Archive for the ‘West Bank’ category

Palestinians: Tomorrow’s Secret ‘Day of Rage’

May 21, 2017

Palestinians: Tomorrow’s Secret ‘Day of Rage’, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, May 21, 2017

(Perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu will arrange for a bit of sightseeing or at least whisper in President Trump’s ear and provide some videos. — DM)

What is really driving this Palestinian hatred of Trump and the U.S.? The Palestinians and the Arabs have long been at war with what they regard as U.S. bias in favor of Israel. What they mean is that U.S. support for Israel stands in their way of destroying Israel.

Abbas is not going to tell Trump about the “Day of Rage” because it flies in the face of his repeated claim that Palestinians are ready for peace and are even raising their children in a culture of peace.

Once again, Abbas is playing Americans and other Westerners for fools. His people remain unwilling to recognize Israel’s very right to exist as a state for Jews. And so, Abbas will talk peace and coexistence while his people organize yet another “Day of Rage.”

Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA), preparing to welcome U.S. President Donald Trump to Bethlehem, are seeking to create the impression that their sentiments are shared by their people. Yet many Palestinians are less than enthusiastic about the visit.

It is in the best interests of Abbas and the PA to hide the truth that many Palestinians view the U.S. as an Israel-loving enemy.

While the PA president and his aides attempt to bury that inconvenient fact, they are also doing their best to cover up the truth that many Palestinians have been radicalized to a point that they would rather aim a gun or knife at Israelis than aim for peace with them.

The strongest and most vocal protests against Trump’s visit have thus far come from Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians.

Ramallah is regularly described by Western journalists as a base for moderation and pragmatism. It is in this city that Abbas and the top PA leadership live and work.

In a statement published earlier this week, the National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah and El-Bireh, a coalition of various Palestinian political and terror groups, called for a “Day of Popular Rage” in the West Bank to protest the imminent presidential visit.

In Palestinian-speak, a “Day of Rage” is a call for intensified violence and terrorism directed mainly against Jews.

The term was formally introduced during the First Intifada, which erupted in late 1987, and consisted of stone and petrol-bomb attacks against Israel Defense Force soldiers and Jews residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Similarly, during the Second Intifada, which began in 2000, Days of Rage were associated with suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other acts of terrorism and assorted crimes perpetrated against Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as within Israel.

In recent years, Abbas’s Fatah faction and other groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have used different occasions to urge Palestinians to declare a Day of Rage against Israel.

Generally speaking, such calls come in response to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount — visits that have been taking place since East Jerusalem was liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967.

The visits were temporarily suspended, however, for security reasons in the first years of the Second Intifada, out of concern for the safety of visitors. It is worth noting that non-Muslims are allowed to tour the Temple Mount, as has been true for the past five decades. The Palestinians, however, are specifically opposed to Jews visiting the site, under the false pretext that Jews are plotting to rebuild their Temple after destroying the Islamic holy sites there. This charge is, of course, another Palestinian blood libel against Jews.

So here we are again. Palestinians are calling for marking Trump’s visit with a Day of Rage (read: heightened terrorism). The statement issued by the National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah and El-Bireh is a clear and direct invitation to Palestinians to take to the streets and mow down Jews.

What is really driving this Palestinian hatred of Trump and the U.S.?

From the Palestinian point of view, were it not for the U.S., the Palestinians and the Arabs would have succeeded long ago in achieving their goal of destroying Israel.

“We reject American bias in favor of Israel,” read the statement. “We call for popular marches and rallies to affirm our people’s adherence to their legitimate rights, including the right of return and self-determination.” The statement also warned against U.S. pressure on Abbas and the PA leadership to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

The so-called “right of return” demanded by Palestinians means the right to flood Israel with millions of Palestinians, in order to create an Arab-majority state where Jews would live as a minority. This would come in addition to the creation of another Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians and the Arabs have long been at war with what they regard as U.S. bias in favor of Israel. What they mean is that U.S. support for Israel stands in their way of destroying Israel. They are saying: Only if Americans would stop supporting Israel financially, militarily and politically, we would be able to remove Israel from the face of the earth.

