Expert: Palestinian Terror Is Directed from Above

After 20 years interviewing Palestinian terrorists in jails, Likud MK Anat Berko tries to explain the motivations of the current attackers.

mom-e1445889104288The Times of Israel (Dec 8) — Young Palestinians, many of them teenagers, are setting out to stab random Israelis, frequently losing their lives in the process. What are they hoping to achieve? MK Anat Berko (Likud) spent two decades as a criminologist specializing in suicide terrorists. So great were her listening skills that prisoners would talk to her for hours, hug her, cry and even give her their babies to hold.

Berko says the attackers are committing these acts for the sake of “glory” on social media and in Palestinian society, and they compete over who can be the biggest hero. The terrorists do not think death is the end, but fully believe they will enter paradise. Berko says many young Palestinians live in communities with a tremendous amount of social pressure, prohibitions and shame. In paradise, they can experience all the things that are forbidden in real life.

Berko says there is a normalization of violence in Palestinian society, with children’s television praising martyrs while al-Qaeda and Islamic State have upped the ante for brutality among would-be terrorists.

NOT LONE WOLVES

“I don’t accept the idea that these are lone wolves. This wave of terror is directed from above. The incitement is insane. It’s on TV, satellite broadcasts, in mosques, on the street and in schools, including East Jerusalem, in schools that we actually pay for. It’s so bad that it’s a surprise that not everyone is a terrorist. If you look at the website of the Palestinian Authority, they speak of all of Palestine, pre-1948, not just pre-1967.”

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Palestinians: The Real Goal of the Intifada

1368By Bassam Tawil, a Palestinian scholar based in the Middle East. Gatestone Institute:

  • Abbas seems intentionally to ignore that he and his Palestinian Authority are responsible for the violence, as a result of their daily incitement against Israel.
  • A recent poll found that 48% of Palestinians interviewed believe that the real goal of the “intifada” is to “liberate all of Palestine.” In other words, approximately half of Palestinians believe that the “intifada” should lead to the destruction of Israel, which would be replaced with a Palestinian state — one that now would be ruled by Hamas and jihadi organizations such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.
  • It is notable that only 11% of respondents said the goal of the “intifada” should be to “liberate” only those territories captured by Israel in 1967.
  • The Palestinians do not, according to the poll, have a problem with “settlements” or “poor living conditions.” They have a problem with Israel’s existence. Palestinians do not see a difference between a West Bank “settlement” and cities inside Israel — or differentiate between Jews living there. They are all depicted as “settlers” and “colonialists.”
  • This contradicts Abbas’s claim that the Palestinians want a “peaceful and popular” uprising. The Palestinians are not, as their leaders claim, seeking a two-state solution.

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Who Were the Palestinians Killed in Attacks during October 2015?

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

A training video created by Hamas to show how to kill a Jew

A training video created by Hamas to show how to kill a Jew

  • On November 1, 2015, Hamas posted a statement on its English website, quoting the Palestinian health ministry, accusing the Israel Defense Forces of killing 72 Palestinians in October 2015. Left out of the release were the names of the dead.
  • Of the dead, 82% were killed during Palestinian-initiated violence.
  • During the summer of 2015, 25,000 children attended Hamas’ military training camps in Gaza. On August 5, 2015, senior Hamas officials Mahmoud Al-Zahar and Ismail Haniyeh attended a graduation ceremony at the Gaza City Hamas military camp and encouraged youth to reclaim all of Palestine.  There is little question that many of these youth stormed the fences with Israel in October 2015.
  • Hamas’ counting of these attackers and murderers to boost the number of people killed by the “oppressive Zionist regime” is Hamas’ disingenuous way of falsely demonizing Israel and seeking to undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself.  It is time to stop the victimization of terrorists.

On November 1, 2015, Hamas posted a statement on its English website, quoting the Palestinian health ministry, accusing the IDF of killing 72 Palestinians in October 2015: 17 Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip, 54 from the West Bank and one from pre-1967 Israel.1  Intentionally left out of the release were the names of people they claimed were killed by Israeli forces in an apparent attempt to make their claim harder to contradict.  However, with lists produced by Al-Jazeera2 and the Middle East Monitor3 of the Palestinians killed in October  as well as reports from other media sources, it was possible to recreate Hamas’ list.

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The “Spontaneous” Intifada Is Orchestrated by the Palestinian Leadership

By Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan Halevi for The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Dec 1):

gaza_fence_riotThe Palestinian leadership is attempting to portray the current intifada as a kind of popular, spontaneous struggle that expresses the population’s despair over the political situation. In reality, it is an intifada supported and directed by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (the Palestinian Authority-PLO-Fatah) and Gaza (Hamas).

It is a Palestinian strategy that has been seen before. The green light for violent agitation and terror attacks is given by the Palestinian leadership, and the message is translated into actions by field operatives of the Palestinian organizations or by Palestinian residents. The Palestinian leadership also guarantees a network of social and financial support to any Palestinian resident who is arrested, wounded or harmed in the course of anti-Israeli terror activity, including monthly stipends for the individual and his or her family.

The Palestinian intifada has clear goals. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), wants to use it as a tool to achieve its political objectives, which include compelling Israel to withdraw from Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem under international pressure.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, took part in the General Arab Conference to Support the intifada that was held in Beirut on November 20, 2015. In his speech there he asserted that “the Palestinian revolution will only end with the collapse of the [Zionist] entity.”1

Hamas Political Bureau member Mousa Abu Marzook, in his speech at the gathering, said Palestinian unity was a key factor in the success of the intifada, which he described as a very effective instrument for achieving political objectives.

Abu Marzook pointed out that the first intifada (which erupted in December 1987) led to the Oslo accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. The second intifada in 2000 precipitated Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and building of the security fence, which in his view, “despite its drawbacks, symbolizes the end of the Zionist endeavor.”

The goals of the current intifada (the Al-Quds intifada or Knives intifada), said Abu Marzook, are: forcing an Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, securing the freedom of all the Palestinian security prisoners, and lifting the blockade of Gaza.

Abu Marzook asserted that the intifada’s effectiveness depends on its continuation and expanding it in all spheres with all the Palestinian organizations participating. He urged the establishment of support committees for all aspects of the intifada.

The closing declaration of the Conference to Support the intifada, in which senior representatives of Fatah, which Abbas heads, took part, dubbed the current intifada the “Liberation intifada” and said it aimed to get Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria and dismantle the settlements.

