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The Greatest Possible Problem for Europe

by Douglas Murray

There are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.

The Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.

Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us - Again

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.

"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.

"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.

"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.

"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.

"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.

Iran: Executions and an Amputation

by Shabnam Assadollahi

The number of executions in Iran in 2014, up to June 5, now totals 325; the Iranian government has admitted to only 122. These numbers do not include the Iranian regime's "silent executions" -- depriving prisoners who were tortured of medical care, and then claiming they died in prison of "natural causes."

The Terrorists' Reality Show

by Pierre Rehov

For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.

In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.

There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.

The Doctrine of Proportionality

by Shoshana Bryen

Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.

Latest Analysis & Commentary

UN probe of Israel will only encourage Hamas war crimes

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Richard Goldstone destroyed his career by producing the discredited 2009 report for the "United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict", which had no evidentiary support. (Image source: (UN/Jean-Marc Ferre)

There you go again," as Ronald Reagan said to Jimmy Carter. Once again the United Nations Human Rights Council has voted – with the United States dissenting – to conduct a so-called "investigation" of Israel's military responses to Hamas's double war crimes. Once again Israel will have to decide whether to feed the kangaroos that make up this court by cooperating with yet another phony investigation whose outcome is predetermined. Yet again Israel is presented with a Hobson's choice: If it refuses to cooperate, it will blamed for denying the investigatory commission relevant information; if it cooperates it will lend credibility to a conclusion that has already been reached.

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Hamas's Absurd War against Israel

by Salim Mansur  •  July 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

What we are witnessing is Israel engaged in a struggle against Hamas, against Palestinians, against Arabs, against Muslims, and against an expanding body of opinion in the West that is less and less inhibited from displaying the rancid anti-Semitism behind its support for those who openly call for another Holocaust for the Jews.

Gaza was returned to the Palestinians in 2005 as a test for building trust.

This verse [31:27 ] means that no one Muslim should claim that he has a monopoly over the reading of the Quran, for that would amount to reducing the majesty of God to the smallness of man.

The sound of battle is louder than the call to prayer.

Chaim Weizmann, a Zionist leader and future President of Israel (L), meets with Emir Feisal in 1918.

When a few years ago I travelled to Israel, I had the specific purpose in mind of making my own pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Looking back on that summer of 2010, Israel was enjoying an interlude of uncertain peace. More than a year earlier, in December 2008-January 2009, the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] had been sent into Gaza to disarm Hamas because of their launching rockets into Israel; then two years later, in November 2012, the IDF went back into Gaza again for similar reasons.

As I watch with people across the world, the IDF has once more been reluctantly forced into military action to stop Hamas from firing hundreds of rockets capable of reaching deep inside Israel, I shall try to go beyond simple and easy condemnations of the brutality of wars and ritualistic sympathy for its victims.

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Why Abbas Endorsed Hamas Demands

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  July 24, 2014 at 4:30 am

Evidently Abbas has reached the conclusion that unless he hurries up and declares his support for the Palestinian "resistance" in the Gaza Strip, his people will march on his office and force him to quit. Abbas's fear of a revolt has driven him into the open arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Another reason for the unexpected change in Abbas's policy might be the promise of financial aid he received from Qatar -- an enemy of Egypt's al-Sisi, but the largest funder of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Abbas know that if he wants to survive, he will have to be on the side of the radicals.

Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014. (Image source: Handout from the Palestinian Authority President's Office/Thaer Ghanem)

Until recently, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas was very critical of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their refusal to accept the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.

But now Abbas appears to have made a 180-degree turn and has even endorsed the conditions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a cease-fire.

The shift in Abbas's position became evident after he visited Doha, Qatar, where he held separate talks with Emir Tamim bin Thani al-Hamad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Prior to his visit to Doha, Abbas was in Cairo, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and discussed with him ways of ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

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How selective body counts incite more violence

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The media has obsessively counted every dead body in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They rarely explain why so many more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed: Hamas does not allow Palestinian civilians into their shelters, while using civilian areas from which to fire their rockets; Israel, on the other hand, devotes its resources to building shelters and Iron Dome protection. Put another way, while Israel uses shelters and Iron Dome to protect its civilians, Hamas uses its civilians to protect its rockets and its terrorists. A widely circulated cartoon makes this point effectively:

Recently, supporters of Hamas have argued that to say that Hamas uses civilians as human shields is a manifestation of racism and an attempt to dehumanize Palestinians. But it is Hamas' own leaders who have long boasted of this tragic reality. Listen to Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council:

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The U.S.-Israel Alliance: No Apologies Necessary

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  July 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

There is no change in U.S policy toward Israel that will win any true allies in the Middle East, despite what Arab leaders claim. They often assert that if only we would solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem first, relations would improve. This is a tactic. These leaders employ it simply to divert Western officials from making demands on them, instead of on Israel. The reality is that most Arabs view the U.S., its European allies and Israel with ineradicable contempt.