Neither Trump nor any members of his entourage is likely to notice the latest Palestinian Day of Rage. The strict, unprecedented security measures surrounding Trump’s planned visit to Bethlehem, and the fact that the stop is to last for only for 45 minutes, will make sure of that. Trump will not see Palestinians protesting against his visit. Nor will he see, during his visit, Palestinians closing their businesses and hurling stones and petrol bombs at Jews.

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK – MAY 15: (ISRAEL OUT) Palestinian demonstrators throw stones toward Israeli soldiers during clashes outside of Ofer Prison on May 15, 2012 near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinians mark Israel’s establishment in 1948 with “Nakba” or “catastrophe” day on May 15, to remember the thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled during the creation of the Jewish state and the subsequent war. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Trump’s Palestinian hosts will do their utmost to disguise many unpleasant truths. For instance, they probably will not mention that Palestinians are taking to the streets to protest his visit as well as to go after Jews. Abbas is not going to tell Trump about the Day of Rage because it flies in the face of his repeated claim that Palestinians are ready for peace and are even raising their children in a “culture of peace.”

The Palestinian Day of Rage during Trump’s visit is a further sign of the increased radicalization among Palestinians and their unwillingness to accept Israel’s right to exist as a state for Jews. Days of Rage are far from contained responses to particular Israeli policies or actions on the ground. The Day of Rage can be traced to the Arab and Muslim world with the establishment of Israel in 1948, and continues to be used by Arabs and Muslims as a tool of terrorism.

In truth, such days are an expression of rage over the presence of Jews in a sovereign state in the Middle East, and of wrath over U.S. support for Israel and of Palestinian support for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups. Days of Rage will continue as long as Palestinians continue to believe that Israel can and should be destroyed.

Once again, Abbas is playing Americans and other Westerners for fools. His people remain unwilling to recognize Israel’s very right to exist. And so, Abbas will talk peace and coexistence while his people organize yet another Day of Rage.

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah

May 19, 2017

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah, Israel National News, Mark Langfan, May 19, 2017

This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

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You may have carefully read all the newspapers about the Middle East, but you will likely have never heard about the three Syria cities of At Tanf, Abu Kamal, or Ar Rusafah.  But the soon-to-be-determined military control of the geographic area bounded by these 3 Syrian cities in Syria’s south east corner will determine the fate of the entire world. 

To see the area on a US government map so that you fully understand this article, click here.

If Iran and its proxies control these three Syrian cities, Iran will have achieved its strategic goal of creating a topologic unbroken ground corridor from Iran through Iraq, through Syria, through Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea.  If Iran fails to secure this geographic Syrian triangle, Iran’s tens of billions of dollars spent to mass-murder Syrian Sunnis to create the foundation of its neo-Safavidic Empire will collapse under its own weight, and Iran’s Khomeneist Shiite Regime will likely implode.

Therefore, next month’s military victors in the battle for this strategic triangle will dictate decades of future conflict, or future peace in the Middle East and the world.

What’s the first order of battle?  If the Islamic State leaders are truly Sunnis, American and US Coalition forces should convince the Islamic State to cede and surrender Raqqah immediately, so US coalition forces can focus on and secure the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah triangle immediately.  Otherwise, the US coalition will have to divert precious and scarce resources to conquering Raqqah, while Iran is redeploying its forces to steal the Triangle.

The question is simple.  Does the Islamic State want the Iranian Shiites to win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle, to win Syria, and become the unstoppable Shiite hegemon?  Or does the Sunni Islamic State want the Shiite Iran to lose?  The catastrophic scenario would be for the US coalition forces to win the Raqqah battle against the Islamic State, only to lose the Syrian war to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The second order of battle?  Trump’s minions must convince the Russians that it is in Russia’s ultimate strategic national interest to allow the US coalition to quickly and decisively win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The US must convince Russia that an Iran with a ground corridor through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean is as catastrophic to Russian vital national security interests in 2017 as Hitler’s acquisition of Czechoslovakia and Poland was to the Soviet Union in 1939.  Then, Stalin partnered with Hitler in building Hitler the highway for his Wehrmacht to invade the Soviet Union.

Once Iran militarily digests this Iraq-Syrian land corridor, Iran won’t need Russia anymore.  Putin will have created a unstoppable Islamic Terror Superpower.  Putin should remember Stalin’s exuberant celebration of occupying half of Poland was a short-lived delusion that soon came crashing down on his head when he had to face the ugly reality of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that came close to occupying Moscow itself.

