Posted tagged ‘Terrorism’

The NYT legitimizes a Palestinian murderer

April 20, 2017

The NYT legitimizes a Palestinian murderer | Anne’s Opinions, 19th April 2017

Now that the Pesach festival is over, normal programming can now resume. The general violence and terrorist activity endemic to the region continued over the holiday, both in Israel and the wider Middle East: from Butcher Assad’s chemical bombing of his own people, President Trump’s bombing of Syrian targets (in which he apparently gave advance warning to the Russians), a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a British exchange student to death on the Jerusalem Light Rail – we send our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Hannah Bladdon who was so viciously murdered – and a massive horrific bombing attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt in which dozens were killed.

What could be more appropriate therefore for the New York Times than to give the Palestinian mass-murderer Marwan Barghouti a platform (where else?) to spout his evil philosophy.

Palestinian mass murderer Marwan Barghouti – the man that some in the West would like to see as the next Palestinian President

Aussie Dave at Israellycool was spot on with his remark that the NYT “wiped the blood off the hands of a terrorist”:

Describing him as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” – without any reference to his murderous legacy – at the bottom of the piece.

Sure, they later added in this editor’s note:

Editors’ Note: April 17, 2017

This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy

But only after they were hammered by many prominent people and organizations – or at least those who have a problem with providing a platform for a terrorist without disclosing he is a terrorist.

Just as a reminder, here is more on this “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian”:

Marwan Barghouti is currently serving 5 life sentences for orchestrating three shooting attacks that killed 5 people: one attack in Jerusalem (June 12, 2001) in which Greek monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorist Ismail Radaida and another unidentified terrorist, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen, 45, was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, 53, Yosef Habi, 52, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, 33, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected member of the Palestinian Authority parliament.

It is obvious that the danger in providing such a forum for an evil mass murderer such as Barghouti is that it legitimizes and normalizes this behaviour. After all, if his words appear in such an illustrious organ then they must be OK, right?

Aussie Dave quotes what Barghouti wrote in a self-serving attempt to gain sympathy, and probably to maneuver himself into position for a leadership attempt:

Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.

Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.

Let’s talk about the terrible abuses suffered by those poor innocent murderers and terrorists in Israeli prisons. First, here is a 25 minute Israeli TV channel 2 item on the situation “suffered” (we should all be so lucky) by Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails – which you can watch directly on Israellycool too.

Having watched it, here is Kay Wilson in a blistering attack on Barghouti and his miserable article:

See for yourselves the “hunger strike” because of the “appalling conditions” that Palestinian prisoners are protesting, via the likes of The New York Times – a paper that sees it fit to publish an article by the leader of the hunger-strike, a mass murderer named Marwan Barghouti – defined shamelessly by the newspaper as a “parliamentarian.”

Click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the conditions Israel awards those who murdered, or tried to, murder her innocents.

3’15 – TV with 10 channels in their cell

4’40 – Monthly pocket money from the Palestinian Authority. In addition to an average monthly murder stipend of about 4,000 Shekels that goes to their families.

4’50 – Table Tennis. (Yes, you read that correctly).

5’54 – Private storeroom of food always on hand.

6’30 – Prison official says that they eat this food when on “hunger strike,” and that hunger-strike only means refusing the 3 daily prison meals.

9’15 – Free dental clinic (no such thing for Israelis).

9’20 – Immediate appointments in hospitals should the need arise. (Something that many Israelis can only dream of).

9’50 – Community Islamic prayers.

10’50 – Visits with families and lawyers.

13’01 – Murderers gathering in their cell to tuck into humus and snacks that are always available should the need to hunger strike arise.

15’15 – Library. Terrorists get a free education and study for degrees in jail.

15’45 – Games, BackGammon etc…

15’27 – More food stash, should the need to go on hunger strike arise.

19’17 – One of the most notorious terrorists refuses to be interviewed because “he doesn’t want to be seen as shaved, looked-after and respectable in appearance.” These are his exact words. They have to keep up the public image of Israel supposedly treating them badly.

21’40 – Smaller cell with TV, audio headset, coca-cola, kettle, 2 nice pillows… & despite it all, the terrorist promises that the violence must continue.

By publishing an article by Marwan Barghouti, who lies about the conditions, The New York Times are giving a platform to a murderer, perpetuating lies and hate, and in doing so aiding and abetting more inevitable bloodshed.

See for yourselves.

That paper disgusts me. Shame on them.

Kay also posts some screenshots from the TV program of the “terrible abuses” if you don’t want to watch the entire film. It would take a heart of stone not to cry (/sarcasm):

Really, the TV program should have been entitled “How to get fat while on a hunger strike”.