In the closing declaration the participants stated that the intifada seeks to make it less costly for the IDF to withdraw from Jerusalem and the territories than to keep fighting both the intifada itself and international opinion. They said the Palestinians were already benefiting from the tension between Israel and the United States and Europe, which weakens Israel, the shift of public opinion against Israeli policy, and the strengthening of identification with the Palestinian people.3

The committee’s resolutions depict Israel as an enemy against which all-out war must be waged until its complete destruction. The first paragraph calls to put an end to the intra-Palestinian rift and for pursuing a national liberation program that is based on the intifada and the struggle to “liberate all the occupied land.” The second paragraph calls to implement the March 2015 resolutions of the PLO Central Committee, which called for ending security cooperation with Israel and investing all efforts in building the intifada and waging the struggle based on the goals and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, while also canceling the agreements with Israel.

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Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser for Haaretz (Dec 1):

kashmir_plo_isisSeemingly, the connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel is confined to technical aspects and does not run deeper than that. It mainly involves the notion that terror is terror and any form of it is cruel and morally unjustified, induces feelings of fear and helplessness in the target population and has to be fought with similar intelligence and operational measures. As many Israelis have been saying, “Now the French understand how we live.”

Those who question the connection Israel draws between the two kinds of terror claim that, whereas the anti-Western terror stems from a militant interpretation of Islam calling for an assault on the West, its culture, and its behavior (this, it must be acknowledged, is certainly a possible interpretation of the Koran and the other central Islamic texts, even if not an exclusive interpretation), the anti-Israeli terror stems largely from nationalist motives, even if these are entwined and suffused with Islamic claims. It is, then, even if unjustified, an in-built reaction to Palestinian suffering and the supposed wrong that was done them with Israel’s establishment and its ongoing control of the post-1967 territories.

If there is a connection between the two, it lies – some say – in the fact that among the factors contributing to Islamic terror against the West are the injustices the West has done to the Muslims, including the creation of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the heart of the Islamic region at the Palestinians’ expense. Thus, they assert, in addition to the acceptable forms of fighting terror, the West must find a way to atone for its crimes and enable the fulfillment of the Palestinian national goals, even if it entails a risk to Israel’s security. With that, Islamic anger will be allayed.

DANGEROUS FORBEARANCE FOR “REALISTIC RADICAL ISLAM”

Seemingly there is some justification for distinguishing between the two kinds of terror. One kind is perpetrated by “ultra-radical” elements within radical Islam such as ISIS, the other mainly by Palestinians, some of whom belong to the “realistic” camp within radical Islam (primarily Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and some of whom (belonging to Fatah) lean more to the “pragmatic” camp in the Muslim world. At the same time, the common denominator among all the actors who belong to the radical camp – the ultra-radicals and the realists – is the vision of a struggle against the West and its culture and against Muslims who are prepared to adopt elements of Western culture and are regarded as heretics.

The difference is that the ultra-radicals believe the time to fight the West and the heretics who are friendly to it has already arrived, especially given the West’s spiritual weakness and inability or unwillingness to fight back as it seeks to gratify its earthly desires in this physical world (recently reflected in its willingness to pave Iran’s path to the bomb, its reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS and the fear of calling the radical Islamic threat by name and preference for the hollow term “violent extremism”). The realists within radical Islam believe that in this stage terror should only be directed at Israel, the West’s “extension in the Middle East,” and not against the West as a whole, which is not yet weak enough for the terror to be effective.

In this regard the struggle that the ultra-radical Islamists are waging against the West and its allies, on the one hand, and the Palestinian struggle against Israel, on the other, complement each other. Their common goal is to destroy the world order that the West created after the First World War, which included the dismantlement of the caliphate, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the adoption of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference as part of the British Mandate. This world order was reinforced after the Second World War, among other things by the decision to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, whose implementation in the face of Muslim opposition is still rejected by the Palestinians and by radical Islam in all its variants. Thus, the terror against Israel and the terror against the West are two sides of the same coin from an ideological standpoint as well, not only regarding its methods and the means of fighting it. Israel needs to make this connection clearer to its friends in the West.

What disturbs the Palestinians is that as radical Islam’s direct warfare against the West expands, they lose a key asset for promoting their goals. If, as is becoming increasingly clear, the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problem, then the West’s expression of regret for its “crimes” on this issue will not solve the greater problem. The request for penance must be much more far-reaching; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently made dialogue with the United States conditional on an American request for Iran’s forgiveness. In addition, the more the connection between the two kinds of terror grows, the more the radical Islamic component of the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and preference for a violent struggle to eliminate it, is exposed. The West would better understand how difficult it is to promote a settlement and may (as Israel would hope) come to understand that the terror against Israel is essentially part and parcel of the terror against the West.

Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, which is the arm of realistic radical Islam among the Israeli Arabs, is part of the struggle against this radical ideology. Unfortunately, many in the West still think that realistic radical Islam (Rouhani and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example) is a legitimate partner in the fight against the ultra-radical Islamists, and favor it over the pragmatic elements in the Islamic world. I’m afraid that even the current wave of attacks will not suffice to change this mindset.

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In migration crisis, Israel is EU’s life belt

Op-ed: The tools used by European officials to deal with Israel belong to the days when the Middle East was stable and the Jewish state was perceived as a problem. But now, as millions of Muslims are moving towards the continent, Israel is actually the solution, or at least part of it.

658203401001599640360noYnet NewsOne of the governments in Libya (there are a few) warned the European Union this week that if it won’t recognize it, it will send hundreds of thousands of additional Muslim migrants towards Europe: “We’ll rent boats and transfer them too.”

And so the immigrant issue has become an extortion tool: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is milking the fat European cow, Libya is milking it, and so is the Islamic State which controls part of Libya and is threatening to launch a simultaneous expulsion process. And Europe is giving in, drowning in a sea of millions of infiltrators/refugees/immigrants who will never leave it.

The EU’s dream is that those immigrants will remain in their countries, or at least in other Muslim countries, and for that purpose it is willing to pay Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon billions of dollars. And what about Israel?

The EU doesn’t have to make things difficult for Israel. On the contrary, it should even pay us billions of dollars too, because Israel and “the conflict” keep at least 10 million Muslims busy and stop them from immigrating to Europe. We are doing the opposite of what those extortionists who are threatening the EU are doing.

We must understand that everything has changed. An area of hundreds of millions of Muslims realizes today that its default option is to immigrate to Europe, and what was perceived until recently as impossible or illogical is now logical, ideal and common.

We are “employing” a million and a half Muslims in Judea and Samaria, another million and a half within Israel, another two million in Gaza, another seven million in Jordan, and another two million refugees from Iraq and Syria who reside in Jordan, which is supported by us.

Without the Israeli security dam, a major part of all these millions would have already begun the journey to EU countries. Imagine what would happen if the Gaza Strip would be opened towards the sea: Where would most of its residents move to? After all, the millions here have an eternal UN and UNRWA “refugee certificate,” which the EU must recognize.