Iraq is a modern-day Czechoslovakia, and Syria is a modern-day Poland.  It is the Iranian war that will lay the groundwork for the next Iranian-Safavidic violent expansion throughout the Middle East.

The third order of battle?  This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

Palestinians: The Threats Trump Needs to Hear

May 16, 2017

Palestinians: The Threats Trump Needs to Hear, Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil, May 16, 2016

(With all due respect to the author, in the unlikely event that President Trump is not already aware of most of the matters about which he “needs to hear,” Ambassador Friedman, PM Netanyahu et al, are and will enlighten him. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is hardly a “partner for peace” and Hamas — which is very likely to displace the PA, is even less so. Surely, President Trump knows that; he is many things, but retarded is not among them. — DM)

The warning by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is directed not only against Trump and his new administration, but also against Abbas and any Arab leader who dares to “collude” with the U.S.

A new policy document recently published by Hamas says that the Islamic terror movement accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, but without recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Translation: Hamas seeks a Palestinian state that would be used as a launching pad to destroy Israel.

The electoral showing demonstrates with excruciating clarity that Hamas could easily take over any Palestinian state that the U.S. and the Europeans help create in the West Bank.

Abbas is a weak leader with precious little legitimacy among Palestinians. He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel — a reality that, ironically, he has done his very best to create.

As U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to hold his second meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem next week, two Palestinian terror groups have announced that the new U.S. administration is planning to “liquidate the Palestinian cause.” The warning by Hamas and Islamic Jihad is directed not only against Trump and his new administration, but also against Abbas and any Arab leader who dares to “collude” with the U.S.

The two Palestinian terror groups, which control the Gaza Strip and its two million residents, also renewed their pledge to pursue the armed fight against Israel; they said they would not give up one inch of Palestine, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river.

Trump and his administration would do well to heed the warning issued by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, especially in the wake of Abbas’s recent statements concerning a two-state solution and peace with Israel. Abbas controls only parts of the West Bank, and how he intends to establish a Palestinian state when he cannot even set foot in the Gaza Strip is anyone’s guess. Recently, Hamas announced that if and when the 82-year-old Abbas shows up in the Gaza Strip, he will be hanged in a public square on charges of “high treason.”

The warning by the Palestinian terror groups was made during a joint rally in the Gaza Strip on May 14. Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed to “preserve the Palestinian rifle and Palestinian rights in the face of any schemes and attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar stated that Palestinian “principles are part of our [Islamic] religion, and we cannot make any concessions on them. We will not give up one inch of our land and holy sites. We will continue to work until the liberation of each inch of Palestine.”

Zahar also warned Abbas against signing any agreement with Israel that includes relinquishing Palestinian rights. “Anyone who gives up our rights and holy sites will betray Allah and his Prophet Mohammed,” Zahar cautioned.

Notably, Zahar’s statement to “liberate every inch of Palestine” comes amid false claims in the Western media to the effect that Hamas has abandoned its dream of eliminating Israel.

The claims are based on a new policy document recently published by Hamas; it says that the Islamic terror movement accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, but without recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Translation: Hamas seeks a Palestinian state that would be used as a launching pad to destroy Israel.

Zahar and other Hamas leaders have taken advantage of every available platform to clarify that their acceptance of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines does not mean abandoning their plan to eliminate Israel.

They have also explained, at length, that the new policy document does not replace Hamas’s original charter, which explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel.

Hamas’s honesty with respect to its true intentions stands in utter contrast to the deceit with which the policy document is being treated by others.

For instance, some Western media outlets and Palestinian affairs “experts” and “analysts” deceptively describe the document as a sign of moderation and pragmatism on the part of Hamas.

While Hamas leaders proudly proclaim that there is no real change in their ideology and charter, some Westerners seem to have a sort of hearing disability when it comes to the truth of the terror movement.

Another Hamas leader, Ahmed Bahr, said at the rally that his movement remains strongly opposed to security coordination between Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and Israel in the West Bank.

