Latest Analysis and Commentary

The "Separate" Palestinian State

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  November 12, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • To date, Hamas and Fatah have not been able to agree on the interpretation of the "reconciliation" agreements already signed. Fatah claims that the agreements are supposed to allow its Ramallah-based government to assume full responsibility over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, remains vehemently opposed to relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip.

  • Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, issued a strongly worded statement accusing Hamas of being part of a "Zionist-American conspiracy" to detach the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, Hamas is now cooperating with the US and Israel to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip. "There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip, and there will be no [separate Palestinian] state in the Gaza Strip," the statement quoted Abbas as saying.

  • Abbas can continue to present himself to the world as the "President of the State of Palestine" as much as he wants. He is only living in an illusion: it is obvious by now that he does not represent the two million Palestinians who are living in a separate Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years, and his chances of ever returning there now seem to be zero.

For the past 11 years, a number of Arab countries have tried to end the power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, to no avail. Several "reconciliation" agreements previously signed between Fatah and Hamas have never been implemented. Pictured: Abbas (right) and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meet on November 24, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt, in one "reconciliation" attempt. (Photo by Mohammed al-Hams/Khaled Mashaal's Office via Getty Images)

Last week, Hamas began paying salaries to thousands of its employees after Qatar sent a $15 million grant in cash to the Gaza Strip. The money was brought to the Gaza Strip by senior Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Amadi through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

The Qatari grant is in the context of efforts by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.

The payment was the first of a total of $90 million that the emirate has pledged to send to the Gaza Strip in the next six months, according to Palestinian sources.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, however, remain opposed to an agreement; reports say that one of the reasons they are opposed to a truce accord between Israel and Hamas is because such a deal will pave the way for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.

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Thanks to Our Veterans

November 12, 2018 at 4:00 am

Ceremonial US Air Force guardsmen during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Luxembourg American Military Cemetery, November 11, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

Endless thanks to all the courageous veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep our free world free.

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A Bloodbath for Christians, No Response from Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  November 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Seven pilgrims were shot to death, "just because they were Christian," said Pope Francis after the attack.

  • "The pilgrims were killed in such a savage and sadistic way, as if they were enemy combatants, when they were just simple Christians come to get a blessing from a monastery." — Coptic Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya, Egypt.

  • "The minimum response expected from president El-Sisi is to dismiss the head of State Security and the governor of Minya, as a clear sign of holding officials accountable. Furthermore, given the government's continued failure to protect the Copts, Coptic Solidarity vigorously calls for an independent inquiry by the UN to evaluate the Copts' situation and to recommend necessary measures to alleviate their increasingly perilous situation..." — Coptic Solidarity, Washington, DC.

On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery (pictured) in Minya, Egypt. (Image source: Roland Unger/Wikimedia Commons)

On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt.

Seven pilgrims -- including a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy -- were shot to death. More than 20 were left injured with bullet wounds or shards of broken glass from the buses' windows. "I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they were Christian," said Pope Francis after the attack.

Pictures posted on social media reveal "bodies soaked in blood and distorted faces of men and women." In one video posted, a man can be heard crying, "The gunshot got you in the head, my boy!" and repeating, "What a loss!"

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UN Member States: Migration Is a Human Right

by Judith Bergman  •  November 10, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • It cannot be stressed enough that this agreement is not about refugees fleeing persecution, or their rights to protection under international law. Instead, the agreement propagates the radical idea that migration -- for any reason -- is something that needs to be promoted, enabled and protected.

  • The UN has no interest in admitting that its agreement promotes migration as a human right; until recently, there has been little debate about it. More debate might risk jeopardizing the entire project.

  • UN member states are not only supposed to open their borders for the migrants of the world, but should also help them pick and choose their future country by providing them with comprehensive information about each country they may wish to settle in.

