Friday, October 31, 2014

Abbas, Incitement and the Temple Mount Fight

...Leaders on both sides should be doing all they can to keep Jerusalem calm, but peace can’t be bought by agreeing to a segregated apartheid-like ban on Jews visiting or living in some places. Rather than acquiescing to such dangerous attitudes, the U.S. should be sending a sharp message to Muslims that they must learn to live with their Jewish neighbors and share the city. But so long as Washington is shooting insults at Israel you can be sure that more violence and incitement is likely to follow.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
30 October '14..

Israel was back in the cross-hairs of both the international media and the Arab and Muslim worlds today after violence led to a temporary shutdown of access to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and its mosques. Condemnations of the Jewish state came in hot and heavy from various Islamic sources and even Jordan, a country that has a peace treaty with Israel and is dependent on it for security cooperation. Few bothered to mention, let alone condemn, the attempted murder of a Jewish activist that led to the closure or the drumbeat of incitement from Palestinian leaders that helped create the trouble. But while, as our Seth Mandel pointed out, the shooting generated biased media coverage that drew on the same themes as those inciting the violence, there is more to unwrap here than that. The obsessive focus on keeping Jews out of Judaism’s most sacred site and indeed, out of much of Jerusalem tells us all we need to know about why peace is nowhere in sight.

From the frame of reference of those critical of Israelis in the quarrel over both their capital and the Temple Mount, the notion of Jews moving to parts of the city or visiting or even praying on the plateau above the Western Wall is deeply provocative. Arab sensibilities are inflamed by the presence of Jews in either majority-Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem or those that are predominantly Arab. They are especially outraged by the spectacle of Jews walking around the Temple Mount in the vicinity of the mosques or, as is currently forbidden, praying there.

Most of the West accepts this way of looking at events as inherently reasonable and those, like the Jew who was shot yesterday, that advocate Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount or Israeli leaders who believe that Jews have every right to live in any part of their ancient capital that they want are termed extremist disturbers of the peace. Indeed, Jordanian King Abdullah, who finds himself compelled to verbally attack Israel because most of his subjects are opposed to the peace treaty and are unimpressed by the fact that it is the Jewish state that is the real guarantor of their ability to hold off ISIS and other Islamists, said that both Jewish and Islamic extremism was to blame for the problem.

City of David - The Untold Story

Hamas and Fatah extremists are exasperated by a little-known island of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence • Jewish and Arab toddlers race each other in the streets, their parents engage in mutual support • Our weapon is peace, say City of David residents.

Photo Credit: Uri Lenz
Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
31 October '14..

"It's all a game," Hamas supporters said to me this week -- with a mixture of dismissal and a anger -- not far from the home of Abed al-Rahman Shaludi, the terrorist who rammed a car into a commuter-filled light rail station in Jerusalem last week. The Shaludi family lives deep in the heart of the village of Silwan.

Some of the Hamas supporters were wearing balaclavas. Some of them agreed to speak with me from behind the window of their home or their car, which was rolled down only slightly, because they knew I was a journalist. Nonetheless, instances of good neighborliness and coexistence between Jews and Arabs, which are becoming more and more frequent in the City of David (at the foot of the Silwan neighborhood in east Jerusalem) in defiance of the wishes and machinations of the Hamas backers, prompted shouts of epithets and insults.

For years, the media narrative that has been disseminated about the City of David, speaks of a nationalist conflict, terrorist atrocities that were hatched here, stone-throwings, fire-bombings, fireworks, and, of course, the recent vehicular terrorist attack. But there is another narrative that has not been sufficiently highlighted.

Far from the media spotlight, in the area that lies between the Pool of Siloam and Dung Gate, just meters away from the entrance to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, at the foothills of Mount Zion slanting down in the direction of the City of David, there is an emerging civic fabric of coexistence, cooperation, and normalcy.

Nobody there bothers to conceal the state of religious and nationalist conflict. It's fact of life. Still, contrary to all predictions and media-fueled assumptions, the coexistence of the two communities' has diluted the conflict. It has even brought to the conflict a humanizing level, whereby both Jews and Arabs learn to recognize one another as people.

How else could one interpret the recent toddler race -- in which Jews and Arabs both participated -- near the Oz complex? What other conclusion could one reach when seeing an invitation to a wedding, written in Arabic letters, that hangs on the refrigerator in the home of one of the Jewish families in the City of David? How else could one call the joint construction of sukkah huts by both Jews and Arabs on the eve of Sukkot?

How does one explain the cooperation -- also not seen in public -- between Jews and Arabs on everyday matters like negotiating the municipal bureaucracy to ensure water supply or the paving of walkways? How does one explain the Jews buying produce at Arab-owned shops and vice versa, the expressions of Arab joy at the sight of a newlywed Jewish bride, and the mutual bereavement visits and condolences during times of mourning? What about the expressions of Jewish anger over the municipality's chronic neglect of services and infrastructure for "our Arab neighbors"?

The Jews who came to live in the City of David arrived there fueled by ideology. Their intent was to reconnect to tradition and "to the place where it all started." They were also there to "prevent the partition of Jerusalem."

They say these things openly, but another element has been created as well. While there has been an escalation in tensions on the security front, there has also been more dialogue, more quiet points of agreement, and a joint effort to fight off the threats and violence being committed by Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Movement, all of whom are competing with one another.

There are close to 70 Jewish families living in City of David. The first families arrived in 1989. Three weeks ago, the purchase of six complexes was finalized. Now there are 25 apartments currently in the midst of being inhabited. Elad, which is also known as Ir David Foundation, is behind the purchases and the drive to populate the area with more Jews. The company formally executing the transaction, however, is Kendall Finance.

