Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where the 2014 Gaza-Israel war could lead


One week after the start of the August 26, 2014 cease-fire between Gaza and Israel, all seems calm on Israel’s southern front. Both Gaza and Israel stand down. Quiet on one side is met with quiet on the other side.

The political front, however, is a different story. For both sides, serious post-war developments threaten to upset each side’s pre-war political balance sheet. These developments could change how Muslims and Jews in this region deal with each other.

On the Arab side, the political marriage that created the Hamas-Fatah Unity government may have ended before the honeymoon was over. Arabs had celebrated the June, 2014 unification as the dawn of a new reality for Arab unity. But Hamas has destroyed that unity.

First, it initiated the kidnapping-killing of three Jewish boys.  Then it initiated war with Israel. Then, it refused to accept cease-fire terms offered in July; it waited until late August to accept the July terms.

The result of such awful decision-making wasn’t pretty. Gazans suffered terribly. Infrastructure, homes and businesses have been destroyed. The celebrated unity government is now close to bankruptcy (“PA: Budget for Hamas-backed unity government ‘below zero’”, Times of Israel, September 1, 2014).

The reason for this financial nightmare is that both Hamas and Fatah depend almost exclusively upon donations to survive. Those donors, despite their strongly-held anti-Israel inclinations, may now be concerned about throwing good money after bad.

War with Israel is expensive. For those who foot that bill, it’s beginning to look too expensive.

As a result of those money woes, there is renewed rancour between Hamas and Fatah.  Fatah is supposed to pay Hamas salaries. They don’t, for a variety of reasons beyond the cash-flow crunch. Thousands of Hamas salaries have not been paid.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has gone public to blame Hamas for creating Gazan casualties by refusing to accept the July cease-fire terms until late August. He also blames Hamas for lying about the kidnapping-killings (“Abbas Blames Hamas for Delaying Ceasefire, Lying about Abduction”, Arutz Sheva, August 31, 2014).

Today, we learn that a new poll among Palestinian Authority  Arabs shows Abbas losing badly to Hamas. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh now appears able to beat Abbas in a near-term election by a 62 % -32% margin (“Hamas Leader Haniyeh Favored for Unity President”, Arutz Sheva, September 2, 2014).

Abbas will not lose graciously. He will not tolerate a Hamas win. If Hamas wins, the streets of Ramallah will flow with Fatah blood.

A Hamas take-over in the Palestinian Authority (PA) would provoke another consequence: it would bring a Hamas-style war ideology to Jerusalem’s door-step.

Any war initiated by Hamas and managed from Ramallah would almost assuredly bring a Gazan-style destruction to Ramallah. That kind of destruction could spell the end of Arab statehood dreams forever.

Meanwhile, In Israel, the political landscape also threatens to change. It could shift farther to the Right. It could shift just in time to face a Hamas take-over in the PA.

A Right-ward shift in leadership would make Israel tougher to deal with in the peace-talk trenches. Israel’s Right does not support a two-state solution. A new farther-Right Jewish leadership would be far less willing to compromise with a Hamas-led PA government—and far less willing to bow to Western demands to surrender anything to Jew-hating Arabs. 

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval rating recently plummeted from 82 per cent to 52 per cent within one month, a political sea-change occurred. The approval ratings landscape in Israel tilted--towards Economics Minister Naftali Bennet, who consistently looks to be more Right-leaning than Netanyahu.

In a recent poll to measure who in Israel best represented Israel’s Right wing, Bennet received 39 per cent of the poll vote, Netanyahu received 28 per cent and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman received 20 per cent (“Poll: Bennett Outpaces Netanyahu as 'Leader of the Right'”, Arutz Sheva, September 1, 2014). That may not translate to a win at the ballot box, but it demonstrates how angry Israelis are at Netanyahu (“Anger as Southern Community 'Abandoned' by IDF”, Arutz Sheva, September 1, 2014).

Worse for Netanyahu, Israel’s politicians realize that he hasn’t yet fully disclosed the terms of the cease-fire he had agreed to last week. His delay begins to rankle (“[MK] Gal-On to Netanyahu: Show the People the Ceasefire Agreement”, Arutz Sheva, September 2, 2014).

Netanyahu is a skilled politician. He’s not politically dead yet. He could recover.

But his recovery could hinge on how far Right he is willing to lean. If he decides to lean hard-Right just as Hamas makes a move to remove Abbas, the Arab-Israel conflict could become Biblical in its proportions. For those in Israel who believe that Redemption is near, that development would not be a surprise.

Stay tuned. This movie hasn’t ended yet.

 

 

What you can learn from an IDF announcement


In most places around the world, land is either property, farm or just plain dirt. Israel, however, is different. Israel isn’t like everybody else.

In Israel, land isn’t just dirt. It isn’t simply property. In Israel, land is a catalyst--to attack Israel.

Consider an announcement on August 31, 2014 by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Civil Administration. It announced that app 990 acres of land at a place called the Gush Etzion Bloc will now be appropriated by the Israeli government (“Israel converts West Bank land to state-owned”, JTA, August 31, 2014). The acreage had been used as a military base. The IDF was now releasing that land for civilian use—to build homes for Jews.

The IDF said that there were no Arab claims on the land; nevertheless, it would allow objections against this decision to be filed during the next 45 days.

