Archive for the ‘Israeli security’ category

US professor says journalists must not call jihad attacks on Israeli soldiers “terrorism”

January 16, 2017

US professor says journalists must not call jihad attacks on Israeli soldiers “terrorism”, Jihad Watch

The proponents of the “Palestinian” jihad have lost their moral compass entirely. They believe that any atrocity, any egregious human rights violation, as well as the gleeful celebration of the deaths of Israeli civilians, is justified if it advances the jihad against Israel.

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“In Wake of Jerusalem Truck-Ramming, US Professor Says Journalists Must Not Call Arab Attacks on Israeli Soldiers ‘Terrorism,’” by Rachel Frommer, Algemeiner, January 10, 2017:

Following Sunday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, an American academic took to Twitter to admonish journalists for calling “all acts of Arab violence terrorism,” when the target is Israeli soldiers.

Noura Erakat, assistant professor of international studies at George Mason University in Virginia and a Palestinian rights lawyer, wrote: “Journos, pundits show true colors when they [do this]. Don’t get it twisted. #Jerusalem.”

Calling it “irresponsible to elide distinction bw civilians & soldiers,” Erakat — the founder of the online magazine Jadaliyya, which focuses on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — also criticized a Wall Street Journal headline that read: “Truck plows into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing four.”

In response, she tweeted:

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Eugene Kontorovich, professor of constitutional and international law at Northwestern University, told The Algemeiner that Erakat’s differentiation between the killing of civilians and soldiers is a “valid distinction,” but said it is important to know whether she has condemned the many car-ramming attackers who have killed Israeli civilians….

Update: On Wednesday, Prof Erakat responded to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

Asked if she will condemn the perpetrators of car-ramming, stabbing, shooting and bombing attacks that have killed Israeli civilians, Erakat declined to answer yes or no, and said “armed combatants…cannot kill a civilian unless the civilian is a direct participant in hostilities.”

“I don’t think civilians should ever be targeted and sadly the most egregious violators of this principle have been states, including the United States and Israel,” Erakat added.

Asked if those killed on Sunday were legitimate targets of “combatants,” Erakat said that “an active combat soldier, even if not in the field, can be killed.”

Paris peace conference: No “acceptable” solution for Israel and “Palestinians” except two states

January 16, 2017

Paris peace conference: No “acceptable” solution for Israel and “Palestinians” except two states, Jihad Watch

“The participants also stressed the need for the final peace deal that would give full statehood to Palestinians while satisfying Israel’s security needs.

Is that possible? No, given the Qur’anic imperative to “drive them out from where they drove you out” (2:191). Any “Palestinian” state would simply become a new base for jihad attacks against a diminished Israel. Because these political elites have resolutely refused to face the reality of the jihad, they cannot and will not recognize that fact.

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“Paris peace conference: No ‘acceptable’ solution except two states,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2017:

The 70 participants in the Paris peace initiative stressed the need for a two-state solution and rejected any unilateral moves by Israelis or Palestinians to prejudice a final peace deal.

In a joint declaration at the conclusion of the conference Sunday, the countries’ representatives restated that a two-state solution is the only one acceptable to the international community and called on both sides to act accordingly.

The participants “reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

“They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.”

The participants also stressed the need for the final peace deal that would give full statehood to Palestinians while satisfying Israel’s security needs.

“A negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides,” the statement read, “including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of [the relevant] United Nations Security Council resolutions”

The conference discussed the situation in Gaza and participants “noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation.”

Furthermore, the participants urged both Israelis and Palestinians “comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

The final statement referenced the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which “clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement and all acts of violence and terror, and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground,” as well as “the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016 and the United States Secretary of State’s principles on the two-state solution on 28 December 2016.”…

Obama’s Betrayal of Israel

January 13, 2017

Obama’s Betrayal of Israel, Gatestone InstituteGuy Millière, January 13, 2017

(Please see also, Israel is the legal occupant of the West Bank, says the Court of Appeal of Versailles. — DM)

President Obama’s decision not to use the US veto in the UN Security Council and to let pass Resolution 2334, effectively sets the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. The resolution declares all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem — home to the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount — the most sacred place in Judaism — “occupied Palestinian territory,” and is a declaration of war against Israel.

Resolution 2334 nullified any possibility of further negotiations by giving the Palestinians everything in exchange for nothing — not even an insincere promise of peace.

The next act is the Orwellian-named “peace conference,” to be held in Paris on January 15. It has but one objective: to set the stage to eradicate Israel.

