Threat of violence silences Palestinian journalists

Note: “The resistance” is a Palestinian code-word for terrorist organizations.

Palestinian journalists hold placards during a demonstration in support of reporters detained by Hamas in Gaza and to ask for their immediate release in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 27, 2013.  (photo by Getty Images / Abbas Momani)

Palestinian journalists hold placards during a demonstration in support of reporters detained by Hamas in Gaza and to ask for their immediate release in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 27, 2013. (photo by Getty Images / Abbas Momani)

Al Monitor (Feb 7) — GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — How loud is the voice you hear when you sit down to write a press report? How small is the prison cell you imagine yourself ending up in once you publish your article? The man you imagine pointing a gun at your head, is he wearing a mask? These are thoughts that lead one to delete the most important and powerful piece of information from an article. Some thoughts even lead you to delete the article entirely.

A late 2014 study by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms found that 80% of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza practice self-censorship of their writing.

Journalist Ghazi Bani Odeh, who conducted the survey, “The Official Media and Freedom of Expression,” told Al-Monitor that attacks and harassment, and thus fear of them, are the main causes leading journalists to censor themselves.

He told Al-Monitor, “There is no difference between the violations [against journalists] committed in the West Bank and those committed in Gaza, as journalists are equally suppressed, thus leading them to examine every word they write.”

The Internal Security forces under the Gaza Ministry of Interior sent young journalist Youssef Hammad a notice requesting him to appear at its headquarters Dec. 30, 2014. Hammad, who works for Al-Watan Radio and some local websites, told Al-Monitor of his visit: “They threatened me. They said it was the last warning and that if I ever criticize Hamas again in my articles, they will break my knees.” 

Hammad said that previously he had received a notice from the Government Information Office run by Hamas. “They asked me about an investigative report I wrote about the conflict in mosques between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This shows that there is no freedom of expression or freedom of the press. There is no security apparatus in the world that believes in these freedoms,” he stated.

Hammad said he tries to resist censorsing himself, “But when I remember two years ago, when the security forces attacked me at a march [I was covering] and left me with a head injury, I control myself when I write. It’s a self-defensive reflex.”

Mohammed Othman, a freelance journalist who writes for Al-Monitor, was physically assaulted and threatened at the headquarters of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) on Jan. 5. According to Othman, he had published a report about the killing of people accused of collaborating with Israel during the 2014 war. After publication of the report on the web, which contained information provided by a PRC​ spokesman, the spokesman asked Othman to withdraw the statements. When he refused, he was assaulted. Othman said, “Due to pressure and fear for my safety, Al-Quds TV decided not to publish the video of the interview [with the spokesman] after I was attacked.”

According to the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedoms, in January there were three episodes involving journalists being detained by West Bank security forces and two involving Gaza security, in addition to two attacks in Gaza resulting from lawlessness. One of the latter incidents involved the journalist Maha Abu Omer, who was severely beaten by an unknown man while walking down the street.

Fathi Sabah, who writes for Al-Hayat, said that self-censorship is the name of the game for every Palestinian journalist. According to him, there is a policeman in the mind of every reporter in the West Bank or in Gaza.

“I think that self-censorship is constantly present when a journalist writes about domestic affairs and deals with sensitive issues such as family honor, incest, [social] division or political, administrative and financial corruption plaguing authorities and government departments and structures,” he told Al-Monitor.

Sabah said journalists practice self-censorship amid a great deal of frustration and despair, which sometimes curbs their desire to work. This raises the issue of the point of writing: What is the point if not to make an impact or contribute to changing situations for the better.

“Journalists here fear the threats of parties, officials and families given the absence of the rule of law, the lack of respect for human freedom and the spread of chaos and lawlessness,” Sabah said. He admitted that he practices self-censorship whenever he writes about certain issues related to the resistance, especially after he received several anonymous threats by phone and on Facebook, including death threats.

Khalil Shaheen, director of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Unit at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said that journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have faced actual shootings and beatings, in addition to threats, throughout the eight-year Hamas-Fatah split, leading them to apply some sort of self-control in their work.

“They stop writing about sensitive issues, and they no longer pursue investigative journalism. Moreover, there is a kind of indifference because of fear of abuse, but there are rare journalists who have always rejected any tendency toward control for the sake of adventure,” he said.

Individual self-censorship might be a choice, but it is currently a pervasive type of control. It is so prevalent that journalists who do not censor themselves might be taken for troublemakers or nonprofessional journalists.

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Reflections on the terror in Paris

An excellent and very important op-ed about terrorism and the Western world’s fight against it.

875PJ Media (Jan 16) — The Islamic world is currently in the midst of a great historic convulsion. This process is giving birth to political trends and movements of a murderously violent nature. These movements offer a supposed escape route from the humiliation felt at the profound societal failure of the Arab and to a slightly lesser extent the broader Muslim world.

The escape is by way of the most violent and intolerant historic trends of Islam, into a mythologized and imagined past. The route to this old-new imagined utopia is a bloody one. All who oppose or even slight it must die. The simple and brutal laws of 7th century Muslim Arabia are re-applied, in their literal sense. The events of last week in Paris were a manifestation of this trend.

These trends exist not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. Because of mass immigration from the Arab and Muslim world to western European countries, they are also powerful and present in immigrant communities in these countries. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Coulibaly are the latest, and no doubt not the last representatives of this political world to impose themselves on us.

