Thursday, February 11, 2016

Israel's Arabs: A Tale of Betrayal - by Khaled Abu Toameh

...Thus far, only a handful of Arab Israeli voices have had the courage to criticize their representatives in the Knesset. Yet it is precisely these citizens who need to punish their failed Knesset members, not the Israeli government or any parliamentary committee or court. The power is certainly in their hands. If the Israeli Arab majority continues to waffle, allowing its leaders free reign, Arab Knesset members will lead their people only to nothing.

Israeli Arab Members of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi
and Basel Ghattas (at the head of the table, facing the camera)
recently met with families of terrorists who attacked and murdered
Israelis. The meeting opened with a moment of silence for the
dead attackers. (Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)
Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
11 February '16..

The uproar surrounding a recent meeting held by three Israeli Arab Members of Knesset (parliament) with families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis is not only about the betrayal of their country, Israel. It is also about the betrayal of their own constituents: the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel.

Knesset members Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka managed to accomplish several things at once with this controversial meeting. They certainly seem to have provoked the ire of many Jewish Israelis. Perhaps they violated the oath they made when they were sworn into parliament: "I pledge to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset."

One thing, however, they have accomplished without question is acting against the interests of Israeli Arabs.

Zoabi, Ghattas and Zahalka met with Palestinian families who are not Israeli citizens and do not vote for the Knesset. As such, none of these families voted for the three Knesset members or the Arab List party to which they belong. Of course, as part of a democratic government, any member of the Knesset is free to meet with any Palestinian from the West Bank, Gaza Strip or Jerusalem.

It is worth noting that not all Arab Knesset members are involved in fiery rhetoric and provocative actions against Israel. However, there is good reason to believe that some Arab Knesset members deliberately engage in actions and rhetoric with the sole purpose of enraging not only the Israeli establishment, but also the Jewish public.

This meeting was the latest in a series of actions by Arab Knesset members that have severely damaged relations between Jews and Arabs inside Israel. Such actions have one clear result: colossal injury to Arab citizens' efforts for full equality.

Sharansky! - by Elliott Abrams

...February 11 is a date worth celebrating not just for Sharansky and his family–his wife, his children, and his grandchildren–and not just for Jews and Israelis, but for everyone struggling for democracy worldwide, and all those supporting them. Sharansky’s irrepressible spirit is a reminder that freedom itself is irrepressible, and can arise again even after long decades of dictatorship.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
11 February '16..

Today, February 11, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the liberation of Anatoly Shcharansky from the Soviet gulag. Shcharansky, now Natan Sharansky, was arrested in 1977 and sent to prison in 1978 for the “crimes” of teaching Hebrew and seeking an exit permit to go to Israel.

These were years of incredible courage and sacrifice. Sharansky’s remarks to the court that sentenced him in Moscow will be remembered and revered for as long as men fight for freedom:

“During my interrogation the chief investigators threatened me that I might be executed by a firing squad, or imprisoned for at least fifteen years. But if I agreed to cooperate with the investigation for the purpose of destroying the Jewish emigration movement, they promised me freedom and a quick reunion with my wife.

“Five years ago, I submitted my application for exit to Israel. Now I am further than ever from my dream. It would seem to be cause for regret. But it is absolutely the other way around. I am happy. I am happy that I lived honorably, at peace with my conscience. I never compromised my soul, even under the threat of death.

“I am happy that I helped people. I am proud that I knew and worked with such honorable, brave and courageous people as Sakharov, Orlov, Ginzburg, who are carrying on the traditions of the Russian intelligentsia [in defending human rights in the Soviet Union]. I am fortunate to have been witness to the process of the liberation of Jews of the USSR.

“I hope that the absurd accusation against me and the entire Jewish emigration movement will not hinder the liberation of my people. My near ones and friends know how I wanted to exchange activity in the emigration movement for a life with my wife Avital, in Israel.

Yes, Many Journalists Choose Sides in a Conflict—and Often for the Worst Reasons - by Zenobia Ravji

It’s important to remember that journalists are human beings, too—and just like everyone else at work, they can often be overwhelmed, underprepared, bought with kindness, and subject to unconscious bias.

Zenobia Ravji..
Tablet Magazine..
Issue 35/February '16..