Being safe while isolated by Caroline Glick

...The proper response to the assassination attempt on Yehudah Glick is to allow Jews freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. The proper response to Obama’s nuclear negotiations is a bomb in Natanz. Obama will be angry with Israel for taking such steps. But he is angry with Israel for standing down. At least if we defend ourselves, we will be safe while isolated, rather than unsafe while isolated.

Caroline Glick..
31 October '14..

Yehudah Glick has spent the better part of the last 20 years championing the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Judaism’s holiest site. On Wednesday night, the Palestinians sent a hit man to Jerusalem to kill him.

And today Glick lays in a coma at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Two people bear direct responsibility for this terrorist attack: the gunman, and Palestinian Authority President and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. The gunman shot Glick, and Abbas told him to shoot Glick.

Abbas routinely glorifies terrorist murder of Jews, and funds terrorism with the PA’s US- and European-funded budget.

But it isn’t often that he directly incites the murder of Jews.

Two weeks ago, Abbas did just that. Speaking to Fatah members, he referred to Jews who wish to pray at Judaism’s holiest site as “settlers.” He then told his audience that they must remain on the Temple Mount at all times to block Jews from entering.

“We must prevent them from entering [the Temple Mount] in any way…. They have no right to enter and desecrate [it]. We must confront them and defend our holy sites,” he said.

As Palestinian Media Watch reported Thursday, in the three days leading up to the assassination attempt on Glick, the PA’s television station broadcast Abbas’s call for attacks on Jews who seek to enter the Temple Mount 19 times.

While Abbas himself is responsible for the hit on Glick, he has had one major enabler – the Obama administration. Since Abbas first issued the order for Palestinians to attack Jews, there have been two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Both have claimed American citizens among their victims. Yet the Obama administration has refused to condemn Abbas’s call to murder Jews either before it led to the first terrorist attack or since Glick was shot Wednesday night.

Not only have the White House and the State Department refused to condemn Abbas for soliciting the murder of Jews. They have praised him and attacked Israel and its elected leader. In other words, they are not merely doing nothing, they are actively rewarding Abbas’s aggression, and so abetting it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The PA itself is the threat to the liberty of the Palestinians it rules

...It’s ironic that all those groups, especially in Europe, who consider themselves champions of Palestinian rights wish only to condemn Israel– while they continue to ignore the threat to Palestinians that emerges from their own officials and government bodies.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure points..
28 October '14..

Palestinian Authority officials have given thousands of speeches over the years about removing the Israeli occupation, freeing Palestinians, self-government, and the like. But today –as in the days of Arafat– the PA itself is a threat to the liberty of the Palestinians it rules.

The most recent example is this information from the Jerusalem Post:

According to the Palestine Now news agency, documents show that Abbas ordered the monitoring of phone conversations of some of the more prominent political figures in the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered his attorney general to bug the phones of his political rivals within Fatah, according to a bombshell report posted on Saturday by a Hamas-affiliated website.

According to the Palestine Now news agency, documents show that Abbas ordered the monitoring of phone conversations of some of the more prominent political figures in the West Bank, including chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat; PLO bigwig Yasser Abed Rabbo; Jibril Rajoub, the former head of the Preventive Security Service; and Tawfiq Tirawi, the commander of the Palestinian intelligence apparatus.

Even Human Rights Watch, whose bias against Israel is notorious, had to acknowledge basic facts about the PA:

Media, UN, and NGOs yawn as Army destroys Arab homes

...What is interesting is the reaction. The people who live on the Egyptian side of the border in Rafah are not significantly different from the ones on the Gaza side. Apparently, it is acceptable for Arabs to defend themselves against terrorism by other Arabs. Just don’t try it if you are Jewish.

Army destroys Arab homes, expels residents
Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
30 October '14..

The army is destroying civilian structures and expelling residents en masse, claiming that the operation is necessary for security reasons.

The plan is to create a buffer zone on the border with Gaza, to evacuate some 10,000 Arabs in a few days. Ultimately a water-filled separation barrier will be built all the way to the Mediterranean.

Already dozens of homes have been destroyed by dynamite and bulldozers and more than a thousand men, women and children are homeless. The army warned residents to get out within 48 hours or homes would be destroyed whether not anyone was inside.

But for once the international community is not agitated. There are no calls for emergency sessions of the Security Council. It is not on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council. There are no international activists lying down in front of the bulldozers, no demonstrations in American universities, no midnight phone calls from Barack Obama expressing his “red-hot anger.” Jen Psaki hasn’t condemned the action and John Kerry is not racing to the region.

Human Rights Watch hasn’t issued a press release. Amy Goodman doesn’t feature this assault on human rights on her Democracy Now website. Even Codepink ignores it while urging its supporters to boycott Israeli-made Ahava and Sodastream products.

Violence on Jerusalem's streets rises. Support among Pal Arabs for more of it is growing

...Our prayers are with Rabbi Yehuda Glick for a full and rapid recovery from his critical injuries (and note that the attack on him led to Arabs dancing in the streets and handing out celebratory candies). Our hopes are also with our readers and their friends that they should understand even better what it means to have an enemy who loves terror more than it wishes for life itself.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 October '14..

A motor-cycling gunman rode up to the political activist, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, on the streets of Jerusalem last night (Wednesday) and shot him in the chest at point-blank range.