If EU officials hurt Israeli factories which employ tens of thousands of Palestinians, where will those employees turn to with their families? Some 20,000 Palestinians are already leaving Judea and Samaria every year, according to figures compiled by the Israeli Immigration Authority, which supervises the borders, and many of them flow to the world’s countries through Jordan.

EU officials must understand that the tools they are using to deal with Israel belong to the past, when the Middle East was stable and Israel was perceived as a problem. But now, as millions are moving towards the continent, Israel is actually the solution, or at least part of it. What isn’t stopped in Israel will be stopped in Brussels, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris and London. The EU’s life belt passes through Israel…

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In Europe, the penny still hasn’t dropped

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Yediot Aharonot:

Ben-Dror Yemini contends that the penny still has not dropped in Europe. The author notes the frenzy that rocked the continent this past week, following the terror attacks in Paris and intelligence information that Islamic State members are planning to carry out further attacks against France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, but points out that “the same Europe, in complete chaos, is busy helping moves initiated by the anti-Israel boycott campaign, which has turned into Hamas’ propaganda wing.”

The author argues that “years of accusing the Jews – in other words, Israel – of treating the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews, years of total blindness towards the Palestinians’ rejection of any peace proposal, years of a self-brainwash, have led to intellectual disability among Europe’s elites in general, and Germany’s in particular,” and adds: “Terror isn’t opening the elites’ eyes, but is rather pushing them more and more towards self-deception.”

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In order to handle terror, France must end its denial

Op-ed: As long as Europe fails to understand that there should be no distinction between the ‘legitimate terror’ striking Israel and the ‘barbaric terror’ striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

66373500100084640360noYnet — … When Jews were murdered in Paris and in Toulouse, most French people saw it as a random and slightly troublesome spillover of a distant Middle Eastern conflict into their lives – but not as a cause for concern and for general mobilization. When journalists were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices, people explained that the reason was the fact that religious Muslim sentiments had been hurt. And even now, after terror attacks which have clarified that all of France is being targeted, many are refusing to acknowledge a simple fact: Terror is terror is terror.

The political-media discourse in France is now similar to the one which took place in Britain and Spain after the mass terror attacks in those countries a decade ago: There is no connection between the terror attacks in Europe and the terror attacks striking Israel.

The French are insisting on hanging on to their refusal to recognize the existence of a joint Israeli-French battle against a religious ideology of destruction. Commentators and politicians filling up the television and radio studios are refusing to mention Israel’s name as a country from which France can learn how to deal with a daily reality of terror, as the perception that Palestinian terror is the product of a legitimate national struggle – in other words, justified and understandable – has struck roots there.

Those creating distinctions between “legitimate terror” against Israel and “barbaric terror” against the West are singlehandedly sowing the atrocious bloody violence which is striking again and again in Paris and in all of Europe.

Islamic terror with its different names – PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the al-Quds Brigades, ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, the Muslim Brothers – is one and has one goal: To impose Islam on the world – forcibly or through negotiations, by beheading people or through democratic elections, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, in America and in Asia.

This is not a racist and paranoid conclusion. This is a quote of comments made by the spiritual leaders of the different Islamist factions. Racism is reflected in the Europeans’ chronic unwillingness to listen to what comes out of the Islamists’ mouth and accept their words literally.

When after the Paris attacks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini tweets from the talks for an agreement in Syria that most of the countries present in the meeting suffer from terror – and willingly avoids stating that the talks are attended by many countries which uphold, fund and back Islamic terror – she is paving the way for the next terror attacks on European soil.

As long as Europe fails to understand that there is no difference between the terror striking Israel and the terror striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

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This time it was Paris

Summary: “Whether or not people in the civilized world want to admit it, radical Islam has declared war on Western civilization,” and asserts that despite what many people have been insisting since 9/11, Israeli ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ are not the root of Muslim rage. The author argues that a clash of civilizations is the main cause of friction between Islam and Western civilization, and hopes that the world “will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission.”

Israel Hayom (Nov 17) — … Since 9/11, many people have insisted on pointing to the Israeli “occupation” or “settlements” as the root of Muslim rage.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, in various negotiations, Israel has offered to give up practically of the territories it was forced to conquer in the defensive war of June 1967. Every time, the Arabs have rejected the Israeli offers. They have chosen to remain in a continuous state of war, rather than accept the existence of a Jewish entity, which they view as a cancerous blight on what they deem to be “holy Muslim soil.”

There is ongoing a clash of civilizations and the fault line of this conflict runs right along the borders of Israel. Jews in Israel are despised for the exact same reason that attendees at a soccer match or rock concert in Paris or passengers on the London Underground are. Simply put, in the eyes of Islamist terrorists, they are all “the other.”

According to the Koran, the world is divided into two domains: Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam), which submits to Shariah law, and Dar-al Harb (the House of War), which includes the rest of the world that does not submit to Shariah law and therefore must be conquered.

It is time for the West to wake up and realize that the war that Israel has been fighting for its survival ever since it came into being has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of its borders. The terrorism that has been taking place in Israel has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

Maybe this time, the world will finally wake up and understand the nature of the war the Islamists are waging against Western civilization. I erroneously thought the world had woken up from its slumber in 2001, but it proved that it would rather put its hand back on the snooze button and blame Islamic terrorism on extraneous and irrelevant factors, such as the “occupation.”

My hope and prayer is that the world will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission. Israel is always willing and able lend a hand and to teach the painful lessons it has learned during its 67 years of survival in a tribal and primitive part of the world. It can teach about how to survive in a new globalized world where the friendly Islamist neighbor next door might suddenly wake up and decide to stab you in the back.

Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-American and pro-Israeli think tank and policy institute in Washington.

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The Russian Bear has joined the cardgame in the Middle East

An excellent analysis by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

2gO16x6IsraelNationalNews — Arab media reported on something this week that I did not see any mention of in the Israeli media: the Kremlin announced that by the end of this year – that is, within the next few months – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will pay a visit to Moscow. It doesn’t seem like a terribly important bit of information at first glance, just a blurb about one leader paying another a state visit, but this is not just a visit. This is a political gesture that signals Saudi Arabia’s move towards forging an alliance with Russia.

There are four reasons that lie behind this step. The most important is America’s weak standing in the region, obvious to all and exacerbated by Obama’s announcing his retirement from the position of world policeman and the beginning of the American electoral campaign. There is no one to talk to anymore in Washington, especially now that it has become clear that the Iran Agreement is a “done deal.” The Saudis are furious that the agreement was allowed to pass and see it as no less than a breach of trust towards their country on the part of the United States. In contrast to Israel, however, they are keeping their feelings to themselves and playing the international scene coolly with a clearheaded assessment of the new and future realities.

