Posted tagged ‘Palestinian Islamic Jihad’

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection

November 8, 2017

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, November 8, 2017

Hamas has already stated repeatedly that it has absolutely no intention of laying down its weapons as promised for the “reconciliation” agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

****************************

Now that the Iranians have sole control over Lebanon, their eyes are set on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, for its part, is thirsting for Iranian resources. Hamas knows that it will have to pay a price.

Iran and Hezbollah are working with Hamas to establish a “joint front” against Israel.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, has had enough. Last week, Iran finalized its takeover of Lebanon when Hariri resigned, and reportedly fled to Saudi Arabia.

Hariri, denouncing Hezbollah and its Iranian backers, said he feared for his life. Hariri has good reason to be afraid of Hezbollah, the powerful Shia terror group and Iranian proxy that effectively controls Lebanon.

Indications show that Iran and Hezbollah are also planning to extend their control to the Gaza Strip. Iran already provides Hamas with financial and military aid. It is precisely the support of Iran that has enabled Hamas to hold in power in the Gaza Strip for the past 10 years. It is also thanks to Iran that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another major terror group in the Gaza Strip, are in possession of thousands of missiles and rockets. It is Iranian money that allows Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to continue digging terror tunnels under the border with Israel.

Relations between Iran and Hamas have grown stronger in the past few weeks. Last month, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to attend the funeral of the father of the senior Iranian security official, Qasem Soleimani. A few weeks earlier, another senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to brief Iranian leaders on the latest developments surrounding the “reconciliation” agreement reached between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA).

It was the first time senior Hamas officials visited Iran since relations between the two sides became strained in 2011. That year, Iran suspended its ties with Hamas over the latter’s refusal to support Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, against his opponents in its civil war. The sudden rapprochement between Hamas and Iran has raised concerns among Abbas and his Palestinian Authority officials regarding Hamas’s sincerity in implementing the “reconciliation” agreement. President Abbas and his officials wonder why Hamas rushed into arms of Iran immediately after reaching the “reconciliation” accord under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities.

Iran and Hezbollah are no fans of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is terrified that Hamas is trying to bring Iran and its Hezbollah proxy into the Gaza Strip.

Abbas and his PA are eager to return to the Gaza Strip, but the presence of Iran there creates a serious problem. Like Hariri, Abbas would have good reason to fear for his life if Hamas brings the Iranians and Hezbollah into the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s fear is also not unjustified. Earlier this week, a senior Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk, disclosed that his movement and Hezbollah were working towards strengthening their relations. “Relations between Hamas and Hezbollah were never cut off,” Abu Marzouk stated.

“We have ongoing contacts and understandings. But we preferred to keep them away from the spotlight. Hamas and Hezbollah are in one line in the fight against Israel, and we coordinate our positions regarding the Palestinian cause. Hamas will continue to cooperate with resistance groups that support the Palestinian resistance.”

The alliance between Hamas and Hezbollah is a direct result of the renewed relations between Iran and Hamas. With the help of Hezbollah, Iran has managed to take control of large parts of Syria. With the help of Hezbollah, Iran already controls Lebanon. Now that the Iranians have sole control over Lebanon, their eyes are set on the Gaza Strip. They know that the only way to access the Gaza Strip is through the Hamas door. Iran wants to see Hezbollah inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, is thirsting for Iranian resources. Hamas knows that it will have to pay a price: allowing Iran and Hezbollah to set foot in the Gaza Strip. Judging from the remarks of Abu Marzouk, Hamas appears to be happy to pay the price.

Hariri, Abbas and many Sunni Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, felt betrayed by the Obama Administration’s policy of détente towards Iran — a policy that emboldened the Iranians and gave them a green light to meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries to try to establish, as they seem to have done, a “Shiite Crescent” from Persia through Yemen and now Lebanon, clear to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Sunni Arabs are apparently particularly worried about the nuclear deal signed between the Obama Administration and Iran. They feel that the Obama Administration’s attempt to appease the Iranians has emboldened the country that is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Iran has since taken advantage of the nuclear deal to threaten and try to terrorize America, its friends and its Arab allies.

Abbas has multiple reasons to be worried about the Hamas-Hezbollah alliance. Here is another one: a recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas leader Saleh Arouri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was yet another sign of Hamas’s effort to pave the way for Iran and Hezbollah to infiltrate the Gaza Strip and meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.

A recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas leader Saleh Arouri (left) and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah (right) was another sign of Hamas’s effort to pave the way for Iran and Hezbollah to infiltrate the Gaza Strip. (Image source: Hezbollah via Al Manar)

Hamas has already stated repeatedly that it has absolutely no intention of laying down its weapons as promised for the “reconciliation” agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is prepared to cede to PA President Mahmoud Abbas limited civilian control of the Gaza Strip, but has been clear that it will never dismantle its security apparatus or military wing. Hamas wants to bring the Iranians and Hezbollah into the Gaza Strip to counterbalance pressure from Abbas and Egypt and other countries to disarm and hand control over to Abbas. If Abbas ever returns to the Gaza Strip, he will find himself sitting not only with Hamas, but also with Iran and Hezbollah, who consider him a traitor and puppet in the hands of Israel and the US.

Alarmed by the rapprochement between Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran, Saudi Arabia earlier this week summoned Abbas for urgent talks in Riyadh. The Saudis have been following with concern the visits by Hamas leaders to Iran and Hezbollah, and are worried that Abbas may face the same fate as Hariri.

Abbas may well wish to steer clear of the Gaza Strip: Iran and Hezbollah are working with Hamas to establish a “joint front” against Israel. Hamas’s decision to tilt towards Iran and Hezbollah discloses the truth: it is not headed towards moderation and pragmatism, but the very opposite. This does not bode well for the current Trump Administration’s efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Without stopping Iran and Hezbollah from spreading their influence and control to the Gaza Strip and Arab countries, the prospects of peace seem rather dim. In fact, the prospects of war seem pretty close, as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad meet in the middle to discuss their plans for war against Israel. Failing to stop Iran and Hezbollah would mean that Abbas may soon find themselves hiding with Hariri in Saudi Arabia.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

The Big Middle East Lie

October 2, 2017

The Big Middle East Lie, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, October 2, 2017

(For whom does the “Trump administration” speak? — DM)

Jamal’s bloody lesson, however, apparently still needs to be learned by the West, which, despite all evidence, doggedly persists in drawing an unbroken line between Palestinian terrorism and poverty.

Jamal, however, is far from the first terrorist to convey this crucial lesson: most Palestinian terrorists over the past decades were educated and had jobs.

Some Palestinian suicide bombers were nurses, schoolteachers and lawyers. Some came from middle class and even wealthy families and clans. Money and education, however, did not stop them from committing atrocities against Israelis.

Terrorists like Jamal are motivated by deep hatred for Jews and Israel. They have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by their leaders and Muslim religious clerics into believing that Jews are evil and need to be eliminated by all available means.

********************************

Jamal wanted to murder Jews because he believed this was a noble deed that would earn him the status of shaheed (martyr) and hero among his family, friends and society. In Palestinian culture in particular, and Arab culture in general, murderers of Jews are glorified on a daily basis.

The Trump administration and Jason Greenblatt seem to have bought the lie that “It’s about money, stupid.”

No. The conflict is about Israel’s existence in the Middle East. It’s about the abiding interest in the Arab and Islamic world to destroy Israel and murder Jews.

Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, the 37-year-old Palestinian terrorist who on September 25 murdered three Israelis at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, had a permit from the Israeli authorities to work in Israel.

His family and friends say he also had a good life and was considered lucky to have been employed by Jews because he received a higher salary and was protected by Israeli labor laws.The night before Jamal set out in his murderous mission, he spent a few hours at the fitness gym in his village, located only a few miles away from Har Adar, He would always use the diet that is juicing beneficial and high in protein, he liked to take care of himself, which is why he would always follow the prohormones roids link to get his supplements.

So, Jamal, the murderer of the three Israelis (two of the victims were Arab Israelis), was not poor. He was not unemployed. In fact, according his friends, Jamal earned much more than what a senior police officer or school teacher working for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas brings home every month.

What was it, then, that drove Jamal to his murderous scheme, gunning down three young men who were supposed to be facilitating his entry into Israel? Was it because he could not provide for his children? No. Was it because his landlord was pressuring him about the rent? No: Jamal lived in a nice place of his own, complete with furniture, appliances and bedrooms that any family in the West would be proud to own.

Left: Nimer Mahmoud Jamal. Right: Har Adar. (Images source: Social media, Josh Evnin/Wikimedia Commons)

Jamal wanted to murder Jews because he believed this was a noble deed that would earn him the status of shaheed (martyr) and hero among his family, friends and society. In Palestinian culture in particular, and Arab culture in general, murderers of Jews are glorified on a daily basis.

They are touted as the lucky ones who are now in the company of Prophet Mohammed and the angels in Paradise. Male terrorists are also busy with the 72 virgins they were awarded as a prize for murdering Jews. The murderers — as Muslim clerics and leaders hammer into the heads of Palestinians — are also given access to rivers of honey and fine drinks once they set foot in their imaginary Paradise.

Jamal’s friends and family are now convinced that he has been rewarded by Allah and Prophet Mohammed in Paradise for murdering three Israelis. They do not care about his children, whom he left behind, and certainly not about the families of the three Israelis he murdered.