The political trend in question is called political Islam. It manifests itself in its most extreme form in the rival global networks of the Al Qaeda movement and the Islamic State. But these, alas, are only the sharp tip of a much larger iceberg.

Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. On the contrary, its adherents include heads of state, powerful economic interests and media groups, and prominent cultural figures. Some of these, absurdly, were even present at the “solidarity rally” in Paris.

They rendered this event an empty spectacle by their presence.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, for example, came to offer his solidarity to the victims of journalists murdered by Islamists in Paris, just two days after the Turkish courts sentenced a pianist to a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for five years, for the crime of “denigrating religion (ie Islam).” More urgently, Turkey has been an active supporter of both Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in northern Syria over the last three years. That is, Davutoglu was marching in condemnation of forces to which his own government has offered support.

Political Islam is a reaction to profound societal failure. It is also a flight into unreality. It has nothing practical to offer as an actual remedy to Arab and Islamic developmental problems. Economic, legal and societal models deriving from the 7th century Arabian desert are fairly obvious impediments to success in the 21st.

Where they are systematically imposed, as in the Islamic State, they will create something close to hell on earth. Where they remain present in more partial forms — as in Qatar, Gaza, Iran, (increasingly) Turkey, and so on — they will merely produce stifling, stagnant and repressive societies.

But the remedy for failure that political Islam offers is not a material one. It offers in generous portions the intoxicating psychological cocktail of murderous rage and self-assertion, and the desire to strike out and destroy those deemed enemies — infidels who transgress binding religious commandments, Jews and so on.

This is not the first time that Europe has encountered political phenomena based on murderous rage and utopias buried in the magical past. The European fascist movements produced precisely such a mix. But of course, this time around, the rage and the utopia derive not from European culture, but from an alien culture which has implanted itself among the Europeans.

Here is the second part of the problem. Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves. It is the irony of history that this sense of self is precisely of a type that is bound to keep their societies mired in failure. But history favors irony, and this sense nevertheless remains powerfully experienced and hence politically potent. In this respect, the modern Islamic world resembles western Europe of 80 or 90 years ago, but not the contemporary continent.

In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering, by contrast, from a profound loss of self. No one, at least in the mainstream of politics and culture, seems able to quite articulate what western European countries are for, or what they oppose — at least beyond a sort of vapid belief in everyone doing what they want and not bothering each other.

The result is that when violent political Islam collides with the satiated, lost societies of western Europe, the response is not defiance on the part of the latter, but rather fear.

This fear, as fear is wont to do, manifests itself in various, not particularly edifying, ways.

The most obvious is avoidance (“the attacks had nothing to do with Islam,” “unemployment and poverty are the root cause,” “the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state,” etc etc).

Another is appeasement — “maybe if we give them some of what they want, they’ll leave us alone.”

This response perhaps partially explains the notable adoption in parts of western Europe of the anti-Jewish prejudice so prevalent in the Islamic world.

The ennui of the western European mainstream will almost certainly prevent the adoption of the very tough measures which alone might serve to adequately address the burgeoning problem of large numbers of young European Muslims committed to political Islam and to violence against their host societies.

Such measures — which would include tighter surveillance and policing of communities, quick deportations of incendiary preachers, revocation of citizenship for those engaged in violence, possible imprisonment of suspects and so on — would require a political will which is manifestly absent. So it wont happen. So the events of Paris will almost certainly recur.

And lastly, since the elites will not be able to produce resistance, it will come from outside of the elites. Hence the growth of populist, nationalist parties and movements in western Europe. But Europe being what it is, such revivalist movements are likely to contain a hefty dose of the xenophobia and bigotry which characterized the continent of old.

None of this can, at present, be discussed in polite European society. But all of it is fairly obvious. For this reason, Europe’s Jews are at present warily eying the door. As someone who was born in western Europe, and left it 25 years ago for Israel, I am happy to conclude that as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of many, Europe’s Jews are this time around neither defenseless nor alone. Nor will their blood be free to be taken with impunity.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

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Hamas, Palestinian Authority Step Up Human Rights Violations

Palestinian Authority riot police clash with protesting women in Hebron, October 2014.

Palestinian Authority riot police clash with protesting women in Hebron, October 2014.

For the Gatestone Institute by Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, who is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

  • Both the PA and Hamas know that they can continue to violate the human rights of their people because the international community simply does not care about Palestinians who are being targeted by their own governments. The international community cares about human rights violations only when Israel could be held responsible.
  • It would be a good idea if the international community and media stopped turning a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Abbas wants the world to support the creation of a dictatorship where people are arrested and intimidated for expressing their views in public. He is also asking the world to support a Palestinian state where Hamas is torturing Palestinians.
  • While the PA is accusing Hamas of human rights violations, its security forces in the West Bank continue to crack down on freedom of expression.
  • During the past two weeks, the PA has summoned for interrogation more than 20 Palestinians over their postings on Facebook. Most are university students suspected of posting comments in favor of Hamas or criticizing the PA. In recent weeks, PA security forces in the West Bank have arrested more than 25 university students on charges of criticizing Palestinian leaders in Ramallah or voicing support for Hamas.
  • “You can still see the bruises on their bodies. They were subjected to harsh torture.” — Hisham Sakallah, Palestinian writer, on Hamas interrogators beating Fatah officials with plastic hoses.
  • Last week, Hamas authorities arrested several Fatah leaders in Gaza and stripped them to their underwear, forcing them to stand in the cold for several hours. According to Palestinian writer Hisham Sakallah, Hamas interrogators also severely beat the Fatah officials with plastic hoses.

