Mideast

Muslim Reformers in Europe Need Police Protection Giulio Meotti

Editor’s note: The question is often raised “Why do not moderate Muslims speak up?” This article provides part of the answer.

Abdelbaki Essati, the imam the authorities believe was at the center of terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, was apparently a master of deception—“too polite, too correct“. He was apparently able to deceive European intelligence services by preaching a “moderate” version of Islam, while at the same time orchestrating deadly jihadist attacks.

Another imam in Europe, Seyran Ates, preaches a genuinely “moderate Islam” but needs around-the-clock police protection.

Ates, training to become an imam, seems to have thought there was no better place than Berlin to inaugurate her mosque, Ibn Rushd-Goethe. It is the first Islamic religious site open to unmarried women, homosexuals, atheists, Sufis, unveiled women—all those people that many fundamentalist Islamists have said they wish to silence or kill.

But after the flashbulbs of photographers came the death threats. Now, six German police officers are needed to protect Ates. She is not new to death threats. She closed her law firm in Kreuzberg (a Turkish district of Berlin) after almost being murdered in a terror attack. The bullet lodged between her fourth and fifth vertebrae. It took her five years to recover from the injury.

A week after the inauguration of “Berlin’s liberal mosque” its prayer room was virtually empty. The number of faithful was the same as the number of security personnel. Muslims seem afraid to be seen there. Ates has received fatwas and threats from Egypt to Turkey. She says she has received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on”, but “3,000 emails a day full of hate”, some with death threats.

Her fate, unfortunately, is not unique. Germany hosts many genuinely “moderate” Muslims who must live under police protection. They are journalists and activists who have challenged terror and radical Islam. Without protection, they would become “moderate martyrs”. Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled to the US after the Netherlands refused to continue protecting her.

In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only “crime” these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak—not in Iran or Syria or Iraq—but in Europe.

These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment—freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law—to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which “blasphemy” is punishable by death.

It is they who penetrate that silence. They defend the right to democracy, to an independent judiciary, to education. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the “moderate Muslims”? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight—when not murdered—as was Salman Taseer, his lawyer, bloggers from Bangladesh and countless others. In Europe, these genuine “moderate Muslims” have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Mideast

When the USSR Waged War Against Israel. (No, that’s Not a Misprint.) Karl Pfeifer

(Editor’s note: This is excerpted from an interview with Gideon Remez of the Truman Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem by Karl Pfeifer, an Austrian born journalist of Hungarian Jewish origin and a member of the board of the Archives of the Austrian Resistance.)

Karl Pfeifer: The Soviet-Israeli War? Isn’t the title of your book exaggerated? It’s well-known that the USSR supported Egypt in its conflict with Israel, but was there really a direct clash between Soviet and Israeli forces at the level and duration that can be termed a full-scale war?

Gideon Remez: Well, that is precisely what our book is aimed to prove, and it does differ radically from the conventional notions about this period in this and other major respects. The Soviet military presence in Egypt is usually described as “advisers” or “technicians.” But the chief adviser, at the rank of lieutenant-general, also doubled as “commander of the Soviet forces group.” A total of over 50,000 Soviet servicemen, in integral Soviet formations up to a full air defense division, were posted to Egypt during this period. They operated the USSR’s most advanced weapons – some of them still experimental, not yet supplied even to Warsaw-Pact allies – in a head-on clash with Israeli forces, which turned the Suez Canal front into the hottest arena of the Cold War. So we think it was no less than a Soviet-Israeli war, the only time when Israel was directly pitted against a global superpower….

Pfeifer: What was the Soviets’ impact on the outcome of the fighting?

Remez: It determined the outcome in large measure. The period that our book covers is conventionally considered as including three distinct wars: the Six-Day War in June 1967; the War of Attrition from March 1969 to August 1970; and the Yom Kippur War in October-November 1973. We found these to have been one continuous conflict, at varying degrees of intensity. The debacle that Egypt suffered in 1967 with the loss of Sinai to Israel was also a major setback for its patron, the USSR’s standing among its clients as well as a blemish on the reputation of Soviet weapons. So within days, both leaderships – each for its own motives – resolved to score a military revanche before any political settlement with Israel. The planning, training and rearmament for this purpose went on systematically.