Glick, 50, was shot in his upper body by a motorcyclist during an annual event organized by the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement. Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated him to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition with injuries to his chest and abdomen. He was operated on and was in stable condition. Doctors said he will have to undergo an additional operation in the morning. [Ynet]

Sometime in the morning hours today, the shooter appears to have been killed in a police chase:

Khaled Abu Toameh @KhaledAbuToameh
Mu'taz Hijazi had spent 11 years in Israeli prison. Some witnesses say there was an exchange of gunfire with police.
Given the steady drumbeat of calls to violent acts in Jerusalem from Palestinian Arab quarters, and from key people in the PA itself, over the past six weeks in particular, how surprised should we be by an assassination attempt mere meters from the gates of the Old City?

Not very, as a public opinion survey released on Tuesday by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, a Palestinian Arab organization from East Jerusalem, shows. Some key findings:


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Administration's Frat-House Statecraft and U.S.-Iran Détente

...But strengthening Hezbollah will not only imperil Israel’s security. It will also put Europe in greater danger and U.S. interests as well. It’s a dim-witted policy, in other words, no matter what you think of Israel. And the general détente with Iran is, as the Journal points out, an insult to our Gulf allies as well as damaging to the fight against ISIS. The president’s policies put our allies at the mercy of their enemies. That he’s taunting them too only makes it clear that the policies are being instituted precisely how he envisioned them.

Seth Mandel..
Commentary Magazine..
29 October '14..

The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran “chickens–t” was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in the Wall Street Journal.

It was easy at first to miss anything but the string of insults directed from Obama to Netanyahu, including the casual accusation of autism. (It’s arguable whether this represented a new low for the president, who has a habit of demonstrating his grade school playground vocabulary.) But once the initial shock at the further degrading of American statecraft under Obama wore off, it was easy to see the real purpose of the story. The Obama administration wanted to brag through its stenographer that the president had protected the Iranian nuclear program from Israel:

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

If Iran goes nuclear, those words will be the perfect description of the Obama administration’s fecklessness: “Now it’s too late.” Too late, that is, for our allies like Israel and the Gulf states to protect themselves from the consequences of the Obama administration’s Mideast policies–which principally affect Israel and the Gulf states. But “fecklessness” may not be the right word. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the president has been effective after all:

Turning An Absolutely Blind Eye to Human Rights Abuse and the Children's Intifada

...The adult activists who send and encourage children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israeli authorities, but also by their own people and international human rights organizations. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers. The time has come for the international community and media to pay attention to their disturbing conduct and demand that Palestinian groups stop hiding behind children.

Masked Palestinian youths hurl rocks at a
Jewish kindergarten near the Mount
of Olives in Jerusalem, Sept. 2014.
Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
29 October '14..

Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian groups are using children from east Jerusalem and the West Bank in what appears to be a new intifada against Israel.

Nearly half of the Palestinians arrested by Jerusalem Police over the past few months are minors. Some of them are as young as nine.

These children are being sent to throw stones and firebombs, and launch fireworks at policemen and IDF soldiers, as well as at Israeli civilians and vehicles, including buses and the light rail in Jerusalem.

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and media. Human rights groups and United Nations institutions have chosen to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses.

Instead of condemning those who exploit the children and dispatch them to confront policemen and soldiers, these groups and institutions are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.

Most of the children's attacks occur after school, so they are not deprived of education. But sadly, some of the Palestinian minors get killed or wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces.

Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy from the village of Silwad near Ramallah, was shot dead by IDF soldiers last week. The IDF says he was spotted preparing to hurl a firebomb at Israeli vehicles.

Such Amazing Contempt and Vulgarity - Chickenshitgate

...The extreme hypocrisy, contempt and vulgarity of the charges against PM Netanyahu are indicative of more than a policy disagreement. They signify a particular attitude toward the Jew among nations and the Jew among prime ministers that rises from the White House like a stench of corruption.

Is this man a chickenshit?
Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
29 October '14..

The folks in the White House are not holding back any longer. They are not moderating their hysterical antipathy to the Jewish state and its leaders as befits officials of the world’s leading superpower, but have turned to schoolyard taunts.

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” says an unnamed (as always) senior administration official to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg.

Chickenshit? This is how they talk about our Prime Minister? Would they publicly use language like that to describe David Cameron or even Hassan Rouhani? Goldberg quotes another anonymous official as expressing a “red-hot anger” about Israel building over the Green Line. It’s strange that no such anger has been expressed toward the Iranian regime for continuing to make fools of Western negotiators as it progresses steadily toward the bomb Obama promised it would never have.

So why are they calling Binyamin Netanyahu a coward? Well, for one thing he is “afraid to start wars” — yes, this is a direct quotation! Goldberg’s official explains:

It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.

In other words, when Israel planned to hit Iranian nuclear facilities back in 2012 and the attack was vetoed by the Obama administration, Netanyahu didn’t proceed despite the veto.

Cowardice? A good case can be made for prudence in the face of direct US threats. Such an operation would be very complicated and difficult, and could be compromised at many points. The US had already leaked details of Israeli operations on multiple occasions, and it has the means to detect an attack the moment it begins. All it would have to do is allow the Iranians to find out that Israeli planes were on their way to frustrate the operation and cause the deaths of Israeli pilots. Remember that Obama adviser Zbig Brzezinski suggested in 2009 that US forces might even attack IAF aircraft in this precise situation.

Another important consideration is that an attack on Iran would almost certainly trigger a war with Hizballah, Iran’s terrorist foreign legion, which has as many as 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel. It would be foolhardy to invite this confrontation — and certain civilian and military casualties — unless there were a very good chance of significantly damaging Iran’s nuclear project.