 Click here for full article.

Open letter to the French President by a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah

10917038_10152649424352689_2905776401352818823_nPublished at the Gatestone Institute (Jan 15):

Your Excellency, many Palestinians nearly fell off their chairs upon seeing their president march at the front row of a rally in your capital to protest against terrorism and assaults on freedom of the media.

Undoubtedly, you are unaware of the fact that President Abbas is personally responsible for punishing Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize him or express their views in public. Every day we see that the Western media, including French newspapers and magazines, does not care about such violations unless they are committed by Israel.

Your Excellency, you are completely mistaken if you believe that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are tolerant toward satire or any form of criticism. While he was attending the rally, a human rights group published a report accusing the Palestinian Authority of “waging war” against university students in the West Bank.

President Abbas has managed once again to deceive you and the rest of the international community. He now has managed to create the false impression that he cares about freedom of speech and independent journalism

Palestinians like me will now pay a heaver price because Abbas has been emboldened and will now step up his assaults. France will be helping to establish another corrupt and repressive Arab dictatorship — one that glorifies and rewards terrorists no different from those who carried out the Paris attacks.

I hope now your Excellency understands why I am too scared to reveal my identity.

Click here for the full open letter.

Paris terror attacks: The fruits of cowardice and appeasement

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 17) — The ill winds that have been gathering over Europe became a tornado last week in Paris with the barbaric Charlie Hebdo massacre, followed by the horrific terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket – a total of 17 dead in three days. But alas, the horror will in all likelihood soon recede and life will continue as usual until the next attack.

…  Western governments have yet to internalize the reality that what happened in Paris was not merely another instance of “terrorism” but a classic manifestation of the “clash of civilizations.”

Aside from murderous attacks primarily directed against Jews in Europe over recent months, there have been ongoing massacres and atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists throughout the world.

To name a few: the butchering of 2,000 Nigerians in the wake of the Boko Haram enslavement of 300 schoolgirls; the murder of 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, by the Taliban; the barbaric videos broadcast of hostages being decapitated; ongoing mass murder in Syria and Iraq; oppression of women; and gruesome persecution, expulsion and murder of Christians in the Middle East.

Today, as the global impact of Islamic fundamentalism grows exponentially, with increasing manifestations of brutal terrorism, Western leaders lack the courage to even identify the enemy. It has ominous parallels to the struggle with Nazism. Then as now, Western governments initially sought to avoid conflict by appeasing the barbarians – which only served to embolden them.

…  THROUGHOUT THE world, jihadist mullahs and preachers promote hatred and extremism. In European cities, second-generation homegrown Muslims and converts are indoctrinated to endorse and in some cases participate in jihad and the murder of infidels. Those who convert are not necessarily from the underprivileged classes, but “ideologues,” many of whom belong to comfortable middle class families and are university graduates.

But worse has been the unspoken acquiescence of most governments and the media, preventing any meaningful discussion of the threat from Islamic extremism. Apart from downplaying and often even denying the overriding Islamic element in acts of terrorism, governments and media have disgracefully branded as “Islamophobic” any serious effort to discuss and analyze the problem, even promoting “hate speech” legislation to stifle any such public discussion.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference has attempted to make blasphemy (i.e., criticism of Islam) a crime in international law.

They have been further emboldened by the failure to immediately prosecute Islamic extremists who threaten violence against those who express criticism of or dishonor Islam. What is truly ironic is that many of those on the Left who normally endorse the crudest outbursts against Christianity and Judaism are the first to accuse any critics of Islam of Islamophobia, and display far greater concern for the sensitivities of Muslims.

…  Ironically, in a historic and critical New Year’s address, largely ignored by the mainstream press, Sisi [Egypt’s democratically elected President] publicly expressed what Obama and Western leaders have been denying. He stated explicitly that jihadism and terrorism were linked to “the corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries.” He warned that this was “antagonizing the entire world,” that “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed… by our own hands,” and that “we are in need of a religious revolution.”

…  For Jews, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. The virulence of the anti-Semitic hatred closing in on Jews in Europe (and elsewhere) is horrifying. Robert Wistrich, the world’s leading scholar on anti-Semitism, says that anti-Semitism in France is now in “an advanced stage of disease” that cannot be reversed. There were a series of anti-Semitic murders in France and Belgium preceding the Paris massacre but they failed to raise the same level of outrage as the Charlie Hebdo murders. There were no popular campaigns saying “Je suis Juif.” Indeed there seemed to be greater concern about “Islamophobia” than the targeted Jewish victims.

Europe is today facing a crisis as serious as the confrontation with Nazism. If Western leaders continue behaving like Chamberlain and fail to stand up to this global threat, it could usher in a new Dark Age in which the Judeo-Christian culture is subsumed by primitive barbarism. The writing is on the wall.

For Jews, the Zionist vision has once again been tragically vindicated.

The author’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@ leibler.com.

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Egypt prepares to destroy an additional 1,200 homes in Gaza

If you replace the word “Egypt” with “Israel” in that headline it would be on the front page of every newspaper in the world. But since it doesn’t say Israel, the media and the political elite couldn’t care less.

184975_345x230Ma’an News Agency (Jan 1) —  An Egyptian committee has finished surveying the homes of individuals living between 500-1,000 meters of the Gaza border in preparation for the extension of a buffer zone on the border to a width of 1,000 meters, Egyptian military sources said Friday.