Pfeifer: Israel, and particularly the government of Golda Meir, are often blamed for ignoring or rejecting Egyptian initiatives for at least an interim settlement.

Remez: Israel can’t be absolved of responsibility – as a result, in part, of hubris after the 1967 triumph – for not taking its own initiatives or not calling the Egyptians’ bluff. But as we found, the supposed peace feelers were mostly a smokescreen for war preparations. The War of Attrition, for instance, was launched as part of these preparations for Egypt’s ultimate offensive across the Suez Canal; when it did not go well for Egypt, the massive Soviet intervention (whose codename, Operation Kavkaz, we were first in the west to document) was launched, and within a few months it had achieved its purpose. Soviet SAMs were shooting down Israeli planes – and especially their irreplaceable crews – at an unsustainable rate. Israel not only had to accept a ceasefire in August 1970, but it (and the United States) could do nothing when the Soviets and Egyptians advanced the SAM batteries to the canal bank, thus creating a no-fly zone for Israel over the canal and into Sinai. This was an essential precondition for the Egyptian cross-canal offensive, which was launched three years later with full Soviet collusion and support.

Pfeifer: But didn’t Egyptian President Anwar Sadat famously expel the Soviet advisers in July 1972?

Remez: That’s another myth which our book debunks: that due to détente with the United States, which peaked at the Moscow Summit of May 1972, the USSR denied Egypt the offensive weaponry for the attack on Israel. This supposedly caused a rift with Sadat, who kicked the Soviets out and shifted to the US camp. But we prove that this never happened. The flow of Soviet offensive weapons never stopped. Thousands of Soviet servicemen did leave Egypt in 1972, but these were the regulars of the Soviet expeditionary force, who – as we just mentioned – had accomplished their mission and were amicably repatriated. This was negotiated for months not only between Cairo and Moscow, but also with Washington, that is with Henry Kissinger. The Soviet advisers with the Egyptian armed forces remained, to continue training and weapons induction for the offensive. Both the Soviets’ own accounts and Egyptian documents prove this conclusively. The “expulsion” canard was inculcated by means of an elaborate deception exercise, which our book describes in detail. As in other cases that we address, two of the main culprits for spreading such misleading concepts as “fake news” and then for establishing them as “fake history” were Kissinger and Egyptian propagandist Mohammed Hassanein Heikal.

Pfeifer: Now that you mention the US role, this is beginning to sound like the present-day Russian reentry into Syria and US response, or lack thereof.

Mideast

Grapes of Their Wrath by Moshe Dann

The early Sunday morning sun was already strong when Tzvika Strook left his home in Eish Kodesh, a Jewish community a few miles east of Shilo, in the Samarian hills, to check his vineyard. He had planted it four years ago, cultivated it carefully and waited patiently for the harvest when the restricted time according to Jewish law elapsed. The grapes were high quality and when sold would reward his efforts – and feed his family of six children. It was the beginning of July. The grapes were almost ready. When he got to his field, however, instead of lush green vines he saw brown shriveled leaves. Two thousand grape vines had been destroyed on Friday night.

The police and IDF found tracks that led to the nearby Arab village of Qusra. This was not the first time that Arabs from this village, assisted by groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, Taayush and B’Tselem had attacked the fields of Eish Kodesh and other Jewish communities in the area. Dozens of times they reported thefts and destruction, but the police and IDF were unwilling to arrest the perpetrators and risk a confrontation. Therefore, there were no investigations. Nothing was done.

Strangely, the media (with the exception of Arutz 7) refused to report the story, citing lack of time and interest. Their lack of concern, however, is difficult to comprehend since they often report Arab claims that Jews have destroyed their olive trees. Widespread theft of Jewish-owned livestock, arson and vandalism by Arabs is never reported.