In this new “Dreyfus trial,” the accused will be the only Jewish state and the accusers will be the OIC and officials from Islamized, dhimmified, anti-Israel Western states. As in the Dreyfus trial, the verdict has been decided before it even starts. Israel will be considered guilty of all charges and condemned. A draft of the declaration to be published at the end of the conference is already available.

The declaration rejects any Jewish presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines — thereby instituting apartheid. It also praises the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for returning of millions of so-called “refugees” to Israel, thus transforming Israel into an Arab Muslim state where a massacre of Jews could conveniently be organized.

The declaration is most likely meant serve as the basis for a new Security Council resolution on January 17 that would recognize a Palestinian state inside the “1967 borders,” and be adopted, thanks to a second US abstention, three days before Obama leaves office. The betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration and by Obama himself would then be complete.

The US Congress is already discussing bills to defund the UN and the Palestinian Authority. If Europeans think that the incoming Trump administration is as spineless as the Obama administration, they are in for a shock.

Khaled Abu Toameh noted that the Palestinian Authority sees Resolution 2334 as a green light for more murders and violence.

Daniel Pipes recently wrote that it is time to acknowledge the failure of a “peace process” that is really a war process. He stresses that peace can only come when an enemy is defeated.

Resolution 2334 and the Paris conference, both promoted by Obama, are, as the great historian Bat Ye’or wrote, simply a victory for jihad.

The Middle East is in chaos. More than half a million people have been killed in the Syrian war and the number is rising. Bashar al-Assad’s army used chemical weapons and barrel bombs against civilians; Russia has bombed schools and hospitals.

Syrians, Christians, Yazidis, Libyans, Yemenis and Egyptians all face lethal treats. Iranian leaders still shout “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” while buying nuclear equipment with money from lifted sanctions. Turkey is sliding toward an Islamist dictatorship, and unable to stem attacks against it.

The only democratic and stable country in the region is Israel, and that is the country U.S. President Barack Obama, in the final weeks of his term, chooses to incriminate. His decision not to use the US veto in the UN Security Council, to let pass Resolution 2334, effectively sets the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. The resolution also declares all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, home to the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount — the most sacred place in Judaism — “occupied Palestinian territory,” and is a declaration of war against Israel.

UNSC Resolution 2334 nullified any possibility of further negotiations, by giving the Palestinians everything in exchange for nothing — not even an insincere promise of peace. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech five days later confirmed Obama’s support for the resolution. Kerry, like US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, used the existence of Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria as a pretext to endorse the position of Palestinian leaders, who want to ethnically cleanse Jews from these areas. But this was just a prelude.

The next act is the Orwellian-named “peace conference,” to be held in Paris on January 15. It has but one objective: to set the stage to eradicate Israel.

Organized by François Hollande, a failed French President who will leave power in four months, it was supported from the start by the Obama administration. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called it “the new Dreyfus trial.” The accused will be the only Jewish state and the accusers will be the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and officials from Islamized, dhimmified, anti-Israel Western states. As in the Dreyfus trial, the verdict is known before it starts. Israel will be considered guilty of all charges and condemned to what its accusers hope will be the beginning of its end.

2208Is Barack Obama planning another betrayal of Israel at next week’s Paris “peace conference,” organized by French President François Hollande? Pictured: Obama and Hollande in Washington, May 18, 2012. (Image source: White House)

Some commentators have compared what will happen in Paris to the 1942 Wannsee Conference in Nazi Germany, because the aim seems clearly to be the “final solution” of the “Jewish problem” in the Middle East. A draft of the declaration to be published at the end of the conference is already available. It affirms unreserved support for the “Palestinian Statehood strategy” and the principle of intangibility (that the borders cannot be modified) of the “1967 borders,” including East Jerusalem, the Old City and the Western Wall.

The draft declaration rejects any Jewish presence beyond these borders — thereby instituting apartheid — and praises the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for returning millions of so-called “refugees” to Israel, and thus the transforming of Israel into an Arab Muslim state — where a massacre of the Jews could conveniently be organized.

The declaration is most likely meant to be the basis for a new UN Security Council resolution that would endorse the recognition of a Palestinian state in the “1967 borders” as defined in the declaration. The new resolution could be adopted by a second US abstention at the Security Council on January 17, three days before Obama leaves office. The betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration and by Obama himself would then be complete.

