Archive for June, 2012

A green light to attempt genocide

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel's border from Lebanon

Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel’s border from Lebanon

News item:

TEHRAN — Iran’s vice president delivered a baldly anti-Semitic speech on Tuesday at an international antidrug conference here, saying that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world…

Mr. Rahimi, second in line to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the Talmud teaches to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews.”

The “Zionists” are in firm control of the illegal drug trade, Mr. Rahimi said, asking foreign dignitaries to research his claims. “Zionists” is Iran’s ideological term for Jews who support the state of Israel.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict,” Mr. Rahmini said. “They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.” …

Mr. Rahimi … told stories of gynecologists’ killing black babies on the orders of the Zionists and claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was started by Jews, adding that mysteriously, no Jews died in that uprising.

He also said the Talmud teaches Jews to think that they are a superior race. “They think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them,” he said. Halfway through his speech, Mr. Rahimi said there was a difference between Jews who “honestly follow the prophet Moses” and the Zionists, who are “the main elements of the international drugs trade.”

This kind of rant serves several purposes. On the most basic level, a great majority of the world’s Muslims probably believe him (although I doubt that the same could be said for Iranians). Belief that Jews are essentially evil in multiple ways leads to dehumanization, stage 3 in Stanton’s 8 stages of genocide.

On a more emotional level, it doesn’t matter if a listener — or even the speaker — believes it or not. It is intended as a message of hate, a verbalization of the upraised middle finger, and a threat. It’s more of an action than an utterance.

It sends a message to other enemies of Israel as well. It says “we are not afraid of them, we will tell them to their faces that we intend to kill them.”

This is not the first time an Iranian official has sent this same message: “you are not human, we hate you, we will exterminate you.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini and President Ahmadinejad have both compared Israel to a “cancerous tumor,” with obvious implications.

The Israeli leadership — especially PM Netanyahu — has a sense of history and understands that threats like this have to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

This is a test, but not for Israel, which already understands what it is facing. It is a test for the “international community,” whose representatives were present at the conference and heard this atavistic Jew-hatred, as vile as anything that came from Hitler’s propagandists.

European diplomats in attendance expressed shock. Even Iranian participants in the conference, co-sponsored by Iran and the United Nations, privately wondered at their government’s motive for allowing such a speech, even given its longstanding antagonism toward Israel…

A European diplomat said afterward: “This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life. My gut reaction was: why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?”

Now there is no excuse for pretending that the Iranian regime is anything other than it is. They have seen the face of the beast. Will they close their eyes to its intentions, as they did to Hitler’s?

The reaction of the European diplomat quoted above wasn’t encouraging:

But the diplomat, who declined to be identified by name or country, defended his presence at the conference. “If we do not support the United Nations on helping Iran fight drugs, voices like the one of Mr. Rahimi will be the only ones out there,” he said.

Do we really need to explain to a ‘diplomat’ that Rahimi speaks for the regime? That his voice is “the only one out there” in Iran? Of course not.

If the reaction from the “community,” particularly the US, is not swift and substantial — a retraction and apology must be demanded — then it will be taken as a green light.

A green light to attempt genocide.

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When does free speech become sedition?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Neturei Karta leader Rabbi Moshe Hirsch shakes hands with the Devil, 2003

Neturei Karta leader Rabbi Moshe Hirsch shakes hands with the Devil, 2003

In a democratic state where freedom of expression is cherished, can we place limits on expression when the very foundation of that state is attacked? Is there a point at which the state can say “if that’s how you feel, go live somewhere else?”

News item,

Three members of the radical ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion that they had vandalized a Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial earlier this month as well as several additional sites commemorating fallen IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley.

“Hitler, thank you for the wonderful Holocaust” was one of the slogans spray painted some two weeks ago on the open campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial site…

Judea and Samaria District Police found spray cans in the suspects’ homes as well as posters inciting against the state and PLO flags, Army Radio reported Tuesday…

The three, aged 18, 26 and 27, call themselves the “Palestine Jews.” They confessed to the crimes and remarked that they had committed the act out of hatred toward the Zionist entity and the state.

There is no doubt that if they are convicted of the crime of vandalism they should be punished. But is the state required to tolerate residents who express hatred of “the Zionist entity” in any form?

In the US, almost all such expression is permitted (there are exceptions). But the population here is almost 312 million people, and only a tiny proportion of those want to overthrow the Constitution. Israel has about 7.6 million, and when you include fanatics like the “Palestine Jews,” Arab nationalists, Islamists, and extreme leftists or anarchists, it becomes a significant proportion of the population.

Consider the extreme academic Left, which literally dominates academic departments in some Israeli universities. They regularly call for a binational state, support boycott-divestment-sanctions, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, sign petitions favoring a right of return for Arab refugees, etc. (details are here).

Another example is the Israeli Arab (oops, ‘Palestinian resident of Israel’) organization Adalah. Supported by the US-based New Israel Fund, Adalah is openly anti-Zionist, advocating for a right of return, for Israel to admit its guilt and compensate Arabs for the nakba [disaster] that was the founding of the state, change its flag and national anthem, and give Arabs a veto power over all decisions of the Knesset.

Then there is the Islamic Movement in Israel. The leader of its Northern Branch, Ra’ed Saleh, openly supports Hamas and has incited riots in Jerusalem several times with claims that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

The vandals of Neturei Karta have been around for years, appearing at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. They were paid by Yasser Arafat and even visited Tehran where they embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other Hareidi extremists that are less well-known, but also oppose the Jewish state, while accepting its charity and protection.

When does this become too much for a small state which does not lack for external threats?

There is a word for the behavior of the groups described here — sedition — and a surprising number of liberal democracies have laws against it. Perhaps Israel should as well?

