Thursday, July 05, 2007

Islam's Global War against Christianity
By Patrick Poole

From Nigeria to Indonesia, Christians are under siege in virtually every single country in the Muslim world, the victims of countless acts of discrimination, depredation, brutality, and murder that are so widespread and systematic that it can rightfully be called the new Holocaust. This time, however, the perpetrators of this Holocaust aren't wearing swastikas, but kufi skull caps and hijabs.

Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are subject to relentless attack and teeter on the brink of extinction at the hands of the "Religion of Peace": Palestinian Christians in Gaza and the West Bank; Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christians in Iraq; Coptic Christians in Egypt; Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea; Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey; and Maronite Christians in Lebanon.
Several of these communities date back to the beginning decades of Christianity and all have weathered wave after wave of Islamic persecution for centuries and more, but in the very near future some will simply cease to exist. In our lifetime, the only trace of their past existence will be in footnotes in history books (and probably only Western history books at that).

Meanwhile, we in the West hear much from radical Islam's apologists how the US is engaged in a war against Islam citing of our military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are lectured on the inviolability of the Muslim ummah and justifications of defensive jihad.

But an extensive search this past weekend of the websites of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Student Association, the Fiqh Council of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee - the most visible institutional representatives of Islam in America - found not a single mention or reference of the religious persecution of Christians by their Islamic co-religionists, thereby making them tacit co-conspirators in the Final Solution to the Christian problem in the Muslim world.

The global war on Christianity by Islam is so massive in size and scope that it is virtually impossible to describe without trivializing it. Inspired by Muslim Brotherhood ideology and fueled by billions of Wahhabi petrodollars, the religious cleansing of Christians from the Muslim world is continuing at a break-neck pace, as the following recent examples demonstrate.

Iraq: In the current issue of the American Spectator, Doug Bandow observes that centuries of dhimmitude have left Christians in the war-torn country without any means of self-defense. Washington policymakers have refused to lend assistance for fear of showing partiality, despite the murder of hundreds of Iraqi Christians, the kidnapping and torture of Christian clerics, the repeated bombings of Christian churches, the torching of Christian businesses, and the flight of close to half of the entire Iraqi Christian population since April 2003. Those who remain have been subject to the imposition of shari'a by the Shi'ite Mahdi Army and Sunni militias (al-Qaeda doesn't bother with such niceties, preferring to murder them immediately instead), including the recent published threat in Mosul of killing one member of every Christian family in that city for Christian women not wearing the hijab and continuing to attend school. (Be sure to remember that the next time an Islamist apologist claims that the hijab is a symbol of women's liberation.)

Egypt: Journalist Magdi Khalil chronicles in a new report ("Another Black Friday for the Coptic Christians of Egypt") the campaign of violence directed against Christian Copts almost weekly immediately following Friday afternoon Muslim prayers. Inspired by Islamist imams preaching religious hatred in mosques all over the country and protected by government officials willing to look the other way, rampaging mobs of Muslims set upon Christians churches, businesses and individuals, from Alexandria to cities all the way up the Nile. Coptic holy days are also favorite times for Muslim violence, which the Egyptian media likes to describe as "sectarian strife" - as if it were actually a two-sided affair.

Gaza: Ethel Fenig recently noted here at American Thinker ("More Gaza Multiculturalism") the systematic destruction of churches and desecration of Christian religious objects by Jihadia Salafiya following the HAMAS takeover of the Gaza Strip from their Fatah rivals and the imposition of Islamic rule. The head of Jihadia Salafiya told reporter Aaron Klein that any suspected Christian missionary activity in the area will be "dealt with harshly". (Ynet News)

Saudi Arabia: According to the Arab News, a Sri Lankan Christian man barely escaped with his life in late May when he was found working in the city of Mecca, Islam's holiest city, which is officially barred to non-Muslims. In December, an Indian man had been sentenced to death for accidentally entering the city, but was spared after the Indian embassy made an urgent appeal to the Saudi Supreme Court.

Pakistan: In Islamabad, Younis Masih was sentenced last month to death under the country's frequently invoked blasphemy laws, which were also used against six Christian women suspended from a nursing school after they were accused of desecrating a Quran. And as protests against Salman Rushdie's knighthood raged, a Muslim mob armed with guns, axes and sticks attacked Christians worshipping in a Salvation Army church in Bismillahlpur Kanthan. (Associated Press; United Press International; Mission News Network)

Bangladesh: Almost a dozen Christian converts in the Nilphamari district were beaten last week by Muslim villagers wielding bricks and clubs, and threatened with death if they did not leave town immediately. Local hospitals subsequently refused them treatment. Christians in the area have also been prevented from using the only potable water well in the area after a pronouncement by religious authorities at the mosque in Durbachari. This came after 42 former Muslims were baptized as Christians in the local river on June 12. (Compass News Direct)

Malaysia: Government authorities demolished a church building on June 4th in Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang in Ulu Kelantan, despite prior government approval of the project. The church was built on donated property after the entire village had converted to Christianity just a few months ago. Also in late May, the Malaysian high court ruled that Muslims who convert to Christianity must appeal to the religious shari'a courts to officially be deregistered as Muslims and reregistered as a Christians. (Journal Chretien; Associated Press)

Indonesia: Agence France Presse reported last month on an attack by the Islamic Anti-Apostate Movement, who stormed a church service in a Protestant church in the West Java town of Soreang. The AFP report notes that more than 30 churches have been forced to close in West Java and dozens more throughout the country in recent years due to Muslim violence, churches which were among the few spared during the outbreak of hostilities during 1997-1998, where hundreds of Christian churches were burned to the ground and never rebuilt.