People always ask me if I’m pro-Israel. No one has ever asked me if I am pro-America or pro-Canada or pro-Kenya, where I was born. What does it mean to be pro-Israel? The question even seems vaguely offensive, as if it questions the legitimacy of Israel itself.

I am sure that the concept of a Jewish state has always made sense to me. Perhaps because I myself come from an ancient ethnic and religious minority, the Zoroastrians, who continue to live in a diaspora outside of what was once our homeland, Iran.

So I came to Israel with a predisposed understanding of the need for a state, a safe haven for a people that has been a global minority for millennia and continuously persecuted. But as for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I had no clue what was going on, who was right and who was wrong.

What I came to realize was that you simply cannot understand this highly complex, multidimensional situation unless you come see it for yourself and experience it for yourself, without preconceived notions. This is hard to do. So whom do we rely on to do it? For most people, it’s the Western media, and we presume they know what they’re doing. For the most part, they don’t.

I first came to Israel in January 2014 for a short trip. This two-week holiday turned into two years. At the time, I was a graduate student in journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While traveling, I stumbled on a really eye-opening story—“everyday life” in the West Bank. In the U.S., I was exposed to images of violence and chaos any time the West Bank was mentioned in the news. So when I accidentally ventured into the West Bank during my travels, I had no idea I was even there. I was surrounded by tranquil scenes, modern infrastructure, and economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis. I guess this was too boring to make any headlines.

I thought it would be interesting to show people the uneventful side of the story. This wasn’t to negate any social and political injustices of the situation. I just thought people should see the entire truth—not just soldiers, bombs, and riots, but also what’s happening when none of the drama is taking place.

And it wasn’t just the normalcy of life in the West Bank that went unreported. Many of the human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority were never mentioned, such as the lack of freedom of speech and the press, and a complete neglect of the Palestinian people by their own politicians, who continue to exploit the peace process while pocketing European and American funding for a “free Palestine.” My work, however, didn’t consist of criticizing the PA. I thought I should leave that to the “real” journalists. It was their job, after all, to report such things.

I decided to stay in Israel to complete my last semester of journalism school, which consisted of one last major project. Mine was a feature story on economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. It was a documentary that takes place on Sdeh Bar farm in the Israeli settlement of Nokdim. It followed the lives of an Israeli farmer and a Palestinian man who works with him. The two have a unique working relationship, which is more of a friendship. The story also touched on the deep-rooted mistrust both communities have for each other—one that is compartmentalized when cooperating in social and economic settings, while always keeping a suspicious eye open.

In my reports, I tried to learn about the region by just observing and interacting with local people. I immersed myself in the culture. I started to develop friendships with Israelis, Palestinians, and Israeli-Arabs. The more I spoke with people, the more I understood where they were coming from. The more information I received on the historical context of the whole situation (which was different depending on who I was speaking to) the more confused I became. And it didn’t take very long for me to realize that the situation was not black and white.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How Palestinians turn terrorist murderers into role models

...This is yet another example of how Palestinians turn terrorist murderers into role models and link cultural values to other Palestinian "values" of murder and terror

[Raya News Network, Feb. 1, 2016] 
Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik..
Palestinian Media Watch..
10 February '16..

Hebron U commemorates killer of 3 with human reading chain

Murderer was "an intellectual, a reader, and above all - a Martyr and a fighter"

Two Palestinian terrorists, Baha Alyan (22) and Bilal Ghanem (23) boarded a bus in Jerusalem and attacked passengers with a gun and a knife, killing 3 Israelis and wounding 4, on Oct. 13, 2015. Terrorist Alyan was shot and killed by a security guard while the other terrorist was arrested.

Hebron University considers the murderer Baha Alyan a "Martyr" and a "fighter" worthy of commemoration. The university decided to honor him by establishing a "human reading chain," since the terrorist himself had once organized such a chain around Jerusalem.

Addressing the dead terrorist as "Dear Baha," the host of the ceremony explained that the event was "to complete the mission you started." He went on to say that the students are using their "belief in the pen and the book as means to convey our Palestinian message to the world." [WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), Feb. 1, 2016]

The use of "the pen and the book" to convey a "Palestinian message" stands in stark contrast to Baha's use of a gun and knife to convey a Palestinian message of murder of innocent civilians on a bus.

