Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Day 2016: Europe, Israel and ISIS

On Friday, January 1, 2015, an Arab Israeli named Nashat Melhem, paid three Israeli Shekels for some pecan nuts at a health store called Anise in the popular entertainment area of Dizengoff Center in central Tel Aviv, Israel. Then, he walked next door to a cafe where a group of young people were celebrating a birthday party. He took an automatic weapon out of his black bag and then, smiling, opened fire at the people in the cafe. Two people were killed and seven were wounded, including an Arab worker. He left the cafĂ© and shot at a few other storefronts in the immediate area breaking their windows. Then, he ran to Ibn Gvirol Street, a main thoroughfare, where he hailed a cab that took him to North Tel Aviv. In a sandy area, he killed the Bedouin taxi driver, a resident of the city of Lod, and then drove the taxi a short distance to the Ramat Aviv area of Tel Aviv. Nashat Melhem’s mobile phone was found on a path in a residential area there, which he knew well (and residents knew him) from previous employment as a delivery man and handyman. There is still no evidence of Nashat’s whereabouts. He has disappeared despite a massive on-going police manhunt. We did learn, however, that the Nashat made a preliminary survey of the area a couple of days before the shooting, and residents even complained of a suspicious person to police, who unfortunately did not follow up the complaint.
Because the pub was at a popular site, it was heavily covered by surveillance cameras. When the Nashat’s picture was broadcast (he wore no mask), his father, a resident of the Arab village of Ara'ra in Northern Israel, came forward and identified his son. He called for his son to surrender to the authorities and affirmed that this was not how he educated his children. It is now known that Nashat had taken his father’s weapon, who legally had it by virtue of his position as a volunteer policeman. We also know that Nashat had a security record, was convicted for trying to steal an M-16 rifle and served time in prison. Also, it seems that he may have had psychological problems. The Israeli Arab community has broadly condemned this unprovoked, senseless killing of innocent civilians at a location, whose only recommendation for this vicious act, is that there is a good chance that there will be a crowd of unprotected party-goers and revelers within a small area.

From the shooting on January 1 till January 8, the police used all its considerable methods to locate the shooter. In Tel Aviv, it combed streets and houses for the shooter after the murder but had no results. The shooter was still at large, and it was known that he still had his weapon. Police were on high alert in Tel Aviv as the manhunt continued, with initial fear of another shooting, perhaps against children at a school. Understandably, the school turnout was low in the first few days; many parents exercised due caution and kept their children home. In the meantime, the police had taken some of the shooter’s family members into custody for questioning, including the brother and father. As the days passed, the police thought that the shooter may have gotten to the Judea-Samaria territories, perhaps with the help of criminal elements. 

The Arab family of the murdered taxi driver informed that it was using its own contacts to try and locate the shooter and refused to talk with the Arab family of the shooter. The patriarch of the taxi driver's family said: "They murdered him; all of the family [of the shooter] killed him." The taxi driver was one of 18 children of his father (by 2 wives). The taxi driver himself had 12 children (from 3 wives). This was a huge Bedouin clan. Unlike Western thinking, where we think of isolated individuals doing things to other individuals, the Arab community viewed this act as a murder committed by one family against another family, and revenge in this culture figures high on the list of possible actions. The Arab community handles matters like these by its own code of ethics, often violently.
As New Year’s Day approached, throughout Europe, there were en masse cancellations of holiday celebrations in major cities with mounting evidence of possible planned attacks by ISIS terrorists against holiday gatherings in the great cities of Europe: in Paris, celebrations were reduced; in Brussels, celebrations were cancelled; in Munich, subway stations were closed. Europe finally seems to be internalizing the lessons of the terrorist attacks that had begun early in 2015. Europe had rationalized away the Charlie Hebdo massacre of journalists as due to Mohammed caricatures, and attacks on Jewish sites as, well, obviously (and understandably) due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Obama even said that the attack on the HyperCasher store was not specifically intended against Jews but rather was an attack on some people who happened to be shopping at a supermarket (even though the shooter declared that he had specifically chosen a Jewish target).