Turkey: The Christian community is still reeling from the torture and ritual slaughter of three Protestants at a Christian publishing house in Malatya in April by an armed Islamist gang, which was preceded by the murder last year of Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in Trabzon and the assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul in January. An additional six men allegedly associated with the same Muslim gang were arrested on May 30th for plotting an attack on a Christian pastor in Diyarbakir. (Lebanon Daily Star; ADKNI)

Cyprus: The Cyprus Mail reports that during a meeting last month in Rome the Archbishop of the Cypriot Greek Orthodox Church pleaded with the Vatican Secretary of State for the Pope's assistance to pressure Turkish authorities in restoring and repairing Christian sites and churches in areas occupied since the invasion of the island nation by Turkey in July 1974 and the ethnic cleansing of 160,000 Greek Christian Cypriots.

Lebanon: More than 60,000 Christians have left the country since last summer's war between Hezbollah and Israel, fearing the rise of both Sunni and Shi'ite extremism and terrorist activity. The Sunday Telegraph recently revealed the results of a poll finding that at least half of Lebanon's Maronite community were considering leaving the country. More than 100,000 have already submitted visa applications at foreign embassies.

Algeria: In what is considered one of the more "moderate" Muslim regimes, Al-Quds Al-Arabi announced that the Algerian government has just issued regulations requiring advance permission for non-Muslim public events, following a 2006 law aimed at limiting Christian evangelism in the Kabylia region and the Sahara. (MEMRI )

Morocco: In the country that The Economist magazine in 2005 anointed "the best Arab democracy", all Moroccans are considered Muslims at birth and face three years in prison if they attempt to convert. They are also prohibited from entering any of the few churches permitted to operate for the foreign inhabitants of the country. Moroccan Christians must operate covertly for fear of imprisonment by the government and attacks by Islamists. They cannot bury their dead in Christian cemeteries, and they must be married by Islamic authorities or face charges of adultery. Late last year, a 64 year-old German tourist, Sadek Noshi Yassa, was sentenced to six months in jail and fined for missionary activity. (Journal Chretien)

Nigeria: Police in Gombe arrested sixteen suspects after a Muslim mob stoned, stripped, beat, and finally stabbed to death a Christian teacher, Christiana Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin, after she caught a student cheating on an exam in March. Her body was then burned beyond recognition by the mob who falsely accused her of desecrating a Quran. The suspects were released last month without any charges being filed, prompting Christian leaders to accuse government authorities of a cover-up and raising concerns about additional attacks. (Christian Today)

Eritrea: Just a few weeks ago, the Islamic government installed a new Orthodox Patriarch after they removed the previous Patriarch and placed him under house arrest for no stated reason. Compass News Direct reported in February the death of Magos Solomon Semere, a Christian who had been imprisoned in a military jail for four and a half years for illegal Christian worship, the third Christian to die in government custody since October. Authorities have also cracked down on unapproved churches, jailing at least two thousand Protestants and members of the Medhane Alem Orthodox renewal movement since the beginning of the year and publicly burning confiscated Bibles. (Christian Post; Compass News Direct ; Journal Chretien)

It is not an exaggeration to say that I could extend this brief list ad infinitum with additional Islamic countries and news items from just the past few weeks' worth of incidents of violence, discrimination, intimidation and murder targeting Christians in the Muslim world. In many instances, the government and religious authorities in these Muslim countries work hand-in-hand in their campaign of religious persecution.

A scene in the Academy Award-winning movie Schindler's List gives us some insight into what is happening all across the Muslim world with respect to Christianity. As the SS Commandant Amon Göth and his Nazi Stormtroopers prepare to liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, Poland, Göth (played in the movie by Ralph Fiennes) gives his men a peptalk:

For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. Think about that. By this evening, those six centuries are a rumor. They never happened. Today is history.

This scene is being repeated in the Friday sermons in mosques and on Islamic satellite TV all over the world, only this time it is the Christians in addition to the Jews who are targets. Great efforts are being made to make the two-thousand year history of Christianity in North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia a blasphemous rumor. Soon students in Turkey will be taught that the Hagia Sophia, the greatest architectural structure in the Muslim world, wasn't built by the Christian Emperor Justinian in the Sixth Century, but by the Sultan Mehmed II a thousand years later after the Ottomans seized the Byzantine capital. That Christians lived at all in the Muslim world, let alone that much of the territory occupied by Muslims used to be Christian lands before the Islamic Wars of Conquest, will be nothing but a rumor by the end of this century punishable according to the precepts of shari'a.

President Bush announced last week that he will be sending a special envoy to the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries. Hopefully, the systematic persecution of Christians and other religious minorities will be the first and primary item in the new envoy's portfolio, with the 2007 annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the State Department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, which name virtually every single country in the OIC for its human rights abuses and religious cleansing, as evidence for our country's concern.

The fact remains that not a single Christian or Jew lives in peace in the Muslim world, and if it is truly our nation's foreign policy to spread democracy around the world, this issue is the perfect topic for us to press. Back at home, raising Islam's global war on Christianity should be the immediate response to the seemingly endless media grievance machine of radical Islam's Western apologists. Until they begin to address the new Holocaust perpetrated in the name of Islam, their complaints and denials are nothing but bald hypocrisy.

