Saturday, April 9, 2016

The same old libel - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

Israel has no intention of altering the status quo on the Temple Mount, but Palestinian extremists continue to spread lies about the holy site • This time, a "documentary" film alleges that archaeological work is intended to undermine Al-Aqsa mosque.

A demonstration at the Temple Mount in support of terrorists who were killed
Photo credit: AFP

Nadav Shragai


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

DHS: Airport Workers Suspected of Terror Ties Have All Been Vetted - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

How can they tell?

Relax. After reports surfaced last month that dozens of private airline employees may have had terror ties, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this week set the record straight: “It’s not that they’re suspected terrorists. It’s that they hadn’t been vetted through all available databases. We have since corrected that problem and the cases have been resolved.” There is just one problem: this is not really a problem that can be corrected.

This came after the Cox Washington News Bureau reported that there were no fewer than 73 airport workers with possible terror ties, working at airports including Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Logan Airport in Boston, Orlando International Airport in Florida, Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, and others. But Johnson boasted: “We’re doing a better job of consulting all of the right databases when it comes to airport security and a host of other things.”

Is that so? How reassuring. Presumably Johnson and his team have consulted their extensive database of card-carrying Islamic State members, and have diligently compared it to their list of airport employees, and have removed those who appeared on both lists. The only problem with this scenario, of course, is that there is no such database, or anything comparable to it. There is simply no database that Johnson could consult that would enable the Department of Homeland Security to remove everyone with terror ties from airport jobs.

The impossibility of doing this is compounded by the fact that the Islamic State deliberately recruits people who have no criminal records, and instructs its operatives to blend in with the larger society, not wearing caftans or carrying around Qur’ans or even going to mosque – in other words, to obscure any possible information that might show up on DHS databases.

Compounding the impossibility of screening out people with terror ties from airport jobs is the fact that the Obama administration is bound as a matter of policy to ignore and deny the terrorists’ motivating ideology – so how can it vet for it? This goes back to October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates, wrote a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the CAIR, ISNA, MAS, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and MPAC.

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam,” and emphasized that this was an issue of the utmost importance: “The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated, and we request that the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem, with a fair and transparent mechanism for input from the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, including civil rights lawyers, religious leaders, and law enforcement experts.”

The task force was needed because “while recent news reports have highlighted the FBI’s use of biased experts and training materials, we have learned that this problem extends far beyond the FBI and has infected other government agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Army. Furthermore, by the FBI’s own admission, the use of bigoted and distorted materials in its trainings has not been an isolated occurrence. Since last year, reports have surfaced that the FBI, and other federal agencies, are using or supporting the use of biased trainers and materials in presentations to law enforcement officials.”

Khera complained that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a powerpoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; and that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia,” and “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”

These were supposed to be terrible things because I was bigoted and hateful. But many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were not actually bigoted and distorted at all, but simply accurate. What was distorted was Khera’s representation of them. For instance, Khera stated,

A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:
  • “Wearing traditional Muslim attire”
  • “Growing facial hair”
  • “Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”
  • “Travel to a Muslim country”
  • “Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”
But the FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that converts to Islam were necessarily “on the path” to becoming “extremists” if they wore traditional Muslim attire, grew facial hair, and frequently attended a mosque; it simply included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators to “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Others included “travel without obvious source of funds’; “suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”; “large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”; and “formation of operational cells.” Khera selectively quoted and misrepresented the list to give the impression that the FBI was saying that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”

Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and moreto ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.

Brennan seemed amenable to that. He took Khera’s complaints as his marching orders. In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera, thatsignificantlywas written on White House stationery, Brennan made no attempt to defend counter-terror materials and procedures, but instead accepted Khera’s criticisms without a murmur of protest and assured her of his readiness to comply. “Please allow me to share with you the specific steps we are taking,” Brennan wrote to Khera, “to ensure that federal officials and state, local and tribal partners receive accurate, evidence-based information in these crucial areas.”

“I am aware,” Brennan went on, “of recent unfortunate incidents that have highlighted substandard and offensive training that some United States Government elements have either sponsored or delivered. Any and all such training runs completely counter to our values, our commitment to strong partnerships with communities across the country, our specific approach to countering violent extremist recruitment and radicalization, and our broader counterterrorism (CT) efforts. Our National Strategy for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States highlights competent training as an area of primary focus and states that ‘misinformation about the threat and dynamics of radicalization to violence can harm our security by sending local stakeholders in the wrong direction and unnecessarily creating tensions with potential community partners.’ It also emphasizes that our security is ‘inextricably linked to our values,’ including ‘the promotion of an inclusive society.’”