The Apartheid Libel and Palestinian Opinion

...If Jebreal wants Israel to become a place where Arab-Jewish hostility is lessened, then she should address her complaints to her fellow Arabs who support Hamas and whose hostility ensures the seemingly indefinite perpetuation of the conflict. But by invoking the apartheid libel about Israel and not the settlements in the territories she is giving away her real intent. Not even a total withdrawal from the lands won in 1967 would satisfy her any more than it would Hamas. What she wants is an end to the Jewish state, not a civil-rights movement as she disingenuously claims. So long as this is what passes for informed Arab opinion, no one should be surprised that Israelis have given up on peace for the foreseeable future.

Bratislav Milenkovic
Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
28 October '14..

The latest poll of Palestinian opinion provides another sobering dose of reality to those who think that Israeli actions are the sole obstacle to peace. Following on the heels of previous surveys taken in the aftermath of this past summer’s war, the poll from the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center again shows that most Palestinians think Hamas won the conflict. More importantly, support for the Islamist terror group and the idea of continuing a military struggle against Israel continues to go up while backing for the supposedly more moderate Fatah declines. This is important in understanding not just how remote the chances of convincing those Fatah moderates to negotiate even a favorable peace deal with Israel are, but also why Israeli attitudes toward Palestinians have changed.

The polls tell us that the same people who were being used as human shields by Hamas in Gaza as well as other Palestinians in the West Bank are still unwilling to rethink their backing for the group’s efforts to wage war and ultimately destroy Israel. This is puzzling to those in the West who bother to look at the numbers, since it makes no sense. Hamas’s campaign of “resistance” against Israeli “occupation”—the phrase by which they refer to pre-1967 Israel and not just the West Bank—has no prospect of success. All it brings the Palestinians is more devastation, suffering, and bloodshed.

And yet the majority of Palestinians remain so hostile to Israel’s existence and the Jewish presence on even the land it held before June 1967 that the struggle remains popular. From its beginnings in the early 20th century, Palestinian nationalism has always been inextricably linked with the war on Zionism. Reinforced by a constant drumbeat of incitement from both the official media of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, the political culture of the Palestinians remains implacably hostile to Israel even if one takes Hamas out of the equation. That culture of denial of Israel’s legitimacy feeds the terrorism of Hamas in the form of missiles and terror tunnels, but also the Arab violence in the streets of Jerusalem against Israeli citizens that has created a steady toll of casualties in recent months.

It is also in that context that we should read the latest diatribe against Israel in the New York Times. An op-ed published today by Israeli Arab journalist Rula Jebreal is a compendium of charges all aimed to depict the country as fitting into the “apartheid state” libel. In her telling, every aspect of the country’s laws is geared toward discrimination against the Arab minority population. Israel is, like any democracy, imperfect and it would not be true to claim that Israeli Arabs have no cause for complaint. Some of what she writes about is true and some are distortions. But one doesn’t have to read too far between the lines to see that the purpose of her indictment is not redress of specific wrongs but the end of the Zionist project. The rights of national minorities should be protected in any society but the existence of that minority does not give them the right to thwart the basic purpose of the state.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kerry, Qatar and the poisonous tree by Caroline Glick

...Rather than recognize that they are being played by double-speaking Palestinians and their jihadist supporters, Washington and Brussels are going along with their deceit. Both the Obama administration and the EU firmly side with the Palestinian demand that Jews be denied civil rights in Jerusalem. Both have condemned and threatened Israel for not preventing Jews from lawfully purchasing homes in Silwan and for allowing contractors to build homes for Jews in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. This places the Israeli government in an impossible position. It is being attacked by jihadist forces who seek its destruction. It is told by Washington and Europe that if it doesn’t appease those who cannot be appeased by denying protection and civil rights to Jews, then it will lose whatever is left of its good relations with the US and Europe.

Caroline Glick..
38 October '14..

It would be interesting to know which Arab leaders are telling US Secretary of State John Kerry that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “a cause of recruitment” to Islamic State.

Is that something he is hearing from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani? The Qatari leader, whose kingdom has been cited by the US Treasury Department as a major funder of Islamic State (IS), is certainly one of Kerry’s favorite regional leaders.

If Thani did blame Israel for the rise of IS, then his statement would constitute yet another instance of the double game Qatar has been playing with the Americans. On the one hand, the regime is financing jihad, and other the other hand, it pretends to side with the West against the jihad that it is funding.

This is certainly the case in Jerusalem.

According to an investigative report published Friday in Yisrael Hayom , Qatar is financing the violence in the capital. Veteran Jerusalem affairs reporter Nadav Shragai wrote that the Islamic rioters who daily attack Jewish visitors and police forces on the Temple Mount are paid by Qatar through the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.

The Qatari government and other Islamic funds are transferring vast sums of money to the Islamic Movement’s radical northern branch headed by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah. The Islamic Movement in turn is paying thousands of shekels every month to hundreds of women and men, mainly Muslim Israeli citizens, who call themselves the Murbitat.

The Murbitat presents itself as an Islamic prayer group, but according to Shragai, the group’s job is to harass Jews and police on the Temple Mount. They scream and curse at Jewish visitors and in recent months have escalated their violence against them, and their police escorts. These violent attacks include assaults with rocks, firebombs and firecrackers.

To prevent the police from blocking their entry to the Mount, members of the Murbitat enter the mosques in times of relative calm and then remain there for weeks at a time. The women are used as well to smuggle firecrackers and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount by hiding them in their burkas.

In a report published Sunday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Palestinian affairs researcher Pinchas Inbari explained the goals of the violence.

The riots and assaults on the Temple Mount have two goals. First, they aim to incite the Islamic world against Israel and return attention to the Palestinians. And second, they seek to destabilize the regimes in Egypt and Jordan.