The second reason is the decisiveness Russia displayed in its Syrian involvement, all the more glaring in comparison with the ineffectual US and NATO responses. The Saudis fear that Assad, whom they consider a heretic Allawite whose blasphemous regime must not and can not be allowed to rule over Muslims, will remain in power. They are also furious at the “Butcher of Damascus” bloodbath that cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives, many of them Sunnis. King Salman wants to get Putin’s ear in order to influence him on this issue.

The third reason is Saudi fear of an Iranian-Russian alliance outside the range of Saudi influence. Without the backing of America and Europe, the Saudis prefer to act along the lines of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The king feels that he will have more influence on the Iranians with regard to Yemen, Iraq and Syria if he joins the club instead of remaining outside it.

The fourth reason is Saudi Arabia’s desire to be sure that Russia does not put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS. The Saudis do not like Caliph Abu Bakr’s Jihadists, mainly because they have given Islam a bad name, but the Saudi king does not want to see Russia – the land of the unbelievers who drink vodka and eat pork – eliminating large numbers of Sunni Muslims and conquering a Sunni-Islamic state. Remember, there were times when the Saudis supported Islamic State.

The sum total of these reasons has propelled the Saudi king right into Putin’s muscular arms.

But it is also important to note the meeting’s framework: the Saudi king will leave his palace and travel to visit Putin in Putin’s home. In the past, presidents and prime ministers would gather at the entrance to the Saudi King’s throne room, and today it is he who is going to visit Putin, the new kid on the block. And the block is that decaying slum known as the Middle East.

Israel, too, has discovered Russia and its growing sphere of influence in the region – and that realization is what sent Netanyahu to Putin a month ago and brought about the visits of high ranking Russian army officers to Israel. It looks as though Israel does not want to be left outside the equation now that Russia is becoming increasingly involved in Syria, especially since Iran is solidly placed on the other side of the equation.

Recently, there has been a noticeable and interesting change in the tone of Russian spokesmen appearing on the Arab media. Up to as little as a week ago, they spoke about Russia’s limited goals in Syria, including ensuring the continuation of the Assad regime even if it is limited to a small part of the country – the Allawite region on the coast near the ports of Latakia, Tartus and Banias. It did not sound as if Russia is planning a massive campaign against Islamic State, which wields control over 60% of Syria.

Now, the tone of Russian broadcasters has changed. They have begun expressing worry about the slow trickle of Islamic State into countries that were once considered Southern Soviet Russia: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tagikistan, as well as its infiltration into those Muslim minority groups who live within the Russian Federation: Chechins, Tatars, Pamiris, to name a few.

The Tatars have good reason to rise against Russia after masses of their people were expelled from the Crimean Peninsula, taken from Ukraine and annexed to Russia. The Chechens still have not avenged the destruction of their capital Grozny or the thousands the Russians murdered there in the nineties.

It is important to recall that there are large numbers of Muslims among the low- ranking soldiers in the Russian Army, making it quite possible for ISIS to try to enlist army men to do what Nidal Hassan did in Fort Hood – that is, kill 13 of his friends and wound 31. This is not far off the mark, because there are 200 Muslim rebel volunteers who come from Russia – and one of them, a redhead of Chechen origin – is the commander of the rebel forces near Aleppo. At least one film shows him butchering three regime supporters with his own hands.

He and those like him, can speak Russian or Chechen to their Russian soldier friends, and if just one soldier in a thousand becomes secretly loyal to ISIS, he could then sow death and destruction among his friends…

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Why the Palestinian Authority Does Not Want Cameras on the Temple Mount

By Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.

Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.

Gatestone Institute (Nov 6):

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) will continue to work against having cameras in the hope of preventing the world from seeing what is really happening at the site and undermining Jordan’s “custodianship” over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
  • Another reason the Palestinians oppose King Abdullah’s idea is their fear that cameras would expose that Palestinians have been smuggling stones, firebombs and pipe bombs into the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past two years.
  • The cameras are also likely to refute the claim that Jews are “violently invading” Al-Aqsa Mosque and holding prayers on the Temple Mount. The cameras will show that Jews do not enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, as Palestinians have been claiming. Needless to say, no Jewish visitors have been caught trying to smuggle weapons into the holy site.
  • It remains to be seen how Secretary Kerry, who brokered the camera deal between Israel and Jordan, will react to the latest Palestinian Authority escalation of tensions. If Kerry fails to pressure the PA to stop its incitement and attempts to exclude the Jordanians from playing any positive role, the current wave of knife attacks against Jews will continue.

… During the past two years, the Palestinian Authority and other parties, including Hamas and the Islamic Movement (Northern Branch) in Israel, have been waging a campaign of incitement against Jewish visits to the Haram al-Sharif. The campaign claimed that Jews were planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In an attempt to prevent Jews from entering the approximately 37-acre (150,000 m2) site, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement in Israel hired scores of Muslim men and women to harass the Jewish visitors and the police officers escorting them. The men are referred to asMurabitoun, while the women are called Murabitat (defenders or guardians of the faith).

These men and women have since been filmed shouting and trying to assault Jews and policemen at the Haram al-Sharif. This type of video evidence is something that the Palestinian Authority is trying to avoid. The PA, together with the Islamic Movement, wants the men and women to continue harassing the Jews under the pretext of “defending” the Al-Aqsa Mosque from “destruction” and “contamination.”

The installation of surveillance cameras at the site will expose the aggressive behavior of theMurabitoun and Murabitat, and show the world who is really “desecrating” the Islamic holy sites and turning them into a base for assaulting and abusing Jewish visitors and policemen.

The cameras are also likely to refute the claim that Jews are “violently invading” Al-Aqsa Mosque and holding prayers at the Temple Mount. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement have long been describing the Jewish visits as a “provocative and violent incursion” into Al-Aqsa Mosque. But now the cameras will show that Jews do not enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the Palestinians have been claiming.

Another reason the Palestinians are opposed to King Abdullah’s idea is their fear that the cameras would expose that Palestinians have been smuggling stones, firebombs and pipe bombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past two years. These are scenes at the PA, Hamas and the Islamic Movement do not want the world to see: they show who is really “contaminating” the Haram al-Sharif. Needless to say, no Jewish visitors have thus far been caught trying to smuggle such weapons into the holy site.

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Debating Against BDS – and Winning

Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

By Alan Dershowitz for the Jerusalem Post (Nov 3):

When I was invited to debate in favor of the motion “Is BDS Wrong?” at the Oxford Union, I fully expected to lose the vote of the 250 or so students and faculty who are members of the oldest debate society in the world. “Israel always loses at Oxford,” I was warned by colleagues who had debated other Israel-related issues. Nonetheless I decided to participate, hoping to change some minds.