Brennan assured Khera that all her demands would be met: “Your letter requests that ‘the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem,’ and we agree that this is necessary.” He then detailed other specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensivethat is, any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence. Brennan assured Khera that he saw the problem just as she did, and that remedies were being implemented quickly: “We share your concern over these recent unfortunate incidents, and are moving forward to ensure problems are addressed with a keen sense of urgency. They do not reflect the vision that the President has put forward, nor do they represent the kind of approach that builds the partnerships that are necessary to counter violent extremism, and to protect our young people and our homeland. America’s greatest strength is its values, and we are committed to pursuing policies and approaches that draw strength from our values and our people irrespective of their race, religion or ethnic background.”

The alacrity with which Brennan complied was unfortunate on many levels. Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged and the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate. Now, four and a half years later, this entrenched policy of the U.S. government ensures that people with potential terror ties simply cannot be vetted, since the administration is bound as a matter of policy to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs.

Johnson’s soothing words are thus null and void. There could be jihadis working in airports all over the U.S. – and no one will know until they strike.

Robert Spencer


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

Sanders’ Slanders Against Israel - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Baseless charges that would make Palestinian propagandists proud.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described socialist who is running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton, has made utterly irresponsible accusations against Israel that would make Palestinian propagandists proud.

During an interview Sanders conducted with the editorial board of the Daily News on April 1, Sanders accused Israel of “indiscriminate” attacks against “innocent” Palestinians in Gaza.  As a result, he said, “a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed.”

Without citing any basis for his claim, Sanders stated his recollection that “over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza.” The Daily News checked the figure online, which turned out to be about 2,300 killed, and 10,000 wounded. Even those figures are questionable with regard to actual civilian casualties if they rely on United Nations sources. The UN’s sources included the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is run by Hamas’s very own Mufiz al-Makhalalati.

Israel’s former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was unsparing in his criticism of Sanders’ outlandish assertions: “He accused us of a blood libel. He accused us of bombing hospitals. He accused us of killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?”

The Anti-Defamation League called upon Sanders “to correct his misstatements.”

Sanders has offered no apology. He has not corrected his misstatements. Instead, he has indulged in outright lies propagated by Palestinian leaders and their supporters to delegitimize Israel.

Both Sanders and his Daily News questioners ignored the fact that many so-called Palestinian civilians were in fact Hamas operatives or supporters who put themselves in harm’s way. Moreover, Hamas militia used women and children as human shields.  Hamas concealed their weapons and military personnel in residential areas, including schools and hospitals. When a traditionally civilian object (such as a civilian house) is occupied and used by combatants, it becomes a legitimate military target under international law so long as precautionary measures are taken to minimize civilian casualties, such as the advance warnings to occupants that Israel provided.

Sanders was willing to concede that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist groups. Sanders even condemned Hamas for its rocket attacks and construction of the military tunnels into Israel. However, when the discussion turned to concessions he believed needed to be made in order to reach a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sanders placed the onus squarely on Israel.

Going further than even President Obama, Sanders insisted that Israel must withdraw from what he called the “illegal” settlements in the “territories.” Israel tried that tack in Gaza, withdrawing completely in 2005, only to find itself under a barrage of rocket attacks against its civilians launched by Hamas and other jihadists from Gaza.

All that Sanders asks of the Palestinians in return for Israel’s further concession of land is “absolute condemnation of all terrorist attacks.”  He added, “Foreign aid should go to housing and schools, not the development of bombs and missiles.” In other words, what Sanders is seeking from the Palestinians is empty, useless rhetoric. Even in the unlikely case that all Palestinian leaders, including Hamas leaders, agreed to make such a declaration, they do not believe that the “terrorist” label should apply to them. The Palestinians consider their violence against Israeli civilians to be legitimate “resistance,” not terrorism.

When Bernie Sanders was not delivering his ill-informed broadsides against Israel during his Daily News interview, he displayed how incredibly little he understands the breadth of the global jihadist threat. Despite ISIS spreading far beyond its bases in Syria and Iraq, Sanders claimed that Obama’s “strategy” against ISIS is “actually beginning to prove to be a success.” Survivors and families of the victims of the Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels massacres would beg to differ. Most Americans would also disagree with Sanders’ assertion, after the Paris massacre, that climate change remained our nation’s biggest security threat.

As for what to do with any captured ISIS leaders, Sanders said he had not given much thought of where to imprison them, although he said they could be imprisoned in the United States. One thing he made clear was that he was against the death penalty in all circumstances, even if it were to be used against the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Indeed, Bernie Sanders seems to have the peculiar idea that international terrorists are entitled to U.S. constitutional protections. He does not support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict. “While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and the civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans,” Sanders has said.

Bernie Sanders is far over to the left when it comes to defining America’s role in the world. He shies away from living up to the responsibilities of the United States as the leader of the free world.

Sanders has opposed standing up to Russia, including the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe. “After four decades of the cold war and trillions of United States taxpayer dollars allocated to compete in the arms race, many of our constituents understand that it is not the time to continue wasting tens of billions of dollars helping to defend Europe,” Sanders said back in 1997.