And in case you haven’t heard enough about this revolting specimen whom the West are always encouraging Israel to recognize as a leader of the Palestinians, here is journalist Tom Gross on Marwan Barghouti’s crimes:

Although Barghouti was convicted on just three counts — of the murder of three Israeli civilians (and wounding of 31 others) in an attack on a Tel Aviv seafood restaurant, of the murder of one Israeli civilian in a terrorist attack on a gas station, and of the murder of a Greek orthodox monk (who was shot dead after being mistaken for an orthodox Jew) — he was (as I know from my time reporting on Barghouti’s terrorism while I was a Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News) also responsible for orchestrating the murder of dozens of other civilians, in a series of acts from which he has expressed no remorse. Not that you would know this from the New York Times’ coverage.

Among his other terrorism, Barghouti also ordered the January 17, 2002 shooting attack of a bat mitzvah celebration at a banquet hall in Hadera, in which six Israelis were killed and 26 injured, including many children. And the shooting spree the following week on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, in which two Israelis were killed, and 37 wounded.

Meanwhile, in its headline today, The Times of London describes convicted terrorist Barghouti as an “activist” while downplaying his terrorist activities.

On his website Tom Gross goes into more detail:

In an article for the Times of Israel, Israeli center-left opposition leader Yair Lapid said of the New York Times:

“The attempt by the New York Times ‘to be balanced’ amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth…

“The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

“Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.”

The Israeli press watchdog Mida also publishes a detailed bio of Marwan Barghouti while Honest Reporting also writes about the New York Times disgrace.

The Israeli prison service has now moved Barghouti to another jail and put him in solitary confinement in response to his incitement to hunger strike.

Watch out for the next NYT article decrying Israel’s mistreatment of the poor innocent murderer.

But in my opinion, if those terrorists really want to go on hunger strike, I say let them! Make sure their not-so hidden stashes of food are confiscated and their benefits removed immediately. I hope they starve themselves to death.

Is George Soros Behind This Plot To Topple Trump?

March 31, 2017

“It smells to me like the CIA and George Soros’ NGOs are trying to start a “color revolution” in the US, just like they’ve done in numerous foreign countries. The Deep State has three main cards to play against Trump. If one doesn’t work, they’ll move on to the next one: The Delegitimization Card, The Herbert Hoover Card, and finally, The John F. Kennedy Card.”

Source: Is George Soros Behind This Plot To Topple Trump? | Zero Hedge

The mainstream media hates him. Hollywood hates him. The “Intellectual Yet Idiot” academia class hates him.

Most critically, the CIA hates him. So does the rest of the Deep State, or the permanently entrenched “national security” bureaucracy. They did everything possible to stop Trump from taking office. None of it worked.

I think the CIA hates Trump for a very simple reason: he’s threatening to take away their livelihood.

Trump wants to make nice with Putin and the Russians. But countering the so-called “Russian threat” is how many thousands of Deep State bureaucrats make a living.

These people feed off the trough of the $1 trillion-plus military/security budget. Playing nice with the Russians would kill their jobs—and end their way of life.

Trump has said:

We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.

Toppling regimes is the CIA’s bread and butter. No wonder they hate him.

Of course, the feeling is mutual. Trump has used plenty of sharp words to describe the “intelligence community.” He’s reportedly aiming to fundamentally restructure the CIA.

John F. Kennedy’s Battle with the CIA

Donald Trump is the first president since John F. Kennedy to openly take on the CIA.

After being suckered into the Bay of Pigs disaster in Cuba, JFK said he wanted “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”

Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles. But that was about as far as he got.

JFK, of course, failed to break the Deep State’s grasp on power. In an ironic twist, Allen Dulles would later be appointed to the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination.

The CIA is the undisputed all-time world champion of orchestrating coups. And right now, Trump is squarely on its radar…

How the Deep State Will Take Down Trump

The way I see it, the Deep State has three main cards to play against Trump. If one doesn’t work, they’ll move on to the next one.

  1. The Delegitimization Card
  2. The Herbert Hoover Card
  3. The John F. Kennedy Card

The Delegitimization Card

There’s a joke that goes something like this…

Question: Why can there be no “color revolution” in the US?

Answer: Because there are no US embassies in the US.

To get the joke you have to understand the role the US played—through CIA officers based out of US embassies—in orchestrating various color-coded revolutions, really coups d’état, over the past 17 years:

  • The Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia (2000)
  • The Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003)
  • The Orange and Euromaidan Revolutions in Ukraine (2004 and 2014)
  • The Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005)
  • The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005)
  • The Jeans Revolution in Belarus (2006)
  • The Saffron Revolution in Myanmar (2007)
  • The Green Revolution in Iran (2009)… though that one didn’t work.
  • The Grape Revolution in Moldova (2009)
  • The Colorful Revolution in Macedonia (2016)

All of these AstroTurf revolutions have one thing in common. In each case, George Soros’ NGOs helped delegitimize the targeted government.

