Incitement Over Temple Mount Spurs Continuing Clashes Between Palestinians, Israeli Police

[Photo: The Telegraph / YouTube ]

The Tower, July  21, 2017:

Violent clashes erupted in Jerusalem on Friday between Israeli police and thousands of Palestinians who protested the installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, following days of incitement by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority.

Three Palestinians were reported killed in the rioting.

The upgraded Israeli security measures were introduced in direct response to the deadly terrorist attack carried out by three Arab Israelis just outside the compound on July 14, in which two Israeli officers were killed. The terrorists used guns that had been smuggled into the al-Aqsa Mosque.

While searching the area after the lethal shooting, authorities reportedly found a stockpile of weapons, including knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting material, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, and binoculars.

The decision to install metal detectors was met with opposition by Palestinian leaders and parts of the Muslim world, who accused Israel of upsetting the status quo. However, at all of the four entrances to the Western Wall Plaza, visitors are required to walk through a metal detector and place their bags in an x-ray machine to ensure that they are not carrying any weapons.

Tight security is a matter that has become routine in holy places because of terrorism. The Saudi government installed metal and explosives detectors at the Holy Mosque in Mecca in 2011. The UAE set up metal detectors in mosques in 2015 and they can also be found at the Vatican.

The United States has supported the Israeli position throughout the last week and has continued to make efforts to calm the situation. “The attack forced the government of Israel to temporarily close the Temple Mount to conduct its investigation,” the White House said in a statement, adding “We urge all leaders and people of good faith to be understanding as this process proceeds and reaches its conclusion.”

Meanwhile, the Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday and continued to call for “rage for al-Asqa” on Friday.

The Times of Israel reported Sunday that the Waqf—the Islamic trust that administers the Temple Mount—sent people to pray in the streets and led the opposition to the metal detectors, enforcing a strict no-prayer rule until the devices are removed. The paper also speculated that Waqf officials knew in advance that metal detectors now stood at the gate and used the large media turnout to stage a made-for-TV protest. Citing Israel’s Channel 2, The Times of Israel reported that only 150 Muslims passed through the metal detectors to pray on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam—has long been used as a subject of incitement against Jews by officials and hate preachers. President Abbas promised in 2015 not to allow Jews’ “filthy feet” on Temple Mount. A teacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque school once described Jews who visit the area “monkeys and pigs.” And numerous hate preachers have called “to annihilate the Jews” and implored their followers to “slaughter Jews.”

Palestinian leaders often declare that al-Aqsa is in danger, an accusation that predates the founding of Israel.

In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow David Makovsky explained:

Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed).

Also see:

Trump State Dept Unsure Why Palestinian Terrorists Kill Israelis

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, July 21, 2017:

Officials in the Trump administration’s State Department are standing by a recent report criticized by Congress that blamed Israel for terror attacks and claimed Palestinians rarely incite violence, telling the Washington Free Beacon that it remains unclear why terrorists engage in violent acts.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, criticized the State Department Thursday for releasing a report portraying Israel as the culprit in terrorism and downplaying Palestinian incitement of violent acts against the Jewish state, the Free Beacon first reported.

Roskam demanded the State Department alter its report to bring it more in line with what he believes are the facts on the ground—that Palestinian leaders routinely incite violence against Israel, which has been forced to defend itself against a growing wave of terror attacks on Jewish citizens.

A State Department official, speaking on background, defended the report’s conclusions and said that it cannot precisely pinpoint the motivations behind Palestinian terror attacks on Israel.

“We recognize that in any community, a combination of risk factors can come together to create a higher risk of radicalization to violence,” the official said. “There is no one single pathway to violence—each individual’s path to terrorism is personalized, with certain commonalities. Therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what the sources of radicalization to violence are. What could drive someone to violence in one instance could vary significantly with someone else who is similarly situated.”

The State Department’s response prompted a fierce backlash among U.S. officials and Trump administration insiders, who said the State Department under the leadership of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has gone rogue and is out of line with the White House’s position on a range of sensitive diplomatic issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

Sources pointed to the administration going into damage control mode last week after State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated during a press briefing that the U.S. was “upgrading” its diplomatic standing with the Palestinians, a declaration that came as a surprise to those in the White House.

