Friday, June 1, 2018

EU and Palestinian Illegal "Facts on the Ground" - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

The coming weeks will be a test of Israel's sovereignty and resolve.

  • The real story is the land. Building on it was key to taking possession of an otherwise unattainable piece of territory, and making this possession appear irreversible.
  • The basis of "The Fayyad Plan" (Official title: "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State") was, and remains, the creation of a de facto state -- without the need for negotiation with Israel -- through facts on the ground in areas under full Israeli administrative and security administration.
  • Jahalin West would offer services that these Bedouin have never had -- services the Palestinian Authority has never offered them: running water, electricity, permanent homes they themselves are free to design, health clinics, public transportation, schools, access to employment, and more.
What the Palestinian Authority, the European Union, Israel's High Court of Justice, three Israeli towns, and the Jahalin tribe have in common is the Bedouin settlement of Khan al-Akhmar.

The battle for this Arab settlement has been waged in the international media and the Israeli Supreme Court for more than a decade, and its story is a microcosm of the Arab-Israel conflict, complete with alternative narratives, shifting alliances, unclear lines of responsibility and murky vested interests.
The first problem is that Khan al Akhmar is located in an area, unpoetically named Area C, where, according to the United Nations, "Israel retains near exclusive control, including over law enforcement, planning and construction."

This small cluster of Bedouin homes is actually sitting on land in an Israeli township, Kfar Adumim, at a strategic crossroads between Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the outlying Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, making it crucial both to the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Until fairly recently, the residents of the Arab settlement -- a branch of the Jahalin tribe of Bedouin -- had lived in southern Israel. At some point in the 1970s, a feud broke out between different branches of the tribe, and the Jahalin fled northward, and arrived in the Maaleh Adumim region in the late 1970s, where they have remained ever since.

Like almost all other Bedouin in the Middle East, they began to abandon their nomadic lifestyle in favor of more permanent settlements and livelihoods not dependent on shepherding. Unfortunately, this branch of the tribe set up camp in a strategically critical area near a major highway, and began tapping into municipal water and electricity lines for subsistence.

Here is the other problem: since the 1980s, when their squatter's camp began to take shape, it has always been illegal as well as impractical. Its proximity to the highway has been posing a safety hazard for the Bedouin children who play alongside it, as well as for the motorists who must avoid being hit by the rocks thrown at their vehicles. Out of literally dozens of these incidents reported in the press, here are a few examples:

From the day the Jahalin set up camp on this spot, they knew that they were squatting inside an Israeli municipality, and that it was not a long-term solution for their housing needs.

What they did not know was that the Palestinian Authority had designs on the same piece of land, but for different reasons, and that international forces would soon begin to use them as chess pieces in a high-stakes game against Israel.

An internationally-funded and school building for Khan al-Akhmar, with Israeli Highway 1 in the background. (Image source: TrickyH/Wikimedia Commons)

On August 23, 2009, Salim Fayyad, then Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), published his master plan for the creation of a Palestinian State. The basis of "The Fayyad Plan" (officially titled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State") was -- and remains -- the creation of a de facto state without the need for negotiation with Israel, through facts on the ground in areas under full Israeli administrative and security administration. One of the key areas in the "facts on the ground" vision of Palestinian statehood, as opposed to the mutually agreed-upon negotiations of the Oslo Accords, is precisely the region near the highway. The Jahalin Bedouin squatters presented a perfect means of establishing an extra-judicial foothold there.

For the Palestinian Authority, the best interests of the Jahalin Bedouin were beside the point. The real story was the land. Building on it was key to taking possession of an otherwise unattainable piece of territory, and then making this possession appear irreversible. So while the PA and the European Union continue to pay lip service to their commitment to a negotiated settlement, their behavior indicates that this is not their intention: The Palestinians have no interest in a negotiated settlement, and the EU's continued bankrolling of illegal construction in Area C actually encourages the Palestinians not to sit down and to talk to the Israelis. Why should they negotiate, if they can get everything they want by simply replicating the story of Khan al Akhmar in strategic points throughout Area C?

Like it or not, the Oslo Accords -- which the Palestinian Authority signed and the European Union witnessed -- clearly state that Israel has sole responsibility for issuing building permits, zoning and planning. Even without the Oslo Accords, the Hague Conventions -- the accepted basis for international law -- place sole responsibility for issuing building and zoning permits on the State of Israel.

Back to the Bedouin: some of them Bedouin in neighboring clusters signed relocation agreements; others simply pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere to avoid the construction and traffic around the highway; all of them understood that they could not remain where they were.

Then, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union jumped in, giving this cluster of tents and shacks a name, pumping money into "Khan al Akhmar," and kicking up a vast media storm about destitute Arabs being dispossessed from their "historic" community. An Italian NGO, Vento de Terra, built a school on the site to serve Bedouin children from across the region. They bombarded the media with images of barefoot Bedouin children living under the threat of dispossession and ethnic cleansing by Israel, and pressured the Jahalin to cooperate (as reported in the High Court decisions on the case).