This is yet another example of how Palestinians turn terrorist murderers into role models and link cultural values to other Palestinian "values" of murder and terror, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

Ahlam Abayat, the activity coordinator and a student of journalism and communications at Hebron University explained the purpose of the event:

"Our objective is to commemorate the Martyr's idea, and to encourage awareness and culture, to introduce the reading culture into society and to prove that our Martyrs are not just numbers, but had their own ideas and dreams, and goals for which they strived just as any other living person."

WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, added that the murderer "believed in life, loved Palestine and acted to strengthen the role of the young," and that his body which is being held in Israel, is "still pulsating with the warmth of life!"

The unthinkable things Palestinian Arab society wants for and from its children - Arnold Roth

...Not for the first time, we ask: where is UNICEF? Or Save the Children, or Terre des Hommes, or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or even the dishonorable Amnesty International (on whom we have not yet entirely given up hope)? Or the other well-funded, high-profile public interest organizations that purport to care for the welfare of children but that take so little interest in the unfolding tragedy of the children of the Palestinian Arabs and the terror-obsessed jihadists cheating them of their future?

Video grab depicts  passionate toddler
explaining what she wishes Palestinian
Arabs would do to
 the Jews
[Source: Palestinian Media Watch clip - 
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
10 February '16..

Is there a name for the psychological condition that holds an entire society in its grip, causing it to invest its children in a death cult that will certainly lead to the deaths of many of those children, and to the justification of those deaths on the grounds that the enemy's children are harmed, injured and/or killed?

In the past five days alone:

A Palestinian teen girl attempted to stab Israeli troops at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate on Tuesday morning, police said. The suspect, 16, was arrested after pulling a knife on border guards when they asked to search her, police said. There were no Israeli injuries reported. “The police reacted quickly, pushed her away and subdued her,” a police spokesperson said. Police said the teenager, a student, had concealed the knife in her backpack. When police asked to search her bag, she pulled the knife “and tried to stab the policemen,” police said. [Source]

[Also today, a] Palestinian teenage girl armed with a knife was detained outside the West Bank settlement of Carmei Tzur. The girl, said to be around 13, was arrested by the security guard at the entrance of the settlement in the Etzion bloc. [Source]

An 11-year-old Jewish boy was stabbed and wounded Monday [February 8, 2016] in an attack in the central Israeli town of Ramle. The attacker fled the scene, apparently toward the Jawaresh neighborhood of the city. The boy was hospitalized with moderate injuries, the Magen David Adom emergency service said. The child said that the assailant was an Arab. A 17-year-old Arab youth was arrested a short time later on suspicion of carrying out the attack. [Source]

[A] guard at the bus station in [Ramle] was lightly injured when he was stabbed by two 13-year-old girls in a nationalistic attack [on Thursday, February 4, 2016]. One of the girls’ mothers subsequently apologized for her daughter’s action. [Source] ...Central District spokesman Ch.-Supt. Ami Ben-David said that the two teens approached the metal detector at the entrance to the station around 10:30 Thursday morning, at which point the security guard asked them to show him identification. At that point the two girls pulled knives and stabbed the guard, lightly wounding him in the hand and leg, Ben-David said... One of the two girls was carrying a school backpack and a picture taken at the scene by a police photographer showed the contents of the bag scattered on the pavement, including schoolwork, a calculator, a juice bag and two knives. [Source]

There's quite a collection out there of human rights groups that claim to be working for the protection of Palestinian Arab children.

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.

Expectations of More “Accidents” for Hamas Tunnels? - by Jonathan Tobin

...Having been caught by surprise by the tunnels in 2014, it may be that the IDF has a few surprises in store for Hamas. In the meantime, Israel’s critics need to remember that no matter whether action is taken against the tunnels or not, the sole priority of the independent Palestinian in all but name that exists in Gaza remains terrorism. Those who argue for duplicating a unilateral Gaza withdrawal in the West Bank are asking Israel need to think about how much more terrible Israel’s tunnel dilemma would be if Hamas ran things there too.

Image by © JIM HOLLANDER/epa/Corbis
Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
09 February '16..

This week the debate in Israel about what to do about the renewed threat of Gaza terror tunnels escalated. Leaks from a Security Cabinet meeting indicated that Naphtali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home Party that sits in an always-uneasy alliance with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud, had pushed for the government to take action now against the tunnels before Hamas used them. However, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon spiked the proposal. The PM’s office didn’t confirm that the debate took place but did bitterly protest the leak that almost certainly came from Bennett’s camp. This was further evidence of the tension within the coalition, as Bennett wanted the public to know that he agreed with the Zionist Union opposition that it was a mistake for Israel to sit back and wait to be attacked rather than to strike first.

