Latest Analysis and Commentary

Russia's Failed Adventure in Syria

by Con Coughlin  •  December 1, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Then there is the question of just how long Russia can afford to sustain its expensive military adventure in Syria. The Russian economy already has enough difficulties without having to bear the cost of Mr Putin's latest act of military aggression.

Left: A Russian SU-24 bomber crashing after being shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter on Nov. 24. Right: A Syrian rebel fighter prepares to fire a TOW missile at an Assad regime tank.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may well come to regret agreeing to Iran's request for Moscow to intervene militarily in Syria's brutal civil war.

The shooting down of a Russian warplane over the Syrian border by Turkey has graphically illustrated the risks Moscow faces after the Kremlin agreed to intervene on behalf of Syria's beleaguered President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Putin took his fateful decision to launch military action in Syria after meeting Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's notorious Quds Force, in Moscow last August. Visiting Moscow shortly after the conclusion of June's deal on the future of Iran's nuclear programme (JCPOA), Soleimani delivered a blunt warning to the Russian leader that the Assad regime, Russia's long-standing strategic ally in the Middle East, faced defeat without outside support.

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The Real Lesson of the Paris Attacks

by Douglas Murray  •  November 30, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • What if the terrorists had been targeting "just Americans," or "just diplomats" -- would that be "understandable terrorism" in John Kerry's thinking?

  • "If we should stop drawing cartoons, should we also stop having synagogues? Should they be converted into something else? Should we ask the Jewish people to leave?" — Organizer of a targeted fee speech event, in response to the question if they had brought the attack on themselves.

  • Much of the world may only have been just bragging or emoting in saying, "Je Suis Charlie" or "Je Suis Juif" in January. But it turns out not to matter: the terrorists of ISIS think we are all cartoonists and Jews anyway.

  • Since we cannot live with ISIS and similar groups, we had better do whatever it takes to speed up an end of our choosing before they speed up an end of their choosing.

"Understandable terrorism" vs. "impossible-to-understand terrorism"? Stéphane Charbonnier (left), editor and publisher of Charlie Hebdo, was murdered in Paris on Jan. 7 along with many of his colleagues, in a terrorist attack that John Kerry said had "a legitimacy... a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they're really angry because of this and that." Kerry contrasted that with the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris (right), which he claimed were "absolutely indiscriminate."

When the truth is revealed, it can be not merely unpleasant but often accidental. There have been several striking examples of this since the massacre in Paris earlier this month. In the days immediately after the attack, The Times of London interviewed residents of Paris. Referring to the latest attacks, one 46-year old resident also referred back to the attacks in January on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. "Every Parisian has been touched by these attacks," she said, referring to the latest attacks. "Before it was just the Jews, the writers or cartoonists."

If "just the Jews" was an unfortunate way of putting it, it was no less unfortunate than the reaction of America's top diplomat. Days after the latest Paris atrocity, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said:

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Palestinians: The Real Goal of the Intifada

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 29, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Abbas seems intentionally to ignore that he and his Palestinian Authority are responsible for the violence, as a result of their daily incitement against Israel.

  • A recent poll found that 48% of Palestinians interviewed believe that the real goal of the "intifada" is to "liberate all of Palestine." In other words, approximately half of Palestinians believe that the "intifada" should lead to the destruction of Israel, which would be replaced with a Palestinian state -- one that now would be ruled by Hamas and jihadi organizations such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

  • It is notable that only 11% of respondents said the goal of the "intifada" should be to "liberate" only those territories captured by Israel in 1967.

  • The Palestinians do not, according to the poll, have a problem with "settlements" or "poor living conditions." They have a problem with Israel's existence. Palestinians do not see a difference between a West Bank "settlement" and cities inside Israel -- or differentiate between Jews living there. They are all depicted as "settlers" and "colonialists."

  • This contradicts Abbas's claim that the Palestinians want a "peaceful and popular" uprising. The Palestinians are not, as their leaders claim, seeking a two-state solution.