Patrick Poole is an occasional contributor to American Thinker. He maintains a blog, Existential Space.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Don't Be So Sure There Were No WMD in Iraq
By Rachel Neuwirth


The references cited in this article strongly suggest that:

1. WMD did indeed exist inside Iraq before the war.

2. The weapons inspectors were both fooled and bribed to ignore evidence.

3. Massive amounts of WMD were removed to known locations in Syria just prior to the war.

4. Massive numbers of Saddam's audio tapes and paper documents were collected and most remain unavailable and presumably un-translated.

5. U.S. officials refused to investigate a number of likely WMD sites.

6. The U.S. intelligence community, and other branches of this government, are stonewalling the issue.

Readers are urged to review the references and decide for themselves.

Before America went to war to topple Saddam Hussein's regime it was widely believed that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. Today it is widely believed that there were no WMD in Iraq before the war. People of both political parties, the major media, and the intellectual community all appear in strong agreement on that point. Some even charge that the Bush Administration deliberately, and knowingly, misled the nation with false information as a pretext to justify going to war.

The Bush Administration is quietly acknowledging that they made a mistake, albeit not intentional. That admission seems to be the final confirmation that there were no WMD in Iraq. In police work when the accused confesses to making a mistake, it is then assumed that the accusation is true and people consider it to be ‘case closed'.

This widespread belief of no WMD in Iraq is seriously damaging our ability to deal with a growing nuclear threat from Iran. There are those who opposed our toppling mass murderer Saddam Hussein both in 1991 and again in 2003, even after he defied multiple U.N. resolutions and was generally believed to have WMD. Now the ‘peace at any price' crowd is exploiting the widespread belief of ‘no WMD' to undermine our war in Iraq. If we fail in Iraq it greatly weakens our ability to deal with Iran, which will become greatly emboldened and infinitely more dangerous as it eventually goes nuclear.

Opponents of military action to stop Iran claim that the mistake over Iraq means that we cannot trust any claim by the Bush Administration regarding Iran's growing nuclear threat. That logic may be faulty but it will further turn opinion against dealing with Iran, especially with those who are now sour on our war in Iraq - and that is currently a majority of Americans. The opponents of military action persistently argue for more ‘negotiations' as the only way to avoid a nuclear Iran even while Iran is clearly stalling for sufficient time to acquire the bomb.

It is therefore essential that the widespread belief of ‘no WMD in Iraq' be double-checked for accuracy. But how can average citizens, and other non-experts, really know the truth? Unfortunately, too many people refuse to reconsider an issue once their minds are made up. Reconsideration is essential and there is a way to deal with this question, at least indirectly. That way is to list critical unanswered questions and then demand that the proponents of ‘no WMD in Iraq' come up with credible answers. Those who adamantly insist that there were no WMD have a duty to answer the following questions or else admit their assertions remain unproven and conceivably wrong.

Obvious Question

Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and other Democrats, all saw the same intelligence back when Clinton was President and George Tenet headed the CIA. They all claimed Iraq had WMD which threatened America. If there really were no WMD, why are they not held equally accountable for misleading the American people? Shouldn't they be required to reveal the basis for their assertions? George Bush retained Clinton's CIA chief who reportedly assured Bush that it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam Hussein had WMD. Other intelligence services including those of NATO and Israel also believed there were WMD. Why don't the critics attempt to discover the evidence for those conclusions?

What was Saddam Hussein hiding with his elaborate schemes to frustrate the U.N. arms inspectors? Why would Saddam needlessly provoke the U.N. and the U.S. into going to war against him if he had nothing to hide? Why haven't the critics answered this question?

Shortly before the war, it was reported that U.S. satellites spotted truck convoys moving from Iraq to Syria at night. One possible explanation is that Saddam had WMD and removed them before the war. Various reports claim that the Russians helped move convoys and planeloads of materials from Iraq into Syria to at least three heavily guarded locations, identified, at least two years ago, by and other news sources.

Inexplicably, there has been no effort to discover what was moved. If WMD were indeed removed in this manner, shouldn't we know it? If it turns out that WMD were removed then the war in Iraq becomes justified and the focus should then shift to Syria. If Saddam Hussein was not allowed to have WMD, why then is Syria, Iran's new ally, allowed to have possible WMD with no inspection? Is there unfinished business relative to Saddam's WMD? Is Syria now able to threaten Israel and U.S. forces in the region with chemical and biological weapons?

Where is Saddam's bio weapons expert known as Doctor Germ? What was her work? Saddam's chemical weapons expert known as "Chemical Ali" was recently sentenced to death. What was he doing prior to the war in 2003? Two of Saddam's sons-in law defected and testified about Saddam's WMD. They were spirited back by Saddam and then promptly killed. What did they reveal to U.S. authorities?

Libya's Colonel Khaddaffi gave up his WMD to the U.S. What weapons did the U.S. recover and ship back to America and who was working on these programs? Did Saddam Hussein sponsor the Libyan WMD program?

Early Reports

Seven months after the war began, an extensive report was published presenting a wealth of information on Iraqi WMD and containing 76 open source citations. It described how and what was hidden and how much of it was moved to Syria and Lebanon. It is ‘a must read'. The following paragraph is excerpted from that report.