The Bedouin buckled under the pressure and allowed their new "representatives" to take charge: The residents of Khan al Akhmar remained where the PA wanted them. The Jahalin Bedouin were "represented" by the PA and the EU in four separate lawsuits, stalling the relocation of the squatters for more than a decade. In each case, Israel's Supreme Court confirmed that the Bedouin encampment at Khan al Akhmar was illegal and needed to be evacuated to a State-sponsored alternative location.
For ten years, the Israeli government suspended the demolition and evacuation orders, considered any and all alternatives, and eventually created a new, legal option to relocate the Bedouin on State-owned land only five miles away near Abu Dis, an Arab neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The new neighborhood, "Jahalin West," offers a package worth more than half a million shekels (nearly $140,000) for each wife in each of the many-wived Jahalin households. Each wife would receive, free of charge, a large plot of land, completely developed and zoned for residential construction, with water and electricity. Jahalin West would offer services that these Bedouin have never had -- services the PA has never offered them: running water, electricity, permanent homes they themselves are free to design, health clinics, public transportation, schools, access to employment, and more.

Jahalin West is ready and waiting; it has been lying dormant for years. The "representatives" of the Jahalin have repeatedly rejected the State's relocation package and refused to allow the Jahalin to rebuild their lives in a new neighborhood if it means losing their grip on the land they are presently occupying.

After allowing the Jahalin's lawyers one last chance to come up with a feasible alternative to Jahalin West, which they were unable to do, the Supreme Court closed the book on Khan al Akhmar. The High Court's recent decision rejected two petitions that had been filed on behalf of the Bedouin. "There are no legal grounds to justify intervention in the Minister of Defense's decision to enforce the demolition orders that were issued against the illegal structures in Khan al Akhmar," wrote Justices Sohlberg, Willner and Baron.
"This decision does not make light of the complex human aspects that are unavoidable in a large-scale evacuation of illegal construction, despite its illegality. Law enforcement is important, as is the attempt to reach a resolution through dialogue and peaceful means.
"When all is said and done, we are long past the 'zero hour.' Demolition orders, we should recall, were first issued for these structures in 2009, and the calls we have heard in this courtroom for cooperation and dialogue, as worthy as they may be, should by all rights have been raised in real time, over the course of the intervening years, and should have been directed to policy- and decision-makers."
The judges criticized the plaintiffs' conduct, noting that they had repeatedly taken advantage of the State's willingness to reach an agreed-upon solution by presenting futile, unfeasible suggestions.
"The impression is that the aim of these alternative suggestion was to 'buy time.' ... Raising unrealistic suggestions at this point, after years in which the State postponed enforcement of demolition orders in order to consider alternatives, is unacceptable."
The decision denied the plaintiffs' request that the Court intervene in the State's decision to enforce the law, and expressed the hope that the matter could be resolved peacefully and in an atmosphere of cooperation.

The Palestinian Authority has already announced its intention to resist the relocation of the Jahalin to their new, legal neighborhood near Abu Dis "by all available means," and the international uproar has begun.

Israel is being condemned for "cruel and inhumane" treatment of the Jahalin, and for its attempts to commit supposed "ethnic cleansing" and "forced population transfer." The French government (which has a rather poor record of summarily deporting nomadic groups en masse) has declared Israel's High Court decision a violation of international law, while at the same time explaining that Khan al Akhmar is of "critical strategic importance to the contiguity of the future Palestinian State."

The coming weeks will be a test of Israel's sovereignty and resolve. At the same time, the weeks ahead will also expose the real intentions of the PA and the European NGOs and governments who continue to bankroll illegal construction and land seizure in areas recognized by international law to be under Israeli jurisdiction.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.


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Report: Iran, Hezbollah preparing to retreat from Israeli border - David Rosenberg

by David Rosenberg

Anti-Assad group claims Iranian, Hezbollah fighters prepping for withdrawal from Israeli border, following pressure by Russia.

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Iranian forces are preparing to withdraw from southern Syria, pulling back away from the Israeli border, an anti-government monitoring group claimed Thursday.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces and Iranian-backed Shi’ite groups, including the Hezbollah terror organization, are preparing for a mass-withdrawal from the border area.

The SOHR claims that Iranian forces and Hezbollah terrorists are preparing to leave Quneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, and from Daraa, in the southwestern edge of Syria, near Jordan.

The apparent withdrawal of Iranian and Iranian-backed forces from the vicinity of the Israeli border comes just days after Russia declared that all non-Syrian forces operating on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria frontier should be removed.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signaled that his country had accepted Israel’s long-time demand that Iranian forces not be allowed to operate near the Israeli frontier.

“Of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street,” Lavrov added.

“The result of this work which should continue and is continuing should be a situation when representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic’s army stand at Syria’s border with Israel.”

Russia has pushed Iran and allied militias to withdraw from the border areas, AP cited Russian media outlets as saying, as part of a deal which would see the deployment of Russian forces to serve as a buffer between Israel and Syria.

David Rosenberg


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Tommy Robinson, Political Prisoner - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

A corrupt British court system silences a righteous whistleblower.

[FrontPageMag Editor' note: To help Tommy, visit his website,, and also go to Rebel Media, which has nobly taken up his cause.]

One of Britain’s most prominent human rights activists is being held as a political prisoner for reporting on a brutal Muslim child-rape gang, one of many such “grooming” gang cases that country’s government has been downplaying or outright covering up in recent years.

Authorities in the United Kingdom are notorious for protecting Muslims who rape Britons and for covering up the crimes of Muslim rape rings. Some government officials and journalists suppress news of the sex crimes out of a perverse sense of political correctness; others because they are afraid of being called racist or Islamophobic.