As the current Palestinian campaign of terrorism against Israel is about to enter its third month, it is still not clear to many what the Palestinians are trying to achieve. The Palestinians cannot even agree on a name for their campaign. Some are referring to it as an "intifada," while others are describing it as a "Habba Jamahiriya" ["popular puff," or "flurry"].

The Palestinians also have not been able to agree on the motives behind the stabbing, shooting, firebombing and car-ramming attacks. Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly claimed during the past few weeks that the terrorists are setting out to kill Jews out of "despair and frustration" and the lack of a "political horizon." But Abbas seems intentionally to be ignoring that it is he and his Palestinian Authority who are responsible -- together with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions -- for the violence, as a result of their daily incitement against Israel.

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5000-year-old Assyrian Culture Facing Devastation

by Uzay Bulut  •  November 29, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • "After all, killing the 'kafirs' [non-believers of Islam] was a 'good deed'. They were told 'their place in heaven was guaranteed.' Just like ISIS gangs... and that they would also take their relatives in hell to heaven." — Sabri Atman, Assyrian Genocide and Research Center.

  • When ISIS invaded Mosul in August 2014, Christian families were told by ISIS: "We offer [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract -- involving payment... if they refuse this, they will have nothing but the sword."

  • "There is a great parallel between 1915 and what is going on in the Middle East today. ... The most effective way to prevent future slaughter is to condemn past slaughter. Denying such a big crime means its continuation. The wish for genocide still exists in the Middle East." — Sabri Atman.

  • "The Turkish authorities let a few Assyrians stay to show Europe and the world how good-hearted and tolerant Turkey and Islam are. ... And they say, 'Assyrians lead their lives so happily thanks to this great tolerance!'" — Sabri Atman.

Left: A memorial in France commemorating the 1915 Assyrian Genocide in Turkey. Right: An Islamic State member destroys a Christian tombstone in Mosul, Iraq, in April 2015.

The recent invasions and massacres committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Syria have brought a persecuted but mostly forgotten people to the attention of the world: the Assyrians.

The Assyrians, a native people of Mesopotamia, have been exposed to massacres before -- throughout history, in fact.

Due to these campaigns of extermination, the demographic character of the region has been changed greatly.

Before 1915, the population of the territory that is now Turkey was about 15 million, about 4.5 million of which was Christian (nearly a third). Today, one can hardly even talk of a Christian minority. The approximate population of Turkey is 80 million, but there are only around 120,000 Christians, less than 1% of the population.

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Turkey: Wrong Partner to Fight Terror

by Burak Bekdil  •  November 28, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • In Erdogan's usual Sunni supremacist language, he accused the victims of jihad rather than the jihadists.

  • "New tragedies will be inevitable," Erdogan said, "if the rising racism in Europe and other countries is not stopped." Yet Erdogan willingly ignores the rising racism, xenophobia, and anti-western, jihadist sentiments that increasingly command the hearts and minds of his fellow Turks.

  • How should Erdogan fight Islamic terror -- something he does not believe exists? One of Erdogan's famous remarks is, "there is no Islamic terror." But he thinks that "just like fascism," Zionism is a crime against humanity.

  • It is so funny that the free world cannot see that its ally in fighting the jihadists is another jihadist.

Turkish President (then Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, meeting with Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal (center) and Ismail Haniyeh on June 18, 2013, in Ankara, Turkey. One of Erdogan's famous remarks is, "there is no Islamic terror." (Image source: Turkey Prime Minister's Press Office)

Racism is bad, no doubt. But it cannot be the reason why jihadists kill "infidels," including fellow Muslims in Muslim lands. Sadly, the free world feels compelled to partner with the wrong country in its fight against Islamic terror.

The host of this year's G-20 summit, which came right after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, was Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his usual Sunni supremacist language, he accused the victims of jihad rather than the jihadists. "New tragedies will be inevitable," he said, "if the rising racism in Europe and other countries is not stopped. Racism, coupled with enmity against Islam, is the greatest disaster, the greatest threat."