According to Aaron Katsof, a resident of Eish Kodesh and head of the Binyamin Fund which helps Jewish communities and farmers, there is a struggle between Jews and Arabs over large areas of uninhabited and unused State land in Area C of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), in which all settlements are located. Arabs and Bedouin are constantly encroaching, and in some cases claiming to own land, often supported by the IDF’s Civil Administration (CA), the judicial authority in Judea and Samaria.

Recently, Strook had planted grape vines in another area of Eish Kodesh. Arabs protested, claiming to own the land and the case was heard by an IDF military court. Although the court decided that there was no basis for the Arab claims, the Civil Administration forced Strook to uproot the vines anyway. He tried to replant nearby, but most plantings were not successful and the disputed patch remains barren. Because the IDF/CA operates with the approval of the Israeli government, however, there is no way to remedy, or appeal its decisions.

Strook’s dilemma highlights the struggle that Katsof describes where land use can be the basis for claims of ownership. Unfortunately, the government has no coherent policy and has left decisions to local IDF officers who are unequipped and untrained to deal with complex land disputes.

Several years ago PM Netanyahu appointed a Commission led by retired High Court Justice Edmund Levy and legal experts to resolve this problem. Their report was meant to provide a fair and equitable judicial administration; it has not, however, been brought to the government for discussion.

In an effort to prevent further intrusions and clashes, the IDF recently installed cameras in the area. The Binyamin Fund has established a special crowd-funding site to help the Strook family with losses estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars: www.projector.org.il/en/projects/100

Mideast

Lights in the “Dark Continent” by Ruth King

Africa, mysterious and mostly unknown to the West was called the “Dark Continent” in the late 1800s. In fact, many Jews found beacons of light in African nations.

Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Rhodesia, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo and Ivory Coast had Jewish populations, some dating back centuries, largely unknown in the diaspora but clinging to an ancient faith.

Some migrated from the really dark corners of entrenched anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, had a thriving Jewish population in Salisbury (now Harare) and Bulawayo where Jews from Lithuania migrated in the 1800s. A close friend of mine recently showed me a movie of children in the Bulawayo synagogue marching with stars of David embroidered on their shirts singing songs about Palestine in the 1940s.

I was in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in the 1950s where large cities like Meknes, Fez, Casablanca. Rabat, Marrakesh, Oran and Djerba, had prominent synagogues, attended by thousands and local shops sold menorahs, candelabras and religious clothing.

When the Arabs declared war on the nascent Jewish State, Arab governments in Africa sponsored harassment of their Jewish populations and a large exodus of Jews began. Most of the small number who remained fled after the Six Day War of 1967. In many non-Arab and non-Muslim countries, decolonization unfortunately heralded coups, revolutions and tribal wars, prompting a Jewish exodus from the continent.

Mideast

SEPTEMBER 2017 MIDEAST OUTPOST

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel Annual membership: $100.

Americans for a Safe Israel

1751 Second Ave. (at 91st Street) New York, NY 10128

Tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717

See the new video in the Zionism-101 series

You can see “Origins of Zionism Part 3: Modern Zionism” via the following link:

http://zionism101.org/NewestVideoVimeo.aspx or you can log in at http://www.zionism101.org to see all the videos of this historical series including this one.

The latest video chronicles the rise of the political movement that led to the State of Israel and explains why Zionism succeeded when earlier efforts had failed.

Mideast

Turkish Alarm Bells Over Jerusalem William Mehlman

“Democracy is like a train,” Turkey’s idiosyncratic president cum dictator Recep Tyipp Erdogan is noted for having said, “you get off once you have reached your destination.” Precisely how Mr. Erdogan defines that destination remains something of a mystery.