I proposed as my opponent Omar Barghouti, the Qatari-born, Israeli-educated, co-founder and spokesperson of the BDS movement, but he refused to debate me. The Union then selected Noura Erekat, a Palestinian-American human rights attorney, who has been a vocal supporter of BDS.

When she backed out at the last minute, I began to get suspicious: was the BDS movement boycotting me? After all, BDS advocates have called for “common sense” academic boycotts against individuals who they feel are too vocal in their support for Israel, in addition to a blanket boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.  After speaking with the organizers of the debate at Oxford, I continue to believe that I was in fact being boycotted.

The Union then selected Peter Tatchell, a distinguished and popular British human rights activist who has participated in 30 Union debates, most of which he has won. I knew I was in for a difficult time, especially when the audience applauded his points more loudly than mine and when many of the questions seemed hostile toward Israel, though polite.

Mr. Tatchell’s main argument was that BDS was a nonviolent form of protest against Israel’s occupation and settlement policies that mirrored the boycott movement against apartheid South Africa, and followed the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He was articulate in arguing that boycott tactics generally were a non-violent alternative to war and terrorism. The force of his argument was somewhat weakened by the recent spate of terrorist knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, which leaders of the BDS movement such as Barghouti have justified as resistance to the “decades-old regime of occupation.”

I argued that BDS was not an alternative to war but rather an alternative to peaceful negotiations by the Palestinian leadership. This is because the BDS movement is firmly opposed to the two-state solution. Omar Barghouti confirmed as much when he said “definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” Thus, the BDS movement makes it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to accept the kind of painful compromises that both sides must agree to if there is to be a negotiated resolution.

Together with other efforts to delegitimate and isolate Israel, BDS also sends a false message to the Palestinian street: namely, that international economic and political pressure can force Israel to capitulate to all Palestinian demands, without any compromise on territorial issues. In turn, this disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from accepting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s offer to begin immediate negotiations with no preconditions.

Such discussions are particularly important now, to halt the gruesome cycle of violence that has intensified in recent weeks. Both sides must return to the negotiations table, and both must be willing to make concessions. For the Israelis this means rolling back settlemesettlements, and granting greater autonomy to the West Bank; for the Palestinian Authority, it means renouncing violence against Israeli civilians, disavowing Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and accepting the need for territorial compromise with land swaps.

BDS opposes any effort at negotiation that isn’t premised on the recognition that Israel is an apartheid state. Indeed, many of its leaders refuse to recognize the right for Israel to exist as a nation-state for the Jewish people. In so doing, they are empowering radicals on both sides of the issue who have no desire to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Many liberal activists such as Mr. Tatchell—whose advocacy on behalf of LGBT rights I greatly admire—have made common cause with BDS, hoping to pressure Israel to end the occupation, and afford greater self-determination to Palestinians in the West Bank. They seem to believe that a movement advocating non-violent tactics is necessarily the best way to achieve a lasting peace. But BDS is radically opposed to any negotiated settlement, and has increasingly begun to regroup bigots of all stripes who feel comfortable with the language used by its leaders, such Mr. Barghouti.

Mr. Tatchell and many pro-BDS academics also feel that Israel has committed human rights violations both in the occupation of the West Bank, and in its prosecution of the armed conflicts in Gaza. During the course of the debate I issued the following challenge to the audience and to my opponent: name a single country in the history of the world, faced with threats comparable to those faced by Israel, that has a better record of human rights, compliance with the rule of law and seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

I invited audience members to shout out the name of a country. Complete silence.  Finally someone shouted “Iceland”, and everyone laughed.  When the best is treated as the worst, in the way the BDS movement singles out Israel for accusation, the finger of blame must be pointed at the accusers rather than the accused. In the end, the case against BDS won not because of the comparative skill of the debaters but because I was able to expose the moral weakness of the BDS movement itself.

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Analysis: Lone wolf terrorism and social media

An excellent and thorough analysis of the recent wave of terrorism in Israel.

terror social mediaThe Jerusalem Post (Nov 1) —  Israel is in the throes of a nationalist and religion-driven wave of terror fueled by incitement falsely accusing it of desecrating the al-Aqsa Mosque and changing the status quo on Jerusalem’s holy Temple Mount.

This kind of propaganda had been disseminated for some time by Palestinian terrorist organizations, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But their inflammatory messages received a tailwind when senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and other Arab leaders joined the chorus, urging Israel not to “contaminate” the Temple Mount. This mainstream voice was the catalyst that drove inflamed young people into the streets, taking the law into their own hands and randomly wounding and killing Israelis.

The current wave of terror started as a succession of terrorist attacks carried out primarily by “lone wolves,” using knives and axes or ramming vehicles into bystanders.

By any rational cost-benefit analysis, the initial wave seems to have failed. In most cases, the terrorist perpetrators were killed, wounded or captured, and the strategic damage they were able to inflict was limited.

As a result, the Palestinian terrorist organizations led by Hamas stepped up their incitement on the Web and published instructions on how the attackers could be more effective. The instructions are usually accompanied by video clips with recommendations on the kind of knives to use, where to stab the victims, from which angle to attack and so on. In some instances, the terrorist organizations suggest attacking in pairs or larger groups, seizing rifles from prospective military victims and opening fire in all directions.

This institutional incitement and training via the Web reflects only one aspect of the growing importance of the social media in the current wave of terror. The social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, are used by many of the young terrorists as a platform to convey their thoughts, feelings and political messages before leaving for their attacks.

Some see this as a way of putting their suicidal actions in the desired context, stressing their supreme sacrifice and altruism.

Their words serve as a kind of spiritual last will and testament, guiding friends and family on how to act after their deaths. Without these messages, the terrorist acts they are about to commit might lose their meaning and quickly sink into oblivion in the maelstrom of conflict-related events.

Another aspect, no less important, is the glorification bestowed by the social media on the lone wolves in the wake of their terrorist acts. Spurred on by the terrorist organizations and their supporters, the networks promote escalation and encourage other potential terrorists to attack.

Each terrorist act becomes a model for emulation, sparking a vicious cycle that is fueling a terrorist epidemic.

With regard to the number of dead and wounded and the degree of damage they cause, the lone wolf attacks are limited compared to the use of explosive charges, shootings or suicide bombings. But they are more difficult to prevent because of the inherent lack of early warning intelligence. As opposed to attacks by terrorist organizations, in which there are usually a number of people in on the secret and involved in the initiating, planning, preparation and implementation, making it possible for security forces to glean intelligence through infiltration of the terrorist chain and foil attacks before they are carried out, “private initiative” terror begins and ends in the teeming brain of the individual terrorist, with nobody else in the know.