Yet Erdogan willingly ignores the rising racism, xenophobia, and anti-western, jihadist sentiments that increasingly command the hearts and minds of his fellow Turks. A quick look at a few sports games and fan behavior in recent weeks would reveal much about the Turkish mind and heart.

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Longtime Belgian Mayor: A Godfather of Jihad?

by Stefan Frank  •  November 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • "Instead of bombing Raqqah, France should be bombing Molenbeek." — Eric Zemmour, French journalist.

  • No one, at least outside Belgium, is talking about Molenbeek's long-time anti-Semitic mayor and the alliance with radical Islamists that secured his power.

  • The majority of the terrorists who have appeared in Europe in recent times originated from a single neighborhood, six square-kilometers in size -- an astounding concentration.

  • "[T]here are more veiled women here in Molenbeek than in Casablanca." — Resident interviewed by investigative reporter Gilles Gaetner.

  • The many shops run by Jews suddenly disappeared in 2008 after harassment and threats by local "youths." How did Mayor Moureaux react? By accusing Belgian Jews of wanting to deny Muslims the "right to diversity."

  • It is supposed to be Israel's fault when the Arabs of Belgium -- and especially those of Molenbeek -- have a bad reputation? This type of anti-Semitic resentment is unfortunately not only typical for Moureaux, but for his entire party.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud (left), suspected by French authorities of masterminding this month's terrorist attacks in Paris, is -- like many terrorists in Europe -- from Molenbeek, Belgium. Philippe Moureaux (right) was mayor of Molenbeek for 20 years, thanks to his alliance with radical Islamists.

The Molenbeek district of Brussels is considered Europe's "terrorist factory." At least three of the perpetrators of the November terrorist attacks in Paris came from there: Ibrahim Abdeslam, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and the remaining fugitive Salah Abdeslam. The list does not stop there. The Viennese daily newspaper "Die Presse" writes:

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Declaration of Geert Wilders before the Court

by Geert Wilders  •  November 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • During the first meeting, the investigative judge told to me, "You should have a fair chance; the law will be interpreted broadly." But the opposite has happened. All my 39 requests, all the requests from the defendant have been rejected. ... if all reasonable requests are rejected, then I cannot defend myself, and I apparently have to be sentenced at all costs.

  • I am taken to court for what I have said. But I have said nothing wrong. Fewer Moroccans, fewer Syrians, fewer Mexicans, fewer Russians, I do not see why stating that is punishable. However, when Turkish members of the Dutch parliament call me a tumor that must be fought and when they compare me to Hitler, then there is no consternation, no massive complaints on pre-printed forms, no prime minister who speaks shame of it and no Public Prosecutor to come into action.

  • What kind of country are we living in?!

Geert Wilders during his March 2014 speech, where he asked "Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?" (Image source: video screenshot)

Mr. President, members of the Chamber,

I have the right to a fair trial. That is why I am here.
Not to ask you a favor. But to ask you what I am entitled to.
A fair trial. And the right to defend myself in the best possible way.
If you do not give me that chance then this trial will be a farce.

During the first meeting, the investigative judge told to me, "You should have a fair chance; the law will be interpreted broadly." But the opposite has happened. All my 39 requests, all the requests from the defendant have been rejected.
Apparently, I am not allowed an adequate defense.

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Sweden's Muslim Christmas Show

by Ingrid Carlqvist  •  November 26, 2015 at 4:45 am

  • What finally seems to be dawning on the Swedes is that while the government puts the right to asylum before the safety of its own people, the country could be filling up with terrorists.

  • "No, 'Sweden' has not been naïve. You, your party and your coalition partners have been naïve and you still are." — Mattias Karlsson, Parliamentary group leader of the Sweden Democrats.