Of course, there were valid grievances against these governments. But the US Deep State manipulated these situations to advance its geopolitical agenda.

Here’s how it worked: Soros’ NGOs would help fund and organize “professional protestors.” Then they’d use color-specific branding to help rally others to their cause.

Soros has turned colored revolutions into a science. The pattern is predictable.

Now it’s playing out in the US.

It smells to me like the CIA and George Soros’ NGOs are trying to start a “color revolution” in the US, just like they’ve done in numerous foreign countries.

The US color revolution already has a color. It’s purple, the mix of red and blue (i.e., red and blue states).

Hillary Clinton has developed a recent fondness for purple. She’s worn purple in almost every public appearance since the election.


Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. Notice her purple blouse and Bill’s purple tie.

There’s also a flood of social media postings about the color purple. So the branding is already done. And, of course, the professional protestors financed and organized by George Soros are already there.

Again, there are valid complaints against Trump. But the Usual Suspects are using their usual tricks to remove a government they don’t like. It just happens that, this time, the target government is in Washington, D.C., instead of Eastern Europe or the Middle East.

I don’t think the Deep State can get rid of Trump with the Delegitimization Card alone. So they will have to escalate to the next option.

The Herbert Hoover Card

When people think of President Hoover, they mostly think of the Great Depression.

Throughout the 1920s, the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies helped create an enormous stock market bubble.

In August 1929, the Fed raised interest rates and effectively ended the easy credit. Only a few months later, the bubble burst on Black Tuesday, in October 1929—barely seven months after Hoover took office. The Dow lost over 12% that day.

It was the most devastating stock market crash in the US up to that point. It also signaled the beginning of the Great Depression.

This happened on Hoover’s watch. And because of that, people pinned the blame squarely on him, regardless of where the fault lied.

Hoover inherited a stock market bubble near its peak—fueled by the Fed’s easy money policies.

I think Trump has, too. And he knows it. In recent months he’s called the stock market a “big, fat, ugly bubble.”

There’s an excellent chance this bubble will burst on Trump’s watch. And Democrats will pin the blame on him, just as they did with Hoover.

If that doesn’t work, the Deep State still has one card left.

The John F. Kennedy Card

Chuck Schumer, a powerful Democratic senator and quintessential Deep State swamp creature, recently discussed the war between Trump and the intelligence community on TV.

Schumer said, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to understand what he’s alluding to.

Of course, the Deep State could try to assassinate Trump. It’s obvious the possibility has crossed his mind. He’s taken the unusual step of supplementing his Secret Service protection with loyal private security.

There are only three possible outcomes to the Deep State’s war on Trump…

  • Trump will defeat the Deep State.
  • The Deep State will co-opt Trump.
  • The Deep State will overthrow Trump.

As things stand, I think it’s unlikely Trump will defeat the Deep State. It’s been entrenched for decades. And it’s far more powerful than the president.

It’s also unlikely the Deep State will co-opt Trump. It’s just not in his personality to submit and roll over. He didn’t overcome all the odds to become president just to be another empty suit.

The Deep State will play the Herbert Hoover Card next. But if that doesn’t work—or if the Deep State starts to get antsy—they’ll move forward to overthrow him by any means possible.

The Deep State is planning moves during Trump’s first 100 days in office that could change everything in sudden and unexpected ways.

*  *  *

New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I put together this time-sensitive video explaining how it could all go down. You must see this urgent video before the Deep State makes its next move. Click here to watch it now.

 

Palestinians: We Have the Right to Poison the Minds of our Children

March 29, 2017

by Bassam Tawil
March 29, 2017 at 5:00 am

Source: Palestinians: We Have the Right to Poison the Minds of our Children

 

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas wish to continue teaching children that the conflict with Israel is not over a two-state solution, but the “liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea,” which means the annihilation of Israel. The goal is for the students to believe that Israel is one big settlement that has no place in the Middle East.
  • Along with Hamas, Abbas and his PA plan to continue inculcating Palestinian children with the idea that they should look to terrorists who kill Jews as their role models. It might be illuminating if the conversation between Trump and Abbas were to be informed by these uncomfortable facts.

In an ironic turnaround, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is now the object of intimidation and threats made by many Palestinians.

UNRWA is reportedly planning to introduce some changes to the curriculum in its schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinians are rather unhappy about it. They claim that UNRWA has “succumbed” to Israeli pressure to make the changes.

The proposed changes are based on leaks to Palestinians and have not been confirmed by UNRWA. Palestinians claim that they learned about the plans to introduce the changes during meetings with senior UNRWA officials.