"Now, it would be common to ask for the reason the Bush Administration has not revealed that WMDs are in Syria and/or Lebanon. According to Israeli intelligence sources, it is likely because exposure of that would lead to a domino effect where evidence would leak out that Iraq's programs had roles played by Egypt, Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia. [plus the French, Germans and Russians] Such leaks will enflame the region and especially Iraq, and make things much harder, resulting in a more bloody and costly war and diminishing likelihood that other countries would send forces in.[71] Additionally, people would be skeptic, saying it was a lie so that the war-mongering neo-cons were trying to justify a new conquest. The other side would put enormous pressure to bring the war to Syria-a war we are not yet ready to fight."

Iraqi General Georges Sada

In another intelligence revelation, ex Iraqi General Georges Sada recently published his book, Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied & Survived Saddam Hussein. In it he explains how, just prior to the war, Saddam moved his WMD to Syria, with Russian help. Go to and search for author Georges Sada. Click on picture of book, "Saddam's Secrets". Scroll down to read reviews.

Reviews from Publishers Weekly:

Reviewer 1: In General Sada's unique position, he was able to observe some of the worst of Saddam's behavior and trickery and confirms in this book not only the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but also the extraordinary lengths that Saddam went to hide these weapons....

Reviewer 2: The author tells how Saddam managed to trick the world into believing he did not have weapons of mass destruction. He goes into detail how Saddam managed to hide all evidence of WMD's and how he managed to move all of them out of Iraq under the noses of the United Nations weapons inspectors. ....

Reviewer 3: Of particular note are tapes of more than 3,000 hours of Saddam Hussein meeting with his war cabinet and millions of pages of documents that contain vital information about Saddam's WMD program and plans for transporting the WMDs out of the country in order to dupe the weapons inspectors.... American and world citizens must demand that these tapes and documents be immediately released, translated, and analyzed in their entirety.

Intelligence Summit Meeting

Hundreds of security experts of diverse backgrounds convened on February 17, 2006 to evaluate Iraqi WMD. The organizers announced that translations of 12 hours of tapes of Saddam Hussein's cabinet meetings would be revealed at the meeting. In it Saddam would be heard talking about Iraq's WMD, its nuclear programs and how he fooled UN inspectors. Ten days before the meeting attendees received messages from inside the administration pressuring them not to attend. "However, these new tapes would have forced the intelligence community to admit that they misled President George W. Bush to state that Iraq had no WMD. Such admission, apparently, was something the intelligence community wanted to avoid by attempting to discredit this conference."

Captured Tapes and Documents

"Who'll Let the Docs Out? Bush wants to release the Saddam files but his [national] intelligence chief [John Negroponte] stalls. By Stephen F. Hayes" 03/20/2006, Volume 011, Issue 25 of the


"On February 16, President George W. Bush assembled a small group of congressional Republicans for a briefing on Iraq." Representative Mike Pence said to President Bush, "There are 3,000 hours of Saddam tapes and millions of pages of other documents that we captured after the war. When will the American public get to see this information?"

"Bush replied that he wanted the documents released. He turned to [National Security Advisor Stephen] Hadley and asked for an update. Hadley explained that John Negroponte, Bush's Director of National Intelligence, "owns the documents" and that DNI lawyers were deciding how they might be handled.


"Bush told Hadley to expedite the release of the Iraq documents. "This stuff ought to be out. Put this stuff out." The president would reiterate this point before the meeting adjourned. .....


"Negroponte never got the message. Or he is choosing to ignore it. He has done nothing to expedite the exploitation of the documents. And he continues to block the growing congressional effort, led by [Rep. Pete] Hoekstra, [the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee] to have the documents released.

‘I found Saddam's WMD bunkers'

Posted By Melanie Phillips On April 19, 2007 @ 9:26 am In Daily Mail |

A devastating expose of criminal incompetence and cover-up by the U.S. government. The first two paragraphs follow.

"It's a fair bet that you have never heard of a guy called Dave Gaubatz. It's also a fair bet that you think the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found absolutely nothing, nada, zilch; and that therefore there never were any WMD programmers in Saddam's Iraq to justify the war ostensibly waged to protect the world from Saddam's use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons."

"Dave Gaubatz, however, says you could not be more wrong. Saddam's WMD did exist. He should know because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don't know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost' his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam's WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war."

Media Spin

Another problem with objectively appraising the danger of WMD is exemplified in a recent article that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times. The headline reads: "Scientist profits on fears of WMD. - Germ-weapons expert wins grants, federal contracts through his warnings of mass-casualty biological attack." Notice how the reader is immediately primed to be suspicious by the use of emotionally charged words such as "...profits on fears..."

The first paragraph reads,

"After helping to lead the Soviet Union's germ-weapons program, Ken Alibek defected to the United States and began warning about the threat of a mass-casualty biological attack. Alibek also has sought to profit from the fear of such weapons of mass destruction, landing federal contracts or grants totaling about $28 million."

The first sentence above acknowledges that Ken Alibeck had good reason to know about the Soviet Union's germ-weapons program and hence he has credibility. But then, as if to immediately undermine his credibility, there follows the insinuation that, ..." Alibek also has sought to profit from the fear ..." This implies a selfish, if not a sinister, motivation. And in support of this insinuation we are told that his company received government contracts or grants, as if that alone was evidence of wrongdoing.

If the LA Times has any proof of wrongdoing by Alibeck let them produce the evidence. Instead, this news implies an accusation without actually making a charge that could expose them to be prosecuted for libel. Honest reporting would require a clear separation between presenting hard facts and offering editorial opinion. Their blatant failure to observe journalistic ethics raises the question of an agenda on the part of the LA Times.