So far as government announcement go, this one seemed pretty straight-forward. It was clear. It was public. It was specific.

It created a mini-fire-storm.

Gush Etzion is part of the Judean mountain range south of Jerusalem. It contains a Bloc of perhaps 22 Jewish communities. Those communities are home to about 70,000 Jewish residents. The area is a 10-minute drive from Arab Bethlehem.

Many argue that Gush Etzion must be part of a new Arab ‘Palestine’. Actually, Arabs and their advocates say two things about the Gush. First, it must be Arab. Second, it must 100 Jew-free.

Arabs and their advocates demand the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from their ‘Palestine’ (“Abbas: There Will be No Israelis in 'Palestine'”, Arutz Sheva, July 30, 2014).

That demand means that if you are Jewish and live in the Gush (as it’s called by locals), you have to be careful. You can be attacked. Your car can be stoned while you drive on the highway. Your property can be burned. You children can be harmed.

In June, 2014, three teenage Jewish boys were kidnapped in the Gush. They were murdered by three Arabs who were Hamas-connected. At first, Hamas denied any knowledge of the kidnapping-murders. When Israel said Hamas had done it, the Arabs denied it. They accused Israel of lying.

The kidnapping-murders provoked a massive Israeli search into local and near-by Arab communities. Most of Hamas’ operatives in the region were arrested. The Judean Hamas infrastructure was essentially destroyed. Hamas didn’t like that. It expressed that dislike by firing rockets into Israel from Gaza—more than a hundred a day.

That’s how the 2014 Gaza war started.

In August, 2014, before the war ended (or, at least, before this chapter of the Arab-Israel conflict had ended), Hamas officials admitted that they were responsible for the kidnapping-murders.

Now, a week after a cease-fire had been installed, Israel announced its intent to appropriate the land upon which the boys had been murdered. Israel said that this land would now be given over for Jewish construction.

Israel has done this before. It’s Israel’s response when Arabs murder Jews: kill us, the Israelis seem to be saying, and we will just build more Jewish communities ‘to grow more Jews’.  

The Arabs don’t like that kind of response. It appears they’d rather murder Jews without such trouble.

Arabs don’t like Israel building Jewish homes after Arabs have murdered Jews. They howl with anger at this announcement. Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has declared that Israel is committing various (but unspecified) crimes here (“Palestinian officials slam Israeli land confiscation in West Bank”, PLO News Service, August 31, 2014). Senior PA official Hanan Ashrawi said, “"Today's announcement clearly represents Israel's deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land” (ibid).

Ms Ashrawi didn’t explain how building homes wipes out the Arab presence. She didn’t need to. The ‘Palestinian Cause’ doesn’t have to answer to Western requirements of logic or intelligibility.

The Arab howl created a mini-tsunami against Israel, mostly—we notice--from the US and the PA. Within hours, both the US and the PA condemned the Israeli announcement. The US called it ‘counterproductive to peace’. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ office declared that this announcement “will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza” (“Israel seizes 400 hectares [app 988 acres] of West Bank land”,  Al Jazeera, September 1, 2014). Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah called on Israel to cancel the appropriation (“Israel Announces Massive West Bank Land Grab”, Huffington Post, August 31, 2014).

The UK condemned Israel the next day. The UN and the EU joined in the day after that.

As of September 2, 2014, the US, the EU, the UN,the UK and the PA all sing the same song. They're upset with Israel. They’re very upset. They don’t like it when Israel builds more houses when Jews are murdered.

Maybe there’s a lesson here. Maybe Arabs shouldn’t murder  Jews.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If there’s genocide in Gaza, there’s genocide in South Africa


