Archive for the ‘Palestinian Authority’ category

Did Abbas just give his valedictory speech, blaming everyone for his failures?

January 15, 2018

Did Abbas just give his valedictory speech, blaming everyone for his failures? Times of IsraelAvi Issacharoff, January 15, 2018

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C-R) speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 14, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

Sunday’s address by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council sounded like the farewell of a leader at the end of his political path, and he admitted as much.

“This may be the last time that you see me here,” Abbas said in his speech in Ramallah.

In March, Abbas will celebrate his 83rd birthday, and he will be hard-pushed, in celebration, to point to a single significant achievement over the past few years. With no political solution on the horizon, the idea of a two-state solution becoming a sad joke, and the prospects of a unity deal with the Hamas terror group fading daily, it seems that even Abbas has thrown up his hands in despair.

Telling US President Donald Trump, “May God demolish your house,” could be attributed to the general “Trumpism” which has seized world leaders, but it also points to the deep despair of the Palestinian leadership.

In his first years as Palestinian leader, and especially after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, Abbas succeeding in doing what his predecessor, Yassar Arafat, had not attempted. He ended the chaos that ruled in the West Bank and established a degree of law and order. Together with the Palestinian security forces and with the help of Israel, Abbas managed to stabilize the West Bank and to remove the gunmen from the streets of Palestinian cities. That had previously appeared an impossible goal.

However, since the change of government in Israel, after the resignation of Ehud Olmert — who had offered Abbas the entire West Bank and never received an answer — together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 election victory, and especially since Trump entered the White House in 2017, the vision of two states realized through negotiations with Israel has evaporated into the thin air of history.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 14, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

The banner that Abbas waved time after time, as official and unofficial policy — establishing the State of Palestine along the 1967 borders — became an idea disconnected from reality. It is easy to blame Trump for this situation, but to be realistic, that has been the case since 2009.

The rule of Hamas in Gaza and Israeli settlement building showed clearly that the dream was one thing and the reality was another. Trump’s December 6 White House speech, in which he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, only made matters clearer for the Palestinians, as did the message sent from Saudi Arabia about the “deal of the century” being drawn up by the Trump administration.

The frustration of Abbas and his colleagues was palpable. Furthermore, on Sunday, he did what he is so good at doing — blaming the entire world for the situation of the Palestinians, from the US, to Israel, Hamas, and even the Europeans, for their role in sending the Jews to Israel.

Abbas also dedicated a large part of his address to his internal critics — not only Fatah activists who refused to participate in the conference, but also Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror groups, who stayed away as well.

Israel, he further charged, destroyed the Oslo accords. “Israel is a colonialist project, which has nothing to do with the Jews,” he added.

Trump gave the Palestinians a slap in the face, he lamented. “The deal of the century became the slap of the century.”

Only a few in the Palestinian Authority and the top echelons of Fatah and the PLO were left off of his list of the culprits behind the failure.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 14, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

When one looks at the faces of those participating in the Sunday-Monday conference, it is clear how insistently the PLO and Fatah have refused to change or reform. The leaders today are much the same ones who led the PLO in the 1980s in Lebanon and the West Bank.

In this vein, over the last few years, Abbas has made sure that he has no heir, nor even a clear official process for choosing a successor. He ignored calls for reform and any kind of criticism. He made sure to isolate and weaken the most popular leader in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned since 2002 and sentenced by a civilian Israeli court to five life terms for orchestrating a series of terrorist murders during the Second Intifada.

In what seemed like a valedictory address Sunday, Abbas promised that the Palestinians would not give up their rights, that payments to families of terrorists would not stop, and that he would not allow the Americans to mediate in the negotiations. These and many other “nos.”

“We do not take instructions from anyone, and say ‘No’ to anyone, if it is about our destiny, our cause, our country and our people… 1,000 times no,” he said.

Which left many Palestinians asking themselves a simple question — one that many people in Israel also ask their leaders: “So what is ‘yes?’”

It seems unlikely that the answer will be forthcoming during the Abbas-Trump-Netanyahu era.

The end of an era

January 4, 2018

The end of an era, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, January 3, 2018

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

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In the late 1990s, author and political commentator Fouad Ajami published his book “The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey,” in which he laid out the failures in the worldviews of Arab leaders and their self-criticism as the reason for their lack of achievement.

