Hamas and the Islamic State: Growing Cooperation in the Sinai

Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Dec 15) — Hamas has been increasing its clandestine military cooperation with the Islamic State’s “Sinai Province,” culminating in a prolonged secret visit to Gaza this month by IS Sinai’s military chief Shadi al-Menai. Menai has been at the top of Egypt’s most-wanted list. Over the past two years, IS Sinai has helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment.

In Sinai, a thousand heavily armed Bedouins affiliated with IS still pose a serious threat to Egyptian troops and government offices. Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate officials are convinced that Hamas is engaged in a sustained effort to undermine government control over the Sinai, even as it publicly seeks a rapprochement with Cairo. Hamas cooperation with IS Sinai also opens the door to IS gaining more ground among the Palestinians.

CROSS-BORDER SMUGGLING AND TRAINING

Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment. Hamas relies on Bedouin guides to avoid detection by the Egyptian army and reach the few tunnels that have survived Cairo’s aggressive flooding and closure campaign. In this manner, IS Sinai acquired the advanced Kornet antitank missiles it has used to sink an Egyptian patrol boat off the coast of al-Arish and destroy several tanks and armored carriers stationed in the peninsula’s northeastern sector. Hamas has also provided training to some IS Sinai fighters and assisted with the group’s media campaign and online postings.

The writer is an international fellow with The Washington Institute and a Middle East commentator for Israel’s Channel Two television.

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Poll: Young Palestinians Support Current Protests, Armed Struggle

Arab World for Research & Development in Ramallah (Dec 14) — An online study of Palestinians age 16-35 by Arab World for Research & Development in Ramallah, conducted Dec. 1-7, asked:

Do you believe that the current protests represent a popular intifada (with wide participation) or are they being carried out by a small number of participants? Popular intifada – 26%; Small number of participants – 70%.

Do you support or oppose the continuation of the protests as is? Support – 57%; Oppose – 28%.

Do you support or oppose attacks against Israeli civilians inside the Green Line? Support – 49%; Oppose – 36%.

Which of the following methods do you personally support to end the occupation? Armed struggle – 53%; International advocacy – 16%; Non-violent protest – 11%; Negotiations – 8%.

Click here for full survey.

International Defense Experts Back IDF’s 2014 Gaza Campaign

Report by international High Level Military Group blasts UN commission, says Israel set a standard no other army could match

idf-troops-in-gaza-960x543Times of Israel (Dec 14) — Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during last summer’s Gaza campaign, a group of former military and defense leaders from nine countries claim in a new report released Friday.

  • Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign, a group of former military and defense leaders from nine countries said in a new report released Friday.
  • The High Level Military Group (HLMG) – made up of retired generals and defense officials from Germany, Colombia, India, Spain, Australia, the U.S., France, the UK and Italy – found that Israel not only abided by the laws of armed conflict, but far surpassed their requirements.
  • The report found that the UN accepted Hamas’ figures for combatant vs. civilian casualties, while the HLMG found Hamas’ numbers to be rife with inconsistencies, such as the “inclusion of duplicate names, incorrect ages, combat-related deaths caused by Hamas or its affiliate organizations, such as in the case of misfired rockets, and deaths not related to the hostilities but classified as such.”
  • Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said that commissions investigating the conflict should have looked to see that everything feasibly was done to avoid the deaths of non-combatants, and that the standard of zero civilian deaths is an impossible one.
  • The HLMG laid the blame for the vast majority of civilian casualties at the feet of Hamas, which instituted a deliberate policy to cause as many Palestinian civilian deaths as possible in order to wage a PR war against Israel. The report noted that Israel tried multiple times to end the conflict through diplomatic means, only to be rebuffed by Hamas at every turn.

See also Text: An Assessment of the 2014 Gaza Conflict – High Level Military Group (Friends of Israel Initiative)

See also The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted – Hirsh Goodman and Dore Gold, eds. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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Palestinians’ Biggest Tragedy: Failed Leadership

By Khaled Abu Toameh for the Gatestone Institute (Dec 12):

  • It was recently reported that the commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in Sinai held talks in the Gaza Strip with leaders of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezaddin al-Qassam Brigades, about expanding their cooperation.
  • President Abbas does not seem to care whether the Palestinians of Gaza are turned into hostages and prisoners. He is probably hoping that the crisis will drive Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime, paving the way for his PA to return to the Gaza Strip.
  • Instead of trying to solve the Gaza crisis, Abbas is too busy waging a diplomatic war against Israel. He wants to file “war crimes” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court — ignoring the fact that he and Hamas are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
  • The Palestinians ignore the fact that their biggest tragedy over the past few decades has been (and remains) their failed and corrupt leadership that is willing to sacrifice them for its own interests.
Left: The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Right: A Gazan man works in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, which was flooded by the Egyptian army.