A new UN agreement, which almost all member states plan to sign in December, propagates the radical idea that migration -- for any reason -- is something that needs to be promoted, enabled and protected. Pictured: Migrants walk through fields towards a holding camp in the village of Dobova, Slovenia on October 26, 2015. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The United Nations, in a non-binding agreement that almost all UN member states will sign at a ceremony in Morocco in early December, is making migration a human right.

The finalized text of the agreement, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, although officially non-binding, "puts migration firmly on the global agenda. It will be a point of reference for years to come and induce real change on the ground..." according to Jürg Lauber, the representative of Switzerland to the UN -- who led the work on the agreement together with the representative of Mexico.

One immediate irony, of course, is that few countries have entry requirements as restrictive as Switzerland's. If one wishes to stay more than three months, not only is a "residence permit" required, but, "In an effort to limit immigration from non-EU/EFTA countries, Swiss authorities impose strict annual limitations on the number of residence and work permits granted to foreigners."

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Europeans React to US Elections

by Soeren Kern  •  November 9, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • "Many commentators around the world have looked at the US election results as a chicken looks at a knife: not knowing exactly what to do with it.... It is now proven that Donald Trump's election was not an accident. The victory in the Senate, even if anticipated, shows for the first time in a great democracy that a populist can keep power after having begun to exercise it." — Les Échos.

  • "...Trump is expected significantly to increase pressure on Europeans to invest the target of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. Above all, Berlin will face pressure to spend billions and billions of euros, because the federal government is far from achieving this goal." — Die Welt.

  • "Many in the country had hoped that the first full electoral verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump would deliver a decisive repudiation of Trumpism. The results do not bear this out." — Irish Times.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Vice President Mike Pence to give remarks a day after the midterm elections on November 7, 2018 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The American midterm elections attracted intense interest in Europe, where much of the political and media establishment are hostile to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, and many had openly hoped that the vote on November 6 would weaken him and his legislative agenda.

Newspapers and magazines across Europe provided saturation coverage of the elections. The overwhelming majority of commentaries and editorials, while customarily vitriolic in tone, grudgingly acknowledged that the midterm results did not amount to the total repudiation of the Trump Administration and may even help the president's chances for reelection in November 2020.

In terms of transatlantic relations, many observers raised fears that if the Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives, succeed in thwarting Trump's domestic initiatives, the president may place more focus on foreign policy and increase pressure on free-riding European allies to spend more for their own defense.

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China Infiltrates American Campuses

by Gordon G. Chang  •  November 8, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The main points of contact for Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) chapters in the U.S. are often intelligence officers in the embassy and consulates. China's Ministry of State Security uses CSSA students to inform on other Chinese on campus.

  • Let us get the FBI to round up Ministry of State Security agents who, up to now, have been given free rein to operate in America. Putting these agents behind bars or even just revoking their visas will end many of the activities that endanger American campuses. The Chinese kill CIA agents in China. The least Washington can do is declare China's agents personae non gratae.

  • The Chinese feel emboldened to violate American sovereignty and break laws because American administrations have let them do these things -- sometimes openly -- since at least the early 1990s. This is as much a Washington problem as a Beijing one.

  • Congress can also change laws to make life inhospitable for Confucius Institutes. Legislation should bar an educational institution from receiving any federal funds if it hosts a CI.

China's Communist Party has targeted institutions of higher learning as part of an intensive, multi-decade effort to influence American society. Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured) has placed great emphasis on international propaganda efforts. (Photo by Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images)

Beijing, in seeking influence on American college and university campuses, has been infringing on academic freedoms, violating American sovereignty, and breaking U.S. law. U.S. officials, neglecting their responsibilities to the American people, have allowed this injurious behavior to continue, in some instances for decades.

As an initial matter, some of this impermissible Chinese conduct is harmless, even amusing. As detailed by Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic in a landmark study for the Wilson Center, Chinese officials in 2004 and 2007 threatened then Columbia University professor Robert Barnett, the prominent Tibet expert, that if he did not adopt a more favorable view of China's policies they would -- heavens! -- stop speaking to him.