As the current cease-fire was about to begin on August 26, 2014 between Gaza and Israel, the Gazan death toll for their 50-day war stood at 2,133 (“Gaza death toll increases as Israeli strikes continue”, The Guardian, August 25, 2014). How many of these deaths were civilian is unknown, so for this report, we won’t distinguish between combatant and civilian. We’ll just talk about ‘deaths’.
Put into a simple arithmetic, 2,133 deaths meant that 42.66 Gazans died each day during those 50 days. It’s on that basis that three accusing words have been hurled at Israel: ‘genocide’, ‘massacre’ and ‘holocaust’.
Al Jazeera spoke of ‘genocide’ (“On Gaza, genocide, and impunity”, July 27, 2104). So did Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“Abbas: Israel committing ‘Genocide’ in Gaza”, Al Arabia, July 9, 2014). So did Jewish Holocaust survivors who placed an ad into The New York Times (“Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for 'genocide' in Gaza", The Atlanta Constitutional Journal, August 24, 2014). Hamas political leader Khaled Maashal spoke of an Israeli ‘holocaust‘ (“In personal plea, top Hamas leader calls on Obama to stop 'holocaust' in Gaza”, Yahoo News, August 25, 2014).
But was there really a ‘Holocaust’ against Gaza? Do 42.66 deaths per day constitute a holocaust, massacre or genocide?
According to the website, CAMERA (" ‘Holocaust in Gaza’ Hyperbole”, August 25, 2014), there was no ‘holocaust’,  massacre or genocide in Gaza. If, for example, you look at the Nazi Holocaust—the real thing—you’ll see that some 5.5 million Jews were murdered by Nazis over 1,414 days, between June 22, 1941 –May 8, 1945 (ibid). Additional Jews were killed before and after these dates. But for historical purposes, many date the ‘Holocaust’ as having occurred between these two dates.
In simple arithmetic terms, this German-inspired genocide-massacre-holocaust calculates to 3,890 Jewish men, women and children put to death every single day for 1,414 days (ibid). That’s what a Holocaust looks like.
42.66 Gazan deaths per day for 50 days doesn’t come close to that number. If you want to demonize a country for deaths, you’d do better to accuse Syria where—according to CAMERA—some 250,000 children, women and men have perished since March 2011, over a period of 1,260 days. That death toll calculates to nearly 200 humans a day dying for 1,260 days (ibid).
The UN says the death toll in Syria is lower than 250,000. It says the number is 191,000. But even using that lower number, we get nearly 152 humans dying each of those 1,260 days.
The Gazan death toll is not remotely comparable to Nazi Holocaust numbers, to Syria’s numbers—or to any other ‘genocide’ or holocaust. While it appears that no one has converted genocide death numbers to a per-day death toll, it seems that 42.66 per day doesn’t make the grade.
It doesn’t make the grade because it’s too close to murder rates, not ‘genocide’, massacre or ‘’holocaust’ rates.  In Ethiopia (2008, 55 per day) and South Africa (2009, 46 per day), annual murder rates were higher than the Gazan war death rate--yet news stories do not repeatedly label South Africa or Ethiopia ‘genocidal’ or a ‘holocaust’.
Even when you look the death rate of Arabs in both Judea-Samaria and Gaza (combined) for the 14 years since the beginning of the Second Intifada (September, 2000), you don’t get ‘holocaust’ results. While any death is sad, these 14 years of Arab deaths add up to less than 1.9 violent deaths per day—including the most recent Gaza toll.
Many, if not most of those deaths, occurred as Arabs attacked Jews.
That figure is lower than 14-year violent death rates for Venezuela (32.9 violent deaths per day), Guatemala (14.5 violent deaths per day), El Salvador (9 violent deaths per day), Honduras (13.3 violent deaths per day) and Jamaica (3.60 violent deaths per day).
Have you ever seen the words, ‘holocaust’, ‘massacre’ or ‘genocide’ used to describe these countries? I haven’t. But we have all seen those words used repeatedly to describe Israel.
Remember now, a violent death between civilians is different from a war death. Violent death between civilians  is personal. It’s usually one-on-one . War death means that someone dies trying to kill you—or, in the case of Gaza, while also using one’s body to immunize a legitimate military target.
Nevertheless, if a war death rate of less than 1.9 per day (in Arab territories) qualifies as ‘genocide’, ‘massacre’ or ‘holocaust’, what word would you use for South Africa?
South Africa—which has a recent history of demonizing Israel—has a 14-year average (2000-2013) violent death rate of more than 52 deaths per day. That’s 30 times the Arab death rate claimed by Arabs against Israel. Has anyone repeatedly and consistently accused South Africa of presiding over a ‘holocaust’, ‘genocide’ or ‘massacre’? No.
The truth is, ‘Holocaust’, ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide’ have nothing to do with Gazans or Arabs—except for this: it’s what Gazans and Arabs want to do to Jews.
If you doubt that, read the Hamas Charter.
 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Netanyahu failure?


It appears that public support for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has evaporated.  On July 23, 2014, his approval rating was 82 per cent. On August 25, 2014, that rating had fallen to 38 per cent (“Massive drop in support for Netanyahu — poll”, Times of Israel, August 25, 2014). Two days later, it stood a 32 per cent (“Majority of Israelis Think Israel Didn't Win Gaza Operation”, Arutz Sheva, August 27, 2014).

Benjamin Netanyahu is a successful politician. In Israel’s rough-and-tumble political arena, he has become the second longest-ruling PM in Israel’s history. Only the legendary David Ben-Gurion served longer.

Netanyahu has been successful because he is smart. He is skilled. He knows how to appeal to Israel’s often-fickle voters. He knows what voters want. He knows how to keep Israelis feeling secure and confident (see “The summer Israel’s security bubble wrap burst”, Haaretz, August 29, 2014).

But now, under pressure from Hamas, the US and the UN, he appears to have made a mistake. He has provoked Israelis to lose their confidence. He appears to have completely ignored—or misread—the intensity of voter feelings about Israel—and this war.

By signing a cease-fire with Hamas that leaves Hamas free to attack Jewish Israel at will, Netanyahu is not defending the Jewish homeland. He is not defending Israel. He is not defending Jews.

Reader comments to the Times of Israel report (above) support such a conclusion. Israelis are angry: “the PM has been too passive in the face of Israel’s enemies… Netanyahu always has Israel on defense, aiming for a draw at best… Israel will steadily lose ground if it is never on offense against its enemies” (ibid).

In Israel, a super-majority of Israeli Jews maintain a strong attachment to a Jewish Israel (see “A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews, 2009", Asher Arian (z”l), The Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute for The AVI CHAI – Israel Foundation, Jerusalem, 2012). That sense of attachment is ignored at a politician’s peril.

That’s why this latest cease-fire agreement appears especially galling. Instead of fighting to defeat an enemy who hates Jews, Netanyahu stops fighting—and leaves Israel’s south still vulnerable (“Home Front Command orders southern bomb shelters kept open”, Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2014). 