From the 1980s to the 2010s, as many as 1,400 Britons, mostly white girls, were raped largely by Muslim men in Rotherham, England. In recent years Muslim rape gangs have been uncovered in Rochdale, Telford, Aylesbury, Banbury, and in many other British communities.

Not surprisingly, many Britons now longer trust their government to handle such grooming cases fairly.

Some like scrappy English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson, a married father of three who has been sounding the alarm about the Islamization of the United Kingdom for years, try to bring transparency to a distrusted legal process.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, is an imperfect vehicle for reform. He has had plenty of legal troubles unrelated to his activism – for example, a conviction for mortgage fraud, and at times he seems a bit too eager to use his fists. But he is doing his countrymen a great service by drawing their attention to tremendous evils in his society that go largely unchallenged.

Whatever misdeeds Robinson may have carried out, they are insignificant compared to the crime waves unleashed on the British public by violent, misogynistic Muslim men who refuse to assimilate and adapt to their new homeland.

Unfortunately, Robinson can’t look for relief to weakling Prime Minister Theresa May, who is an Islamist appeaser. Her Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is a Muslim.

The deck is stacked against those skeptical of Islam. In the United Kingdom the police now monitor statements on social media and jail those who express frowned-upon sentiments. In the U.K., Big Brother is no longer just something from George Orwell’s prophetic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Not surprisingly, Muslim terrorism apologist and Second Amendment-hater Piers Morgan pulled out the usual canards about Islam while attacking Robinson during a recent TV interview.

Based on nothing in particular, Morgan called him a “bigoted lunatic stirring up hatred” as Robinson characterized the Koran as a “violent and cursed book,” adding, “this book is the reason we are in such a mess.”

Piers claimed, “We’re in this mess because people take Islam, they are terrorists and they abuse the nature of Islam and… perpetrate evil.”

Robinson shot back denying Islam is a religion. “Islam is an idea – a bad idea,” he said, echoing ex-Muslim and genital mutilation survivor Ayaan Hirsi Ali who has called Islam “a political theory of conquest that seeks domination by any means it can.”

It was last Friday, May 25, when Robinson was reporting outside Leeds Crown Court in England when he was taken into custody for his most recent act of unauthorized citizen journalism. A tanning salon owner, Robinson filmed on his smartphone the arrival of accused rapists on trial for acts allegedly committed while being part of a so-called Muslim grooming gang. The broadcast consisted of an hour-long Facebook Live stream that within hours had been viewed more than 250,000 times.

The arresting officers informed Robinson he was being taken into custody for suspicion of breaching the peace. Taking footage in a public place of people walking into a courthouse is not in itself a breach of the peace even in the United Kingdom.

But this arrest was for what constituted a second offense under contempt of court laws, and was therefore grounds for Robinson’s probation to be revoked and for a sentence that was previously suspended for the same so-called crime to be carried out. He is now serving a 13-month term in secure custody at Hull Prison.

Because the filming May 25 was of accused persons in an ongoing criminal trial where a publication ban preventing news from being reported had been imposed, the court that day imposed a separate publication ban specifically on reporting what happened to Robinson. As happens in police states, the court ordered the media not to report on Robinson’s case, ostensibly to avoid “a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in these proceedings" against the rape suspects.
As Leeds Live reported on the events of May 25 days after Robinson’s arrest:
Eventually, the 35-year-old was arrested on suspicion of a breach of the peace and was held in the court cells before being taken up to the courtroom to face the trial judge.
In a rare move, he was arrested, charged and sentenced within five hours. The video footage was played to Judge Geoffrey Marson QC as Robinson sat in the dock.
Contempt of Court legislation largely applies to media publications - but as Tommy Robinson was broadcasting live on Facebook to the 778,280 people who like his page, and his 848,100 followers - he can be deemed a publisher in his own right.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told him: “I respect everyone’s right to free speech. That’s one of the most important rights that we have.
“With those rights come responsibilities. The responsibility to exercise that freedom of speech within the law.
“I am not sure you appreciate the potential consequence of what you have done."
Judge Marson claimed that Robinson waving a single smartphone around outside the courthouse could somehow have led to a mistrial declaration in the prosecution of the accused rapists, a claim that seems laughable on its face.

It is more likely Marson does not appreciate the social value of what Robinson, whom he jailed for the same kind of citizen journalism that got the man in trouble in the first place, did outside his courtroom.

Marson, who almost certainly believes he did the right thing in sending Robinson to prison, is an instrument of a corrupt system defending itself.

The U.K. is a country without anything even remotely comparable to the First Amendment, which still has creepy, frightening blasphemy laws, and where truth is not necessarily a defense to a defamation lawsuit.

The American system, readers need to be reminded, is about liberty – the system in England is about order, which is one of the reasons why American patriots had to overthrow the yoke of English tyranny in 1776. Liberty is frightening to intellectually stunted legal bureaucrats obsessed with order, which helps to explain why the English legal system has treated a heroic figure like Robinson so harshly.

As for Robinson, he seems to have predicted his sudden disappearance from the public scene.

In March, Twitter banned Robinson for the Left’s favorite catch-all thought crime, so-called hate speech. He also posted an ominous video on YouTube on March 2 titled “I won’t be around for much longer.”
I'm not going to be around for much longer. Between the police, the mainstream media and social media giants in Silicon Valley there is a concerted effort to silence and discredit me. Soon enough they will remove me from social media completely.
So far that sinister plan seems to be working.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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Hamas taken off guard by intensity of clash with Israel, officials say - Israel Hayom Staff

by Israel Hayom Staff

Outcome suggests Hamas was dragged into fighting by Islamic Jihad, fearing it would be cast as collaborating with Israel.