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How Extremist Scholars Promote Terrorism, Violence

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  November 8, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • "I would like to pay tribute to the sincere scholars of Al-Azhar and the Ministry of Awqaf [Endowments] who are working to correct the misconceptions about the tolerant Islamic religion and its moderate middle approach, to address and counter extremism and deviant ideology and to uphold the human, moral and love values among all human kind." — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, June 11, 2018.

  • The Grand Imam conspicuously chose to ignore the fact that many Muslims hate and despise non-Muslims. These Muslims are acting in accordance with what the Quran and the Hadith tell them about the disbelievers.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi deserves to be universally commended for his words supporting an approach to "counter extremism and deviant ideology and to uphold the human, moral and love values among all human kind." Pictured: Sisi addresses the United Nations on September 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Prominent Muslim scholars continue to argue that the Quran and Prophet Mohammed do not incite intolerance or killing Christians and Jews. Many scholars, however, seem prepared to do their utmost to hide this "inconvenient truth."

Take, for example, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt's preeminent Sunni university, who recently claimed that "there is no single verse in the Quran that calls for killing Jews or Christians."

While it is true that the Quran does not specifically call for killing Christians and Jews, the Hadith — a record of the words, actions, and the silent approval of Prophet Mohammed — does refer to killing all Jews.

The Quran, however does refer to Christians and Jews as disbelievers (for instance, Qur'an 98:6, 9:30, 4:46, 48:6, 2:88-89), and calls on Muslims to fight and kill disbelievers.

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Palestinian Threats to Arab Normalization with Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  November 7, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • "There's no place for the [Israeli] enemy on the map." — Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader, October 29, 2018.

  • A number of senior Fatah officials, including Munir al-Jaghoob and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu. They have also condemned the UAE for allowing Israelis to participate in the judo competition.

  • So, Fatah and Hamas cannot agree to pay their workers, they cannot agree on supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, and they cannot agree on providing medical supplies to hospitals there. They do agree, however, on inflicting more harm and damage on their people. If they go on like this, the day will come when the Palestinians will discover that their friends and brothers have become their biggest enemies.

Recent statements issued by Hamas and Fatah have strongly condemned Arab countries for "rushing" to normalize relations with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, during Netanyahu's official visit to Oman, October 26, 2018. (Image source: Israel PM's Office)

For more than 10 years now, Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction have been at war with each other. Attempts by their Arab brothers, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to solve the power struggle between the two rival Palestinian groups have thus far failed and are unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future. The gap between Hamas and Fatah remains as wide as ever: the two parties despise each other. Fatah wants to return to the Gaza Strip; Hamas says it out loud: no. Fatah wants Hamas to disarm and cede control over the Gaza Strip; Hamas says no.

On one particular issue, however, the two sides lay aside their differences and see eye to eye. When it comes to Israel, one would be hard-pressed to distinguish between Fatah and Hamas.

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How Saudi "Donations" to American Universities Whitewash Its Religion

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  November 7, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Saudi funding of an American academic "doesn't mean that he's bought and paid for." Rather, "there is a kind of silencing effect. It's more about what doesn't get written about... there may be some self-censoring on certain topics you don't raise unnecessarily, topics that are sensitive to the Saudis." — from a Washington, DC "insider," quoted in Vox.

  • "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Islam, the birthplace of its history, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. Saudi Arabia is committed to preserving the Islamic tradition in all areas of government and society..... The Holy Qur'an is the constitution of the Kingdom and Shari'ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system." — Website of the Saudi Arabian Embassy, Washington, DC.

  • A Saudi fatwa — in Arabic only — entitled, "Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels," was written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government. It comes from the fatwa wing of the government, meaning it has the full weight of the government behind it.

George Mason University and George Washington University (pictured) in the Washington, D.C. area, have each received tens of millions of dollars in Saudi-affiliated funding, according to a report in the Daily Caller. (Image source: Ingfbruno/Wikimedia Commons)

Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality?

