestinian Arab body was at the Camp David Accords, the agreement reached between Israel and Egypt in 1978. In these agreements, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed to establish an autonomous authority for the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with "a strong police force."  This agreement was rejected by the PLO which saw it as "granting Arab legitimacy to the Zionist entity and Egyptian abrogation of the right to independent decision making by the Palestinian people."

The PLO did not agree to autonomy and demanded a Palestinian state on the ruins of the state of Israel. It saw no way to recognize Israel as a legitimate state, even if it took up just one square millimeter of "Palestine." The Camp David Accords led to peace between Egypt and Israel, but to no breakthrough on the Palestinian issue. Since the 1980s, Israel has been searching for a recognized, accepted Palestinian body that will take the responsibility for enforcing law and order in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In the early 1980s, Ariel Sharon gathered a few people on the margins of Arab society, gave them Uzis and authority, named them "The Association of Villages" and hoped they would enforce law and order in their surroundings. The experiment was a dismal failure, in large part because Sharon did not depend on the heads of large extended families (hamoulot), the traditional leadership in Judea and Samaria's cities, whom he felt wielded too much power. People who knew the situation well warned him not to give weapons to these marginal people, but Sharon, who did not make a habit of taking advice, did not listen to them.

Another attempt to seek out Palestinian Arab leadership was towards the end of the first Intifada, the uprising started in late 1987 and brought Hamas onto center stage, to be followed soon after by Islamic Jihad. In 1992, then Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin tried to deal with the terror sown by these organizations by exiling their leaders to southern Lebanon. However, Israel's Supreme Court forced him to allow them to return, and this failure pushed the government to search for another organization that would accept the responsibility for dealing with Hamas and Islamic Jihad "without the [interference of Israeli] courts and the Betselem [human rights]' organization", to quote the late prime minister.

Several months earlier, as a result of the October 1991 Madrid Conference, secret contacts were initiated between several Israelis and PLO representatives in Oslo, Norway. Those contacts led to the signing of the Oslo Agreements on the White House lawn in September 1993. The agreements were based on the illusion that the PLO had put down its arms, turned into a peace movement, given up its plans to eliminate Israel, would change the PLO Covenant, recognize Israel and accept  the responsibility of creating something that is less than a state on the territory Israel would hand over to PLO control. Everyone knows how that story ended, but the signs were there from the beginning. It is simply a case of there are "none so blind as those who will not see."

The Oslo Agreements created the Palestinian Authority, an entity which quickly abrogated its first mission, that of fighting terror. Instead, it continued its anti-Israel incitement in the media, the public sphere and the educational system (whose budget was made up of overseas donations).  Since then, the PLO continues the battle against Israel on the international stage and pushes for BDS.

The establishment of the Palestinian Authority allowed terrorists wielding kalashnikov rifles to take over its Legislative Council  in the January 2006 elections and go on to take over  Gaza in June 2007. All the polls taken so far point to a clear victory for Hamas in the next Palestinian Authority elections – if there ever are any – and that includes capturing the po‎sition of chairman, so that the act of exercising democracy will turn Judea and Samaria into a terrorist state.

This leads to the generally accepted remark that "there is no Palestinian partner", since it has become clear to all that the PLO has no desire for a peaceful state alongside Israel. In fact, it hopes to establish a terror state on Israel's ruins and the last twenty years have sufficed to convince most Israelis of the futility of trying to change that. Much of the left has realized that the Oslo Accords were a fatal mistake, but has not come up with an alternative to the two-state solution, continuing to see the Palestinian Arabs as a "nation" with the right to self-rule.

The real truth about the Arab world has become obvious over the last few years. The modern Arab state is a dismal failure that did not succeed in convincing its own citizens that it is a better choice than clinging to traditional tribal loyalties and ethnic groups (Arabs, Kurds, etc.), religious groups (Muslim, Christian, Alawite, Druze, etc.) and warring groups within the same religion (Shiite, Sunni, etc.). The nationalism offered by the modern state has failed to create a Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan, or Sudanese basis for a national consciousness and the proof of that is playing out in front of our eyes as we witness the terrible civil wars that show where the real loyalties of each population sector lie.

There is no "Palestinian nation" either. The Arab residents of the land of Israel west of the Jordan are really made up of tribes and hamoulot  with accepted tribal leadership and binding social traditions. They live in demarcated areas and enjoy active lives in their communities. The  PA, a creation of the PLO, just like Syria, Iraq, Libya and Sudan, has failed to find its way into Palestinian Arab hearts. The only thing united them all is hatred of Israel, so that if a state does get established in PA territory, it will, in all probability, turn into another Gaza  at best or into another Libya and Syria in the worst case scenario.