One of the targets hit by Israeli aircraft in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday
Photo: AFP

Hours after the latest Gaza flare-up drew to a close Wednesday, defense officials were upbeat, saying Israel should be satisfied with the results. The officials said that Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, was taken off guard by the intense nature of the fighting.

Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of some 30 mortars toward Israel on Tuesday morning, which triggered the most aggressive escalation since the 2014 Gaza war. According to defense officials, Hamas signed off on the barrage ahead of time so as to let the Islamic Jihad exact revenge for an incident earlier in the week, in which Israel killed three of its members when they tried to plant an explosive device near the Gaza border fence.

However, despite the initial green light, Hamas was taken aback by the large number of mortar bombs fired toward Israel and was also surprised by the Israeli retaliation, which included some 30 daytime sorties targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets.

Officials believe that Islamic Jihad dragged Hamas into a military confrontation it did not actually want. As a result, Hamas fired rockets toward the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip – a step it has not taken since the conclusion of the 2014 war, not even in cases where Israel successfully destroyed cross-border Hamas tunnels (10 in total) or when more than 100 Palestinians storming the Gaza fence were killed over the course of several weeks in weekly border protests.

This unusual decision to fire at Israel may have been taken in order to shed the notion that Hamas is collaborating with Israel.

Hamas initially asked for a cease-fire at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and a request was made through Egyptian intelligence officials. It also leaked the request to Arab media. Hamas went on to declare a cease-fire, but toward midnight Tuesday, an Israeli official said no such agreement had been reached. This was followed by an Israeli Air Force attack on the Gaza Strip overnight . The targets included storage facilities for SA-7 anti-aircraft shoulder missiles, a facility for suicide drones, and a site used by Hamas naval forces that held sophisticated amphibious devices.

At 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad decided to unilaterally stop firing toward Israel. To enforce this decision, Hamas deployed its people in various launching positions to prevent further attacks. For the next few hours this effort was largely successful, but at 5:20 a.m., the rogue factions known as the Popular Resistance Committees and Global Jihad fired the last salvo.

Israeli officials believe that Hamas initially felt less deterred when it came to firing rockets and mortars, but ultimately realized that it had made a mistake and begged for a cease-fire.

"There is no cease-fire agreement with Hamas or Islamic Jihad," one Israeli official said, however. "Israel is not bound by anything; if a new tunnel is discovered, it will be destroyed and if terrorists approach the fence they will be killed."

Israel Hayom Staff


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British Media: Lockstep Lies - Bruce Bawer

by Bruce Bawer

Meanwhile, Robinson remains in jail for daring to exercise his free speech, and what the mainstream media have won back is the right to resume repeating their lockstep lies about who he is and what he stands for.

  • Did the Daily Mail's lawyers have to check with the British government, which had placed a gag order on reporting about the arrest, to make sure that it was permissible to report on the protest, if not directly on the arrest itself?
  • It seems fair to say that the incident has shocked, outraged, and scared people around the world who, until now, had thought of the United Kingdom as a free country.
  • "Britain used to be a bastion of free speech. Today its leaders are behaving like North Korea and Saudi Arabia." – Geert Wilders, MP; The Netherlands
  • Meanwhile, Robinson remains in jail for daring to exercise his free speech, and what the mainstream media have won back is the right to resume repeating their lockstep lies about who he is and what he stands for.
Hundreds of supporters of Tommy Robinson filled the streets of London on Saturday in protest against his arrest in Leeds on Friday, but it was not until shortly after midnight on Monday that the Daily Mail posted a report about the protest on its website. The story, which was unsigned, was updated on early Monday afternoon. How to explain the delay? Did the Daily Mail's lawyers have to check with the British government, which had placed a gag order on reporting about the arrest, to make sure that it was permissible to report on the protest, if not directly on the arrest itself?

The Mail made sure to describe the hundreds of protesters as "far-right." How did the Mail ascertain their politics? Does it not occur to the Mail that even if Robinson were far-right, which he is not, a British subject would not have to be far right to want to take in a protest against his shockingly rapid-fire arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment for the sole offense of reporting from outside a courthouse?

The Evening Standard also reported on the protest – and also labeled the participants "far-right." "The incident," wrote the Standard 's Tom Powell, "has triggered a furious reaction from his fans." In fact, it seems fair to say that the incident has shocked, outraged, and scared people around the world who, until now, had thought of the United Kingdom as a free country.

Hundreds of supporters of Tommy Robinson protest his imprisonment, at a May 25 demonstration on Downing Street in London, England. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

In America, for example, Robert Spencer warned that "the darkness of Sharia-compliant totalitarianism descends upon the UK." Thomas Lifson asked:
"Is Britain lost to the ranks of free nations? The land that bequeathed the world the Magna Carta and the 'mother of parliaments' is indulging in totalitarianism with its handling of Tommy Robinson, a famous political activist agitating about the threat of radical Islam, and attempting to report on the trial of a Muslim 'grooming gang' that allegedly preyed on young English girls, forcing them into prostitution."
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders declared solidarity with Robinson: "Britain used to be a bastion of free speech. Today its leaders are behaving like North Korea and Saudi Arabia."