The move comes after the destruction of hundreds of homes inside the 500-meter area previously, as part of a wider effort to ensure that the joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip be fully carried out.

The technical engineering committee that carried out the survey examined around 1,200 homes in the area in preparation for their demolition in the 13-kilometer long stretch of border territory.

Work on the buffer zone on the Egyptian side began in Feb. 2014, but was at the time slated to extend only about 300 meters in urban areas and 500 in rural areas.

After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October, however, the military stepped up the campaign to build the buffer zone amid accusations of Hamas support for the group that carried out the attack, which Hamas has strenuously denied.

Both sides of the border are densely populated as the city of Rafah originally extended in both directions, a growth that was the result of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula for more than a decade following the 1967 war.

In the early 2000s Israeli authorities demolished thousands of homes in Palestinian Rafah in order to create a 300-meter buffer zone on the Egypt border, but after the pull-out in 2005, many moved back into the area.

The Egyptian government, which has actively destroyed smuggling tunnels underneath the border and directly targeted Hamas since a military coup in summer 2013, has now promised to uproot as many as possible to ensure the creation of a buffer zone on its side.

The border area used to be host to hundreds of tunnels which Gazans used to import goods to get around the seven-year-old Israeli siege of the territory.

Click here for full article.

What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel

10428091_10152531838247689_8506865217398126978_nThe Atlantic (Dec 1) — Based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, I wrote for Tablet of the disproportionate media attention devoted to the conflict between Jews and Arabs relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones.

Last November at Al-Quds University, a mainstream Palestinian institution in east Jerusalem, a rally in support of the armed fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad featured a row of masked men whose stiff-armed salute was returned by some of the hundreds of students in attendance. The rally is interesting for the connection it makes between radical Islam here and elsewhere in the region. It could help explain why many perfectly rational Israelis fear withdrawing their military from east Jerusalem or the West Bank. The images from the demonstration were, as photo editors like to say, “strong.” The rally had all the necessary elements of a powerful news story.

The Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press was in possession of photos of the event a day later. Jerusalem editors decided that the images, and the rally, were not newsworthy. I mention such instances to show the way in which the pipeline of information is intentionally plugged.

Mark Lavie, who has reported from the region since 1972 until his retirement last year, recently told me the AP Jerusalem bureau’s editorial line was still that the conflict was Israel’s fault, and the Palestinians and the Arab world were blameless.

The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office – and AP wouldn’t report it, not even in articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff – and AP wouldn’t report it. Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying.

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Guardian deletes reference to Palestinians, CNN labels synagogue ‘mosque’, BBC: no pictures of victim of terror

World media coverage of Jerusalem terror attack raises eyebrows in Israel.

CNN Jerusalem terrorThe Jerusalem Post (Nov 18) — From mistaking the Har Nof synagogue where Tuesday’s terror attack took place for a mosque, to deleting references to Palestinian perpetrators, some of the international media continued to report on the events in Israel in an eyebrow-raising manner on Tuesday.

The website of British newspaper The Guardian ran a story about the attack from Reuters. The wire dispatch the agency sent included the headline ‘Palestinians kill four in Jerusalem synagogue attack’ and led with the sentence:  ”Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun killed four people in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before being shot dead by police….”

However The Guardian changed their headline to “Four worshippers killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue” and in their lead, they also excised any reference to Palestinians, publishing:  “Two men armed with axes, knives and a pistol have killed four Israelis and wounded several others in a Jerusalem synagogue …”

In another questionable slant on its coverage, CBC headline their report on the attack with: “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack.”
CNN headline gaffeIn a reporting gaffe, CNN superimposed their preliminary coverage of the terror attack with the headline: “Deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque.”

Click here for original source.

 

“BBC to Bennett: We don’t want to see victims of terrorism” November 14:

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A BBC interviewer refused to allow Economy Minister Naftali Bennett show a photograph of victims of the terrorist attack in Jerusalem in an interview Tuesday morning.

Bennett appeared on BBC World News after a Palestinian spokesman, who claimed that Jews were murdering Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The Bayit Yehudi leader responded: “The fact is that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] himself incites and tells the Arabs ‘take arms and fight the Jews.'”

Bennett’s comments echoed earlier remarks calling Abbas one of the biggest terrorists of the Palestinian people and blaming him for the bloodshed.

Then, Bennett lifted a photo of the scene of the terrorist attack, depicting a man in a tallit lying face down on the floor of a synagogue.

“You know, this individual came this morning to pray,” Bennett said, pointing at the man in the picture.

“We don’t want to actually see that picture, if you could take that down,” the interviewer shot back.

Bennett continued: “This individual came this morning to pray, just like many Muslims and many Jews went to pray this morning. The Muslims went home safe [sic], but four Jews will never come home again.”

The clip soon made waves on social media, after Bennett shared it.

British journalist Jake Wallis Simons, who was covered Israel extensively for The Telegraph, among other major news sources tweeted: “BBC refuses to show picture of murdered Jewish worshiper. Didn’t have a problem with dead Gazans, I recall.”

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The Two Words the PLO Doesn’t Want the Media to Use

It’s Judaism’s holiest site — but reporters are being told not to call it by its Jewish name.