Israel and the rest of the world must not support the establishment of another failed Arab state based on the illusory concept of a non-existent people which will soon bring untold suffering on its citizens and their neighbors.

What is that elusive alternative people keep on looking for? The alternative solution exists. In the Middle East the right thing to do is to establish states on the basis of tribal loyalties. That is the basis of the Gulf States: Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.   These are tranquil, stable emirates, each with a majority of citizens who are members of a single tribe.

A homogenous society creates stability, a legitimate legal framework and a legitimate government. The citizens of an emirate do not fight each other because they belong to the same tribe, and can turn their oil into prosperity. Saudi Arabia and Oman are also countries that have tribal cultures that keep them stable. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Sudan are oil producing, but life in those countries is short and bitter because of the endless fighting between rival groups. These are fragile and illegitimate countries created by British, French and Italian colonialist powers, all based on the Western model of a nation.

This is also the way we must address the Palestinian Arab problem, and instead of creating another failed Western-model state that has no chance of succeeding in the Middle East, create seven emirates in the Arab cities of Judea and Samaria, based on the powerful extended families in each of those cities. Hevron can be the emirate of the Jabri, Abu Sneineh, Qawasmi, Natsheh and Tamimi tribes, Jericho of the Erekat tribe, Ramallah of the Bara'iti tribe, Shechem of the al Mazri, Tukan and Shachna tribes and so on in Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Jenin.

Anyone who has not yet noticed, is asked to look at Gaza where since June 2007 (eight years!) there is a functioning state.

In addition, Israel has to remain in control in the villages and surrounding areas of Judea and Samaria in order to prevent the formation of a terrorist contiguity uniting the discrete city-emirates, but.Israel can then offer citizenship to the residents of these villages who make up only about 10% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. The other 90% can stay in their independently run city-states.

These are the broad parameters of a program based on the "partner" to be found in each city-emirate, the natural, traditional leadership of the large hamoulot in each city. Israel must negotiate with each emirate and reach an agreement with each one on the issues of electricity, water, waste, roads, industry, agriculture, traffic, security, the use of ports and airspace, and the boundary lines of each. If the emirates wish to form a federation, so be it. That doesn't pose a problem as long as their territories are not allowed to be contiguous.

The PLO, the organization that runs the Palestinian Authority, never agreed to the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and is therefore not a partner for peace. Israel, however, has a partner in each Judea and Samaria city. Israel must bring about  the collapse of the PLO and PA, the two entities preventing a lasting peace agreement with the residents of Judea and Samaria, who will then be able to establish thriving emirates on the lines of Dubai, if not even better.

The PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad want only wars, death and destruction, while peace between Israel and the Emirates will lead to growth and prosperity.

For a more detailed explanation, see

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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The President and Liberals Have A Lot To Answer For - David Horowitz

by David Horowitz

It has been reported that a neighbor saw suspicious movements in the house. Perhaps if she had reported this to the police the victims of this savage attack would be alive and well.

On the heels of the Paris attacks, ISIS issues threats against the United States. A Muslim couple highly trained and armed to the teeth, with an IED factory in their house, with GoPro cameras on board, murders 14 and wounds 17 members of a seasonal gathering in San Bernardino, and a day later no one in the media will say it’s a terrorist attack. Even on Fox, the word is “No one will say whether it’s workplace violence or a terrorist attack.” Really? Who leaves a meeting goes back home, as the killer did, gathers up his wife, drops his six month old child with the grandmother, dons battle fatigues and drives back to the meeting to carry out his mayhem? The obvious answer is no one.

Twenty years after Islamic jihadists declared war on us, fear of offending Muslims still trumps securing the safety of 300 million Americans, non-jihadist Muslims included. This suicidal stupidity flows from the top. The president will not acknowledge that millions of Muslims are at war with us. His first response to this latest massacre is another call for gun control. How about bomb control – three were set at the target site. 

Here is the lead headline in Salon, an Obama-Hillary supporting Internet site: “Syed Farooq is an American: Let’s stop the Muslim vs. Christian debate and take a look at ourselves. His terrible deed does not spring from an unknowable foreign culture. It is violence endemic to the United States.” Blame America first. The author of this piece, by the way, is a supporter of the Islamic terrorist army, Hamas. But that’s all right with liberals. As is the president’s importing of terrorists into the United States. There are 900 ongoing investigations of ISIS sympathizers in the homeland – and no doubt thousands of undetected ones too – thanks to the Democrats’ open borders attitudes and amnesties.