Bahr described the security coordination and the crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank as a new Palestinian “Nakba” (Catastrophe) — the term used by Palestinians and Arabs to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Referring to Trump’s upcoming visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and reports that the U.S. administration was seeking to revive stalled peace talks between the PA and Israel, the top Hamas official said that Palestinians remain committed to the “resistance to liberate Palestine despite the conspiracies that are being concocted against them.”

For Hamas and its allies, Trump’s peace efforts are nothing less than a plot designed to force Palestinians to make unacceptable concessions to Israel. They will accept nothing but the elimination of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic state governed by Islamic sharia law.

Islamic Jihad leaders, for their part, said that Trump’s upcoming visit to the Middle East was aimed at “forming a new alliance to preserve” Israel’s interests. They believe that the purported alliance will consist of Israel, Abbas’s PA and some Arab countries.

In the view of Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Hindi, the Trump-engineered alliance would “create a new Nakba” for the Palestinians. “Palestine is the land of all Palestinians and part of our history,” he declared. He too warned Abbas against any agreement that includes concessions to Israel.

Ignoring such threats issued by Palestinian terror groups is done only at one’s extreme peril. These are not marginal factions with a limited following among Palestinians. Rather, the ideology of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is widespread among the Palestinians and lives in the hearts and minds of many of them. These terror groups are popular not only in the Gaza Strip, but also among large sectors of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Just last week we received yet another reminder of Hamas’s increased popularity in the West Bank when its supporters won — for the third straight year — the student council elections at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah. Hamas’s victory in the university election has once again left Abbas and his loyalists bewildered.

The electoral showing is anything but confusing: it demonstrates with excruciating clarity that Hamas could easily take over any Palestinian state that the U.S. and the Europeans help create in the West Bank.

No one is more aware of this than Abbas — in a situation that accounts for why he has spent the past decade blocking parliamentary and presidential elections. Above all, Abbas wishes to avoid his mistake of 2006, when Hamas won the parliamentary election.

For a start, Trump might ask Abbas precisely how he plans to cope with the threats by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups to destroy Israel and thwart any “treacherous” peace agreement with Israel. Under the current circumstances, when Palestinians are radicalized against Israel on a daily basis and Hamas’s popularity is skyrocketing, the talk about a two-state solution and peace sounds downright delusional.

Abbas is a weak leader with precious little legitimacy among Palestinians. He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel — a reality that, ironically, he has done his very best to create.

Trump and his advisors might put aside the sweet talk of Abbas and his spokesmen, and listen instead for the unsettling truths voiced by other Palestinians such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Alternatively, the West can continue to fantasize about a new Middle East in which Arabs and Muslims accept Israel’s right to exist — while in reality many of them are totally consumed by their attempts to raze it to the ground.

At his scheduled meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem next week, U.S. President Donald Trump might put aside the sweet talk of Abbas, and listen instead for the unsettling truths voiced by other Palestinians such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Pictured: Trump and Abbas give a joint statement on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Image source: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

 

Mainstream Media Distorts Reality on Israeli Settlements

April 4, 2017

Mainstream Media Distorts Reality on Israeli Settlements, Front Page MagazineGideon Israel, April 4, 2017

Reprinted from en.mida.org.il.

Yesterday, Israel’s government approved construction of a new settlement in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank).  Media outlets CNN, BBC and the NY Times wasted no time publishing stories that distort the truth, if not outright lie.  These mistakes range from offering a false impression of reality to actually getting facts wrong. Such elementary mistakes expose the disconnect between mainstream media outlets and basic truths of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

For example, CNN wrote that this is Israel’s ‘first new settlement in Palestinian territory in more than 20 years’. The first part of the sentence is misleading and the second part is false.  Israel has not built new communities in Judea and Samaria because it has given numerous chances for the Palestinian leadership to come to the table and reach an agreement. However, the Palestinians continually refused.  Instead, the article leads the reader to believe that this is a new policy meant to stifle any chance for a peace agreement.

The second part of the statement asserts that Israel is building in Palestinian territory. This is because CNN incorrectly believes that Israel has no legal rights to the West Bank. Israel’s legal rights to controlling the West Bank and building communities there under international law have been affirmed  time and again by respected authorities on the subject, including: Professor Eugene Rostow, Professor Julius Stone , Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Professor Avi Bell and more.

