Latest Analysis & Commentary

Is the Gaza War Really Over?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 28, 2014 at 5:00 am

It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.

Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."

Masked Hamas gunmen celebrate their "victory" over Israel before the international media this week. (Image source: Facebook/Palestinian Information Center)

Statements made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and spokesmen following the announcement of the long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel this week serve as a reminder of their true intentions and strategy.

Over the past two months, the two groups, together with several armed factions in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly announced that their main goal was to end the "siege" on the Gaza Strip and build their own airport and seaport.

During the cease-fire talks in Cairo, the Palestinian groups repeatedly and stubbornly insisted that complying with these demands, along with opening all the border crossings with the Gaza Strip, was the only way to end the violence and achieve a long-term cease-fire with Israel.

However, it is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

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Sorry to Remind You, but Golda Meir Was Right - Part II of IV

by Burak Bekdil  •  August 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!

A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.

Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?

Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.

Jihadists keep on saying that "they love death more than we love life." Good for them.

Then there are the proxy jihadists. In 2012, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said that, "Iran provided the Palestinian organizations the technology to produce Fajr-5 and other missiles, and they can now produce these missiles themselves in large quantities." Apparently, Iran will fight Israel down to the last Palestinian. And so will Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the Sunni mullah. It's one of the rare qualities Sunni and Shiite Islamists feature: They have an obsession about fighting Israel at times when their Sunni and Shiite militants are not busy killing each other.

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Hamas's "Victory"

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.

The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.

The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.

(Image source: IDF)

An Arab proverb says, "First he hit me, then, before I could accuse him, he complained" -- meaning, "It all started when he hit me back."

These days, every loyal Palestinian finds it very frustrating to listen to Hamas boast about its great victory against the Jews in Albunyan Almarsus, what the Israelis call Operation Protective Edge, while it complains that the Jews committed war crimes in Gaza.

These complaints recall the pathetic way Arabs boast to convince themselves that they won every war the Israelis defeated them in.

There is nothing more bizarre, though, than Hamas's complaints about the "war crimes" it accuses Israel of committing. According to Article 7 of the Hamas charter, the Hamas movement has a religious and national duty to kill all the Jews in Palestine -- and everyplace else:

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Sorry to Remind You, but Golda Meir Was Right - Part I of IV

by Burak Bekdil  •  August 27, 2014 at 4:30 am

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?

Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.

That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.

Once again, half the world is fighting alongside the Hamas jihadists and their Jewish nemesis. First, some facts:

1. In June, when there were no bombs and rockets travelling between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, three Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, were kidnapped. Eighteen days later their bodies were found.

2. The kidnapping was a cause for celebrations in Gaza where crowds cheered. Palestine's experimental unity government handed out sweets in celebration. Palestinian youths brandished a new salute, raising three fingers and showing joy at the kidnapping. Hamas' political leader, Khaled Mashaal, also Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ideological next of kin, said: "We congratulate the kidnappers."

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Austria: Springboard for Global Jihad

by Soeren Kern  •  August 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.

"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.

"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.

"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.

The Islamist known as "Abu Hamza al-Austria," fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.

The Austrian government has announced plans to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in an urgent effort to crack down on would-be jihadists in the country.

The decision by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to recruit 20 new intelligence officers to focus exclusively on the threat posed by radical Islam comes after police in Austria arrested nine Chechen immigrants who were on their way to wage jihad in Syria.

The move also comes amid growing concerns that Austria's shiftless Muslim youth are becoming increasingly radicalized and vocal in their support of the jihadist group Islamic State.

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Will Hamas Be Held Accountable for War Crimes?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 25, 2014 at 5:00 am

What Khaled Mashaal forgot to mention was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or who dare to challenge their terrorism.

According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian Authority government are "traitors" who should be dragged to public squares to be shot by firing squads. According to the same logic, Mahmoud Abbas himself should be executed for maintaining security coordination with and talking to Israelis.

As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes.

Masked Hamas members (dressed in black) prepare to execute local Palestinians who they claim spied for Israel, Aug. 22, 2014, in Gaza. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)

Hamas's extrajudicial executions of Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel are a sign that the Islamist movement is beginning to panic in the wake of Israel's successful targeting of its leaders.

But the public executions by firing squad of more than 26 suspected "collaborators" in the Gaza Strip could also turn many Palestinians against Hamas.

Hamas has banned the publication of the names of the executed Palestinians "out of concern for the social fabric" of Palestinian society.

In other words, Hamas is afraid that revealing the identities of the executed "collaborators" would spark outrage in the Gaza Strip and possible calls for revenge, especially from the families of the victims.