Nevertheless, the current wave of terror points to the fact that gathering open intelligence in the public domain, especially through monitoring of the social networks, could become an effective and practical substitute for traditional intelligence gathering. This could help address the intelligence lacunae in the case of lone wolf terror and, in some cases, provide an early warning of lone wolf terrorist plans.

Moreover, the incitement and instructional activities of the terrorist organizations and their supporters out on the Web could also prove to be an Achilles heel. This could also be exploited to thwart some of the terrorist attacks. In other words, while the social media networks play a significant role in the initiation, guidance and escalation of knife-wielding terror, they could also be key in thwarting or preempting terrorist acts.

Nevertheless, we need to be absolutely clear that the current wave of terror will only subside after the incitement abates and the messages from the Palestinian leadership to the Palestinian public change. And since it is totally unrealistic to expect the terrorist organizations to make any such changes, we should concentrate our efforts on PA and Arab leaders, especially Jordan’s King Abdullah and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

These two leaders adding their voices to the plaintive cries of the Palestinian terrorist organizations over the ostensible danger to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleged changes to the status quo on the Temple Mount was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The change in their messages sparked the eruption of terrorist knifings because it signaled the mainstream’s joining the extremist bandwagon.

The reaction of the street was not slow in coming. Therefore, conversely, those two leaders, especially Abdullah, could play an important role in halting the terror.

They could issue a public call to end the violence, as soon as they are convinced that there is no danger to al-Aqsa and that there is no intention of changing the status quo.

For that it is not enough for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that Israel hasn’t changed and does not intend to change the status quo. He has already done so several times.

As a confidence-building measure and gesture toward Abdullah, he should declare publicly and in detail what the principles of the status quo acceptable to the parties have been up until now, and solemnly pledge that they will remain exactly the same in future. His endorsement of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s understanding of the status quo, backed up by closed-circuit television cameras monitoring every move on the mount and broadcasting directly to the king’s palace in Amman, is a step in the right direction.

Now, if he so wishes, Abdullah could, as he has done in the past, quickly transform the Arab and Palestinian discourse and help restore order.

Prof. Boaz Ganor, the founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), is the dean and the Ronald S. Lauder chair in Counter-Terrorism at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

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Boycott and Palestinian rejectionism are the enemy of peace

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Ynet (Nov 1) —  Op-ed: In an article in The Washington Post, Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl claim they support the boycott against Israel for their love of Israel. But one cannot reach a peace agreement by supporting a campaign that opposes any peace agreement.

60886300991797640360no“When we say ’67 borders, we know that the greater goal is the end of Israel… Don’t say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself” – Abbas Zaki, Senior PLO official, Al-Jazeera, Sep. 2011.

“Muslims’ destiny is to kill Jews. Resurrection will come only after Jews are killed by Muslims” – the principal Palestinian Authority religious leader, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, Jan. 2012.

We can keep on. It isn’t Hamas. It’s the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA). When we read and hear this almost daily incitement, it isn’t simple for us, Israelis who strive for peace, who are willing to make painful concessions, to change public opinion.

From the south we have Hamas. From the north we have Hezbollah, and the Islamic State is coming closer. From the east we have the PA, where one of its senior officials is telling us that the ’67 boarders, for them, means the end of Israel.

Yes, we have to strive for peace. We cannot allow ourselves to give up. Peace is needed. But nothing is simple.

For two Jewish Zionists who love Israel, as they define themselves, everything is simple. They published an article supporting the boycott against Israel (“We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel,” by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl, Washington Post, October 23, 2015). For them, reality, incitement, Palestinian refusal to make peace – shouldn’t be taken into account. Israel is the only player in the blame game. But for many others, reality should be part of the story. So let’s face some facts.

We can assume that the writers are very familiar with the boycott campaign against Israel, which is active on many campuses in the United States. The campaign has clear goals and excellent speakers. The campaign, publicly and openly, is not seeking a peace settlement or solution of two states for two peoples. One of the three main goals of the campaign is the “right of return,” which means the destruction of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. This is not an interpretation. These are the explicit and declared goals of the heads and spokesmen of the campaign, as Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah, or as Professor As’ad Abu Khalil, declare: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel … That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject.”

So it’s a bit strange to support the right of Jews to a state and at the same time to support the world’s most prominent campaign which seeks the destruction of this very state.

The main justification of the writers for the boycott is the continuation of the occupation. In their opinion, this proves that the occupation is not temporary, but permanent. We can and should expect the two authors to know what happened over the last two decades.

In late 2000, then-President Clinton presented parameters which described the basis for a peace agreement: Two states for two peoples, Israeli withdrawal from 95 percent of the territories (the settlement blocs include only about five percent), the partition of Jerusalem, and a solution to the refugee problem.

Israel accepted the plan. Arafat arrived in Washington to give the Palestinian response. Before going to the White House, Arafat met with diplomats from Arab states, led by Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who supported the initiative. At the end of the meeting, Bin Sultan said to Arafat: “If your answer is negative, it will not be a tragedy. It will be a crime” (The New Yorker, March 24, 2003). Arafat went to the White House, and committed a crime.

This happened again in 2008, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert submitted a similar proposal. The Palestinian answer, again, was negative. According to Condoleezza Rice, Abbas insisted on the return of “four million refugees,” not to the proposed Palestinian state, but to Israel proper.

In between, Israel carried out a unilateral disengagement from Gaza. The Palestinians could have seized the opportunity to promote welfare and prosperity. But, led by Hamas, they chose to establish an industry of death, rockets, hatred and terrorism. They did not refuse the proposals of Israel. They refused the offer of the Quartet, which offered them hope and huge investments. They chose violence.

The two authors indicate the increase in the number of settlers. Criticism of the settlements is justified. But it should be clear: The increase in settler population is limited, almost entirely, to those living in the big blocs of settlements, which will remain part of Israel according to any peace initiative. But when the basic facts are not clear, the impression is that the settlements are an obstacle to peace. The settlements are a problem. The Israeli government deserves criticism. But this is not an obstacle to peace.

The authors cite Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who said that that control of the West Bank is “not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism.” Well, Rivlin supports the “one state solution,” supported by a small fraction of the ideological right and the radical left. But it isn’t clear why the authors give credence to a person who holds a symbolic position, while at the same time, ignoring the official Israeli position presented, again and again, in all negotiations, over the last 15 years.

The authors admit that Israel “is hardly the world’s worst human rights violator”. They even admit that “boycotting Israel is double standard”. But they excuse it with their love for Israel.