Temple Mount compound with The Dome of the Rock

Temple Mount compound with The Dome of the Rock

TheBlaze (Nov 9) — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has issued an advisory to the international media expressing “concern” over reporters’ widespread use of the term “Temple Mount” which it called “inaccurate” when referring to the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in the Jewish faith.

Instead, it suggested reporters use the term the “Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.”

The official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA Saturday reported on the advisory which was issued on Wednesday by the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

“All international media representatives are advised to adhere to international law and correct any other existing terminology used,” read the statement. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is not a disputed territory and all other terms, therefore, are null and void.”

Supporters of Israel – and even some journalists – have contended that Palestinian officials, including from Hamas, have tried to hide information and intimidate reporters in an effort to secure more favorable coverage.

The pro-Israel media watchdog, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), called the PLO advisory the latest attempt “to erase the perception among the public of Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and to Jerusalem.”

“It remains to be seen which international media outlets will dutifully follow these marching orders,” CAMERA sarcastically noted.

The PLO media advisory did not once refer to the Jewish connection to the site. The Temple Mount is believed to be where both the First and Second Temples once stood, and Jews worldwide pray in its direction.

… Also absent from the advisory was any mention of Palestinians throwing rocks and firecrackers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque at Israeli police as documented in video posted of clashes last week.

During the summer hostilities, the Foreign Press Association issued a protest about harassment and threats international journalists working in Gaza faced. The use of reporters as human shields was documented when Palestinian terrorists were seen launching rockets next to live network television positions.

The PLO advisory came one week after the shooting of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a prominent advocate for the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount who was shot at point-blank range by a Palestinian gunman.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a condolence letter to the family of the gunman, Mu’taz Hijazi who was killed in a subsequent shootout with Israeli police, praising him as a “martyr” who was “defending the rights of our people and its holy places.”

Click here for full article.

Egypt gives residents on Gaza border 48 hours to leave

This is the main front page headline of every newspaper in the world, right?? It definitely would be if it said “Israel” instead of “Egypt.”

Times of Israel (Oct 28) — Locals ask officials to extend deadline, as army prepares to destroy homes to build buffer zone after deadly attack.

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian authorities on Tuesday ordered residents living along the country’s eastern border with the Gaza Strip to evacuate so they can demolish their homes and set up a buffer zone to stop weapons and militant trafficking between Egypt and the Palestinian territory, officials said.

The measure comes four days after Islamist fighters attacked an army post, killing at least 31 soldiers in the restive area in the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. After the attack, Egypt declared a state of emergency and dawn-to-dusk curfew there. Authorities also indefinitely closed the Gaza crossing, the only non-Israeli passage for the crowded strip with the world.

The buffer zone, which will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers, will be 500 meters (yards) wide and extended along the 13 kilometer (9 mile) border.

Army officers spoke to the affected residents in person and initially gave them a 48-hour ultimatum to leave, but put that on hold after they protested, officials said. Residents groups are now negotiating with local officials to see if they can extend the deadline.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Egyptian army has waged a broad offensive in northern Sinai against Islamist groups, who have turned several areas into strongholds over the past three years, destroying many of the sprawling smuggling tunnels that connected the area with Gaza.

Egyptian media meanwhile has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of meddling in Egypt’s affairs, with some suggesting that the Islamic terror group is supporting fighters inside Egypt since the military overthrew Egypt’s elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, last year.

Hamas officials deny any interference and criticize Egypt for imposing stricter border crossing rules since then.

Since Morsi’s ouster, attacks against security forces in northern Sinai have escalated, something Egyptian authorities blame on Morsi and his allies. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been branded a terrorist organization in Egypt, denied links to violence. Another al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks.

No one claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the army post.

Click here for full article.

Pat Condell: Boo Hoo Palestine

The biggest political con trick in history, and we fall for it again
and again.

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Published on Oct 20, 2014

Hamas: Peace is Zionist baloney. Permanent war until the Jews are gone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn6gx…

Hamas TV: Have no mercy on any Israeli civilian
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA4mb…

Fatah central committee member urges destruction of Israel and turning blind eye to terrorists
http://www.thecommentator.com/article…

PA religious official public calls for genocide of Jews
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/New…

Sweden to recognise “Palestine”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014…

The UK Parliament in a non-binding vote to recognise “Palestine”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics…

Fatah spokesman: Hamas stole $700 million destined for Gaza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0oVx…

Meet the Hamas billionaires
http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-th…

Hamas: Journalists who tried to tell the truth about Gaza were deported
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVjDi…

Follow me on Twitter
http://twitter.com/patcondell

Website
http://www.patcondell.net

There Were 124 Reports on Bush’s Approval Rating in First Half of 2006 — 9 on Obama’s in First Half of 2014: ‘Incredible’

TheBlaze (Sep 15) — During the first half of 2006, there were 124 network news reports on former President George W. Bush’s approval rating, according to conservative watchdog group Accuracy in Media. Accordingly, there were just nine reports on President Barack Obama’s low approval rating in the first half of 2014.

The discrepancy has some decrying media bias. John Ekdahl, a blogger at the popular Ace of Spades blog, called the comparison “f***ing incredible” in a tweet.

The media study appears to have originated at the Media Research Center, which analyzed past ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts earlier this month to determine how many times public opinion polls were referenced for each president during the specified time frame:

Such coverage is in stunning contrast to how those same newscasts relentlessly emphasized polls showing bad news for George W. Bush during the same phase of his presidency. Media Research Center analysts reviewed every reference on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts to public opinion polls from January 1 through August 31, 2014, and from the same time period in 2006. Eight years ago, the networks aired 124 evening news reports which cited public opinion polls about either President Bush’s overall approval rating or his handling of specific policies. In 2014, those same broadcasts produced only nine reports which mentioned public opinion surveys related to President Obama.