As I noted last week, the question of what to do about a Hamas tunnel network that almost certainly has been completely rebuilt, if not expanded since the 2014 summer war in Gaza, is a complex debate. The rationale for immediate action as demanded by both the left and the right is strong. Yet the case for standing pat is not negligible. Moreover, the government is hoping that Hamas may be deterred not only by the cost of another war but also by the thought that the Israelis might actively be sabotaging the tunnels.

There have been at least five separate reported tunnel collapses in Gaza in the last few weeks. At least 11 terrorist personnel are believed to have died as a result of the mishaps that were initially thought to be the result of flooding from bad weather or poor engineering. But on Tuesday Israel’s top general hinted that the setbacks to Hamas’s preparations for the next war might not have been accidents.

As the Times of Israel reports:

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told a conference at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center that the IDF is working, mostly in secret, to counter the Gazan tunnel threat and has employed nearly 100 engineering vehicles on the border to locate and destroy the Hamas passageways into Israel.

“We are doing a lot, but many of [the things we do] are hidden from the public. We have dozens, if not a hundred, engineering vehicles on the Gaza border,” Eisenkot said.

We don’t know whether this is a bluff intended to make Hamas think that Israel can destroy its tunnels faster than they can built, or is it actually an indication that the Israel Defense Forces may have arrived at what may be at least a partial solution to the problem. But we do know that Egypt has been actively seeking to flood and destroy the smuggling tunnels between the Sinai and Gaza. The Egyptian government, which views Hamas as an ally of its Muslim Brotherhood foes, is just as if not more zealous than the Israelis about maintaining a partial blockade of Gaza. The urgency of their campaign against Hamas was only emphasized by another recent report that told of ISIS terrorists operating in the Sinai receiving medical assistance in Gaza.

But even if we willing to believe that Israel is taking active steps against the tunnels rather than, as Bennett and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog seem to think, doing nothing, that still puts Netanyahu in a difficult position.

Israel, Terror, and What the News Won’t Tell You - by Daniel Pomerantz

...News sources are capable of writing an accurate headline about a terror attack, but for some reason, when it comes to Israel many choose not to.

Daniel Pomerantz..
Honest Reporting..
09 February '16..

Wednesday afternoon, Jerusalem. The Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City, a place where crowds of people come every day to work, shop, live and pray. Three Palestinian terrorists approached the Old City, carrying hidden knives, automatic weapons and explosives. When police officers questioned the men about their suspicious behavior, the Palestinians took out the hidden weapons, opened fire and began stabbing.

Police officers returned fire, killing all three assailants, averting a potentially enormous massacre. One police officer was injured and another killed: 19 year old Hadar Cohen.

How does news media usually report attacks of this sort around the world?

Last August, a would-be attacker boarded a train in Paris carrying a similar arsenal to the attackers in Israel (knives and automatic firearms). Several unarmed, off-duty US servicemen noticed the assailant preparing to fire his machine gun and subdued him before he could open fire. Almost every headline said that the Americans had “averted a massacre,” or “overpowered a gunman,” and some articles even referred to the soldiers as “heroes.”

After the Islamic State-related attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, every headline we found focused primarily on the attacks, the victims, and in some cases the courageous work of the police, firefighters and military.

We did not find any headlines that focused primarily on the death of the attackers.

How does the usual media coverage compare with reports on last week’s attack against Israelis?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Israel, Blood Libel and Public Speech Without Accountability at Vassar - by Dexter Van Zile

...The organizers of the event asserted that they did not want the event tape recorded, because to do so without the speaker’s permission is “unseemly and violates the modest contract of trust essential to the exchange of ideas.” Hogwash. The event was a publicly announced and publicized presentation offered by a scholar who was speaking about a very controversial subject. Neither she nor the organizers wanted her talk recorded for a very simply reason. Without a recording of the event, it would be harder to hold the speaker, and the people who invited her to Vassar, accountable.

Vassar, which has become a hotbed of
anti-Zionist intimidation, charges a
pretty hefty sum for a year's tuition
and room and board.
(Screenshot from the school's website.)
Dexter Van Zile..
CAMERA Snapshots..
08 February '16..