On January 20, however, Donald J. Trump is to take office as President of the United States. Trump sent a message on December 23: “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!” He added explicitly that the U.S. “cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”

On January 5, the US House of Representatives approved a text harshly criticizing Resolution 2334. Congress is already discussing defunding the UN and the Palestinian Authority. If Europeans and members of UN think the incoming Trump administration is as spineless as the Obama administration, they are in for a shock.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens recently wondered if the creation of a Palestinian state would alleviate the current Middle East chaos. His answer was that it would not, and that the creation of a Palestinian state would be seen as a victory for jihadists. He also noted that the Palestinian Authority still behaves like a terrorist entity; that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would encourage Hamas and lead to the creation of another terrorist Islamic state in the West Bank, and that an Israeli withdrawal is something that most Palestinians do not even want:

“[A] telling figure came in a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state.”

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab journalist who has never yet been wrong, noted that the Palestinian Authority sees Resolution 2334 as a green light for more violence, murders and confrontation. He added that if presidential elections by the PA were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win by a comfortable margin.

In another important article, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes writes that it is time to acknowledge the failure of a “peace process” that is really a war process. He stressed that peace can only come when an enemy is defeated. He predicts that for peace to come, Israel must win unambiguously, and the Palestinians pass through “the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair.”

Jihadi indoctrination, as well as the financial aid given to Palestinian terrorists, have been paid for by the United States, France, and other Western European nations. That too should stop.

Resolution 2334 and the Paris peace conference, both promoted by Obama, are, as the great historian Bat Ye’or wrote, simply victories for jihad.

Hamas, ISIS Affiliates, See Opportunity in Terror Truck Attack

January 11, 2017

Hamas, ISIS Affiliates, See Opportunity in Terror Truck Attack, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, January 11, 2017

hamascelebratesImage from IDF Spokesperson

Hamas is engaged in unceasing efforts to set up and launch terror cells in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from where they try to evade Israeli intelligence, infiltrate and commit mass casualty attacks in Israeli cities. Hamas also is a main source of inciting lone Palestinian attackers.

Yet it is also in a state of conflict with Gaza-based ISIS entities, which sporadically fire rockets into Israel hoping to provoke retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets. In essence, ISIS-affiliated groups try to use the Israel Air Force to punish Hamas.

ISIS views Hamas as an infidel movement due to its willingness to blend jihadist doctrines with Palestinian nationalism. Nationalism has no place in ISIS’s vision of a pan-Islamic caliphate, free of so-called artificial national divides among Muslims.

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Hamas launched a public relations campaign in recent days, aimed at capitalizing on a deadly truck attack in Jerusalem Sunday that killed four Israeli soldiers. The campaign sheds a light on Hamas’s plans to encourage and launch jihadist atrocities, but also on its vulnerability to the arrival of ISIS as an ideology and movement.

The truck attacker was Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qanbar, a father of four from east Jerusalem. He acted alone when he plowed into a cluster of soldiers gathered, according to Israeli assessments, under the influence of jihadist propaganda disseminated by ISIS.

That fact has not stopped Hamas from making multiple efforts to claim the attack as its own, celebrating it, and pushing Palestinians to emulate it. The Gazan regime’s goal of setting the West Bank alight is well served by such incidents.

Yet Hamas’s efforts to cash in on the truck ramming also strengthen its domestic challengers in Gaza – ISIS-affiliated Salafi-jihadist groups which have been just as quick to claim Qanbar as one of their own, and probably with better cause.

These same groups wasted little time in using the opportunity to launch stinging attacks on the Hamas regime, whose security forces arrest their members and repress their activities.

For example, an ISIS-affiliated group in Gaza proudly noted that Israel attributed the attack to one who “belongs to the Islamic Caliphate State,” and stated: “Praise Allah, who provided the oppressed people of Bayt Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] with trucks they can use to run over the settler herds – [and this] instead of the haram [forbidden] organizations [the main Palestinian organizations].”

A grim jihadist competition is underway, over who can use the Jerusalem attack to boost its political power. Immediately after Qanbar’s attack, Hamas claimed he was an operative of its military wing, the Izz Al-Din Qassam Brigades.

Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, told a rally in Gaza to celebrate the murders that same night: “the [Israeli] soldiers fled from the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operative who carried out the attack for the sake of the Palestinians, the Arab nation and the Muslims.”

Other Hamas officials issued similar statements, praising Qanbar, and calling for his actions to reinvigorate the ‘intifada for Jerusalem.’

As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) noted, Hamas’s official Twitter account chimed in: “We welcome the bold and heroic truck operation in Jerusalem which was a natural reaction to the crimes of the Israeli occupation.”

To be sure, Hamas is engaged in unceasing efforts to set up and launch terror cells in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from where they try to evade Israeli intelligence, infiltrate and commit mass casualty attacks in Israeli cities. Hamas also is a main source of inciting lone Palestinian attackers.