For certain it does not include the reconstruction of the intimate decades-long security relationship Turkey shared with Israel prior to the May 2010 Israeli interdiction of a Marvi Marmara-led flotilla out of Istanbul intent on challenging the Jewish state’s embargo on the shipment of military and other strategic materiel to a belligerent Hamas-ruled Gaza. “That relationship is finished, history,” Yesh Atid party chairman MK Yair Lapid asserted in a recent Tel Aviv interview. “It isn’t going to be restored.” Testimony to this fact could not have been more provocatively offered than Erdogan’s incendiary supporting role in the recent Palestinian riots sparked by the emplacement and subsequent humiliating removal of metal detectors at the main Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount following the murder there of two Israeli policemen by Israeli Arabs. “Israeli soldiers were defiling the soil of the al-Aqsa Mosque and damaging its Islamic character with their combat boots,” he declared in his capacity as chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, “using simple issues as an excuse for the spilling of blood there. The reason they are doing that so easily is because we are not doing enough to underscore our claim to Jerusalem.”

Erdogan’s further charge that Israel was using “excessive force” in dealing with the rioters touched off an Ankara-Jerusalem shouting match, with Prime Minister Netanyahu calling Erdogan a “hypocrite” and publicly wondering what the Turkish president might have to say about his nation’s 33-year occupation of northern Cyprus, suppression of Turkey’s 15 million ethnic Kurds and bitter opposition to the Kurdish people’s century-long quest for an independent state in the Middle East.

Two years after a “Reconciliation Agreement” highlighted by a self-deprecating Obama-pressured Netanyahu “apology” to the Turkish autocrat and the payment of $20 million in compensation to the families of the nine club and knife-wielding thugs who died trying to block a takeover of the rogue Marvi Marmara in IsraelI territorial waters, Israeli-Turkish relations have never returned to normal. Teetering on the edge of the trash basket is the once robust vision of a multi-billion dollar deal for both countries pivoted on the creation of an “EastMed” natural gas pipeline running from the wells at Israel’s coastal waters through Turkey to Europe’s Mediterranean markets. “Turkey will not be considered a reliable partner by Israel,” analyst George Tzogopoulos told Mosaic Magazine “as long as Recep Tayyip Erdogan dominates the political sphere.”

“The time has come to stop ingratiating ourselves with the Turks, who always come back and kick us harder,” Lapid submits. “We need to do all the things we didn’t when we had good relations with Turkey.” High on the list of things to which Israel will no longer be turning a blind eye is Ankara’s continued support of the recruitment of Palestinian students for terrorist activities, military training and economic aid to a Hamas regime in Gaza pledged to its annihilation. The 2015 Reconciliation Agreement was inter alia predicated on the termination of this alliance. It remains alive and well as Israeli legal NGO Shurat HaDin predicted in pleading with Netanyahu not to sign. Israel was tossed a bone with the forced exit from Ankara of Salam al-Aroun, Hamas’ coordinator of operations, but his successors have lost no time picking up the ball. One of them, Muhammed Murtara, director of a Turkish “humanitarian aid organization” based in Gaza was arrested by the Shin Bet for masterminding the transfer of millions of dollars donated by Ankara for the enhancement of Hamas’ ”tunnel building enterprise in the Gaza Strip,” as reported by Yoav Zitun of YNetNews.

Meanwhile, on a trajectory of stunning self-interest seemingly independent of the toxic political atmosphere, Mr. Erdogan has launched a reinforced effort to continue doing business with the Jewish state he abhors. There is no substitute on the horizon for the revenues EastMed would pump into his faltering economy and he doesn’t want to stop there. Less than a month prior to declaring that “each day Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us,” a delegation of members of the Turkish Export Assembly under its chairman Mehmet Buyukeski was sitting in Tel Aviv with representatives of Israel’s Federation of Chambers of Commerce mapping a course for increasing Israeli-Turkish trade to $10 billion from its current $4 billion over the next five years. Buoyed by first quarter 2017 increases of 20 percent in Turkish exports to Israel and 45 percent in Israeli exports to Turkey, Mr. Buyukeski was looking beyond goods exchanges to Israeli-Turkish joint ventures in third party countries. “We have a huge potential together,” he said, “internationally optimized by means of business.”