In 1995, Sanders introduced a bill to terminate America’s nuclear weapons program. He has since called for very steep cuts in overall defense spending – reportedly as much as 50 percent.

Senator Sanders is channeling the deceased 1972 anti-war Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern’s message of retrenchment, which McGovern summed up by proclaiming “Come home, America.” The far left loves the message. But if Sanders ever were given the opportunity as commander-in-chief to implement it, our homeland, as well as other freedom loving countries, may well burn in the process.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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

Share Hezbollah's Shot at Permanency in Syria - Stratfor

by Stratfor

Sources close to the group have said there are long-range missiles at Qusair. Although satellite imagery does not confirm this, the sources have referred specifically to the presence of different types of Iranian ballistic missiles, including the Shabab-1, Shahab-2 and Fateh-110.

Hezbollah's Shot at Permanency in Syria is republished with permission of Stratfor

Like other foreign and domestic actors, Hezbollah has seized on the Syrian civil war to improve its position in the country and the surrounding region. Stratfor has collected information from diplomatic sources and from sources close to Hezbollah to monitor and track the establishment of Hezbollah bases in Syria. According to those reports, Hezbollah's attempts to expand and solidify its control in Syria will only increase in the future. Now, satellite imagery adds to these predictions by enabling us to take a closer look at a Hezbollah base near the Syrian town of Qusair, where Hezbollah has built up significant defensive positions since conquering the area in June 2013.

The base near Qusair, like other anticipated defensive positions in Syria, is part of Hezbollah's future strategy in the country. The base will play a significant role in protecting the militant group, and Lebanon as a whole, from the threats it may face if Syrian President Bashar al Assad is deposed. Alongside the base, Hezbollah has focused on securing the Lebanese border, building up a large earthen berm on the stretch of the border near Qusair. The group has also cleared the area around the base to enable it to better observe and defend the area along the Syrian side of the border. Moreover, sources report that Hezbollah has dug tunnels from the base back to Lebanon.

Along with its patron Iran, Hezbollah recognizes that Syria's war is an opportunity to establish a strong position near the country's border with Lebanon. According to one source close to Hezbollah, the group intends to stockpile artillery weapons, such as Katyusha rockets, mortars and howitzers, at the base near Qusair. It also plans to move some of its approximately 60 T-72 main battle tanks there. Additionally, sources said there are as many as four separate munitions factories at the base.

Sources also connect the base and other future installations to Hezbollah's plan to maintain a permanent presence of 3,000 fighters in Syria, even after it withdraws from the fighting there. The bases could end up hosting a significant portion of the fighters. At the same time, the bases will provide a location for Iranian involvement and military presence in Syria. According to an Iranian diplomatic source, ranking officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) frequently inspect the positions near Qusair, treating the base as an Iranian asset. The position could also serve as a location for interaction and training between IRGC and Hezbollah operatives.

The presence of Iranian officers suggests another reason for Hezbollah to build bases in Syria. Sources close to the group have said there are long-range missiles at Qusair. Although satellite imagery does not confirm this, the sources have referred specifically to the presence of different types of Iranian ballistic missiles, including the Shabab-1, Shahab-2 and Fateh-110. Any of these missiles could be used to strike Israel, and Hezbollah has previously been suspected of having them in its arsenal. While these missiles could prove crucial in the event of a large-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, they are not beyond the reach of the Israeli air force. Israel has already struck Hezbollah arms stockpiles in Syria on several occasions, and imagery does not show underground facilities at the base capable of protecting this weaponry.



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Saudi TV Host Nadine Al-Budair Takes To Task Apologists Who Claim Terrorists Have Nothing To Do With Islam - MEMRI


We must acknowledge that we are the ones who gave birth to [the terrorists], and who have made them memorize the teachings of all the Salafi books. We must admit that it is the schools and universities that we established that told them the others are infidels.

Saudi journalist and TV host Nadine Al-Budair recently criticized the "hypocrites" who say that the terrorists "do not represent Islam or the Muslims." After the abominable Brussels bombings, it's time for us to feel shame and to stop acting as if the terrorists are a rarity," she said, in an address that aired on the Saudi Rotana Khalijiyah TV on April 3. "Why do we shed our own conscience?" she asked. "Don't these perpetrators emerge from our environment?"

Following are excerpts

Nadine Al-Budair: "Whenever terrorism massacres peaceful civilians, the smart alecks and the hypocrites vie with one another in saying that these people do not represent Islam or the Muslims. Perhaps one of them could tell us who does represent Islam and the Muslims.

"We witness people competing in an attempt to be the first to prove that everything that is happening has nothing to do with the Muslims, and that the terrorists are highway robbers and homeless alcoholics and drug addicts. We all know that the number of the homeless in Europe is very high. They sleep in the streets and beg for alms, and some of them are alcoholics or drug addicts, but we do not expect these addicts or criminals to even consider coming here and blowing up a mosque or a street in our city. It is we who blow ourselves up. It is we who blow up others.