Two decades later, as 2017 was drawing to a close, the Palestinians’ dream palace sustained three serious blows in quick succession. First, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was followed by the Likud Central Committee’s decision to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley. Finally, the Knesset passed a law that removes the teeth from any future peace deal involving Jerusalem (by requiring a special majority of 80 MKs to vote in favor of handing any part of the city over to any foreign government).

If the Palestinians were to look at them in a sober light, they would see that the U.N. resolutions that followed Trump’s announcement were meaningless. In light of the continuing historic drama that began with the landmark Balfour Declaration, the U.N. resolutions condemning Trump’s announcement carried no operative significance and merely served as a faint echo of the detached institution’s fading anti-Israelism.

The latest provocations from Hamas are not a lust for battle, but an expression of how desperate and lost – operatively, politically, and ideologically – the organization is. This beaten and battered group made an immense investment in missiles and attack tunnels, at a heavy cost to its people. These have become a pointless burden. Hamas is currently in a political situation in which the world is sick of Islamism, and the entities that aid and abet it (Qatar, Iran, and Turkey) are bogged down in their own domestic troubles.

The Palestinian Authority is at the end of an era. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying fruitlessly to use a diplomatic atmosphere that is hostile to Israel to wring concessions out of it, while simultaneously avoiding direct negotiations with Israel or recognizing it as a Jewish state. The PA is wasting time trying to paint Israel as an apartheid state through a South Africa-style boycott movement, while continuing to coordinate on security because it is afraid of Hamas.

The Israeli convoy is moving on while the PA is gritting its teeth over absurd demands (Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees), not realizing the effect the processes at work in the world are having on their delusional dreams. Indeed, Islamist terrorism, the Iranian threat, the breakdown of many countries in the region, the masses of Muslim refugees into sinking Europe, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – these are the factors that have sidelined the Palestinian problem, which was never the cause of the regional unrest.

As these developments take place, Abbas is claiming that the U.S. is sponsoring an Israeli strategy to eradicate the Palestinians and their irrefutable right to kill off the peace process. A range of voices in Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas – responded to Trump’s declaration and Israel’s decision about Jerusalem and the settlements with the language of a declaration of war that demands that they revoke any recognition of Israel and the peace process and resume resistance (the armed struggle).

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital: Watch the Masks Fall

December 15, 2017

Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital: Watch the Masks Fall, Gatestone InstituteNajat AlSaied, December 15, 2017

(Please see also, Kredo: State Department using ‘pretzel logic’ in defiance of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capital. — DM)

Even with all this controversy and a complete change in Arab attitudes on social media towards the Palestinian cause, both Western and traditional Arab media still keep regurgitating the same anti-Israel slogans and rhetoric, and pumping out the same Palestinian propaganda. Most comments on social media have come from intellectuals, assuring the general public that the main reason for this never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a corrupt Palestinian Authority, run by Fatah and Hamas. The Palestinian Authority, they seem to believe, has traded on the Palestinian cause, which has garnered them millions, but none of that is ever discussed in the mainstream media.

The world has followed a course that has gotten this peace process nowhere. The fact that this conflict has been ongoing for 70 years demonstrates that there is something at fault. The main reasons for this stalled progress are a lack of transparency, hypocritical opportunists with hidden personal agendas, a biased mainstream media and ineffective diplomatic missions. It is not an exaggeration to say that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the best decision that has been taken by any American President because it lays bare a rotten reality. This is exactly what is needed to galvanize the peace process toward a two-state solution. It will also put pressure on the corrupt Palestinian Authority either to reform or change its leadership. Who knows, it might even stop opportunists from perpetuating this conflict for their own ends.

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When the actual announcement came, nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem — especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah — come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

While mainstream media shows the oppressor to be Israel and the oppressed to be the Palestinians, the polls tell a different story.

The US Department of State is no less culpable than the mainstream media in failing to play a more vital role in revealing these realities, which could also mitigate the anger and hatred felt towards the US. This Department needs to be reformed from top to bottom to ensure that all diplomats are truly working for US interests. I am sure that it is the Department of State itself that will be the most reluctant to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It is not an exaggeration to say that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the best decision that has been taken by any American President because it lays bare a rotten reality.

Many analysts say that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a campaign promise to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters, but there is another way of looking at it. Trump’s recognition might be a golden opportunity for two-faced opportunists to be unmasked — a shot of reality that might eventually help the peace process and solve this long-lasting conflict.