This is an interesting argument. When haters demand a boycott, they do it because they deny the right of Israel to exist. When lovers of Israel do it, they suffocate Israel with their love. The result is the same. But what is more interesting is that there is no Palestinian or Arab movement that will demand self-responsibility from the Palestinian leadership. No calls for a boycott of the Palestinian Authority even if time and again the Palestinian leadership refused any settlement based on the idea of two states for two peoples. No calls for a boycott of the Palestinian Authority even though it makes monthly payments to terrorist murderers of Jews, including members of Hamas, who are sitting in prisons. There is no call for a boycott against the PA that continues to fund anti-Semitic incitement against Israel.

There is something very racist about the absolute exemption from criticism granted to the Palestinian side, but obsessive criticism, directed to the Israeli side. The day when supporters of peace understand that the Palestinian side has some responsibility; the day when they demand that Palestinians end incitement and terrorist funding – will be a better day for the prospect of peace.

We can assume the authors have good intentions. They strive for peace. But their way is wrong. One cannot reach a peace agreement by supporting a campaign that opposes any peace agreement. One cannot stop the occupation by ignoring Palestinian rejectionism of the two states for two peoples solution. You cannot support a campaign that opposes the existence of Israel and claim that this is due to your love of Israel.

Peace is the enemy of the boycott campaign, and the boycott campaign is the enemy of peace.

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Israelis are being stabbed to death in the streets of Jerusalem − why doesn’t anyone care?

He is writing about the media in the UK, but it is just as applicable to the mainstream media throughout Europe.

By Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London.

Palestinian students cover their faces and hold up axes as a fellow protester waves a national flag during an anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah Said Khatib/ AFP

Palestinian students cover their faces and hold up axes as a fellow protester waves a national flag during an anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah
Said Khatib/ AFP

International Business Times (Oct 30) — October was a bloody month in Israel, with over 50 terror attacks, mostly involving stabbings, but also using firearms and vehicles. Over 100 Israelis were injured, 14 in a serious condition, and 11 were murdered. Many of the Palestinian perpetrators died in the attacks, some were teens, motivated by religious incitement and lies concerning the site known as al-Aqsa to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews.

Here in London, the past few weeks have felt like a veil was lifted over political-correctness and a veneer of journalistic practice with regards to Israel. This was no Gaza operation, not a drone war, nor an exchange of unequal firepower. The facts were clear and simple: Israelis, from children to the elderly, were being murdered in broad daylight in towns across the country.

Yet the media does not seem to get it right even under these circumstances. Headlines still run as “Israeli police shoot Palestinian”, then change to “Palestinian shot in knife attack”, and again to “Woman who planned knife attack shot dead” (she didn’t just plan it, she actually carried it out). An Israeli whose car is stoned with rocks steps out and “pays with his life for attacking Palestinian trucks”, while a terrorist “becomes seventh Palestinian killed by security forces after Jerusalem stabbing”.

All of the above headlines are real, and all were subsequently corrected; some of them undergoing three or four different versions, reflecting the clear fact that editors understood that they did not make sense, simply did not reflect reality on the ground. Yet these corrections ensued, week after week, as if media outlets were unwilling to accept reality and forgo their automatic mode of reporting on the region, in which Palestinians must play the role of victims, and Israelis the aggressors.

Anti-Israel groups also seemed confused by the situation, and so they did the only thing they know how to do − call for a protest outside the Israeli Embassy. Under the vague banner of “Protest for Palestine”, last week we saw the familiar scenes of Hamas and Hezbollah flags, and of people telling an Israeli journalist that “all Zionists should be killed”. Thankfully, his equipment wasn’t trashed this time, as it was in last month’s “peaceful protest”.

Countless headlines were corrected this month, nearly one for every deadly terror attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian incitement was dismissed by some as “an Israeli line”, a “distraction”.

Radical clerics brandishing knives and holding up explosive belts, Hamas spokesmen acting as cheerleaders for terror attacks, and Palestinian radio playing songs of praise to the “martyrs”, were of little interest to a media focused only on Israeli actions.

The willingness to disregard reality, to display this level of animosity toward Israel at a time when its civilians were facing a wave of rampant terror, sends a clear message: “Your lives are of no interest to us”.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t conform to the attitude of the media, as we’ve seen in Syria, where civilians continue to die regardless of scant media coverage, or Gaza, whose population continues to suffer under Hamas even today.

When we read headlines focusing on Israel’s in-the-moment response to murderous Palestinian terrorism, rather than on the terrorist stabbings and shootings themselves, I wonder precisely what such people expect from Israelis? When a television presenter asks Jerusalem’s mayor if carrying a gun to protect oneself from a stabbing wasn’t “excessive”? Do they wish for Israelis to passively accept the terrorist’s knife in their chest, and not defend themselves lest this provokes another negative headline or protest abroad?

Solidarity and sympathy with Palestinians aside, what we have witnessed these past weeks has looked like solidarity with murderous Palestinian knife-wielders, mixed with callousness towards innocent Israelis’ lives.

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Swedish MEP: All EU funds to the Palestinian territories should be conditional

By Lars Adaktusson, a Swedish Member of the EU Parliament for the Christian Democratic Party:

Monies from the EU should be conditional on the PA’s renouncement of hate and incitement to violence.

IsraelNationalNews (Oct 28) — In the European Parliament, when the name of Israel is muttered, the next two words that usually follow are “settlements” and “occupation.”

The European Union’s obsession with Jewish settlement construction in the “West Bank” has been the main drive behind all the recent initiatives spearheaded by the European External Action Service (EEAS), starting with the EU Guidelines on Israeli entities based outside the Green Line from December 2013 and continuing with the EU labelling of products coming out of the settlements and other similar measures. They are also allegedly the main reason why some of my own colleagues sitting in the parliament are calling for a suspension of the Association Agreement with Israel.

Here in Europe, settlements are seen as the major stumbling block for the restart of peace talks. Admittedly, building new housing in the settlements does have a counterproductive effect when it comes to confidence building measures between the parties and I for one have pointed out the need to respect international law. However, the complex nature of the settlements, the differentiation between outposts and building housing in an area already agreed to be part of the land swaps are nuances that should be considered if you choose to tackle them as one of the core conflict issues.

The Quartet Principals meeting from Vienna last Friday and Mahmoud Abbas visit to Brussels on Monday are likely to produce a set of statements about measures that should be taken by both sides to de-escalate the tensions.  We don’t however expect them to tackle head-on a key and core issue of the conflict, that of Palestinian incitement. 

The ‘lone wolf’ attacks that we have witnessed in the last few weeks carried out against Israeli citizens have not only instilled a deep mistrust towards Israeli Arabs and East Jerusalem Arab residents, but have set the peace process way back. These attacks are symptomatic of a malaise in Palestinian society that the international partners, and Europe, in particular, have been trying to duck for several decades: Hate speech and incitement to violence.