In his village and on social media, Jamal is being hailed as a hero and martyr. Not a single Palestinian has come out against the cowardly terror attack by a man who took advantage of a permit from the Israeli authorities to commit a terror attack.

The Jewish families that once employed Jamal as a cleaner had trusted him. They had opened their homes and hearts, as well as their wallets, to him. The Israeli authorities wanted to trust him and see him as a normal person who just wanted a job with a decent income to support his family.

But Jamal, like many other Palestinians, betrayed the trust the Jews gave him. He chose to stab in the back the same people who had gone out of their way to help him.

Sadly, this terrorist also betrayed the cause of thousands of Palestinian workers who enter Israel for work every day. These workers stand to lose the most from Jamal’s terror attack and treachery.

Luckily for them, the Israeli authorities are saying that the Har Adar murder will not affect Israel’s policy of granting permits to Palestinians to work inside Israel, because the vast majority are not involved in violence.

The Har Adar murders ought to teach us at least one thing: that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about the economy or improving the living conditions of the Palestinians. Jamal, who had a job and freedom of movement and a lovely apartment, surely proves this point, as do the murders or attempted murders by other well-to-do terrorists such as Mohammad Atta, Osama bin Laden, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and many others.

Jamal’s bloody lesson, however, apparently still needs to be learned by the West, which, despite all evidence, doggedly persists in drawing an unbroken line between Palestinian terrorism and poverty.

Jamal, however, is far from the first terrorist to convey this crucial lesson: most Palestinian terrorists over the past decades were educated and had jobs.

Some Palestinian suicide bombers were nurses, schoolteachers and lawyers. Some came from middle class and even wealthy families and clans. Money and education, however, did not stop them from committing atrocities against Israelis.

Terrorists like Jamal are motivated by deep hatred for Jews and Israel. They have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by their leaders and Muslim religious clerics into believing that Jews are evil and need to be eliminated by all available means.

Not a single terrorist has complained of carrying out an attack because he or she were starving, had no food for the children and were unable to buy ice cream from the local grocery store. The terrorists, in fact, spell it out as it is: they openly announce that they are motivated by their indoctrinated hatred for Israel and Jews. This is what the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic propaganda machine has done to generations of Arabs and Muslims. Officials and people in the West may deny what they hear as hard as they like; but the terrorists could not be more are honest about what their murderous motives are.

What, then, about those on the West who continue to talk about the conflict as if it were about creating new jobs and paving roads and improving infrastructure for the Palestinians? This seems to be the approach endorsed in the U.S. by Donald Trump’s administration.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with boosting the economy and creating job opportunities. This might have a moderating effect on a few Palestinians. They will be happy to see a better economy and a drop in the unemployment rate.

Such measures, however, will never change the hearts and minds of Palestinians. Palestinians will never recognize Israel’s right to exist because Americans and Europeans built them an industrial park somewhere in the West Bank.

Over the past 25 years, the Palestinians have received billions of dollars in aid from the international community. When they headed to the ballot boxes, they voted for Hamas because it told them it will destroy Israel. Palestinians are most likely to vote for Hamas once again if free and democratic elections were held tomorrow in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

We might remember this as Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, returns to our region to discuss ways of reviving the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The Trump administration and Jason Greenblatt seem to have bought the lie that “It’s about money, stupid.”

No. The conflict is about an unbendable refusal to allow a Jewish Israel to exist in the Middle East. It is about the abiding interest in the Arab and Islamic world to obliterate Israel and murder Jews. It is about the ongoing, bloody Arab and Islamic incitement against Israel and Jews. Jobs are not the problem, and they are not the solution. Let us pay attention to reality for a change: Jamal and his fellow terrorists can teach us something — if only we would listen.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News

September 1, 2017

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, September 1, 2107

(Please see also, INTO THE FRAY: The Taylor Force Act – Putting “Palestine” in perspective. — DM)

One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

Fake news is an old story in the Palestinian world. Yet recently, fake news has been taken to new heights by Palestinian spin-doctors, who have been working overtime to mislead the international community and media. A number of stories published in the past few days in the Palestinian media demonstrate the extent to which Palestinians are prepared to go to deceive the world and impact international public opinion.

Excellence is often a virtue — except when one excels at lying. And if there is one thing at which the Palestinians have excelled in the past few decades, it is spreading lies about its conflict with Israel. The mainstream media in the West usually takes the fake-news bait — it sells papers! — and demonstrates tolerance, if not sympathy, toward Palestinian-produced fake news fabrications.

The most recent case of Palestinian fake news emerged during United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians. The UN chief, who does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian culture of lies, fell victim to a typical PR stunt organized by his Palestinian hosts.