Since the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, many Arab observers, intellectuals and academics have started to question the veracity of those jihadists who claim they are sacrificing themselves to defend Jerusalem, because when the actual announcement came — nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem — especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah — come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

Other opportunists are the two-faced countries in the region, such as Qatar and Turkey. While publicly hostile towards Israel, behind closed doors they support it. Further opportunists are the Western and Arab media, who for decades have been promoting the idea that the problem is the Israeli occupation, but never mention the Palestinian Authority corruption.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has also revealed the shortcomings of the US Department of State. It has not played any role in clarifying the above-mentioned points and, by this negativity and bureaucracy, only generated further hatred towards the US.

Trump’s recognition has exposed the hypocrisy of the armed militia Hezbollah which always claims it will never disarm because of its fight against Israel. Now after the recognition of Jerusalem, many Arabs are questioning Hezbollah’s motivations regarding Israel. Lebanese and other Arabs are questioning why Hezbollah has not sent its armed militia to fight in Israel as it did in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Dr. Hadi El Amine, a Lebanese researcher in political science and governmental studies, tweeted, “The axis of resistance’s words are aimed against Israel, but their missiles are pointed at the Arabs.”

Adhwan Alahmari, a Saudi journalist based in London for Asharq al-Awsat also tweeted:

“The soldiers, rockets and suicide bombers of Hezbollah are at Israel’s borders yet they did not support Jerusalem after Trump’s declaration, instead supporting the Wilayat al-Faqih [Iranian Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist] to fight in Syria to displace and annihilate its people to protect the shrine.”

Yet another opportunist is Hamas and its supporters who have succeeded in turning Arabs against the Palestinians. This time, the Palestinians’ anger was not turned only towards Israel and the US, but mainly at Saudi Arabia. Hamas and its followers attacked the Saudi flag and insulted King Salman of Saudi Arabia. These Palestinians seem to think that Trump did not make this announcement without a wink of approval from Saudi Arabia. Their reaction has angered countless Saudis, who consider this attack a demonstration of ingratitude from the unappreciative Palestinians, to whom they have given billions of dollars.

In response, the Saudis started several hashtags on Twitter such as #hellwithyouand your issue, and #Saudis are angry for their king. Many Saudis behind these hashtags regret every penny that has been given to defend the Palestinians, especially after they saw these Palestinian traitors, as they put it, insulting Saudi Arabia, which has enriched them and channeled exorbitant financing into Palestinian development projects. Salman Al-Ansari, a Saudi writer and political commentator based in Washington DC, tweeted:

“We want to make everyone aware that the salaries of Palestinian diplomats around the world come from Riyadh-Saudi Arabia; salaries which are 30% higher than that of Saudi diplomats. What did Doha and Ankara do for them other than offer empty slogans and stab Jerusalem in the back?”

If you now ask the Saudis, the one of their main supporters and funders, about this conflict, the majority will say, “It is none of our business”. The Saudis would rather, it seems, focus on their own internal affairs and save their money rather than pay ungrateful Palestinians.

A large numbers of Saudis additionally seem surprised by the attitude of Palestinians, who support Qatar and Turkey, countries which have diplomatic relationships with Israel. As a result, many Saudis think the Palestinians are not serious about defending their cause.

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after Trump’s declaration, tweeted that he will turn the whole Muslim world against Washington. This kind of posturing does not influence the Arab public or intellectuals any more. As Yousef Al Kowaileet, a Saudi deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Al Riyadh put it in a tweet, “Most Muslim countries have ties with Israel. People are not stupid and they know that these interests supersede any creed.”

Arab people cannot even believe Erdoğan’s tweets, when they see that the day after his outburst on Twitter, Turkey, amid political turmoil, signed a deal worth 18.6 million euros with Israel.

Arabs also shared pictures of Turkish Cultural Day celebrations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Several Saudi intellectuals responded to Erdoğan’s rhetoric against Israel by saying, “If you are honest, the Muslim world wants you to cut diplomatic relations and stop military cooperation with Israel.”

Qatar is playing the same two-faced role as the Turks, but with more of a focus on attacking Saudi Arabia. Qatar, through its news outlet Al Jazeera, apparently now wants to galvanize the Muslim world into embarrassing Saudi Arabia because of its relationship with Trump since his announcement.