The numbers were also featured on Fox Business:

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MRC also provides this telling infographic:
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Caroline Glick: The dilemma of the Jewish leftist

Given the genocidal Jew-hatred endemic in jihadist doctrine, it was obvious that if Sotloff’s Judaism was exposed, he would have been singled out for torture and execution.

A left-wing protester holds up a sign that reads, "No to Code Red, yes to peace," during Tel Aviv rally

A left-wing protester holds up a sign that reads, “No to Code Red, yes to peace,” during Tel Aviv rally

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick’s work, visit carolineglick.com

The Jerusalem Post (Sept 4) — During his yearlong captivity at the hands of the barbarians from Islamic State, Steven Sotloff’s colleagues in Israeli media organs purged all of his articles from their websites to erase his connections to Israel and hide the fact that he was an Israeli citizen. So, too, every effort was made to hide the fact that he was Jewish.

The reason was clear. Given the genocidal Jew-hatred endemic in jihadist doctrine, it was obvious that if Sotloff’s Judaism was exposed, he would have been singled out for torture and execution.

Much has been written since Islamic State released the video of its British executioner chopping off James Foley’s head last month. We have been told by leaders and commentators alike that with this singular crime, Islamic State awakened the sleeping lion of the West. That act of barbarism, we have been assured, will now force the US to lead a global coalition against this Islamic army of butchers.

Clearly Islamic State is not convinced. With the release of the Sotloff beheading video this week, it appears that Islamic State thinks its cinematographers will move the West in another direction – apathy.

Foley’s execution video ended with the preview of coming attractions for the Sotloff execution video.

And the Sotloff execution video ended with the preview of a British hostage’s execution video.

By releasing the films gradually, Islamic State is apparently trying to routinize beheadings. Its leaders are probably betting that by the seventh or eighth beheading video, we will greet the violence with a shrug of our shoulders.

In this, Islamic State is channeling Iran, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

No, it isn’t that all these terror-supporting regimes and terror groups have engaged in beheading. It is simply that when they began engaging in terrorism, their actions shocked the civilized world until their actions didn’t shock the civilized world anymore.

Once the shock wore off, these terror states and enterprises began enjoying the stature of legitimate parties to a political dispute. As Islamic State sees it, it is only a matter of time before it too is accepted as a legitimate force in world affairs.

… In late July, Islamic State forces in Mosul, Iraq, decreed that all girls and women between the ages of 12 and 42 must have their genitals mutilated.

The order was an act of pure evil. Yet it was not particularly controversial within the Islamist context Islamic State operates.

As Soeren Kern wrote for the Gatestone Institute last July, throughout the world, some 140 million women and girls, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims, have been subjected to the barbaric practice. Three million girls under the age of 15 are forced to undergo clitoridectomies each year.

In Europe, at least 180,000 Muslim females have undergone this defilement. According to British authorities, in England alone, at least 20,000 girls are at risk of “being cut” each year.

Yet, despite the cruelty and degradation inherent to female genital mutilation, and despite the fact that under British law, anyone found guilty of carrying out this practice is supposed to face criminal charges and up to 14 years in prison, so far no one has been convicted and only a five or six offenders have even been charged for the crime.

There are two principal causes for British authorities’ failure to protect Muslim girls residing in England. First, neither the children themselves, who live in a permanent state of terror and abuse, nor their communities, which turn a blind eye, and so condone the practice, are willing to come forward and finger those responsible for this endemic abuse and violence.

And second, non-Islamic British authorities, including welfare workers and teachers, who are in a position to protect the children, are unwilling to stick their necks out. This unwillingness has two causes.

First, they fear for their lives. The murder of Theo van Gogh and the repeated attempts by Muslim fanatics to execute the Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures of Muhammad are central components of the cost-benefit analysis most Westerners carry out when considering whether or not to get involved with human rights abuses carried out by Muslims.

Second, they fear excommunication from and defamation at the hands of the Left. Over the past 15 years, the international Left has consistently expanded its political alliance with Islamists in the West.

Among other things, this alliance has required the Left to turn a blind eye to barbaric Islamic practices like female genital mutilation and rape and to defame those who dare to openly oppose these reactionary, obscene behaviors as Islamophobic racists.

And so we have a situation where, both at home and abroad, the West has become habituated to Islamic barbarism and passive in the face of its expanding threat to their lives and their way of life both abroad and at home. Observing this behavior, clearly Islamic State’s terror masters are betting that once habituated to the beheading of Westerners, the West will yawn and go to sleep as Islamic State expands its conquests to additional countries.

It isn’t that the Westerners, led by the leftist elite, lack the ability to feel or express moral outrage. It is just that they refuse to direct it against Islamic jihadists.

And this brings us back to their political alliance with the Islamists.

The only meaningful commonality between Islamist and leftist dogma is hatred for Jews with power, first and foremost for Israel. And the singular creation of this alliance is the sides’ joint determination that it isn’t racist to hate the Jewish state, or Jews who refuse to condemn it.

In this state of affairs, the only outlet that leftists have for their moral outrage is Israel. Because while they fear being called racist, they know that being anti-Semitic will not expose them to charges of racism.