It has been reported that a neighbor saw suspicious movements in the house. Perhaps if she had reported this to the police the victims of this savage attack would be alive and well. But she didn’t report it because she says, she was afraid of being called a racist. By Liberals, who have run interference for the terrorists since the first bombing of the World Trade Center 23 years ago. Liberals have a lot to answer for, and conservatives should get to work making sure they do. Before it’s too late.

David Horowitz


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Placating Americans with Fake Immigration Law Enforcement - Michael Cutler

by Michael Cutler

How our leaders create fantasy 'solutions' for our immigration-related vulnerabilities.

Politicians understand that in order to get elected they need to create the illusion that they are addressing their constituents' concerns.  This is not unlike the parents who are awakened in the night by their young child who, startled by a nightmare in the middle of the night, starts crying and screaming.

The drowsy parents want desperately to be able to go back to sleep, but know that must calm their upset child.  The dutiful parents stumble into their child's room, administer a back-rub to the crying child, speaking soothingly, telling the child whatever they think they need to say to calm him/her and perhaps even serving up a glass of warm milk, hoping that the now-placated child will go back to sleep.

Years ago during a conversation with a journalist about immigration and crime, I told him that the Bush administration's strategy was to create the illusion of aggressively seeking to arrest criminal aliens to placate concerned Americans.  I told him that the President would periodically conduct news conferences at which he would highlight some law enforcement operation conducted by the Border Patrol or by ICE agents that had been given tough-sounding names such as “Operation Gatekeeper” and “Operation Return to Sender.”

In reality, I told him, all such operations should all be given the same name, “Operation Back-Rub,” because they were devised simply to placate concerned Americans.  These and similar operations only involved the apprehension of a relative handful of criminal aliens, while our nation had been inundated with hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens plying their “trades” across the United States.

Of course, the failures of the Bush administration to effectively secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States pale in comparison to the Obama administration's policies.

Tons of money has been squandered on technology on the border that never worked but had impressive sounding names such as SBINet (Secure Border Initiative Network) also known as the “Virtual Fence.”

The goal was to create the illusion that the administration was meeting the needs of many angry Americans.

Our nation's leaders are conflicted about the immigration crisis.  Unless they are totally delusional, they know full well that foreign terrorists need to enter the United States in order to carry out attacks inside the United States.

The rational solution would be to secure our nation's borders and tighten up the visa adjudication process.  The inspections/admission process at ports of entry also needs to be improved considering that an estimated 40% of all illegal aliens were actually admitted via the inspections process conducted at ports of entry and subsequently violated their terms of admission.

Finally, effective enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States could identify and arrest aliens, who, in violation of the law, have embedded themselves in the United States.

These issues were, in fact, the focus of much of the attention of the 9/11 Commission Report and the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel. 

Therefore the Visa Waiver Program should have been terminated after the terror attacks of 9/11 yet it has continually been expanded.

It is clear that the overarching goal of a succession of administrations and many members of Congress, irrespective of political party affiliation, is to keep our borders open and take no meaningful action to stop that flow of aliens into the United States.

On November 30, 2015, in response to the ever-increasing threats to the United States posed by terrorists, the White House posted a document on its official website, “FACT SHEET: Visa Waiver Program Enhancements.”

Members of the United States Senate such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have proposed changes to the Visa Waiver Program that are essentially worthless and constitute yet another example of “Operation Back-Rub.”

The key proposal is to require aliens who are citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, but who have traveled to either Syria or Iraq in the past five years, to get visas before they apply to enter the United States.  However, there will be no reliable way to know if such aliens traveled to those countries.

On December 1, 2015, Mr. Obama, at his news conference in Paris where he and other world leaders met to discuss climate change, insisted that Turkey secure its border with Syria to stop the flow of weapons and fighters. (Would that Obama take his own advice about the need to secure borders.)

It is obvious that it would be a simple matter for terrorists to cross that border without having their passports stamped.

Furthermore, has not ISIS exhorted their adherents to “kill where they are” if they cannot make the trip to Syria?

The obvious question is why the Visa Waiver Program is considered so sacrosanct that even though it defies the advice and findings of the 9/11 Commission no one has the moral fortitude to call for simply terminating this dangerous program.

The answer can be found in the incestuous relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, the Corporation for Travel Promotion, now doing business as Brand USA.

The Chamber of Commerce has arguably been the strongest supporter of the Visa Waiver Program, which currently enables aliens from 38 countries to enter the United States without first obtaining a visa.

The U.S. State Department provides a thorough explanation of the Visa Waiver Program on its website.