According to the Palestinians, the changes are intended to “eradicate” their “national identity” and “history” and distort their “struggle” against Israel.

The Palestinians claim that the new textbooks have replaced the map of “historic Palestine” (including Israel) with pictures of a pumpkin and a bird. Palestinian textbooks often feature maps of “historic Palestine” without Israel. Cities inside Israel, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Tiberias and Ramle, are referred to as “Palestinian cities.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) media also refer to these cities as “Palestinian cities inside the 1948 Land.”

In one fourth-grade textbook, the Palestinians charge, UNRWA has replaced the map of Palestine with a picture of a traditional Palestinian woman’s dress.

The new textbooks make no reference to cities in Israel; they mention only cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, such as Nablus, Jenin, Gaza City, Jericho and Ramallah.

Unsurprisingly, an UNRWA revision of the Palestinian presumption of Jerusalem as the “capital of the State of Palestine” to Jerusalem as a “Holy city for the Abrahamic religions” did not go over well with Palestinians. In addition, they are angry because the UNRWA textbooks make no mention of the Jordan Valley along the border between Israel and Jordan.

The controversial textbooks have also removed photos of Israeli soldiers patrolling near schools and references to Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for terrorism. Moreover, the new textbooks are missing the previous references to “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day” — an annual event marked by Palestinians in solidarity with imprisoned terrorists.

Palestinians are also protesting the removal of words such as “occupation” and “checkpoints” from the new textbooks.

If true, the proposed changes to the Palestinian textbooks should be welcomed as a positive development towards ending anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian schools, including those belonging to UNRWA. In light of the widespread Palestinian protests and threats, however, it is doubtful whether UNRWA will succeed in making the proposed revisions.

A girls’ school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. (Image source: UNRWA)

A recent study into schoolbooks used by UNRWA-run schools found that the texts consistently delegitimize and demonize Israel. The schools do not teach Palestinian children to recognize Israel. The research was conducted by Dr. Arnon Gross, who translated the books, and Dr. Roni Shaked, both from the Harry Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In these currently-used books, Zionism is defined as a colonialist movement that was founded by European Jews in order to gather Jews from all around the world and bring them to Palestine. No mention is made of the religious or historical connection of Jews to the Land of Israel or to Jerusalem. Instead, the UNRWA textbooks teach that Jewish holy sites such as the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs are Muslim holy sites.

Not surprisingly, vicious rivals though they are, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have joined forces to thwart UNRWA’s planned changes to the textbooks. This is an issue that these two corrupt regimes can agree on: inciting children against Israel and denying its existence.

Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, warned that any changes to the curriculum would “harm the history and national rights of the Palestinian people, as well as their resistance” against Israel. By “resistance,” the Hamas official means terrorism against Israel, including suicide bombings and the launching of rockets at Israel.

According to the Hamas official, UNRWA and the international community need to understand that “the option of resistance is the only and shortest way for restoring Palestine and liberating our land.”

In other words, Bahr wants to go on teaching Palestinian children to continue perpetrating terror attacks, in order to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. In fact, Hamas has long been teaching precisely this in its own schools in the Gaza Strip. Yet Hamas is making it manifest that UNRWA is to follow suit in its schools. Children studying in the UN agency’s schools are to continue learning that Israel is nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

The past few days have seen Palestinians in the Gaza Strip staging a series of protests against UNRWA. They warned the agency against making the changes, which are designed to “distort the minds of Palestinian children” and which “do not comply with the culture of Palestinian society.”

Hamas has refused to allow UNRWA to teach about the Holocaust in its schools. From Hamas’s point of view, the UN agency seeks to “poison the minds of our children by taking steps that only serve” Israel. “UNRWA is trying to justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinians by teaching the so-called Holocaust in the context of human rights in UNRWA-run schools,” Hamas said. This attitude is far from surprising: Holocaust denial has always been an integral part of Palestinian and Arab narratives.

It is easy to see why Hamas and other extremist Palestinian groups would be opposed to changing textbooks that delegitimize and demonize Israel. More difficult to understand is that the Palestinian Authority, whose president, Mahmoud Abbas, says he is opposed to anti-Israel incitement, also came out against UNRWA’s planned changes.

A statement issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah warned that it would take “punitive measures” against anyone who tries to change or tamper with the curriculum. “Any attempt to change the Palestinian curriculum will be considered an assault on Palestine and an eradication and dilution of our national identity,” the ministry cautioned.

The language used by the PA is strikingly similar to that used by Hamas to threaten an organization that has for decades helped millions of Palestinians to survive. In this regard, the Palestinians are once again biting the hand that has fed them. Ask Kuwait and other Gulf countries that used to give Palestinians billions of dollars before the Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

In his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington in mid-April, Abbas is expected to renew his commitment to combating anti-Israel incitement, according to senior PA officials in Ramallah. One wonders how Abbas plans to account for the PA’s threats against UNRWA regarding the textbooks.