  • The announcement that a person such as Dirawi, who professes to be of the Islamic faith, and who according to Islamic scholars should believe the celebration of the birth of Christ is a heathen tradition, will be Christmas Host, sparked feelings of anger and betrayal.

Swedish Public Television's appointment as Christmas Host of Gina Dirawi, who professes to be of the Islamic faith, and who according to Islamic scholars should believe the celebration of the birth of Christ is a heathen tradition, sparked feelings of anger and betrayal in Swedes. (Image source: Expressen video screenshot)

From the night of the Paris attacks until Tuesday, when Sweden's government announced it was reversing its open-borders policy, Sweden was in a state of turmoil. No matter what the government said, it accomplished nothing -- other than making the Swedes increasingly livid.

When Prime Minister Stefan Löfven accused his people of being naïve about radical Islamism, anger exploded on social media. You could read comments such as: "No. Some of you have been naïve. The rest of us have been labeled fascists and other ugly things."

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Message for Thanksgiving Day

November 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

We have so much to be thankful for; let us not throw it away. Very Happiest Thanksgiving to our Gatestone Family. — All of us at Gatestone

Who Is Jailing and Torturing Palestinian Journalists?

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) sees no need for international intervention to halt its own crackdown on freedom of speech. Nor does it consider the closure of a newspaper office and the detention of journalists as a "war crime."

  • The report reveals that Palestinian detainees have been undergoing severe torture while in PA detention. During the past few years, ten people have died in Palestinian prisons. As far as we can see, no one from the European community has taken the slightest notice.

  • The detention of Khalil is seen in the context of the PA's continued effort to silence and intimidate Palestinian journalists who dare to criticize the Palestinian leadership and its institutions.

  • The PA clearly wants a media that reports only against Israel. The only incitement permitted is the one directed there.

  • Western human rights groups that regularly condemn Israel for its actions against Palestinians have, as usual, failed to respond to this latest assault by the PA on public freedoms. The PA's crackdown on the media is not going to attract the attention of the mainstream media in the West: the story lacks an anti-Israel angle.

Journalists Amer Abu Arafeh (left) and Naela Khalil (right) were recently arrested by Palestinian security services for criticizing the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) recently and not surprisingly announced that it was planning to file a complaint with international organizations over Israeli "assaults" and "crimes" against Palestinian journalists.

The Palestinian Ministry of Information condemned the "assaults" as a "war crime" and said it would urge the International Federation of Journalists to send a commission of inquiry to the Palestinian territories to launch an investigation against Israel.

Ironically, the PA's announcement came only a few days after it ordered the closure of a newspaper office in Ramallah and the detention of a female journalist, Naela Khalil. The announcement also coincides with the PA's ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the West Bank, where Palestinians are being arrested for posting critical remarks on social media.

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Germans Opposed to Mass Migration are "Free to Leave"

by Soeren Kern  •  November 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • After factoring in family reunifications, the actual number of migrants could exceed 10 million, and some believe that Germany's Muslim population is on track to nearly quadruple to an astonishing 20 million by 2020.

  • N24 television news reports that up to 50% of the asylum seekers arriving in Germany have gone into hiding and their whereabouts are unknown by German authorities.

  • "It cannot be that offenders continue to fill the police files, hurt us physically... and there are no consequences. ... We are losing control of the streets." — Tania Kambouri, a German police officer.

  • "We are not excluding anyone, we are just trying to run a business. If we ignore the complaints of our female guests, we have to expect that many of our regular customers will stay away.... Financially, we do not know how long can we cope with this." — Thomas Greil, manager of the discotheque "Brucklyn," Bad Tölz, Bavaria.

  • "We are reproducing faster and faster. You Germans are not getting any children. In the best case you get two children. We make seven to eight children. Okay mate? And then we take four wives each, then we have 22 children. Maybe you Germans have one child and a dog. Huh? And that's it." — Video showing a Muslim threatening a German man openly on the street.