Is Mr. Buyukeski’s boss in Ankara cool with all this? Or does the boss think he can have it both ways? One need look no further than Jerusalem to see real-time evidence of Mr. Erdogan’s bold attempt to turn that trick. “Alarm bells should be ringing about the nefarious, intensifying involvement of Erdogan’s Turkey in Jerusalem’s political and social affairs,” warns David M. Weinberg, Director of Public Affairs at Bar Ilniversity’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Weinberg makes pointed reference to a “rare, breathtaking and shocking description of political trends in east Jerusalem” as set forth in the new Hebrew intellectual journal Hashiloach by David Koren and Ben Avrahami, advisors on eastern Jerusalem affairs for the Jerusalem Municipality. He urges particular attention to the mounting Jerusalem involvement of Erdogan’s Turkey into the vacuum created by the “erosion in the status of the veteran east Jerusalem mukhtars and the [waning] influence of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah political infrastructures and leaders.” Turkey, being the chief patron of both, Koren and Avrahami assert, currently enjoys “unprecedented popularity among the Arab residents of east Jerusalem.”

Mideast

From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

American Jews have gone ballistic over President Trump’s awkward effort to blame both sides equally for Charlottesville. It was a self-inflicted wound. All he needed to have done was include on Sunday what he said on Monday, when he specified the neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists as “repugnant to everything we hold dear.” The emphasis should clearly have been on excoriating the neo-Nazis; It was one of their number who mowed down demonstrators, killing 32 year old Heather Heyer. Trump could then have added that there were counter-protesters who behaved badly. This, admittedly, would likely have set off paroxysms of rage In mainstream media outlets who viewed the scene as clear black and white, but the opportunities for assaulting Trump would have been limited. In National Review John Fund points out that antifa (short for Anti-Fascist Action) counter-protesters showed up armed with pepper spray, bricks and clubs. The New York Daily News reported how antifa demonstrators roughed up reporters. A videographer for a Richmond TV station suffered a concussion from blows to his head. Even Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times had tweeted from the scene that the hard left seemed as hate-filled as the alt-right, saying she saw club-wielding “antifas” beating white nationalists.

But clumsy as Trump may be, he is no neo-Nazi and the Jewish reaction is over the top. If Trump suffers from not knowing where to strike a balance, it is nothing compared to the failures of the Jewish community in this regard. There was no comparable expression of outrage sweeping American Jewry when Obama rammed through his Iran nuclear deal, although Netanyahu cashed in his political chips to go directly to Congress to warn of the existential danger it posed to the Jewish state.

If the Jewish community would only open its firmly sealed eyes, it would recognize that anti-Semites on the left are a far greater threat to Jews than the small fringe group of neo-Nazis that marched in Charlottesville. It is the leftist anti-Semites, as former World Jewish Congress leader Isi Leibler rightly observes, who “promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and have transformed campuses into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic platforms.” Antifa—which also is behind the violent protests against conservative speakers on U.S. campuses—is part of a coalition of far-left hate-Israel groups that includes Black Lives Matter, which in its mission statement declares Israel an “apartheid” state carrying out “genocide.”

Antifa is almost certain to take an increasingly prominent role in anti-Israel actions on campus, now that two of its activists have launched a campus Antifa group for faculty, the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN). Its founders Bill Mullen of Purdue and David Palumbo-Liu of Stanford are leading figures in the BDS campaign. In an article on the new group, Rachel Frommer in Washington Free Beacon reports that Mullen, in 2014, issued a call to “de-Zionize our campuses.” Don’t bet that CAN makes a distinction between “Jews” and “Zionists.”