According to the Wafa news agency, the official organ of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Guterres “held a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 29) with families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons.” The report said that the families called on the UN secretary-general to take rapid and serious action to save the lives of more than 6500 male and female prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Wafa then quoted Guterres as saying: “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and we will work with the relevant parties to end their suffering.”

First, it ought to be of interest that the “prisoners” and “martyrs” are Palestinians who were involved, directly and indirectly, in terror attacks. Many of the prisoners have Jewish blood on their hands and were convicted of often unspeakable crimes.

Second, it quickly became clear that the meeting between the UN chief and the Palestinian families was part of an ambush set up by his Palestinian hosts in Ramallah. According to a UN spokesman, Guterres was surprised by the sudden request of the Palestinian Authority to meet with the “mothers of detained children” but that he agreed to meet with them. To his great credit, Guterres also issued a clarification that the report in Wafa that he had expressed sympathy for the prisoners’ plight was “fabricated.”

Third, it is worth noting that one of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid, from the Al-Ama’ri refugee camp near Ramallah. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The response of the UN chief’s spokesman to the “fabricated” report by Abbas’s Wafa news agency and the unscheduled meeting with the families of the “prisoners” and “martyrs” is a fine example of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates the world’s top diplomat. The PA and other Palestinians, however, have been getting away with this for decades.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report on the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his to Ramallah, August 29, 2017. (Image source: UN Photo/Ahed Izhiman)

In another example of Palestinian fake news designed to slander Israel and win international sympathy, several Palestinian media outlets have been reporting during the past week that an Israeli female undercover agent masquerading as a nurse has been uncovered in a Palestinian hospital in Hebron.

According to the fake reports, the “nurse” was an Israeli settler who had helped the Israel Defense Forces infiltrate the hospital to arrest and shoot Palestinian fugitives. A quick check of the facts revealed that the Palestinians were apparently referring to a Western volunteer who had worked in the hospital to treat Palestinian patients. The hospital administration has strongly denied the reports, which continue to spread like fire on social media and Palestinian news websites. The purpose of the fake reports is to implicate Israel and present it as a state that shows disregard for hospitals and patients. This case shows that rumors and fake news are regularly accepted as facts in the world of the Palestinians and Arabs.

Or consider another example of how the Palestinian propaganda machine operates. On August 23, the same Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported on the anniversary of the 1969 fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

First, the historical facts: On August 21, 1969, an Australian citizen named Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the pulpit of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rohan was arrested for the arson attack, tried and found to be insane. He was hospitalized in a mental institution before finally being deported from Israel in 1974.

Since 1969, however, the Palestinians have repeated the lie that Israel and Jews were behind the arson attack. The fact that Rohan was a Christian is apparently inconsequential to them.

So this year, marking the anniversary of the arson, this is what Abbas’s official mouthpiece, Wafa, had this priceless piece of perjury to say: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque was torched by Jewish extremists in 1969.”

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

These lies are simply a few recent examples that extend a long list of Palestinian fake news and blood libels aimed at framing Israel and inciting the world against it. Take for example, the famous Palestinian lies about terrorists: according to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

The manipulation of the UN chief in Ramallah comes as no surprise to those familiar with Palestinian tactics of deception. The question, however, remains: For how long will the international community receive with equanimity the lies that Palestinians spit in its face, lies that hour after hour, day after day, only endanger the lives of both Palestinians and Jews, promote an all-too-welcomed anti-Semitism, and worst – contrary to the claims of those who purport to want to help them — prolong the suffering of Palestinians who dream of one day living in freedom –like their neighbors, the Israelis — with institutions of democracy like free speech, an independent judiciary and educational system, and most of all, with accountable leadership?

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Preventing an intifada

July 23, 2017

Preventing an intifada, Israel Hayom, Yoav Limor, July 23, 2017

(How likely is that Jordan, much of the population of which is “Palestinian,” will provide significant help in diminishing the current crisis? — DM)

The one scenario Israel strives to avoid at this point is a third intifada, a senior defense source said over the weekend. The words “third intifada” have been at the heart of every security assessment held over the past week and this time, defense officials are saying it outright. This is also the scenario which the Shin Bet security agency and the IDF have been increasingly warning about over the past few days, and one that various overt and covert elements on the ground have made into a very real possibility.

Those comparing the unrest of the past week to the wave of mostly lone-wolf terrorism that erupted in October 2015 are wrong. The current crisis represents a much more slippery slope because it is fueled by religious rage. Past waves of terrorism, including the Second Intifada, the attempts to use security prisoners’ hunger strikes to agitate the Palestinian street, and other flare-ups in recent years, were more rationally motivated.