Worse, this cease-fire may actually help Hamas--and do nothing for Israel. While Israel claims that Hamas got ‘nothing’ from this agreement, some report that Hamas will get a reduction of the Gaza blockade, an extension of the Gaza fishing zone (which had been limited for security reasons), and the opening of crossings for freer passage of people and funds.

But if we don’t know for certain what Hamas gets, we do know this: any benefits Israel is to get remain “to be specified” (ibid).

Netanyahu has accepted this arrangement? What kind of deal was this? It seemed to give more to Hamas than Netanyahu gained for Israel’s Jews.

It’s no surprise that Netanyahu’s approval ratings have plummeted. In war, voters want more than uncertainty, especially when dealing with a foe whose goals are so clear. In war, voters want to feel a sense of confidence, a sense that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Today, after 65 soldiers and 5 civilians have been killed, Israel’s south is as exposed, unprotected and unsafe as it was 52-plus days ago, when the war with Gaza started. Hamas has not been defanged (“‘We will never disarm,’ vows Hamas chief”, Times of Israel, August 29, 2014).  

What kind of message does that send to our enemies?

We know what kind of message: just one day after the agreement, Muslims sent that message to Israel from Syria (“Mortar Shells Continue to Pound Golan Heights”, Arutz Sheva, August 27, 2014). Now, we are warned to stay away from the northern border region (“Public Requested to Steer Clear of Syrian Border”, Arutz Sheva, August 28, 2014). Now, Iran announces it has started to arm Arabs in Judea-Samaria (“Iran says it has begun arming West Bank”, Times of Israel, August 28, 2014). Now, Islam demands Jewish blood (“Spanish Cleric: 'Allah Destroy the Jews, Spare None of Them'”, Arutz Sheva, August 27, 2014).

The Muslim war against the Jewish Israel hasn’t stopped. It won’t stop.

Israelis are fed up. They don’t believe Netanyahu has handled this war well. He appears to have failed the Jewish people he is supposed to protect (“Polls: Israelis unhappy with truce, feel less secure than before Gaza operation”, Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2014).

He has provoked a crisis of confidence. His leadership appears to have faltered (“MK Herzog: Netanyahu Lost the Public’s Trust”, Arutz Sheva, August 28, 2014). He is in trouble.

He’s earned it—unless, of course, he’s got an ace up his sleeve.

Only the G-d of Israel knows what will happen next.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Geometry, Hamas’ victory--and a whisper


From the moment a new cease-fire between Hamas and Israel began (at 7 pm Israel time, August 26, 2014), Hamas has been telling the world it ‘won’ this latest round of the Arab-Israel conflict (“Hamas claims ‘victory’ as Gaza truce agreed with Israel”, Times of India,  Aug 26, 2014). This is a trademark of Hamas: it starts a war it cannot win, gets pulverized, then declares victory.

In this latest war with Israel, Hamas has accomplished little. It killed few Jews (thank G-d), destroyed little Jewish property and conquered none of Israel’s land.

The cost for these meagre accomplishments was horrific: more than 2,000 Gazans were killed. Dozens of schools, clinics, mosques and public buildings were destroyed. More than 17,000 Gazan homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Another 37,000 homes were damaged in some way. More than 400,000 Gazans have been internally displaced. Hundreds of businesses were ruined.

Worst of all, Hamas’ war will have a devastating impact on Gaza’s tiny 6 billion USD economy.  Even before the fighting ended, total cost estimates for damage and economic losses ranged between 5 and 6 billion USD. Gaza has never experienced such a loss.

This wasn’t victory. It was abject defeat.

According to traditional cost-benefit calculations for the cost of a war, this insane adventure looks like a complete disaster for Gaza. Hamas appears to have achieved nothing for the devastation it has created.

Nevertheless, Hamas might be right. It might indeed have ‘won’.

Victory for Hamas is not measured the way the West measures it. Victory for Hamas doesn’t mean land conquered or freedom achieved or enemy rebuffed.

Hamas has a different definition for victory: did this war promote the Muslim effort to destroy Israel?

That’s the yard-stick. It’s the only yard-stick.

Hamas has never been shy about its purpose. It has always been honest about its desire to destroy Israel. It states in its Charter that it rejects all political compromise with Israel. That Charter declares, there is only one solution for the ‘Palestinian problem’: Jihad, or holy war against the Jew.

Hamas’ sole aim is to drive the Jews out of Israel. Everything Hamas does is measured by this standard.

Therefore, according to this standard, Hamas may have achieved a distinctive victory in this 2014 war. It made Jews run.

Put another way, it has done precisely what it has stated it wants to do. It has driven Jews from their homes. True, much of this success is only temporary. Most Israelis who fled will return once the rockets stop.

But the Hamas standard does not distinguish between temporary or permanent. In this war, thousands of Jews in Israel’s south have fled their homes to seek safer places for themselves and their children. That means that, with this fifty-day war, Hamas has made parts of southern Israel temporarily Jew-free.

For this war, both the Times of Israel (“2 Israelis killed in mortar attack, just before truce takes effect”, August 26, 2014) and the Associated Press (“Gaza attacks trigger Israeli exodus from border”, August 25, 2014) have reported that 70 per cent of some 40,000 Israelis who live along the Gaza border have fled their homes during July-August 2014. That means that 28,000 Jews had been driven from their homes.