BBC wrote that this new settlement is being built after ‘the largest settlement, Amona, was evacuated by police last month.’  Amona, far from being the largest settlement, was probably one of the smallest settlements existing in the West Bank, approximately 40 families. Yet, this gives the impression that even the largest settlement in the West Bank was evacuated, and thus why not evacuate the entire West Bank.

And the New York Times topped it off by cherry picking statements to make it look as if Israel was disrespecting the Trump Administration.  Author of the article, Isabel Kershner, who has been accused of anti-Israel bias in the past, writes that Israel is building settlements despite President Trump’s request ‘to hold off on settlement activity’. Then she writes that ‘the United States has long considered the settlements an obstacle to peace.’ Those two statements are mixing apples with oranges.

The Trump Administration, while suggesting that Israel hold off on settlements for a little bit, explicitly said in a press release that they ‘don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace’. This was a clear departure from past US policy, especially under the Obama Administration, yet Kershner ignores that, and prefers to think that Barack Obama is still president.

Kershner also ponders whether Netanyahu’s announcement was potentially a ‘provocative move to scuttle any prospect of a revival of peace talks’. She blatantly disregards the past eight years where Mahmoud Abbas refused to negotiate with the Israelis, and the past 25 years where Palestinian leaders have continually refused all peace deals offered to them. Even more, Kershner ignores the fact that building a new settlement was promised to the residents of Amona before the settlement was evacuated. She should know this, she lives in Israel.

Since the mainstream media continues its anti-Israel bias, here are some important facts to know about the settlements.

  • Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank in 1948, a move strongly condemned by both the Russian and US Ambassadors to the U.N at the time.  Besides for Great Britain and India, no other country recognized Jordan’s rights to the territory.  Thus, when Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967 after Jordan decided to attack Israel at the behest of other Arab leaders, Israel was merely reclaiming the territory that had been granted to them under the British Mandate prior to 1948.
  • Under the Mandate for Palestine, Article 25, it is clear that the eastern border of the future Jewish state would be the Jordan river, many years prior to the imaginary ‘green line’ which has no legal status.
  • The majority of the communities in the West Bank were built on government property, and in the few cases where a mistake was made and a settlement was established on private property, the Israeli government worked to ameliorate the situation by either offering compensation to the owner of the land, or in the extreme case of Amona, the settlement was dismantled.
  • According to statistics from January, 2017, there are approximately 421,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. While many envision the makeup of the population as religious extremists, in reality, the population is made up of 1/3 religious Zionists, 1/3 secular Israelis, 1/3 ultra orthodox Jews.
  • Israel has approximately 150 ‘settlements’ in the West Bank ranging from 100 people to around 70,000 people.  The term ‘settlements’ actually distorts reality as one imagines three tents on a hilltop. In reality, similar to any other country in the world,  Israeli citizens residing in Judea and Samaria live in areas that could be defined as villages, towns, boroughs and cities. For example, Maale Adumim, called a ‘settlement’ by the media and Arab countries, has a population of approximately 42,000 people, comparable to the populations of Atlantic City and Fort Lee located in NJ, and both would not be mistaken for a settlement.  Modiin Illit, with a population exceeding 65,000, is comparable to the population of Palo Alto, California.  Givaat Zeev, with a population exceeding 25,000, is slightly less than the population of Monterey, California, which would never be mistaken for a ‘settlement’ or an ‘outpost’.
  • The reasons for living in Judea and Samaria are varied. Some live there because of ideological reasons, others live there for the countryside atmosphere it provides, and some live there because housing is inexpensive and in close proximity to major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. For example, more than 150,000 residents living in Judea are within a 15 minute drive of Jerusalem.  Just as some people choose to live in Hoboken, NJ, so they can be close to NY without paying Manhattan prices, the same applies for Israelis to living in Judea and Samaria.
  • Judea and Samaria is home to one of Israel’s eight universities – Ariel University. There are approximately 15,000 students (Jewish and Arab) that attend the University, comparable to the size of Duke University in North Carolina.
  • There are approximately 11,000 Arabs who work in over 800 factories spanning 14 industrial parks in industry and agriculture throughout Israeli controlled parts of the West Bank.  Salaries of Arabs working in these factories are more than double the average salary of Palestinians working in the Palestinian controlled areas, and according to a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court, they are entitled to pension benefits just like Israelis.
  • The Palestinians have benefited tremendously since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967.  From 1967 until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian life expectancy increased from 56 to 68 years and infant mortality dropped from 13 to 5 deaths for every 1000 infants. Israel’s presence in the West Bank led to a massive overhaul of the infrastructure bringing electricity, sewage and increased amounts of water to Arab towns.
  • Israeli companies with factories in the West Bank have been targeted by the BDS movement, however the Arab workers are the ones who suffer most from these boycotts.  Sodastream was targeted by the BDS because of their West Bank factory, and eventually it moved its factory outside the West Bank.  As a result, almost 600 Palestinian workers were laid off.
  • Judea and Samaria has about one million visitors each year, and more than 80% of the events in the bible happened in the area of Judea and Samaria.