Incredibly, the official State Department website also provides a link,“Discover America,” on that website which relates to the website of The Corporation for Travel Promotion, which is affiliated with the travel industries that are a part of the “Discover America Partnership.”

This organization refers to itself as a “public-private marketing entity” and provides this description:
The Corporation for Travel Promotion, now doing business as Brand USA, was created in 2010 to encourage travelers from all over the world to visit the United States of America. The public-private marketing entity works in close partnership with the travel industry to maximise the economic and social benefits of travel in communities around the country. Through its website, Discover America, Brand USA will inspire travelers to explore America's boundless possibilities.

How reassuring is it to know that executives of the travel, hospitality and tourism industries have been making national security decisions for America and continue to dictate national security policies?

Might there be a conflict of interest in having the official State Department website post a link to this organization?

There are six ways in which an effectively administered visa process can help combat terrorists and defeat their plots. However, under the Visa Waiver Program, these benefits are lost:

1.  The visa adjudications process screens airline passengers flying to the United States, enhancing aviation safety.
2.  The inspections process conducted at ports of entry by CBP is supposed to be conducted in one minute or less. The visa requirement requires aliens to be vetted overseas helping to provide more integrity to this process.
3. The application for a nonimmigrant visa contains roughly 40 questions and biometric identifiers that could provide invaluable information to law enforcement officials should that alien become the target of a criminal or terrorist investigation. The information could provide intelligence as well as investigative leads.
4. False statements on the application for a visa constitute "visa fraud." The maximum penalty for visa fraud starts out at 10 years in jail and go to a maximum of 25 years in prison when the visa fraud is done to support terrorism.  It is important to note that while it may be difficult to prove that an individual is a terrorist, it is usually relatively simple to prove that the alien has committed visa fraud. Indeed, terror suspects are often charged with visa fraud.
5.  The charge of visa fraud can enable law enforcement authorities to take a “bad guy” off the street without alerting his criminal or terrorist cohorts that they are under investigation.
6.  When an application for a visa is denied, the application and the biometric identifiers remain available for law enforcement and intelligence personnel to review to seek to glean intelligence from that application.

There is a long list of individuals, industries and organizations that make huge campaign contributions that want lots of cheap labor and an endless supply of tourists and foreign students to have easy access to our nation literally at any cost.

Often that cost is the loss of innocent lives.

I sometimes wonder if the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might be seeking to drum up business for funeral homes. 

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is


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San Bernardino: Another Jihad Attack, Another Cover-Up - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

Mainstream media reporters don’t even need to show up for work. They can file their stories beforehand.

The San Bernardino jihad massacre is the latest jihad atrocity, but it’s just like the last one, and just like the next one: it has played out in exactly the same way that the last jihad atrocity did, and in just the same way that the next one will play out as well. Mass killings by “radicalized” Muslims are followed by earnest statements from the President and the mainstream media that we must not rush to judgment, that the motive of the shooters was unclear, that we need gun control, that we need to address the real threat of climate change, that Muslims fear “Islamophobia,” and so on. It’s always a new massacre, but it’s always the same story.

Surely by now mainstream media reporters don’t even need to roll out of bed to file their stories. How much legwork does it take to write, “Syed Farook and Tashfeen Melik murdered 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino; yes, Farook was a devout Muslim, but authorities are searching for a motive; moderate Muslims condemned the attack and said they feared anti-Muslim backlash”? Change the names and date, change the number of victims and the place, and they’ve filed that story dozens of times. They can just take out their last New York Times or CNN piece on the Paris jihad attack, change the details, hit send, and pour a cold one.

A few years ago, a couple of writers for showed up at a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on which I was speaking, and were deservedly ridiculed after they were caught writing their story before the panel had even begun. But you can’t really blame them for trying to save some time: their story was going to be the same “Racist Bigoted Islamophobes Say Egregiously Evil Things” no matter what anyone on the panel really did say, so why not get a head start on the writing?

With San Bernardino, and every jihad attack, it works the same way. The media trims the facts to fit the Procrustean bed of their narrative, such that, in this case, most of the American public will likely never hear that San Bernardino jihad murderer Syed Farook had been “radicalized”; or that he had been in touch with Muslims being investigated for jihad terror activity; or that he spent his free time in the mosque, memorizing the Qur’an.

