Latest Analysis and Commentary

Evidence that Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal Since Day One?

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 23, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The IAEA first ignored the reports about Iran's undeclared clandestine nuclear facilities. This should not come as a surprise: the IAEA has a long history of misreporting the Islamic Republic's compliance with the deal and declining to follow up on credible reports about Iran's illicit nuclear activities.

  • New evidence shows that Iran's theocratic establishment was most likely violating the nuclear agreement since the day that Obama's administration and Tehran struck the deal in 2015.

  • The international community would truly do itself a great service to recognize that the nuclear deal was nothing more than a pro-mullah agreement which provided Iran's ruling clerics with billions of dollars to pursue their anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Iranian people and pro-terror activities, while simultaneously providing cover for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian government is advancing its nuclear program at a faster pace. Recently, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran declared that Tehran has activated advanced centrifuges. Pictured: The Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The Iranian government is advancing its nuclear program at a faster pace. Recently, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) declared that Tehran took the third step in increasing its nuclear activities by activating advanced centrifuges: 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges.

The previous two steps that Tehran took included: increasing the enriched uranium stockpile beyond the 300kg cap, which was set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and enriching uranium to levels beyond the limit of 3.67 percent.

As part of its rush to a nuclear breakout capability, the Islamic Republic of Iran is also expanding its research and development work beyond the limitations set by the JCPOA. Iranian nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told a televised news conference, "We have started lifting limitations on our Research and Development imposed by the deal ... It will include development of more rapid and advanced centrifuges."

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India: Modi's Welcome Move on Kashmir

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  September 23, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Since the partition of India in 1947, which established the two independent states of India and Pakistan, Pakistan has infiltrated soldiers into Indian Kashmir, assisted anti-Indian Muslim terrorists in Jammu-Kashmir and sponsored many murderous operations inside India proper.

  • India is determined to safeguard its standing as the world's most populous democracy, particularly in the shadow of the rising power of totalitarian China, which enjoys a close relationship with Pakistan. Revoking Article 370 sends a clear signal to both Pakistan and China that India will resolutely defend its territory against efforts by Islamabad or Beijing to whittle away at Indian sovereignty in any portion of its territory.

  • India may therefore consider a strategic alliance with the U.S. to protect the Indo-Pacific region from Chinese territorial aggression and acquisitive claims of sovereignty in the South and East China Seas.

  • "Pakistan has threatened to use nuclear arms. Pakistan is somewhere where terrorists have been able to plan bloody terrorist attacks in Europe without mentioning tremendous human rights violation in Pakistan." — Fulvio Martusciello, Italian MEP, speaking at the European Parliament, September 18, 2019.

Since the partition of India in 1947, which established the two independent states of India and Pakistan, Pakistan has infiltrated soldiers into Indian Kashmir, assisted anti-Indian terrorists in Jammu-Kashmir and sponsored many murderous operations inside India proper. Pictured: Srinagar, the largest city of Kashmir. (Image source: KennyOMG/Wikimedia Commons)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently responded to the heavy criticism he has been receiving -- and to violent protests that erupted -- over his controversial decision to revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted a certain degree of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, by calling for "hugging each Kashmiri" and for the creation of a "new paradise" in the valley.

Modi accused elements "from across the border" in Pakistan of spurring the protests that have been taking place since August 5, when New Delhi announced the revoking of Article 370 – a move he said "is going to be the medium for fulfilling the aspirations and dreams of the people of Jammu and Kashmir."

Modi insisted that what the "youth, mothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir" want is "development and new job opportunities."

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"Convert, Marry Me, or Die": Persecution of Christians, July 2019

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  September 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "How ready is the government to go up against certain groups that try to impose their own will on others." — Reverend Timotheus Halim, head of the Family of God Church ucanews.com, July 25, 2019, Indonesia.

  • Fatemeh Azad, a 58-year-old Muslim woman who had converted to Christianity against her Muslim husband's will and fled to Germany, was denied asylum there and deported back to Iran. There she was immediately arrested by authorities waiting for her plane to land.... "When Fatemeh made her asylum appeal, her lawyers argued that apostasy (conversion away from Islam) is punishable by the death penalty in Iran." This, however, was insufficient for Germany.... — Persecution.org; July 25, 2019, Iran, Germany.