Dire Jordanian straits

March 14, 2017

Dire Jordanian straits, Israel Hayom, Daniel Pipes, March 14, 2017

Palestinians, according to most estimates, constitute a substantial majority of the population and present the deepest division. It’s common to speak of “Jordanians” and “Palestinians” even though the latter are citizens and children and grandchildren of citizens. As this suggests, the sense of being separate from and superior to the mostly tribal peoples of the East Bank has not diminished over time, especially not when Palestinians have achieved economic success.

I asked nearly all of my 15 interlocutors (who represented a wide range of viewpoints) about a return of Jordanian sovereignty to the West Bank. I regret to report that every one of them strongly rejected this idea. “Why would we want that headache?” they all seemed to say. Accepting their verdict means Israel has no practical solution to its West Bank conundrum, so its reluctant and unwanted sovereignty over Palestinians will likely continue into the distant future.

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“We’re in dire straits,” Jordan’s King Abdullah said half a year ago. After recently completing a week of intensive travels and discussions throughout Jordan, I found no one disagreeing with that assessment. Jordan may no longer be hyper-vulnerable and under siege, as it was in the past, but it does face possibly unprecedented problems.

Created out of thin air by Winston Churchill in 1921 to accommodate British imperial interests, the Emirate of Transjordan, now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for almost a century has led a precarious existence. Particularly dangerous moments came in 1967, when pan-Arabist pressures led King Hussein to make war on Israel and lose the West Bank; in 1970, when a Palestinian revolt nearly toppled the king; and 1990-1991, when pro-Saddam Hussein sentiments pushed him to join a hopeless and evil cause.

Today’s dangers are manifold. Islamic State lurks in Syria and Iraq, just beyond the border, attractive to a small but real minority of Jordanians. The once-robust trade with those two countries has nearly collapsed — and with it, Jordan’s lucrative transit role. In a region bountiful in oil and gas, Jordan is one of the very few countries to have almost no petroleum resources. City dwellers receive water just one day a week and country dwellers often even less. Tourism has declined, thanks to the Middle East’s notorious volatility. King Abdullah’s recent assertion of authority grates on those demanding more democracy.

The core issue of identity remains unresolved. As a country of massive immigration for over a hundred years (even exceeding the numbers going to Israel), it has received waves of Palestinians (in 1948-1949, 1967, and 1990-1991), Iraqis (2003), and Syrians (since 2011). Palestinians, according to most estimates, constitute a substantial majority of the population and present the deepest division. It’s common to speak of “Jordanians” and “Palestinians” even though the latter are citizens and children and grandchildren of citizens. As this suggests, the sense of being separate from and superior to the mostly tribal peoples of the East Bank has not diminished over time, especially not when Palestinians have achieved economic success.

The country’s strengths are also formidable. Surrounded by crises, the population is realistic and wary of trouble. The king enjoys an undisputed position of authority. Intermarriages and the influx of Iraqis and Syrians are eroding the historic divisions between Palestinians and others. The population enjoys a high level of education. Jordan has a good reputation around the world.

Then there’s Israel. “Where are the fruits of peace?” is a common refrain about Jordan’s 1994 treaty with Israel. Politicians and the media may not say so, but the answer is blindingly obvious: Whether it is using Haifa as an alternative to the Syrian land route, the purchase of inexpensive water, or the provision of plentiful gas (which is already being delivered), Jordan benefits directly and substantially from its ties with Israel. Despite this, a perverse social pressure against normalization with Israel has grown over time, intimidating absolutely everyone and preventing relations with the Jewish state from reaching their potential.