  • In Berlin, lawmakers are considering emergency legislation that would allow local authorities to seize private residences to accommodate asylum seekers. The proposal was kept secret from the public until November 9, when the leader of the Free Democrats (FDP) in Berlin warned the measure would violate the German Constitution. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller now wants to expand the scope for warrantless inspections to include "preventing homelessness."

  • "The same empathy we show for refugees we must show to our own people, the host society." — Mayor Ulrich Maly, Nuremberg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left): "The Chancellor has the situation under control. I Have My Vision. I Will Fight For It."

Asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are continuing to pour into Germany in record numbers, despite freezing temperatures and snow.

More than 180,000 migrants arrived during the first three weeks of November, on track to surpass the previous monthly record of 181,000 migrants recorded in October.

With 300 newcomers now arriving every hour, Germany is expected to receive more than one million asylum seekers in 2015, and at least as many in 2016. After factoring in family reunifications, the actual number of migrants could exceed 10 million, and some believe that Germany's Muslim population is on track to nearly quadruple to an astonishing 20 million by 2020.

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Sweden: Rape Clinic for Men, Publicly Funded "Virginity Tests"
One Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Sweden: October 2015

by Ingrid Carlqvist  •  November 23, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • Stockholm opened what is believed to be the world's first rape clinic for men. More and more men are being subjected to homosexual rape in multicultural Sweden. 370 sex crimes against boys and men were registered in 2014, although the actual number of incidents is thought to be significantly higher.

  • Sweden's strategy seems to be to keep the borders open and then redistribute the asylum seekers to EU countries that have an immigration policy completely different from Sweden's open borders and generous welfare benefits. Whether other EU countries want to relieve Sweden's burden remains to be seen.

  • Police documents show that 70% asylum seekers whose applications are rejected ignore the decision and stay illegally in Sweden.

  • The councilman argued that one should be able to talk about everything, so long as it is true. Two days later, he was forced to apologize and stress that he is not a racist.

  • Swedish authorities care more about the murderer's future in his native Eritrea than they do about the risk that he will kill more Swedes.

  • Weapons smugglers have figured out a way to drive through customs checkpoints without being pulled over. The customs officers have orders never to stop cars with more passengers than there are customs officers present, according to the Lokaltidningen weekly newspaper.

  • The young men raped the girl, beat her and half-strangled her. The men, because they were believed to be under 18, were sentenced to juvenile detention. In six to nine months, they will be cruising Stockholm by night again.

On October 13, three men were arrested as suspects in an August 24 hand grenade attack against police. Left: A police van is riddled with shrapnel (left) from the hand grenade attack. The four policemen in the vehicle at the time could have been killed if the van had not been armored. At right, the Malmö police bomb squad disarms a hand grenade found in Landskrona, on September 22.

On October 6, the radio program P4 Halland reported that an imam in Halmstad called homosexuality a "virus." In a video posted on his mosque's YouTube channel, the imam talked about raising children. He said that parents need to make sure their children have good immune systems, as there are many viruses floating around in society -- one of them being homosexuality. The lecture was held in association with the Sobriety Movement's Educational Activities (Nykterhetsrörelsens bildningsverksamhet). Its members immediately terminated their collaboration with the mosque.

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Is China Heading to a 1930s-Style Crash?

by Gordon G. Chang  •  November 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • One statistic summarizes the situation: in Q3, there was $460.6 billion of net capital outflow. No economy can survive outflows of that size. The Chinese economy has never made sense, but confidence held it together. Now, the confidence is gone.

  • There are indications that China's economic growth rate is, in reality, close to zero. Take the most reliable indicator of Chinese economic activity, the consumption of electricity.

  • China's Communist Party has been closing off the Chinese market to foreigners, recombining large state enterprises back into formal monopolies, increasing state ownership of enterprises, and shoveling more state subsidies to favored market participants.

  • Just about everyone correctly agrees that a new round of structural economic reform could restart growth.

"On conservative growth projections, China's economy could well be bigger than the sum of all the G7 economies in real terms within the next decade," writes Peter Drysdale, the editor of the popular East Asia Forum website.