At least the Mail and Standard ran stories about the protests. Other major British dailies did not. The Metro website, for its part, posted a story that made the Mail look objective: "The controversial nationalist and far-right commentator, real name Stephen Lennon, was posing as a 'reporter' when police officers approached him," wrote Olivia Waring in a piece headlined "Why Was Tommy Robinson Arrested?" In fact, Robinson was not "posing" as anything – he is a citizen journalist who at the time of his arrest was being watched live on Facebook by supporters around the world. Waring went on say that Robinson's supporters "abide by slogans like 'White Lives Matter.'" She also mentioned that Robin was a founder of the English Defence League, but omitted to acknowledge that he left the organization after it adopted a racist line of which he could not approve. In any event, Waring's piece did not even pretend to answer the question posed in the title, leaving the reader to wonder exactly who is, in fact, posing as a reporter.

Whereas Robinson was arrested for "breaching the peace" – "apparently British police code for 'offending Islam,'" noted Spencer wryly – and was immediately thereafter found guilty of "contempt of court" and hustled off to the hoosegow, the savages whose case he was covering have apparently been on trial for several weeks now. They face multiple charges, including rape, racially aggravated assault, and inciting a child into prostitution. One of the defendants is accused of fifty-one separate counts, including twenty-one counts of rape. During the weeks of their trial they have, of course, had legal representation and have apparently been allowed to go home at night. Meanwhile Robinson's attorneys were apparently unable to contact him in the first hours and days after his arrest.

Finally, on Tuesday, in response to complaints by the British media, the gag order on reporting news about the Robinson case was lifted. Presumably this counts as a modest recovery for freedom of the press in Britain. Meanwhile, Robinson remains in jail for daring to exercise his free speech, and what the mainstream media have won back is the right to resume repeating their lockstep lies about who he is and what he stand for.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His other books include A Place at the Table (1993), Stealing Jesus (1997), Surrender (2009), and The Victims' Revolution (2012). A native New Yorker, he has lived in Europe since 1998.


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Four Takeaways From The Latest Round Of Gaza Clashes - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Israel hits back hard while Hamas recognizes its limitations.

It began with an attempt by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to plant an improvised explosive device on the security fence separating Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and ended with a near full-scale conflagration on a scale not seen since the summer of 2014. Tensions for the time being have tapered off but the recent fighting demonstrates why the Israeli Army (IDF) maintains a constant state of readiness along its volatile borders. 

On Sunday, security forces monitoring the Gaza border detected an object attached to the border fence. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be a bolt cutter of the type used by Palestinian rioters to breach the fence in weeks prior. A remote controlled robot was sent in to inspect and remove the object utilizing a long cord. During the course of removal, the bolt cutter exploded. Fortunately, no one was injured but the situation could have just as easily resulted in casualties.

PIJ terrorists who planted the IED were then spotted manning a nearby observation post. An Israeli Merkava IV tank fired at the OP instantly killing two PIJ operatives. A third was mortally wounded and died soon after. Islamic Jihad swore vengeance.

Two days later, southern Israeli border towns and communities came under intense indiscriminate rocket and mortar bombardment. A kindergarten was hit but fortunately, the children had not yet arrived. Over the course of 22 hours, Hamas and PIJ fired over 100 rockets and mortars, 25 of which were shot down by Israel’s anti-rocket defense system, Iron Dome. According to military sources, the system also succeeded in intercepting incoming mortar rounds, a first in the annals of warfare. There were no fatalities but there was some property damage and three IDF soldiers were wounded, two lightly and one moderately. A civilian was also lightly injured.

The unprovoked attacks inevitably drew Israeli retaliatory strikes which came in two waves. Some 65 Hamas and PIJ positions were targeted including a U-shaped, two-kilometer long tunnel that extended into both Egypt and Israel. It was to be used for smuggling contraband as well as for facilitating terrorist attacks. Rocket and weapons storage facilities were also hit and destroyed. A Hamas naval armory which the army said contained “advanced, unmanned submarine vessels, capable of maritime infiltration and carrying out maritime terror attacks,” was hit and destroyed as well.

Israel informed Hamas through intermediaries that if it continued its attacks, the IDF was prepared to conduct a large-scale military operation, similar to those conducted in 2009 and 2014. Hamas, still smarting from the defeats of 2009 and 2014, understood that Israel meant business and ordered its operatives as well as the PIJ to cease fire. The question is how long will the cease fire hold? The answer to that is anyone’s guess.

Nevertheless, the recent round of fighting highlighted several interesting takeaways. First, the discovery of a Hamas tunnel in Egypt is likely to further strain relations between Egypt and Hamas. Egypt has accused Hamas of aiding Islamist terrorists in northern Sinai and the revelation of a Hamas-dug tunnel in Egypt further erodes Hamas’s credibility in the eyes of the Egyptian government.

Second, the Iron Dome system continues to impress. In 2014, Iron Dome succeeded in shooting down rockets but had yet been incapable of downing mortar rounds. In 2014, a mortar round fired from a Gaza school killed a four-year-old Israeli boy named Daniel Tragerman, who lived in a kibbutz near the border. Modifications and software upgrades to Iron Dome have enabled the system to now have the ability to intercept incoming mortar rounds. This is an unprecedented development in warfare.

Third, during the Obama years, Israel received equivocal support at best, when it carried out anti-terror operations against Islamist terrorist groups. Europe, taking cue from Obama, was downright hostile. But in the latest round, Israel received unequivocal political support from both the United States and the European Union, while Hamas was roundly condemned. This positive development signals a seismic shift in favor of Israel and may have been a contributing factor in Hamas’s decision to call it quits. Hamas recognizes that in any confrontation with Israel, it will lose both militarily and politically, whereas in the past, it at least had a chance of scoring political points.