  • Finally, a 14-year-old Christian girl was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, forced to marry a Muslim man, and then taken before a Muslim judge to sign a statement saying she had acted on her own free will...."[G]irls often give such statements because they are already living with their kidnappers," and "death threats are made towards their family, and therefore the victims have no choice but to say what their kidnapper wants them to say in court....." — Lawyer, AsiaNews.it; July 26, 2019; Pakistan.

On June 27, unidentified armed individuals entered the village of Bani, Burkina Faso, looking for Christians. When they found four men wearing crosses, "the assailants singled them out. All four were taken aside and executed." Pictured: Bani, Burkina Faso. (Image source: Adam Jones/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Slaughter of Christians

Syria: Islamic jihadis gang-raped a 60-year-old Christian woman before stoning her to death. When no one in Yaqoubiya, a small Christian village in Idlib governorate, saw Susan Grigor (or "Gregory") on July 9, the worried priest sent parishioners to search for her. They eventually found her mangled and bloodied corpse on the ground of a field adjacent to her home.

The autopsy revealed that Susan had been repeatedly raped and tortured over the course of nine hours before finally being murdered by stoning. The men responsible are believed to be members of the al-Qaeda-linked jihadi group, al-Nusra. Described as a pious Christian, Susan had never married and lived her entire life as a virgin. Although she never children, Susan reportedly loved them and, after retiring, volunteered much of her time helping educate the youths of her local church.

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When Negotiation Is Impossible and War Is Unnecessary

by Amir Taheri  •  September 22, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • It is likely that whoever planned the attacks was more interested in testing the waters, seeing how far it was possible to go in provocation...

  • What the mullahs did not realize was that the new status quo came at no cost to the Americans, who could thus afford to prolong it as far as needed. All that Trump did was announce that anyone trading with the Islamic Republic could not trade with the US, and that the US would no longer allow the mullahs to use American global banking and trade facilities.

  • In every case, the tyranny of the underdog worked and the mullahs managed to continue crushing their opponents at home and fattening their cohorts abroad while casting themselves as champions of the downtrodden resisting the diktats of the "Great Satan."

  • Khamenei's best hope is for Trump to go for a pin-prick operation that would shake but not topple the Khomeinist regime while mobilizing Iranian and international opinion in its support as a victim, thus forcing the easing of sanctions that are beginning to break the bones of his regime.

Will President Donald Trump fall for the claim that as far as the Iran is concerned the only choice is between full-scale war and surrender to the mullahs' agenda? No one, perhaps not even Trump himself, knows the answer. Pictured: President Trump on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Will the attacks on Saudi oil installations last week upset the status quo that has taken shape in the past 17 months, that is to say, since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the "Iran nuke deal" concocted by Barack Obama?

The headline-grabbing sensationalism of the attacks, largely attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran but denied by the mullahs, may suggest "yes" as an answer. A closer look, however, might suggest a more nuanced reply. It is likely that whoever planned the attacks was more interested in testing the waters, seeing how far it was possible to go in provocation without making a crushing response inevitable, rather than a serious attempt at upsetting the status quo.

However, first, let us see what we mean by the new status quo, which has replaced the one created by Obama in his final years in office.

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US Adversaries: Nothing to Fear from the White House?

by Con Coughlin  •  September 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • This [shooting down a US Navy drone] was a clear-cut act of provocation against the US in violation of international law, one that required a firm and decisive response from the White House.

  • Yet, having initially threatened to respond militarily, President Trump then changed his mind, thereby allowing the Iranians off the hook.

  • With Mr Trump's focus firmly fixed on winning re-election in next year's presidential election contest, the Iranian regime has probably concluded that the White House is determined to avoid all forms of overseas military intervention at any cost.

  • The result is that Iran -- and other adversaries of the US, such as China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and the Taliban -- now may feel even more emboldened to continue their provocative actions in the Gulf and elsewhere, knowing that, so long as Mr Trump is in the White House, they do not have to fear they will be subjected to military retribution from Washington.