A test launch of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile defense system, jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel. (Image source: United States Missile Defense Agency)

Remember the commentaries after 9/11 that "we should have been expecting something like this"? Some even implied that America was, in part, responsible for the attacks because of our one-sided policy toward the Muslim world, and in particular, "our support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian land."

Remember also, though, the news reports about the cheering and dancing in Palestinian Arab neighborhoods on 9/11? Perhaps these celebrations resembled the high-fives and other macabre gestures of glee made by some Palestinian Arabs following the recent kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers in Gush Etzion, near the ancient Judean city of Hebron.

Guilt-riddled apologies for America's alliance with Israel can only be explained by ignorance, by disingenuous attempts to curry favor with Arabs, or for some, by a darker motivation.

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Has Hamas ended the prospects for a two state solution?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  July 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas's decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international travel. It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal. Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas, there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.

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The Terrorists' Reality Show
Who Has the "More Romantic Story"?

by Pierre Rehov  •  July 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.

In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.

There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.

Pictures and footage from other conflicts, mostly from Iraq and Syria, are being used in the media to depict Israeli "atrocities" in Gaza.

"This whole conflict," the foreign journalist said over coffee, "is a prime time show; the Palestinians provide us with the more romantic story."

Terrorism is a show; it needs a producer and a distributor. Without a certain complicity from the international media, terrorism would not be so effective and might even disappear altogether.

While Hamas is raining rockets and missiles on the Israeli civilian population, and in return, is suffering a high level of destruction and hundreds of casualties as a result of collateral damage, one might ask: "What is the purpose?" The same question is also true of suicide terrorism. The genuine aim seems to be to gather sympathy while terrorizing the enemy, with an audience on an unlimited number of channels.

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Palestinians: The Arabs Betrayed Us - Again

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

Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.

"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.

"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.

"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.

"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.

"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.

Sheikh Ekremah Sabri, the former mufti of Jerusalem and a leading preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, claims that the three wars waged by Israel against Hamas have been "coordinated" with the Arab countries.

Every now and then, the Palestinians are reminded of the fact that most Arabs don't care about them and their problems.

Arab "indifference" and "silence" toward the current war between Israel and Hamas has once again reminded Palestinians of the "betrayal" by their Arab brethren.

It is not that Palestinians were expecting the Arab countries to send their armies to fight Israel and prevent an IDF ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Palestinians say they were not even expecting the Arab governments to send money and medicine to thousands of families inside the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular feel that the Arab world simply does not care about them and does not even want to hear from them.

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EU Leaders Deeply Divided Over Russia

by Soeren Kern  •  July 21, 2014 at 4:30 am

European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.

For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."

The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.

A battery of the Russian-made Buk (SA-11) anti-aircraft missile system, which is the type of system used to shoot down flight MH17.

European divisions over relations with Russia are being laid bare by the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

The missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 claimed the lives of 298 passengers, including 230 Europeans, making it the single most deadly act of terror in modern European history.

But despite a growing body of evidence that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine, the European Union's 28 member states have still been unable to agree on even a basic unified response to the attack.

Western European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands—all of which enjoy strong trade relations with Russia—have long been reluctant to antagonize Moscow, based largely on economic and energy supply considerations.

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The Doctrine of Proportionality

by Shoshana Bryen  •  July 20, 2014 at 5:00 am

Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.

One journalist labeled Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system "unsportsmanlike" because it protects Israel's civilian population too well. (Image source: IDF)

As the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza continues, increased attention will be focused on the notion of "proportionality" in both the number of casualties on both sides and the sophistication of the weapons each side brings to bear. Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg characterized Israel's operations against Hamas in language that came close to an accusation of war crimes. "I really do think now the Israeli response appears to be deliberately disproportionate. It is amounting now to a disproportionate form of collective punishment." Even President Obama, who has been a firm advocate of Israel's self-defense in this instance, told reporters that he "encouraged" Prime Minister Netanyahu to "minimize civilian deaths."

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Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS "Caliphate"

by Irfan Al-Alawi  •  July 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.

The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.

The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."

A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi speaks at a Mosul mosque on July 4, 2014.

At the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, coinciding with the end of the Western month of June, a new caliphate, or Islamic religious and political order, was proclaimed on the borderland of Iraq and Syria. As described by international media, the news was included in a "declaration of war" released as an online audio statement by Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a representative of the purported "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS (also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, based on differing English translations of "Sham," the Arabic name for Greater Syria, which long included all the lands on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean). ISIS is now to be deemed simply "the Islamic State."