"Why do we shed our own conscience? Why do the sheikhs, the pundits, the journalists, and all the Arab officials insist upon [not] using their conscience when they point to the perpetrators? Don't these perpetrators emerge from our environment? Don't their families belong to our society? Didn't anyone you know - someone from your city, a neighbor, someone from your street, a relative, a nephew, a grandson, a father, or a mother - go to Syria or Iraq to wage Jihad?

5436MTV A.jpg 
"After the abominable Brussels bombings, it's time for us to feel shame and to stop acting as if the terrorists are a rarity. We must admit that they are present everywhere, that their nationality is Arab, and that they adhere to the religion of Islam. We must acknowledge that we are the ones who gave birth to them, and who have made them memorize the teachings of all the Salafi books. We must admit that it is the schools and universities that we established that told them the others are infidels.

5436MTV B.jpg

"We must admit that we all - our different sects and faiths, the Sunnis and the Shia - adhere to one school and one school only: the 'freezing of the mind' school. Don't ask! Don't think! Don't resist orders! Welcome to the Arab Mashriq.

"We should acknowledge that it is our religious upbringing that has driven these youth away from the Quran, and has drawn them closer to its interpreters, to the point that a Muslim now has 1,000 holy books, from which he draws fatwas and information, whereas the Quran has been made intellectually inaccessible.

"What makes us laugh and cry at the same time is that the people who spilled the blood walk at the dead man's funeral and cry. The people who encouraged the terrorists, invented fatwas for them, and called to support their false rights in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in the Philippines, in Morocco, in America, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon, in Africa - and the list is endless, with the last incident taking place in Europe...

5436MTV C.jpg

"Now the old supporters (of terrorism) have the audacity to declare that they denounce bombings everywhere, and that the killing of civilians constitutes an attack on the religion. Where are the sheikhs of yesterday? Why don't they have the courage to declare that they are the ones who said that Jihad is obligatory, and who legalized political wars, using futile and disgraceful exegeses, which permit killing, enslavement, and destruction?



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The ABCs of Judea and Samaria: Towards Breakdown? - Prof. Hillel Frisch

by Prof. Hillel Frisch

The three types of area jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) – A, B and C – were meant as a short-term fix until a real Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be crafted. More than 20 years later, both sides have broadly infringed on these parameters. Israel regularly penetrates Area A for security reasons, while the PA (with EU support) is building illegally and dangerously in key parts of Area C that are critical to Israel. Israel should halt this encroachment with determination.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 339, April 8, 2016

Most would agree that the ABCs are indispensable to literacy and a gateway to Western literature and culture. Similarly, knowing the difference between areas A, B and C in Judea and Samaria and the ramifications thereof is indispensable to understanding the politics and violence that affect many of us on an almost daily basis.

Take any social or political activity of consequence for either Israelis or Palestinians, from agriculture to construction to employment, settlement and of course security and taxation, and the importance of these designations is bound to arise.

It has been more than twenty years since the terms "Areas A, B and C" came into existence, but even avid followers of Israel’s political scene might be confused over what they mean. They were first used in legal documents during the Oslo negotiations, most notably the interim agreement between Israel and the PLO signed in September 1995 known as the Oslo II Accord. That agreement extended the jurisdiction of the newly formed Palestinian Authority (PA) to the major towns in Judea and Samaria. The PA had secured jurisdiction over most of Gaza and Jericho a year and a half earlier.

These three types of jurisdiction—which have important differences—were only intended to have meaning for five or six years, at which point a final settlement to the Palestinian issue was supposed to be achieved. The date for that auspicious occasion, as agreed upon by then-US president Bill Clinton, then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat, was to be no later than five years from the establishment of the PA in May 1994; that is to say, in 1999.

Seventeen years later, a final agreement seems as distant as ever. The differences between the legal definitions of areas A, B and C and the realities on the ground have grown. Yet despite those differences, Israel, the PA, the US and most if not all of the international community still regard these legal distinctions and the documents in which they were inscribed as binding, only to be supplanted by the signing of a final agreement.

This primer tries to make sense of these differences and their ramifications for issues such as settlements, security and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian issue.

Area A is the space in which the PA has political and military jurisdiction over its residents, all of whom are Arab. This includes all the major towns and their immediate environs, with the partial exception of Jewish Hebron, which came under exclusive Israeli control in the 1997 Hebron protocol between Israel and the PLO. This area comprises approximately 18 percent of Judea and Samaria’s land mass.

According to the Oslo Accords, the PA was never given jurisdiction over Israeli citizens and foreign nationals. Israeli citizens have the right to enter and pass through Area A unmolested, provided they are not involved in illicit activity, in which case the PA can only temporarily apprehend them until they are transferred to the Israeli authorities. Joint Israeli-PA patrols were intended to handle such cases.