Regarding the goal of galvanizing support for jihad by attacking Israel, Inbari recalled how immediately after longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric, Qatar-based Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, gave a speech at a mass rally in Cairo and called for the Muslims to march on Jerusalem.

The return of Palestinian unilateralism

...It’s increasingly clear, however, that the mood in the world’s democracies is shifting. The view that Israel must be cajoled and bullied into giving Abbas what he wants is spreading. And that could turn out to be just as dangerous as a Hamas missile campaign from the Gaza Strip.

Ben Cohen..
28 October '14..

It sometimes seems as if the see-saw debate about the true intentions of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority has been with us for an eternity.

One day, we’ll be saying that Abbas is genuinely a moderate, that he really is committed to a two-state solution, that perhaps he’s the guy upon whom the cautious, unsentimental Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should risk a bet. The next day, we’ll encounter yet another inciting, spiteful Abbas soundbite and it’s back to the drawing board.

I don’t think that Abbas is the Machiavellian demon some believe him to be. Equally, the idea that the Palestinian leader is a transparently uncomplicated moderate is absurd. David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy summarized the Abbas dilemma elegantly in a interview I conducted with him for the latest issue of Fathom, a magazine covering Middle East affairs.

“Shortly after the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers who were later murdered in the West Bank, at a meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Abbas made quite a conciliatory speech, defending the need to cooperate with Israel against terrorism,” Pollock told me. “But then at other times Abbas does or says things that point in the opposite direction. He meets with terrorists whom he released from prison and praises them. He allows his spokesmen to continue to glorify terrorism in official media. It’s equivocal, it can be seen as hypocritical, and it’s just not particularly credible, because it’s not consistent.

Still, for all of Abbas’s failures, you have to credit him with shrewdness on this front: he’s persuaded most of the world that there’s a deal to be made if only Netanyahu would abandon his “Greater Israel” doctrine. He therefore gets away with the kind of incendiary rhetoric that, over the last few months, has involved comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, accusations of Israeli “genocide,” and a bloodcurdling appeal to stop Jews (whom he described as a “herd of cattle”) from praying at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem “by any means.”

So, if Abbas is being indulged on the rhetorical front—even when that rhetoric contributes dramatically to Palestinian violence that has raged in Jerusalem during the last week, claiming the life of a three month-old Jewish infant—you can hardly blame him for seeking to up the ante when it comes to political strategy.

The PA is now dusting off its unilateralist playbook, which means that it seeks to impose recognition of a Palestinian state upon Israel through international pressure. It’s a method that has won only symbolic victories so far:

Good Question. Why Does the State Department Endorse Palestinian Fight to Exclude Jews?

...The reason is that their goal is to create a Jew free state whose purpose will be to perpetuate the conflict against Israel, not end it. The state they envision will be, as I wrote last week, the true apartheid state in the Middle East in which parts of Jerusalem will become legal no go zones for Jews in much the same way, white South Africans made it illegal for blacks to live in parts of their own country. It is exactly for this perverted vision that Palestinians are taking to the streets to lob lethal weapons at Jews while the State Department treats the perpetrators as innocent victims and the actual victims as aggressors. That is the racism that the U.S. is endorsing by making an issue of Jews building in Jerusalem.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
27 October '14..

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made headlines around the world again today with his assertion in the Knesset that he will defend the right of Jews to live in any part of his country’s capital. The statement and the expedited plans to build 1,000 new apartments in Jerusalem is drawing the usual condemnations from the international community as both an unnecessary provocation and a new obstacle to Middle East peace. But what Israel’s critics are missing is that the threats and actual violence coming from Palestinians about Jewish homes, is the best indicator that the sort of mutual coexistence that is essential to peace is currently not in the cards.

As the New York Times reports:

“If Israel wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps that will reduce tensions,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, told reporters in a briefing. “Moving forward with this sort of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.”

The Israeli move is being blasted as yet another example of Netanyahu worsening the already tense relationship between Israel and the United States. But Psaki’s willingness to jump on Netanyahu after repeatedly refusing in the last week to condemn statements from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in which he openly incited violence against Israelis, the State Department stand could easily be interpreted as an implicit approval of the PA position.

If so, then it should be understood that what the United States is doing here is saying that Palestinians are in the right when they demand that Jews be kept out of certain parts of Jerusalem. But far from disturbing the peace, the idea of building new apartments in existing Jewish neighborhoods in the city or moving into mixed or Arab majority areas not only repudiates the formula of territorial swaps that President Obama has repeatedly endorsed but also reinforces the notion that the Palestinian state that the State Department envisions will be one in which no Jew is allowed to live. That means the U.S. is backing a vision of a Palestinian apartheid state that is itself incompatible with any notion of peace and rationalizing the recent wave of Arab violence against Jewish targets in Jerusalem.

The Insatiable Need to Bash Israel at the NY Times

...Her piece only demonstrates how far she’s prepared to stretch her copy so as to blacken the Jewish state. Reflexively, whenever she tackles Gaza woes, she feels an immediate need to brand Israel. At bottom, for Rudoren and the Times, Israel has no right of self-defense.

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
27 October '14..

Just when you think that Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, finally filed an article devoid of Israel bashing, it turns out it’s not quite so.

At issue is a piece in the Times’ Oct. 26 edition which exposes mishandling of Gaza reconstruction work --- with building materials, including cement, steel and gravel, piling up in warehouses while thousands of Gaza families are desperate to fix their homes (“Aid Is In, but Gazans Can only Look at Supplies” page 4)

An initial, cursory reading of Rudoren’s piece suggests that, for a change, she may be putting the monkey on the back of Gaza’s Hamas rulers. After all, she acknowledges that Israel has allowed huge quantities of construction hardware into Gaza. So one would assume that Israel is free and clear now. Presumably, it has done its work, while Hamas is shortchanging its own people. Actually, this Palestinian scandal gets even worse. Rudoren also reports that there is some reconstruction work under way, but it’s only for studios that broadcast Hamas propaganda.