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Reality vs. fantasy

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I spent the weekend in the Sierra at 8500 feet. No Internet, not even cell service. When I returned, I found that the army had allowed Mohammad Morsi to be elected president of Egypt. Although the struggle for control isn’t over, I think that barring a violent confrontation (which the generals don’t appear to want), what we can expect is a gradual consolidation of power into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.This doesn’t mean that war with Israel is imminent or inevitable, but it does mean that it will be impossible to depend on Egyptian security forces to prevent — or even to not abet — terrorism on the southern border. It also means that the position of Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be greatly strengthened.

This is just one of the recent developments that have increased pressure on Israel. The emergence of Turkey as a hostile power, the determination of Iran in pursuit of nuclear weapons and the West’s tepid response, the ascendance of Hizballah in Lebanon, the threat from Syria’s non-conventional arsenal, the weakness of  the non-hostile (we can’t quite use the adjective ‘friendly’) regime in Jordan, the unprecedented anti-Israel atmosphere in much of Europe — all of these combine to make Israel’s security situation as dangerous as it has been at any time since 1948.

As I wrote last week, the lever that Israel’s enemies depend on, our own Sudeten Germans, are the Palestinian Arabs. At this historical moment, as external threats mount, so does the force applied to this lever. It is absolutely necessary to develop a consistent and reality-based policy towards the Arabs of the territories (and also the so-called ‘Palestinian citizens of Israel’, as well as the Arabs who are permanent residents of Jerusalem but choose not to be citizens). But we continue to be bombarded with fantasies that have nothing to do with the world in which we live.

Martin Sherman boils over with frustration at the disconnect between the prescriptions offered and the real world:

Take for instance Dennis Ross’s latest “contribution” at this week’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem – where he prescribed that Israel should not only undermine its security, but its economy as well, “to restore belief in a two-state solution.”

Predictably, Ross studiously disregarded the fact, once so compellingly conveyed by his host Shimon Peres, that “if a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain.”

Ross suggested that the first step Israel should take to demonstrate that it is serious about a Palestinian state in the “West Bank” is to publicly announce that the government will provide financial compensation to settlers who are prepared to leave their homes and to move to “Israel proper.”

Of course Ross, who today serves as a counselor for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and was a senior director in Barack Obama’s National Security Council, offered no assurances that what is sweeping through the Arab world would not sweep through “Palestine” or what occurred in Gaza would not occur in Ramallah. Nevertheless, he suggested that the government go ahead and plan not only to bring millions more Israelis within the range of weapons being used today from territory Israel ceded to the Palestinians, but it should take measures that would increase both the demand (and hence the price) of housing in country, and the unemployment. Stupid or subversive?

Even in the early 1990′s, when Iran and Iraq were exhausted and the Soviet Union had recently collapsed, the chance of a positive outcome from a “two-state solution” was negligible. Arafat’s PLO insisted — on pain of death — that it was the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” and of course as we found out, had no intention of creating a peaceful state alongside Israel.

Today, after almost 20 years of Arafat’s educational system and media, the rise of Hamas, and the Second Intifada (which some call “the Oslo War”), the idea that yet another partition of the land set aside for “close Jewish settlement” by the Palestine Mandate could somehow end the conflict is as likely as the development of a perpetual motion machine or warp drive (actually, warp drive is more practical).

Despite this, the official position of the Government of Israel and its “hardline, right-wing” Prime Minister is to seek such a partition. The intention of the Obama Administration is to try to make it happen, almost entirely by pressuring Israel to make concessions. The official positions of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Union of Reform Judaism support it (in the US, opposition to the two-state solution is a litmus test for extremism of the Right or Left). And of course, many ‘experts’ like Dennis Ross have been presenting it as the Holy Grail since the 1980′s.

Sherman is almost beyond words:

For in light of the recurring failure of [the two-staters] prognoses, there are only two explanations for their obduracy – malice or idiocy. And whatever the truth is, it must be exposed.

As I like to say, “stupid or evil?” But there is a third possibility: mental illness, in particular, “Oslo Syndrome”. That’s another topic.

In any event, Sherman does not vent his anger only on the Left:

But when confronted with such infuriating dogmatism on the one hand, and inept dereliction on the other, everyone has his limit when it comes to courtesy and decorum.

And there are indeed limits – a limit to how long one can extend the benefit of the doubt to those who insist on advancing a consistently failed policy and still continue to believe they are doing so in good faith.

Or a limit on continuing to believe that those who ostensibly oppose this policy, but refrain from offering any real alternative, are sincere in their opposition to it. [my emphasis]

Mea culpa. I am one who criticizes the Left but doesn’t present alternatives. So I will outline an alternative now. I will leave it to the experts to fill in the details.

The Left continually says that the status quo is unacceptable; that if Israel doesn’t take “bold steps for peace” (by which they mean some form of surrender), then the international community will force Israel to accept a solution which will be worse for it. I am not sure about what the “international community” can or cannot do, but I do understand that the status quo is bad.

It is bad for the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem who have to deal with ongoing ‘misdemeanor terrorism’ like stone-throwing, which can easily become felony terrorism, like murder. It is bad for Israelis inside the Green Line, for the same reason. It is bad for Israel’s economy, and it is bad for Israelis who have to do reserve duty. It is bad because the so-called ‘occupation’ is used to transform self-defense into oppression, providing a never-ending justification for anti-Israel UN resolutions, prosecutions of officials, ‘human-rights’ investigations, etc.