Too many people are imposing their biases and opinions on the WMD issue which makes it much harder to get the full truth and to defend against a future attack.

Bertram Cohen contributed to this article.

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Ya'alon: Land for peace concept failed
Jul. 4, 2007

The concept of land for peace is a proven failure in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and any future withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank will create a 'Hamastan' there too, former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen (Res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday.

The former military chief said that Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip and the creation of "the first Jihadist Arab entity" on Israel's doorstep last month was "the last nail on the coffin" in a string of faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which have been the earmark of Israeli and Western policy for decades.

"The strengthening of Hamas after the Israeli pullout from Gaza and the Hamas takeover of Gaza necessitate a renewed examination of Israeli and international conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which, to my mind, are no longer relevant," Ya'alon said in an address organized by The Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute, on the ramifications of the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

In a succinct address which tore at the most basic premises of Middle East peacemaking, Ya'alon said that the faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict included the notions that the Palestinians wanted - or were able - to establish an independent state on the 1967 borders, that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the creation of two states on the 1967 borders, that land for peace should be the basis for any peace agreement, that peace would bring security, and that the key to stability in the Middle East was the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He argued that the violent Palestinian rejection of the peace offer put forward to them at Camp David seven years ago, which would have awarded them with a Palestinian state on upwards of 95 percent of the West Bank, and the refusal of both Hamas and the more moderate Fatah to recognize the existence of a Jewish State, negated the very essence of Israeli and international policymaking on the conflict - that the Palestinians want an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel on the 1967 borders.

"We are talking about [a Palestinian Authority which is] a gang authority and not a political authority," he said.

Ya'alon said that stabilization in the region did not hinge on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as many Western leaders argue, but on the defeat of Islamic Jihadism, led by the Iranian regime.

"Not only will an Israeli concession not reduce the threat- it will increase it," he said.

"Israeli concessions today will impede not only Israel's interests and those of the West but of moderate Arab regimes in the region," he added.

The hawkish former military chief, who is expected to be a future top contender in the political arena, said that Israel must treat the Hamas-run Gaza Strip as an "enemy entity," and should "disengage" from being the provider of water, electricity, and goods to the volatile coastal strip where 1.4 million Palestinians live.

At the same time, he opined Israel should give the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the West Bank a chance to establish autonomy, while Israel would be in charge of security in the area.

Ya'alon said that any Israeli military pullout from the West Bank would lead to the creation of a Hamastan there, which he said would threaten both Israel and Jordan.

He added that he opposed the stationing of Jordanian -
or any foreign - troops in the West Bank, calling it a fruitless idea which has been ineffective in the past.

Ya'alon's tenure as Israel's top military officer from 2002-2005 was marked by both a successful military crackdown on Palestinian terrorism, and his very overt falling out with then prime minister Ariel Sharon over his opposition to the premier's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

In a separate address, Major General (Res.) Giora Eiland, a former head of the Israel National Security Council said that Israel was missing out on an opportunity following the sudden Hamas takeover of Gaza last month.

Eiland argued that Israel had not used the Hamas conquest of Gaza to pressure the Islamist group to stop Kassam attacks and return Israeli Cpl. Gilad Schalilt now that it was in control of the densely populated coastal strip, and instead was serving the Palestinian interest by releasing Palestinian prisoners, and easing border crossings in the West Bank.

He argued that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders were not interested in reaching a peace agreement since such an accord - even if it were reached - would not be practical given the political realities on the ground, and would only lead to a future escalation of violence.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Replace failing cabinet now

Year elapsed since Lebanon War, yet government has learned nothing
Benjamin Netanyahu

Almost a year has elapsed since that morning when Hizbullah surprised the entire State of Israel by forcing a war on us. All of a sudden a million citizens in the north found themselves under a barrage of missiles and rockets never before experienced by the Israeli home front throughout Israel's history. Almost a year has elapsed since last summer whereby an entire nation witnessed a series of shortcomings by a failed government.

With the outbreak of the war, the cabinet set the right objectives, primarily pushing back the threat of missiles and destroying them, as well as bringing home our abducted soldiers – Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser.

To my regret, the government failed: Our abducted soldiers in the north, just like Gilad Shalit in the south – didn't come home. And Hizbullah? It has already rearmed beyond its capability prior to the war, while it and its patrons – Iran and Syria – blatantly defied UN Resolution 1701. In the south just like on the northern border, a pro Iranian enclave emerged, Hamastan, just as we predicted.

On both fronts there has been no substantive progress in ameliorating home front fortification shortcomings revealed during the war.

A year has elapsed and the feeling among the people is one of deep unease. The country is stuck. Much of the population feels there is currently no leadership and that the leaders are preoccupied with saving their own skin instead of dealing with statesmanship.

Instead of guiding the people to a safe haven, through a sober reading of reality, we are hearing plans for further concessions. In the last seven years Israel erred twice in undertaking unilateral withdrawals – first in Lebanon and later in the Gaza Strip. Unilateral policies did not bring the much yearned for peace any closer, but rather, pushed it further away. These mistakes must not be repeated!

We should recognize a simple basic truth: Power distances war and brings peace closer, while weakness does the exact opposite. The Palestinians and our other neighbors will take the path of coexistence and peace only after understanding that Israel's existence is a fait accompli: That they are facing an incredibly strong nation politically, militarily, economically and socially.