The report singling out Israel is another clear example of the State Department pursuing policies that are well out of line with the White House’s stated agenda, which the sources said has been pro-Israel. One source who advises the White House Middle East policy described the State Department’s explanation to the Free Beacon as “spectacular bull—t.”

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

The officials additionally maintained that Israel remains one of America’s “closest counterterrorism partners,” and that it continues to work closely with the Jewish state to combat threats from ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.

“Most egregiously,” Roskam wrote in his letter calling out the report, the State Department’s finding portray “the PA as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity.”

The State Department’s defense came just hours after three Israelis were killed and another severely wounded following a terror attack by a Palestinian terrorist that was described in the press as the “worst bloodshed” in years.

The official maintained that there is “no justification for any acts of terrorism,” but said the section of the report focusing on Israel is meant to help U.S. officials understand regional tensions.

“This section of the report—which is based on input from our embassies around the world—is intended to inform our efforts to counter radicalization to violence, and to better understand what might be assessed as motivations that could drive individuals towards violence,” the official said. “But this is not intended in any way to condone these acts or to justify them. As we said, there is no justification for any act of terrorism.”

The State Department would not specifically address Roskam’s concerns about the factual inaccuracies surrounding the report’s claims that Israel is to be blamed for terrorism, as well as its claim that Palestinian calls for violence against Israel are “rare” and not tolerated by Palestinian Authority leadership.

“Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the [Palestinian Authority] of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it,” the original report stated.

Roskam called this characterization “demonstrably false,” citing multiple instances in which Palestinian officials and state-sanctioned media organs promote violence, terrorism, and attacks against Israel and Jews.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon, including Trump administration insiders and senior Congressional officials, expressed shock at the State Department’s response to Roskam’s letter and cited it as proof that Tillerson department is dramatically departing from the White House’s own policy on these matters.

“Palestinians hate and kill Israelis because they’re taught from a very young age to hate and kill Jews,” one veteran Middle East expert who advises the White House on Israel policy said. “Of course the Obama administration never liked to admit that, but everyone around President Trump understands it.”

Officials appointed by the Obama administration still work in key State Department positions, the source noted.

“The problem is that the Obama team spent eight years filling the State Department with career staffers who think exactly like they think, and those people are still running things,” the source said. “Some really good people have tried to clean house, but every time anything got going Tillerson went to the president personally to protect the Obama holdovers. So they feel safe producing this kind of mind-numbing nonsense and sending it to Congress.”

One senior Congressional official who works on the Middle East situation expressed shock at the State Department’s defense of its report and subsequent claims about the unknown source of terror against Israel.

“Chalking up Palestinian terrorism to anything other than deep-seated anti-Semitism is not only disgraceful, but a reinvention of history,” the source said. “Palestinians are brainwashed by their governments from birth to hate Jews and celebrate suicide bombers. Countering terrorism against Israelis first and foremost requires clarity, which the State Department evidently lacks.”

The source slammed the State Department from departing from clear policy positions outlined by President Donald Trump and the White House.

“This is not what the American people voted for when they elected President Trump, and they deserve better,” the source said. “Members of Congress and the hardworking citizens they represent will not tolerate this nonsense.”

A second source, also a senior congressional official intimately involved in the issue, said the sources of Palestinian radicalization are well established.

“Money, fame, and education are the driving factors here, let’s not kid ourselves,” the source said. “We’re dealing with a community whose government openly lauds child murderers as national heroes and rewards terrorists with large sums of cash. Our State Department needs to focus on combating the PA’s heinous policies instead of praising terrorist-supporters and philosophizing incoherently about the sources of radicalization.”

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Fmr. Israeli Security Chief: Iranian Land Corridor, Bases in Syria Biggest Threats to Israel

Photo: Basel Awidat/Flash90

The Tower, July 19, 2017:

Iran’s efforts to build a “direct corridor” from Baghdad to the Mediterranean Sea and further entrench itself militarily in Syria are two of Israel’s most pressing concerns, Israel’s former national security adviser said Monday.