The Left is right: the status quo is unacceptable. And they are right that it cannot continue forever. World opinion is increasingly getting used to the mistaken idea that the territories are ‘Palestinian’. Israel needs to take “bold steps.” For example:

  1. Israel will issue a white paper explaining that the Jewish people are the primary benficiary of the Mandate, and have prima facie rights to settle in all of the territory from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.
  2. The paper will also state that the PLO has abrogated the Oslo agreements by continuing terrorism (to the point of war) and incitement, by not changing its charter, and by presenting a unilateral declaration of statehood to the UN.
  3. Israel will determine what parts of Judea and Samaria are either heavily populated by Jews, or strategically or historically important, and annex these areas. Arabs living in them will have the option of accepting Israeli citizenship or receiving compensation and leaving.
  4. Part of the application for citizenship — for anyone, Jew or Arab — will be a declaration of loyalty to a Jewish, democratic state. Incidentally, this is presently a requirement for Knesset membership (Meir Kahane was not allowed to take his seat on these grounds). It should be enforced for Arab MKs too.
  5. Israel will close and defend its borders.

Will there be an outcry in the “international community?” You bet. But the aforesaid “community” is now fixed on the idea that the only solution is to force Israel to commit suicide by agreeing to a partition that will provide its enemies a platform to destroy it. So there will be an outcry anyway.

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Why there are Palestinians

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Yaakov Lozowick has written a fascinating report on a newly declassified transcript of the Israeli cabinet’s discussion about what to do with the captured territory immediately after the Six Days War.

Something he said struck me:

Sometime in the 1980s the general perception of the conflict changed. No longer seen as Arab rejection of a Jewish State, the conflict was understood as a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which the Arab world would maintain only until the two central protagonists reached an accommodation. Since the Israelis and Palestinians have not yet reached accommodation this proposition has never been tested, a fact which contributes to its explanatory power. 1967, however, was before the 1980s, and participants and observers the world over saw the conflict as an Arab-Jewish conflict, with the local Arabs playing a subordinate role; they were not generally referred to as Palestinians.

I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true.

Yesterday I fantasized about how the world would relate to Israel if there were no Palestinians. My answer was “not all that differently.” Not only would non-Palestinian-related geopolitical issues like Turkish neo-Ottomanism and Iran’s ‘tomorrow the world’ attitude still create conflict, but there is that old regret in Europe that maybe the idea of allowing a Jewish state was an overreaction to the mess of WWII. And in the Arab world — where Palestinians are only valued as victims of Israel and treated badly in any other context — Jewish sovereignty has always been seen as a crime against Allah.

Suddenly, sometime after the 1973 war and succeeding oil price spike, there was an explosion of concern for the Palestinians. The UN has since then established what seem like dozens of agencies and functionaries relating to their ‘plight’, despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel and those “under occupation” have fared much better economically and have more individual freedom than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. This has become even more clear as the great majority of Arabs in the territories are now ruled by Hamas or the corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA).

This is a point, incidentally, which many miss: very few Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens live under Israeli administration any more. Oh, there is still a blockade of Gaza which prevents weapons and explosives from arriving by sea, but the Egyptian border is essentially open, and Israel does not interfere with deliveries of food, gas and other staples across its land border. And while the PA doesn’t have full sovereignty in Judea and Samaria — the IDF enters Palestinian areas from time to time to arrest wanted terrorists — the PA does govern the day-to-day lives of the residents, often to their great unhappiness.

In other words, the ‘yoke of occupation’ under which the Palestinians are groaning these days is more or less whatever security measures are necessary to prevent them from killing Israelis.

Nevertheless, we have the aforementioned UN functions, the numerous NGOs supported by the European Union, the massive Human Rights industry and of course all of the student groups, academic champions and ad hoc organizations concerned with the condition of the Palestinians.

Why is this?

The centrality of the Palestinians in the political life of the world today is not accidental. And in order to understand it, I want to do the opposite thought experiment to the one I did yesterday:

Let’s imagine that all the Israelis disappeared tomorrow. What would happen?

After the initial candy distribution and ceremonial firing of rifles in various directions, Hamas, unrestrained by the IDF, would quickly swallow up the PLO. Unrepentant Fatah-ists would be tossed off tall buildings, and the long-awaited Islamic Republic of Palestine would be declared.

But then what? Would mutual enemies Iran, Turkey and Egypt — all of which support Hamas today — continue to do so? Or would Egypt grab what it could, Syria retake the Golan, Hizballah invade the Galilee, maybe even Jordan try to get Jerusalem back?

Europe and the US, after some lip service to decry the violence, would quickly lose interest. Perhaps the New Ottomans would try to step into the power vacuum. The one thing that would almost certainly not happen would be the development of a stable Palestinian state:

  • Because the Palestinians do not have institutions, only militias.
  • Because they don’t have an economy, only international donors.
  • Because they don’t have a national consciousness, only tribal loyalties.
  • Because nobody, not the UN, not the Arabs, not even the Palestinian leadership itself, cares about the actual Palestinians.

The “Palestinian people” are useful for one and only one reason, as a weapon against the Jewish state. And their prominence, their 15 minutes of fame on the world stage, was granted to them by the Arab and European enemies of Israel, who would take it away in a moment once their function was performed.

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The Rapture of the Palestinians

Monday, June 18th, 2012
No, they don't look Palestinian. But the picture is evocative anyway.

No, they don’t look Palestinian. But the picture is evocative anyway.

At exactly 6 PM on November 29, 2012 (the UN’s “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”), Allah in His mercy transported all 11,000,000 ‘Palestinians’ — those living in Israel and the territories, in refugee camps in various Arab countries, and in their worldwide diaspora — to heaven, where they received the rewards denied them on earth.

After collecting the piles of clothing, Kalashnikovs and explosives left behind by the departing Palestinians, Israelis heaved a sigh of relief. Now that they could no longer be accused of mistreating Palestinians, they would be welcomed into the family of nations.

No such luck.