And don’t bet that most Jews (including their lamentable organizations like the Anti-Defamation League) give up their default position of “no enemies on the left.” When forced to confront the reality of such enemies they dismiss them as a “fringe” even when, like Keith Ellison, they are pillars of the Democratic Party. (Typically, the ADL refused to break with the Black Lives Matter movement on the grounds, Leibler reports, that the anti-Israel clauses were inserted by “a small minority.”) And that is ultimately the key blindness of the Jews. The neo-Nazis are a true fringe of the Republican Party while the anti-Israel left is increasingly the controlling core of the Democratic Party. Nothing better illustrates this than the recent decision of two Presidential hopefuls, Kristin Gillibrand and Corey Booker, to move away from their traditional pro-Israel stands. Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted against the Taylor Force Act, which would make future aid to the PA contingent on their ceasing to reward terrorists and their families (this year $345 million–one half of aid to the PA from the U.S. and Europe–has been devoted to this), while Gillibrand has announced her opposition to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.

Reducing Government Waste

One obvious and easy way to cut down on wasteful government spending would be to keep Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell (and their expensive entourage) at home. But no, they took off on a safari through the Middle East, seeking to give a “regional” push to the Trump administration’s new go at peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. Abbas has zero interest in peace with Israel. His idea of peace is to be left in peace to distribute U.S. aid to PA terrorists and their families. There’s only one way this silly charade can end—badly.

Editing Out the Temple Mount

To control words is to control thoughts, something no one demonstrated more brilliantly than Orwell in 1984. By persistently calling Judea and Samaria the West Bank for decades after it ceased to be Jordan’s West Bank, the media enforced Jordan’s claim. What makes this especially ironic is that Jordan’s title to the land, which it annexed in 1950, was recognized only by England and Pakistan. In any case the territory was Jordan’s West Bank for a mere 17 years. It was only after Israel conquered Judea and Samaria (as it has been known throughout history) that suddenly the entire international community endorsed Jordan’s title. Even after 1988, when Jordan formally relinquished its claims in favor of the PLO, for the world it remained the West Bank.

Mideast

The Third Lebanon War: Not A Matter Of ‘If,’ But ‘When’ Ari Lieberman

In the weeks preceding the Six-Day War, Israel was faced with ever increasing existential challenges which warranted resolute action. Israel’s generals correctly argued to the political echelon that with each passing day, Israel’s strategic position became more compromised. The situation was particularly acute on Israel’s southern border with Egypt where the Egyptian army deployed seven divisions including three armored divisions. Official Arab government pronouncements, with ever increasing shrill and belligerence, made clear that the intention was to wipe Israel off the map.

On June 5th 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike aimed at destroying the Arab armies before they could launch their own attack (some historians have argued that the Arabs fired the first salvo by closing the Tiran Straits). Codenamed Operation Focus, the Israeli Air Force implemented its well-rehearsed plan of action and struck first, catching most of the Arab air forces on the ground and destroying the bulk of them. Contemporaneous with the air assault, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sprang into action, quickly routing the Arab armies in a matter of days.

It was a complete and decisive Israeli victory with few parallels in military history. Israel’s success in the Six Day War was attributed to many factors but chief among them was the fact that Israel had robbed the enemy of the initiative. Had the Arabs attacked first, Israel would have still emerged triumphant but at a much higher cost in terms of men and material.

The doctrine of preemption is one that is ingrained in Israel’s military thinking. Israel is a small country with little strategic depth and a vulnerable civilian population. Preemption, the concept of striking the enemy first when there is a clear, present and imminent danger coupled with intent to injure, is a strategically sound doctrine and this is especially true in Israel’s case given its unique vulnerabilities, regional challenges and genocidal enemies.

In addition to exercising its right of military preemption, Israel has also acted in a preventative manner. Conceptually, this doctrine differs slightly from preemption as the threat while real, is not necessarily imminent. In 1981 and 2007, Israel destroyed the nuclear facilities of Iraq and Syria – both implacable foes – after intelligence confirmed that those facilities were capable of manufacturing atomic bombs. Israel has also struck Sudan and Syria dozens of times in efforts to thwart weapons transfers to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is currently mired in Syria’s civil war with 1/3 of its forces actively engaged in Syria to prop up Assad. In light of this, most Israeli experts agree that the probability of war breaking out in the near future is low. The last thing Hezbollah needs now is a two-front war. Nevertheless, Hezbollah’s raison d’être is to serve the Islamic Republic’s interests and do battle with Israel. A showdown with the terror group is therefore inevitable. The only question is “when,” not “if.”