For sure, this is not as quantifiable or traceable as housing construction in settlements, roadblocks or checkpoints, and yes, it will take a long-term policy oriented approach that the European governments have proven to date they lack an appetite for, particularly in matters of foreign affairs.  Nevertheless, hate speech and incitement to terror are at the core of the conflict as much as partition of land is.

The Government of Israel has been addressing the Palestinian concerns for the last couple of weeks: reiterating that they do not seek a change in the status-quo of the Al Aqsa mosque and calling for a restart of the peace process in the midst of bus attacks, car ramming killings, stabbings and stone throwing. This is not about perceptual politics, rather showing that as a government, your first duty is to protect the lives and welfare of all your citizens.

Mahmoud Abbas’ on the other hand comes from the opposite school of thought. He keeps being silent on condemning his own people when resorting to Islamic extremism and petitions UNESCO to make the Western Wall as part of the Al Aqsa compound on Temple Mount. How is this helping to calm things down? Mr Abbas’ rhetoric reminds us of something that we are starting to be familiar with also here in Europe, the rise of divisive populist politics. 

As with all politicians, myself included, our rhetoric needs to fall in line with what the population expects and demands of us. Let’s make the following mental exercise:  mute for a moment the TV commentators and let’s look at the images in front of our eyes. Why do Palestinians always seem to resort to inflammatory language and violence?

The EU should stop tiptoeing around this issue by continuing to make large wire transfers to the PA bank account in the hope that they know best how to deal with extremist elements in their society. We need to be assertive.

We need to support and facilitate activities and projects that foster respect for human values in Palestinian society whilst also ensuring that the rise of a new political class in the West Bank would put an end to the PA’s self-destructive playbook.

Extremist elements are gaining more and more ground amongst Israeli Arabs, in West Bank and Gaza.  We have all seen the clips released by Islamic State calling to “turn them (jews) into rotten corpses”, while Hamas is planning to carry suicide attacks from its cells in Hebron and Nablus.

Lastly, it is evident that Europe should not allow itself to be drawn into the blame game. However European leaders should call things as they are and stop the ever-present balancing act of politically correctness.

While we are engaged in state-building measures, with funds and expertise, we should condition all the EU funds for the territories on an actual Palestinian renouncement to hate and incitement to violence. Building a Palestinian society who will see cutting people’s throats as abhorrent as it is for any western society is not a pro-Israeli position. It falls into the oft forgotten category: the right thing to do.

Our aspiring mediators or policy trend-setters should do just that, make sure cool heads prevail and focus on issues that would actually make a difference, such as Palestinian reconciliation and measures that would strengthen a civil society ready to live in peace side by side.

Until it does that, I fear the PA playbook will continue to prevail.

MEP Lars Adaktusson is Vice Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Afghanistan and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Former Middle East correspondent for Swedish media, he is also one EIPA (Europe Israel Public Affairs) Advisory Board members.

Ending a Century of Palestinian Rejectionism

By Daniel Pipes for the Washington Times (Oct 28) — Palestinians are on the wrong track and will not get off it until the outside world demands better of them.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini inspecting Axis troops.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini inspecting Axis troops.

News comes every year or two of a campaign of violence spurred by Palestinian political and religious leaders spreading wild-eyed conspiracy theories (the favorite: Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is under threat). A spasm of unprovoked violence against Israelis then follows: rocket attacks from Gaza, car-rammings in Israel proper, stone-throwing in the West Bank, street stabbings in Jerusalem. Eventually the paroxysm peters out, only to start up again not too much later.

True, these bouts of violence bring some gains to the Palestinians; in the United Nations, in faculty lounges, and on the streets of Western cities they win support against Israel. Each round ends, however, with the Palestinians in a worse place in terms of dead and wounded, buildings destroyed and an economy in tatters.

Further, their immoral and barbaric actions harden Israeli opinion, making the prospect of concessions and compromise that much less likely. The cheery Israeli hopes of two decades ago for a “partner for peace” and a “New Middle East” long ago gave way to a despair of finding acceptance. As a result, security fences are going up all over, even in Jerusalem, to protect Israelis who increasingly believe that separation, not cooperation, is the way forward.

It may be exhilarating for Palestinians to watch UNESCO condemn Israel for this and that, as it just did, but its actions serve more as theater than as practical steps toward conflict resolution.

Whence comes this insistence on self-defeating tactics?

It dates back nearly a century, to the seminal years 1920-21. In April 1920, as a gesture to the Zionists, the British government created a region called “Palestine” designed to be the eventual “national home for the Jewish people”; then, in May 1921, it appointed Amin al-Husseini (1895-1974) as mufti of Jerusalem, a dreadful decision whose repercussions still reverberate today.

Husseini harbored a monstrous hostility toward Jews; as Klaus Gensicke puts it in his important 2007 study, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, Husseini’s “hatred of Jews knew no mercy and he always intervened with particular zeal whenever he feared that some of the Jews could escape annihilation.” Toward this end, he initiated an uncompromising campaign of rejectionism – the intent to eliminate every vestige of Jewish presence in Palestine – and used any and all tactics toward this foul end.

For example, he can be largely held responsibility for the Middle East’s endemic antisemitism, having spread the antisemitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the blood libel, and Holocaust denial throughout the region. His other legacies include making Jerusalem into the flashpoint it remains today; spreading many of the anti-Zionist conspiracy theories that afflict the Middle East; and being one of the first Islamists to call for jihad.

He encouraged and organized unprovoked violence against the British and the Jews, including a three-year long intifada in 1936-39. Then he worked with the Nazis, living in Germany during the war years, 1941-45, proving so useful that he earned an audience with Hitler. Nor was this a courtesy visit; as Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu correctly pointed out on Oct. 20, Husseini had a central role in formulating the Final Solution that led eventually to the murder of six million Jews.

Husseini tutored his then-young relative, the future Yasir Arafat, and Arafat faithfully carried out the mufti’s program for 35 years, after which his apparatchik Mahmoud Abbas keeps the legacy alive. In other words, Husseini’s rejectionism still dominates the Palestinian Authority. In addition, he spent the post-war years in Egypt, where he influenced the Muslim Brotherhood whose its Hamas spin-off also bears his hallmark rejectionism. Thus do both principal Palestinian movements pursue his murderous and self-defeating methods.

Only when the Palestinians emerge from the cloud of Husseini’s dark legacy can they begin to work with Israel rather than fight it; build their own polity, society, economy, and culture rather than try to destroy Israel’s; and become a positive influence rather than the nihilistic force of today.

And how will that happen? If the outside world, as symbolized by UNESCO, stops encouraging the Palestinians’ execrable behavior and impeding Israeli defenses against it. Only when Palestinians realize they will not be rewarded for homicidal conduct will they stop their campaign of violence and start to come to terms with the Jewish state.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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