Area B signified less built-up areas, many of which shared space with settlements created in the massive settlement drive in the 1980s launched by the Likud government. In Area B, which comprises approximately 22% of Judea and Samaria, Israel and the PA share jurisdiction. Israel enjoys exclusive jurisdiction over the Jewish inhabitants and exclusive authority over security for both its Arab and Jewish inhabitants.

The PA has political, administrative and police jurisdiction over the Arab inhabitants. They are subject to its laws, pay the necessary taxes and benefit from the same public services the PA provides in Area A. Strictly speaking, only the IDF and the Israel Police can make arrests in these areas.

Most of Judea and Samaria (60% of the area) is designated Area C, over which Israel has exclusive jurisdiction both administratively and in security matters. Area C’s distinguishing characteristic is that it is sparsely populated by Arab inhabitants and in which much Jewish settlement has taken place. Most of this area lies east of the populated mountain spine from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south. The eastern slopes descending into and including the Jordan Valley are characterized by harsh climate and low to no rainfall.

The Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills and the area in the vicinity of Ma’aleh Adumim—from east of Mount Scopus to Jericho—are by far the most politically contested spaces in Area C, due to both Jewish settlement and Israeli security concerns.

It is important to note that a fourth letter of the alphabet was left out of these legal designations: “J” for Jerusalem. The issue of Jerusalem in the relevant legal documents was mentioned only as one of five crucial issues that were to be resolved in the final talks. This meant that Jerusalem remained formally under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction.

The alphabetic division of the area clearly reflected Israeli geostrategic logic more than Palestinian interests, suggesting that Israel had the upper hand in the negotiation process. The division was supposed to facilitate Israeli security control while relieving Israel of the burden of caring for the area’s Arab inhabitants.

BUT ISRAEL’S UPPER HAND in the negotiations was undermined by its policy on the ground over the six years between the emergence of the PA and the outbreak of the second intifada. The Israeli Defense Ministry, the IDF and the government attempted to buy quiet by turning a blind eye to PA encroachment with the encouragement of many Western governments.

The activities of Orient House, the shadow east Jerusalem municipality headed by Faisal Husseini, were probably the most striking deviation from the strategic logic of the Oslo agreements. Husseini, although dubbed a “peace advocate,” was in fact one of the more extreme and influential Fatah leaders until his death in 2000. Palestinian security agents soon penetrated east Jerusalem and often kidnapped Arabs who were suspected of being informers, or for expressing opposition to Arafat, or even for penal matters.

Just as these infringements occurred in Jerusalem, they also occurred in Areas B and C. The fear they created must have made it difficult to gather intelligence, a constraint for which the Israeli public paid dearly. In the first two years of the second intifada, highly sophisticated squads of up to 12 terrorists belonging to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah expertly planned—undetected—large suicide bombings over an extended period of time.

Meanwhile, the PA achieved effective sovereignty over Area A, over which the Israeli authorities had the right to “hot pursuit” and in which Israeli citizens had the right to move and do business. Soon after the signing of the 1993 accord, settlers and most Israelis were barred from entering Area A after a few Beit El and Ofra inhabitants endangered their lives attempting to exercise their right of movement. Area A also became off limits to the IDF. As a result, sanctuaries of terrorism appeared in Arab towns such as Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and Bethlehem.

So ingrained did the idea of PA sovereignty become that when the IDF entered Gaza in April 2001, for the first time since the signing of Oslo II, the US Secretary of State assailed the operation as “excessive and disproportionate” and demanded that Israel withdraw its forces—a demand with which Israel quickly complied. Tragically for the 1,050 victims of Palestinian terrorism and their families, while Israeli sovereignty was being violated in Jerusalem, Israel effectively lost its right to prevent terrorism in Area A between 1996 and 2002.

It was only after 9/11 and Iranian complicity in the massive shipment of arms to the PA, exposed through the interception and takeover of the boat Karin-A in February 2002, that the US gave the green light for Israeli penetration of Area A. The suicide attack at a 2002 Passover Seder held in the Park Hotel that killed 33 Israelis—including many Holocaust survivors—provided the resolve to switch gears from a policy of essentially absorbing casualties to a major frontal assault.

At the end of March 2002, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield, re-conquering all the major Arab towns in Judea and Samaria, and essentially changing areas designated A to the status of B, where the IDF became responsible for security. Nothing characterized that change more than the preventive arrests carried out by the IDF on an almost daily basis ever since.

The numbers of those arrested is mind-boggling by Western standards. In 2007, IDF forces, working mostly at night, arrested 7,000 Arabs. The arrests declined to half that number in 2012, but have increased since then with the reemergence of terrorism on a large scale. In 2015, the number of people arrested rose to 6,000, with sharp increases during the months that coincided with the ongoing wave of violence. To get a sense of the proportion of these arrests, consider that a senior security official in the British Home Office announced with alarm that the authorities had arrested 281 terrorist suspects in Great Britain in 2014.
IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) forays into PA territory to make preventive arrests have been the most effective means by far in reducing terrorism (at least until the present wave of “own-initiative” terrorism). Thus, terrorism declined by a greater percentage before the erection of the security barrier than after it.