Ostensibly this response is to defend the Palestinian cause, but its real objective seems rather to pressure Saudi Arabia into ending its relationship with the US administration. Qatar will never stop dreaming of Trump’s impeachment; the rulers doubtless think that a Democratic President, like Obama, would again support Qatar in its Muslim Brotherhood project. Mohamed Krishan, a news anchor on Al Jazeera, tweeted:

“Jerusalem is the first of the two Qibla [the direction faced during salahprayers] and the third of the two Holy Mosques that is given to the Israelis as their capital by Trump after he got billions from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”

Ahmad Al-Faraj, a Saudi academic and researcher, tweeted back to him:

“If you leave your television channel of intelligence #Al Jazeera and go to your house in Doha, you will see on your right the Israeli representative building 600 meters from your house. People there… will tell you about the role of your channel in the betrayals and conspiracies that destroyed the Arab world and they will tell you who sold Jerusalem.”

Saudis have also started to tweet interviews with Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former foreign minister of Qatar, and Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar, about supporting Israel, to reveal their hypocrisy to the wider public. In the interview with Hamad bin Jassim on Qatar’s Al Jazeera television on October 25, 2017, he mentioned that close Qatari-Israeli relations were to get closer to America so that Israel could open doors for Qatar in America.

Qatar is also trying to gain favor in the US through Saudi dissidents, such as Jamal Khashoggi. He previously held a number of positions in several newspapers in Saudi Arabia, served as a political adviser, and now, entirely backed by Qatar, is a columnist for The New York Times and based in Washington DC. Nowadays, Khashoggi takes every opportunity to attack Saudi Arabia in different US and European newspapers.

Anyone who can read Arabic can tell you Twitter account of Jamal Khashoggi is full of anti-Semitic tweets and retweets; it looks as if the New York Times allows him to write in its newspaper only because he attacks Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi tweeted:

“Feel angry and shout out even if you do so among your own people and inside your frightened houses, it’s #Jerusalem. Allah suffices me, for He is the best disposer of affairs. I feel distressed.”

Saudis recognize that his real intention was not to defend Jerusalem or the Palestinians, but to galvanize people on the streets of Saudi Arabia to rise up against their own government. Ahmad Al-Faraj tweeted:

“If you feel that angry, why do you not leave this damned country of America, whose President is moving its embassy to Jerusalem?”

Other Saudi writers and others simply ridiculed him. “Go and drink a glass of wine to calm down”, wrote Hani Al Dahri, a Saudi journalist, inserting Kashoggi’s tweet above along a photograph of him celebrating Thanksgiving in the US with bottles of wine on the table:

Even with all this controversy and a complete change in Arab attitudes on social media towards the Palestinian cause, both Western and traditional Arab media still keep regurgitating the same anti-Israel slogans and rhetoric, and pumping out the same Palestinian propaganda. Most comments on social media have come from intellectuals, assuring the general public that the main reason for this never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a corrupt Palestinian Authority, run by Fatah and Hamas. The Palestinian Authority, they seem to believe, has traded on the Palestinian cause, which has garnered them millions, but none of that is ever discussed in the mainstream media.

While the mainstream media still shows the oppressor to be Israel and the oppressed to be the Palestinians, Palestinian polls tell a different story[1]:

  • In a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (based in Beit Sahour, the West Bank), 52% of Palestinians living in Israeli-ruled East Jerusalem said they would prefer to be citizens of Israel with equal rights, compared to just 42% who would choose to be citizens of a Palestinian state.
  • More Palestinians in Jerusalem seek Israeli citizenship.
  • According to polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 14 and 16 September, 2017, the majority of Palestinians are unhappy with President Mahmoud Abbas’s performance. 67% of the public want him to resign while 27% want him to remain in office. The demand for Abbas’s resignation stands at 60% in the West Bank and 80% in the Gaza Strip.
  • If new legislative elections were held today, 63% of the Palestinians surveyedsaid they would vote. Of those who would participate, 29% said they would vote for Hamas; 36% said they would vote for Fatah; 10% would vote for all other parties combined, and 25% were undecided.
  • Only 38% of the Palestinian public polled said West Bankers could criticize the Palestinian Authority (PA) without fear of reprisal; 59% said that people could not freely criticize the PA. Half of the public (50%) viewed the PA as a burden on the Palestinians. 77% perceived the PA as corrupt.
  • Most of Hamas leaders, who portray themselves as jihadists against Israel, are millionaires. A senior official in Hamas, for example, Khaled Mashaal, who is worth US $2.6 billion according to global estimates, while Arab commentators put his worth at between US $2 and $5 billion, saying he “invested in Egyptian banks and Gulf countries, some in real estate projects.” Next on the list is Ismail Haniyeh, who, until the recent signing of a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah, was the Prime Minister of Gaza. “His fortune is estimated at US $4 million, and most of his assets in the Strip are registered in the name of his son-in-law Nabil, and a dozen children of his and other less well-known Hamas officials. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank appears no less corrupt than leaders in Gaza. Abbas and other leaders in the PLO have stolen millions of dollars from international funding meant for the Palestinian people. This corruption is the mistake of international donors who never hold these leaders to account.