The PA, like Hamas, plans to continue indoctrinating their children through poisonous textbooks that depict Jews as evil occupiers and land-thieves who build “racist walls” and demolish houses for no reason. They also wish to continue teaching children that the conflict with Israel is not over a two-state solution, but the “liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea,” which means the annihilation of Israel. The goal is for the students to believe that Israel is one big “settlement” that has no place in the Middle East.

Moreover, along with Hamas, Abbas and his PA plan to continue inculcating Palestinian children with the idea that they should look to terrorists who kill Jews as their role models. It might be illuminating if the conversation between Trump and Abbas were to be informed by these uncomfortable facts.

Bassam Tawil is an Arab scholar based in the Middle East.

Mattis says al-Qaeda terrorists “defame Islam”

March 27, 2017

March 26, 2017 6:03 pm

By

Source: Mattis says al-Qaeda terrorists “defame Islam”

The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.”

It seems as if all those with any power or influence anywhere in the Western world, all across the political spectrum, have agreed to back a fiction and pretend that Islam is other than what it is in its canonical text, prophet, schools of jurisprudence, and history all say it is. Does Mattis think that al-Qaeda defames Islam because it deliberately targets innocent people?

Is Mattis actually unaware that al-Qaeda doesn’t consider its targets innocent, and in 1998 published a fatwa claiming that the United States had been “occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places” and declaring that “the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it”? Mattis may think this a twisting or hijacking or defaming of the Religion of Peace, but actually it is strictly based on Islamic law. All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that when a non-Muslim force enters a Muslim land, defensive jihad becomes the individual obligation of every Muslim (fard ayn) rather than a collective obligation of the entire umma, and need not be declared by anyone. Bulghah al-Salik li-Aqrab al-Masalik fi madhhab al-Imam Malik (“The Sufficiency of the Traveller on the Best Path in the School of Imam Malik,”) says this: “Jihad in the Path of Allah, to raise the word of Allah, is fard kifayah [obligatory on the community] once a year, so that if some perform it, the obligation falls from the rest. It becomes fard `ayn [obligatory on every Muslim individually], like salah and fasting, if the legitimate Muslim Imam declares it so, or if there is an attack by the enemy on an area of people.”

So in calling for the killings of Americans and saying that such killings are a duty, al-Qaeda was working from the Islamic doctrine of defensive jihad. Mattis, and Trump, and all those in power in Washington in both parties should know this: one cannot defeat an enemy one does not understand. What Mattis says here only fosters the ignorance and complacency that has enveloped us as a thick fog for the last sixteen years.

“U.S. strike kills an al-Qaida ‘leader’ in Afghanistan: Pentagon,” Reuters, March 25, 2017 (thanks to Freethinker):

A U.S. counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday.

In confirming the death of Qari Yasin, U.S. officials said Yasin was a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, had ties to the group Tehrik-e Taliban and had plotted multiple al-Qaida terror attacks. The airstrike that led to his death was conducted March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Yasin plotted the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens, officials said. The victims included two American service members, Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez of El Paso, Texas, and Navy Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant of Theodore, Alabama, U.S. officials said.

The bus attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed six Pakistani policemen and two civilians and wounded six members of the cricket team.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said in the statement: “The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.”…

Hamas commander assassinated in Gaza

March 25, 2017

According to a statement from Hamas’ military wing, the terror organization is holding Israel responsible for the attack which claimed the life of one of its commanders; Mazan Fukha was released by Israel in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Elior Levy|Last update:  25.03.17 , 14:00

Source: Ynetnews News – Hamas commander assassinated in Gaza

Unknown assailants gunned down Hamas operative Mazan Fukha Friday night outside his home in Tel al-Hawa, in the Gaza Strip.According to Hamas’ military wing, Fukha, who was released in a prisoner exchange deal for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, was shot in the head  four times with a silenced weapon by unknown attackers who fled the scene.

Mazan Fukha after his release from Israeli prison

Mazan Fukha after his release from Israeli prison

Fukha, who was deported to Gaza as part of the Shalit deal, was responsible for planning terror attacks in the West Bank.

In a statement, Hamas’ military wing blamed Israel for Fukha’s death and described him as a commander in the organization.

Husam Badran, Hamas’ international spokesman, issued a statement on Twitter, saying, “The occupation is responsible for this assassination. Netanyahu knows this will not pass quietly.”

Hamas gunmen during the funeral procession (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

Hamas gunmen during the funeral procession (Photo: Reuters)

Ismail Haniyeh following news of the assassination (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)

Ismail Haniyeh following news of the assassination (Photo: AFP)

Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Khalil al-Khayeh accompanied Fukha’s body at Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip and later during his funeral procession in Gaza on Saturday, attended by thousands of mourners.