ISRAEL HAS NOT BEEN ALONE in changing the status quo in the alphabetic division of Judea and Samaria. Whereas Israel reduced PA control in Area A in its fight against terrorism, the PA and the EU, with financial support from Arab states such as Qatar and Kuwait, have over the past decade sought to actively encroach on Israeli rule in Area C, where according to the accords, Israel has exclusive administrative and security control.

The major arena in this intense yet quiet war extends from Anata (bordering the light rail depot on the northern side of the Jerusalem-Jericho highway) to Abu Dis and Eizariya, three kilometers to the south, landing on both sides of the highway parallel to Ma’aleh Adumim all the way down to Jericho. The PA and EU’s major objective is also their weapon: to create continuous Arab settlement from the south to the north of the West Bank.

Israel would like to prevent that contiguity by building on E-1, the area that would create continuous settlement from Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem. But as Israeli building dwindles into insignificance under the stern gaze of Uncle Sam and a frightened Israeli prime minister, the PA, with the help of the EU, has succeeded in housing 120,000 Palestinians in a space no larger than nine square kilometers. This number is more than double the number of inhabitants of Ma’aleh Adumim and the other Israeli localities in the area extending to Jericho.

One hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants? Where do they all live? The answer can be found in Waze, but you probably don’t need it. Go to the French Hill junction and continue on Route 1 to Jericho. When you are one kilometer from the junction—literally meters from the security barrier—look north. You’ll find an urban jungle so dense it makes Bat Yam look like New York’s Central Park.

Welcome to Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada, which block from view the village of Anata, home to the prophet Jeremiah from Anatot. According to Palestinian media, Nasrin Alian, an attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, 120,000 inhabitants live in this urban monstrosity alone, all of which was erected since 2007. Umm Ishak al-Kaluti, of the same media site, confirms that ten years ago she owned one of the few homes on this once barren hill.

Most of this area is within the official municipal line and is thus formally under Israeli sovereignty. The remainder is Area C, which Israel presumably controls. Yet hundreds of six-to-ten-storey apartment buildings were built there, all of which are illegal, as a senior officer in the Border Police in charge of security in the area confirmed. This officer and Jamil Sanduqa, head of the makeshift local council of Ras Khamis, supported by the PA and the EU, would both agree—despite their quiet war—that these neighborhoods are a human disaster. Sanduqa characterizes living there as “life imprisonment.”

The only road that traverses this urban nightmare is two lanes wide. It is continuously clogged all the way to the 24-hour outpost, manned by the Border Police, which allows passage into Jerusalem. Fire trucks find it impossible to reach the scene in the event of emergencies like fires from electrical short circuits or explosions of gas balloons (most of which are illegally placed). They would be hard pressed to reach victims in the event of a major disaster like an earthquake.

Garbage burns in the open with devastating health effects on the inhabitants, and probably on the inhabitants of French Hill as well. This is also true of A-Zaim, a smaller version of Ras al-Khamis just two kilometers south, which is designated as Area B. In A-Zaim, illegal building is taking place toward the highway in violation of international conventions that stipulate mandatory distances between the building line and major arteries of traffic.

One must assume that the Israeli officials in Beit El responsible for seeing that the PA operates within legal confines have very rosy glasses. Otherwise, how can one explain that these illegal buildings, which can easily become ideal shooting sites for terrorist snipers, have not been dismantled?

From Ma'aleh Adumim onward, the EU has identified Bedouin makeshift encampments as the chief weapon for transforming Area C into the would-be Palestinian state. Were EU officials to allow such encampments in their home states, they would find themselves behind bars for abetting housing that is in contravention of civic ordinances in third-world states, let alone states that comprise the EU.

These fast-growing encampments are too close to a major highway, and bereft of sewage systems and organized garbage disposal. The Israeli authorities have leveled an area just south of Abu Dis that would provide all these amenities, but the EU continues to abet this inhuman settlement. Obviously, the EU believes that any illegal means justify the end of creating a Palestinian state. The story is being repeated in the Southern Hebron Hills.

The document written and signed in 1995 that created areas A, B and C, though hardly dramatic in its own right, set the stage for dramatic, often painful events. It directly relates to current affairs such as the recent proposal made by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot to return to the PA sole security control over some cities in Area A, beginning with Ramallah and Jericho.

Will Israel repeat the mistake of providing Hamas and Islamic Jihad with sanctuaries from which to launch not only attacks with makeshift weapons, as in the current wave of violence, but also massive suicide bombings, as in the second intifada?