If they do hear about such things at all from the mainstream media, their significance won’t be explained: no one on CBS or NBC or ABC or PBS or NPR or in the New York Times or the Washington Post will remind his or her audience that the Islamic State and other jihad groups consider themselves to be at war with the United States, and have explicitly and repeatedly called upon Muslims in the U.S. to commit mass murder of American civilians. Would anyone have wondered about the motive of a German national who slaughtered fourteen Americans on U.S. soil in 1943? Of course no one would have, but that was a long time ago. Now we are engaged in a great ignored war, a war that only one side is fighting, a war in which enemy combatants are tried in civilian courts – as if they were criminals, not enemy soldiers -- by a government that desperately wishes to maintain the illusion that there is no war at all.

This play has played to rapt audiences in Boston and Fort Hood, and all over the country. It is so familiar that all the players hit their marks with the nonchalant and unthinking precision of the overtrained. But it needs to close. The endless proclamations after every jihad attack, that it has nothing to do with Islam, and that Muslims are the real victims, are not only ludicrous; they’re offensive. The mainstream media and the Obama Administration have insulted the intelligence of Americans long enough. Their denial and willful ignorance are endangering us all, as they continue to behave after every jihad attack that their primary duty is not protecting Americans, but protecting Islam’s image.

San Bernardino has so far been just another production of this dreary little play, but it still has a chance to be much more than that. If Americans see the real lessons of San Bernardino and no longer accept this nonsense we are being fed; if we demand of our elected officials and presidential candidates that they must speak the truth about this threat we are facing, and formulate realistic ways to counter it, or their political careers will be over; if we no longer accept this endless portrayal of Muslims as beleaguered victims of “Islamophobia” after every murder of non-Muslims by Muslims – then San Bernardino could be a defining moment.

But for that to happen, people would have to be informed as to the true parameters of this issue, and those who are charged with informing them are instead doing all they can to spread disinformation. So San Bernardino will fade in memory once it is replaced by the next jihad carnage. And that one won’t have anything to do with Islam, either. Journalists can get their stories ready now, so that when that carnage comes, they can just fill in the requisite blanks and be the first to file. In fact, they better have five or ten jihad attack story templates ready. They’re going to need them.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

Robert Spencer


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Russia Devouring the Eastern Mediterranean? - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil
  • Turkey shot down a Russian jet. No gain, but plenty of damage to its economy. Russia gave up one jet to Turkey and has made its military presence in Syria and the strategic eastern Mediterranean permanent.
  • Turkey can no longer speak to Russia about the possibility of ousting Assad.
  • Putin seems to be making sure that NATO will do nothing.
At this year's G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said that the radical jihadist Islamic State (IS) was being financed by donors from at least 40 countries, including some G-20 member states -- clearly pointing his finger, without naming names, at Saudi Arabia and Turkey. A few days later, two Turkish F-16 jets shot down a Russian SU-24 warplane, and claimed that the Russian jet had violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds on the country's Syrian border -- a violation Russia denies. This was the first time a Soviet or Russian military aircraft was shot down by a NATO air force since the end of WWII.

Turkey and Russia have long been in a proxy war in Syria: Russia, together with its quieter partner, China, supports the Shi'ite Iran-backed Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad; and Turkey explicitly supports Assad's Sunni opponents ["moderate" jihadists] -- apparently in the hope of building a Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas-type of regime in Damascus that would be friendly to its own Islamist government. After the downing of the Russian jet, the Turco-Russian proxy war has become less proxy.

No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin twice refused to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Summit this week. Pictured: President Putin with then Prime Minister Erdogan, meeting in Istanbul on December 3, 2012. (Image

An angry Putin called the incident "a stab in the back." He declined Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's requests to discuss the issue. He twice refused to meet Erdogan on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Summit.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, quickly cancelled his official visit to Turkey -- a visit that had been scheduled for the day after the downing of the Russian jet. At the outset, NATO member Turkey had taught Russia a good lesson. In reality, judging from the consequences, it all looks like a Russian gambit, with Turkey shooting itself in the foot and risking a new NATO-Russia conflict.