In the past, flare-ups were led by political forces seeking national gains by means of violence. This time the unrest is emotionally motivated, driven by the false notion that Al-Aqsa mosque is “in danger” of Israeli takeover. Israel’s repeated statements that it has no intention whatsoever to change the status quo on the Temple Mount continue to fall on deaf ears. The perceived threat to Al-Aqsa resonates across the Muslim world and generates a very negative trend, as evident by the hundreds of thousands of social media posts echoing the need to defend the holy site.

Another indication was the reaction on the Palestinian street to the gruesome terrorist attack in the Samaria community of Halamish, where a terrorist murdered three members of the Salomon family on Friday. The glory and support showered on the terrorist was unusual even for a society that regularly glorifies terrorists, raising concerns that others might very well follow in his footsteps.

The ease with which the terrorist managed to enter Halamish — despite the security fence surrounding it and the alert, which according to the initial investigation was mishandled by the rapid response team in the community — is likely to spur others to act. Several individuals have already openly said as much on social media. The defense establishment’s immediate challenge, therefore, is to prevent copycat attacks.

The decision to deploy large security contingents on the ground is meant to do just that: prevent terrorist attacks and lend the residents a sense of security. Past experience has shown that this would most likely be only partially successful as well as slow to happen, as it takes time to get a solid hold on an area, seal any breaches to the fence and exhaust intelligence.

Palestinian security forces took an active part in efforts to curb the last wave of terrorism, mostly over their own concerns of losing control over the Palestinian population. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement over the weekend that the PA was suspending all security ties with Israel will undermine the Palestinian Authority, but it may also cost Israeli lives.

Israeli effort to curtail further security deterioration will therefore focus on four fronts: in Jerusalem, by the police; in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, by the military; and overseas, by the Shin Bet, which will try to prevent terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad. The defense establishment’s working assumption is that this situation will be somewhat prolonged. The IDF has already diverted troops in a way that would sustain this special state of alert for at least a month, and it is preparing for the possibility that it will take longer to resolve.

But this operational effort is only part of the plan, alongside significant diplomatic efforts. The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet decided to keep the metal detectors installed last week on the Temple Mount, but according to Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, whose interview with Al Jazeera over the weekend meant to allay the concerns of the Arab street, the cabinet is currently seeking alternative solutions.

While the search for metal detector-free security measures continues, Israel must also find ways to assuage the concerns expressed by Arab leaders. The anti-Israeli consensus in recent days — at a time when Israel was able to make progress vis-a-vis many Middle East nations based on the shared need to curtail Iran’s regional ambitions and the joint war on Islamic State — is very troubling and must be addressed immediately.

The main effort in this respect must be directed at Jordan: As the nation controlling the Islamic trust that manages Al-Aqsa mosque, Amman plays a special role on the holy site and that should be leveraged when discussing the various alternatives and compromises.

Israel believes that even if an agreement is reached on a diplomatic level, some “braking distance” would still be required until the unrest on the ground is quelled. For this reason, “calm” will be the operative word in the coming days, as there is a need to calm the situation on the ground and tone down the rhetoric so as to facilitate an effective war on terror while minimizing any harm to civilians on both sides. This is a particularly complicated operation in terms of security and diplomacy, but it is essential if we are to avoid an unwanted escalation that would lead to a third intifada.

State Dept. Blames Israel for Terrorism, Claims Palestinians Rarely Incite Attacks

July 20, 2017

State Dept. Blames Israel for Terrorism, Claims Palestinians Rarely Incite Attacks, Washington Free Beacon, , July 20, 2017

(Who the @#$$$* is in charge of American foreign policy? The President or “his” Secretary of State? If Secretary Tillerson approved this, he must go. Now. — DM)

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on July 19 / Getty Images

Regional organizations monitoring the situation routinely cite the Palestinian Authority and its senior officials as calling for violence against Israel and glorifying past terror acts.

Palestinian television programs also promote violence against Israel and Jews, with some aimed at children promoting hatred of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian government also uses U.S. taxpayer aid to pay salaries to one-time terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel. This issue has become a particular sticking point in peace talks with Israel, and Congress is currently considering legislation that could cut all aid to the PA until it formally ends this terror payment policy.

*********************************

The State Department is facing harsh criticism for claiming in an official report that Israel is to blame for terrorism attacks committed by Palestinians and accusing the Jewish state of being largely responsible for an impasse in peace negotiations, according to a leading member of Congress who is calling on the State Department to correct its “inaccurate and harmful” characterization of Israel.

The State Department, in its latest annual report on the global terrorism situation, blames Israeli security policies for stalling the peace process and claims that Palestinians rarely incite terror attacks.

The claims are coming under fierce criticism from pro-Israel advocates and have prompted one leading member of Congress to formally call on the Trump administration to amend the report to more accurately reflect the situation.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R. Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, criticized the latest report in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and called on the administration to immediately amend it to portray Palestinian terror attacks as a primary reason for the impasse in peace talks.