Not everyone is as optimistic as Drysdale, but the general view is that China will work through a transitory period and enter a new phase of growth powered by consumer spending.

Are China's economic problems merely temporary -- a year or two at most -- as the majority view suggests?

Perhaps, but there are also reasons to believe the country will have to endure prolonged hardship, either two or so decades of recession and stagnation or, more probably, a sharp 1930s-style crash followed by years of deep contraction.

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Turkey's Oppression Machine

by Burak Bekdil  •  November 22, 2015 at 4:00 am

  • The law stated that the homes and workplaces of those non-Muslims who could not afford the tax would be sequestered.

  • Under the AKP rule, Turkey's dwindling Jewish community, now at around a mere 17,000, as well as other non-Muslims, have come under systematic intimidation from government politicians and bureaucrats. These non-Muslim minorities are also often the targets of racist attacks.

Ishak Alaton (left), a 90-year-old Turkish Jewish industrialist, is being investigated on charges of "supporting terror," for providing financial and moral support to Fethullah Gulen (right), a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who is a political rival of Turkey's president.

It was 1942 when, one day, Hayim Alaton, a Jewish yarn importer in Istanbul, received two payment notices from the tax office: He was asked to pay 80,000 liras in total -- a fortune at that time. He ran to the tax office to object, but was told to pay the whole amount within 15 days. It was the infamous Wealth Tax, passed on Nov. 11, 1942 and it remained in effect for a year and a half until it was repealed on March 14, 1944.

The Wealth Tax exclusively targeted Turkey's non-Muslims at a time when 300,000 Orthodox Greeks and 100,000 Jews were living in Istanbul (where total population was one million). The law stated that the homes and workplaces of those non-Muslims who could not afford the tax would be sequestered. Alaton was able to pay no more than 11,000 liras. That was the start of "black years," as Alaton's son, 15 years old at that time, would later recall.

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More Palestinian and Western Mistakes

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 21, 2015 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinian "victims" -- victims of their own credulousness -- are known as shuhadaa, martyrs for the sake of Allah, victims of the misconception that Allah wants us to die for him. But Allah forbids us to murder. Muhammad forbids us to murder. The Qur'an forbids us to murder.

  • Europeans, in general, obviously want the Jews dead -- so long as the murder cannot be traced back to them. They seem to be hoping that their boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, combined with Arab and Iranian "hit men," will do the job for them.

  • Also tragically, it has taken Mahmoud Abbas too long to realize that the ultimate objective of Hamas, the local representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, after killing Israelis, is to have this violence cost the Palestinian Authority its existence in the West Bank. There, they openly plan to set up another Islamic emirate, like the one in the Gaza Strip.

  • The knife-wielding Palestinian children -- and the other young people who commit murder -- are also not a spontaneous occurrence. They do not simply "spring" full-blown from "imperialism," "Syrian bombings" or an "endangered Al-Aqsa." They are the product of a careful, methodical, ongoing tactic of brainwashing about how glorious it is to become a shaheed [martyr] by murdering.

  • We do need to liberated, but not from the people you think. We do not need help being liberated from Israel, which, even if it is harsh, has always been fair to us, but from the self-satisfied diplomats even now -- in our name -- swanning down the glossy halls of Europe.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking on PA television, September 16, 2015.

The Palestinians have taken it upon themselves to sacrifice our younger generation -- on the altar of pointlessness -- again.

The Palestinians have been sending their children -- still in their teens, and intoxicated by hatred and lies as the assassins of old were intoxicated by hashish -- to the streets of Israel and the roads of the West Bank to murder Israelis again. And for what? Is Al-Aqsa mosque in danger? It is not. But the cynical, calculating Fatah, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas -- and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement which has just been banned -- are desperate to bring the Palestinian issue back to the headlines. They hope it would displace the true catastrophe of the chaos in Syria and Iraq, which has led to the flood of refugees to Europe.

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