On the day after the Rapture, UNRWA officials announced a crash program to hire new employees to replace the 29,700 out of 30,000 who were Palestinian. “We have a huge task ahead of us,” said John Ging, head of UNRWA in Gaza, as he walked through the deserted streets of Gaza City, among wind-whipped black ski masks and green headbands. “One we get staffed up again, we’ll begin the task of repopulating the refugee camps. Maybe we can get Egyptians to live here — they don’t have any food in Egypt.” Deftly stepping over a Qassam rocket rolling on the sidewalk, he continued: “After all, we can’t let the Zionists come back. And we have $1.2 billion to distribute!” In the distance, the detonation of an empty suicide belt was heard.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a statement, in which he congratulated the Palestinians, and wished them luck in finally achieving Fatah-Hamas unity. “But we must keep in mind,” he said, “that there are still many obstacles to peace in the Middle East to be overcome, such as Jewish settlement construction. And the lack of Palestinians may slow down negotiations for Israeli withdrawal.”

The New York Times, in an editorial, agreed, and added sternly that “the hardline right-wing Netanyahu government should be put on notice that this event does not give it the right to violate international law and Judaize the city of Jerusalem, which is holy to three great religions, and which some Arabs probably want as capital of their future state.”

In his column, Thomas L. Friedman suggested that perhaps the disappearance of the Palestinians opened up a long-awaited window of opportunity: “If the hardline right-wing Likudniks over there would just get down on their bellies and crawl to Riyadh where they can bow to the King the way Obama did, then maybe there could be progress,” said Friedman. “But they must act quickly, before the world loses patience.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the possibility of a miracle. “If anybody brings Muslims to heaven, it’s going to be me, and it’s not going to be those Sunni heretics that get to go, either. Probably the Zionists, who are still a cancer on the pancreas of the Islamic Middle East, murdered them and hid their bodies somewhere. ”

“Yeah,” piped up Hassan Nasrallah, “and they are still occupying the Shabaa Farms, whether or not there are any Palestinians.”

US President Barack Obama, now a lame duck and too depressed to talk, did not make an official statement. But he was overheard when he spoke into an open microphone, saying “f-k the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway.”

Finally, a joint delegation from Students for Justice in Palestine, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace and Peter Beinart appeared on MSNBC. “We are pleased to see that the oppression of Palestinians has finally come to an end. But there is still much to do in order to sma– er, improve — the undemocratic, racist, right-wing theocratic state of Israel. We are all Palestinians now!”

There was a soft pop, and they disappeared.

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The Palestinian movement and Jew hatred

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

We keep hearing how there is a big difference between Jew hatred and anti-Zionism. Those who are promoting boycotts of Israeli goods, academics, athletes, etc. until Israel provides ‘justice’ to Palestinian Arabs — which is defined in terms that would preclude the existence of the Jewish state — vehemently insist that they have no problem with Jews per se.

Often they themselves are Jews. “How can we be Jew-haters,” they ask?

This position is belied by their double standards and by the pathological obsessiveness of their focus on Israel. But they nevertheless maintain that the logical distinction between hating Jews and ‘opposing’ (in fact, hating) Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs means that social sanctions against antisemitism (and in some countries, legal ones) do not apply to them.

But if we look at the Palestinian movement that they are supporting, it is joined at the hip with ideas and people that represent classical racist Jew hatred of the most murderous kind.

We can quickly dispose of Hamas, whose charter — which has not changed since its inception — contains anti-Jewish material taken directly from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But did you know that the Palestinian Authority (PA) published a textbook for children in 2004 that asserts that the forged Protocols are historically true?

The PA media and religious appointees also continue to describe Jews as descendants of apes and pigs. Does this count as ‘criticism of Israeli policies’?

We know that the first ‘Palestinian’ leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, fomented pogroms against Jews in Palestine in the 1920′s and in Iraq in 1941. Then he went to Germany and helped Hitler raise a Bosnian Muslim SS division to fight in Eastern Europe. After the war he helped clandestine networks resettle wanted Nazi war criminals in Arab countries (Egypt and Syria), where some served as military or political advisers. Both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas praised him as a Palestinian hero.

It’s well-known that Mahmoud Abbas wrote a ‘doctoral’ dissertation (see also here) in which he claimed that there were fewer than 900,000 Jewish Holocaust victims, that the Nazis did not murder Jews in gas chambers, and that Zionists encouraged Hitler to murder Jews in order to gain the world’s sympathy!

It’s also documented that Abbas, working under the direction of Arafat, provided funds to terrorist Abu Daoud to carry out the massacre of Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago this September.

Now it turns out that he and Arafat had help from neo-Nazis. Here is another link in the chain between Palestinian Arab terrorism and Nazi evil:

Berlin – Newly released files from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reveal that neo-Nazis plotted with the Palestinian group Black September in the 1972 Munich Olympic terror attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes, according to a Der Spiegel magazine story on Sunday.

According to the online Spiegel report, police in the city of Dortmund sent a notice to the German domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz (BfV), in which “Saad Walli, an ‘Arab looking man’ met conspiratorially with the German neo-Nazi Willi Pohl.” The meeting took place roughly seven weeks before the 1972 terror attack in Munich.

Saad Walli was the cover name for Abu Daoud, who is widely believed to be the ringleader of the 1972 terror attack in Germany. Pohl bragged to his employer about his contact with the extremist PLO wing…

Pohl, the neo-Nazi, is now a crime fiction author and said, “I chauffeured Abu Daoud throughout the entire Federal Republic where he met in different cities with Palestinians.” Pohl helped Daoud obtain false passports and other documents, according to the report.

The Palestinian movement, both the Islamic and nationalist branches, has always worked hand-in-glove with its natural allies, the Nazis and neo-Nazis. It emphasizes anti-Jewish doctrines in Islam, and promulgates the long-discredited myths of European antisemitism.