It was hard to believe that the Europeans and Americans could be so utterly stupid, but they apparently very much wanted to believe that that there was some logical ‘reason’ behind wanton murder.
Then came the Bataclan Concert Hall attack on November 13, 2015 on young music-goers (130 killed) and the related pub and soccer stadium attacks. With so many dead and wounded, even a committed fool such as John Kerry had to admit there was no way to explain away that premeditated massacre of young people. This was unmitigated hatred, carried out with the intent to kill as many innocent civilians as possible. Here you could not find any ‘Jewish’ or ‘Israeli’ connection and no Mohammed caricature connection. No revenge for any so-called crimes against Palestinians. It was murder for the sake of murder, pure hatred and paid for by rivers of innocent blood. This is ISIS’ brand of Islamic justice, jihad against the West. But wait! Kerry and Barak Obama and Merkel will still tell you that ISIS’ killers are not Muslims, that they are not believers in Islam. This reminds me of a quote from Star Wars Episode IV: “Who's the more foolish...the fool or the fools who follows him?"

Personally, I don’t know how anyone can deny that these murderers—whose holy book is the Koran, who want to set up a Caliphate (reminiscent of the Muslim Golden Age), who abide by Sharia law (the Islamic legal code), who requires their women to cover up in traditional Islamic dress, who pray according to orthodox Islamic practice—are anything but radical jihadist Muslims.
For over a year, ISIS has been established in Gaza and has been responsible for some rocket attacks on Southern Israel, and ISIS cells have already been uncovered in Israel. Prior to the Tel Aviv New Year’s shooting, ISIS circulated a video on social media announcing that Israel was an intended target. It is also known that ISIS is close to Israel’s northern border (having about 600 fighters with heavy weapons according to Israeli intelligence) in their on-going war against the Assad regime. Several Arab Israelis have gone into Syria to fight for ISIS (some were killed there and at least one returned to Israel).
And now, back to our shooter. It seems that the Europeans, this time, had fortunately succeeded in avoiding what was clear evidence of intended ISIS-inspired attacks on civilian holiday gatherings. But the similarities with the scenario forecast for Europe and the attack in Tel Aviv is stark. The shooter chose to do mass killing at an obviously Jewish site not an Arab site, and he chose New Year’s Day, which is significant for other ISIS terrorist attempts, and he chose a group of party-goers. And he seems to have smiled as he did his killing. Interestingly, it was reported that on Friday, the day of the shooting, residents of North Tel Aviv filed a complaint with the police that ISIS flags were flying at a building site there.
By Friday, January 8, the police had succeeded in geolocating the area in which the shooter was hiding using the mobile phone that the shooter had taken from the dead taxi driver (he had thrown away his own phone in North Tel Aviv before he began his killing spree). From the murder scene, the shooter had escaped back to his home town in the Wadi Ara area where he was hiding out. A large squad of elite police officers descended on one of the the neighborhoods, commanded by police chief Rony Alshayach, and began a house to house search, visibly marking each house after searching it. The police chief gave orders to try and take the shooter alive. But the shooter, seeing the activity, made a break for it, trying to shoot his was through the police line and was shot dead. It was over. All of Israel breathed a sigh of relief.

For now, there is a lot that we still don’t know. We don’t know whether this was an ISIS-inspired attack, whether it was by a lone wolf shooter, or whether he had some broader support organization or helpers. At least one well-informed military writer said that a possible escape route of the shooter was to get to the Territories and from there to Jordan and then Syria possibly via Turkey. The implications are obvious.

ISIS informed us they were coming in a prerecorded speech by ISIS commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "With the help of Allah, We are getting closer to you every day," al-Baghdadi told his Israeli listeners. "The Israelis will soon see us in Palestine.”
Now, I think it's too early to say if there is a direct relationship between the speech and the shooting, but for now I am willing to give ISIS the credit that I think they are due--they have indeed arrived here in Israel.

We are continuing to follow this story and will keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Scapegoat for Terror in Europe is the Old Scapegoat--Guess Who?

Europe is still in a state of shock after the horrific murders of innocent, unarmed people--mostly young people--in Paris. The latest figures are 129 dead and hundreds wounded. As of today, the French police have conducted an operation in St Denis, a Parisian suburb. Two terrorists are dead and some people have been taken into custody. The police suffered casualties.