Confluences of several factors make the probability of war more likely in the intermediate term. First, thanks to Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah assistance, Assad’s grip on power is the strongest it’s been since the beginning of the civil war while rebel groups opposing Assad are divided and often battle each other. This development will enable Hezbollah to shift its emphasis and resources toward Israel.

Second, though Hezbollah has suffered substantial casualties since it began its military entanglement in Syria – at least 2,000 of its members have been killed – the group has emerged militarily stronger. It has been lavishly equipped by Iran with modern weapons, including T-72 tanks, weaponized drones, Konkurs anti-tank missiles and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, and thanks to the Russians, improved its electronic warfare and special operations capabilities.

Third, in 2006, Hezbollah was believed to have possessed 11,000 rockets and missiles of various calibers and guidance systems. Today, Hezbollah is believed to possess between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles and rockets. To place things in proper perspective, that figure is more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States. Moreover, with Iran’s assistance, the terror group has managed to build subterranean factories buried 50 meters below ground. These factories are capable of producing everything from small arms to Fateh-110/M-600 surface-to-surface missiles, making Hezbollah partially self-sufficient in arms, a capability that it lacked in 2006. If Iranian claims are to be believed, the Fateh-110 has a range of 300km and carries a payload of 500kg. The missile is believed to possess an accuracy level of 100 m CEP, which means that there’s a 50/50 chance that the missile will fall within 100 meters of its intended target. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has made clear on numerous occasions that his missiles would target a vulnerable ammonia plant in Haifa, Israel’s nuclear research facility in Dimona and other critical civilian infrastructure in any war with Israel.

Fourth, in any future conflict with Israel, Hezbollah will be able to mobilize assistance from other Iranian proxies. Thanks to the Iran deal and concomitant cash infusion resulting therefrom, including $1.7b in ransom payments from the Obama administration, the Islamic Republic has successfully raised additional proxy Shia armies whose members include Pakistani, Afghani, Yemini, and Iraqi recruits. The largest of these militias is the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, an 80,000 strong force that can easily be transported to Lebanon should Iran call upon them to fight.

Mideast

Where is Israel? Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen was director of JINSA from 1981 to 1991 and is currently director at The Jewish Policy Center. This appeared in americanthinker.com on August 15th.

As the president sends his envoys back to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the usual flood of voices has offered advice – do this, do that, say this, say that. Whatever.

Let’s try something different.

When people talk about the “two-state solution,” their parameters are generally clear – the West Bank and Gaza more or less, give or take, some land swaps, and some arrangement for Eastern Jerusalem. The fact that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t control the Gaza Strip appears not to faze the two-staters at all. So, for now, let’s go with that. Rather than asking the Palestinians if they are willing to constrict their aspirations to land others have decided might make a good Palestinian State, why not ask the Palestinians where the State of Israel will be when the negotiation is concluded and a Palestinian state emerges?

Will East Jerusalem be in Israel?
Will Hebron be in Israel?
Will Jacob’s Tomb or Rachel’s Tomb be in Israel?
Will West Jerusalem be in Israel?
Will the Galilee or Jaffa be in Israel?
Will Tel Aviv be in Israel?

Without some understanding of where the Palestinians see Israel, how can anyone hope to understand where the Palestinians see Palestine? Are they looking at acreage or principle?

Yes, it is a trick question. To date, neither Yasser Arafat at or after Oslo nor Mahmoud Abbas of the P.A. has provided a realistic assessment of land to which Israel is entitled for the purpose of exercising Jewish sovereignty – nor can either be expected to. Folded into the question of acreage is the principle of the so-called “right of return,” Palestinian insistence that the original refugees of 1948-49 and their descendants should have the right to go to those places in pre-1967 Israel from which they claim to have been displaced.