If you support the Palestinian movement and its goals of replacing Israel with an Arab state — even if you hide behind the fantasy of a ‘democratic state of all its citizens’ — you need to understand exactly who you are supporting and what you have  signed up for.

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UN: Church of the Nativity not ‘Palestinian’

Friday, June 15th, 2012
The interior of the Church of the Nativity after Palestinian siege ended

The interior of the Church of the Nativity after Palestinian siege ended

News item:

The secretariat of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has come out against a bid by the Palestinian Authority to use an emergency procedure to register Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity under the country of “Palestine” as a World Heritage site.

“At the UN, where the General Assembly each year adopts more resolutions criticizing Israel than on the rest of the world combined, this is a spectacle as rare as Halley’s Comet,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said…

“This is the first time in recent memory that a draft resolution circulated by the United Nations – let alone by UNESCO, which recently elected Assad’s Syria to its human rights committee – openly rejected a Palestinian claim or position,” Neuer said. His Geneva-based nonprofit group monitors UN activity.

Actually, this is not in the least surprising.

The Christian world understands quite well what would be likely to happen to its holy places under Muslim rule. While it is unlikely that the PA would immediately flatten the church and build a mosque on the site — although one wonders how long it would take Hamas to do so — even the relatively moderate Jordanians severely limited access by Christians between 1948 and 1967, and of course totally excluded Christians who were Israeli nationals. Israel, on the other hand, has gone to great lengths to protect and provide access to Christian (and Muslim) sites.

In Egypt, Muslim extremists have attacked and destroyed churches and murdered Christians, who are 12% of the population. If the Muslim Brotherhood should take power, Christians may officially be declared dhimmis and forced to pay a special tax:

When asked what he thought about many Christian Copts coming out to vote for his secular opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, [Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed] Morsi reportedly said, “They need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya or emigrate.”

I’m certain that the 2002 invasion of the Church of the Nativity hasn’t been forgotten. I’ll quote at length from an account by David Raab (see link for sources):

…”More than 100 Palestinian gunmen…[including] soldiers and policemen, entered the Church of the Nativity on Tuesday, as Israeli troops swept into Bethlehem in an attempt to quell violence by Palestinian suicide bombers and militias.”34 The actual number of terrorists was between 150 and 180, among them prominent members of the Fatah Tanzim. As the New York Times put it, “Palestinian gunmen have frequently used the area around the church as a refuge, with the expectation that Israel would try to avoid fighting near the shrine” [emphasis added].35

And in fact this was the case. The commander of the Israeli forces in the area asserted that the IDF would not break into the church itself and would not harm this site holy to Christianity. Israel also deployed more mature and more reserved reserve-duty soldiers in this sensitive situation that militarily called for more agile, standing-army soldiers.36

On the other hand, the Palestinians did not treat it the same way. Not only did they take their weapons with them into the Church of the Nativity and fire, on occasion, from the church, but also reportedly booby-trapped the entrance to the church.37

On April 7, “one of the few priests evacuated from the church told Israeli television yesterday that gunmen had shot their way in, and that the priests, monks and nuns were essentially hostages….The priest declined to call the clergy ‘hostages,’ but repeatedly said in fluent English: ‘We have absolutely no choice. They have guns, we do not.’”38

Christians clearly saw the takeover as a violation of the sanctity of the church. In an interview with CWNews, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican’s Undersecretary of State and the top foreign-policy official, asserted that “The Palestinians have entered into bilateral agreements [with the Holy See] in which they undertake to maintain and respect the status quo regarding the Christian holy places and the rights of Christian communities. To explain the gravity of the current situation, let me begin with the fact that the occupation of the holy places by armed men is a violation of a long tradition of law that dates back to the Ottoman era. Never before have they been occupied – for such a lengthy time – by armed men.”39 On April 14, he reiterated his position in an interview on Vatican Radio.40

On April 24, the Jerusalem Post reported on the damage that the PA forces were causing:

Three Armenian monks, who had been held hostage by the Palestinian gunmen inside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, managed to flee the church area via a side gate yesterday morning. They immediately thanked the soldiers for rescuing them.

They told army officers the gunmen had stolen gold and other property, including crucifixes and prayer books, and had caused damage….

One of the monks, Narkiss Korasian, later told reporters: “They stole everything, they opened the doors one by one and stole everything….They stole our prayer books and four crosses…they didn’t leave anything. Thank you for your help, we will never forget it.”

Israeli officials said the monks said the gunmen had also begun beating and attacking clergymen.41

When the siege finally ended, the PA soldiers left the church in terrible condition:

The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity seized church stockpiles of food and “ate like greedy monsters” until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. They also guzzled beer, wine, and Johnnie Walker scotch that they found in priests’ quarters, undeterred by the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol. The indulgence lasted for about two weeks into the 39-day siege, when the food and drink ran out, according to an account by four Greek Orthodox priests who were trapped inside for the entire ordeal….

The Orthodox priests and a number of civilians have said the gunmen created a regime of fear.

Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. “Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold,” said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.42

Please explain again why Christians might be nervous about the church being in ‘Palestine’!

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Propagandist Phil Reeves changes name, becomes respectable

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Phil -- er, Philip -- Reeves in his new job as a respectable journalist

Phil -- er, Philip -- Reeves in his new job as a respectable journalist

Remember the “Jenin massacre?”

In April 2002, IDF forces fought with Palestinian guerrillas from the Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad factions for 10 days. After the dust cleared, 23 Israelis were dead along with 52 Palestinians, of whom 5 were judged to be non-combatants.

Immediately thereafter, Palestinian sources claimed that hundreds had died in a monstrous war crime that James Petras, an American academic, compared to the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghettto.