ISIS took responsibility for the attack and, according to media reports, the terrorists were in contact with their operatives in Syria. European security officers were even sure for a while that the key terrorist who planned the coordinated attacks had already escaped to Syria.

But to where, pray tell, has 'enlightened' Europe shifted the blame? You guessed it, the Israel-Palestinian conflict. There is only flimsy evidence, if any hard evidence at all, to any Palestinian connection.

ISIS itself has attributed their terrorist attack in Paris to French bombings in Syria:
Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State, and that the smell of death will never leave their noses as long as they lead the convoy of the Crusader campaign, and dare to curse our Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and are proud of fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes, which did not help them at all in the streets of Paris and its rotten alleys. This attack is the first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn.
Read the whole ISIS statement here. Not one word by ISIS about Palestine.

I saw one unsubstantiated report that said that a Palestinian might have been one of the eight or nine attackers. The fluid migration of Islamic terrorists from one Islamic conflict to another, however, makes this flimsy and almost inconsequential evidence of any 'Palestinian' connection, even if true.

But, never fear, the official elite already has the answer: look for the Jewish connection.

Why do I call them the 'official' elite? Because they hold (or have held) official positions, either appointed or elected. As such, they have easy access to mass media, and their voice carries influence and molds public opinion. This is what makes this elite so pernicious and dangerous. They are deflecting the consequences of their own failures and misguided worldview onto the State of Israel, the only state in the world where Jews can actually defend themselves by force of arms. They would deprive us of this, too.

In the present crisis, the first to come forth with the convenient 'answer' was the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, already well-known for her antipathy toward Israel. When asked on Swedish Television whether she was worried are by radicalization Sweden youth who are fighting for ISIS, she made the convenient 'connection' between radical Swedish youth and the Palestinian situation. Wallstroem said:
Obviously, we have reason to be worried, not just in Sweden but across the world, because there are so many that are being radicalized. Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there isn’t a future. We [The Palestinians] must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.
To the Israeli Foreign Ministry's credit, it was quick to protest, inviting the Swedish ambassador for clarifications and elicited a statement from the Swedes that no connection had been made between the two situations.

Next to dutifully follow is the chairman of the Dutch Socialist Party, Jan Marijnissen. He said the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris acted in part over frustration over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He was interviewed on the Dutch radio station NPO Radio1 on Monday, November 16. The following is a summary of what he said:
Their [The terrorists'] behavior eventually is connected also to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” said Marijnissen about the perpetrators. “The guys – I assume they were guys – who carried out the attacks probably come from a group of outraged people from the French suburbs,” he said. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he added, “is the growth medium for such an attack.
In days gone by, Christian Europe had the Jew as a convenient scapegoat for random unexplained murders, child molestation, poverty, war, economic crises, natural disasters and whatever other problems needed a quick fix. Rabble rousing officials, royal or otherwise, could set the crowd on the Jews to expend their rage and blood lust in murder, robbery and expulsion of Jews.

European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Moshe Kantor called Wallstrom's remarks 'borderline racist'.  Dr. Kantor said:
She [Wallstrom] has completely ignored the remarks made by those behind the attacks, Islamic State organization, almost as if depriving them of any agency for their reactions. This is a deeply troubling worldview and borderline racist
She ignores the tens of conflicts around the world involving Muslims and cherry-picks the only conflict involving Jews, as if to once again suggest, perhaps not consciously, the age old idea that the Jews are always central to international affairs in a malevolent way, and behind every event the hand of Jews can be found.
Implicit in the words of Wallstrom and Marijnissen is that Jewish Israel bears responsibility for the terrorist bloodbath in Paris. By extension, there is even justification to the continued attacks--stabbings, car bombs, shootings, and driving cars into crowds of Jews--on innocent Jews in Israel, for if such is the consequence in Europe what would be the result in Palestine itself!