This is the question that crops up when one considers the largesse that human-rights-abusing Saudi Arabia bestows on the leading universities — those putative bastions of progressive, free thinking — in the United States.

According to a recent report in the Daily Caller:

"... elite U.S. universities took more than half a billion dollars from the country [Saudi Arabia] and its affiliates between 2011 and 2017. Saudi Arabian interests paid $614 million to U.S. universities over a six-year period, more than every country but Qatar and the United Kingdom."

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A Month of Multiculturalism in Britain: October 2018

by Soeren Kern  •  November 6, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • There were 140 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Birmingham between April and June 2018.

  • "There remains a huge problem with professionals viewing forced marriage as a cultural issue rather than a crime. Many aren't even aware there is a law." — Jasvinder Sanghera, attacking the government's failure to tackle the problem of forced marriages.

  • The Ministry of Justice blocked plans for an academic study into why prisoners convert to Islam and how it can lead to radicalization. "They will have been concerned about what this proposed project will discover," a source said.

A leaked letter showed that Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to hand evidence on two British jihadis to American authorities for a federal prosecution, but without assurances that the death penalty would not be used. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

October 1. So-called "cutters" are being flown into Britain to perform female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls, according to The Independent. "The practicing community talk together, saying, 'My girl needs to be cut,' and pay the cutters to come into the UK and cut the girls here," said Hoda Ali, an FGM activist who works in West London. She added: "The reality is we need to open our eyes. We don't need to think just about faraway countries because right now we have girls who are in their late teens or even early twenties who were cut in this country. They are British girls who were born here and they were cut here."

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Germany: Merkel Throws in the Towel

by Stefan Frank  •  November 6, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • It was the policy of unchecked mass-immigration against which Chancellor Angela Merkel's party finally revolted.

  • The race to succeed Merkel as the party's chair is wide open, and these days, being a Merkel confidante is a liability rather than an asset.

  • The next party leader's sole role will be to share the blame for any new election defeats, starting with the elections to the European Parliament in June 2019 -- unless he distinguishes himself from Merkel and presents a set of convincing ideas for Germany's future.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 29, 2018, announced her resignation, a day after her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), suffered yet another crushing election defeat. Pictured: Merkel leaves after a press conference at a retreat of the CDU leadership on November 5, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 29, 2018, announced her resignation, a day after her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), suffered yet another crushing election defeat. Merkel said she would step down as leader of her party in December and would not seek re-election in 2021.

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The Middle East "Truce": Why Hamas Cannot Be Trusted

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 5, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • These benefits for Hamas are exactly why the proposed truce is dangerous and sends the wrong message to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists. A truce now says that if you engage in violent, extortionistic acts, you get what you want.

  • This victory for Hamas will, of course, only increase the terrorists' appetite and motivation to continue their attempts to kill as many Jews as possible. They will see any truce as a retreat on the part of Israel in the face of violence and terrorism.

  • Hamas will now have more time to prepare for the next war against Israel. The proposed truce will give Hamas breathing space to smuggle more weapons into the Gaza Strip, dig new tunnels and recruit thousands of Palestinians to its ranks.

  • A real truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip will be achieved only after the jihadi terrorists are removed from power, and not rewarded for violence and threats.

Pictured: Palestinian rioters in Gaza burn the Kerem Shalom Crossing, used to transfer goods from Israel to the Gaza Strip, May 4, 2018. (Image source: IDF/Flickr)

It is no secret that most of the Arab countries do not trust Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group. President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, for instance, as well as many Palestinians, do not have any confidence in Hamas, particularly after the summer of 2007, when the Islamist movement violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. Earlier this year, Abbas threatened that "shoes will be pouring" onto the heads of Hamas leaders.

Now, however, Israel is being asked to trust Hamas. This request is coming from Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations, whose representatives have been working hard the past few weeks to arrange a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.