Left: The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Right: A Gazan man works in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, which was flooded by the Egyptian army.

Since June 2013, the Rafah border crossing, the sole crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, has been closed for most of the time.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Egyptian authorities have opened the Rafah terminal for a total of only 21 days.

Last week, the Egyptians opened the border crossing for two days, allowing a few hundred Palestinians to cross in both directions.

Last year, by contrast, the terminal was open for a total of 123 days, and in 2013 for 263 days.

These figures indicate that the Egyptians have stepped up security measures along their shared border with the Gaza Strip over the past few years.

In addition to the continued closure of the Rafah terminal, the Egyptian army continues to destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. In recent weeks, the Egyptians have been pumping seawater into the tunnels, causing most of them to collapse.

The Egyptians have good reason to be concerned about the smuggling tunnels — especially in light of increased Islamist terror attacks against Egyptian soldiers and civilians in the Sinai Peninsula. Reports about cooperation between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Islamist terror groups in Sinai, have also prompted the Egyptians to keep the Rafah terminal shut for most of the time.

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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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Don’t forget Iran

Iran-Terror-Plot-NigeriaIsrael Hayom discusses global terrorism, and notes that “The Paris terrorist attacks sparked unprecedented shock around the world. A global mobilization effort is underway, with the goal being to crush the head of the Islamic State snake and prevent the group from carrying out further attacks,” but reminds readers of the far more lethal terrorist attacks conducted by Iran and Hezbollah in recent decades.

The author is baffled by the growing legitimacy granted to Iran by the international community since the signing of the nuclear deal this past summer, and points out that “Iran has missiles that can reach most of Europe and a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to international security than Islamic State.”

The author concludes: “What is the difference between Islamic State propaganda videos and the chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” on the streets of Tehran? Is there a difference between an Islamic State terrorist and a terrorist backed by Iran and Hezbollah? The difference is largely tactical. It is easier to deter Iran, as it has a wider range of interests than Islamic State. But the threat posed by Iran to Israel, for example, is no less than that posed by Islamic State.

In fact, Iran is more dangerous. It is an unfortunate twist of fate that the world is ignoring the threat posed by Iran for the sake of fighting a lesser threat.”

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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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European Jewry’s bleak future

Israel Hayom comments on the implications of terror in Europe on European Jews:

“That a massacre of at least 129 civilians in Paris, in the heart of Europe, could be engineered by half a dozen militarily trained killers is an indicator of what we can expect in the future unless ruthless measures are taken to confront the terrorists in their home base and reverse the tide.

What is amazing is that, even after this last manifestation, many European leaders remain in denial and fail to recognize that we are not confronted by mindless nihilistic terrorists but by fanatically inspired Islamic extremists committed to the destruction of Western civilization and democracy.

The situation in Europe is catastrophic. Most countries, in particular France, now host large Muslim communities, a substantial proportion of which are radicalized, antidemocratic and sympathetic to terrorist acts. The last straw is the massive flow of “refugees” which threatens to completely change the demography of Europe. In the midst of this turbulent, massive migration and ongoing fears of new terror attacks, the future for European Jews appears bleaker than ever.”

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Welcome to World War Three

Analysis: The Paris attack is directly tied to events in Syria and Iraq; this was not an intelligence failure but rather the failure of the West to see itself as in a total war vs. radical Islam.

By Ron Ben-Yishai for Ynet (Nov 16) — It is time that we came to the realization: we are in the midst of World War III. A war that will differ from the others but will take place all over the globe, on land, air and sea. This is a war between jihadist Islam and Western civilization; a war between radical Islam and all those who refuse to surrender to its values and political demands.

… Therefore ISIS is attacking its enemies’ rear and Europe, as usual, is the first to get hit. ISIS and al-Qaeda prefer striking in Europe because it is considered the cradle of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalist organizations still see it as the homeland of the Crusaders, who just as in the past, are at present waging a religious and cultural war on Islam. France and Paris were chosen as a target as France stood at the forefront of the cultural and religious struggle against radical Islam. It is also the easiest target to attack.

map2_490_englishWhy France?

France was the target of a combined assault of radical Islam not just because it has a tradition of human rights and freedom of movement, but because France and French culture symbolize everything that radical Islam is afraid of and is in an all-out war against. France enacted a ban on women to wear the hijab in public places, the Supreme Court allowed the magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and President Francois Hollande recently refused Iranian President Rouhani’s request to not have alcohol served at a dinner in his honor. All these are challenges to the jihadists that no one else in the West have yet dared emulate. So that is the primary reason that France mourns the murder of at least 129 people.