The corridor, referred to as a “Shiite crescent” by Jordan’s King Abdullah, would place Israel’s borders in “direct connection to Iran—a long line but still very easy to move forces, capabilities and everything that the Iranians will want to build around Israel,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said. Iran’s ability to project its power along this route would “change the whole geostrategic situation in this area.”

The establishment of permanent Iranian bases in Syria would pose a more immediate and direct threat to Israel, placing it at risk of simultaneous confrontation with Lebanon and Syria. “Israel might face two battlegrounds,” Amidror explained, “one in Lebanon and one in Syria in which the Iranians and Hezbollah will have their infrastructure [that] can be used against Israel, in parallel, and of course it definitely will be connected to the corridor that I just described that it makes the situation even much [more] complicated for Israel.”

These bases would act as launching pads for Iranian and Hezbollah attacks against Israel from Syria, and should be prevented “whatever will be the price,” Amidror warned.

When asked what Israel might do to prevent Iran from establishing bases in Syria, Amidror said that if the United States and Russia won’t take action, “that might lead the IDF to intervene and to destroy every attempt to build infrastructure in Syria.” While he noted that Israel would first try to handle things diplomatically, he indicated that resorting to using “military capability” could also be an option.

On the implications of the underground weapons factories Iran is believed to be building in Lebanon for Hezbollah, Amidror answered that the facilities—one of which reportedly produces Fateh 110 rockets that can carry half-ton warheads and reach most of Israel—would have to be destroyed. “Lebanon as a state does not exist. But the price will be paid by the end of the day by the Lebanese,” Amidror observed.

He elaborated:

The fact is that the Iranians and Hezbollah are spreading more than a hundred thousand rockets and missiles in Lebanon. The day will come [that] we will have to destroy them and the price will be paid by the Lebanese. So, the world is allowing Hezbollah and Iran to build huge military capabilities in Lebanon and the day will come [that] we will have to deal with it and to destroy it and the price will be paid by the Lebanese. Whoever will be complaining then about the results—the devastating situation of the Lebanese who will have to pay the price—I don’t know what percentage of Lebanon will be destroyed in this struggle, but the world will have to reply to itself. The world is not stopping that and the price will be paid by the Lebanese.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday denounced Hezbollah’s ongoing military buildup, telling reporters after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “I share Israeli concerns on the arming of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.”

Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, wrote an op-ed in May calling on the world community to take action against Hezbollah, which he said has grown stronger than most NATO nations. He urged the UN Security Council to strengthen and enforce resolution 1701, in line with Chapter 7 of the UN’s charter, which mandates peace enforcement.

According to a July 2016 report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Israeli officials believe that any future war with Hezbollah has the potential to cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel. Hezbollah has, among other things, threatened to attack ammonium tanks in Haifa, which could kill tens of thousands of people.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explained that month that Hezbollah’s widely-reported tactic of hiding military assets in civilian areas would lead to mass casualties. Reports emerged in 2013 that Hezbollah was offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes. An Israeli defense official told The New York Times in May 2015 that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah bolstered the Israeli assessment.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, a former director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, said in March that another war between Israel and Hezbollah was “only a question of time” due to the Iranian proxy’s efforts to acquire “game-changing weapons.” A week later, Eisenkot assessed that Hezbollah is building up its arsenal in Lebanon, which will bear the brunt of any future conflict between the Iranian proxy and Israel. Israeli security officials warned earlier in March that the Lebanese army, which receives American military aid, will likely fight alongside Hezbollah in a war against Israel.

A complete recording of Amidror’s call is embedded following the article here.

Jordan’s intel tags Hizballah for Temple Mt. terror

 

DEBKAfile Special Report July 20, 2017:

The Israeli police Thursday, July 20, released a video tape recording the movements of the terrorists heading for the murderous attack they committed on Temple Mount six days ago, when they shot dead two Israeli border guard police officers.