Fukha, originally from Tubas, was sentenced to nine life sentences in 2003 by Israel for his role in the planning and execution of a suicide bombing on a bus near Safed, which killed nine people.

Fukha's funeral procession in Gaza on Saturday (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

Fukha’s funeral procession in Gaza on Saturday (Photo: Reuters)

Mourners in Tubas

Mourners in Tubas

Fukha’s father, who still lives in Tubas in the northern West Bank, also accused Israel of the assassination, saying, “Israeli intelligence officers came to our house many times and gave us messages that Mazen would be liquidated if he continued with his actions.”

Fukha was released from prison in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal and was deported to the Gaza Strip.

After his release, Fukha returned to terrorist activities and helped found Hamas’ West Bank headquarters and manage it from Gaza under the command of Saleh al-Arouri. In addition to Fukha, the operation also included Abd al-Rahman Ghanimat, another terrorist who had been released as part of the Shalit deal.

 Together, the three men helped organize and conduct terror attacks against Israelis from the Gaza Strip.

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

First published: 25.03.17, 09:56

De Facto Settlement Freeze Only Result of US-Israel Four Day Discussion

March 25, 2017

De Facto Settlement Freeze Only Result of US-Israel Four Day Discussion

Source: De Facto Settlement Freeze Only Result of US-Israel Four Day DiscussionThe Jewish Press | David Israel | 27 Adar 5777 – March 24, 2017 | JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jason Greenblatt, March 13, 2017.

After four days of talks between the US and Israel on the future of the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise, the two sides issued a joint statement saying the issues remain “exceptionally complicated” and that the talks have been serious and beneficial. In other words, if they had something new to announce they would have announced it.

The joint statement said that “A principal focus of the discussions was specific measures that could have a meaningful impact on the economic environment in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing the Palestinians to more fully realize their economic potential. The two delegations also discussed Israeli settlement construction.”

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President Trump’s negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz led the talks, which came only a few days following Greenblatt’s visit to Israel and the PA. One thing the two sides have said they agreed on was that, for now, the Netanyahu government will be minding the Trump Administration’s concerns on settlements construction and expansion. Which probably means an unofficial settlement freeze for the foreseeable future – even though everybody connected to the talks is denying it.

In fact, a senior Trump administration official told the Wall Street Journal that “the notion that Israelis have rebuffed proposals…none of it is correct. […] Nobody is asking for a freeze here—the president has made clear he has some concerns in the context of how we can advance…toward a genuine and lasting peace for the Israelis and Palestinians.”

So, it’s a freeze.

French Elections: Populist Revolution or Status Quo?

March 22, 2017

“If the Macron bubble doesn’t pop, this may portend the realignment, not just of French politics, but Western politics in general, away from the left-right division that has defined Western politics since the French Revolution, towards a division between

by Soeren Kern
March 21, 2017 at 5:00 am

Source: French Elections: Populist Revolution or Status Quo?

  • “If the Macron bubble doesn’t pop, this may portend the realignment, not just of French politics, but Western politics in general, away from the left-right division that has defined Western politics since the French Revolution, towards a division between the people and the elites.” — Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, French political analyst.
  • “This divide is no longer between the left and the right, but between patriots and globalists.” — Marine Le Pen, French presidential candidate.

The presidential election in France officially got underway on March 18, when the Constitutional Council announced that a total of eleven candidates will be facing off for the country’s top political job.

The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with traditional parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.

The first round of voting will be held on April 23. If no single candidate wins an absolute majority, the top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.

If the election were held today, independent “progressive” candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has never held elected office, would become the next president of France, according to several opinion polls.

A BVA market research poll for Orange released on March 18 showed that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-establishment National Front party, would win the first round with 26% of the votes, followed by Macron with 25%. Conservative François Fillon is third (19.5%), followed by radical Socialist Benoît Hamon (12.5%) and Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon (12%).

For the first time, the two established parties, the Socialist Party and the center-right Republicans, would be eliminated in the first round.

In the second round, Macron, a 39-year-old pro-EU, pro-Islam globalist (platform here), would defeat Le Pen, a 48-year-old anti-EU, anti-Islam French nationalist (platform here), by a wide margin (62% to 38%), according to the poll.

Macron, a former investment banker, was an adviser to incumbent Socialist President François Hollande, one of the most unpopular presidents in modern French history. A long-time member of the Socialist Party, Macron served in Hollande’s cabinet for two years as economy minister until August 2016, when he resigned to launch his rival presidential bid to “transform France.”