Within days, the man who calls himself Abu Bakr Al-Husayni Al-Qurayshi Al-Baghdadi issued a declaration as head of the purported "Islamic State," titled pompously, "A Message to the Mujahidin and the Muslim Ummah."

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Gatestone Weekly Roundup

by Nina Rosenwald  •  July 20, 2014 at 3:00 am

"What if Hamas had military superiority?" — Colonel Lawrence A. Franklin (Ret.)

The conflict between Hamas and Israel has, as Colonel Lawrence A. Franklin documents, the different military tactics used by Hamas and Israel: "Would Hamas have dropped millions of leaflets to warn civilian residents before staging bombing runs? Would Hamas have tailored its air targeting to avoid, as much as possible, innocents from becoming casualties?"

Gatestone contributors also tried to draw attention to the Obama Administration's failure to address the threat of missiles in the hands of Iran, among other rogue regimes and terrorist organizations. "Missiles are indeed becoming the weapon of choice of both terror groups and rogue states," writes Peter Huessy. Should America care? (Yes!)

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The Greatest Possible Problem for Europe

by Douglas Murray  •  July 19, 2014 at 5:00 am

There are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.

The Israel-haters are no real problem for Israel, but they are the greatest possible problem for Europe.

A protest in London against Israeli military actions in Gaza, in 2009. (Image source: STML/Flickr)

The barricades are up again outside the Israeli Embassy in London, as they are across many capitals of Europe. Given that even more rockets than "normal" have been raining down on Israel in recent days, any sane country would need further barricades outside the Israeli embassy in order to contain yet another demonstration of support for Israel. But no, another day in London and another Palestinian-ist and Socialist Worker party protest is going on against the Israeli state.

The protestors are not, of course, demonstrating because they especially care about the lives of the people of Gaza. If they cared about the lives of Palestinians -- or the people of the region in general -- they would have spent night after night outside the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Turkish, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian embassies, among others. They would be sore from sleeping outside Belgravia townhouses. But they are not. They are fresh and raring for the fight.

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Missile "Diplomacy"
U.S. Not Connecting the Dots

by Peter Huessy  •  July 18, 2014 at 5:00 am

There is presently concern that programs to prevent short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from reaching Europe will be delayed under pressure to make concessions to both Russia and Iran, to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program,

Once deployed, an adversary's long-range missiles could be used for coercion, terror or blackmail. It would seem more prudent to anticipate such threats before they become a reality.

An Iranian "Khalij Fars" mobile ballistic missile on parade in Iran. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Countries stretching from North Korea through South Asia and into the Middle East are apparently trying to bolster their military capability by building long range rockets capable of coercing, terrorizing or blackmailing their neighbors.[1]

In the past month, for example, we have seen Hamas try a new kind of diplomacy, while launching over 1000 rockets at Israel.

In Iraq, the terrorist army ISIS, now controlling large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, paraded a Syrian Scud missile through the streets of Al-Raqqah, in an attempt to demonstrate its power.

In Ukraine, rebels used Russian missiles to shoot down a Ukraine troop transport, killing thirty soldiers.

In Syria, rockets launched by Damascus have forced Turkey, a NATO member, to deploy missile defenses to protect its civilian population.

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"Jihad City": The Hague

by Timon Dias  •  July 18, 2014 at 4:30 am

With Western countries as enemies, why would jihadists need friends?

In Western Europe, cultural relativism is still the norm. There is no such thing as better or worse, there is only different. One should not consider one value superior to another value, no matter what these values actually are. And it had better be different the way one thinks it should be: not "politically incorrect."

Former Netherlands Chief of Defense Peter van Uhm says that he respects jihadist fighters in Syria because they are fighting for an ideal. That this ideal refutes every Western ideal that he himself holds dear, apparently does not affect his apparent respect for jihadists.

Dutch national law, however, has now been subordinated to European Union law.

Yilmaz, a well-known Dutch-Turkish jihadist fighting in Syria, will on his return home to the Netherlands be entitled to a host of special welfare benefits unavailable to other, normal citizens.

The former Netherlands Chief of Defense, Peter van Uhm -- whose son was killed by an IED in Afghanistan the day after Van Uhm was appointed Chief -- recently caused a controversy during a radio show about native fallen sons. He stated that Dutch youths who have chosen to fight in Syria should be respected for their idealism and their willingness to defend the women and children of Syria against Assad.

He later also stated that people judge these youths too easily: "The question whether their environment and our society have made sufficient efforts in keeping these people on the right track, is too rarely asked. You have to understand these young people, otherwise you cannot hope to help them." Van Uhm later added that he "Could not approve of their [jihadists'] modus operandi."

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