Reports of the devastation multiplied, larded with atrocity stories. A ‘documentary film‘ made by a Palestinian director was full of such charges, including the supposed destruction of a hospital wing by tank shells. Later, it was pointed out that no such wing had ever existed.

Nothing was more gripping than on-the-scene reporting by Phil Reeves of the UK Independent, scant days after the battle ended:

A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed. Its troops have caused devastation in the centre of the Jenin refugee camp, reached yesterday by The Independent, where thousands of people are still living amid the ruins.

A residential area roughly 160,000 square yards about a third of a mile wide has been reduced to dust. Rubble has been shovelled by bulldozers into 30ft piles. The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting human bodies is everywhere, evidence that it is a human tomb. The people, who spent days hiding in basements crowded into single rooms as the rockets pounded in, say there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust, under a field of debris, criss-crossed with tank and bulldozer treadmarks.

In one nearby half-wrecked building, gutted by fire, lies the fly-blown corpse of a man covered by a tartan rug. In another we found the remains of 23-year-old Ashraf Abu Hejar beneath the ruins of a fire-blackened room that collapsed on him after being hit by a rocket. His head is shrunken and blackened. In a third, five long-dead men lay under blankets.

A quiet, sad-looking young man called Kamal Anis led us across the wasteland, littered now with detritus of what were once households, foam rubber, torn clothes, shoes, tin cans, children’s toys. He suddenly stopped. This was a mass grave, he said, pointing.

We stared at a mound of debris. Here, he said, he saw the Israeli soldiers pile 30 bodies beneath a half-wrecked house. When the pile was complete, they bulldozed the building, bringing its ruins down on the corpses. Then they flattened the area with a tank. We could not see the bodies. But we could smell them.

Reeves never said that he saw the “hundreds of corpses.” But one has to be a careful reader to notice that. In another article, he simply repeated ugly Palestinian stories:

In the first of this article published yesterday we described how even children were not immune from the Israeli onslaught. Faris Zeben, a 14-year-old boy, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in cold blood. The soldiers in the tank gave no warning, said Faris’ eight-year-old brother Abdel Rahman. And after they shot Faris they did nothing.

Fifteen-year-old Mohammed Hawashin was shot dead as he tried to walk through the camp. Aliya Zubeidi told us how she was on her way to the hospital to see the body of her son Ziad, a fighter from the Al-Aqsa brigades, who had been killed in the fighting. Mohammed accompanied her. “I heard shooting,” said Ms Zubeidi. “The boy was sitting in the door. I thought he was hiding from the bullets. Then he said, ‘Help.’ We couldn’t do anything for him. He had been shot in the face.” In a deserted road by the periphery of the refugee camp, we found the flattened remains of a wheelchair. It had been utterly crushed, ironed flat as if in a cartoon. In the middle of the debris lay a broken white flag. Durar Hassan told us how his friend, Kemal Zughayer, was shot dead as he tried to wheel himself up the road. The Israeli tanks must have driven over the body, because when Hassan found it, one leg and both arms were missing, and the face, he said, had been ripped in two.

There’s more, but you get the idea. Reeves’ ‘reporting’ consisted of a combination of suggestions of terrible hidden crimes, uncritical repetition of Palestinian stories, and an overall tear-jerking emotional tone. He was careful, however, not to explicitly make any false statements that could be checked.

By his series of sensational articles in the Independent, Reeves may have done as much or more than any Western reporter to spread the myth of the ‘Jenin Massacre.’

So where is Phil Reeves now?

Where does he fit, this vicious little whore, this character assassin of the Jewish state, this yellow journalist?

Where else? Reeves — now called ‘Philip’ instead of ‘Phil’, befitting  his new-found respectability as a ‘journalist’, found a spot at that paragon of fairness and professionalism, NPR!

Philip Reeves is an award-winning veteran foreign correspondent who covers Europe out of NPR’s bureau in London…

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after spending 17 years as a correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

If you’re interested, you can find more about NPR here.

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Obama silent as Erdoğan erases Israel from family of nations

Monday, June 11th, 2012
Soulmates: President Obama giving a hug to Turkish Islamist PM Recep Erdoğan at G-20 meeting last November.

Soulmates: President Obama giving a hug to Turkish Islamist PM Recep Erdoğan at G-20 meeting last November.

Yesterday I wrote that the US had allowed Turkey to veto Israeli participation in a counterterrorism forum. This isn’t the first time. Raphael Ahren writes,

Turkey has since [the Mavi Marmara affair] blocked Israeli participation in several international events. Last week, the World Economic Forum held a “special meeting” on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul. No Israeli officials were present, possibly because Erdoğan, who partially funded the conference, demanded that they not be invited. Last month, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu vetoed Israel’s participation in a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Chicago. Then, too, an Israeli diplomatic official said: “We didn’t plan on attending the summit anyway.”

Considering that the Mavi Marmara affair was orchestrated by the Turkish regime, following other provocations — a visit by Hamas leader Haniyeh to Turkey in 2006 (and this year), and a theatrical display by Erdoğan in 2009 at the Davos economic forum, this behavior is not surprising. Turkey under Erdoğan’s AKP has made enmity with Israel a fundamental part of its program to become the major power in the Middle East, as US influence there fades.

What is particularly interesting is the way the US, under Obama, seems to be playing along.

After the Mavi Marmara affair, US pressure caused Israel to back off its economic warfare against Hamas, handing Erdoğan a victory (and Israel a defeat).  And compared to his clearly expressed distaste for Israeli PM Netanyahu, Obama sees Erdoğan as a soulmate. Barry Rubin wrote (Mar 26),

President Barack Obama is continuing his love affair with Turkish Islamist leader Recep Erdoğan. As Erdoğan continues to undermine Turkish democracy, throw hundreds of moderates into jail, destroy the nation’s institutions, help Iran, throw hysterical tantrums about how much he hates Israel, promote Islamism in the region, and is fresh from still another meeting with Hamas leaders, Obama continues to use Erdoğan as his guru.