Time for elections

Hence, what is currently needed is a plan of national empowerment that would fortify our defense capabilities and strengthen our international standing by motivating governments and world public opinion to take action against Iran and its satellites.

Yet it seems that with regards to this matter too little is being done in a much too feeble a voice. Iran's president is frequently announcing his plans to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. No one is speaking out, while even Israel's voice sounds somewhat hesitant and weak.

We are in need of a revolution in this area, along with the continuation of economic growth in order to reinforce our vital interests. A strong economy would also ensure a response to Israel's social needs. Only a free economy enables the existence of a state and a modern society. Free market economy alongside social sensitivity is the right answer. And this is our policy.

Any citizen who can join the workforce – let them do so. Because this is the only way that the truly weak – such as the elderly, handicapped and the sick - can really be assisted. The cabinet must promote employment, lower taxes, boost the middle class and provide excellent education to all.

Mutual assistance among citizens should be embraced alongside personal responsibility. The incumbent government is doing none of this. It is fumbling without a policy. It appears that all governmental institutions are atrophied.

A government draws its authority from the people. The roots of this government have dried up. We must return to the people and regain its trust. I believe that in these elections the people will place their trust in the Likud movement, which has proven that it and only it was able to foresee the future through level-headed, sane and responsible policies.

In such a case I will approach all the heads of the Zionist parties in order to establish a national unity government that would take the Likud's path and rise up to the great challenges still ahead of us.

Monday, July 02, 2007


by Efraim Karsh

My most memorable meeting with Sari Nusseibeh took place in London in the spring of 1989. I was then a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University's Jafee Center for Strategic Studies, and like many well intentioned Israelis at the time and since, we aspired to lay the ground for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation through secret talks with Palestinian interlocutors, including members of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization, then an outlawed organization in Israel. The group we met was headed by Faisal Husseini, the PLO's most senior official in the disputed territories, flanked by Mr. Nusseibeh, a number of prominent London-based Palestinian Arab academics, and an allegedly well connected Syrian expatriate.

The meeting was pleasant and informative enough, with the courteous British hosts going out of their way to accommodate both sides, yet I was left with a nagging sense of foreboding. I was particularly taken aback when Mr. Nusseibeh, even then widely considered the epitome of Palestinian moderation and a staunch proponent of Arab-Jewish coexistence, turned out to be the most extreme member of the group. Dismissing out of hand the two-state solution -- Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip -- he instead sang the praise of the "one-state paradigm" -- a standard catchphrase for Israel's destruction -- demanding the incorporation of the West Bank and Gaza population into the Jewish state as full-fledged citizens, to be followed by the refugees from the neighboring Arab states and beyond.

In subsequent years, Mr. Nusseibeh continued to pay lip service to the two-state solution and consistently questioned the very legitimacy of the state with which he ostensibly wished to make peace. On a few occasions he even let the mask drop, unveiling his true agenda. In the late 1990s, for example, he told an old Oxford friend that "one day, in the near or further future, all this [ Israel and Palestine] will be one binational state. It's just a question of how we get there." In an April 2005 debate at Dartmouth College, Mr. Nusseibeh advocated the creation of a binational state as the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. "We will have spent 100 years killing and fighting each other, doing our best to avoid a one state solution, and we will find ourselves in that exact situation in 40 or 50 years," he argued.

That this advocacy of the destruction of an established member state of the international community has hardly dented Mr. Nusseibeh's "moderate" image can be partly explained by the desperate yearning among Jews and their supporters worldwide for Palestinian and Arab peace partners, dating back to the 1920s and the '30s, despite countless setbacks and disillusionments. It is also a corollary of the narcissist and patronizing mesmerization among educated westerners with the "noble savage" in general, and the westernized native in particular. With his posh Jerusalem high school education, his Oxford and Harvard degrees, and impeccable western demeanor, Mr. Nusseibeh, like cultured Arabs and Muslims before him, represents the ultimate product of the "white man's civilizing mission," a contemporary replica of George Antonius, the Cambridge-educated Syrian political activist who was the toast of British chattering classes in Palestine and beyond during the 1930s.

From the 1940s the same attitude can be seen in America. As the Washington Daily News wrote of a visit to the capital by Ahmad Shukairy, later the first head of the PLO, but at the time a 40-year-old Western educated lawyer: " Mr. Shukairy turned out to be a young lawyer, dressed in a natty blue suit and a little moustache, with his black hair slicked back over a high forehead. He spoke better English than most Americans ... and he is a smoothie."

In these circumstances it is hardly surprising that Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 542 pages, $27.50) has been received with alacrity. The Israeli novelist Amos Oz applauded it for casting "a fresh light on the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy," while for Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the New Republic, it was "a deeply admirable book by a deeply admirable man." Though dismissing Mr. Nusseibeh's account of the 1948 war as "grotesque" and regretting his comparison of Israeli prisons to the Soviet gulag, Mr. Wieseltier insisted that "there is nothing mean or heartless in Nusseibeh's writing about Israel," as if his equating the incarceration of lawfully convicted terrorists with the arbitrary detention and extermination of tens of millions of innocent civilians is not mean or heartless enough.