Fourth, the malevolent role of the Iranian regime in stoking the recent round of violence cannot be overlooked. Iran has its fingerprints all over this one. Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders have readily and publicly acknowledged that they receive aid in the form of cash, training and weapons from Iran. For years, the Iranians have been cultivating proxies to do their bidding and these Palestinian groups are willing participants. Iran has recently been on the receiving end of some sharp blows from Israel, and the mullahs were looking for a way to strike back but without engaging Israel in direct confrontation. Gaza appeared to be Iran’s venue of choice. Nevertheless, despite Hamas’s dependence on Iran, the group still exercises some independent thought, and they wisely cried uncle for they recognized that this was a battle they had no hope of winning. 

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Islam Is Incompatible with Liberty - Amil Imani

by Amil Imani

The choice is either liberty or Islam. We can't have it both ways

As Islam repelled me, something about America attracted me like a powerful magnet. It was the heart and soul of America. It is called liberty. Liberty embodies the most precious treasures of humanity by encompassing seven forms of freedom that collectively make us human. Without liberty, we are simply another species of primates. Islam is anathema to each and every one of these freedoms. 

Dennis Prager's Still the Best Hope succinctly lists what constitutes this overarching charter of being human. Through this book, I will present indisputable evidence proving Islam's incompatibility with them. The choice is either liberty or Islam. We can't have it both ways.

Political freedom

The right to freely elect the government and the government rule by the consent of the people. Islam by definition is a belief of surrender – the surrender of the people's right to choose their government to Allah's rule as ordained by his infallible one and only final emissary, Muhammad. In countries where Islam wields great power, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, people have no choice whatsoever in choosing their governments. Any attempt by the people to exercise this precious form of freedom is brutally dealt with by the authorities. The Earth is Allah's, people are vessels of Allah, and the rulers are Allah's appointed shepherds of his flock – so goes the belief.

Religious freedom and freedom from religious coercion

The right to practice any religion or no religion, as well as separating religion from state. Non-Muslim rights are strictly curtailed. Lip service is paid, from time to time, to religions of the book, Judaism and Christianity. Yet, in practice, even these sanctioned minorities are treated with harmful discrimination. Jewish and Christians are classified as dhimmis, they are subjected to special religious taxes, and disenfranchised from many rights of citizenship. Separation of the mosque and the state is considered another abhorrent frivolity of the non-Islamic heathen societies. The mosque is the state in Islamic lands, either directly or indirectly.

Freedom of assembly

The right to gather and associate with any individual or group. Religious minorities are frequently forbidden from assembling together, and freedom of association is an alien concept in Islam. Muslims are warned against associating with non-Muslims, they are not to come in any contacts with them, much less break bread with infidels. Non-Muslims are considered najes – unclean. The right of assembly is reserved for the Islamic sanctioned events such as the numerous religious theatrics and government orchestrated demonstrations.

Religious minorities are either banned or greatly restricted in group practices such as worship or observance of holidays. Non-approved religious groups, and that covers all who do not toe the line of the dominating Islamic sect, are harassed and disenfranchised on a graded scale. In Shi'a lands, Sunnis receive less than fair treatment. Others, such as Christians and Jews, are next in terms of exercising their rights. Then, a host of other religious minorities, such as Bahá'ís and Sufis, face the severest variety of restrictions and outright persecutions.

Freedom of speech

The right to express oneself, short of "falsely shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater." Freedom of speech indeed exists in Islamic societies as long as you sing the praises of Islam and the ruling system. Any honest criticism of the ruling system is taken as an attempt to discredit and distort facts. Woe unto anyone who dares to utter the slightest objections to the draconian Islamic laws and its primitive teachings. Expressing disagreement with denigration of women, for instance, is a sure way of incurring the wrath of the state. Islamic government and powerful Islamic organizations avidly campaign for a universal adoption of what they call blasphemy laws. They propose severe punishment for any individual or organization that in any form speaks unfavorably about Islam, Muhammad, or Islamic sanctity. Conveniently, they neglect to stipulate the same provisions for other religions.

Why stifle free expression? If Islam is indeed the treasure that the Muslims claim, it should be impervious to any criticism. In fact, the more Islam is critically examined, the more it should allow everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, to make up his own mind.

These blasphemy laws are used as another tool of punishing critical comments by non-Muslims, as well as those of dissenting Muslim.

Economic freedom

The right to engage in a business and keep as much of the earning as legally possible. Where Islam rules, Islam rules all matters, including economic matters. There is a degree of freedom in this area, with some restrictions. You may, for instance, operate a restaurant or work in one. Yet, for one full month every year, your restaurant must shut down from sunrise to sunset to honor the fasting month of Ramadan. Financing a business venture must follow the Islamic rule of lending and borrowing money. Subterfuge is used on this matter whenever it suits the state. When it does not, the violators are punished by invoking usury laws.

Freedom of the press

The right of publications and other media to advocate anything legal. There is an inverse relationship between the extent of the Islamic rule and the freedom of the press. The greater the rule, the less the freedom of the press. Where Islam wields great power, the role of the press is to sing the praises of the system and report only on matters approved by the authorities. Legions of journalists are routinely meted short- and long-term prison sentences and are heavily fined, and their publications banned for aiming to report the truth.