One Jordanian asked me why Israelis accept being treated like a mistress. The answer is clear: Because Jordan’s welfare ranks as a paramount Israeli priority, successive governments accept, even if through gritted teeth, the calumnies and lies told about Israel in the press and on the streets. Though they are too polite to say so, they clearly wish the king would take hold of this issue and point to the benefits of peace.

On a personal note: Since 2005, I have been advocating for “Jordan to the West Bank, Egypt to Gaza: The Three-State Solution” as a way to solve the Palestinian problem.

Accordingly, I asked nearly all of my 15 interlocutors (who represented a wide range of viewpoints) about a return of Jordanian sovereignty to the West Bank. I regret to report that every one of them strongly rejected this idea. “Why would we want that headache?” they all seemed to say. Accepting their verdict means Israel has no practical solution to its West Bank conundrum, so its reluctant and unwanted sovereignty over Palestinians will likely continue into the distant future.

Summing up the visit: Jordan has muddled through many crises and may do so again, but the concatenation of current dangers pose an extraordinary challenge to Jordan and its many well-wishers. Will Abdullah cope with these “dire straits”?

Israel Targets Palestinian Gun Makers

March 10, 2017

Israel Targets Palestinian Gun Makers, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, March 10, 2017

At first glance, the bridal gown shop in the Palestinian city of Nablus appeared innocuous. But behind the scenes, Israeli intelligence says, the store served as a front for a major West Bank gun parts distribution center.

“Components for weapons were continuously being sold out of there,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) source told The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

The store turned out to be part of a wide network of weapons dealers who had imported their lethal goods by ordering them on the internet, the IDF stated this week.

Nine suspects, including the store owner, are in custody, and additional members of the weapons trafficking ring remain at large. “They came from all walks of life and from varied layers of Palestinian society,” the source stated.

Since mid-2016, the IDF has been engaged in an intensive, large-scale campaign to seize as many firearms circulating in the West Bank as possible to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

A growing number of such firearms have been used in deadly attacks, such as the Sarona Market shooting in Tel Aviv last June in which two Palestinian gunmen murdered four people in a restaurant. The gunmen used locally produced automatic rifles, dubbed ‘Carlos’ due to their resemblance to the Carl Gustav Swedish sub-machine gun.

While the latest wave of arrests focused on traders who used the internet to import gun parts, most of those on the IDF’s target list manufacture and assemble guns in local workshops. Seven such workshops have been shut down since the start of 2017, and 84 guns have been seized by Israeli security forces, according to figures made available by the IDF.

“The terrorist threat picture has changed. In the past, the main threat was posed by organized, institutional organizations,” the senior security source said. “For the most part, these were hierarchical terror cells, with a clear division of labor. There was someone responsible for financing, someone else had the designated job of transporting the suicide bomber or gunman, etc. This threat still exists. Hamas is trying to organize such cells all of the time. But the main challenge these days comes from terrorists that we do not have prior knowledge about.”

Lone attackers, or small, localized cells with no organizational affiliation or background of security offenses, are far harder for intelligence services to detect, and these are just the type of terrorists who are likely to use firearms available in their surroundings. These types of attackers, some of whom have suicidal tendencies or personal crises, according to the source, often will attempt simple attacks, using whatever is at their disposal. This can take the form of knife or vehicle attacks, or picking up locally available weapons.

Guns in the West Bank can be purchased by Palestinians for many reasons; whether for personal protection, to defend families and clans, to fire at wedding celebrations, or to reinforce one’s sense of ego.

As long as the guns are cheap and affordable, the source warned, “anyone can get [them]. Many of the shootings cells we captured in the West Bank were armed with these types of weapons.”

A year ago, a locally produced Carlo rifle cost around 2,300 shekels in the West Bank, meaning that Palestinians could purchase it with a single month’s salary, or take the money from family members, before moving ahead with an attack.

“The Sarona Market gunmen had no outside financial support, but still managed to get their hands on their firearms. The suits they wore [to disguise their identities] cost more than their guns,” the source said.

“This is why we are in the midst of an intensive campaign targeting the manufacturing and trade of weapons and gun parts. Even if I can’t get rid of the illegal weapons phenomenon, I can make them less accessible, and much harder to traffic in them.”