With President Trump's focus firmly fixed on winning re-election in next year's presidential election, the Iranian regime has probably concluded that the White House is determined to avoid all forms of overseas military intervention at any cost. Pictured: A portrait of Iran's previous "Supreme Guide," the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (Image Source: FrankvandenBergh/iStock by Getty Images)

For all US President Donald Trump's bluster that the US military is "locked and loaded", the reality is that the White House has absolutely no interest in launching military action against Iran in retaliation for its involvement in the devastating attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure. It is a decision doubtless not lost on Iran.

On the contrary, for all Mr. Trump's machismo posturing, the most the President can be expected to do is intensify the sanctions regime against Tehran, a move that is unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of Iran's battle-hardened veterans of its Revolutionary Guard.

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Do Palestinian Leaders Want a Better Life for Their People?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 20, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "We talked about the general situation of Palestinian refugees who have been living in Lebanon for the past 72 years. We told them that Palestinians in Lebanon are banned from working in 70 professions and have no right to own property. We gave them a list of 2,300 Palestinian refugees from Syria who want to go to Canada." — Mu'awya Abu Hamideh, a representative of the Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria to Lebanon after 2011, akhbarten.com, September 9, 2019

  • Human Rights Watch says that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in "appalling social and economic conditions" and are barred from employment in at least 25 professions, "including law, medicine, and engineering."

  • "The Palestinian factions and others who benefit from our stay in Lebanon are denouncing us as traitors and of serving foreign agendas... but if anyone has another solution, he should bring it to the table. We are sure, however, that these voices are designed to prevent us from living in dignity." — Mu'awya Abu Hamideh.

  • Instead of encouraging and assisting their people to move on with their lives and seek a better future for their children, Hamas and other Palestinian groups continue to lie to the refugees by promising them that one day they will go back to their villages and towns in Israel.

Palestinian factions are trying to stop Palestinians in Lebanon from leaving their refugee camps. The factions want the refugees to continue living in misery and poverty so that they can continue to use them as pawns in the conflict with Israel. Pictured: Burj Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon administered by UNRWA. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Are the Lebanese seeking to get rid of the Palestinians living in Lebanon? Many Palestinians seem to think that the Arab country they have been living in for decades has plans to throw them out.

Palestinian factions, meanwhile, are working in precisely the opposite direction, trying to stop the Palestinians from leaving their refugee camps. The factions want the refugees to continue living in misery and poverty so that they can continue to use them as pawns in the conflict with Israel.

They are hoping that the continued presence of refugee camps will keep the issue of the refugees at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In recent weeks, many Palestinians have been flocking the embassies of several Western countries in Lebanon asking to be granted asylum for humanitarian reasons.

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France: Macron Sides with Iran's Mullahs

by Guy Millière  •  September 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • On September 14, just a few days after former National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton was comfortably disappeared from the administration, Iran inflicted major damage on a massive oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia,

  • Macron, in short, has done as much or more than any other European country to favor the Iranian regime -- more than Germany, and even more than the European Union itself. He could have chosen to act as a reliable ally of the United States, but the choice he made was a different.

  • The French officials act and speak as if the Iranian regime was totally honorable, and as if they did not discern the obvious: that the Iranian regime has destructive goals. The nuclear deal did not divert the regime from its goal of building nuclear weapons. The deal, in fact, floated the regime toward precisely that end. The American strategy of applying maximum pressure through economic sanctions seems the only non-military way to pressure this regime to change course.

During a visit to Washington in April 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron's main goal seemed to be convincing US President Donald Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. He tried seduction, hugging Trump incessantly, before turning to arrogance, saying in a speech before Congress: "France will not leave the Iranian nuclear agreement because we signed it. Your President and your country will have to face their responsibilities." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On August 25, in Biarritz, France, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) reunited to discuss world problems. The situation in the Middle East was not on the agenda. French President Emmanuel Macron, the organizer of the summit this year, was about to force it in.

He had decided to invite to the summit Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Macron did not warn his guests of Zarif's attendance until the last minute. His goal, it seems, was to bring about a meeting between the Iranian minister and US President Donald J. Trump. President Trump declined. Zarif had an informal conversation with Macron and some French ministers, then flew back to Tehran. But Macron did not give up. At a press conference the next day, he publicly asked President Trump to meet Iranian leaders as soon as possible.

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A Tribute to the Late Václav Havel on the 30-Year Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

by Josef Zbořil  •  September 19, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "The less the state is required to have a say in everyday economic affairs, the better." — Václav Havel, Summer Meditations, p. 78.