Thus, a new scapegoat has been discovered to account for the woes of Europe. Not so remarkably, the new scapegoat looks much like the old one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Much Ado about Nothing Becomes Something Big--Halloween at Yale and More

In the run-up to Halloween this year at Yale University, one of the oldest and greatest of American universities, a really diverse spectrum of university administrators-- Muslim, Jew, Native American, Hispanic, Black, LGBT, among others--decided to issue guidelines to the student body on dressing up for the holiday The guidelines' apparent idea was to caution students not to use stereotypical costumes that could possibly offend others, such as feathers that might offend American Indians. In response to complaints by some students about what seemed to be heavy-handed guidelines, one Yale residential college live-in professor and his wife--both of whom teach at the university--sent an email to the students wondering whether there should actually be university guidelines for a fun holiday such as Halloween and whether guidelines don't suppress individual creativity at a university that's supposed to promote creativity and individuality.

I read both documents. Both positions were articulate and, in my judgment, certainly well within the scope of legitimate discourse.

But what happened next was the morphing of the 'guidelines' into an outdoor confrontation on the college mall between a pro-guidelines student and the professor, with the 'debate' deteriorating into the student screaming at the professor, cursing him using four-letter words, calling for his resignation, and stomping off in a great rage. Later, a petition with several hundred student signatures was submitted backing up the call to fire the pair (the professor and his wife).

I understand now that the innocuous so-called guidelines were in fact taken by some students to be an ideological statement, virtual dogma issued and distributed as rules to which other students were expected to abide. Non-compliance or contradictory opinion, according to these students, should be publicly flamed and the violator subject to consequences (as indeed were the professor and his wife). I believe that the future of the pair at the university is still in limbo. Let's remember that President Larry Summers of Harvard resigned after he made an inadvertent 'sexist' statement and President Time Wolfe of the University of Missouri resigned as well as the Chancellor over what seemed to be an inadequate response to a racial issue. Interviewed on Fox news, Harvard Professor emeritus Dershowitz noted that university administrators are afraid to confront students and speak out against student hypocrisy, double standards and blatant antisemitism, even at the City College of New York, where there are a large number of Jews.

So, has political correctness (PC), as defined by a vocal minority, become the new ideology on campus, and can PC impose its opinions on others in the name of ... well, PC? Can PC stifle free and open debate in the marketplace of ideas? Does PC supersede freedom of speech?

This is a big issue. If I cannot express my ideas freely in a university environment and have to worry about whether I may lose my job, that is a big issue. If I cannot debate someone at university (say, on the Palestinian issue) without worrying about whether I am going to be intimidated or beaten up (because 'Palestine-ism' has become PC), that is a big issue. And if PC has morphed into an ideology that stifles discussion and suppresses opposition views, then aren't we sanctioning the suppression of free speech on campus, where once it was sacrosanct? Has the university, at the behest of its students, become the enforcer of conformism of ideas where individuality once reigned supreme?

Let's take a step backward for a minute. Some years back, Prince Harry of England went to a costume party wearing a Nazi uniform, causing a tiff in the media; he subsequently apologized, and it was soon forgotten. It was a mere faux pas of a twenty-year-old kid who didn't know any better (though as a public person he should have had better advice). Was I offended back then. Not really. Would I, as a Jew, be offended if I came to a costume party and found someone dressed up as a Nazi. Perhaps, or perhaps not. I think I could manage it, After all, it's a costume party and that's what people do at costume parties. On the Jewish holiday of Purim, it is permissible for men to dress up as women even though LGBT is anathema to religious Jews. It's all a matter of proportion and context.

What should have been a simple Halloween celebration became a very big issue on campus and has revealed, for all to see, administrators refusing to lead on matters of principle and deferring to a vocal, ideologically rigid minority. Of course, the canary in the mine has been showing signs of distress for several years now. The manner in which arrogant, intimidating and, yes, violent pro-Palestinian discourse has taken over the American campuses, sometimes led by individuals who are not even students, should have been obvious to all except those who chose not to use their eyes to see.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terror is Terror - Whether in France or in Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu said today at his cabinet meeting that:
In Israel, like in France, terrorism is terrorism. It is time that the world wakes up and unites to defeat terrorism. The time has come for the nations of the world to condemn terrorism against us as much as they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately, France and Europe don't exactly see it that way. Somehow, the situation in Israel has always been considered to be different, a 'special' case. The wake-up call is loudly ringing. but I wonder if anyone in Europe (or the US) is listening.

