Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas’s Dangerous Grandstanding

September 29  

For full article go to   http://tinyurl.com/m5azgul  

THE GOOD news from the Middle East is that the truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has held for a month, and Hamas appears ready to make concessions to avoid a resumption of fighting. Last week the Islamist movement renewed its agreement with the secular Fatah party to turn over Gaza’s government and security control of its borders to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. Though it’s not clear that the accord will last, Hamas is emerging as the loser of the summer war. According to Israel, as much as 80 percent of Hamas’s military arsenal has been destroyed, and its poll ratings among Palestinians are sinking as it fails to deliver the gains it promised from the conflict.

Hamas’s diminution might seem to create new possibilities for agreement between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Abbas, after all, denounced Hamas’s embrace of carnage and refused to support a simultaneous uprising in the West Bank. Yet Mr. Abbas delivered a bridge-burning speech to the U.N. General Assembly last week, mendaciously accusing Israel of “a new war of genocide” and declaring that a return to negotiations was “impossible.”

For several years Mr. Abbas has oscillated between half-hearted participation in peace talks and attempts to advance the Palestinian cause through unilateral action at the United Nations. The latter initiatives have no chance of substantive success and risk being self-defeating, as the Palestinians should have learned from Mr. Abbas’s last such gambit in 2012. Then their lobbyists were unable to win enough support for a U.N. Security Council resolution even to force a U.S. veto, and a compensatory symbolic measure in the General Assembly provoked Israel to impose painful financial sanctions.

Mr. Abbas nevertheless is trying the Security Council again, after refusing to respond to a U.S. framework for peace talks painstakingly developed by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. He proposes a resolution that would mandate the creation of a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders in a set period of time; when it is voted down or vetoed by the United States, the Palestinians hint that they will seek a war crimes investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court. That, in turn, would almost certainly prompt retaliatory sanctions by Mr. Netanyahu’s government and possibly by Congress, which supplies the Palestinian Authority with much of its funding.

Mr. Abbas has repeatedly rejected violence, and he has convinced a series of U.S. and Israeli negotiators that he has a realistic view of the terms for a Palestinian state. Yet he has now rejected platforms for a settlement on two occasions from two U.S. presidents. He persists in grandstanding gestures that he must know will only delay the serious negotiations that must precede the creation of a Palestinian state and that undermine those in Israel who support such talks. He has spoken for years of retiring but, at 79, he clings to his post four years after his elected term expired. Hamas has done the most harm to Palestinians and their cause in recent years. But Mr. Abbas has done little good.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Palestinians and the "Death Boats" Scandal

Khaled Abu Toameh  September 27, 2014  
As the past few weeks have, shown, hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians would rather risk their lives at sea than live under Palestinian governments and leaders whose only goal is to enrich their bank accounts.
Instead of creating job opportunities for young men and women, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have spent the past seven years fighting over money and power. They are now busy planning how to lay their hands on the millions of dollars that are supposed to go to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Hamas wants to use the Palestinian Authority as a tool through which the international community channels funds to he Gaza Strip — a move that would  ultimately empower Hamas to tighten its grip over the Palestinian population there.
They said that Hamas officials are providing the emigrants with forged visas and travel documents to to enable them to enter Europe.
Over the past few weeks, dozens of Palestinian immigrants from the Gaza Strip have been killed or injured while trying to reach Europe by sea.
At least 500 Palestinians have gone missing after the boats carrying them sank in the sea. Some reports have suggested that rival gangs deliberately sunk the boats. The gangs are fighting for the cash the Palestinians are prepared to pay to leave the Gaza Strip. Palestinians refer to the situation as their "Death Boats" scandal.

The Palestinian immigrants are said to have paid thousands of dollars to Hamas officials and Egyptian smugglers to facilitate the exodus from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki claimed that each Palestinian paid $1,000 to Hamas personnel at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Others are believed to have paid $5,000 each to leave the Gaza Strip.
Malki said that preliminary investigations have revealed that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have fallen victim to Hamas and Egyptian gangsters who managed to lure them with false promises.

According to various reports, some 13,000 Palestinians have already fled the Gaza Strip to Europe with the help of the gangsters. Most left through Hamas's smuggling tunnels or by bribing its security officials at the Rafah terminal. Another 25,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have applied to various European countries for immigration.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the mass exodus, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip revealed that the Islamist movement had set up special offices to register those wishing to start a new life in Europe. They said that Hamas officials are providing the emigrants with forged visas and travel documents to enable them to enter Europe.

A Palestinian journalist in Gaza City said that at one of the mosques in the southern Gaza Strip, a leading Hamas preacher told worshippers: "Those who are not happy can always emigrate to Europe. We do not force anyone to stay here."

Most of the immigrants left the Gaza Strip through a two-kilometer tunnel belonging to a senior Hamas operative. Survivors told a Palestinian Authority Commission of Inquiry that when they reached the Egyptian side of the border, Egyptian gangsters intercepted them and robbed them of their money.

"Hamas gangsters worked in cooperation with gangsters on the Egyptian side of the border," said a senior Palestinian Authority official involved with the inquiry commission. "They operated like a real mafia, exploiting the predicament of the people, especially young men who were hoping to find jobs and better lives in Italy and other European countries."

Palestinians say that the emigration began long before the last military confrontation between Hamas and Israel. But the trend has witnessed a dramatic increase since the end of the fighting in late August.

"Hamas has failed to help the Palestinians ever since it came to power in 2007," said Ahmed Bader, whose son managed to leave the Gaza Strip through a tunnel one week after the end of the fighting. "There is nothing for the young people to do in the Gaza Strip: no jobs, no entertainment and no security. Young men who graduate from universities cannot find work if they are not members of Hamas."