Why is all this data absent from the mainstream media, which shows images of burning flags and other displays of anger only from the point of view of the Palestinian Authority and its supporters?

The US Department of State is no less culpable than the mainstream media in failing to play a more vital role in revealing these realities. Exposing this corruption would go a long way to mitigating the anger and hatred felt towards the US. The Department of State is always passive and bureaucratic, functioning mostly like a third-world country governmental body.

The Harry S Truman Building in Washington, DC, headquarters of the US Department of State. (Image source: Loren/Wikimedia Commons)

During my time working in the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I met some diplomats who do not hold the US Government’s views. On the contrary, some of them held political views that were totally different to those of their administration, and some were even anti-Semitic. In addition, the expertise of the diplomats was not of the high standard that you would expect from a powerful country such as the US. A lot of these diplomats are sent to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia with no knowledge of the Arabic language and not much more of the region — in sharp contrast to diplomats in the British Embassy. I was surprised to work with a diplomat who, instead of supporting his country in liberating Iraq from the most brutal dictatorship in history, was calling it “an invasion” to Saudi intellectuals and academics. He was also against the peace process. He insisted on calling Israel an “occupier” and complained that I was reading “right-wing websites” such as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The organization mainly translates material meticulously from the Arabic, but the diplomat calls it pro-Israel.

So, I was hoping that after Trump became President, the Department of State might be reformed to avoid the same mistakes made under George Bush – mainly that he did not confront the US Department of State about its incompetence. President Trump should be firm and alert avoid the same mistake. Currently, it is ineffective.

This Department needs to be reformed from top to bottom to ensure that all diplomats are truly working for US interests. I am sure that it is the Department of State itself that will be the most reluctant to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The world has followed a course that has gotten this peace process nowhere. The fact that this conflict has been ongoing for 70 years demonstrates that there is something at fault. The main reasons for this stalled progress are a lack of transparency, hypocritical opportunists with hidden personal agendas, a biased mainstream media and ineffective diplomatic missions. It is not an exaggeration to say that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the best decision that has been taken by any American President because it lays bare a rotten reality. This is exactly what is needed to galvanize the peace process toward a two-state solution. It will also put pressure on the corrupt Palestinian Authority either to reform or change its leadership. Who knows, it might even stop opportunists from perpetuating this conflict for their own ends.

Najat AlSaied is a Saudi American academic and the author of “Screens of Influence: Arab Satellite Television & Social Development”. She is an Assistant Professor at Zayed University in the College of Communication and Media Sciences in Dubai-UAE.


[1] Polling data were all kindly provided by Dr. Michael Sharnoff, Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at Daniel Morgan Graduate School

President Trump’s Jerusalem Move Deals a Blow to Terror

December 8, 2017

President Trump’s Jerusalem Move Deals a Blow to Terror, FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, December 8, 2017

It’s not about a “piece of land here or there”, as the PA’s top Sharia judge clarifies, it’s a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It’s another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America. 

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.

“It isn’t possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem,” Habash had said. “In politics there can be compromises here and there… In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises.”

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Hamas has announced that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the “gates of hell.” Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an “enemy state.”

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move “will fuel extremism and result in violence.” The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would “trigger anger” and “fuel tension.”

“Moderate” Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the “extremists”.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a “blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations.”

The last time the OIC was this mad, someone drew Mohammed. And wasn’t stoned to death for it.

According to the Saudi ambassador, it will “heighten tensions”. The Deputy Prime Minister of Islamist Turkey called it a “major catastrophe”. And the leader of the largest Muslim country in Europe, France’s Emmanuel Macron “expressed concern” that America will “unilaterally recognize Jerusalem.”

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

The Palestinian Authority’s boss warned that recognizing Jerusalem will “destroy the peace process”. The PLO’s envoy in D.C. threatened that it would be the “final lethal blow” and “the kiss of death to the two-state solution”. A top PA advisor claimed it “will end any chance of a peace process.”

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that “chance” doesn’t amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can’t threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat.

Peace wasn’t killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

“The world will pay the price,” warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia judge.