Neither is the gulag diatribe that Mr. Wieseltier took exception to an isolated exception. Quite the contrary, Mr. Nusseibeh misses no opportunity to denigrate and delegitimize Israel through sharp, short, often subtle yet always false readings of history. When describing the building of Jerusalem's Russian colony in the late 19th century, for example, he cannot resist the temptation to note that "the Israelis turned it into a prison." In fact it was the British who turned the compound into a central police station and prison well before the establishment of the state of Israel, which only inherited the facility. Likewise, he ends a description of mid-1940s Palestine with a wholly unrelated aside about the (alleged) "attempts by the Israeli government to shut down Al-Quds University, which I now head." Again, at the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990s, when these territories were transferred to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students.

Or take the terror war waged by the Palestinians since September 2000, which has thus far claimed some 1,130 Israeli lives (equivalent to 45,000 American fatalities, when you adjust for Israel's smaller population) with seven times as many wounded. According to Mr. Nusseibeh, this terrorist spree has been a pretext, rather than a cause, for the erection of the security fence (which he misrepresents as a "twenty-foot-high concrete wall," whereas in reality the wall constitutes less than 5 % of the fence's total length), as if the above death toll is not sufficiently severe to merit this counterterrorism measure. Besides, if the fence was designed to dismember the West Bank and disrupt Palestinian national development (a complete nonsense given that its route runs largely along the pre-1967 "green line"), why did it take Israel some 35 years, after its conquest of the territories, to initiate its erection?

But Mr. Nusseibeh is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His text is marred by countless factual errors and inaccuracies that cast a serious doubt on the validity of his personal narrative, not to mention the wider historical and political picture he seeks to paint. The British foreign secretary who made the famous declaration (in November 1917) on "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was Mr. Arthur James Balfour, not " Lord Alfred Balfour," and the declaration was made in a letter to Lord Rothschild, not to Chaim Weizmann. Lawrence of Arabia had nothing to do with the Anglo-Hashemite correspondence that led to the "Great Arab Revolt" of World War I, and the person with whom the British plotted the revolt was Emir Hussein ibn Ali (later King Hussein of the Hijaz), not his son Emir Faisal (misrepresented by Mr. Nusseibeh as " Sheikh Faisal Hussein"). Neither did the British ever promise Faisal (or Hussein for that matter) the headship of the Arab kingdom that would be established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. General Edmund Allenby did not occupy Palestine with his Mule Corps but rather with the powerful Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and the Ottoman potentate Djemal Pasha did not surrender to the British in 1917, as it was only in late September 1918 that Allenby scored his culminating victory, in the Battle of Megiddo. Sheik Izz al-din al-Qassam, the Syrian religious fanatic operating in Palestine in the mid-1930s, was not hanged by the British but killed in action. The Higher Arab Committee (established in 1936) comprised 10, rather than six, members and Jaffa's Arab population in 1948 didn't amount to 200,000 people, but to about a third of this figure. The Dome of the Rock was built by Caliph Abdel Malik ibn Marwan and not Mu'awiya, and Caliph Omar did not capture Jerusalem in 638 C.E. after the bloody conquest of Baghdad and Cairo for the simple reason that both cities were established long after the Muslim capture of Jerusalem. And so on and so forth.

Yet this astounding sloppiness pales in comparison with Mr. Nusseibeh's inability to rein in his deep anti- Israel prejudice. Time and again we hear of the rootless "Russian Jewish upstarts streaming into the country" to dispossess its indigenous population. Readers of Once Upon a Country will never know of the countless Zionist attempts at reconciliation, or the real opportunities for statehood offered to the Palestinians in the decades preceding the 1948 war. Instead, they are treated to an uninterrupted story of the victimization and abuse of the hapless Palestinians by the heartless Zionists who in public spoke peace but in private "spelled out their [expulsive] plans."

If the Arabs reverted to violence, as they occasionally did, it was invariably the Jews' fault. The 1929 massacres, for example, in which some 133 Jews were slaughtered by their Arab neighbors, and hundreds more were wounded, were but "a nasty backlash among Muslims" to Zionist nationalist aspirations regarding the Wailing Wall; just as Arafat's war of terror was a logical reaction to Ariel Sharon's short stroll along Temple Mount. But then, why should Muslims act differently when Jews, who have no valid claim to Palestine, let alone to the Wailing Wall -- "a most likely candidate for being the wall of a fortress built for Roman legions" -- make outrageous demands on this holy Muslim site.

This absurd assertion -- part of a lengthy historical fabrication of Jerusalem's history posted on the homepage of Al-Quds University, an institution headed by Mr. Nusseibeh -- is hardly different from the countless misrepresentations and distortions contained in Once Upon a Country. It is also congruent with the persistent Palestinian denial of the existence of King Solomon's Temple, and by extension the Jewish millennarian attachment to Jerusalem and the land of Israel. Small wonder that in 2002 he was appointed PLO Commissioner for Jerusalem affairs by Arafat, who in the Camp David summit of September 2000 had told President Clinton that the Temple had been located in Nablus rather than in Jerusalem. To judge by the gist of Once Upon a Country, Arafat could not have made a better choice.

Professor Efraim Karsh is head of Mediterranean studies at King's College, University of London. A revised paperback edition of his "Islamic Imperialism: A History" will be published this month by Yale University Press.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Advice for Mr. Blair: Stop Patronizing the Palestinians
Gerald M. Steinberg
Vol. 7, No. 6 June 28, 2007

•In taking the position of "international peace envoy" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Blair will need to change the basic political parameters in order to avoid another catastrophic failure.

•Most importantly, this will require abandoning the widely held images of Palestinian victimization and demonization of Israel. Palestinians must be shown that massive corruption, as well as terror and incitement have unacceptable costs, and that they must take control over their destiny.