Jasbir Puar, an associate professor at Rutgers University, recently appeared at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. During her Feb. 3 talk, she made a number of outlandish accusations that were recounted by Professor William A. Jacobson at his website, Legal Insurrection. Jacobson reported that “Puar’s appearance amounted to an anti-Israel propaganda event at which Israel was portrayed in a manner reminiscent of ancient blood libels. A major theme of the talk was that Israel treats Palestinians as part of a type of scientific experiment developed to ‘stunt’ Palestinian bodies.”

For example, Puar suggested that Israel has refused to release the bodies of young Palestinians who were killed in the aftermath of numerous attacks over the past few months because the Jewish state has harvested organs from the corpses.

In fact, Israel has delayed the return of the bodies of Palestinian attackers to prevent their use as propaganda props by the Palestinian Authority and terror organizations in the West Bank. Palestinian leaders use the funerals of the attackers to incite more violence against Israelis. The Associated Press reported on January 5, 2016 that “At the outset of the violence, Israel's public security minister, Gilad Erdan, recommended holding on to the bodies of Palestinian assailants, claiming the funerals turn into ‘an exhibition of support for terror and incitement to murder.’”

According to Jacobson, the conclusion of her speech went as follows:

Technologies of measure, algorithmic computing, architecture and infrastructure — prehensive gendering operates at the sub, para and intimate levels as body parts and the kinds of changes that come with epigenetic deterioration take hold. In the context, then, of Palestine, hacking is not a computational metaphor, rather a distinct practice of reshaping the forms of human bodies and parts informed by computational platforms.

Underneath all this gobbledygook is the assertion that Israel is hacking and reshaping the bodies of Palestinians in an effort to oppress them, and ultimately perpetrate a genocide against them. (Predictably enough, during the Q and A, Puar did level the accusation of genocide at the Israeli government.)

With Israel’s energy boom in doubt, the hope that common sense prevails - by Jonathan Tobin

...For seven decades, Jews joked about Moses bringing the Jews to the one country in the Middle East without natural resources. The discovery of offshore gas, as well as shale oil reserves, gave the lie to that old jest. But if Israeli political maneuvering winds up sinking the Noble-Delek deal and setting back the exploitation of Israel’s gas reserves, it will be more than a political setback for the prime minister. It will be a disaster for Israel that will weaken its economy, its quest for energy independence, and its security.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
08 February '16..

Last year it seemed as if doubts about Israel’s bright energy future were put to rest. A clever move by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government allowed the country’s Security Government to overrule an anti-trust commissioner who might have placed impossible legal obstacles in front of the effort to exploit the gas field called “Leviathan,” a massive off shore reserve. As Arthur Herman wrote in a 2014 cover story for COMMENTARY, the gas finds meant Israel was on the brink of becoming the world’s “next energy superpower.” After years of starts and stops and enough plot twists to fill a few novels, it appeared that Netanyahu had finally put in a place a plan that would allow the work to begin on Leviathan. More than that, recently concluded deals with Turkey and Greece and Cyprus to create an international pipeline to transport the gas ensured that the work would go forward and that there were international markets for Israel’s gas that would help enrich the nation even as its own energy needs were met.

But never underestimate the power of Israeli partisanship, bureaucratic inertia or the willingness of its courts to exert their influence on matters that ought to be the province of the executive or the legislature. The news today that Netanyahu has taken the unprecedented step of filing a personal affidavit to Israel’s high court shows just how seriously the government is taking the legal challenges that have been mounted to the gas deal that was supposed to be a fait accompli by now.

Netanyahu’s critics are accusing him of trying to intimidate the courts with a personal appeal. But while no prime minister has ever sought to play a role in a court case like this before, Netanyahu is right to treat the matter as one that requires unusual steps. If Israel’s judiciary heeds the efforts of a loose coalition of left-wingers and environmentalists, it will do more than delay the development of Leviathan. It may rob the country of an economic bonanza and undermine its security for decades to come.

In today’s Mosaic Magazine, Herman writes of the tangled path that the gas deal has followed. For the plan to succeed, the gas field had to be developed and then markets found for its product beyond Israel. Herman documents the perils involved with negotiations with an untrustworthy actor like Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as some of the domestic critics of the gas project. Some Israelis illogically think all the gas should be kept at home. Some think, despite all evidence to the contrary, that it will harm Israel’s environment. Still others are suspicious of the deal with Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Corporation for developing the field and fear that the Texas-based company will profit too much from any such arrangement. By treating it as a monopoly that is suppressing competition rather than a national security necessity, the scheme will be derailed.