Habash isn’t just the bigwig of Islamic law, he’s also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization’s leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, “can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims.”

While the official warnings from the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and assorted other Islamic organizations have claimed that recognizing Jerusalem threatens the non-existent peace process, Habash had in the past had made it quite clear that the issue wasn’t land, it was Jihad.

“The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat,” Habash had declared.

Ribat means that Israel is a frontier outpost between the territories of Islam and the free world. The Muslim terrorists who call themselves “Palestinians” have, according to the Abbas adviser, been chosen for “Ribat” to stand guard on the Islamic frontier and expand the territories of Islam.

The sense of Ribat is that the Jihadists may not yet be able to win a definitive victory, but must maintain their vigilance for the ultimate goal, which a Hadith defines as performing Ribat “against my enemy and your enemy until he abandons his religion for your religion.”

That is what’s at stake here.

It’s not about a “piece of land here or there”, as the PA’s top Sharia judge clarifies, it’s a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It’s another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America.

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.

“It isn’t possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem,” Habash had said. “In politics there can be compromises here and there… In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises.”

There’s an extremely thin line in Islamic theocracy between politics and religion. But what Habash is really saying is that there might be room to negotiate how many times a week the garbage truck comes to pick up the trash, but not who gives him the orders. Islamic supremacism is non-negotiable.

The Supreme Sharia judge warned Trump that moving the embassy is “a declaration of war on all Muslims.” Why all Muslims? Because the “Palestinians” are a myth. Islamic conquests are collective.

And it’s not as if any of the Muslim leaders disagree.

Why is Jerusalem their business? It’s not empathy for the “Palestinians”. Kuwait ethnically cleansed huge numbers of them. They aren’t treated all that much better in other Arab Muslim countries.

It’s not about them. The Muslim settlers in Israel are just there as “Ribat”. They’re the frontier guard of the Islamic conquest. Much like the Sharia patrols in the No-Go Zones of Europe or the Jihadists in Kashmir, the Rohingya in Burma and all the other Islamic Volksdeutsche variants of occupying colonists.

Sunni may fight Shiite. Muslim countries, tribes and clans may war with each other. But the land they’re fighting over belongs to all of them collectively.

It can never belong to non-Muslims. That is the essence of Islam where conquest is religion.

That’s true of Jerusalem. And of the entire world.

That is what is truly at stake in the war over Jerusalem. When countries refuse to move their embassies to Jerusalem, they are submitting to Sharia law and Islamic supremacism. The issue at stake is the same one as drawing Mohammed. It’s not about a “piece of land”. It’s about the supremacy of Islam.

Refusing to move the embassy doesn’t prevent violence. Islamic terrorism continues to claim lives in Jerusalem. And Islamic violence has been a constant before Israel liberated Jerusalem or before there was even a free Israel. The Arab League, the Jordanians, the Saudis and the rest of the gang aren’t promising an end to the violence. Instead they warn that if we don’t obey, it will grow worse.

That’s not diplomacy. It’s a hostage crisis.

President Trump made the right decision by refusing to let our foreign policy be held hostage. We don’t win by giving in to terrorists.

We win by resisting them.  Or else we’ll have to live our lives as hostages of Islamic terror.

Jerusalem is a metaphor. Every free country has its own Jerusalem. In America, it’s the First Amendment. Our Jerusalem is not just a piece of land, it’s a value. And the Islamic Jihad seeks to intimidate us into giving it up until, as the Hadith states, we abandon our religion for Islam.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do much more for America than it will for Israel.

The Israelis already know where their capital is. We need to remember where we left our freedom. Islamic terrorists win when they terrorize us into being too afraid to do the right thing.

President Trump sent a message to the terrorists that America will not be terrorized.

Previous administrations allowed the terrorists to decide where we put our embassy. But Trump has made it clear that we won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies, what cartoons we will draw or how we live our lives. That is what real freedom means.

Commendable defiance

December 8, 2017

Commendable defiance, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, December 8, 2017

What do you do when they untruthfully blame Israeli “settlements,” expressly including home construction in Jewish Jerusalem, for the failure of their botched peace process, and then abstain as the U.N. Security Council savages Israel, and only Israel, for obstruction of peace diplomacy?

You pray for new leaders in the United States who will right the wrongs, defy the rotten and callous consensus, be willing to introduce a dose of realism and truth-telling to the Arab-Israeli dynamic, and be brave enough to say, at least, that Jews have profound rights in Jerusalem and that the U.S. recognizes the indisputable fact that Jerusalem functions as Israel’s capital, justifiably so. And that the American Embassy will move to Jerusalem, as should all embassies.