•British and European leaders, academics, NGO officials, journalists, clergy, and others who have fostered the patronizing image of Palestinian helplessness and who have turned a blind eye to corruption and terror must also change frameworks. Continued aid must be tied to performance in these key dimensions.

•On this basis, it may be possible for Mr. Blair to encourage the transformation in Palestinian society that will one day create the basis for pragmatic compromise and a stable peace with Israel.

Given the dismal record of many would-be peacemakers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tony Blair must realize that the prospects of success as the latest peace envoy are not good. Having spent a great deal time on and in the region as Prime Minister, he must be aware of the obstacles, and the absence of any magic formula for instant peace in this most protracted of ethno-national and religious conflicts. Mr. Blair has seen enough to know that good intentions and simplistic slogans are not enough, and that real peace requires the type of societal transformations that take many years, once it begins.

The brutality of the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the collapse of the remnants of Fatah and the PLO may provide a small foundation from which to begin this transformation among the Palestinians, particular those in the West Bank. But this process will also require a basic change in international policies and perceptions with respect to Palestinians. In particular, the patronizing and ineffective emphasis on Palestinian suffering and helplessness that has dominated actions since 1948 must end. Palestinians must be given the opportunity and the external push to take control over their own destiny, and stop seeing themselves simply as passive victims.

The rampant corruption and failed leadership in Palestinian society is, to a large degree, a product of the massive welfare system in effect since the Israeli defeat of the 1948 Arab invasion, and the refugees that resulted. At that time, "temporary" camps and housing were created under control of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) . Rather than work to end their refugee status, as in many similar situations of warfare and displacement, (and following Israel's example of integrating hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled violence in Arab countries), this situation was deliberately and cynically perpetuated. The objective was blatantly political - as long as refugees and camps existed, the goal of reversing the UN partition resolution and the establishment of Israel remained alive. In this central respect, nothing has changed in almost 60 years.

Beyond the massive economic cost of maintaining this situation (UNRWA spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year ), more damage is caused by perpetuating the image of Palestinian victimization. The Arab defeat in the 1967 war led to the reinforcement of this image, as well as further increases in welfare funding through other aid and development frameworks through European governments, major churches, and powerful via pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Although the PLO was founded in 1964, and came to be accepted as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", its leaders limited their activities to the political and military struggle against Israel. Yassir Arafat showed no interest in building civil society or ending the dependence and victimization. On the contrary, for decades, he was a major contributor to this syndrome.

The international community, and particularly European governments, perpetuated and widened this process , handing over additional funds, often in bags of cash handed directly to Arafat and his cronies. Officials in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Oslo, Bern, Stockholm, Rome and elsewhere, ignored the obvious evidence of massive corruption and the lack of interest in building institutions or providing services (the report written much later by the EU's watchdog agency OLAF remains a tightly guarded secret, making a mockery of European calls for transparency).

The core reason for allowing huge amounts of European tax revenues to disappear among Palestinian officials was paternalism. European leaders did not expect anything better from Arafat and Fatah, and did not try or condition aid to fundamental changes. After the 1993 Oslo peace framework established the Palestinian Authority and the refugee camps in this territory ceased to exist, the image of victims and helpless refugees continued, and the corruption increased, abetted by the donors.

In parallel, the "Palestinian cause" and the prevalent image of helpless victims was perpetuated among self-proclaimed human rights groups and other NGOs, in the media, in churches, on university campuses, and among politicians . In Britain, powerful groups such as War on Want, Christian Aid, and others held rallies for the Palestinians, collected funds, and demonized Israel through boycott and divestment campaigns. European leaders continued to embrace Arafat until his death, long after his personal corruption and failed leadership was revealed and many Palestinians distanced themselves. By the same token, Palestinians were not expected to behave by the ordinary rules of moral and civilized behavior, or to respect human rights . And no terror attack, including bus bombings and suicide bombers in cafes, was considered repulsive enough by officials in Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch to change in this neo-colonialist image of Palestinian victimhood.

Given this dismal condition, Mr. Blair would be well advised to avoid more of the same - more victimization and sympathy for "Palestinian suffering". A sharp cut-off of all international aid would worsen the situation, but the terms of this assistance should be radically altered. Palestinians must be told that the aid will decrease annually, and that they will have no alternative but to use this assistance to become self-sufficient and to demand effective leaders. And this aid should no longer be used to perpetuate the political and ideological war against Israel being waged, in large part, through the manipulated images of passive Palestinian victimhood.

This in itself will be a very difficult challenge for Mr. Blair and his staff. They will encounter stiff resistance from both Palestinian and European officials in UNRWA, the powerful development agencies such as DFID, the pro-Palestinians NGOs that receive this funding, and elsewhere and who know no other approach. Most importantly, if this is to succeed, Palestinians must be taught to take responsibility for their own situation, rather than appealing for international assistance, both economic and political, whenever they are in difficulty. In this process, more Palestinians will come to realize that support for terror and suicide bombers, and the preaching of incitement in schools, mosques and the media, has an unacceptable cost. And along with Mr. Blair, they will also understand that the decades of war with Israel must finally end through difficult compromises on the Palestinian side as well. Without leaders and society capable of such compromises, nothing else will succeed.

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Prof. Gerald Steinberg heads the Political Studies Department at Bar-Ilan University, and is the Executive Director of