The State Department’s current characterization, Roskam claims, is harmful to Israel and likely to impede efforts by the Trump administration to renew peace talks.

“The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism,” Roskam wrote in a letter sent Thursday to the State Department, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “This report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism.”

“Most egregiously,” Roskam adds, “it portrays the PA as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity.”

The State Department characterizes Palestinian calls for terrorism and violence against Israel as “rare,” stating: “Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the [Palestinian Authority] of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it.”

“This assertion is demonstrably false,” Roskam writes. “The PA does not only tolerate terrorist attacks against Israelis but it also incites, rewards, and memorializes those who carry out these horrific attacks.”

Regional organizations monitoring the situation routinely cite the Palestinian Authority and its senior officials as calling for violence against Israel and glorifying past terror acts.

Palestinian television programs also promote violence against Israel and Jews, with some aimed at children promoting hatred of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian government also uses U.S. taxpayer aid to pay salaries to one-time terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel. This issue has become a particular sticking point in peace talks with Israel, and Congress is currently considering legislation that could cut all aid to the PA until it formally ends this terror payment policy.

In late 2015, during a massive wave of Palestinian terrorism, attackers carried out 181 stabbing attacks on Israelis, 159 shooting, and 60 vehicular ramming attacks, which called more than 50 Israelis and injured nearly 1,000.

Roskam notes this statistic in his letter to Tillerson.

“I write to express my concern about numerous mischaracterizations found in the 2016 State Department Country Reports on Terrorism, which undermine the prospect for Israeli-Palestinian peace and wrongly blame Israel for Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians,” Roskam writes.

“At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership directly incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out, terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis,” the letter states. “In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause—PA leadership.”

Roskam calls on the Trump administration “to modify this report to accurately characterize and hold accountable the root causes of Palestinian violence—PA leadership, and clarify the longstanding issue of Palestinian support for terrorism as the leading impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

One senior Congressional source tracking the situation told the Free Beacon that the State Department’s findings are appalling to Israel supporters.

“It is unacceptable that the State Department ignores PA-backed terrorism,” the source said, adding that Congress is working hard to pass legislation cutting off U.S. aid until the Palestinians cease paying terrorists.

“The State Department should be working to do the same,” the source said. “They can begin by correctly reporting the source of Palestinian terrorism—government-led incitement and policies that rewards terrorists.”

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s ‘Preferred Proxy,’ Arming in Gaza

June 5, 2017

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s ‘Preferred Proxy,’ Arming in Gaza, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, June 5, 2017

Iran provides PIJ with both “military and financial support,” ITIC noted in its report.

“PIJ is the preferred organization for Iran, due to the problematic nature of the relationship between Iran and Hamas,” ITIC Director Col. (ret.) Reuven Erlich, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Although Iran continues to fund Hamas’s military wing, relations between Shi’ite Tehran and the Sunni Islamist rulers of Gaza have been unstable since 2012, when the two found themselves on opposite sides of the sectarian war raging in Syria.

PIJ has around 5,000 members in its armed wing, the Quds Brigades. The organization has its own Gazan rocket production industry, and PIJ possesses the second largest arsenal of projectiles in Gaza, thanks to Iranian manufacturing knowledge. The organization has been working on improvements to its rocket launch systems. It also digs combat tunnels.

***************************************

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terrorist army in Gaza, recently issued a video threat about its willingness to end the three-year truce in place with Israel.

“If the Israeli enemy continues its normal game and plays with the lives of the Palestinian people, we will break the cease-fire,” PIJ leader Ramadan Shallah says in the video, according to an Algemeiner report.

The footage is laced with images of gunmen in camouflage, rising out of the ground, moving through tunnels, and watching areas of southern Israel near the Gaza border. It is interspersed with scenes from a rocket factory, and a close up shot appears of a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer, who is placed in crosshairs, before a bullet is loaded into a rifle.

“Don’t try to test the resistance,” says the video’s last message.

PIJ remains Iran’s favored proxy in the Strip as relations between Tehran and Hamas continue to fluctuate.

The Gaza-based Al-Ansar charity, a Palestinian branch of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation, announced May 21 that it would provide financial grants to “families of martyrs” whose relatives were killed between 2002 and 2014.

A parallel Iranian funding channel is in place for families of “martyrs” killed in the 2014 conflict with Israel.

The Al-Ansar charity is “affiliated with PIJ,” according to a report released by the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).

Iran provides PIJ with both “military and financial support,” ITIC noted in its report.