Russia's ire seemingly is being expressed in economic terms:
  • Moscow said it will introduce visa restrictions for Turkish citizens, beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
  • Russian authorities detained a group of Turkish businessmen on charges of "false statements about their trip to the country."
  • Press reports noted that Russia was considering limiting or excluding Turkish construction companies from the country, a potentially multi-billion dollar loss for the Turkish economy.
  • Moscow warned its citizens against visiting Turkey -- a ban that could deal a big blow to Turkey's lucrative tourism industry. Last year 4.5 million Russians visited Turkey, mostly its Mediterranean coast. Russian tour operators were warned to suspend business with Turkey.
  • The fate of two huge Turco-Russian energy projects remains unknown, as Russia's energy minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, did not rule out sanctions hitting the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and a planned Russian nuclear energy plant in Turkey. Turkey buys about 55% of its natural gas from Russia. Its second largest gas supplier is Iran, Russia's ally -- and Turkey's rival -- in Syria.
  • Russia's Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, said that Russia would be replacing Turkish food imports with goods from Iran, Israel and Morocco.
  • Shipments of wheat to Turkey from key Russian ports were put on hold.
  • The Kremlin officially announced a wide range of sanctions on Turkey, including a ban on Turkish workers (with estimates that 90,000 will be fired by Jan. 1, 2016), restrictions on imported goods and services from Turkey and calls for "strengthening of port control and monitoring to ensure transport safety."
  • Around 1,250 trucks carrying Turkish exports were blocked from entering Russia on Nov. 30 and were stranded at border posts, awaiting clearance.
  • Russian soccer clubs will be banned from signing Turkish players during the upcoming winter break.
All of that is commercially punitive. There is a more serious side of the Turco-Russian conflict that concerns NATO and western interests in the Middle East.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Nov. 25 that Russia would deploy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in its Hmeymim air base in Syria.

Turkey shot down a Russian jet. No gain, but plenty of damage to its economy. Russia gave up one jet and has made its military presence in Syria and the strategic eastern Mediterranean permanent. It has reinforced its bases in Syria and intends to build a new military base there. Turkey can no longer speak to Russia about the possibility of ousting Assad.

In a further move to escalate tensions, the Russian General Staff deployed one of its largest air defense ships at the edge of Turkish territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Russian military spokesman General Sergei Rudskoi said that Russian bomber aircraft would be "supported by chasers, and any kinds of threats will be responded to instantly." Accordingly, The Moscow, one of the Russian Navy's two largest warships and the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, will be deployed where Turkey-Syria territorial waters connect.

In addition, Putin issued orders to deploy nearly 7,000 troops, plus anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers, and artillery to the Turkish border, and asked them to be in readiness for full combat.

There have been other military repercussions, too. Since the shooting down of the Russian jet, the Russian military has been regularly pounding the Syrian villages near the Turkish border that populated by the Turkmen, a Turkish ethnicity that supports jihadists in Syria -- and is supported by Ankara. The Russians also have been hitting Turkish aid convoys bound for Turkmen villages. More than 500 Turks and Turkmen have been killed in Russian airstrikes. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led allied air strikes against IS have come to a halt. Neither Washington nor Ankara is keen for another conflict with Russia. So, IS and Russia keep on flourishing.

The Russian military has scrapped all contacts with the Turkish military, possibly waiting for the first Turkish military aircraft that violates foreign airspace to shoot.

Turkey has every liberty to challenge Russia and, inevitably, become the victim. But with its geostrategic, Islamist ambitions, it is exposing NATO allies to the risk of a fresh conflict with Russia -- and at a time when the wounds of previous conflicts remain unhealed.

Putin has accused Turkey's leaders of encouraging the Islamization of the Turkish society, which he said was a "problem." He was not wrong. In fact, Islamism and neo-Ottoman ambitions are the source of Turkey's (not-so) proxy war with Russia in the Syrian theater. Although Turkey, officially, is a NATO member and part of the allied campaign against IS, its Sunni Islamist ambitions over Syria hinder the global fight against jihadists. A Turco-Russian conflict is weakening the fight.

Putin seems to be making sure that NATO will do nothing.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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UN approves Israeli resolution despite Arab opposition - Ben Ariel

by Ben Ariel

124 countries support Israeli resolution on agricultural technology, despite Arab pressure to prevent its passage.

United Nations Headquarters
United Nations Headquarters
The UN on Friday adopted an Israeli resolution on utilizing agricultural technology for sustainable development, with 124 votes in favor and 37 abstentions.

The adoption of the resolution marks a diplomatic achievement for Israel,especially considering the Arab group's automatic opposition to any Israeli resolution.

The resolution was adopted after complex diplomatic efforts that took place over several months. Even though the resolution can make a difference in many countries, especially in the Middle East, the Arab group still attempted to prevent passage of the resolution simply because it was submitted by Israel.

“It is quite ironic that the group of nations blocking a consensus on this resolution is the same group who would benefit from it most– the Arab group.  The need for agricultural technology in the Middle East is undeniable. Yet, as we are all painfully aware, these governments continuously put politics before people and pride before progress,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, who also declared, "The Israeli innovation beat the UN's hypocrisy."

Today, 75 percent of the world's population is poor and relies on agriculture for a living. The Israeli resolution promotes making agricultural technology more accessible in areas stricken by poverty, drought and hunger.