No other Muslim group has done that. Hamas’ accomplishment is extraordinary.

Hamas has won on another level. Late in the fighting (in August), Hamas found for the very first time the secret to future success—a tactic that drives Jews from their homes. That tactic is simple: limit your rocket-fire to a closed triangle. That triangle runs app north up the coast from Gaza to Ashdod, then Southeast from Ashdod to Beersheva, then due West from Beersheva back to Gaza.

Keep your rocket-fire concentrated inside that triangle. Pound that triangle mercilessly. Fire 120 rockets a day for at least 50 days. Turn the triangle into a triangle of death.

In the next round of fighting with Israel, Gaza will suffer more than it has suffered now. But that damage will be meaningless. More dead Gazans will be meaningless.

The dead will be called martyrs. They will be honoured. Then, nations of the world will donate the billions Gaza will need to restock, reload and rebuild its war machine.

The only thing that counts is this: Hamas made Jews flee. Now, the world can see how Jihad (holy war) overpowers the mighty Jew.

Hamas learned a lot from this war. It learned a new Muslim geometry for victory: the triangle of death.

There is a whisper in Israel about that triangle. The whisper says, Hamas created it using rocket launchers embedded next to Gazan civilians. The whisper says, the IDF knew about those launchers—but did little about them because it was concerned about killing Gazan civilians ("Is This Why 4-Year-Old Daniel Tragerman Was Murdered?", Arutz Sheva, August 27, 2014).

Do you understand Hamas’ victory? Do you understand the whisper?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hamas, Islam, Palestinianism—and G-d


Last updated: August 28, 2014
Today, Hamas celebrates. During the fifty-day 2014 Gaza-Israel war, it has driven thousands of Jews from their homes in southern Israel. It has made parts of southern Israel Judenrein—Jew-free. It is the first Islamic force in the 21st century to drive Jews backward.

But Hamas is not the only Islamic force moving forward. In the United States, Islam spreads into small communities and local school-boards. Islamic dress and prayer-rooms proliferate. In schools and corporations, Islam becomes the favoured religion.

In Europe, Islam rules supreme over entire sections of large cities. Sharia (Islamic law) replaces local law.

While Hamas sings it has defeated the Jew of Israel, Islam builds mosques in America. It darkens the landscape of Western Europe. It pushes the West to redefine justice and morality for the benefit of Islam. It recruits Americans and Europeans to kill for allah.

Islam in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq transforms into IS (Islamic State). It imposes a barbaric Islam modern man has never seen: beheadings, crucifixions and rape.

Islam is unrelenting. It is voracious. In Iraq, it buried hundreds of women and children alive. In Syria it has killed more than 200,000 in less than three-and-a-half years. In Israel, it has bombarded Jews with a hundred rockets a day for more than fifty days.

Islam is conquest. In the Palestinian Authority, Islamic Fatah creates maps that show an Islamic ‘Palestine’ replacing Israel. In Iraq, Islamic ISIS conquers city after city. From Iraq, the leader of ISIS announces that Islam will ‘conquer Rome’.

Islam doesn’t just bomb Israel. It reaches into Israel. It claims Jerusalem for itself. It calls the Jewish Joseph’s Tomb an Islamic holy site. It demands that Jews be forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount.

The Palestinian cause is Islam’s most attractive modern-day symbol. The Islamic State is its ugliest, most evil symbol.

Together, Palestinianism—the belief in the Palestinian cause--and the Islamic State (IS) work to bring Islam to the world. Both are Jihad. Both kill. Both promise conquest.  

For Islam, there will be peace only when Jews have been driven from Israel. There will be peace only when Islam reigns in place of Israel. There will be peace only when Islam reigns supreme, period.

Palestinianism is the way to remove the impure Jew from ‘Palestine’. Palestinianism is the path that will lead to the Middle East’s greatest Islamic Caliphate, with Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinianism is the way to bring allah to Jerusalem.

Hamas celebrates the defeat of the Jew in Israel because it knows that if Palestinianism triumphs over Israel, Islam will spread like wild-fire across the world. The Islamic State will see to it.

Palestinianism is the experiment that proves the theory: when the Jew can be removed from Israel and replaced by a Muslim ‘Palestine’, then every other country can be taken. The Islamic State will make sure of it.

If the G-d of Israel can be conquered, no one else will be able to stand against Islam. The world will kneel in fear before the sword of Islam. It will embrace allah or die.

‘Palestinianism’ is the vanguard. Hamas is the spear. ISIS is the enforcer. Allah is their inspiration.

Islam knows that Judaism is the dam that holds it back. It is the Jew who keeps Islam from conquering the West. The Jew is the prophylactic that prevents Islam’s total conquest.

The power of the Jewish State is that its existence inhibits the Islamic message. The power of the Jewish State is its Zion—its Jerusalem. A Jewish Jerusalem threatens Islam’s dream of conquest.

A Jewish Israel means that the G-d of Israel lives.

That’s why Palestinianism is so important: it will remove the G-d of Israel from Israel. It will erase Jewish history. It will conquer the holiness of the Jewish Jerusalem.