The film shows not three but four men who carefully stepped away from each other before entering the Al Aqsa Mosque. There, the three gunmen were handed their weapons by the fourth confederate, who made his escape among the crowds of worshippers exiting the mosque.
The police published the video Thursday ahead of Muslim Friday prayers – which brings tens of thousands of worshippers to Al Aqsa – as a reminder that the crime committed was a terrorist attack staged by Muslims at Islam’s third most sacred site – not the metal detectors Israel which installed for its safety. To drown this truth out, the Palestinians and Waqf officials have been raising a worldwide uproar over those detectors, as though nothing else happened to make them necessary.
The investigation going forward has established that the terrorists were far from amateurs. They acted coolly, with professional precision and were clearly highly trained and familiar with the terrain. It was a skilled terrorist cell that assaulted a shrine holy to three world faiths.
Even the absence of any claim of responsibility for the attack is a clue, especially since none of Israel’s investigators, be they police, security authorities or intelligence agencies, have so far thrown any light on the identity of the hand behind that cell.

However, DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources report that Jordanian and Saudi intelligence services have come to the conclusion that the attack was the work of a Hizballah-run cell on orders from Iran. One of Hizballah’s signatures is the absence of any claim of responsibility.

On July 18, 2012, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at the Bulgarian resort of Burgas, killing five Israelis and the Bulgarian driver and injuring 32. No organization has ever claimed this attack. Israeli intelligence uncovered evidence that it was orchestrated by Hizballah, but was never able to lay hands on the perpetrators.
The difference this time was that the three gunmen on Temple Mount had no intention of committing suicide. They did not expect the Israel police detail to react quickly enough to gun them down, but had meant to elude pursuit by fleeing to safety into Al Aqsa mosque. There they planned either to escape through ancient subterranean tunnels leading outside the Old City walls, or barricade themselves inside the cavernous mosque for a long shootout with Israel police.
Jordanian intelligence circles suspect that the Temple Mount attack was linked to the US-Russian deal for ceasefire zones in southwest Syria right up to the borders of Jordan and Israel. Both governments have demanded the exclusion of Iranian and Hizballah forces from those zones.

Tehran found an answer to this demand by demonstrating that its Lebanese proxy is capable of reaching deep inside Israel without recourse to external territory, because Hizballah not only maintains a presence in Daraa and the Syrian Golan, but has planted terrorist networks inside Israel and Jordan. The pro-Iranian terror group has long been suspected of recruiting networks in some Israeli Arab communities. By striking Temple Mount, Iran and Hizballah targeted both Israel and Jordan, which claims religious custodianship of its mosques.

Also see:

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State Dept blames Israel for causing Palestinian violence

SHOCKING NEW REPORT SAYS “LACK OF HOPE” IS A CAUSE OF PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, July 19, 2017:

Rex Tillerson’s State Department added blistering anti-Israel language to this year’s “Country Reports on Terrorism,” adopting a tone not seen even during the hostile Obama era.

On Wednesday, Tillerson submitted the annual report to Congress. This year’s report may come as a shock to the overwhelmingly pro-Israel majority that elected Donald Trump president.

The report appears to blame Israel for the lack of peace between the two sides, pointing to a “lack of hope” as a “driver” for Palestinian violence.

Tillerson’s State Department concluded that Palestinian terrorism is motivated by “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”

Continuing its pro-Palestinian posture, the next paragraph of the State Department memo commends the Palestinian Authority chairman for condemning acts of violence.

“Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the PA of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it,” the memo states.

The aforementioned statement is simply not true. Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party have a long history of promoting violence against Israel, and using inciting language to fan the flames of terror against its Jewish population.

In fact, organizations like Palestinian Media Watch and the Middle East Media Research Institute find almost daily examples of Palestinian state media waging incitement campaigns.

The State Department report does label Israel a “committed counterterrorism partner.” However, the sometimes-positive language toward America’s closest Middle East ally does not excuse the morally reprehensible act of sanctioning Palestinian violence against innocents.

By excusing Palestinian terrorism as motivated by a “lack of hope,” the State Department is helping to create a morally paradoxical environment in which the Israeli victim becomes the perpetrator and the Palestinian perpetrator becomes the victim.