"Today's resolution is not only about agricultural technology. It is about improving the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the developing world," said Ambassador Danon.
Just last week, the United Nations General Assembly adopted six resolutions, all of which condemned Israel and none of which condemned the wave of Palestinian Arab terror attacks.

In late October, Israel was accepted as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, again defeating Arab pressure not to allow Israel on the committee.

Ben Ariel


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#ExMuslimBecause Campaign Receives Vicious Backlash - Elliot Friedland

by Elliot Friedland

Spearheaded by the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain, ex-Muslims have been telling the world why they left Islam, prompting a backlash from Muslims.

Graphic shared by the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain.
Graphic shared by the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has started a Twitter campaign for ex-Muslims to share their stories of how they came to leave the faith.

Watch the #ExMuslimsBecause campaign video put out by the CEMB:

Ex-Muslims from the UK and around the world tweeted their reasons using the hashtag #ExMuslimBecause. Many cited theological justifications such as not being able to believe in God. Others cited abuse from Muslim families, teachers and leaders as the reason.

There was a large backlash against the #ExMuslimBecause campaign from sections of the Muslim community. Muslims accused ex-Muslims who are speaking out as siding with anti-Muslim bigots to defame Islam. Some claimed to support the campaign in principle but objected to the timing.
Given Islamist violence has become a year round phenomenon, sparking an international discussion about the ideology spawning the killing, criticisms over timing were dismissed by supporters of the campaign. There is simply no time where Islam is out of the media.

At the prestigious Goldsmiths College, in the UK, founder of the campaign and President of the CEMB Maryam Namazie was aggressively heckled and intimidated by members of the Islamic Society during a talk arranged by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society. There are some reports of death threats being issued by students against Namazie during the event.

Ex-Muslims suffer discrimination and hatred from many in the mainstream Muslim community and can even face death.

"Whilst in the Muslim world ex-Muslims fear their physical safety and their lives, in the Western democratic and secular world they fear and indeed suffer from excommunication by their family, friends, and indeed their entire communities" explained ex-Islamist Sohail Ahmed, who supports the campaign. "As for those teenagers still living with their parents, they fear being made homeless. And of course, they are made homeless, as I myself was last year.

The fact is that the very existence of ex-Muslims offends Muslims and makes many of them angry. And a number of Muslims respond to vocal ex-Muslims with threats of extreme violence."

In strict sharia law, the punishment for apostasy is death. This is the law in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
It is also practiced by the Islamic State as well as extra-judicially by Islamists worldwide. In Iran, apostasy does not carry the death penalty by statute, but courts can and have handed down the death penalty in sentencing, based on fatwas.

The #ExMuslimsBecause campaign highlights the number of ex-Muslims who feel their freedom of religion and expression has been stifled by extremists.

The backlash worryingly shows even among the mainstream Muslim community targeting ex-Muslims is seen as acceptable. Even Shaista Gohir, a Muslim women’s rights activist who runs a helpline for Muslim women facing abuse and has been outspoken against honor violence, attacked #ExMuslimsBecause on Twitter.
Wider society has a duty to realize the specific risks posed to people from Muslim backgrounds who choose to leave the faith. Freedom of religion includes the freedom to have no religion. The backlash from Muslims proved the need for the campaign in the first place.
The Kyle Kulinsky Show discusses #ExMuslimBecause:

Elliot Friedland


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We Won't Always Have Brussels - Michael Curtis

by Michael Curtis

Belgium -- the Western canary in the Jihadist coal mine. 

Belgium has made great contributions to civilization and world culture. We know that the potato dish unfairly called “French fries” really originated in Belgium. This small country has given us Herge’s Adventures of Tintin, Moules-frites, Brussels Sprouts, Rene Magritte and his pipe that isn’t a pipe, tennis champion Kim Clijsters, winner of four Tours de France cyclist Eddy Merckx, Hercule Poirot by adoption, Georges Simenon, Jacques Brel, the memory of Waterloo, and has provided a tax haven for the undernourished Gerard Depardieu.

Alas, Belgium also gave us one of the world’s reprehensible and cruel leaders, King Leopold II, second King of Belgium (1865-1909). Leopold founded and was the sole owner of the Congo Free State, exploiting it for his private profit, starting with control of ivory. Under his regime, millions, estimated at ten million people, died as a result of human rights abuses that were investigated and reported by the British consul, Roger Casement.

Belgium left an unhappy legacy in the area. In 1935 Belgium, still in control of the country, introduced identification cards for the area of Rwanda, labeling individuals as Tutsi or Hutu, thus making identification easier and preventing change. It was therefore indirectly responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, the slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the Hutu majority in 1994, when an estimated one million were killed, 70 per cent of the Tutsi population, and 20 per cent of the Hutus.