When the two men met at the Seoul, South Korea, Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, Obama practically slobbered over the anti-American ruler, calling Erdoğan his “friend and colleague….We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues.”

One could write a great deal about how Erdoğan is bad for Turkey, bad for the Middle East and bad for the US (Rubin does). But there is another aspect of this that particularly bothers me.

That is the question of how Obama relates to our traditional ally, Israel. By his unforced silence in the face of Erdoğan’s ostracism of Israel from the family of nations — in effect, the virtual erasure of the Jewish state — Obama is sending a message to both Israel’s friends and enemies that he has no problem with it.

Obama’s message is received loud and clear in the capitals of Israel’s enemies, who are emboldened to try to move from virtual erasure of a nation to its physical destruction. And to those who are not enemies, it is a prediction of how Obama will act (or not) when the chips are down.

May I hope that the message is also received by Israel’s friends among American voters?

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Hillary Clinton snubs Israel, apologizes for US counterterrorism

Sunday, June 10th, 2012
Secretary of State Clinton apologizes on behalf of US at Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul

Secretary of State Clinton apologizes on behalf of US at Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul

News item:

The United States blocked Israel’s participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul on Friday, despite Israel’s having one of the most extensive counterterrorism experiences in the world.

Israel was excluded from the meeting due to fierce objections by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Washington-based source told Globes news…

Twenty-nine countries are participating in the GCTF, ten of which are Arab and/or Muslim countries.

The GCTF was created (and is undoubtedly mostly funded by) the US. According to the State Department,

The U.S. proposed the creation of the GCTF to address the evolving terrorist threat in a way that would bring enduring benefits by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face. It is based on a recognition that the U.S. alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization. Rather, the international community must come together to assist countries as they work to confront the terrorist threat.

Given that the most ‘frontline’ country facing terrorist threats is Israel, which has been subjected to terrorism on an almost daily basis since its birth, one would expect that Israel would be among the founding members of the GCTF.

Nope. Israel was not included among the membership, and as we see from the above, is not even permitted to attend its meetings as a non-member.

Do we begin to sense the stench of hypocrisy here, as our State Department happily acquiesces in maintaining Israel’s pariah status for the benefit of the ‘enlightened’ members of this forum like Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

The smell gets even stronger as  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the Obama Administration, crawls on her belly to apologize for the behavior of the US:

I am here today also to underscore that the United States will work with all of you to combat terrorists within the framework of the rule of law. Now some believe that when it comes to counterterrorism, the end always justifies the means; that torture, abuse, the suspension of civil liberties – no measure is too extreme in the name of keeping our citizens safe…

I know that the United States has not always had a perfect record, and we can and must do a better job of addressing the mistaken belief that these tactics are ever permissible. That is why President Obama has made our standards very clear. We will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as al-Qaida that have attacked us and still threaten us with imminent attack. And in doing so, we will comply with the applicable law, including the laws of war, and go to extraordinary lengths to ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life.

Of course, the Obama Administration has been responsible for many more targeted killings than its predecessor — not that I think that’s a bad thing — but apparently it’s the attitude that’s important.

The real purpose behind the GCTF was made clear at the conference:

“The GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations. And it has, I think, done that quite effectively,” a top US official said at the press briefing prior to the opening session.

The $90 million so far distributed by the GCTF to ‘frontline’ countries may have helped.

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Endemic mass psychosis strikes universities

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Those of us who have not been hanging around US college campuses lately have no idea of the degree to which anti-Israel activities and discourse permeate the political atmosphere, especially where there are active chapters of groups like the Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, etc.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Lecturer in Hebrew at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at UCLA, have attacked it head on, arguing that the over-the-top hatred of Israel constitutes antisemitism, which directly harms Jewish students. From their AMCHA Initiative  website:

In June 2009, Tammi filed a Title VI complaint under the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Law that alleges that anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse and behavior in classrooms and at university-sponsored events had resulted in the intellectual and emotional harassment and intimidation of Jewish students at UC Santa Cruz and violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Her complaint, the first of its kind, is now being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.

They are now engaged in a dispute with the administration of CSU Northridge about a “boycott Israel resource page” maintained by Mathematics Professor David Klein on the University’s server and linked to Klein’s faculty page.

For example, here is a snippet from Klein’s page, under the heading “Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time:”

Zionism calls for a Jewish state.  Israel defines Jewishness, in part, in genetic terms.  A person is legally Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of place of birth or religious belief. Israel is an apartheid state that systematically discriminates against the indigenous population, enforcing, for example, Jewish-only buses and Jewish-only roads.  The result of Israeli state policies has been a 63 year program of ethnic cleansing, including expulsion of the Palestinian population, military occupation, and mass murder.

Almost every proposition in the above is false.

1. Israel is a Jewish state like France is a French state and ‘Palestine’ would be a ‘Palestinian’ one. For comparison, the proposed constitution for ‘Palestine’ adds that Islam is its official religion and Islamic shari’a the main source of legislation. Israel does not have an ‘official’ or state religion and its legal system is not based on Judaism.

2. There is no apartheid in Israel and the Palestinian Arabs are no more indigenous than Zionist Jews.

3. There are no Jewish-only buses or roads. There are limitations on access to Israeli buses and roads placed on Arab residents of the territories for security reasons, but they are not race-based. Israeli Arabs are free to use them.

4.  Most of the Arabs that fled Israel in 1948 were not expelled. On the other hand, all of the Jewish population of eastern Jerusalem were kicked out at gunpoint, and many of the residents of Gush Etzion in Judea were massacred by the Jordanian army.