“PIJ is the preferred organization for Iran, due to the problematic nature of the relationship between Iran and Hamas,” ITIC Director Col. (ret.) Reuven Erlich, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Although Iran continues to fund Hamas’s military wing, relations between Shi’ite Tehran and the Sunni Islamist rulers of Gaza have been unstable since 2012, when the two found themselves on opposite sides of the sectarian war raging in Syria.

Thus, Iran does not currently fund Hamas’s non-violent operations, including the salaries for tens of thousands of Hamas government employees.

In recent days, a Hamas senior official even took the trouble to flatly deny Arabic media reports that Iran had resumed full-scale funding for his regime, describing the claims as “fake news.”

PIJ, which plays no governmental role, has no such issues with Iran, and it continues to enjoy a high level of Iranian financial support.

A snapshot of that support can be seen in the estimated $8.7 million that was transferred from the Iranian Martyrs Foundation to Gaza over the last three years. Not all the money went to families of those killed in conflict with Israel. “We can assume that some of that money also went towards financing groups like PIJ,” Erlich said.

The Al-Ansar charity is used by the Iranian Martyrs Foundation “as a pipeline to funnel funds into the Gaza Strip, in indirect support of terrorism. The money also serves to increase Iran’s influence among the Palestinian people, and sends a message to the Sunni Arab world, that it is Iran which is supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel,” the ITIC report said.

The Al-Ansar charity is fed with cash by a branch of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation in Lebanon. A second branch of the foundation in Lebanon supports Hizballah.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated the Iranian Martyrs Foundation and its branches in Lebanon as sponsors of terrorism. Israel banned the Al-Ansar charity in 2003, but it reestablished itself in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal in 2005.

The reelection of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to a second term is unlikely to dent Iranian funding for terror groups like PIJ, as Supreme Leader Khamanei, who is committed to arming and financing jihadists intent on fighting Israel, continues to exercise control over foreign affairs and military policies.

PIJ has around 5,000 members in its armed wing, the Quds Brigades. The organization has its own Gazan rocket production industry, and PIJ possesses the second largest arsenal of projectiles in Gaza, thanks to Iranian manufacturing knowledge. The organization has been working on improvements to its rocket launch systems. It also digs combat tunnels.

PIJ is a quarter of the size of Hamas’s 20,000 armed operatives, but that did not stop it from having numerous past run-ins and power struggles with Hamas.

Since the end of the 2014 conflict with Israel, however, Hamas has improved its ability to coordinate and control the other armed factions operating in its territory.

It remains unclear whether the latest PIJ threat to violate the ceasefire represents a warning of a possible split with Hamas’s leadership.

“What matters most is the ideological distinction between the PIJ and Hamas,” said Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.

“While Hamas, [which is] the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, has a strategic cooperation with Iran, PIJ has a religious affinity with the Khomeinist doctrine and regime, since their [former] leaders Fathi Shaqaqi and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Odah, from the inception of their group, acknowledged the importance of the Iranian revolution and its influence,” Karmon told the IPT.

“Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas leader,  wrote nothing on religious matters (and did not write about any other issues either),” Karmon noted. “Shaqaqi wrote 5 books in which he praised the Iranian revolution.”

“In this sense, the PIJ is the real proxy of Iran, and not Hamas,” he added.

PIJ leaders integrated themselves into the Iranian-Hizballah camp when Israel expelled them to Lebanon in 1988, Karmon noted. Then, PIJ leader Fathi Shaqaqi was assassinated in Malta in 1995, representing a dramatic blow to the organization.

It took his successor, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who is still the current leader, five years following Shaqaqi’s assassination to build up the group’s infrastructure, with the aid of “major Iranian financial and military support,” Karmon said.

“Ironically, Shallah, who spent five years at Durham University [in Britain] writing a thesis on Islamic banking in Jordan, was called to lead the PIJ from the U.S., where he taught at the University of South Florida,” Karmon added.

When Hamas released a document that represented an update to its policies last month, feigning a softer stance and a willingness to accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, PIJ’s response was unequivocal.

“As partners with our Hamas brothers in the struggle for liberation, we feel concerned over the document,” said Islamic Jihad’s deputy leader, Ziad Al-Nakhala.

“We are opposed to Hamas’s acceptance of a state within the 1967 borders and we think this is a concession which damages our aims,” Al-Nakhala said, in comments posted on PIJ’s website.

Accepting a state on the 1967 borders would “lead to deadlock and can only produce half-solutions,” Al-Nakhala added.

Ultimately, the dispute between PIJ and Hamas is one over tactics, not strategy. In light of its acute isolation, Hamas is seeking to rebrand itself somewhat, without any intention of giving up its long-term goal of destroying Israel.