The second reason is that France has the biggest and most established Muslim population in Europe that lives in large urban concentrations, mostly poor neighborhoods. These are ideal soil for the preaching of radical Islam in neighborhood mosques. The terrorists yesterday spoke French fluently and one can assume that at least some were French citizens of North African descent and other Muslim countries in Africa and Asia. They could thus assimilate into the population to choose destinations, collect information about them and flee from them after their attack.

… The third reason is the fact that France is in the heart of Western Europe and it is surrounded by states with large Muslim immigrant communities. The freedom of movement between European countries as per the Schengen Agreement allows the jihadists to utilize these communities to both find terrorist fighters who have been through the baptism of fire in the Middle East and to smuggle weapons required to perform attacks.

Another reason for choosing France is that it is considered the center of and the pinnacle of European culture and it is to a great extent a world city of the first order. Therefore the attack there has the greatest effect on people’s consciousness. Horror is effectively spread. It appears that the attackers were equipped with the pages of messages that declared so that those victims who survive would be able to cite to a media thirsty for every detail. “You bomb us in Syria and we bomb you in Paris,” was heard.

A change of perception needed

To carry out terrorist attacks in seven different locations requires lots of time and elaborate organization. One has to plan, to stockpile weapons and explosives, choose targets, collect information about the targets ahead of the attack, recruit attackers some of whom are willing to die in suicide attacks and tour the scene of the attack and prepare nearby before the actual attack. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that the attack was planned and prepared months ago and was kept on hold for a strategically opportune moment.

We need to prepare for further attacks not only in France, but throughout Europe…

The way Israel manages to gather intelligence and act on it quickly with the Border Police counter-terrorism unit and Shin Bet’s operational unit must serve as a model. It is clear that European bureaucrats, EU officials, will at first oppose the adoption of this model – but reality will probably force it upon them. They also will have to enact legislation to enable the mechanisms set up for intelligence gathering and rapid reaction to decisively prevent attacks before they occur and handle them quickly if they have already started to take place.

The world war between murderous fundamentalist Islam and Western civilization – and basically anyone and anything not Muslim – will have to be waged without compromise and without half-steps on land, air and sea. Brussels may not like it – but we’re all in the same boat. And no, the current wave of terrorism has nothing to do with the “occupation of Palestine.”

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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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Radical Islam – the invisible enemy

“Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists.”

By Caroline B. Glick, senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post (Nov 17) — As the cleaning crews were mopping the dried blood from the stage and the seats of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, a depressing act appeared on stage in distant Iowa.

Saturday night the three contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination took to the stage in Iowa for a debate. The moderator asked them whether they would be willing to use the term “radical Islam” to describe the ideology motivating Islamic terrorists to massacre innocents. All refused…

But of course, it is easy to understand what motivates Islamic terrorists. They tell us all the time.

They want the world to be run by an Islamic empire.

When they are in charge, they will kill, subjugate, convert or enslave all non-Muslims, except Jews.

The Jews will be obliterated.

The attacks they carry out in the Western world are viewed both as battles for the soul of Muslims worldwide and as a means to terrorize non-Muslims into accepting subjugation.

… The radical Islamic goal of destroying America – and the rest of the world – is the same regardless of who ends up winning the intramural jihad contest.

And as we have seen repeatedly in recent years, the sides are happy to come together to achieve their common goal of killing us and destroying our societies.

The Americans’ avoidance of reality is not unique.

The Europeans also refuse to see it.

Following the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in Paris in January, French President Francois Hollande insisted that the attackers who killed in the name of Islam had nothing to do with Islam.

After jihadists in London beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the attack, carried out in the name of Islam, had nothing to do with Islam.

The operational consequences of the West’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the forces waging war against it have been disastrous.

Radical Islam is an ideology that serves both as an organizing principle for civil societies and a military doctrine. By ignoring it, the US and the rest of the free nations of the world have made it impossible to conceptualize or implement a strategy for either discrediting it or defeating its adherents.

Rather than develop comprehensive plans for dealing with this enemy, the Americans, the Europeans and others have opted for a mix of policies running the spectrum from appeasement to whack-a-mole operations.

Abroad, appeasement has taken its most significant form in the US-led nuclear deal with Iran. As the largest state sponsor of terrorism and the most active radical Islamic imperialist force in the Middle East, Iran is the ground zero of radical Islam. It not only oversees and directs the operations of its puppets, like Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its foreign legions, like Hezbollah. The Iranian regime has also played a key role in developing Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like al-Qaida, which received, and likely continues to receive training and direction from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, if Iran had been interested in preventing its rise, IS would never have taken over any territory in either country.

At home, appeasement of radical Islamic forces has involved embracing Muslim Brotherhood front groups and insisting that radical Islamic clerics are moderates because they aren’t pulling any triggers.