Yet it is also in a state of conflict with Gaza-based ISIS entities, which sporadically fire rockets into Israel hoping to provoke retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets. In essence, ISIS-affiliated groups try to use the Israel Air Force to punish Hamas.

ISIS views Hamas as an infidel movement due to its willingness to blend jihadist doctrines with Palestinian nationalism. Nationalism has no place in ISIS’s vision of a pan-Islamic caliphate, free of so-called artificial national divides among Muslims.

Meanwhile, tensions increased as relations between Hamas and the ISIS affiliate Wilyat Al-Sinai (Sinai Province), which once saw a good degree of cooperation, soured. This relationship enabled Hamas to continue smuggling arms into Gaza via tunnels, and to make Gazan hospitals available to wounded ISIS fighters and commanders. Egypt has long suspected Gaza’s Islamist rulers of being a steady source of weapons and volunteers for ISIS.

Now, the ISIS-affiliated movement in and around Gaza is openly challenging Hamas’s legitimacy. Ironically, Hamas does the same thing to the ruling Fatah movement in the West Bank, which it seeks to topple by provoking a large-scale Israeli military counter-terrorism operation, according to assessments by Israeli security sources.

This deadly jihadist “game of thrones” looks set to continue and could act as a destabilizing factor and a catalyst for further attacks.

The Israeli defense establishment sees the truck ramming as the work of a lone attacker – the hardest type to detect and thwart preemptively.

While the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency is making progress using big data analytics to scan social media accounts and pick out potential lone terrorists, much work remains to be done in this challenging field.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to this during remarks he made on the scene of the Jerusalem ramming, “I think the most important thing to understand is that we are under a new type of attack, by a lone terrorist, who becomes inspired and decides to spontaneously act.”

To counter ramming attacks, Israel has installed concrete barricades around bus stops in Jerusalem and the West Bank, he added. Additionally, Israeli security forces spent the past year intensively developing a “preventative intelligence infrastructure,” Netanyahu said, in reference to data analytics.

As the race continues to improve these techniques, Israel will need to continue to rely on the rapid responses of armed security forces and civilians who typically arrive at the scene of such incidents within seconds and open fire on terrorists.

Whether it is organized large-scale cells or lone murderers, the threat of indiscriminate jihadist violence looks set to remain with Israelis for years to come – though as the past two years have shown, Western cities are also increasingly prone to such threats.

The IDF’s New Social Contract

January 6, 2017

The IDF’s New Social Contract, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 6, 2016

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Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

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Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter Wednesday for shooting a terrorist in Hebron last March, is a symptom of what may be the most dangerous threat to Israeli society today.

Azaria, a combat medic from the Kfir Brigade, arrived at the scene of an attack where two terrorists had just stabbed his comrades. One of the terrorists was killed, the other was wounded and lying on the ground, his knife less than a meter away from him.

A cameraman from the foreign-funded, Israeli- registered anti-Israel pressure group B’Tselem filmed Azaria removing his helmet and shooting the wounded terrorist. According to the military judges, the film was the centerpiece of the case against him.

The day of the incident, the General Staff reacted to the B’Tselem film with utter hysteria. Led by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s generals competed to see who could condemn Azaria most harshly.

For the public, though, the issue wasn’t so cut and dry. Certainly Azaria didn’t act like a model soldier. It was clear, for instance, that he acted without proper authority and that his action was not permitted under the rules of engagement then in effect in Hebron.

But unlike the IDF’s senior leadership, the public believed that the fact that it was B’Tselem that produced the film meant that it had to be viewed with a grain of salt.

The name “B’Tselem” was seared into the public’s consciousness as an organization hostile to Israel and dedicated to causing it harm with the publication of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report in 2009. Among the Israeli-registered groups that provided materials to the biased UN commission charged with finding Israel guilty of war crimes during the course of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009, B’Tselem made the greatest contribution.

The Goldstone Report cited B’Tselem as the source for its slanderous “findings” 56 times.

After the UN published the Goldstone Report, Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for human rights, visited Israel and met with Jessica Montell, B’Tselem’s executive director at the time.

The US Embassy’s official report of their meeting was published by WikiLeaks.

During their meeting, Montell told Posner that her group’s goal in providing the Goldstone Commission with materials was to force the government to pay a heavy price for its decision to fight Hamas, by criminalizing Israel in the court of world opinion.

As B’Tselem saw it, Israel needed to come to the point where it would consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.”