Netanyahu thought he had dealt with the latter threat and set the wheels in motion once and for all last June. But with Israel’s opposition parties seeking to play the populist card on the issue and Israel’s Supreme Court have a record of being willing to rule on issues that might normally rest in the hands of the nation’s elected leaders, the issue is still in doubt.

Terror is now a legitimate career option in Pal Arab society but its enablers barely notice

...Sherry is the mother of the American child whose cruel murder ultimately led to the enabling law that created the OVT being named for him: Koby Mandell. Sherry asked me to say this:
It hurts, saddens and enrages me that the OVT, which was once created by a law named after my 13 year old son who was beaten to death by terrorists--is not being used to help families such as ours. Koby Mandell's name was expunged from the OVT website with no sign that it was ever there. I did get a phone call telling me that the US government was closing the case--even though the killers were never found. They closed the case, burying Koby again. Causing us another round of pain. The office that was created in my son's name to protect us, instead damages us. There has been no communication since. No sign that the OVT could care less about an innocent 13 year old American boy named Koby--or others like him.

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
08 February '16..

Arnold Roth was called as a witness (as we noted here) to testify last week in Washington DC at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security. The title given to the hearing was “Seeking Justice for Victims of Palestinian Terrorism in Israel”. As a report on the website put it, "From the hearing’s outset, the feelings of frustration from the committee and victims was evident."

Justice is a theme we feel gets far too little attention when the victims of terrorist savagery – and especially their rights - are considered.

Chaired by Congressman Ron DeSantis of Florida, the February 2nd enquiry had three stated goals:

- To examine the role of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT)

- To highlight the threat of terrorism to Americans in Israel

- To examine U.S. policy for prosecuting overseas terrorists in the United States

It heard four oral presentations. In order, they were delivered by Brad Wiegmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division - Department of Justice; Sarri Singer who founded and manages Strength to Strength, a not-for-profit that bring victims of terrorism together to share and grow from their experiences; Peter Schwartz whose nephew Ezra was murdered in a November 2015 terror attack in Gush Etzion [our post]; and Arnold Roth.

Below is an edited version of Arnold Roth’s written testimony [the version filed with the Committee is here]. Ordinary people like us rarely get the chance to speak to the truly powerful - we hope readers will keep that in mind even as we apologize for publishing what is almost certainly the lengthiest post in this blog's ten year history.

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Iranian Infiltration of the West Bank - by Khaled Abu Toameh

...Loosed from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now free to underwrite terror throughout the region. This is precisely what is happening in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Iran's infiltration of the West Bank should serve as a red flag not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. and other Western powers. An Israeli pullout, leading to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, has been a subject of concern. Now, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if such a vacuum will provide an opening for Iran.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
08 February '16..

Emboldened by its nuclear deal with the world powers, Iran is already seeking to enfold in its embracing wings the Arab and Islamic region.

Iran's capacity for intrusions having been starved by years of sanctions. Now, with the lifting of sanctions, Tehran's appetite for encroachment has been newly whetted -- and its bull's-eye is the West Bank.

Iran has, in fact, been meddling for many years in the internal affairs of the greater region. It has been party to the civil wars in Yemen and Syria, and, through the Shiite Muslims living there, continues actively to undermine the stability of many Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The lives of both the Lebanese and the Palestinians are also subject to the ambitions of Iran, which fills the coffers of groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Until recently, Iran held pride of place as Hamas's primary patron in the Gaza Strip. It was thanks to Iran's support that Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, held hostage nearly two million Palestinians living in the Strip. Moreover, this backing enabled Hamas to smuggle all manner of weapons into the Gaza Strip, including rockets and missiles that were aimed and fired at Israel.

But the honeymoon between Iran and Hamas ended a few years ago, when Hamas refused to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad -- Tehran's major ally in the Middle East -- against the Syrian opposition. Since then, the Iranians, who have lost confidence in their erstwhile Hamas allies, have been searching among the Palestinians for more loyal friends. And they seem to have found them: Al-Sabireen ("the Patient Ones").