Macron, whose core base of support consists of young, urban progressives, has tried to position himself in the political center, between the Socialists and the conservatives. His meteoric rise has been propelled by a scandal involving Fillon — who is the subject of a criminal investigation over allegations that he used government money to pay his wife and children more than €1 million ($1.1 million) for jobs they never did — and because the Socialists fielded Hamon, a nonviable candidate who has promised to pay every French citizen over 18, regardless of whether or not they are employed, a government-guaranteed monthly income of €750 ($800). The annual cost to taxpayers would be €400 billion ($430 billion). By comparison, France’s 2017 defense budget is €32.7 billion ($40 billion).

Macron’s ascendancy comes amid heightened worries over security. More than 230 people have been killed in attacks in France by Islamic radicals during the past two years. The latest attack, on March 18, involved a 39-year-old French-Tunisian jihadist who proclaimed that he wanted to “die for Allah,” and was shot dead after he tried to seize a soldier’s weapon at Orly Airport in Paris.

Shortly after the attack, Le Pen accused Macron and the rest of France’s political establishment of “cowardice in the face of Islamic fundamentalism.”

In an apparent effort to bolster his national security credentials, Macron on March 18 announced a surprise proposal to restore compulsory military service. He said he would require men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 to serve one month in the armed forces.

“I want each young French person to be able to experience military life, however brief,” Macron said. “This is a major project of society, a real republican project, which should allow our democracy to be more united and the resilience of our society to be increased.” Macron, if elected, would become the first president in modern French history not to have performed military service.

Observers say that Macron’s national service proposal — which copies Le Pen’s proposal to reintroduce compulsory military service for a period of at least three months — is an attempt to siphon votes away from Le Pen and Fillon, both of whose campaign platforms call for a strong national defense.

Macron’s proposal, which will require an estimated €15 billion ($16 billion) upfront, and another €3 billion ($3.2 billion) each year to maintain, has been met with derision because of its exorbitant cost and dubious contribution to national security. Le Monde reminded its readers that France spends a similar amount (€3 billion annually) on nuclear deterrence.

Fillon’s spokesman, Luc Chantel, said the proposal was “absurd and unrealistic” and added:

“Either it is a measure designed to discourage students from quitting school, and this is not the mission of the army, or it is training for the defense of France, and one month is a joke, it is a discovery camp.”

Some of Macron’s other policy positions include:

  • European Federalism: Macron has repeatedly called for a stronger European Union. At a January 14 political rally in Lille, he said: “We are Europe, we are Brussels, we wanted it and we need it. We need Europe because Europe makes us bigger, because Europe makes us stronger.”
  • Single European Currency: In a January 10 speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Macron, speaking impeccable English, said: “The truth is that we must collectively recognize that the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms. It has not provided Europe with full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules. It has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states. The euro is a weak Deutsche mark, the status quo is synonymous, in 10 years’ time, with the dismantling of the euro.”
  • Migration Crisis: Macron has repeatedly praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, which has allowed more than two million mostly Muslim migrants into Germany since January 2015.

    In a January 1, 2017 interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Macron accused critics of Merkel’s open-door migration policy of “disgraceful oversimplification.” He said: “Merkel and German society as a whole exemplified our common European values. They saved our collective dignity by accepting, accommodating and educating distressed refugees.”

    In a February 4 rally in Lyon, Macron mocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall with Mexico: “I do not want to build a wall. I can assure you there is no wall in my program. Can you remember the Maginot Line?” he said, referring to a failed row of fortifications that France built in the 1930s to deter an invasion by Germany.

  • Islamic Terrorism: Macron has said he believes the solution to jihadist terrorism is more European federalism: “Terrorism wants to destroy Europe. We must quickly create a sovereign Europe that is capable of protecting us against external dangers in order to better ensure internal security. We also need to overcome national unwillingness and create a common European intelligence system that will allow the effective hunting of criminals and terrorists.”
  • Islam: Macron has said he believes that French security policy has unfairly targeted Muslims and that “secularism should not be brandished to as a weapon to fight Islam.” At an October 2016 rally in Montpellier, he rejected President Hollande’s assertion that “France has a problem with Islam.” Instead, Macron said: “No religion is a problem in France today. If the state should be neutral, which is at the heart of secularism, we have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity.” He also insisted that the Islamic State is not Islamic: “What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion.”
  • National Defense: Macron supports NATO, and has pledged to increase French defense spending to reach 2% of GDP by 2025 — a level to which all NATO members agreed in 2006. At the same time, Macron believes in the need to create an “autonomous” European defense capability, also known as a European Army, which would duplicate military capabilities which already exist within NATO.