If there still are reconstruction woes in Gaza, the fault presumably lies with its rulers -- not with Israel, one would think. Well, not quite.

Because a closer reading of Rudoren’s piece brings to the fore another thing -- several pokes at Israel. Not once, not twice, but five times no less.

Here is how Rudoren stretches her copy to malign Israel after all:

Monday, October 27, 2014

In Gaza, the electricity is flowing again, no it's not, yes it is

...Since the Hamas regime has the financial backing of Qatar, and it's known that in the Arab world in general, oil (to fuel those generators) is a commodity not exactly in short supply, we can understand why they want to blame Israel with whom they see themselves as being in a perpetual war. But is there a government anywhere that slips out from under public scrutiny of its own failures more often and more successfully than Hamas? Who is really in the dark? Perhaps some enterprising MSM reporters might want to theorize.

A Gulf State newspaper published this picture in
March 2014 with
a caption saying it show a Gaza
City power station 
shut down "due to a lack of fuel from Israel",
without explaining
that "lack of fuel" in Gazan real-politik
is almost invariably 
self-inflicted by the Hamas regime
for political advantage [
Image Source]
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 October '14..

Remember how Gaza's only power station was "destroyed" by you-know-who in July 2014? (Here's The Guardian's report from then.)

Reuters ["Gaza power plant resumes operations, director says"] this afternoon reports on something that borders on a miracle (but is not):

Gaza's only power plant has resumed operation far sooner than expected after being damaged during last summer's war between Israel and Palestinian militants. Rafiq Maliha, general director of the facility, told Reuters its generators went back online on Sunday, producing 90 megawatts out of a total potential capacity of 140 MW. The plant provides power to around half of Gaza's 1.8 million people. The Gaza Company for Generating Electricity, which operates the plant, said an Israeli tank shell hit the main fuel tanks during the war, taking out almost all capacity. It originally estimated that repairs could take as long a year.

So we can say bye-bye to reports (and photos) of Palestinian Arab Gazans struggling to live lives devoid of electric power, right? Not so much.


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Making Moral Equivalence Out of Children’s Deaths at CNN

...Abdelrahman al-Shaludi was not killed in cold blood by Israelis. Neither were Orwa Hammad or Einas Khalil, the five-year-old victim of the hit-and-run accident. But that’s unimportant for CNN. If Palestinians are undeniably deliberately murdering Israeli children then CNN has attempted to create a false moral equivalence by painting Israelis as equally cold blooded murderers of Palestinian children. Only by achieving this can a helpless three-month-old baby in a stroller be equated with a Palestinian throwing a Molotov cocktail.

Image: CC BY-NC flickr/Mitchell Joyce
Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
26 October '14..

The death of any children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is undeniably a tragedy. But is there a moral equivalence between a three-month-old baby murdered by a terrorist and a 14-year-old Palestinian youth killed by the IDF in the course of throwing a Molotov cocktail? Is there a moral equivalence between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists?

According to CNN there is:

Now, once more, children on both sides have lost their lives violently, rending hearts and stoking resentment.

One of those killed was a kindergartner, another a baby, both run down by motorists last week.

And on Sunday, Palestinians lay to rest a teenage boy with U.S. roots, whom the Israel Defense Forces shot and killed in the West Bank on Friday, according to the U.S. State Department.

While both children were “run down by motorists,” one of those motorists was a Palestinian terrorist who deliberately set out to kill Israelis when he drove his car into passengers disembarking the Jerusalem Light Rail. The other, according to CNN, was carried out by “an Israeli settler” and deliberate, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.

Israeli police believed that it was an accident. What CNN also does not tell you is that the Israeli involved stopped at the nearest Jewish community to report the incident and turn himself in, explaining that he’d left the scene to avoid a potentially dangerous crowd that had gathered there.

Does this sound like someone who deliberately set out to kill Palestinian children?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Left's craven love for tyranny, for grand empires built on race and religion

...Their greatest effort has been set not on resolving the stateless problems of the Kurdish minority, on the national borders of Armenia or ending the Turkish occupation and settlement of Cyprus-- but on adding yet another Arab-Muslim state to the region. Palestine, the cynical project of Pan-Arabist and Pan-Islamist thugs, is the great obsession of the left. Because if there's one thing that the Middle East doesn't have enough of, it's totalitarian regimes built on Arab and Islamist identity. And the one thing it has too much of is democratic state with a non-Arab and non-Muslim majority. And that one thing is what they are committed to destroying.

Daniel Greenfield..
Sultan Knish..
25 October '14..

The left's worst crime in the Middle East has been its support for the region's Arab-Muslim majority at the expense of its minorities. It has supported the majority's terrorism, atrocities, ethnic cleansing and repression of the region's minorities. Very rarely has it raised a voice in their support, and when it has done so, it was in muted tones completely different from their vigorous defenses of the nationalism of the Arab Muslim majority.

The left backed the Arab Spring which rewarded the ambitions of Arabist and Islamist activists at the expense of Coptic, African and other minorities. Its great regional obsession is statehood for the Arab Muslims of Israel, (better known by their local Palestinian brand), but has little to say about the Kurds in Turkey or the Azeri in Iran. The million Jewish refugees and the vanishing Christians of the region never come up in conversation. They certainly don't get their own lefty protest rallies.