Hamas says that the suspected "collaborators" were brought before firing squads after being tried before special "revolutionary tribunals" consisting of security experts and officers.

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The Truth about Ukraine

by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy  •  August 25, 2014 at 4:00 am

It now appears that the plan was for these terrorists to shoot down a Russian passenger flight over the Ukraine in order to create a casus belli [cause for war].

Putin repeatedly claims that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as a "de-escalatory measure" even against non-nuclear states.

The evidence that this war was preplanned is overwhelming. The planning for this Ukrainian operation started in 2006, when Putin offered to "guarantee Crimea's territory."

The forces fighting in Kiev consist not mainly of "separatists" or rebels, but of trained Russian army, intelligence and paramilitary officers, as well as Russian and some Ukrainian "volunteers" recruited by Moscow.

Putin would incite disturbances in Crimea, then graciously offer to take over Crimea to solve the problems.

For the Russians, and particularly for Putin, Ukraine can have no future other than as a Russian colony. This is indeed a phased invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. did not accept Russian aggression before; it should not accept it now.

Russian-backed separatists parade Ukrainian army prisoners of war through the streets of Donetsk, Aug. 24, 2014. (Image source: RT YouTube video screenshot)

If "truth is the first casualty of war," Russia's war against Ukraine, illegally launched by Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, is no exception.

One of the saddest developments of this war is that on all political sides, in both Europe and the U.S., an entire army of Putin defenders has emerged, for whom the United Stares can do little right and Russia can do little wrong.

On the "right," for instance, Patrick Buchanan has discovered that Russia's President Vladimir Putin is supporting both Christian values and U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Consequently he asserts we should not be worried about his illegal annexation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine in violation of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for Russian and American assurances that the use of force or threats of military action would not be taken against it.

The facts, however, are against Buchanan.

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Just a Bit More Beheading than We Are Used To

by Douglas Murray  •  August 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

There has been a debate in the UK press suggesting we should hope that some of these ISIS killers come back to Britain, realize that jihad was all a phase and then head off to university for the start of the new term.

The beheading of James Foley was terrible, she stressed, "because we don't know what [his] views were."

Is there a time when even "combatants" -- or anyone else -- should be treated in this way? And who is to say who is a combatant and who not?

American journalist James Foley (left) is shown kneeling beside the British jihadist who murdered him moments later (Image source: Islamic State video)

Who is surprised? That is one question I have most wanted to know since the video was released of the murder of American journalist James Foley. The politicians keep expressing it. And interviewers have kept asking people whether they feel it. But who can honestly say that he was surprised to learn that the murderer of the American journalist turned out to be a "British" man?

Did anyone really still think that a British Islamist would not be capable of doing this? Why wouldn't he do it in Iraq or Syria if his allies had already done it in London? After all, it was only last year that two other Islamists beheaded one of our own soldiers – Drummer Lee Rigby – in broad daylight in London. And it is only twelve years since another Londoner – Omar Sheikh – arranged the abduction and decapitation of another American journalist, Daniel Pearl.

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Dutch Official Calls ISIS "A Zionist Plot"

by Evelyn Markus  •  August 23, 2014 at 5:00 am

The charge of "Islamophobia" is being used to silence people, so that any opposition will be neutralized before it can even start.

The black flag of jihad -- the flag of ISIS -- is displayed by demonstrators in the Netherlands.

On Tuesday last week, Yasmina Haifi, an official at the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands, tweeted: "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It is a preconceived plan of Zionists who want to deliberately make Islam look bad."

For the past ten years, Ms. Haifi has been a senior staff member at the human resources department of the Ministry of Security and Justice. For the past two years she has also worked as a project leader at two of the Ministry's subsidiaries, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism and the National Cyber Security Center.

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Is CAIR Lying about a Rally for Hamas?

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

CAIR should be treated as a marginal and despised group like the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.

A "Stop the Bloodshed in Gaza" rally in downtown Miami on July 20 featured aggressive Islamist chants typical of anti-Israel events. In English, the demonstrators yelled "We are Hamas!" and "We are Jihad!" (as can be seen and heard here). In Hebrew, a Hamas partisan screamed at an Israel-supporter, "Son of a bitch" and "Go to Hell!" and made an obscene arm gesture. In Arabic, the crowd chanted the infamous "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jew, Muhammad's army will return" (a reference to a massacre of Jews under the auspices of Islam's prophet in A.D. 629).