  • "[A] functioning market economy can never guarantee any genuine social justice. They point out that people have, and always will have, different degrees of industriousness, talent, and, last but not least, luck. Obviously, social justice in the sense of social equality is something the market system cannot, by its very nature, deliver." — Václav Havel, Summer Meditations, p. 17.

  • "[A]ll of us... face one fundamental task from which all else should follow. That task is one of resisting vigilantly...the power of ideologies... bureaucracy, artificial languages and political slogans. We must resist.... the wellspring of totalitarian thought." — Václav Havel.

Václav Havel in 2003. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

November 2019 will mark the 30-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in former Czechoslovakia, led by the dissident author and playwright, the late Václav Havel (1936-2011), who subsequently became the first president of what became the Czech Republic. Havel's works reflected the evils of Communism and its inversion and twisting of morality.

In an address to the US Congress in February 1990, Havel said:

"The Communist type of totalitarian system ... unintentionally... has given us something positive: a special capacity to look, from time to time, somewhat further than someone who has not undergone this bitter experience. A person who cannot move and live a normal life because he is pinned under a boulder has more time to think about his hopes than someone who is not trapped in this way... We too can offer something to you: our experience and the knowledge that has come from it."

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Next for Turkey? Nuclear Weapons!

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 18, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now wants to make Turkey a rogue state with nuclear weapons.

  • For several decades, Turkey, being a staunch NATO ally, was viewed as the trusted custodian of some of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the early 1960s, the U.S. started stockpiling nuclear warheads at the Turkish military's four main airbases

  • Presently, the nuclear warheads in Turkey at Incirlik airbase still remain at the disposal of the U.S. military under a special U.S.-Turkish treaty. That treaty makes Turkey the host of U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the launch protocol, however, both Washington and Ankara need to give consent to any use of the nuclear weapons deployed at Incirlik.

  • "Countries that oppose Iran's nuclear weapons should not have nuclear weapons themselves." — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hürriyet, 2008.

  • If Turkey overtly or covertly launched a nuclear weapons program -- as Erdoğan apparently wishes -- the move could well have a domino effect on the region. Turkey's regional adversaries would be alarmed, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Greece might be tempted to launch their own nuclear weapons programs. Erdoğan should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now wants to make Turkey a rogue state with nuclear weapons. (Photo by Getty Images)

During the 17 years he has ruled NATO-member Turkey, the country's Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has rarely missed an opportunity stealthily to convert Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's secular, pro-Western establishment into a rogue state hostile to Western interests. Erdoğan now wants to make it a rogue state with nuclear weapons.

"They say we can't have nuclear-tipped missiles, though some have them. This, I can't accept," Erdoğan said in a September 4 speech, while conveniently forgetting that Turkey has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1980. In other words, Turkey's elected leader publicly declares that he intends to breach an international treaty signed by his country. Turkey is also a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations, for any purpose.

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"Jack... Is a Really Kind, Funny Kid... Totally Non-violent."

by Andrew Ash  •  September 18, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "He [Jack] is a very humane person and he wanted to do something to help." Mr Letts said about his son, then adding, "He is a really kind, funny kid who is very gentle. He is totally non-violent."

  • As with so much of the mitigating rhetoric that follows the imprisonment of captured British Muslims, Mr Letts's words sit very much at odds with his son's previous murderous statements. How mystifying then, that such a peacenik should end up in the bloody killing-fields of Raqqa.

  • A far bigger problem than what to do with the likes of Jack Letts and Shamima Begum is the possibility of missing British ISIS fighters returning and making their presence felt.

  • No matter how heartfelt a plea their parents might make on their behalf after they are captured, their children's real inclinations might best be measured by their actions while they were free to do as they wished.

As with so much of the mitigating rhetoric that follows the imprisonment of captured British ISIS jihadists, the words of John Letts sit very much at odds with his son's previous murderous statements. How mystifying then, that such a peacenik should end up in the bloody killing-fields of Raqqa. Pictured: John Letts and Sally Lane, the parents of Jack Letts, dubbed "Jihadi Jack". (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

"This power [to remove citizenship] is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe." — UK Home Office spokesperson, August 2019.