The Africans of Sudan could have used an entire UN organization dedicated to their welfare, which the Arab Muslims who had failed to wipe out the region's Jewish minority are the beneficiaries of. But they had to make do with third tier aid.

Unlike the Arab nationalists and Islamists of Libya, the French, English and American air force did not come to their rescue. It came to the rescue of the Libyans who showed their gratitude in the time honored way of the Arab majority by massacring the African minority and then killing some Americans. But what's a little genocide between friends?

The left embraced Pan-Arabism, a race based nationalism, in line with the Soviet Union's expansionist foreign policy. Pan-Arabism's socialism made it easy for the left to ignore its overt racism along with the admiration of many of its leading lights for Nazi Germany. The same left which refused to see the Gulags and the ethnic cleansing under the red flag, turned an equally blind eye to the contradiction of condemning Zionism for its ethnic basis, while supporting Pan-Arabism, which was ethnically based.

Under Zionism, Israel retained a sizable Arab minority. The Pan-Arabists however drove their Jews out with mob violence, political repression, prisons and public executions. The left's criticisms of Zionism are rendered moot by their own support for Pan-Arabism, and their own longstanding hostility to Jewish national identity, insisting that socialism demands that Jews assimilate into the dominant race, whether in Russia or Western Europe. In the Middle East and North Africa, Arabization has led to repression of non-Arab minorities and the destruction of other cultures through the insistence on unity through race.

As the sun of Pan-Arabism sets, the left has turned its attention to Pan-Islamism with equal enthusiasm. While Pan-Arabism allowed Christian Arabs some representation, Pan-Islamism excludes based on religion. Having endorsed a racial tyranny, the left has fallen so low that it now champions majority theocracies.

The left's fledgling support for Kurdish nationalism has faded as Turkey has gone from a secular ally of the Western powers, to an Islamist tyranny dreaming of empire. This perverse twist of affairs has the left abandoning the national struggles of an oppressed people when their rulers align themselves more closely with the bigoted regional majority.


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The Sinai’s anarchic reality

...The number-one existential danger Israel faces doubtless comes from Iran and its nuclear ambitions. The Islamic State predations in both Syria and Iraq – and the threats they pose beyond – are probably second on the danger list for the immediate future. Yet, although largely ignored at the moment, the power-vacuum in the Sinai should rank right up there as well. Cairo’s ongoing campaign against the Sinai-based terror-mongers is nothing to sneeze at. In this context, Cairo’s current powers-that-be perforce oppose Hamas, which is an active and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood offshoot. The implications for Israel are profound.

Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
26 October '14..

For quite a few hours it was assumed last Wednesday that terrorists had launched the attack from Sinai on IDF troops patrolling, inside Israel, along the border with Egypt. It wasn’t far-fetched conjecture considering that the extremist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis rushed to claim responsibility. Wounding an Israeli officer and her adjutant was a prestige-booster.

Later, however, it transpired that this was a drug smuggling caper gone wrong. Nonetheless, there is no cause for any sigh of relief here.

The undeniable fact of Sinai’s anarchic reality is that the lines between crime and terrorism are so blurred that they often become altogether indistinguishable. Sinai’s rampaging outlaws dabble in everything indiscriminately. All their diverse illegal pursuits are intrinsically intertwined and mutually beneficial.

Last week’s incident is a telling case in point. The drug-runners weren’t penny-ante operators. They rode in combat vehicles and were armed with anti-tank rockets. They had no hesitation to take the offensive and open fire once they understood that the Israelis had detected them.

Their battle-grade weaponry and equipment – along with the trigger-happy response by these drug-traffickers and their sophisticated ambush tactics – prop up the perception that they aren’t exclusively small-time Beduin felons in league with equally small-time Beduin accomplices in Israel’s Negev.

The symbiotic links between narcotics contrabandists and jihadist warriors isn’t new or surprising. We have known it for many years in Lebanon, where the Shiite Hezbollah has maintained a close partnership with local drug lords.

The recruitment and usage of Palestinian child soldiers

...Those of us who have children (and even those that don’t) shudder at the horror of a child being killed. But the burning border patrolman in the photo (below) also has parents, probably a wife and children of his own. The relevant question is “what is the matter with Palestinian Arab society that it approves of its children becoming murderers, even encourages them to do so?”

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
26 October '14..

Recently, several Arab teenagers were shot fatally by Israeli security forces. Here is one of them, Orwah Hamad, 14:

He was shot in the head with live ammunition. How could we do such a thing to a child?

There is an answer to this question. Hamad was holding a burning Molotov cocktail when he was shot, a gasoline bomb which can burn people to death. It is as deadly a weapon at short range as a gun. Here is what Hamad was trying to accomplish (the picture is from a 2011 incident in Jerusalem):

So what is the appropriate response to a child aiming a deadly weapon? The target of the firebomb would be as dead (or burned badly enough to wish he was) regardless of the age of the perpetrator.

Self-defense is an absolute right, whether it is applied to people (even policemen and soldiers have it!) or to nations. Judaism does not ask us to turn the other cheek or suffer violence rather than do it; if there is no alternative, it requires us to kill those who are trying to kill us, even if they are only 14.

Those of us who have children (and even those that don’t) shudder at the horror of a child being killed. But the burning border patrolman in the photo above also has parents, probably a wife and children of his own.

Abbas, Incitement and the Responsibility for Murder

...In order to understand what drives a young Palestinian man to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of PA leaders during the past few weeks. These are the kind of statements that encourage young men such as al-Shalodi to go out and kill the first Jews he meets on the street.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
24 October '14..

While Hamas's rockets and suicide bombers have been killing Israelis over the past twenty-five years, the Palestinian Authority's rhetoric has not been less lethal.