As I say, just a typical anti-Israel demonstration, and far from the worst. Typical – except that some of its sponsors desperately seek respectability.

In a July 23 report on the demonstration, investigative researcher Danielle Avel posted a scan of a glossy paper flier advertising the event, listing its seven sponsors:

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Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Not a Good Idea

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 21, 2014 at 5:00 am

A third reason Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank. Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear.

This is precisely what Hamas wants, a weak Palestinian authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel.

Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of it responsibilities toward the residents of Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, in February 2007, before Hamas seized total control of Gaza. (Image source: MaanImages)

Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.

The talk about restoring PA control over the Gaza Strip was first raised during the indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo.

The Egyptians made clear during the talks that they would like to see PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his forces reassume control over the Gaza Strip. One proposal called for deploying security officers belonging to Abbas's "Presidential Guard" along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The Egyptian proposal has won the backing of the U.S. Administration, many European governments and some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Abbas, who lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in the summer of 2007, has thus far refrained from publicly commenting on these reports.

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The Beheading of James Foley and Other Unintended Consequences

by Shoshana Bryen  •  August 21, 2014 at 4:30 am

Both the president and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. But ISIS speaks precisely in Islamic terms and holds itself out to be authentic Islam.

The goals of Hamas and the goals of ISIS, to create a society on its own principles -- "ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic and valueless evil," to quote Mr. Kerry -- are the same.

Spot the differences: Hamas or ISIS? Above, members of ISIS in Gaza. (Image source: ISIS YouTube video)

There is a reason the American military asks of its civilian commanders, "Don't tell us what to do, tell us what you want done." Giving the military an executable military mission to accomplish is the most important responsibility of civilian command. A strategic plan helps the military respond quickly to the unintended consequences that result from every mission, without sliding into incremental and often unplanned escalation.

President Obama has dispatched up to 800 American soldiers and authorized more than 90 air strikes with a general idea of our "humanitarian" responsibilities, not our strategic interests. (That did not work too well in Libya.) Mr. Obama even characterized as "humanitarian" U.S. air support for Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi troops to prevent ISIS from controlling the Mosul Dam.

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ISIS is to America as Hamas is to Israel

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  August 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

President Barack Obama has rightfully condemned the ISIS beheading of American James Foley in the strongest terms. This is what he said:

"There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of the kind of a nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is group like (ISIS) has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security a set of values opposite of what we saw yesterday. We will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and stability."

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Anti-Semitism in Britain: "Sit Up and Take Notice"

by George Igler  •  August 20, 2014 at 5:00 am

"There is a direct link between politicians saying things and people being emboldened to go and attack Jews." — Jonathan Arkush, Vice-President, UK Board of Deputies.

It is never the person who commits these sorts of crimes that is held morally responsible by Britain's media or politicians. That honor is reserved for a nation over 2,000 miles away, Israel.

What if Christians objecting to the genocide being carried out by ISIS in Iraq, say, went around in mobs violently menacing Muslim businesses?

Empty shelves in the kosher section of a Sainsbury's supermarket in London, after management removed the kosher products, August 16, 2014. When asked about the removal, a staff member stated "We support Free Gaza". (Image source: Facebook/C. Appleby)

A striking feature of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Britain is the silence with which the country's leaders are choosing to respond to a growing climate of hatred and intimidation, directed not only at Jews themselves, but increasingly anything remotely Jewish.

According to a report published in July by the Community Security Trust, a charity established to ensure the safety of the Jewish community in 1994, even though four out of every five anti-Semitic attacks usually take place "in the main Jewish centers of Greater London and Greater Manchester," violent assaults against Jews and symbols of Judaism are also now taking place nationwide.

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Has the West Made the next Gaza War Inevitable?

by Trevor Norwitz  •  August 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

In this photo posted to Twitter by The Wall Street Journal's Nick Casey (and since deleted), a Hamas spokesman uses a room in Gaza's Shifa Hospital for a filmed interview, while seated in front of a huge photo of a bomb crater.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is right to say that, "children killed in their sleep ... is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame." No-one can be unmoved by the pictures out of Gaza: the loss of life, the carnage, the anguish and fear in the faces of women and children.

It is heart breaking. But he is wrong to blame Israel, especially in such injudicious terms. He, and many others in positions of power and influence, do a terrible disservice to humanity, to the cause of international peace and security, and to the Palestinian people (not to mention the Israeli people), by not stating unequivocally what they know to be the truth: that overwhelming responsibility for the mayhem in Gaza rests with Hamas (a part of the Palestinian national unity government).

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