An Ifop poll for the Journal du Dimanche published on March 18 found that French voters are divided into “two quasi-equal blocks” about Macron’s honesty and his ability to govern. According to the survey, only 46% of French people believe he will be “able to guarantee the safety of the French people.” More than half (52%) of respondents said they were “worried” about Macron, while 52% said they doubted his honesty.

In an interview with BMFTV, Laurence Haïm, a Canal+ reporter who was accredited to the White House and who recently joined Macron’s team, described Macron as the “French Obama.” She added: “I think that in today’s world we need renewal, from someone young, who is not a politician. He wants to make the democratic revolution.”

So what is driving Macron’s political ascendancy? French analyst Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explains:

“The best way to look at Macron is as a kind of anti-Le Pen, or, to stretch the bounds of logic even further, a ‘populist from the top.’ If Le Pen is anti-establishment, Macron is the incarnation of the French establishment, a graduate of ENA, the top civil service school that trains the country’s elites, and a member of the Inspection des Finances, the most elite civil service track. His only experience in the private sector is through the revolving door as an investment banker. And yet, Macron sounds off populist rhetoric: His candidacy, he says, is about sweeping out a corrupt system (even as he is supported by the vast majority of the French establishment).

“It would be only slightly churlish to say that the parts of the system Macron wants to do away with are the democratic ones; witness his full-throated support for the EU in a country that has rejected it at the polls. Macron supports various liberalizing reforms, and Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy towards migrants. He is, of course, a social liberal. In a country that takes culture very seriously, he has argued that there is ‘no such thing’ as French culture; rather, there are many cultures with which the French perform a kind of synthesis. His biggest donors seem to be French tax exiles residing in London and Brussels.

“In other words, he is the mirror image of the political realignment that is transforming Western politics. If the familiar motley crew of populists — Trump, Le Pen — are the candidates for those who lost out from globalization, then Macron is the candidate of the winners. In both cases, they seem to make old left-right divisions obsolete. If the Macron bubble doesn’t pop, this may portend the realignment, not just of French politics, but Western politics in general, away from the left-right division that has defined Western politics since the French Revolution, towards a division between the people and the elites.

Le Pen agrees. At a rally in Lyon on February 5, she said:

“The old left-right debates have outlived their usefulness. Primaries have shown that debates about secularism or immigration, as well as globalization or generalized deregulation, constitute a fundamental and transversal divide. This divide is no longer between the left and the right, but between patriots and globalists.

“The collapse of traditional parties and the systematic disappearance of almost all of their leaders shows that a great political re-composition has begun.”

At that same rally, Le Pen launched a two-pronged attack on globalization and radical Islam. She also promised French voters a referendum on remaining in the European Union in order “to allow us to recover our four sovereignties: monetary, economic, legislative and territorial.”

She went on to articulate exactly what is at stake for France in this election:

In all respects, this presidential election is unlike previous ones. Its outcome will determine the future of France as a free nation and our existence as a people.

After decades of errors and cowardice, we are at a crossroads. I say it with gravity: the choice we will have to make in this election is a choice of civilization.

The question is simple and cruel: will our children live in a free, independent, democratic country? Will they still be able to refer to our system of values? Will they have the same way of life as we did and our parents before us?

Will our children, and the children of our children, still have a job, a decent wage, the possibility of building up a patrimony, becoming an owner, starting a family in a safe environment, being properly cared for, to grow old with dignity?

Will our children have the same rights as us?

Will they live according to our cultural references, our values ​​of civilization, our style of living, and will they even speak our French language, which is disintegrating under the blows of political leaders who squander this national treasure — for example, by choosing a slogan in English to promote the candidacy of Paris to host the 2024 Olympic Games?

Will they have the right to claim French culture when certain candidates for the presidential election, puffed up by their own empty-headedness, explain that it does not exist?

I ask this important question because, unlike our adversaries, I am interested not only in the material heritage of the French, but I also want to defend our immaterial capital. This immaterial capital is priceless because this heritage is irreplaceable. In fact, I am defending the load-bearing walls of our society.

The choice for French voters is clear: Le Pen is the anti-establishment change candidate and Macron is the pro-establishment status quo candidate.

In the current French presidential election campaign, Marin Le Pen (right) is the anti-establishment change candidate and Emmanuel Macron (left) is the pro-establishment status quo candidate. (Image source: LCI video screenshot)

Le Pen is offering voters an historic opportunity to reassess relations with the European Union, reassert national sovereignty and stanch the flow of mass migration from the Muslim world. By contrast, Macron is offering voters increased European federalism, the transference of yet more national sovereignty to the European Union, and the further multiculturalization of French society.

If polls are any indication, French voters appear to be more comfortable with the status quo. The populist revolution that began in June 2016 when British voters decided to leave the European Union, and cross the Atlantic in November when Americans elected U.S. President Donald J. Trump, will not be spreading to France in 2017.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.