In fact, it is this fiery rhetoric that has created the inviting atmosphere for launching terrorist attacks against Israel, such as the attack that took place in Jerusalem on Wednesday, October 22.

Chaya Zissel Braun, a three-month-old infant, was killed when a Palestinian man slammed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a light rail stop in the city. Nine people were injured, three seriously, in the attack.

A security camera recorded 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun being wheeled in her stroller by her parents, about 15 seconds before they were hit by the terrorist's vehicle.

The Palestinian who carried out the attack was identified as 20-year-old Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi of the Silwan neighborhood in east Jerusalem. He was shot on the scene and later died in hospital.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority [PA] cannot avoid responsibility for killing the baby.

In order to understand what drives a young Palestinian man to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of PA leaders during the past few weeks. These are the kind of statements that encourage young men such as al-Shalodi to go out and kill the first Jews he meets on the street.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

More Than Something Is Rotten at Foggy Bottom

...The Obama administration’s public temper tantrums are at this point a regular feature of the president’s second term. That they’re directed at allies is becoming commonplace but still disturbing. That the State Department seems to prioritize retribution against Israel over holding those who kill American citizens accountable unfortunately encapsulates American diplomacy in the age of Obama and Kerry

Seth Mandel..
Commentary Magazine..
24 October '14..

After the Wall Street Journal broke the news that President Obama reined in the U.S.-Israel military partnership while Israel was at war, it could not be plausibly denied that Obama has sought to downgrade the special relationship. But the story was alarming not only because of the lengths Obama was willing to go to tie Israel’s hands but also because it showed the president was chipping away at the rest of the U.S. government’s ability to pick up the slack when Obama tried to hamper Israel’s ability to defend itself.

That has always been the silver lining, and it’s always annoyed much of the American left: other American governmental institutions, such as Congress and the military, are consistently pro-Israel and can thus keep the relationship strong when a president tries to weaken it. And it’s also why it should be of great concern now that another American governmental institution that is usually far less pro-Israel is becoming, under Secretary of State John Kerry, even more antagonistic toward Jerusalem than usual: the U.S. State Department.

Much has been made about the unimaginably incompetent and incoherent management of Foggy Bottom’s communications under spokeswomen Marie Harf and Jen Psaki. But it’s too easy–and not totally accurate–to dismiss Harf and Psaki as misplaced campaign attack hacks. They are out of place at State, but they are there for a reason. And the culture of the diplomatic corps more broadly also resembles the same spiteful ignorance routinely displayed by the president and his secretary of state. The latest example is the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem’s memo to employees referring to Wednesday’s terror attack, in which a Palestinian murdered a Jewish baby, as a “traffic incident.”

After that terror attack, Harf had initially told both sides to exercise restraint. At yesterday’s briefing, Jen Psaki was asked about one of the major sources of gasoline being poured on this fire: the incitement to violence coming from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Here is the exchange:

QUESTION: I’m not making any relation, but there’s been some concern over the last week or two about comments by President Abbas that believe to have incurred incitement. And are you concerned about that? You haven’t really spoken out about that. Do you in any way feel that this is inciting Palestinians to take actions into their own hands?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, Elise, one, I mean, we obviously believe that the act last night warrants condemnation evidence (sic) by the statement we released last night. I’m not going to characterize the comments made or not made by President – Prime Minister Netanyahu or the response from President Abbas.

QUESTION: Well, if you haven’t really received a condemnation from President Abbas, then don’t you think you should offer one?

MS. PSAKI: I think our view of it is clear by – evidenced by our statement last night. I would point you to him on any comments that they would like to make.

QUESTION: But what about his comments, like, over the past – I mean, there has just been several comments that people have remarked about that seem to be incurring incitement. Is that not concerning?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think that’s – as you know, President Abbas has renounced violence and consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states. I don’t have any other analysis for you to offer.

That’s right, all Psaki would say is that Abbas “has renounced violence and consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution”–an obviously false statement–along with the strident insistence that she doesn’t “have any other analysis for you to offer.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Finally starting to see this is not some passing wave of disturbances

...Those who want to "re-liberate Jerusalem" must understand that sovereignty in all parts of the city, including the most remote Arab neighborhoods, cannot be only defined in a rule book alone, it must be seen in the streets, everywhere, over time, by the renewal of Jewish settlements in all parts of Jerusalem, even if it makes Obama angry.

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
23 October '14..

An intifada is breaking out in Jerusalem. Wednesday was its 112th day. It may be a (semi) popular movement but it has long not been spontaneous. The disturbances and continuous attacks on Jews in Jerusalem's periphery is organized and funded by elements identified with Fatah and Hamas.

Many of the 900 arrested in this intifada enjoy legal defense funded by the Palestinian Authority. The huge number of incidents, more than 10,000, their wide distribution over Jerusalem's periphery, their nature, the use of "cold weaponry," such as stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks -- are all reminiscent of the First Intifada.

This time there are no popular resistance committees, but many small organizations that operate on the neighborhood level. They all carry the slogans of a "popular resistance," preached to them by the Palestinian Authority its president, Mahmoud Abbas. The car attacks, like Wednesday's, may be on one man acts for which intelligence cannot be gathered, but their inspiration comes from the general atmosphere in the city, the loss of deterrence, the continued riots at the al-Aqsa mosque that police seem unable to put down.

There have also been isolated incidents of gunfire, primarily from Shuafat into Pisgat Zeev, which could be seen as the next stage in the third intifada in Jerusalem and the transition to using guns, which are present in the Arab towns and have stopped only being used for "celebratory gunshots."