The West’s whack-a-mole war against radical Islam at home and abroad has meant that even as one group – like core al-Qaida – is cut down, it is swiftly replaced by other groups, like Islamic State. And if IS is eventually cut down, it too will be replaced by another group, and then reconstitute itself as IS when the West’s attention is taken up by the next major group.

Obama has enabled this state of affairs by defining the enemy as narrowly as possible, reducing the whole sphere of radical Islam to a few discrete groups – like al-Qaeda and IS – that he seeks to defeat or contain.

It is not simply that the whack-a-mole strategy doesn’t work. It is self-defeating. Since the radical Islamic trigger pullers in the West are usually no more than a few people who get together to murder people, insisting that someone has to be a card carrying member of a recognized terrorist group before authorities will go after him makes it almost impossible to find operatives and prevent attacks.

The murderers Friday may well never have received formal orders to commit their attacks from a central jihadist headquarters. They may have met at a mosque in Paris or Brussels and decided to do it.

Certainly they needed no advanced training to mow down people eating dinner or watching a rock concert. They didn’t even really need to know how to shoot straight.

As for their explosives vests, all they needed was a guy with a working knowledge of explosives to set them up with the means to turn themselves into human bombs. Maybe he trained in Syria. Maybe he has a degree in chemistry from the Sorbonne.

Maybe he is just good at following YouTube videos.

The most important component of Friday night’s massacre was the terrorists’ radical Islamic motivation.

Their belief in their ideology motivated them to die killing innocent people. Everything else was secondary. They may have been inspired and loosely directed by the heads of IS. But if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed six months ago, they would have found another source of inspiration.

And that’s the main point. While Friday’s killers may have given their allegiance to IS, they were operationally and ideologically all but indistinguishable from their predecessors in the London subways in 2005 and the Madrid commuter rails in 2004 who hailed from al-Qaida. Likewise, while the US may have seriously degraded core al-Qaida in the Middle East over the past seven years, IS in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya is an organic extension of al-Qaida.

To defeat these groups, the US and its allies need to adopt a strategy that is rooted in an acknowledgment of the nature of our true enemy: radical Islam.

Armed with this recognition, the nations of the free world can determine operational guidelines for combating not only specific, discrete groupings of adherents to this ideology, they can develop overall strategies for combating it at home and in the Middle East.

At home, such strategies require Western governments to penetrate, disrupt and destroy radical Islamic networks on the ground in a sustained, concentrated manner. In the Middle East, they require the free world to stop seeking to appease leaders, regimes and militias that support and ascribe to radical Islam.

… Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists and that the regime in Tehran, al-Qaida, IS, Hamas and all the rest are mere expressions of this larger ideology, the danger radical Islam poses to the survival of free societies will continue to mount and grow. Saturday night’s Democratic debate was a depressing reminder how low we have fallen.

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Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact

urlBy Daniel Pipes for National Review Online (Nov 15) — The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?

As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy.

Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths is large enough. America’s three thousand dead on 9/11 stands out as by far the largest mortality but many other countries have had their equivalent – the Bali bombings for Australia, the railroad bombing for Spain, the Beslan school massacre for Russia, the transportation bombings for Britain.

Sheer numbers are not the only consideration. Other factors can multiply the impact of an assault, making it almost the political equivalent of mass carnage: (1) The renown of those attacked, such as Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the Charlie Hebdo office in France. (2) The professional status of the victim, such as soldiers or police. (3) High-profile circumstances, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to the over 27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam since 9/11, or more than 5 per day (as counted by TheReligionOfPeace.com), a huge increase in illegal immigration from the Middle East recently exacerbated feelings of vulnerability and fear. It’s a one-way street, with not a single soul ever heard to announce, “I used to worry about Islamism but I don’t any more.”

These cases make more Westerners worried about Islam and related topics from the building of minarets to female infibulation. Overall, a relentless march rightwards is underway. Surveys of European attitudes show 60 to 70 percent of voters expressing these concerns. Populist individuals like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and parties like the Sweden Democrats are surging in the polls.

But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.

These 4-P professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious “violent extremist” virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, will force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.

That pattern has the very consequential effect of shutting out the fears of ordinary voters, whose views thereby have negligible impact on policy. Worries about Shari’a, rape gangs, exotic diseases, and bloodbaths are dismissed with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” as though name-calling addresses these real issues.

More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public’s move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more “hate speech” codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists. This pattern affects not just Establishment figures of the Left but more strikingly also of the Right (such as Angela Merkel of Germany); only Eastern European leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán permit themselves to speak honestly about the real problems.

Eventually, to be sure, voters’ views will make themselves heard, but decades later and more weakly than democratically should have been the case.

Placing the murderous rampage in Paris into this context: it will likely move public sentiments substantially in one direction and Establishment policies in quite the opposite way, therefore ultimately having only a limited impact.

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

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