And they know Jews won’t assault them for attacking Israel and its supporters. So they project all the crimes perpetrated by Islamic fanatics on Israel.

For instance, this week Megan Marzec, the president of Ohio University’s Student Senate, posted a video of herself dousing herself in a bucket of “blood.”

Marzec explained, “This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians – atrocities which OU is directly complacent in [sic] through cultural and economic ties with the Israeli state.”

In other words, she accused Israel of the crimes Hamas seeks to inflict on Israel, and of the crimes that Islamist forces, such as al-Qaida, Islamic State and Boko Haram, are currently carrying out in their areas of operations.

The growing prevalence of anti-Semitism in leftist circles has placed Jewish leftists in a vulnerable position.

Their ideological movement is denying Jews the right to self-defense and self-determination and siding with Islamists who seek to annihilate them. For a growing number of leftist Jews, their new status as members of a hated group has made them feel it necessary to publicly side with Israel’s enemies against it.

Consider the recent New York Times op-ed by Antony Lerman which ran under the title “The End of Liberal Zionism.”

Lerman insisted that there is no way to square Zionism with liberal values.

According to this disaffected Jewish leftist, “The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe.”

But of course, outside the fringes of Israeli society, no such movement exists.

Rather, Lerman is describing Islamic supremacism and, like his fellow leftists, projecting its pathologies on Israel, which Islamic supremacists seek to destroy.

Lerman quoted an article published a few weeks before his in The New York Review of Books by Jonathan Freedland titled “Liberal Zionism After Gaza.”

Freedland argued that as the two-state solution becomes more and more remote, liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

But this is of course absurd. The only way a person can uphold liberal values is by being a Zionist. Israel is the only country in the region that is a human rights-respecting liberal democracy that is governed by the rule of law.

What is becoming more and more difficult is being a Zionist while being a leftist. As the Left becomes more and more tied to Islamic fanatics, anti-Semitism is going to become more and more of a staple of leftist dogma. And that anti-Semitism will express itself first and foremost as a virulent rejection of Israel and of Jews who refuse to disavow and condemn the Jewish state.

Sotloff reportedly maintained faith with his Judaism in secret while in captivity. He refused food on Yom Kippur and secretly prayed toward Jerusalem.

In so doing, he showed that the evil that controlled him physically, could not penetrate his soul. For this he died a Jewish hero.

Leftist Jews must take a lesson from Sotloff, who was reportedly a product of a Jewish-leftist worldview.

They should understand that the decision they are being required to make is not a choice between liberalism and Zionism, but between liberalism and a reactionary dogma that sits comfortably with genocidal Jew-haters and misogynist oppressors. It shouldn’t be a particularly difficult choice.

Click here for full article.

Old-fashioned anti-Semitism for progressive thinkers

There is one community in the world, which according to the British newspaper the Independent, can be reasonably called a child murdering community.

By Ben Dror Yemini for Ynet News — Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. We have said it a thousand times, and we should say it a thousand times more. But to understand the difference between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism, one must go back a few to an article, one of many, published against Israel. It was not criticism of Israel. It was criticism of a “child murdering community”. It was not published in a journal of the Nazi Party in Bavaria. These obscene words were written in the Independent newspaper in Britain. A newspaper for enlightened people, for progressive thinkers.

How exactly did Israel become a “child murdering community “? Well, according to the most extreme version, and the most manipulative, which is based on sources operating under the auspices of Hamas, about 1,800 people were killed during Operation Protective Edge. Let us suppose that this is not a lie. Of that number, 24 percent, it is claimed, were under 18. This is a far higher proportion than the proportion of minors in the actual population, but let’s say that this is true as well. Let’s go with the Hamas data. And according to calculations published in The New York Times, 16 percent of those killed in Gaza were aged below 15.

How did Britain conduct itself in its last major conflict? Well, British troops were involved in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The British medical journal “The Lancet”, which is so acceptable to the British progressive forces, claim that this war, not an occupation that lasted for many years, caused 100,000 deaths. And, according to the same publication, 46 percent of that number were under 15. That is 46,000 children. Not youths, children.

In other words, there was a 46-percent mortality rate for children by the British, 16 percent by Israel. In the case of the UK, which is part of NATO, we can go a little further back, and remember what happened in the bombing of Belgrade in 1999 during the war in Kosovo (Operation Allied Force). The results are the same. Approximately 500 soldiers were killed, and 1,200-1,500 non-combatants, hundreds of them children.

And while Belgrade complained of severe harm to innocent people and children, the late Robin Cook, then foreign secretary responded: “How dare they now produce crocodile tears for people killed in the conflict for which they themselves are responsible.”

Neither the Iraqi nor Serbian armies used children as human shields, nor did they officially announce that they were using children as human shields, as did Hamas. They also did not issue an instruction manual demanding that fighters use concentrations of civilians, as did Hamas. In Baghdad, Basra and Belgrade did not fire rockets at London and Manchester from its schools, as did Hamas. Nevertheless, the British, along with the Americans, caused a far higher number of child deaths, both in relative and absolute terms.

But the Independent newspaper has determined that there is one community in the world that it is permissible to brand as a “child murdering community”. This is not the first time that the phrase is has been bandied about in Europe. The tune is all too familiar. Criticism of Israel, it is worth saying again, is not anti-Semitism. But this progressive British newspaper has clearly shown that sometimes, just sometimes, it is not a criticism, or even new anti-Semitism. Sometimes, it is the old anti-Semitism in all its glory.