The same can be said of the lenience Israel is showing in the face of massive illegal building abetted by the EU and some other Arab states. Israel might be making the same error it made between 1996 and 2002 when it allowed the PA to encroach on areas B and C, for which it paid a very high price during the second intifada.

 BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

Prof. Hillel Frisch is a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.


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

Hamas's New Way of Poisoning the Minds of Palestinian Children - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The preachers, who belong to the Hamas-controlled Wakf (Islamic trust) Ministry in the Gaza Strip, enter schools and ensure, through the exorcism rite, that the children are repentant and faithful to Islam.

  • These are the children who are later recruited as "warriors" in the jihad against Israel and the "infidels."
  • The Gaza City school video captures on camera the Palestinian leaders' brainwashing and abuse of their own children.
  • Now the peace process in the Middle East awaits an exorcism of its own.

Hamas has spent years poisoning the hearts and minds of Palestinian children. The Islamist movement is now trying a new brainwashing tactic: exorcism.

The practice, which aims to cast out "demons" that might have wormed their way into the children's souls, has shocked many Palestinians.

This newest Hamas-perpetrated child abuse was exposed in a video that was leaked to Palestinian social media. The cruelty of the behavior has caused an uproar among Palestinians.

The video shows hysterical children in the company of exorcising preachers belonging to the Hamas-controlled Wakf (Islamic trust) Ministry in the Gaza Strip. This humiliating and invasive rite is being practiced at the Al-Nil School in Gaza City.

Three boys cry as they undergo an exorcism ritual at the Al-Nil School in Gaza City, performed by preachers belonging to the Hamas-controlled Wakf (Islamic trust) Ministry.

The preachers belong to a group called The Ship of Missionary Salvation. They enter schools in the Gaza Strip and ensure, through the exorcism rite, that the children are repentant and faithful to Islam.

The group is managed by the Wakf Ministry's General Administration for Preaching and Guidance.

Thriller movies come to mind as the video unfolds, shedding light on the nature of religious indoctrination performed by Hamas on schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip.

One of the Hamas preachers is heard in the video declaring that, "We did not come to enact a theater scene, but to expel the devil from the hearts and minds and enter the satisfaction of Allah into hearts."

The video features terrified teenagers kneeling in the school yard, while others are crying out loudly. At the same time, the Hamas preachers hold microphones and shout the Islamic battle cry, "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Great!"]."

The Hamas abuse of schoolchildren is far from new, and far from a surprise to those who have long been following the Islamist movement in Gaza. These are the children who are later recruited as "warriors" in the jihad (holy war) against Israel and the "infidels."

Since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas has been using children as human shields and "soldiers" in the fight against Israel. Children dressed in military uniforms and brandishing automatic rifles and knives have become an integral part of Hamas's military parades and rallies.

Caught on camera, Palestinian children are taught to hate those who are perceived as enemies of Islam. This is how new generations of Palestinians are raised on the glorification of suicide bombers and jihadists.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi expressed revulsion over the video, noting that the preachers' sermons were full of intimidation and horror. This behavior, Ashrawi, stated, demonstrates the "reactionary nature" of the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, which would have a negative impact on the development of society and the values of Palestinians. Ashrawi also denounced the practice as a blatant violation of conventions protecting children rights.

Even the Marxist terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has come out against the video. The group voiced outrage at the "inhumane practices" against the children and called for an immediate inquiry into this form of mental torture and degradation. The group also warned against brainwashing the children and indoctrinating them through religious bigotry.

The Gaza City school video captures on camera the Palestinian leaders' brainwashing and abuse of their own children.

It also captures the march of Palestinian society towards endorsing the tactics and ideology of radical Islam and groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Now the peace process in the Middle East awaits an exorcism of its own.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.


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

Libya: A Nation Dangerously Divided - Derek DeLuca

by Derek DeLuca

Currently, there are two competing governments that claim to be the legal representative of the Libyan people.

Nearly four and half years after Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by rebel forces during the civil war in 2011, Libya remains bitterly divided, and this division is making the country a prime breeding ground for terrorism.

Unlike Tunisia, its neighbor to the west, Libya has been unable to form a cohesive government after ridding itself of Gaddafi.

The Arab Spring caused chaos in numerous nations, many having their ruling governments overthrown. Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt lost their longtime leaders and all three, as well as others, have had to contend with various terrorist groups while transitioning to new governments.

Currently, there are two competing governments that claim to be the legal representative of the Libyan people.

The internationally recognized, Western-backed Libyan Parliament, also known as the Council of Deputies, is based in the eastern port city of Tobruk. The Libyan Parliament, led by President Aguila Saleh Issa, governs the entire eastern portion of the country, as well as the southern desert region and an enclave near the northwest border with Tunisia.

The Islamist General National Congress is based in the country’s official capital city, Tripoli. The General National Congress is dominated by the radical Sunni organization Muslim Brotherhood, the same organization that assumed power after the fall of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

It’s worth repeating that the Muslim Brotherhood is a designated terrorist organization by Western and Arab governments. The General National Congress, led by its President Nouri Abusahmain, governs the majority of the northwest corner of the country. 