If Jewish Jerusalem falls, the full force of Islam will be released. Nothing will stand in its way. The deluge of the Islamic State will cover the earth.

Today, Palestinianism celebrates a victory over the Jew in Israel. It celebrates because Hamas has just demonstrated the power of Islam over the Jew.

Conquest is Islam. Palestinianism is its poster-child. Hamas is its sacrifice. The Islamic state (IS) is its reality.

Islam marches forward. But it attracts positive, admiring headlines only because of Hamas. Only Palestinianism wars so openly against the Jews.

Palestinianism demonizes the Jewish State. It criminalizes the Jewish State. It has just made another part of Israel (at least temporarily) Jew-free.

Through Hamas, the Islamic Palestine wants to conquer Israel. Through the IS, Islam wants to conquer the world.

Islam is on the march. It is relentless. It will not be stopped.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Islamic conquest can be stopped—through the G-d of Israel.

You just have to make the first move. You have to turn to G-d. You have to call to Him.

Will you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The final word on anti-Israel media bias in Gaza?


Today, I have an essay for you by Richard Behar. It comes from the August 21, 2014 edition of Forbes Magazine. The original essay is over 23,000 words. I have condensed and edited it.
I urge you to look at the original, at Forbes Magazine.
This essay is important. It demonstrates what journalism should be—a monitor. Because the press has behaved so badly during this 2014 Hamas-Israel war, this essay might be the final word on the media’s unprofessional performance in Gaza.
If you keep a scrap-book on this war, consider this essay. Perhaps it should stand as your collection’s ‘Introduction’:
 
The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times [and other news outlets] In Israel-Hamas War
 