5. There has been no mass murder of Arabs by Jews, and today more than 95% of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria are governed by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel (all of Gaza is controlled by the genocidally antisemitic Hamas).

6. The Palestinian Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has more than doubled since 1990. This is evidence of mass murder and ethnic cleansing?

Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith argue that Klein’s pages are antisemitic, and that his placing this kind of material on a CSUN server is misuse of University facilities.

I am not going to rehearse the argument, which I have made here, that extreme Israel-hatred is antisemitism by another name.

It’s true, but it doesn’t matter.

Advocating the destruction of a nation on the basis of lies and distortions — for example, the wholly inappropriate application of the concept of ‘apartheid’ — is no less vile than doing the same to individuals.

Accusing a nation of mass murder and ethnic cleansing that did not happen is no less vile than doing the same to individuals.

Calling for a boycott of a nation unless it agrees to commit suicide by admitting 5 million hostiles who claim to be descendants of refugees is vile, period.

Klein and others like him often concentrate on Israel to the exclusion of other issues. One would think that someone who worries about mass murder in the Middle East would note such actual mass murderers like Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez, or Saddam Hussein. He does not. Only Israel and (to a lesser extent) the US merit discussion.

The irrational, obsessive, unbalanced, excessive, fanatical hatred of a nation that characterizes a person like Klein is a form of mental illness that attacks and destroys the moral sense found in a normal individual. En masse, it is a mass psychosis. In academia, it is an endemic mass psychosis.

The distinction between antisemitism and radical anti-Zionism is a red herring. Vicious, murderous, irrational hatred is evil and must be unacceptable in civilized society, regardless of whether it is directed at individuals or nations.

David Klein is supported by the interim president of CSUN, Harry Hellenbrand, who has written a remarkably incoherent response to Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith, in which he suggests that they support Israel because of “God’s covenant” and the Holocaust, and accuses them of trying to impose ‘censorship’.

All of the above is nonsense. Censorship is not an issue; Klein can say whatever he wants in public, only not paid for by California taxpayers and on a website bearing the name of the state university. And speaking of God, only He knows where Klein found appeals to the Bible or the Holocaust in Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith’s letters.

Hellenbrand isn’t a disinterested administrator. In December he joined Klein as a signatory (along with Fresno’s own anti-Israel power couple Vida Samiian and Sasan Fayazmanesh) on a petition against restarting the CSU system’s study program in Israel, which had been halted during the Second Intifada.

It wasn’t a bad idea to stop the program in 2002, when a number of American citizens were killed by Arab terrorists for being in the wrong pizza parlor or bus at the wrong time.

The petition suggested that going to Israel today was dangerous for American citizens, and cited the cases of Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan, the Turkish-American who was among the IHH thugs killed on the Mavi Marmara.

In other words, Klein and friends see no essential difference between the victims of anti-civilian terrorism and those hurt accidentally while taking part in activities intended to interfere with IDF operations.

Such are those that we trust to teach our children!

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Israel to world: terrorists aren’t terrorists

Monday, June 4th, 2012

When a distorted view of reality is broadcast to the world and then remains unchallenged, after a while it becomes something that ‘everybody knows’. It becomes a jumping off point for even more lies and distortions. This has been the story of the Israeli-Arab conflict from the beginning.

For years the attitude of the Israeli government has been that actions are important and words are not. Who could believe the crazy rantings of a Yasser Arafat, for example? Who would take seriously the idea that the return of the Jewish people to their historic homeland was an example of Western colonialism, and that the Palestinian Arabs, most of whose ancestors arrived in the land in the 19th and 20th centuries and whose leadership collaborated with Adolf Hitler, were an ancient, noble and oppressed indigenous people?

Everyone ‘knows’, for example that “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law” because news sources like the UK Guardian and NPR repeat it every chance they get. They also believe that eastern Jerusalem is and always was ‘Arab’, and is now being ‘Judaized’, despite the fact that the long-time Jewish population was expelled by the Jordanian army in 1948.

They are also sure that Israel committed ‘war crimes’ in Gaza, despite the fact that a well-known British military expert said that “the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”

I could go on. But with the exception of the last example, the government of Israel and its official representatives have done little to counteract these lies.

Unfortunately, sometimes the government even plays along with the charades of its enemies. Take the question of terrorism, which has been waged against Israel by Palestinian Arabs and others since its inception. The truth is that thousands of Israelis and Jews around the world have been murdered by terrorists. Either these terrorists are gangsters in the service of hostile regimes, or they are armed combatants who are committing the most vicious war crimes, deliberately targeting the most vulnerable civilian populations, especially including children.

What they most definitely are not are soldiers fighting bravely according to the laws of war and deserving of honors.

So what are we to make of the fact that the Israeli government just returned the bodies of 91 Arab terrorists, formerly buried in numbered graves in Israel, to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas?

These terrorists were anything but military heroes: they include suicide bombers who exploded in buses, markets and nightclubs, gunmen who took hostages and murdered them, snipers, etc.

The families of terror victims complained, just as they did when more than a thousand prisoners, many of them convicted murderers, were traded for Gilad Shalit. But as always, their protest was ignored.

This was supposedly a “humanitarian gesture,” which is intended to make the PA more likely to negotiate with Israel. But what it did was provide a photo-op for the Palestinians to pretend that the terrorists were actually soldiers, and that their actions were warfare and not murder. You can see the treatment that they received here:

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The PA is not likely to drop their preconditions for negotiation — indeed, the whole “2-state solution” negotiation is a farce, based on the false premise that the PA is prepared to accept the existence of a Jewish state of any size.

So what has Israel gained? Families of terror victims were punished yet again to see the murderers of their relatives honored, and another anti-Israel myth — that terrorists are not terrorists — is given new life.

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