Jack Letts, dubbed "Jihadi Jack", the British convert to Islam who travelled to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS, has been stripped of his British citizenship. The former dual-national, whose British mother and Canadian father stand by their son, exchanged his picturesque hometown of Oxford for Raqqa, to join the ranks of ISIS. He is currently awaiting his fate in the custody of Kurdish forces.

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UK: The Push to End Free Speech

by Judith Bergman  •  September 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "We are concerned that the definition... could be used to challenge legitimate free speech on the historical or theological actions of Islamic states. There is also a risk it could also undermine counter-terrorism powers, which seek to tackle extremism or prevent terrorism." — Martin Hewitt, Chair, National Police Chiefs' Council.

  • Islam represents an idea, not a nationality or an ethnicity. The conventional purpose of most hate-speech laws is to protect people from hatred, not ideas.

  • The new proposed definition would criminalize criticism of Islam. Considering the origins of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, that is probably the whole point.

  • "[A]n alternative definition of Anti-Muslim Hatred should be specific and narrow. It should focus on addressing bigotry directed at individuals, and avoid censoring debate or freedom of expression on religion. Finally, a comprehensive definition of Anti-Muslim Hatred must take intra-Muslim hatred into account to protect those who want to speak freely or express themselves differently." — Nikita Malik, Forbes, May 20, 2019.

Martin Hewitt, Chair of Britain's National Police Chiefs' Council, recently said: "We are concerned that the definition... could be used to challenge legitimate free speech on the historical or theological actions... There is also a risk it could also undermine counter-terrorism powers, which seek to tackle extremism or prevent terrorism." (Photo by Anthony Devlin - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

In April 2018, Britain's All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims began work on establishing a "working definition of Islamophobia that can be widely accepted by Muslims, political parties and the government".

In December 2018, the group concluded its work with a "Report on the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia / anti-Muslim hatred." The report defines "Islamophobia" as a form of racism, conflating religion with ethnic origin or nationality: "Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."[1]

The report, furthermore, claims that a definition of Islamophobia is "instrumental" to "the political will and institutional determination to tackle it."

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Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

by Uzay Bulut  •  September 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was held on September 13. Sadly, no one at the meeting addressed the persecution of journalists in Turkey -- not José Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group, nor Béla Szombati, who represented the European Union, nor any other participant.

  • Amnesty International recently tagged Turkey the "world's largest prison for journalists."

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council, if it wishes to change its image from that of a laughing stock, should put at the top of its agenda calling Ankara to task. Meanwhile, however, Erdoğan's violations of freedom of speech need to be exposed daily and loudly condemned -- not only by members of the UN and the media, but by any and all allies of Turkey -- and freedom of expression -- in the West.

(Image source: iStock)

International human-rights and press-freedom organizations recently appealed to the United Nations to take action against the ongoing abuse of journalists by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on September 3, eighteen organizations -- led by the group ARTICLE 19, which promotes freedom of expression -- called on "all Member and Observer States committed to media freedom, democracy and the rule of law" to "speak out and address the Turkish government's repressive campaign against freedom of expression" in the forum of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention during the UNHRC's 42nd regular session.

The letter reads, in part:

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Palestinians' Blood Libels Against Israel, Jews

by Bassam Tawil  •  September 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Instead of acknowledging their responsibility for failing to combat the drug trafficking, the leaders of Hamas have been trying to blame everyone but themselves.... These leaders are trying hard to convince Palestinians that Israel and Hamas's rivals in the Palestinian Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, are responsible for flooding the Gaza Strip with illegal drugs.

  • The Palestinians' attempt to establish a connection between Israel and illegal drugs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is no less dangerous than their terrorist attacks against Israel. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are sending the following message to their people: The Jews are conspiring to destroy Palestinians by delivering illegal drugs to our communities. Therefore, we need to fight these Jews to prevent them from achieving

  • The Palestinians have never provided a shred of evidence to corroborate this false accusation against Israel. Why should they allow the truth to get in the way of a good story? Palestinian leaders are experts when it comes to blaming Israel and Jews, instead of the real sources, for all the miseries of their people.

  • Palestinian leaders are also unlikely to denounce the criminals and terrorists who planted the narcotics in the shampoo and cream bottles of ill women before they traveled for medical treatment in Egypt. Instead, Palestinian leaders will continue to incite their people against Israel and Jews, spreading blood libels of every sort at every turn. In that way, Palestinians will continue to hunt down Jews -- whether they are behind trees and rocks or in plain sight.