It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters. He is referring to the ongoing war in Gaza, where journalists working for American news outlets have, he says, “become part of the Hamas war machine.”
More than a month has passed since Israel began its Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. It’s high time to dig through the carnage that many of my colleagues are leaving behind.
On August 11th, the normally Israel-averse Foreign Press Association in Israel conceded what those closely following the war coverage already knew: That Hamas has been intimidating foreign reporters. In a harsh statement, it condemned the terrorist group for “the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”
This is hardly surprising, as who can expect a terrorist group to treat reporters nicely? But what is surprising is that New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren undermined her own newspaper—quickly denouncing the FPA’s statement. She said in a tweet that she wasn’t aware of any such harassed reporters, even though she concedes she spent only one week in Gaza herself during the height of the conflict.
There’s a lot of nonsense being disseminated about Israel’s war with Hamas. Since late July, I’ve discovered exactly how much nonsense. My findings are hardly complete, as it’s impossible to keep up with all the coverage while fighting continues. I focus heavily on the Times because it is, without question, the most important media outlet in the world, in terms of setting the table each day for other outlets.  It is also widely regarded as the most authoritative media outlet in the world for international coverage. Since the operation began on July 8th, much of the Western coverage has been predictably skewed against Israel—through those time-honored journalism 'tools' of sloppy and lazy reporting, superficiality, omission, lack of historical knowledge, or flat-out agenda-driven lies and bias.
I raised the topic last week with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. “As someone who is a student of the media and a former journalist,” he says, “I find it bizarre — journalistically and morally – that after a month of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, there were hardly any images shown in Western media of Hamas terrorists holding guns or Hamas terrorists engaged in hostile activities against Israel. It’s as if there’s only one side, and this could be a result of two reasons: Either journalists are looking for the easy story, the available story, what’s in front of their eyes. Or they’re being intimidated by Hamas. And I believe that what we’ve probably had is a combination of both.”
This epidemic of journalistic malpractice is contributing to the pain and loss of life that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering—as it helps to empower Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU, Canada, Japan, Egypt and Jordan. (This designation is too often not-fit-to-print by the New York Times and other media outlets.) In turn, this no doubt helps spread oil on the rising and frightening anti-Semitism we’re seeing in Europe and elsewhere.
And that is no accident. Hamas’s rarely-mentioned 1988 charter is a throwback to 1930s Nazi anti-Semitism, pure and simple, with a genocidal intent that is unambiguous. Indeed, Hamas is the spiritual successor to the anti-Semitic Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader who famously met and worked with Adolf Hitler and his henchman Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and architect of the Final Solution, as he aligned the Palestinian Arab cause with the Axis during World War II.
You might say that the battle that Hamas is fighting is not a new one at all, but a continuation of Hitler’s unfinished business from World War II.  If this all sounds new to you it’s no wonder—the media rarely delves beyond the surface into Hamas’s ideology and historical antecedents. But that is but one of many problems with the coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, and not even the worst.
 Here is a sampling of what the Times, and the media in general, feel is not fit to print:
*** Proof of the use by Hamas of civilians as human shields has finally been ably exposed by reporters for media outlets in Finland, France, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, and others—but not by news organizations with greater resources at hand such as BBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and numerous others. (A too-brief exception: the Washington Post.) Sadly, the Associated Press has failed dismally.  As for Reuters, in 2011, its new editor-in-chief, Stephen Adler, promised to bolster the newswire’s enterprise reporting. In some ways he has, but its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be weak and riddled with falsities.
*** In late 2012, during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, I examined the Facebook page of Fares Akram—the most important Gaza-based reporter for the New York Times [who still works for the Times in Gaza]. His profile photo was not of himself, but of PLO leader Arafat.  A second photo, still in his album, waxes poetically about Arafat in the context of “heights by great men.”  But Arafat, among many things as the longtime leader of the Palestinians (the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre comes to mind), opted for the Second Intifada in 2000, rather than accept a generous peace offer from Israel.  Before he died, he said on TV that dead Palestinian children are good for the cause.
*** Abeer Ayyoub, another Palestinian resident of Gaza and former Times reporter there (until 2013), was boycotting all products made in Israel before and after her Times gig. Her Facebook posts and stories for other publications in 2014 are hostile to Israel.
*** The arithmetic of civilian casualties in Gaza is one of the principal media crimes in this war.  It became obvious weeks ago that major Western journalists routinely swallowed the huge civilian-casualty figures dished out to them by Gaza’s Ministry of Health, a bureaucratic arm of a terrorist group that was shown to have lied about such figures in past wars.  In some cases, reporters cite numbers instead from the United Nations, which gets its numbers from—surprise—the Hamas ministry, a dubious source of information, akin to relying on the Reich Health Office for German civilian-casualty statistics during World War II.  On many occasions, major American news outlets haven’t bothered to even attribute the numbers to either the ministry or the UN—simply reporting as fact that “most,” or “the majority” or the “vast majority” of casualties in Gaza are civilians.
Meanwhile, Israel’s best research institute on the subject, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, is to this day all but ignored by Western media.  They are the only independent outfit that takes the time to match the names of the dead with known terrorists. Their results thus far (with 450 deaths analyzed) show that approximately half are civilians. Based on prior wars with Hamas, it’s highly likely that, in the final analysis, the majority of the dead will have been terrorist operatives.
CIVILIAN SHIELDS?  WHAT CIVILIAN SHIELDS?
On July 27th, I spoke at length with a reporter in Gaza who is covering the war for a major, highly respectable U.S. media outlet that has enormous resources.   Regrettably, the reporter insisted on not being named, as his company wouldn’t permit it.  Our talk took place just as Gaza-based reporters for smaller, non-English-speaking media outlets were beginning to reveal proof that Hamas was using civilian centers (such as schools, hospitals, dense residential neighborhoods—even the main hotel in Gaza City where reporters are staying) as rocket-launching sites.
Q:   Israel received severe condemnation from many world leaders after a strike on Al-Shifa, Gaza City’s largest hospital. [Evidence is now showing that it was actually an errant Hamas missile that hit it.]   Are Hamas leaders and fighters using it as a base for operations?
A:  It’s not the fighters who are there [see below: there were fighters there], and they’re not using the hospital to launch rockets from [see below: they did fire rockets from there], they’re using it to see media. These are Hamas spokesmen [at the hospital], not leaders [see below: Hamas leaders are there]...There are probably a couple of reasons [for holding press conferences there].  It’s a safe place. Israel doesn’t kill spokespeople. Also, it’s a good place to get journalists, as we’re passing through the hospital, since that’s where the bodies are coming in.  It’s a place journalists have to go anyway.
 This has been a brilliant strategy by Hamas, although any skeptical reporter would have seen through it—and a couple did.  Why are press conferences being held in a hospital, as opposed to another location such as the main hotel where they stay?   Surely, hotels are also fine places for Hamas to “get journalists” to come to.