Al-Sabireen, Iran's new ally, first popped up in the Gaza Strip, where they recruited hundreds of Palestinians, many of them former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian sources report that Al-Sabireen has also succeeded in enlisting many disgruntled Fatah activists who feel betrayed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. This sense of betrayal is the fruit of the PA's failure to pay salaries to its former loyalists. In addition, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in mosques, social media and public rhetoric has radicalized Fatah members and driven them into the open arms of Islamist groups.

The Iranian-backed Al-Sabireen is already a headache for Hamas. The two terror groups share a radical ideology and both seek to destroy Israel. Nonetheless, Al-Sabireen considers Hamas "soft" on Israel because it does not wage daily terror attacks against its citizens. The "Patient Ones" are seeking Palestinians as a group to become an Iranian proxy in the region.

Buoyed by the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, Al-Sabireen members are feeling optimistic. The group recently described these developments as a "victory" for all Muslims and proof of their "pride and strength." Muslims should now unite, they said, in order to stand up to the "world's arrogance and remove the Zionist entity from the land of Palestine."

Indeed, Al-Sabireen appears to be redoubling its efforts to eliminate the "Zionist entity" and replace it with an Islamist empire. Toward that goal, the group is now seeking to extend its control beyond the Gaza Strip. The lifting of the sanctions against Iran coincided with reports that Al-Sabireen has infiltrated the West Bank, where it is working to establish terror cells to launch attacks against Israel.

The news the BBC has to omit in order to keep up its narrative - Hadar Sela

...The BBC’s framing of this topic leads to the failure to meet its obligation to enhance audiences’ “awareness and understanding of international issues” by serially avoiding compromising its adopted narrative with any mention of terrorism which is not ‘grassroots’ but organised by groups such as Hamas and Hizballah out of motivations which go far beyond “frustration”.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
07 February '16..

Last month we noted the emergence of “The terror group BBC audiences have never heard of” in the Gaza Strip and that organisation’s statements concerning its intended expansion of operations.

“A Palestinian jihadi group with close ties to Iran claimed on Wednesday that it has expanded out of the Gaza Strip and is now operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem as well.

“We have an armed branch whose goal it is to wage war on the Israeli occupation everywhere,” Hisham Salim, founder of the Harakat al-Sabireen, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

“Within this framework we have members in the West Bank and Jerusalem who will soon receive financial and military support from us,” he said.”

Recently the Palestinian Authority announced the arrest of members of that group.

“Palestinian Authority security forces have recently arrested five pro-Iranian operatives in Bethlehem planning to establish a foothold in the West Bank and carry out attacks against Israel, Israel Radio cited Palestinian security forces as saying.

According to the sources, the five members of the ‘a-Sabrin’ organization had operated in the Gaza Strip over the past years before being arrested two weeks ago after leaving the coastal Palestinian enclave.

The operatives working under Iranian orders had reportedly received funding in Gaza and were instructed to carry out terror attacks.”

To date there has been no BBC coverage of that story or of the earlier Israeli announcement concerning the apprehension of a Hizballah-run terror cell in Tulkarem.

(Go to Full Post)

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Those nice Israel-bashers’ Achilles’ heel - by Melanie Phillips

...They are morally corrupt. They aren’t driven by compassion for any kind of victim. What drives them instead is hatred of supposed victimizers in the “powerful” West. Their purported even-handedness thus camouflages a moral degeneracy. For while denouncing Israel, they support Palestinians who throw gays from the top of tall buildings, who abuse women and children, who jail, torture and kill dissidents. They support the racist ethnic cleansing of Jews from a future state of Palestine. They help incite false grievances that kill. They have the blood of innocents on their own hands. But they think of themselves as fair, decent, progressive. This is where they are vulnerable. For like Ban, they also tend to be remarkably thin-skinned. That’s because their image of themselves really is all that matters to them. They don’t care about the world’s victims. They care about being seen to care. They think of themselves as nice people. We have to show them that they are not. Self-regard is everything to them. It is therefore their Achilles’ heel. We should puncture it.

Melanie Phillips..
As I See It/JPost..
04 February '16..

Why can't Israel's self-styled friends understand that the things they say about Israel are not in fact the sentiments of friends but of enemies? Whenever someone says “As a friend/candid friend/staunch ally of Israel...,” you know that what’s coming is a vicious kick to the head. Delivered, of course, purely in a spirit of friendship.