Palestinian journalist Mirvat Oaf has noted that smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt have long been playing a major role in flooding the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave with various types of illegal drugs. Pictured: A Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip, working as a tunnel-digger, is lowered into a smuggling tunnel that is being dug under the border with Egypt, on April 22, 2009. (Photo by Ahmad Khateib/Getty Images)

The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has long been serving as a center for various terrorist groups that are responsible for thousands of terror attacks against Israel. In the past few decades, these groups have engaged in smuggling various types of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian terrorists also appear to be smuggling various types of illegal drugs into the Gaza Strip. Alarmed by the increased smuggling of illegal drugs, Hamas has begun waging a campaign against the drug-traffickers.

Earlier this year, Hamas announced that its security forces seized a large shipment of hashish smuggled from Egypt into the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Later, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior launched a hotline for anonymous feedback and tip-offs on drug-related crimes.

The crackdown came in the aftermath of charges that the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip were not serious about dealing with the problem of drug trafficking.

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A View of the U.S. from Across the Atlantic

by Andrew Ash  •  September 16, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months.

  • Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

  • The only thing that has not changed is the Democrats' make-believe view that President Trump and the Russians were somehow trying to rig the election, when it was, in fact, they themselves who were doing that.

Pictured: An aerial view of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Image source: US State Department/Flickr)

Before the advent of online news, residents of the UK had to rely on the British press to report on the minutiae of the American political system -- something that didn't happen all that often. In politics what went on in the USA, stayed in the USA, most of it at least. Beyond a major political upheaval, or the swearing in of a new president, news reportage was more concerned with the cut and thrust of our own routine domestic politics.

Only the bickering between the Democrats and Republicans rang a familiar note, mirroring as it did, our British Punch and Judy stereotype, with the stuffy old Tories on one side, and the loony-left Labour on the other.

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A "Guide" to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by the United Church of Christ

by Denis MacEoin  •  September 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Titled, "Promoting a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel", and sub-headed "A Guide for United Church of Christ Faith Leaders", this toxic document is a desperately one-sided, inaccurate, and counter-factual exercise in futile politics.

  • There is no room in it for a Jewish, Israeli or moderate Christian voice; just hatred of Israel and defence of the Palestinians who, time after time, have turned down generous offers of peace. The naïvety of the UCC is particularly striking in its choice to take at face value the Palestinian statement that if Israel ended its occupation, "Then they will see a new world in which there is no fear, no threat but rather security, justice and peace." That is simply bunkum. Sadly, the Palestinians have a history of regarding every goodwill gesture by Israel as a retreat, as the triumph of aggression over diplomacy -- as if to say: We shoot at Israelis and they leave; so, let's keep shooting!

  • Palestinian terrorism against Israelis has continued up to 1967, right through the period of Israeli non-occupation. There were no "settlements" then. Rather, the Palestinians have always regarded all of Israel as one big "settlement". Just look at any Palestinian maps; they cover both the entirety of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

  • The UCC boasts that it is "a just peace church", but instead of supporting peace and justice, it defends mass murderers. It complains about the defensive actions of the Jews but is knowingly silent about the horrors wrought by Palestinian wars and terrorism.

Wafa Samir al-Biss personifies the deep dehumanization of Jews by Palestinian terrorists and those multitudes who praise and honor them. Ms Biss attempted to bomb Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, Israel -- the very hospital where, as a burn victim, she had been treated for months by Jewish and Muslim doctors and nurses. Pictured: Soroka Hospital. (Image source: Avishai Teicher/PikiWiki/Wikimedia Commons)

Welcome to yet another skewed guide on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. After a vote to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel in 2015, an organization affiliated with the UCC, the UCC Palestine Israel Network (UCCPIN), published a guide to Israel-Palestine affairs. Titled, "Promoting a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel," and sub-headed "A Guide for United Church of Christ Faith Leaders", this toxic document is a desperately one-sided, inaccurate, and counter-factual exercise in futile politics. Legally, UCCPIN operates under the aegis of one of the denomination's local conferences. Its Guide is, therefore, not the direct work of the church's leadership, but is clearly endorsed by a section of it.

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