Click here for original source.

An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters.

By Matti Friedman for Tablet August 26, 2014 

friedman620The Israel Story

[Following are excerpts – the full article can be found here]

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is to be found among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry.

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are more complicated.

***

It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries (or, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide). This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party. It also includes the implicit assumption that if the Palestinian problem is somehow solved the conflict will be over, though no informed person today believes this to be true…

Hamas is the local representative of radical Islam and is openly dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish minority enclave in Israel, just as Hezbollah is the dominant representative of radical Islam in Lebanon, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so forth.

Hamas is not, as it freely admits, party to the effort to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It has different goals about which it is quite open and that are similar to those of the groups listed above.

***

Any veteran of the press corps here knows that Hamas intimidation of reporters is real. The fact is that Hamas intimidation is largely beside the point because the actions of Palestinians are beside the point: Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians.

Many of the people deciding what you will read and see from here view their role not as explanatory but as political. Coverage is a weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.

***

When journalists cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, international press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

***

Understanding what happened in Gaza this summer means understanding Hezbollah in Lebanon, the rise of the Sunni jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and the long tentacles of Iran. It requires figuring out why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia now see themselves as closer to Israel than to Hamas. Above all, it requires us to understand what is clear to nearly everyone in the Middle East: The ascendant force in our part of the world is an empowered strain of Islam that assumes different and sometimes conflicting forms, and that is willing to employ extreme violence in a quest to unite the region under its control and confront the West.

Click here for full article.

ISIS and Hamas: The Double Standard

isis-terroristsHuffington Post (Aug 20) by Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human rights lawyer — Hamas and ISIS are two sides of the same Islamic terror coin, yet while the West has rightfully united in condemnation and action against ISIS, it has applied a different standard towards Israel, who has been faced with the incessant terror of Hamas.

A chorus of world leaders, from President Obama, the UN Secretary General and Pope Francis — have all been rightfully outraged by the barbaric carnage we are witnessing from ISIS in Iraq.

Even other arch-terrorists, like Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, have called ISIS “a monster”, while Osama Bin Laden, before he was killed, called for al-Qaeda to sever all ties with ISIS due to the group’s “extreme brutality,” saying that it could “harm al-Qaeda’s reputation.”

They have sought to annihilate entire communities of minorities in Iraq, including the ancient Yazidis and Christians. Their tactics and methods have shocked all people with a shred of decency to the very core, including now their gruesome murder and public beheading of American journalist James Foley.

Today, ISIS makes Hezbollah and al Qaeda look like Mother Theresa.

From the use of death squads, beheadings, rape and crucifixions, no one has been spared, especially not women and children. Simply put, their evil and depravity knows no rational bounds.

Calling ISIS a “cancer”, President Obama, with the support of other world leaders, instructed U.S. forces to conduct a military operation in order to prevent the “genocide” of the Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq, saying “the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.”

However, in stark contrast, many of these same world leaders effectively question Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas, with President Obama having called for Israel to institute an “immediate and unconditional” cease fire, while at the same time halting weapons sales to Israel, America’s key ally in the region, as it faces a renewed bombardment of rockets from Hamas.

So, one begs to ask the question — what is the difference between Hamas and ISIS?

Both organizations come from the same radical, murderous Islamic roots with a pervasive indifference to human life, freedom and democracy.

Hamas is essentially Israel’s ISIS — but funded by Iran, assembled on the border of the Jewish state and with genocidal intentions of destroying Israel and killing all Jews around the world.

One need only read Hamas’ own Charter and observe their methods, including using their own children as human shields, while openly professing to Israel “We desire death as you desire life,” to see they are in word and deed made of the same terrorist cloth as ISIS.

Just a few weeks ago, Hamas reiterated again, “Our doctrine in fighting you [the Jews] is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive.”

Yet, the double standards that exist between how the West has (rightfully so) approached the terrorist ISIS and Hamas-Israel conflict, is breathtaking.

The UN Human Rights Council for example has recently ordered another one-sided ‘Fact Finding Mission’ against Israel. It would be better served by dropping this anti-Israel witch-hunt and instead focusing on what are the most egregious human rights violations in this region, such as the attempted genocide of Yazidis by ISIS. But don’t hold your breath.

Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning ISIS for “gross, systematic and widespread abuse of human rights,” but has yet to call out Hamas for their gross human rights violations, including bombarding innocent Israeli civilians, using Palestinians as human shields, while also persecuting women, gays and Christian minorities in Gaza.

Click here for full article.

Black flag of jihad flies over Paris anti-Israel rally

Black-Flag-e1408978625573Islamic jihadists worldwide know that the war against Israel is part of the global jihad — indeed, the foremost part. The only people who don’t know this are Western analysts and diplomats. “Black Terror Flag Flies Over Paris Anti-Israel Rally [VIDEO],” by Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller, August 25, 2014:

PARIS — At an anti-Israel protest next to the Eiffel Tower Sunday, one attendee flew a black flag of the type often used by Islamist terror groups.

Terror groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria use variations of the type of black flag flown at the rally. The flags all quote the Shahada in Arabic, which translates into English as: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” (RELATED: ISIS Spokesman Pledges To ‘Raise The Flag Of Allah In The White House’)

The black flag is sometimes referred to as the “black flag of Jihad” and represents the desire of Islamist terror groups to create a global Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law.

Click here for video.