The Canadian foreign minister Stéphane Dion, describing himself as a “steadfast ally and friend to Israel,” criticized both the Palestinians’ unilateral pursuit of statehood and the Israelis’ settlement construction. “Canada is concerned by the continued violence in Israel and the West Bank,” he said.

“Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table.”

Dion seemed to be suggesting that Israeli terrorism victims were somehow asking for it and that Palestinian murder attacks were to be equated with Israeli self-defense.

Doubtless he thought he was being studiously even-handed and therefore fair, wise and just. But in the battle between victim and aggressor, legality and illegality, truth and falsehood, even-handedness inescapably entails blaming the victim and tacitly endorsing illegality and lies.

A few days later the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did something similar. While condemning the current wave of Palestinian stabbings and other attacks upon Israelis, he claimed the perpetrators were driven by “alienation and despair.”

“It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism,” he said.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage at such an apparent justification for Palestinian violence, Ban appeared genuinely affronted. His words, he said, had been twisted. Palestinian attacks and incitement were reprehensible and he condemned them.

Yet having stated, “Nothing excuses terrorism,” he then repeated the excuse for Palestinian terrorism. “No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.”

Well actually, no one who pays the slightest regard to reality could maintain such a thing. Whatever the provocation, it is not “human nature” to set out to murder as many innocents as possible, including women and children.

Ban’s apparently real bewilderment that anyone could possibly think he supports terrorism arises from two things. The first is his fundamentally false view of the Arab war against Israel. The “occupation” does not cause Palestinian violence. It is unending Palestinian violence that prolongs the “occupation.”

Anything is possible; but we really, really need to care - by Laura Ben-David

...There are rare things that unite us Jews and particularly Jews here in Israel. Left, right and center; religious and secular, can come together about pitifully few things. I dare someone to tell me, regardless of their political or religious positions, that they cannot support the sanctity of our holy books, the sanctity of our very lives. So we agree, but we also have to care. Assuming we care, we also have to act.

Laura Ben-David..
Times of Israel..
07 February '16..

We know how to react.

When right-wing Israeli “settlers” purportedly snuck into a Mosque in Mughayer near Ramallah and set it on fire last November, Israelis reacted – strongly. Condemnations came fast and furious for whomever could commit such an act.

When right-wing extremist Israelis allegedly torched the offices of Left-wing Israeli NGO B’Tselem in January, there was an immediate rush to judgment. The vilification of the right wing, and even of the government and Netanyahu himself, was swift, fierce and extensive.

In both instances strong words were used, by the media and general population, against a whole segment of Israeli society. People across the political spectrum were quick to condemn anyone who might have committed such acts, utterly disavowing the unknown guilty parties.

Except there weren’t any. Guilty parties that is. In both instances the fires were proven to be electrical. Yet in both instances, with no proof whatsoever, too many of us jumped into the fray as a whole segment of the population was aggressively and vocally attacked.

We know how to react. We know how to write, how to speak, how to shout to the world when something is not okay. We know social media. We know how to run campaigns. We know how to tell stories. Yet there are times, for seemingly inexplicable reasons, that we don’t.

Deep in the heart of Judea, about fifteen minutes from where I live, a small synagogue was dedicated not long ago to Gil-ad, Eyal and Naftali, the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in 2014. In fact the little synagogue near Karmei Tzur in Gush Etzion overlooks the area where the boys’ bodies were found, making it indeed a memorial of sorts.

The synagogue, though small and rustic, is stocked with holy books and is used as a place for prayer, a center for youth group activities, and as a tourist stop for backpackers and others.

This past Friday night, the synagogue, which is less than 100 meters from people’s homes, was attacked. This was clearly no accident, but a deliberate attack. Prayer books and Torah scrolls were collected and piled up, and set on fire. Seeing all those charred holy books was shocking to the officials who examined them, reminiscent of very dark days for Jews and for humanity. Police found footsteps leading right from the synagogue to the nearby Arab village of Halhul.

We know how to react. But we didn’t. Netanyahu has called on the world to condemn the torching. Why should they? We barely even condemned it ourselves. It took a day and a half for some of the bigger news outlets in Israel to report on it at all. When the B’Tselem offices were ablaze just a month ago, the damning – and incorrect – media reports went out even before the fire went out. Why was this time so different?