Conservative Review looked through the Obama-era State Department country reports on terrorism and found that the Tillerson-led assessment added the aforementioned anti-Israel language.

Last year’s report under Obama said the Palestinians argued that terrorism is sometimes caused by frustration over “occupation.” But that report was much less accusatory because it makes clear that the position is reflecting the views of Palestinian officials, and not the U.S. government.

Tillerson continues to shock supporters of Israel with his pro-Palestinian policy promotion.

In May, the embattled secretary of state blackmailed Israel, using the debate over its embassy move as a bargaining chip for Palestinian statehood. That same month, he described Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, as the “home of Judaism.”

Unlike U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Tillerson refuses to recognize that the Western Wall is in Israel. Moreover, his State Department continues to reject Israeli claims over the city of Jerusalem.

Funding Terrorism to Fight Terrorism

Why are we funding Islamic terror in Israel?

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, July 18, 2017:

Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, the father of a newborn baby, and Kamil Shnaan, who was newly engaged, were murdered in an Islamic terrorist attack in Jerusalem. The two Israeli police officers were members of the Druze community in Israel. The terrorists who shot them were killed by other police officers.

While Israel will compensate the families of the dead police officers, the Palestinian Authority will compensate the families of the terrorists. And American taxpayers will compensate both.

This is typical of a foreign policy in which we fund both the terrorists and the terrorized.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to choose a side.

This mad policy is facing its biggest threat with the Taylor Force Act. The bill, named after a murdered Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran stabbed to death in Tel Aviv, would strip funding from the Palestinian Authority unless the terror state stops giving money to terrorists and their families for their crimes.

The Taylor Force Act has plenty of support in Congress. But the Palestinian Authority has made it abundantly clear that it will not stop paying terrorists to kill Israelis. PA terror boss Abbas is gambling that our politicians will blink first rather than stop sending him hundreds of millions of dollars.

And the tragedy of it is that he appears to be right.

Everyone condemns the Palestinian Authority’s policy of funding terrorists. Typical adjectives include “abhorrent” and “abominable”. But don’t expect them to actually cut off the cash.

Senators are scurrying to neuter the Taylor Force Act. There are dire warnings that if we stop funding the biggest Islamic terrorist group in Israel, it will collapse and make way for more terrorism.

If we don’t stop giving Islamic terrorists money to commit terrorism… the terrorists will win.

This sums up the insanity of our foreign policy in which we fund terrorism to fight terrorism, and in which the “moderate” Islamic terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Brotherhood are our best hope for restraining the really scary “extremist” Islamic terrorists of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Senators have been complaining about the act’s “All or nothing” approach. All or nothing means that the Palestinian Authority would have to stop funding terror or lose funding. And since the Palestinian Authority won’t stop funding terror and they don’t want to cut its funding, they hate all or nothing.

AIPAC hasn’t gotten behind the Taylor Force Act. Instead it’s holding out for some “revised” version that would make it meaningless while attracting bipartisan support. Meaningless pro-Israel measures that pass with huge majorities are AIPAC’s bread and butter. They’re its political Potemkin villages.

The ideal Taylor Force Act, according to AIPAC, most Democrats and some Republicans, would condemn terrorism without cutting a cent in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. It would contain a national security waiver and plenty of gimmicks that would actually increase funding for terror.

Instead of the Taylor Force Act, the call is on for a “Taylor Force like” bill that would be like it the way that a $25 Rolex being peddled from a wheelbarrow outside Central Park is like a real Rolex.

There are calls for a more “targeted” bill that would go after some, but not all of the PA’s funding.

But what would a targeted bill actually target? There are calls to exempt humanitarian aid. Never mind that much of the humanitarian aid really finds its way into the pockets of PA and Hamas leaders. Then there is the “security assistance” that enables the terrorists to pretend to fight terrorism.

And then there’s all the institutional support to maintain the corrupt authoritarian institutions of the PA while still providing all of the social services that the PA is supposed to provide, but doesn’t. We have to build roads and schools, and provide electricity and fund hospitals for our worst enemies.