The increased Israeli pressure makes it more difficult to obtain guns, and increases the odds of catching people before they can attack. They have to leave their village or neighborhood and move around with the firearms where they can be caught and intercepted by the IDF. “People will fear more getting caught and moving around with these firearms,” the source said.

The Palestinian Authority would also like to see these guns taken off the streets, the source said, since it encourages lawlessness and anarchy in some areas that pose challenges to its rule.

Nablus, Balata Camp (next to Nablus), and Hebron are gun manufacturing focal points, according to IDF assessments. In addition, areas like Ramallah, Kalandia, and Palestinian neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem have workshops that take air or toy guns and convert them into real firearms using stolen components.

Thefts from IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, as well as trade with Israeli weapons traffickers who do not care where the guns end up provide other sources of terrorist arms.

Efforts by security forces to stem the tide were beginning to pay dividends, the source said. Today, a Carlo gun costs more than 6,000 shekels, as numbers dwindle.

“With time, we are seeing improvements,” he said. “We are seizing more than we did in the past, and our intelligence techniques have improved, so that we can capture guns not only in homes, but also in the manufacturing locations, and when they are moved around. This is a campaign. No single incident will stamp out the problem. So long as the profit from this trade is big enough compared to the fear of arrest or facing raids, many Palestinians will continue to be active in it. ”

Ultimately, he said, “over time, we will seek to decrease the number of guns and keep raising the price. This will result in less terrorists getting their hands on them, and resorting to less lethal attack forms, such as knife attacks. Our soldiers’ alertness [to knife attacks] means such attacks produce less casualties – meaning that our effort will boost security.”

Hizballah Continues Recruiting Palestinians to Kill Israelis

March 9, 2017

Hizballah Continues Recruiting Palestinians to Kill Israelis, Investigative Project on Terrorism, March 9, 2017

Over the years, Hizballah has tried to establish a West Bank foothold to carry out terrorist and kidnapping attacks against Israelis. Members of Hizballah’s Unit 133 external operations branch used social media, particularly Facebook, to recruit West Bank Palestinians.

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Israeli security authorities arrested a suspected Palestinian member of Hizballah for planning terrorist attacks against Israelis, Israel’s domestic security agency announced on Thursday.

A subsequent Shin Bet interrogation revealed that Hizballah recruited Yusef Yasser Suylam, 23, via Facebook page. Suylam hails from the West Bank town Qalqiliya.

Investigators say the Palestinian operative was responsible for establishing a cell devoted to kidnapping Israeli civilians. Hizballah also directed Suylam to conduct surveillance on Israeli military bases and other security sites, in addition to various places in Jerusalem.

After an Israeli military court filed an indictment, several felony charges are expected against the Palestinian terrorist.

Over the years, Hizballah has tried to establish a West Bank foothold to carry out terrorist and kidnapping attacks against Israelis. Members of Hizballah’s Unit 133 external operations branch used social media, particularly Facebook, to recruit West Bank Palestinians.

Last August, a Shin Bet investigation found disrupted a terror cell that was recruited though the “Palestine the Free” Facebook page featuring anti-Israel Hizballah posts. Cell leader Mustafa Kamal Hindi recruited other operatives in hopes of waging a shooting attack against the Israeli military. Each operative was between the ages of 18-22 and lived in Qalqiliya.

One of the cell members purchased the material required to build a suicide bomb, while another was tasked with building the explosive device. Another terrorist focused on garnering intelligence about IDF patrols in the area. The group also began training with rifles for shooting attacks.

The characteristics, modus operandi, and recruitment methods match the description and reports surrounding recently arrested Yussef Suylam.

In January 2016, a Shin Bet investigation found that Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s son, Jawan, used social media to recruit terrorists in the West Bank. Through encrypted email exchanges with a Hizballah handler, cell leader Muhammad Zaghloul received instructions for carrying out suicide-bombing attacks and provided a plan to kill an IDF officer. Zaghloul admitted that the cell conducted surveillance of the officer and requested $30,000 to purchase arms to kill him. The plot to kill Israeli troops was likely in the execution phase, considering the two operatives were arrested in possession of a firearm.

Click here to read more details about other Hizballah attempts at recruiting Palestinians to conduct terrorist attacks against Israelis.