Clearly, Hamas wants the reporters to see the dead and injured on a regular basis if they want access to spokespeople.  It safely gives lazy reporters a constant stream of tragedies to write about.  A seasoned reporter would have surmised that this could be the perfect location for Hamas’s leaders to operate from, especially below the first floor.  And, in fact, that is what happened. …
Moreover, this was nothing new.  In 2006, PBS’s Wide Angle aired a documentary showing how gunmen move through the corridors of that hospital, intimidate the staff, and deny them access to protected locations inside the facility—where the camera crew was forbidden from filming….
On the same day I spoke with this reporter, I also reached out to Eado Hecht, an independent defense analyst who has taught military theory and history at the IDF Command and General Staff College. He currently works with the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Israel’s leading think tank), and sits on the board of The Journal of Military Operations.
I asked Hecht about what I call “human-shield blindness,” a rare medical condition that afflicts American reporters based in Gaza – from the New York Times to CNN and Reuters.   “As to foreign journalists seeing things, I am certain they are seeing the use of supposedly innocent buildings for military purposes, but most are either too scared to report this or ideologically motivated not to,” he said.  “Yesterday [Aug 1st], a Finnish reporter did talk shortly about the use of Al-Shifa hospital to launch rockets after seeing it with her own eyes.  But who watches Finnish TV except the Finns?  The use of fear to influence journalists is not new – it has been happening for decades. The ideological motivation is not new either – many of the camera crews are locals.”
 Fortunately, it wasn’t just a Finnish reporter who earned her pay.    Hamas’ operations at the same hospital were the focus of a report by a French-Palestinian journalist for France’s Lib√©ration.  He said that Hamas had summoned him to Al-Shifa Hospital, where he was interrogated by a group of young fighters and told to immediately leave Gaza without his papers; he later asked the newspaper to take down the story.
“No Israeli missile hit the [Al-Shifa] hospital,” says military expert Hecht.  “It was a Hamas rocket, one of approximately 300 that have malfunctioned and landed inside Gaza instead of in Israel.  Apparently there are also cases in which Hamas deliberately bombarded its own residential areas to blame Israel (this was not the case at Shifa) – but the only evidence is not good enough to prove it.   Shifa hospital has been identified by the IDF as providing cover to a network of underground rooms and tunnels that serve it; they have simply stated that under Shifa is the most developed and senior Hamas command post and left it at that. There are certainly many Hamas security personnel around the hospital (they can be seen in the background in TV reports) and they have used the hospital as a launch site for rockets.”
To his credit, William Booth of the Washington Post wrote back on July 15th that Shifa “has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.”   Two days later, Booth and colleagues Sudarsan Raghavan and Ruth Eglash reported that a group of men at a mosque in northern Gaza said they had returned “to clean up the green glass from windows shattered in the previous day’s bombardment.” But those men, the Post wrote, “could be seen moving small rockets into the mosque.”
Bottom-line:   With the exception of the Washington Post, audiences in America might need to turn to other countries to follow the war, as well as any future wars between Israel and Hamas.
As for Rudoren’s attack on the Foreign Press Association, in which she was dismissive of the claim that foreign reporters have been intimidated by Hamas, one only hopes she has seen the video last Thursday of a Hamas official conceding that the terrorist group has strong-armed journalists. The official, Isra Al-Mudallal, the head of foreign relations in Hamas’s Information Ministry, also admitted that some reporters were kept under surveillance—and some booted out of Gaza after they tried to film the launching of rockets against Israel, which the official called “collaborating with the occupation.”
Unfortunately, we cannot be certain whether Rudoren or her staff in Jerusalem or Gaza has seen it. There’s still no mention of the video in the newspaper. Not fit to print, apparently.
THE BIG LIE: A RACIST STATE
Thanks in good measure to what investigative reporter Weiss calls “the media intifada”—the trans-Atlantic epidemic of lazy, incomplete, sometimes mendacious journalism and imitations thereof that has plagued the conflict—the cries of Israel as a racist-colonial state are being vomited forth from San Francisco to Spain.
So goes the monotonously screamed lie, despite the presence on the Israeli side of Arab Israelis, Bedouin tribesmen, Druze and black African soldiers—as well as Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) Jewish youngsters—comprising much of the Israel Defense Forces.
Israel’s diversity is a subject almost never covered in the West. The Times contributes to the racism label, adding to the nonfeasance in its news pages, by printing on its famously predictable op-ed page, cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers tracts by Palestinian officials and Israel-hating academics that label Israel a racist state—a tedious litany of drivel repeated dozens of times before.
Case in point: ‘Israel’s Colonialism Must End,” an August 4th op-ed by Ali Jarbawi, a professor and former Palestinian Authority minister, which is chock full of variants of the words racism and colonialism that he uses to smack Israel with. But it’s all nonsense, and it’s high time that the newspaper’s editorial board stopped inflaming anti-Semitism with this stuff.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining with Dumisani Washington, the head of a group called the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel. “The claim that Israel is a racist/colonial/apartheid state is a blatant, bald-faced lie,” he says. “Further, those false accusations cheapen the experiences of South Africans, Black Americans and others who experienced those horrors—like my parents and grandparents. Israel is diverse in virtually every facet of society. It is intellectual dishonesty to affix those gross labels on a liberal democracy.”
While discrimination certainly exists in Israel (although not in its laws), as it does in most countries, the situation is improving and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle has nothing to do with race. For starters, Judaism is not a race, and anybody can choose to become a Jew. The late senator and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, made that clear enough in 1975, when he rose to the rostrum to condemn the UN’s labeling Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” (a designation the UN reversed). Moynihan called it “a lie” and “this obscenity.”
Nor is Zionism a colonial enterprise, as Jews immigrated in large numbers to escape persecution, not to plant the flags of other nations.
Nor is Israel engaged in “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, another farcical slander. Since 1948, the Palestinian population has increased eightfold.
But for those who insist on brainwashing themselves into believing it’s a racist conflict, they might want to see a photo posted on Twitter by Guti√©rrez—the Spanish journalist who exposed Hamas’ firing a battery of rockets from the press hotel in Gaza. It’s a picture of an Arab IDF soldier kissing his mother, who is wearing a hijab, on the cheek. “I would be lying if I told you I saw signs of apartheid in Israel,” the journalist wrote next to the photo. “But I’m not going to lie.”
On August 11th, Fox News editor-at-large George Russell exposed an internal UN report revealing financial mismanagement at the agency that “adds a new level of potential credibility to Israeli accusations that internationally-managed relief supplies to Gaza were diverted into construction” of tunnels used by Hamas to organize rocket attacks and infiltrations into Israel.
** Finally, another investigative story worth pursuing, although it will also upset the press corps’ hosts in Gaza, is the sordid relationship between Hamas and UNRWA. While the UN has called for a probe of Israel for war crimes, the agency itself has been caught red-handed three times storing Hamas rockets—and has publicly admitted handing rockets back to Hamas. UNRWA has also admitted to hiring Hamas teachers at the schools, which are sometimes used as recruitment centers for child soldiers. The curriculum brainwashes the kids into working for the elimination of Israel.

Essayist Richard Behar is right. The Western press, particularly The New York Times, aids and abets the Hamas war to exterminate Israel. You’d think The Times was professional enough to know better. It isn’t.