You pray that somebody with Trump’s gumption will come along, become president of the United States, and do what he has just done.

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The Palestinians have no one to blame except themselves for President Donald Trump’s declaration on Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The same goes for European leaders, who were busy this week condemning Trump’s move.

The Palestinians and the Europeans brought this on themselves by running an ugly campaign of denialism and denigration against Israel. Their brazen persistence in delegitimizing the Jewish people’s historic roots and rights in Jerusalem led to this defiant and ultimately honorable result: a reassertion of reality.

Over the past decade, and certainly since he rejected then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 peace initiative, President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has been on an outrageous path, an assault on the core identity of Jews and Israelis and an offensive to deny the most fundamental, basic building blocks of Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

At Abbas’ express urging, UNESCO has adopted insane and nonsensical resolutions declaring Jerusalem an exclusively Muslim heritage city and criminalizing Israel’s custodianship of the holy city. Most of Israel’s European allies went along with this affront, either voting for or abstaining on the resolutions.

So what do you do when the Big Lie is evident everywhere, and no one seems to care about the truth? What do you do when Abbas repugnantly engages in gross inversions of reality and says that Israel is “paving the way for bitter religious conflict” that he doesn’t want – when, in fact, it is he who is driving the conflict, not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Israel?

What you do is keep the faith, and re-assert basic truths, such as the fact that for 3,000 years Jerusalem has been the Jewish people’s ancient patrimony and that for 70 years Jerusalem has been the sovereign capital of the State of Israel.

What do you do when Abbas shamefully, regularly and falsely accuses Israel of committing “violations” against Islamic and Christian holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, when it is his Waqf Muslim religious trust that has turned Al-Aqsa into an armed fortress and turned every Jewish visit to Judaism’s holiest site into a skirmish?

What do you do when it his Waqf that wantonly has dug up and destroyed thousands of years of Jewish archaeological treasures on the Temple Mount, and the world has stood by without protest? What do you do when Abbas’ people have destroyed Joseph’s Tomb, sought to destroy Rachel’s Tomb, and have run Christians out of Bethlehem?

You change the way Israeli (and  hopefully now American) diplomats present Israel’s case by emphasizing Israel’s legal, historic and religious rights in this land, not just our security needs. You do not forfeit to the Palestinians the international discourse regarding human, national and civil rights, especially on Jerusalem.

You push back by declaring – against the advice of all the inveterate peace process experts and high-and-mighty European commissioners – that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, plain and simple.

What do you do when Abbas has the gall to call for “international protection for Palestinians in Jerusalem against assaults by the occupation army” and accuses Israel of “executing” teenage Palestinian terrorists, when it is Israelis who have to be afraid of Palestinian stonings, knifings and shootings in every corner of this country and who are (uncomfortably and heroically) restraining themselves from unleashing the full force of Israel’s military?

You demonstrate resilience. And you ask your good friends in the U.S., be they Republican or Democrat, evangelical or secular, to defend you and to affirm that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

What do you do when the U.N. secretary general and the pope swallow every bit of Abbas’ bile about exclusive Arab rights in Jerusalem, while ignoring his denial of Christian history in Jerusalem? What do you do when they denounce “hateful discourse on both sides,” when there is no moral equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian discourse and no factual equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian propensities to violence?

You do not go running scared. You make the determination not to be cowed by yet more threats of Palestinian rage. You resolve not to melt from adopting moral policies just because of Arab stonings, stabbings, bombings and other forms of bullying.

What do you do when the president and secretary of state of your main ally, Barack Obama and John Kerry of the blessedly expired previous American administration, doubt Israel’s sincerity in maintaining calm on the Temple Mount and cast aspersions on the defensive measures taken by the Israel Police and IDF in response to Palestinian terrorism, when in fact Israel has studiously (and I think too diligently) maintained the status quo on Temple Mount, and its security forces have acted with immense restraint in response to Palestinian atrocities?

What do you do when they untruthfully blame Israeli “settlements,” expressly including home construction in Jewish Jerusalem, for the failure of their botched peace process, and then abstain as the U.N. Security Council savages Israel, and only Israel, for obstruction of peace diplomacy?