Montell explained that from B’Tselem’s perspective the root of the problem with Israel is the Israeli public. The public is the source of Israel’s bad behavior, according to B’Tselem, because it “had zero tolerance for IDF killed.” As far as the public is concerned, she said, harm to Palestinian civilians is preferable to harm to IDF soldiers.

Since, in B’Tselem’s view, the public’s commitment to the lives of its soldiers meant that it would not constitute a “moral check on war,” and check the bellicosity of IDF commanders, it fell to B’Tselem to make the IDF brass and the government care more about world opinion than they care about what the public thinks.

The public’s condemnation of B’Tselem after its role in compiling the Goldstone Commission’s libelous accusations against the IDF was made public made no impression whatsoever on the group.

Following Operation Protective Edge in 2014, B’Tselem’s materials were cited 67 times by the report of the biased UN commission put together to slander Israel.

In 2007, B’Tselem launched its “Camera Program.”

The camera initiative involved providing video cameras to B’Tselem employees and volunteers in Judea and Samaria in order to document the actions of Israeli security forces and civilians in the areas.

In many cases, the videos B’Tselem produced distorted reality for the purpose of criminalizing both groups.

For instance, in 2011, B’Tselem gave a film to Ynet’s Elior Cohen that purported to show Israeli police brutally arresting a young Palestinian boy and preventing his mother from coming to the police station with him.

But as CAMERA showed at the time, B’Tselem’s portrayal of events was fanciful at best. In all likelihood, the event was staged by the B’Tselem photographer.

At the outset of the film the boy is unseen as he throws rocks at a police van. The boy is first seen as he runs toward the B’Tselem camerawoman. For her part, the camerawoman screams at the police and identifies herself as from B’Tselem.

The police are shown asking the boy’s mother repeatedly to join them in the car. As she stands poised to enter the vehicle, a Palestinian man is shown telling her in Arabic not to go.

In July 2016, B’Tselem released a film taken in Hebron during an attempted stabbing attack by a female Palestinian terrorist against Israel police at a security checkpoint outside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The police reported that the terrorist tried to stab a policewoman who was checking her in an inspection room. Another policewoman shot and killed her.

B’Tselem claimed that its film proved that the female terrorist was shot for no reason. But the fact is that it does no such thing. As NGO Monitor noted, the B’Tselem film neither contradicts nor proves the police’s version of events.

Over the years, the public’s growing awareness of B’Tselem’s unwavering hostility went hand in hand with its growing distress over what was perceived as the IDF’s willingness to sacrifice the safety of troops to prevent it from receiving bad press.

For instance, in 2012, a film went viral on social media that showed a platoon of combat engineers fleeing from a mob of Palestinians attacking with rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots.

When questioned by reporters, the soldiers said that they had repeatedly asked their battalion commander for permission to use force to disperse the crowd and they were repeatedly denied permission.

Retreat was their only option.

In 2015, another film went viral showing a group of Palestinian women hitting and screaming at a soldier trying to arrest one of them for throwing rocks at his platoon. He did nothing as he absorbed the blows. And no harm came to the women who assaulted him.

Along with the films, came stories that soldiers on leave told their friends and family about the IDF’s rules of engagement. The tales were always the same. The rules of engagement are so restrictive that all initiative is placed in the hands of the enemy. Not only can terrorists attack at will. They can flee afterward and expect that no harm will come to them, because what is most important, the soldiers explain, is to ensure that IDF maintains its reputation as the most moral army in the world.

This was the context in which Azaria killed the wounded terrorist.

Although the headlines relate to Azaria, and his family members have become familiar faces on the news, the fact is the reason the Azaria affair was the biggest story of the year is that it really has very little to do with him.

There are three forces driving the story.

First of course, there is B’Tselem.

B’Tselem’s produced the film to advance its goal of obliging Israel’s national leadership, including the IDF brass, to care more about “world opinion” than about the opinion of Israeli citizens.

Second then, is the pubic that cares more about the lives of IDF soldiers than about what the world thinks of it.

Finally, there is the IDF General Staff that is being forced to pick which side it stands with.

Since Israel was established nearly 70 years ago, the relationship between the IDF and the public has been based on an often unstated social contract.

From the public’s side, Israel’s citizens agree to serve in the IDF and risk their lives in its service.

Moreover, they agree to allow their children to serve in the military and to be placed in harm’s way.

From the IDF’s side, the commanders agree to view the lives of their soldiers as sacrosanct, and certainly as more precious than the lives of the enemy and the enemies’ society.