Bassam Tawil, a Palestinian scholar based in the Middle East, has succinctly said it:
  • By constantly endorsing pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli policies, France has obviously been seeking to appease Islamic countries. France seems convinced that such policies will keep Muslim terrorists from targeting French nationals and interests. The French are now in grave danger of mistakenly believing that the November 13 attacks occurred because France did not appease the Muslim terrorists enough.
  • When the terrorists see that pressure works -- increasing the pressure should work even more!
  • The French and Europeans would do well to understand that there is no difference between a young Palestinian who takes a knife and sets out to murder Jews, and an Islamic State terrorist who murders dozens of innocent people in Paris.
  • The reason Muslim extremists want to destroy Israel is not because of the settlements or checkpoints it is because they believe that Jews have no right to be in the Middle East whatsoever. And they want to destroy Europe because they believe that Christians -- and everyone -- have no right to be anything other than Muslim.
  • The terrorists attacking Jews also seek to destroy France, Germany, Britain and, of course, the United States. These countries need to be reminded that the Islamist terrorists' ultimate goal is to force all non-Muslims to submit to Islam or face death.

Bassam Tawil concludes:
The French and Europeans would do well to understand that there is no difference between a young Palestinian who takes a knife and sets out to murder Jews, and an Islamic State terrorist who murders dozens of innocent people in Paris. Once the French and other Europeans understand this reality, it will be far easier for them to engage in the battle against Islamic terrorism.
Read the whole article here

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Has the Time Come for the French Foreign Legion to Go to War?

We all were shocked today by Islamic State's synchronized attack in multiple Parisian locations on innocent civilians. About 130 are dead and another approximately 100 are severely wounded. The body count is likely to go up. It's a little too early to know the precise identities of the attackers and what their support infrastructure was. There is already at least one arrest in Germany.

Yes, it will be interesting to know the specific details of the terrorists, but the wake up call should already have rung loud and clear. ISIS has been quick to take the credit, as they did for blowing up the Russian airliner leaving from Sharm el-Sheikh killing 224.

The American rag-tag coalition fighting ISIS has been mostly confined to air strikes. Russia and Turkey also have attacked ISIS but have their own agendas: Turkey prefers to attack and kill the Kurds; Russia, which now has its own base in Syria, attacks anti-Assad groups in general (but is happy to kill Chechnya terrorists, who comprise about 25% of the ISIS fighting force).

But, rag tag or not, the coalition operations are beginning to show results on ISIS. Additional pressure is also now being applied on ISIS by a combined Russia-Iran-Hezbollah axis in support of Syria's Alawite government headed by Assad. Thus, ISIS has been suffering defeats and loss of territory lately: the Kurds have reconquered Sinjar, ISIS missed an opportunity to seize the big arms cache at as-Safira near Aleppo (by the time ISIS broke in, most of the arms had been removed), their supply line between Mosul and their capital at al-Raqqah is threatened, and their symbol, John the Jihadist, has been killed.

But ISIS in Syria and Iraq is still a formidable fighting force. The real problem with moving the offensive against ISIS into high gear is that no major power is willing to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Foreign soldiers are still considered 'advisers'.

This is where the elite French Foreign Legion (FFL) can contribute; its soldiers come from over 140 different countries and are highly trained. In recent years, they fought with distinction in Iraq in Operation Desert Storm (1991), and since 2001 have fought terror in Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Chad.

But make no mistake. Defeating ISIS is only part of a much greater war against worldwide Islamic terrorism. ISIS is Islamic Sunni terrorism. The West is yet to confront the greater threat of Islamic Shiite terrorism as exemplified by Iran (the recent Iran nuclear deal shows that the US and Europe are still in denial and may be confronted by a nuclear-armed terrorist state in the not-distant future). And there are other Islamic terrorist entities and movements that have to be confronted: Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood), Lebanon (Hezbollah), Russia (Chechnya), North Africa, Nigeria (Boko Haram) and (unfortunately) the list goes on. Yes, just as there are many different types of cancer that metastasize, so too with Islamic terrorism.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why this Bloody Palestinian Stabbing Intifada?