Belgium, an artificial state that became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 is a small country, the same size as Hawaii, with a population of 11 million in which the 640,000 Muslims account for 5-6 per cent of the total. Muslims, nearly all Sunnis, now constitute the second largest religion in the country.

It is essentially divided into three regions: the Dutch or Flemish speaking Flanders, about 60 per cent of the whole and the Francophone Wallonia, each subdivided into 5 provinces; and the bilingual Brussels, the capital.

“Plucky little” Belgium was neutral in World War I but nevertheless was invaded by Germany on August 4, 1914, an action that brought the UK into the war, as a result of the Treaty of London 1839 by which Britain promised to defend Belgium if it was attacked.

The country is not neutral today, nor is it distant from evils largely as its Muslim population has increased and as Islamist terrorism has involved it in world politics. According the book Iris and the Crescent by the Belgian sociologist Felice Dassetto, Brussels will have a Muslim majority by 2030. The registered top name of Belgian baby boys today is Mohammed. Over the last decade, several terror plots in Belgium have involved Muslims, and some individuals have been tried in courts in September 2003, October 2004, and November 2005.

Belgium now has the dubious record of the highest per capita number of jihadists fighting for ISIS, estimated at 516, of any European nation. One Belgian convert to Islam bombed a U.S. facility in 2005: she was the first European woman to launch a terrorist attack.

Muslims have largely been responsible for anti-Semitic manifestations. In 2014 Belgium was the scene of 130 anti-Semitic attacks, two of which were particularly notorious. On May 24, 2014, a Frenchman of Algerian origin killed four Jews inside the Jewish Museum in Brussels. That museum remains open and is now protected by metal detectors and three army soldiers. In November 2014, a rabbi in Antwerp was stabbed in the throat on his way to the synagogue.

 A Jewish presence has existed in the area of Belgium for 2000 years. Now the Jewish population, totaling 45,000, lives in an atmosphere of caution, if not fear.

As a result of these attacks and possible future imitation by Islamists of the attacks in Paris, the Belgian government is preparing to instill steel doors on major Jewish organizations, doors strong enough to withstand Kalashnikov fire. Noticeably, the Belgian Chief Rabbi, Avraham Guigui, on November 23, 2015 spoke of the sense of fear by Jews, and said that people understand there is no future for Jews in Europe.

In a wider sense, investigation of the brutal massacres in Paris on November 13, 2015 has found that the plots of the attacks were made in Molenbeek, a section of Brussels, which is densely populated with 95,000 Muslims, many from Morocco. Molenbeek, the virtually segregated area currently experiencing a tourist boom, is sometimes referred to as MolMuslim. The area has long been involved in terrorist plots, inside and outside Belgium. Of the 8 Islamist terrorists known to be involved in the Paris attacks, 3 are linked to Molenbeek, noted for its street gangs, petty crime, and for the exodus of Jewish shopkeepers who had been threatened and left by 2008.

Molenbeek had the misfortune of having Philippe Moreaux a Socialist if not neo-Stalinist, as its mayor for twenty years (1992-2012). Suffering from what might be termed cultural amnesia, he encouraged illegal immigration and viewed Muslims as symbols of the new proletariat. His lack of political wisdom went to the extent of favoring the right of foreigners to vote in municipal elections.

Interestingly, Muslims in Belgium do not live in French style banlieus, nor has Belgium been involved for over a century in any colonial wars that might be an excuse for hostility.

The Belgian police had already known that the weapons used in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris on January 13, 2015 were traced back to a local Belgium dealer. Nevertheless, the police were unable to detect the new plot. This is not surprising in view of the flawed and dysfunctional political and administrative system.

It is easy to get lost in the Belgian and the Brussels administrative jungle. Brussels, with 1.3 million inhabitants, has three parliaments, 19 borough assemblies, each with a mayor, and two intelligence services. Belgium as a whole suffers from overlapping agencies and administrative units. As well as the tensions between the speakers of the two languages, Dutch and French, the country has 589 municipalities, and a federal police force and 196 other forces.

Clearly, Belgium faces a great threat from Islamist forces, including the home-grown Sharia4 Belgium terrorist group, and the growth of Salafism, and has limited ability to deal with it. Its police system is disorganized and its intelligence services are insufficient. This is the moment for the other countries of the European Union to offer all the help it can to Belgium and provide appropriate police and intelligence facilities to combat the greatest threat to civilization Islamist terrorism, not bananas from Israeli settlements.

Michael Curtis


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