The third side is the General Staff. In the years leading up to the Azaria affair the generals were already showing disturbing signs of forgetting their contract with the public.

The films of fleeing soldiers and the rules of engagement weren’t the only signs of our military leadership’s estrangement.

There were also the promotions given to radical lawyers to serve in key positions in the Military Advocate-General’s unit, and the red carpet treatment given to radical leftist groups like B’Tselem that were dedicated to criminalizing soldiers and commanders.

Since the shooting in Hebron, the General Staff’s treatment of the public has become even more disdainful.

Ya’alon and Eisenkot and his generals have repeatedly offended the public with comparisons of “IDF values” with alleged processes of barbarization, Nazification and ISIS-ization of the public by the likes of Azaria and his supporters.

If there was a specific moment where the military brass abandoned its compact with society once and for all, it came on Tuesday, the day before the military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter. In a speech that day, Eisenkot insisted that IDF soldiers are not “our children.” They are grownups and they are required to obey the orders they receive.

By making this statement the day before the verdict in a case that pitted society against the General Staff, which sided with B’Tselem, Eisenkot told us that the General Staff no longer feels itself obligated by a sacred compact with the people of Israel.

Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

As a result, it is likely that Azaria will spend years behind bars for killing the enemy.

Moreover, if nothing forces Eisenkot and his generals to their senses, Azaria will neither be the last nor the greatest victim of their betrayal of the public’s trust.

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment?

January 5, 2017

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment? Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, January  5, 2017

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Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies.

Why does the world — including now the U.S. — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?

Kerry has never sermonized for so long about his plan to solve the Syrian crisis that has led to some 500,000 deaths or the vast migrant crisis that has nearly wrecked the European Union.

No one in this administration has shown as much anger about the many thousands who have been killed and jailed in the Castro brothers’ Cuba, much less about the current Stone Age conditions in Venezuela or the nightmarish government of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an ally nation.

President Obama did not champion the cause of the oppressed during the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Did Kerry and Obama become so outraged after Russia occupied South Ossetia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine?

Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was never so impassioned over the borders of Chinese-occupied Tibet, or over Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.

In terms of harkening back to the Palestinian “refugee” crisis that started in the late 1940s, no one talks today in similar fashion about the Jews who survived the Holocaust and walked home, only to find that their houses in Eastern Europe were gone or occupied by others. Much less do we recall the 11 million German civilians who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe in 1945 by the Soviets and their imposed Communist governments. Certainly, there are not still “refugee” camps outside Dresden for those persons displaced from East Prussia 70 years ago.

More recently, few nations at the U.N. faulted the Kuwaiti government for the expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians after the liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces in 1991.

Yet on nearly every issue — from “settlements” to human rights to the status of women — U.N. members that routinely violate human rights target a liberal Israel.

When President Obama entered office, among his first acts were to give an interview with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya championing his outreach to the mostly non-democratic Islamic world and to blast democratic Israel on “settlements.”

Partly, the reason for such inordinate criticism of Israel is sheer cowardice. If Israel had 100 million people and was geographically large, the world would not so readily play the bully.

Instead, the United Nations and Europe would likely leave it alone — just as they give a pass to human rights offenders such as Pakistan and Indonesia. If Israel were as big as Iran, and Iran as small as Israel, then the Obama administration would have not reached out to Iran, and would have left Israel alone.

Israel’s supposed Western friends sort out Israel’s enemies by their relative natural resources, geography and population — and conclude that supporting Israel is a bad deal in cost/benefit terms.

Partly, the criticism of Israel is explained by oil — an issue that is changing daily as both the U.S. and Israel cease to be oil importers.

Still, about 40 percent of the world’s oil is sold by Persian Gulf nations. Influential nations in Europe and China continue to count on oil imports from the Middle East — and make political adjustments accordingly.

Partly, anti-Israel rhetoric is due to herd politics.

The Palestinians — illiberal and reactionary on cherished Western issues like gender equality, homosexuality, religious tolerance and diversity — have grafted their cause to the popular campus agendas of race/class/gender victimization.

Western nations in general do not worry much about assorted non-Western crimes such as genocides, mass cleansings or politically induced famines. Instead, they prefer sermons to other Westerners as a sort of virtue-signaling, without any worries over offending politically correct groups.

Partly, the piling on Israel is due to American leverage over Israel as a recipient of U.S. aid. As a benefactor, the Obama administration expects that Israel must match U.S. generosity with obeisance. Yet the U.S. rarely gives similar “how dare you” lectures to less liberal recipients of American aid, such as the Palestinians for their lack of free elections.