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Asia Bibi: Pakistan's Judicial Betrayal

by Giulio Meotti  •  November 5, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • "I am requesting the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to help us exit from Pakistan." — Ashiq Masih, Asia Bibi's husband.

  • "Placing Asia Bibi on the ECL [no-fly list] is like signing her death warrant." — Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

  • Blasphemy laws in Pakistan "have been used to target religious minorities, pursue personal vendettas, and carry out vigilante violence. On the basis of little or no evidence, the accused will struggle to establish their innocence while angry and violent mobs seek to intimidate the police, witnesses, prosecutors, lawyers and judges." — Amnesty International.

Pictured: Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi, together with their daughter Eisham Ashiq, campaigning for Asia's release in 2015. (Image source: HazteOir/Flickr)

The joy over the acquittal of Asia Bibi lasted barely 24 hours. The Christian mother of five from Pakistan was forced to spend eight years in prison, much of the time on death row, ostensibly for "blasphemy," before the Supreme Court cleared her of any offense.

"I can't believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?", Asia Bibi said by phone after the historic sentence, according to AFP news agency.

Unfortunately, massive street protests by extremist Muslims immediately erupted to pressure the government to delay her release. The phone network in some areas was suspended for reasons of "security". Rioting caused schools in Islamabad, Punjab and Kashmir to close. Roads were blocked, paralyzing parts of Islamabad, Lahore and other cities. Christian schools warned parents to come and get their children for fear of violence. Churches were put on high alert. Protesters hold placards that read: "Hang Asia Bibi".

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Why Do Middle Eastern Refugees Vandalize Christian Structures?

by Burak Bekdil  •  November 4, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has often argued that Christian Europe should admit more Muslim refugees.

  • "I'll tell you strictly Muslim-to-Muslim. These (European social workers) are funny. I don't know why on earth they are in love with a Muslim cause that even we Muslims despise." — Syrian migrant to the author, Lesbos, Greece.

  • "The Syrian refugee crisis in lands stretching from the Middle East into the heart of Europe is another episode in a grandiose, multi-faceted Middle Eastern dilemma: Muslims in this part of the world view the Christian West as 'evil;' yet they know Christian lands are the most decent places to live economically and politically." — Burak Bekdil, 2015.

The local population on the Greek island of Lesbos has been extremely helpful to all Muslim migrants, but recent clashes there show the more realistic side of the Muslim immigration into Christian lands. Pictured: Pope Francis meets migrants at the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos, April 16, 2016. (Photo by Andrea Bonetti/Greek Prime Minister's Office via Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, launched a scathing attack on the European Union. He accused the EU of having not done enough to support the refugees and claimed that the EU should pay Turkey more than it pledged (three billion euros).

Erdoğan has often argued that Christian Europe should admit more Muslim refugees. In a 2016 speech, he angrily threatened to open the floodgates of migrants into Europe again (in 2015 alone, three quarters of a million migrants passed through Turkey on their way to Europe).

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Tale of a Christian Mother in a Non-Christian Land

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  November 4, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • It is time for the international community and human rights groups to turn their focus on the plight of these children, held hostage by a faith they are never given an option to choose.

  • Everyone should be free to practice any faith he or she desires without threats, without fear that their children will be tormented and ultimately executed for their beliefs.

  • One can only hope that one day this will be true for her family, and the multitudes of other families faced with the same oppression.

(Image source: iStock)

The Christian mother said it had all started out as a young woman might hope: with romance. She had fallen in love with a Muslim man and was certain that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She moved with him to his country, a place where radical Islamist laws govern the society. It seemed to her an adventure, a chance to see another part of the universe. But after the consequences it had for her and her family and their safety, she asked to remain anonymous.

As she entered into the dreamed-of wedded bliss with her husband, she had no idea, she said, of the legal and religious ramifications of her marriage that would follow. Yes, she noticed differences about her new way of life, but it was not until she gave birth to two children that these differences began to set in.

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