You pray for new leaders in the United States who will right the wrongs, defy the rotten and callous consensus, be willing to introduce a dose of realism and truth-telling to the Arab-Israeli dynamic, and be brave enough to say, at least, that Jews have profound rights in Jerusalem and that the U.S. recognizes the indisputable fact that Jerusalem functions as Israel’s capital, justifiably so. And that the American Embassy will move to Jerusalem, as should all embassies.

You pray that somebody with Trump’s gumption will come along, become president of the United States, and do what he has just done.

David M. Weinberg (www.davidmweinberg.com) is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.

Obtaining Peace by Pressuring the PLO, Not Israel

December 7, 2017

Obtaining Peace by Pressuring the PLO, Not Israel, The Point (FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, December 7, 217

Let’s peel back the blatant double standard behind the media’s Jerusalem outrage. And the claims that this will somehow destroy any possibility for peace.

Whenever the problem of peace is discussed, the prescription is always pressuring Israel, not the PLO.

Jerusalem was one of the pressure points. 

Trump’s move applied pressure to the PLO’s Palestinian Authority in exactly the way that the left had wanted pressure to be applied to Israel. He did to the PLO, what Obama had been doing to Israel by covertly backing the PA’s statehood moves.

The double standard is that pressuring Israel in this way is deemed a very good thing because the Jews are somehow the obstacles to peace. While pressuring the PLO is a terrible thing because that will destroy the cause of peace.

Why is pressuring Israel a good thing and pressuring Islamic terrorists a bad thing?

That’s the bias that needs addressing.

It’s the PLO that has rejected every peace proposal. Despite the attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu, it was Arafat and Abbas who made the decision to walk away from peace negotiations.

If anyone needs to be pressured to come to the table, it’s the PLO. And that is what President Trump did.

Abbas lacks important Arab support against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem

December 7, 2017

Abbas lacks important Arab support against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, DEBKAfile, December 7, 2017

Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinians during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron, following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on December 7, 2017. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90

It is no secret in Ramallah or Nablus that King Abdullah of Jordan has fallen out of favor with the majority of Arab rulers, especially the Saudi crown prince and strongman, the UAE emir and the Egyptian president.  DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources reveal that Riyadh has gone so far as to cut off financial assistance to Amman.

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The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas only found Jordan’s King Abdullah and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan to back him up Thursday, Dec. 7, in the first 24 hours after US President Donald Trump’s announced recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Arab street’s first response was also minor in scale and pitch – less than 100 protesters at most of the rallies. Prepared for an outbreak of “the third Palestinian intifada (uprising)”, foreign correspondents arrived on the scene kitted up in helmets and vests, only to find a fairly low-key event to cover rather than a violent backlash. The Palestinian sources reported 140 injured so far, most of them from inhaling gas and three from rubber bullets.

The Palestinians were called out by their leaders to stage massive protest marches in East Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarm, as well as at the Gaza border fence.  Stones were hurled at Israeli troops and tires set on fire for the cameras, but nothing more lethal at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, for instance, than bottles of water. Only in Hebron did real clashes occur between security forces and protesters. They were broken up with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Extra Israeli security and military forces have been mobilized for the weekly Muslim Friday prayers at the mosques and Saturday. Will Palestinian protesters then turn out in force, as they have so many times before?

It must be said that, while most Arab and Muslim rulers have gone through the motions of condemning Trump’s pro-Israeli act, few are actively opposing it, which the Palestinian street has not been slow to notice. Their zeal for a violent confrontation with Israeli security forces is therefore less than expected – especially after their leader Abu Mazen had to fall back on the Jordanian king and Turkish president for support, instead of finding a rousing condemnation from the entire Arab leadership.

It is no secret in Ramallah or Nablus that King Abdullah of Jordan has fallen out of favor with the majority of Arab rulers, especially the Saudi crown prince and strongman, the UAE emir and the Egyptian president.  DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources reveal that Riyadh has gone so far as to cut off financial assistance to Amman.

Jordan has always been good friends with Turkey and so Abdullah flew to Ankara Wednesday to find a backer ahead of the Trump announcement. However, the ordinary Palestinian has a low opinion of President Erdogan and his efforts to set up an anti-American, Anti-Israel Islamic Front never found much response in Palestinian towns.

And so Abu Mazen’s panicky visit to Amman to talk with Abdullah is not expected to change the mood on the Palestinian street. At the same time, the situation is inflammable enough to catch fire in a trice. A large-scale Palestinian terrorist attack against Israel is always on the cards, and the potential for Israeli security forces facing a raging mob  to inflict a large number of casualties cannot be ruled out for triggering a major outbreak.