Although President Clinton at Camp David in 2000 and American presidents following him have talked about the Palestinian refugees, it has been in the nature of compensation, not what they claim as their homes. Pretending Arafat’s and Abbas’s promises to their people don’t matter, or pretending for them that they will take “compensation” instead, is insulting. Who is President Clinton to give up their rights? Who are those Americans who didn’t live and die in refugee camps waiting for promises to be fulfilled to say, “Never mind. Israel gets what you claim, and you get something else, or ‘compensation’”?

Beating that horse again is…well, beating a dead horse.

Its not that the Palestinians aren’t clear. For years, textbooks in Palestinian schools use the map of Palestine “From the River to the Sea” to teach their children that they have a claim to all of it. President Trump’s envoys should ask for copies of the books – UNRWA sponsors some, the E.U. sponsors some, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find them.

But so what if they make maximalist claims? It’s their claim, right? Their “narrative,” as they say. Why should the Palestinian Authority offer anything to Israel?

Because Israel has a claim as well, enshrined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. Following the unwillingness of the Arab states to accept any boundaries at all for the Jewish State established in 1948, and following the Arab states’ determination to erase Israel in 1948 and 1967, the Security Council voted that Israel was entitled to:

“… [t]ermination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Where the boundaries are is less important than that they are “secure and recognized” and accompanied by the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency.” Israel has already made it clear that it is willing to withdraw from territory occupied in 1967 – Sinai constituted 92% of the total.

Mideast

Barcelona Attack Was Preventable Soeren Kern

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. This appeared on gatestoneinstitute.org on August 22.

As details emerge of the August 17 jihadist attack in Barcelona, the evidence points to one overarching conclusion: the carnage could have been prevented if a series of red flags had not been either missed or ignored.

The failure to heed intelligence warnings, enhance physical security and report suspicious activity are all factors that facilitated the attack, which had been in the planning stage for more than six months.

The attack was also enabled by the idiosyncrasies of Spanish politics, especially the tensions that exist between the central government and the leaders of the independence movement in Catalonia, the autonomous region of which Barcelona is the capital.

The Barcelona attack could have been prevented had municipal officials complied with an order to install bollards, vertical poles designed to prevent car ramming attacks, on the Rambla, the city’s main tourist thoroughfare.

On December 20, 2016, one day after a Tunisian jihadist drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 56, Spanish National Police issued a circular ordering all central, regional and municipal police departments in Spain to “implement physical security measures to protect public spaces” to prevent jihadist attacks “in places with high numbers of people.” The circular advised:

“Municipalities should protect these public spaces by temporarily installing large planters or bollards at access points to hinder or prevent the entry of vehicles.”

The measures were never implemented in Barcelona because the leaders of the Catalan independence movement did not want to be seen as taking orders from the central government in Madrid.

After receiving the directive, Catalan autonomous police, known as the Mossos d’Esquadra, accused the central government of “alarmism” and insisted that it would not order municipalities in Catalonia to implement this “indiscriminate measure.” The Mossos also claimed to have the jihadist threat under control, that local police were trained to “detect symptoms or radicalization,” and that there were “no concrete threats.”

After the Barcelona attack, Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarello blamed the absence of bollards on the Catalan Interior Ministry. “The City of Barcelona has never refused to install bollards. Whenever it has been requested, we have done so,” Pisarello said. Ada Colau, Barcelona’s leftwing mayor, however, has repeatedly refused to “fill Barcelona with barriers,” insisting that it must remain “a city of liberty.”

On August 19, hours after the jihadist attack in Barcelona, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido repeated that it would be “appropriate” for all municipalities to comply with the December circular. His ministry issued a new letter calling on municipalities to install safety measures in the neuralgic points of cities. It remains to be seen if Catalan officials will now implement the recommendations.

In June, the CIA reportedly warned Catalan police that Barcelona was being targeted by jihadists: “Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency warned Catalan police of a threat to Las Ramblas,” according to El Periódico.

Page 4 of 75« First...«23456»102030...Last »

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

January 2018
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031