For the past few weeks, dozens of innocent Israelis living their daily humdrum lives have become victims to surprise knife attacks by Palestinians. Usually the attacker whips out a sharp butcher knife and aims for the jugular of his or her (there are also female stabbers too) in an attempt to sever this important vein so that the victim bleeds to death. Sometimes, they aim for the back, which is a larger and easier target, since the victim is looking the other way, or the stomach, if facing the victim. Palestinians have been circulating anatomical diagrams of the 'best' anatomical places to insert a knife.
Israeli security has classified these attackers as 'lone wolves,' persons not hitherto known as a security risk and not associated with one of the militant Palestinian organizations or having any support infrastructure. What had originally been assumed to be a temporary spate of attacks has now turned into a wave of dozens of attacks not only in the 'occupied' territories but also in major cities of Israel. The Israeli victims have been not only soldiers but also civilian women and children on the streets of Israel. A couple of days ago a Palestinian stabbed an 80-year-old woman. How could this frail old woman have been conceived to have been an epitome of the occupation in this deranged attacker's mind?

In the last few days. the attacks seem to be tapering off, but there are still stabbings and attacks with other weapons (such as cars), and there is a continued risk of the wave turning into a tsunami. It is valid to ask, why has this stabbing intifada occurred?
On the Palestinian side, there are a myriad of explanations: the occupation, frustration, rage, no hope, defiling Al-Aqsa mosque, Israel's changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa compound. But we have heard all this before, and all these charges existed even before the current intifada. So what is different?
On the Israeli side, most frequently cited is the virulent anti-Israel propaganda generated by all the Palestinian media as well as the consistent lies, which can be loosely grouped under the term 'incitement.' Most prominent recent lie is that of the Palestinian Authority President Abbas accusing the Israelis of killing a terrorist Palestinian 13-year-old boy who knifed an Israeli boy riding on his bicycle. The next day, Israeli media showed the Palestinian terrorist boy in hospital recuperating from his wounds. Of course. there were no apologies nor any corrections forthcoming from the Palestinian side, although they did find it necessary to doctor the English transcript of Abbas' speech, which was distributed to the English-speaking media. But the truth got out; the Palestinians couldn't fake the audio recording. But the Palestinians have been lying for years, even before the current intifada.  So what is different?
If we look at the ages of these 'lone-wolf' attackers, we see that they are rather young, generally in their teens or early twenties (some have been older, of course). The youngest was thirteen-years-old, and he was accompanied by his 15-year-old cousin, who killed and was killed ny Israeli security. In other words, this is the Palestinian generation that was educated within the Palestinian educational system after the Oslo Accords beginning in 1993. Brought up on a full syllabus of hatred, military kindergartens and martial youth movements, jihad, Islamic martyr (shahid) glorification, perverted history, all of which has been incessantly pumped into them and reinforced year-after-year; the result should be no surprise. What this young generation has 'learned' in the Palestinian educational system has been exchanged among themselves in the social media and exacerbated by Palestine Authority and Islamic incitement in the media, mosques and other institutions. So, it should be no surprise that these 'lone wolves' had no obvious connection with the traditional militant and terror organizations.

Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus presented his organization’s report on Palestinian Authority education to the Israeli Knesset a few days ago. The following is the the Jerusalem Post's summary from the Knesset discussion:
The report documents that in formal and informal educational frameworks, killers of Israelis are portrayed as heroes and role models, and that children are taught that Israel will eventually be replaced by “Palestine.”

At least 25 Palestinian Authority schools are named after terrorists; three are named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terrorist attack in Israeli history in 1978, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Marcus showed the MKs (Members of Knesset) a film from PA television, in which a student expressed pride “to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School, which bears this pioneering name,” and another student said her “life’s ambition is to reach the level that the martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi reached.”
Another clip from televised news in the PA showed a boy saying he learned in school to “fight the Jews, kill them and defeat them,” and another told children that Jews are “Satan with a tail.”

The report also contains chapters on incitement in Palestinian textbooks, educational materials glorifying Hitler, and the PA policy of blocking joint peace-building activities between Palestinian and Israeli children.