Partly, the cause of global hostility toward Israel is jealousy. If Israel were mired in Venezuela-like chaos, few nations would care. Instead, the image of a proud, successful, Westernized nation as an atoll in a sea of self-inflicted misery is grating to many. And the astounding success of Israel bothers so many failed states that the entire world takes notice.

But partly, the source of anti-Israelism is ancient anti-Semitism.

If Israelis were Egyptians administering Gaza or Jordanians running the West Bank (as during the 1960s), no one would care. The world’s problem is that Israelis are Jews. Thus, Israel earns negative scrutiny that is never extended commensurately to others.

Obama and his diplomatic team should have known all this. Perhaps they do, but they simply do not care.

Hamas’s Fatah and the No-State Solution

January 3, 2017

Hamas’s Fatah and the No-State Solution, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, January 3, 2017

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that 2017 will be the “year of international recognition of the State of Palestine.”

The melee in Gaza exposes as the lie that it is Abbas’s repeated claim of a unified Fatah able to lead the Palestinians towards statehood. Incredibly, Abbas seeks global recognition of a Palestinian state at a time when the flames in his own backyard are set to engulf him and his questionable regime.

More bad news from the poll: if presidential elections were to be held today, Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the terrorist group Hamas, would beat Abbas by 49% to 45%.

Palestinians are now openly talking about two different Fatah factions. After Abbas’s decision to strip the legislators of their parliamentary immunity, six Fatah PLC members participated in a Hamas-sponsored meeting of the PLC in the Gaza Strip. This was the first time since 2007 that such a move had been made.

Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, unlike their colleagues in the West Bank, are de facto recognizing the Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip. This is wonderful news for Hamas, whose leader, Ismail Haniyeh is likely to defeat Abbas in a presidential election.

The Fatah gunmen who marched in the Gaza Strip courtesy of Hamas are not supporters of Abbas. Instead, they represent the “other face” of Fatah — the one that does not believe in any peace process with Israel and shares Hamas’s ambition of destroying Israel.

During a celebration in Ramallah marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of his Fatah faction, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas declared that 2017 will be the “year of international recognition of the State of Palestine.” Hailing the recent anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution 2334, Abbas said he was prepared to work with the new administration of Donald Trump “to achieve peace in the region.”

But while Abbas and his lieutenants were celebrating in Ramallah, at least 11 Palestinians were wounded in a scuffle that erupted between rival Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, the fight broke out between Abbas loyalists and supporters of estranged Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. The confrontation, which was the most violent between the two sides in many years, is yet another sign of increasing schism in Fatah. Moreover, it is an indication of how Abbas’s control over his own faction is slipping through his hands. Hamas policemen who were at the scene did not interfere to break up the fight between the warring Fatah activists.

The melee in Gaza exposes as the lie that is Abbas’s repeated claim of a unified Fatah, able to lead the Palestinians towards statehood. Incredibly, Abbas seeks global recognition of a Palestinian state at a time when the flames in his own backyard are set to engulf him and his questionable regime.

Abbas says he wants to work with the Trump Administration to achieve peace in the Middle East, yet he cannot even achieve peace in his very own faction.

Abbas’s speech coincided with a new public opinion poll that showed that 64% of Palestinians want him to step down. The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, also showed that two-thirds of Palestinians do not believe that the current Fatah leadership can achieve their aspirations.

The poll’s findings show that the percentage of Palestinians who want Abbas to resign has risen over the past three months from 61% to 64%. More bad news from the poll: if presidential elections were to be held today, Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the terrorist group Hamas, would beat Abbas by 49% to 45%.

The results of the poll should not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring Palestinian affairs for the past few years. Judging from the sentiments on the Palestinian street, there is good reason to believe that the 81-year-old Abbas, who is now in his 12th year of his four-year term in office, has long ago lost much of his credibility among his people. The real surprise is that only 64% of Palestinians want to see him gone.

Many Palestinians hold Abbas personally responsible for the continued and rapid deterioration in the Palestinian arena. They see his incompetent and failed leadership as the main reason behind the 2007 violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. As soon as Hamas started shooting, Abbas’s fragile, corrupt and strife-ridden Palestinian Authority security forces collapsed. Critics of Abbas say that lack of leadership and decision-making on his part facilitated the Hamas seizure of the Gaza Strip.

Yet over the years, it has become evident that Abbas has not only lost the Gaza Strip and its two million inhabitants to Hamas, but that he is also losing control over his own Fatah faction there. Abbas has managed to alienate many Fatah leaders and activists in the Gaza Strip (most of whom are not necessarily affiliated with his arch-rival, Dahlan) to a point where Palestinians are now openly talking about two different Fatah factions.