If we can’t cut social services to the biggest terrorist welfare state in the world or security assistance to its terrorist armies, what can we cut?

You guessed it. Nothing.

Cut social services and we’ll just “radicalize” and “embitter” them further. Cut security assistance and they’ll have no choice but to resort to more terrorism. What can we do except give them more money?

A Taylor Force like bill will just move money around. And nothing will change. Senators will pat themselves on the back. And the State Department will see to it that the terror funding continues.

Just to make a madly irrational policy even more absurdly insane, critics of the Taylor Force Act claim that ending funding for terror will undermine Israeli security. The basis for this claim comes from what is usually described in umpteen news stories as a coalition of retired Israeli military officers.

But Caroline Glick has already exposed Commanders for Israel’s Security as a left-wing group with links toObama and Soros. CIS holds positions that undermine Israeli security. And it’s part of a pattern of recruiting retired Israeli security personnel and military people as fronts for anti-Israel agendas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu supports the Taylor Force Act. As do top former military officials. The first name on the list belonged to former Defense Minister Ya’alon; no friend of Netanyahu. The letter concludes by noting that, “The Knesset is considering passage of a law calling for deducting the amount the PA pays terrorists from the money Israel transfers to the PA. It is legislation sponsored by members of all parties, except the far-left Meretz and the Joint Arab List.”

And yet we have politicians and pundits who insist that “we should listen to the Israelis” and keep on funding the PLO. The “Israelis” they want us to listen to are not the country’s elected government and its voters, but a fake organization with an agenda and links to Israel’s opponents.

And so here we are funding terrorism to fight terrorism and listening to Israelis by ignoring them.

Sarah Yerkes of the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that threatening to defund the PA unless it stops funding terrorism could lead to it refusing to change its policy of funding terrorism. If the PA doesn’t stop financing terror out of the goodness of its heart, we’re utterly helpless to do anything except keep shoving more money into its dirty and bloody hands.

The consequences of not funding terrorism are too terrifying to contemplate. What else can we possibly do except nothing?

Cutting off money to the terrorists would just lead to more terrorism. That’s the sum of all the arguments. And there’s a word for it. Blackmail.

We can’t figure out how to stop paying blackmail money to Islamic terrorists. The most powerful nation on earth can’t stop writing big checks to one of the oldest active Islamic terror groups on the planet.

But it’s easy. You just stop sending the checks.

You stop worrying about stability, further radicalization and an imaginary peace process. You can’t buy stability by paying the biggest terrorist group to keep the smaller ones down. If you’re going to do that, you might as well start subsidizing the mafia to keep other criminals in line.

The PA, Fatah and the PLO constantly promote and celebrate Islamic terrorism. They’re not as bad as ISIS, but does that mean we should be funding every Islamic terrorist group less terrible than ISIS?

Finally, if the PA won’t stop funding Islamic terrorists who kill Israelis decades after signing what was supposed to be a peace accord with Israel, talk of a peace process is hollow nonsense.

The United States shouldn’t need a special bill to defund an Islamic terrorist group that has murdered many Americans over the years. We can’t end terrorism tomorrow. But we can at least stop funding it.

If only we can figure out how to stop writing the checks.

 

UN Report Places Some Blame on Palestinian Leaders for Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, July 12, 2017:

The United Nations has just issued a report entitled “GAZA TEN YEARS LATER – United Nations Country Team in the occupied Palestinian.” It was written from the false perspective that Gaza is still part of the so-called Palestinian territory “occupied” by Israel, which represents the official position of the United Nations as a whole. However, the report also contains some insights into the destructive pattern of conduct by the Palestinian leadership, contributing significantly to the misery of the people of Gaza.

If Israel were truly the “occupier” of Gaza, 12 years after its unilateral withdrawal and 10 years after Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza from Palestinian Authority control, Hamas would not be ruling Gaza, let alone remaining free to use the territory as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Israel. Indeed, the UN report itself demonstrated some cognitive dissonance on the question regarding who actually runs Gaza. In one breath the report asserted that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza because of “the control that Israel retained on Gaza’s air space, sea space and external borders continuously.” However, the report also noted the “exercise of government-like functions and territorial control” by the “de facto authorities in Gaza” – i.e., Hamas. The report described how “Hamas has increasingly tightened its grip on power” since seizing control and “was able to sustain its de facto authority and build up its military strength.”