PIJ, enjoying firm Iranian backing, and lacking all of Hamas’s dilemmas of sovereignty, rejects the very idea of a rebranding. It insists on openly advertising its jihadist, Iranian-influenced ideology. Hoisted on Iran’s shoulders, PIJ prepares for the next round of fighting with Israel.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page

March 3, 2017

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion  by reopening their terror promoting page, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, March 2, 2017

pal1

 

pal2[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

Three days ago, Facebook shut down Fatah’s terror promoting account. The Palestinian Authority protested the closure as evidence of unfair collaboration between Israel and Facebook against the Palestinians (see below). Yesterday, Facebook reinstated the account, without removing any of the terror promoting material that is regularly posted on the page by Fatah. In 2016 alone, Palestinian Media Watch documented over 130 posts glorifying individual terrorist murderers and terror attacks, and posts encouraging violence and terror.

The following are examples of the terror and murder promotion that Facebook has reopened for public viewing:

video produced by Fatah’s student movement at Birzeit University urges Palestinians to murder Israelis and seek Martyrdom by carrying out stabbing and car ramming attacks. The video shows a staged car-ramming and stabbing attack at a checkpoint near Ramallah. [Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

pal3

Fatah expressed pride in the first Palestinian female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who murdered 1 and wounded over 100 in 2002: “Her pure body exploded into pieces in the Zionists` faces” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Jan. 27, 2017]

pal4

Fatah posted an image encouraging stabbing Jews on its Facebook page, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 terror wave. The image depicts a religious Jew screaming in pain with a knife stuck in his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “Here is Jerusalem, you crazies, beware!” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Oct. 4, 2015]

pal5

A Fatah student movement election campaign poster showed a bloody knife shaped as the PA map of “Palestine”. Text on poster: “Plant it [the knife] in the heart of your enemy.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Apr. 26, 2016]

pal7

Fatah celebrated murdering 116 Israelis, when it bragged about its “10 most outstanding operations” and “10 most outstanding operations during the Intifada” in two separate posts [Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 16, 17, 2016]

PA accuses Facebook of bias

Before Facebook reopened Fatah’s page, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information complained that the closure was due to an “an agreement” between Facebook and Israel:

“The [PA] Ministry [of Information] emphasized in a statement… that the targeting of… Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel).”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Reacting to the closure of Fatah’s page, Head of Information at the Fatah Commission of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub, who manages Fatah’s Facebook page, emphasized that Fatah “will establish an alternative page and new accounts,” and complained pages of “settlers” and “ISIS” have not been shut down:

“There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked… This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

The following are longer excerpts of the responses to Facebook’s closure of Fatah’s page:

Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Information: Facebook’s supervision of our forums is bias in favor of the occupation”<

“The [PA] Ministry of Information said that the fact that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a private radio station constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation, and siding with the hangman who creates terror and spreads hate through all the means and pictures day and night.<

The ministry emphasized in a statement today, Tuesday [Feb. 28, 2017], that the targeting of the media platforms and Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel) who disdains the international conventions.

The ministry added that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a media outlet, which was a victim of ongoing incitement and acts of terror by the Israeli occupation army against its employees. This requires its administration (i.e., Facebook’s) to clarify its steps, so as not to be perceived as one that follows the path of the occupation and violates the standards of individual and public freedoms…

The ministry called on the site’s administration to take back the unfair decision, as one who spreads freedom of speech and thought and defends its platforms in the world cannot support the occupation and side with racism and dark terror that expels the people of Palestine who is thirsty for its freedom.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Headline: “A picture of late President Arafat causes the closure of the Fatah Movement’s Facebook page”

“The ‘Facebook’ social media administration closed the Fatah Movement’s page on the site. According to the movement, the Facebook administration notified it that the reason for the closure was the posting of a picture of late President Yasser Arafat, in which he is seen holding a Kalashnikov rifle that had been in the possession of an Israeli soldier – after [the soldier] was captured in Beirut in the ’80s – and next to him [current Fatah Deputy Chairman and] leadership member Mahmoud Al-Aloul.

Head of information at the Fatah Movement Bureau (sic., Commission) of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub told the [independent Palestinian] news agency Wattan: ‘The Facebook administration closed the page, which has approximately 70,000 followers, and said that the reason for the closure was that the picture contradicts Facebook’s standards.’ He added that ‘The admin pages that manage this page were blocked for a period of 30 days.’

Al-Jaghoub noted that they were warned by the Facebook administration that the page would be removed if they continued to post pictures like this, and said: ‘In the past approximately four warnings reached us before [the page] was closed today [Feb. 28, 2017].’

He responded to the closure by saying: ‘There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked.’

Al-Jaghoub continued: ‘This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.’

He also emphasized that they will establish an alternative page and new accounts, as this is the second time that the movement’s page was closed; approximately a year and a half ago the Facebook administration closed this page when it had 200,000 followers.”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]