Freedom from the state

The ability of the individuals to be free from government interference in their life, as much as possible. Government interference in the life of the individual is legend. In the Islamic system, government is to rule, and the individual is to serve the government. The concept of the government being the employee of the people is completely alien in Islam.

Government orders the minutest details of personal life, from mode of dress to even subjects that women are barred from studying in college – dozens of them. The Islamic Republic of Iran currently lags behind the Taliban in Afghanistan, where girls were forbidden even to attend school, risking death. Saudi Arabia still denies women the right to vote or hold elected offices. Women may not travel abroad without written permission from a male parent or a husband. Interference into personal life of the individual is legion.

Islam clashes head on with every one of these seven pillars of liberty.

Amil Imani


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The Mullahs and the nukes - Amil Imani

by Amil Imani

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

The best predictor of the future is the past. The Mullahs are proven vicious mass killers. The religious fanatic mullahs’ record is one of deception, dissimulation, treachery, violence and much more.

For four decades, the U.S. State Department has called the Islamic Republic of Iran the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” For forty years, U.S. officials claimed the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued funding, providing weapons, training terrorists, and giving sanctuary to a number of terrorist groups.

And for years, the U.S. administration has been unable to outdo the Islamic Republic’s propaganda machine and clearly has been unable or perhaps unwilling to help the Iranian people to end the Islamic nightmares in Iran.

Former President George W. Bush, at his many annual State of the Union addresses, spoke numerous times about the plight of the Iranian people. He once said, “If the Iranian people stand for themselves, the United States will stand with them.” Throughout his presidency, the Iranians, of all people, hailed Bush as a courageous President and an angel of freedom. While his popularity was surging in Iran, his approval rating at home was going down. Finally, the Iranian people realized the Bush's love affair was all about Tehran’s nuclear ambition, not their freedom and liberty. Like his predecessors, it was "all hat, no cattle."

As time went on, Bush vowed that the Islamic Republic would never be allowed to achieve its goal of developing nuclear bombs on his watch. He kept using all kinds of threats and promises, in order to persuade the mullahs to drop the nuclear project, to no avail.

When a belligerent end-of-the-worlder, Holocaust-denier Ahmadinejad, became the Islamic Republic of Iran’s selected president, things started heating up greatly. Time and again, the bellicose Ahmadinejad kept vilifying the ‘Great Satan’ and its sidekick Israel for having the gall to demand Iran abandon its program while his two main adversaries had their own arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad informed the world that what the Islamic Republic does is within its own national rights.

He shored up his credibility cleverly by dispatching endless series of negotiators to meetings with Europeans. He was successfully stalling for time, while working around the clock to get to Surge Capacity.

Iran's desire for peaceful nuclear technology dates to the 1950s, when the Shah of Iran received technical assistance under the U.S. Atoms for Peace program. While this assistance ended with the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran, under the late shah, launched a plan to achieve “Surge Capacity.” A code word for getting all the ingredients and procedures down pat for making the bomb quickly, short of actually making it; a clever power-play.

A saint and revered man of God, according to none other than Jimmy Carter (who considers himself as another great man of God), the late Ayatollah Khomeini cancelled the nuclear program with the same saintly and prompt edict that he cancelled the life of thousands of Iranians for daring to disagree with his system of medieval Sharia rule. In no time at all, the vicious Mullahs gutted the Iranian armed forces and executed many of its most capable officers.

Saddam Hussein watched gleefully as the Iranian military disintegrated, and found the opportunity to carry out his Pan Arabism ambition by attacking Iran. Some eight years of barbaric butchery killed and maimed millions on both sides, gutted the vibrant Iranian economy, and visited misery of all sorts upon the Iranian people. After Khomeini’s demise, another mullah much more crafty and ambitious, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, became the president and re-activated the program secretly, while the IAEA watchdog snoozed contentedly on the job.

Years later, the MEK ‘whistle blower’ revealed Iran was cheating and had a secret nuclear weapons research program. Finally, the world witnessed first-hand proof positive that the mullahs were racing tirelessly with their scheme of getting the ultimate weapon.

This information greatly alarmed the United States of America and Israel. The revelation seemed to bother no European nation, the Russians, or the Chinese. Somehow these nations figured that they would let the U.S. do all the worrying about the looming menace while they focused on the lucrative business deals they had diligently worked out with the mullahs: something reminiscent of the cozy deal the French and the Russians had going with the butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein.

Fast forward:

With Obama at the helm, Iran and six world powers known as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reached a nuclear deal on July 14, 2015, known as ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ that intended to limit Iran's nuclear program and enhanced monitoring in exchange for relief from nuclear sanctions. This appeared to benefit the Islamic Republic while leaving the door open for Iran secretly to continue with its nuclear ambition.

On May 2018, President Trump, withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, and reinstated crippling sanctions on Iran.

The best predictor of the future is the past. The Mullahs are proven vicious mass killers. The religious fanatic mullahs’ record is one of deception, dissimulation, treachery, violence and much more. These Quran-trained and directed agents of a wrathful Allah can never be trusted. They are master schemers. They have been in the business of scheming for centuries. They have perfected the art of deception, doubletalk, double-dealing and treachery. Prudence demands better proofs, much better proofs. History will prove that President Trump did the right thing.  