Marcus explained that the messages Palestinian children are receiving are nationalist – that Israel is not legitimate on any borders and its existence since 1948 is an occupation – and anti-Semitic – that Jews are evil by nature, descendants of monkeys and pigs, and fated to be killed by Muslims.
Does anyone now think that there could be any hope for peace with this young  Palestinian generation? Would any of these young Palestinians honor a peace agreement signed by the octogenarian leader the Palestine Authority?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Saudi Arabia and Israel Move Closer Together

Billionaire Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal: will side with Israel if there is a new Palestinian uprising; Saudi Arabia has reached political maturity and can make a durable alliance with the Jewish nation

Poll: 24% of Saudi people see Israel as an ally against Iran


The Saudi strategic position has become tenuous in the last couple of years. The Iranian Nuclear deal has been signed paving the way for Iran as a nuclear power; the Saudis are involved in a military coalition in support of the legitimate Sunni Yemeni government against Shi'ite Houthi rebels; and the US is fast becoming self-sufficient in energy, and less inclined to put boots on the ground for Saudia Arabia. Thus, Saudi Arabia has been casting around for allies in what promises to be a long and drawn-out strategic and tactical battle against nuclear-ambitious Iran's push for Middle East domination. This week there were some noteworthy developments.

According to Kuwaiti Al Qabas Arabic daily, October 27, Saudi Prince and entrepreneur, al-Waleed bin Talal, has stated that his country must reconsider its regional commitments and devise a new strategy to combat Iran's increasing influence in the Gulf States.  Prince  al-Waleed bin Talal believes that Riyadh and Tel Aviv should form a defense pact to deter possible Iranian moves considering developments in Syria and Moscow's military intervention.

The Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) quoted the Saudi Prince:
The whole Middle-East dispute is tantamount to a matter of life and death for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from my vantage point, and I know that  the Iranians seek to unseat the Saudi regime by playing the Palestinian card. Hence, to foil their plots Saudi Arabia and Israel must bolster their relations and form a united front to stymie Tehran's ambitious agenda.
The Prince added that Riyadh and Tel Aviv must achieve a modus vivendi, because Saudi policy in regard to the Arab-Israeli crisis is no longer tenable. The Prince continued that Iran seeks to buttress its presence in the Mediterranean by supporting the Assad regime in Syria,  and to the chagrin of Riyadh and its sister Gulf sheikdoms, Putin's Russia has become a real co-belligerent force in the Syrian 4-year-old civil war by attacking CIA-trained rebels.

Thus, it is of paramount importance that a Saudi-Israeli nexus frustrate the developing Russia-Iran-Hezbollah axis. The Prince said:
I will side with the Jewish nation and its democratic aspirations in case of outbreak of a Palestinian Intifada (uprising) and  I shall exert all my influence to break any ominous Arab initiatives set to condemn Tel Aviv, because I deem the Arab-Israeli entente and future friendship necessary to impede the Iranian dangerous encroachment.
It is very significant that the Prince is talking about siding with the Jewish nation not some amorphous 'Israeli political entity.' The Prince also stated that Iranian influence in Bahrain, which has a US Sixth Fleet base, affects Saudi vital interests and is worrying.

The interview with the Prince was not the only good news for Israel. A new survey reveals rarely seen aspects of public political opinion inside Saudi Arabia.

The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee conducted a random poll in Arabic in Saudi Arabia from the end of May and into June. It was controlled for gender, cell phone/land line numbers and urban/rural areas. The poll and its results achieved extensive media coverage in leading media organizations around the world and in Israel, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, ABC News, Channel 2 News and others.  

Among the key findings:

  • Only 18.4% of Saudis consider Israel as the biggest threat to Saudi Arabia
  • 23.7% believe Saudi Arabia should fight Iran alongside Israel.
 Other findings were:
  • 85.5% support the Saudi-Arab Peace Initiative
  • 53% of those polled believe Iran is the biggest threat to Saudi Arabia; ISIS polled second at 22.1%; as mentioned, only 18.4% of Saudis consider Israel to be Saudi Arabia's biggest threat
  • 52.6% believe Saudi Arabia needs to acquire a nuclear weapon if Iran does
  • 70.9% believe Iran is a threat to Saudi sovereignty
Growing common interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates increase the possibility of forcing the Palestinians to the negotiation table and their finally recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and making an agreement that will include ending the conflict and renouncing all their claims against Israel.