Moreover, the UN report effectively undercut the premise that the Palestinians have achieved the prerequisites for recognition as a legitimate state, regardless of its authors’ intentions. There are severe unresolved divisions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, leading to separate and competing governing authorities and sets of laws within the territories that the Palestinians claim as the basis for their state. Consider the following verbatim quote from the UN report:

“The Hamas takeover of Gaza has had a significant impact on the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The fact that no presidential or legislative elections have been held in Palestine since 2006 has also created a democratic deficit that undermines the legitimacy of state institutions and their actions on both sides of the divide… The division has resulted in the establishment of two different lawmaking processes and the enactment of diverging laws in Gaza and the West Bank, further eroding the unity and coherence of the future state of Palestine.”

There is no harmonization of the legal frameworks applied by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority respectively within areas under their control, due to the division of basic government authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is “the establishment of a parallel justice system in the Gaza Strip,” according to the UN report. “In addition,” the report concluded, “the lack of a harmonized legal framework and judiciary has at times created situations whereby courts in the West Bank have refused to implement verdicts issued by Gaza courts and vice versa, to the great detriment of the individuals and families involved.”

Moreover, the UN report found that the division of authority has “caused a split of the Palestinian civil service, impacting the delivery of basic services such as education and health care.”

Whenever Palestinian UN delegates participate in UN meetings, representing the “non-member observer state” of Palestine, a title bestowed by the UN General Assembly several years ago, they proudly display their name plate saying “State of Palestine.” However, while the moniker that appears on the nameplate used to describe the Palestinians’ status at the UN may make the Palestinians feel good about themselves, it is meaningless in practical terms.

The United Nations Gaza report called into question the “legitimacy” of the Palestinians’ self-proclaimed “state institutions.” It found no coherent set of laws governing the Palestinian people as a whole. It found an utter lack of government capacity to provide basic public services. All this was not Israel’s fault.  It was due instead to the fundamental, unresolved division of authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is felt directly by the people of Gaza.

As the UN report stated:

“The Hamas coup in Gaza in June 2007 and the administrative division that followed between the PA and Hamas has had a significant impact on administration and public services in Gaza…Ten years later, the Palestinian divide shows no sign of narrowing. The divisiveness and mistrust between Fatah and Hamas poses significant challenges to the development of the Strip.”

To be sure, the UN Gaza report sharply criticized Israel for contributing to the dire conditions in Gaza. It said that Israel’s “restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land” violated international law. The report accused Israel of carrying out a blockade that “constitutes a form of collective punishment on the civilian population in Gaza contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, applicable to the occupied Territory.”

Aside from the fact that Israel no longer “occupies” Gaza, as discussed earlier, Israel’s self-defense measures in the face of Hamas’s rocket and terror tunnel attacks from Gaza are in accord with international law. Indeed, the UN report itself referred to what it described as “the military build-up in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups, which continued and intensified over the past decade, including the development, stockpiling and firing of rockets capable of reaching deep into Israel and the construction of sophisticated tunnels used for kidnappings and terrorist attacks in Israel.” The UN report documented how Israel’s restrictions on movements of people and goods into and out of Gaza increased only after “significant military escalation and rocket attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israel.”

Moreover, Israel has not imposed anything near what could be considered a complete blockade. Far from it, Israel has taken substantial national security risks in allowing into Gaza all manner of humanitarian aid and commercial products. Exports out of Gaza have also been liberalized.

As usual, the UN report on Gaza was unfairly critical of Israel. That’s known as “a dog biting a man” story. However, the fact that this UN report finally sheds some light specifically on the responsibility the Palestinian leaders themselves bear for the present plight of the people living in Gaza is “a man bites dog” story as far as the UN is concerned.

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