This raw, despicable regime represents the inevitable result of Islam, and its calling card of terrorism is now marching from the Iranian focal point to all parts of the globe.      For the past forty years, people in the West, especially in the United States, have been on the receiving end of a very sophisticated and convoluted campaign of disinformation and propaganda, dished out by the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and its lobbyist organizations in the U.S.  MOIS, learned its methodology directly from the Soviet KGB and many of the Islamists who supported Khomeini were actually trained in the old Soviet Union.

My advice to the current administration is don’t let down your guard and make sure that no one lulls you into the deadly trap of complacency.

If the mullahs get their hands on the bomb, they will make use of it in numerous ways. They will use it for blackmail, they will use it in small packages through untraceable proxies, and they might even launch it by their missiles in a homicide-suicide fashion which is their trademark.

In short: the U.S. has, in secular Iranians, its best friends in the entire Islamic world. It is imperative for the U.S. to help these Iranians to dislodge the vicious doomsday Mullahs, not as an act of altruism, but as a prudent measure of enlightened self-interest.

Amil Imani is an Iranian-American writer, poet, satirist, novelist, essayist, literary translator, public speaker and political analyst who has been writing and speaking out about the danger of radical Islam internationally. He has become a formidable voice in the USA against the danger of global jihad and Islamization of America. He maintains a website at and wrote the book Obama Meets Ahmadinejad and a new thriller Operation Persian Gulf


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Facebook can be sued in Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israeli Supreme Court rules use agreements to sue only in California courts unreasonable, allowing suits to be heard in Israel.

The Supreme Court ruled that Israeli claims filed against Facebook will be heard in Israeli courts, even though the user-license-agreement to join the site says suits can only be filed in a California court.

The court accepted the position of the Attorney General, according to which giving multinational corporations the ability to determine jurisdiction in cases involving customers represented a major imbalance of power, even if the user-agreement states that it must be so.

The provisions would have forced any Israeli suing Facebook to have his or her case heard in California.

The decision was made in the framework of a petition to approve a class action lawsuit against the companies Facebook Ireland and Facebook US, on a number of grounds for infringement of the privacy of users on Facebook and non-registration with the Registrar of Databases.

Facebook filed an application to dismiss the claim out of hand, claiming that the user-license-agreement signed by users on the site when opening an account leaves jurisdiction over complaints with the California courts.

The Central District Court rejected the request to dismiss the lawsuit and determined that the stipulations of the user-license-agreement should be annulled.

Under the ruling, Israelis can now sue Facebook in Israeli courts. Facebook US users will be able to sue under Israeli law. However, the Israeli courts will have to apply California law when hearing cases involving Facebook Ireland.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Upcoming elections in Colombia and Mexico - Silvio Canto, Jr.

by Silvio Canto, Jr.

Two important elections are shaping up to the south.

By July 15, we will know who will be the next presidents of Mexico and Colombia. Americans usually don't care about these elections, but 2018 may be one of those years when results matter in two of the largest GDPs in Latin America.

Let's go to Colombia.

The first round is over in Colombia, and here is where we are:
With 98 percent of the votes counted, conservative 41-year-old Iván Duque nailed down 39 percent of the vote, according to Colombia's national electoral agency.
He was followed by the progressive 58-year-old economist and ex-mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, with 25 percent.
Duque is in a strong position for round 2, but 36%, the ones who did not vote for #1 or #2, will now have to choose between the two finalists.

I am not familiar with the other candidates and whom they will endorse.

Nevertheless, this is now down to Duque and Petro. The big question is this: which one can persuade a majority of Colombians?

Stay tuned, but I like Duque's chances.

Down in Mexico, conventional wisdom was that leftist Andrés López-Obrador was going to win. He may, but don't bet on that "caballo," or horse, just yet.
A couple of weeks ago, a Mexican friend explained what he called "Plan B," an effort for voters to vote for whoever is #2 or rising in the polls. According to my friend, Mexican voters are planning to wait until the last moment to cast their ballots, when they have a good sense of who is #2. It is their hope that #2 gets the support of #3 and #4 and overthrow López-Obrador.

"Plan B" may be a Mexican dream, but it appears to be working. "Número 2," Ricardo Anaya, a right-center candidate, is gaining and closing the gap against López-Obrador. The latest polls show that the lead is narrowing:
Less than two months before Mexicans vote, Lopez Obrador's support grew to 39 percent from 38 percent in the previous poll at the end of March, according to polling firm Parametria, but his lead narrowed to 14 points from 18.
The possibility of a victory by Lopez Obrador, who has threatened changes to the country's landmark reform to lure private investment to its energy markets, has spooked some investors, helping send the peso currency down more than 3 percent in April.
Support for Ricardo Anaya, the candidate of the "For Mexico in Front" coalition of three parties from the right and left, grew to 25 percent from 20 percent the month before. In a recent TV debate, he portrayed himself as the only alternative to the frontrunner.
So far, Mexicans, specifically the large middle class and business sector, are turning to Anaya as the alternative.

Unlike Colombia, where a runoff is coming between right-center Duque and left-center Gustavo Petro, Mexicans have one chance to stop leftist López-Obrador.

My guess is that Duque will win in Colombia and bring back ex-president Alvaro Uribe's successful policies.

As for Mexico, I am not sure that Anaya will close the gap, but lots of candles are burning in Mexican homes, hoping it is so.

It would be a great summer for the U.S. if right-center candidates win in Mexico and Colombia!

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Silvio Canto, Jr.


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