Instead of devoting his energies to freeing the Gaza Strip from the iron grip of Hamas, Abbas has spent the past few years waging war against anyone in Fatah who dares to challenge his policies or criticize him. In this regard, he has resorted to a number of punitive measures that have further escalated tensions among Fatah cadres.

These measures include cutting off salaries and pensions to Fatah employees whose loyalty to Abbas is in question or who are suspected of being affiliated with Dahlan. As far as Abbas is concerned, affiliation with Hamas is less of a crime than being affiliated with Dahlan or any of his rivals in Fatah. Another measure that Abbas has taken to punish his rivals in Fatah: stripping them of their parliamentary immunity. The latest victims of this punishment: Mohamed Dahlan, Nasser Juma’ah, Shami Al-Shami, Najat Abu Baker and Jamal Al-Tirawi. Abbas took the decision without seeking the approval of the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), or any other judicial or decision-making institution. His detractors point out that the removal of the parliamentary immunity is in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law, because the PLC is the only party authorized to take such a decision.

When Fatah legislators protested against Abbas’s arbitrary measure by holding a sit-in strike inside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ramallah, Abbas ordered his security forces to raid the compound and evict them by force. “This is a grave violation of the legislators’ rights and it is completely unjustified,” said a spokeswoman for Fatah in the Gaza Strip.

“It is also an indication of the repressive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority security forces. The legislators were holding a peaceful protest inside the offices of the Red Cross after President Abbas’s decision to remove their parliamentary immunity. We hold the president, the prime minister and the security forces responsible for the violations against human rights and public freedoms. We also condemn the silence of the Red Cross towards this despicable assault against the legislators inside the (Red Cross) offices.”

Abbas’s crackdown on his Fatah critics has driven them into the open arms of Hamas. After Abbas’s decision to strip the legislators of their parliamentary immunity, six Fatah PLC members participated in a Hamas-sponsored meeting of the PLC in the Gaza Strip. This was the first time since 2007 that such a move had been made.

The PLC has been effectively paralyzed since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. However, this has not prevented Hamas from continuing to convene sessions of the parliament in the Gaza Strip during the past few years. Until recently, Fatah legislators have boycotted these meetings because they do not recognize Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip. Abbas’s punitive and vengeful measures, however, have pushed Fatah legislators to change this status quo. This means that Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, unlike their colleagues in the West Bank, are de facto recognizing the Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip. This is wonderful news for Hamas, whose leader, Ismail Haniyeh (according to the latest poll) is likely to defeat Abbas in a presidential election.

Emboldened by the growing divisions in Fatah, Hamas leaders are also beginning to flirt with disgruntled Abbas critics who have been hurt by Abbas’s measures. For the first time in many years, the Hamas government permitted thousands of Fatah gunmen to hold a military parade in the Gaza Strip this week, marking the faction’s 52nd anniversary.

2180Pictured: For the first time in many years, Hamas permitted thousands of Fatah gunmen to hold a military parade in the Gaza Strip this week. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

The Fatah gunmen who marched in the Gaza Strip courtesy of Hamas are not supporters of Abbas, the overall commander of Fatah. Instead, they represent the “other face” of Fatah — the one that does not believe in any peace process with Israel and shares Hamas’s ambition of destroying Israel. The message that the Gaza Strip branch of Fatah wished to send to Abbas: Unlike you and your West Bank Fatah, we will not give up the “armed struggle” against Israel. “This parade sends a message to Abbas that Fatah has not relinquished the armed struggle,” explained Palestinian political scientist Ibrahim Abrash.

Meanwhile, Abbas appears to be living on a different planet. His ego prevents him from grasping the news that the polls reveal: most of his people are done with him. He refuses to wake up to the truth that his Fatah faction is falling into pieces, his erstwhile loyalists getting into bed with Hamas. He asks the world to recognize a Palestinian state when his own private residence in the Gaza Strip is forbidden to him. Indeed, it seems that the Palestinians are moving toward a “no-state solution” — a Gaza Strip run by Hamas and dissident Fatah members and a West Bank controlled by another Fatah that is still loyal to Abbas, largely because he is paying them salaries.

Abbas maintains that he is eager to work with the Trump Administration to achieve peace in the region. But will he have the courage to tell the new US administration some uncomfortable truths — namely that he has become a political liability to the majority of his people, and that the Palestinians have never been as divided as they are at this moment? In short, will Abbas dare to share the truth of the splintered Fatah’s no-state solution?