The division has led to the establishment and expansion of the Islamic State in Libya, an offshoot of ISIS. From its base in the city of Sirte on the Gulf of Sidra, which interestingly enough is the birthplace of Gaddafi, the Islamic State has carved out a territory in north-central Libya. There are conflicting reports regarding the strength of ISIS in Libya. United States intelligence suggests there are about 5,000 to 6,500 fighters in Libya, while others contend it is far fewer.

ISIS has also taken advantage of the tribal squabbles in Libya and the fact that the country is majority Sunni, like the Islamic State itself, to recruit Libyans themselves to attack both of Libya’s opposition governments, as well as innocent people in other countries.

Regardless, the Islamic State has boldly taken advantage of the disorder in Libya, recruiting foreign fighters from Chad, Mali, and Sudan, plotting and carrying out acts of terrorism, including an attack in Tunisia on March 7 that led to the deaths of 52 people.

The international community also fears that Libya’s vast oil reserves will fall into the hands of ISIS, as is the case in Iraq and other countries.

The seriousness of the situation in Libya has reached a fever pitch and the international community has begun to develop plans to take the fight to ISIS in Libya. Initial reports claimed that Italy was planning to send 5,000 troops to its former colony.

Italian prime ninister Matteo Renzi responded to the report by stating that “As long as I am prime minister, Italy will not go to Libya for an invasion with 5,000 men”. Renzi’s response came on the same day as two Italian hostages were freed by the Islamic State.

Renzi, however, did not entirely shut the door on Italy sending any forces in the future. He stipulated that if Libya is successful in forming a unity government and if that government asks Rome for military assistance, Italy would consider forming an international coalition to assist that unity government in combating ISIS. The prime minister proclaimed “If there is a need to intervene, Italy will not back down. But this is not the situation today. The idea of sending 5,000 men is not on the table”.

Currently, several nations are taking part in operations in Libya to stem the expansion of the Islamic State. As of today, The United States, British, French, and Italians have special forces units in the country. The U.S. is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS targets and utilizing armed drones from bases in Sicily. As Matteo Renzi had alluded to, an international coalition of 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers has been discussed amongst the U.S., France, the U.K., Italy, Germany, and several Arab countries.

However, like the Italians, those countries are hesitant, and some are resolutely opposed, to commit thousands of soldiers on behalf of Libya until that country is able to establish a united government that can represent its people properly.

Officials in Libya, from both governments, have tried to bring unity to their country. They acknowledge that they must restore order and establish a single, internationally recognized government before the internationally community before they can receive greater assistance.

On December 23, 2015, the United Nations Security Council voted to endorse an agreement between the two rival Libyan governments to form a united governing body.

The Unity Presidential Council, which has been trying to assemble a unity government, has proposed a government that would be made up of a thirty-two member cabinet that would presumably include representatives from across the country. The proposed government would include moderates and secularists, was well as Islamists.

Currently, the Unity Presidential Council is based in relatively safe Tunisia, but hopes to eventually place itself in Tripoli.

The current head of the Council and the designated prime minister of a united Libya, Fayez Sarraj, is attempting to create a cabinet with a diverse set of political stances. The designated defense minister, Al-Mahdi al-Barghathi, is a commander for the Libyan Parliament. He has been battling several Islamist groups, including the Islamic State.

Sarraj has designated Al-Aref al-Khoga as the interior minister. He is known to have close ties with Islamists around the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Fayez Sarraj believes the divisions in Libya, exemplified by Al-Barghathi and al-Khoga, can be held in check by a true unity government.

The consequences of Libya being unable to unite and successfully combat the Islamic State would be far-reaching.

If the Islamic State is able to continue its growth in Libya, it would have a springboard to attack Europe with greater ease than conducting operations from Syria and Iraq. Currently, Libya is, for all intents and purposes, a failed state. That environment is extremely conducive for ISIS to strengthen and spread. One needs only to look at Syria and Iraq. In all three nations, the lack of a strong central government allows terrorism to operate more freely. 

From Europe, ISIS operatives will be able to take advantage of the immigration system and enter the United States, as the Boston and San Bernardino bombers have.

Recently, there is reason for some hope. It was reported last week that the two rival governments might be coming to an agreement, and the new government is preparing to move to the capitol city, Tripoli. Whether the agreement can hold remains to be seen.

The United States and Europe must be a partner to Libya and other nations in transition. The stakes are too high not to act. However, the people of Libya, and Syria, and Iraq, etc. must show a willingness to determine the future of their own nations.

Derek DeLuca is a research assistant at the New Jersey General Assembly. He holds a M.A. and B.A. from Monmouth University and has contributed to Homeland Security Today Magazine and American Thinker.


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