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority bear responsibility for the tragedy of the Palestinian immigrants. The two rival parties have failed to improve the living conditions of their people in the Gaza Strip.  Instead of creating job opportunities for young men and women, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have spent the past seven years fighting over money and power.

Hamas says that Palestinians are fleeing the Gaza Strip because their leader (Mahmoud Abbas) is a helpless 80-year-old man "who suffers from half the diseases of the universe." The Palestinian Authority, for its part, says that the Palestinians are fleeing the "hell of Hamas.". Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are trading allegations and abuses while their people are being exploited emotionally and financially, then robbed, drowned and fed to sharks.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are now busy planning how to lay their hands on the millions of dollars that are supposed to go to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

At last week's "reconciliation" talks between the two sides in Cairo, they completely ignored the tragedy of the Palestinian immigrants. Once again, Hamas and Fatah officials exchanged kisses and hugs as they announced yet another agreement to implement a previous agreement. 

In fact, this is what Hamas and Fatah have been doing since 2006 – signing one reconciliation agreement after the other without tangible results. Needless to say, so far none of these agreements has been implemented. Skeptics say the most recent agreement between Hamas and Fatah is also likely to remain ink on paper due to the wide gap between the two parties.

Hamas appears to be willing to bring the Palestinian Authority back to the Gaza Strip not because it has changed its ideology. Rather, Hamas wants to use the Palestinian Authority as a tool through which the international community channels funds to the Gaza Strip – a move that would ultimately empower Hamas to tighten its grip over the Palestinian population there.
But many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have obviously lost their confidence in both Abbas and Hamas. As the past few weeks have shown, hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians would rather risk their lives at sea than live under Palestinian governments and leaders whose only goal is to enrich their bank accounts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Co-existence in the Children’s Ward

Debra Kamin September 11, 2014,

At Rambam Hospital in Haifa, kids from Israel, Gaza and the West Bank are studying together in between treatments

Hodaya is 8 years old and her favorite color is pink. She is small for her age, and over her tiny, pale face she wears a green paper surgical mask.
Hodaya would have loved to join the millions of Israeli students who went back to school on September 1, but she couldn’t. That’s because Hodaya is suffering from an aggressive form of bone cancer, and like dozens of other children at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, she can’t leave the building.
Instead, Hodaya goes to school for a few hours a day inside of the hospital building. And while she doesn’t have the shiny new backpack, the gleaming locker or the pages upon pages of homework that other students in Israel have, she has something that none of them can even dream of: friends from Gaza and the West Bank, who are hospitalized alongside her and learning in the same classroom.

At Rambam, which is the largest medical center in the country’s north and one of Israel’s most renowned, pediatric education follows the same model as it does in hospitals across the country: the Education Ministry oversees curriculum and coursework, and sets mandates for the number of hours each day that hospitalized children must attend class.
But when you have 5-year-olds on dialysis and 11-year-olds undergoing chemotherapy, nothing, not even math homework, is normal. And at Rambam, where on average half of the beds in the pediatric wing are filled by children from Gaza and the West Bank, the banalities of reading, writing and arithmetic become even more surreal.

Dima Chamra, an Arab art therapist at Rambam, greets
17-year-old Sana Charoob, a patient from Jenin (left),
while Amtaz Manfor, a Druze teacher at Rambam, stands
behind 8-year-old patient Simdosh Chansan Jamal, also
from Jenin (right). (photo credit: Ofer Golan)

“We try to make them feel as normal as possible, even though it’s not a normal thing to be hospitalized,” says Ilana Levy, who manages all of the hospital education centers in Haifa, including that of Rambam. “We don’t care where you are from. We have Jews here, Christians, Arabs. We have children from Gaza. During the war, while there was fighting every day, we had children from Gaza sitting next to religious Jews in class. It doesn’t matter. We love all the children here and want to keep their lives as normal as possible.”
Classes at Israel’s hospitals ramped up on the first day of September, just as they did at schools around the country. Classrooms, which are divided by age group, all have an Arab-speaking teacher and a Hebrew-speaking teacher, and several have special assistants like art therapists or volunteers doing their national service. Classes generally run from 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m., as they do in schoolhouses throughout Israel, but students come and go depending on their treatment schedules and how they are feeling each day.

“They come and they learn, and we really get attached to them,” says Lila Yahiach, one of the teachers in the oncology unit. Yahiach is Muslim, and she shares her classroom with Yehudit Levy, a religious Jew, as well as a Jewish national service volunteer named Hodaya Toledanu (no relation to the patient). Yahiach speaks in Arabic to the Arabic-speaking students, Levy speaks in Hebrew to the Jewish students — but both insist they feel the same connection, and the same responsibility, for everyone in their classroom.

Shilat Levy, a five-year-old patient at Rambam, is
Jewish and from Haifa. (photo credit: Ofer Golan)

Asked if she believes the students inside of Rambam can sometimes learn more about the outside world than their peers in Jewish-only or Muslim-only schools in the region, Yahiach immediately says yes. “Some of the students come here, and they speak only Arabic, but, it’s like anywhere – they make friends,” she says. “So they also want to learn Hebrew. And they start to, so they can talk with each other. They are kids. Of course they want to talk to each other.”
The ratio of Jewish to Muslim students is always in flux, although hospital officials say it generally sits at an even split. This week, as the school year opens, there are four students from Gaza, all of them hospitalized full-time. Some of them have been at the hospital for years, living there with their families while they undergo intensive treatment. There are 12 students from the Palestinian Authority, including five from Jenin. In the past the hospital also housed a number of Syrian children who were brought across the border for treatment. (The Gaza and PA kids’ treatments are paid for by the Palestinian Authority and they come to the hospital as medical tourists. The education costs are covered by the hospital and the Education Ministry, which stipulates that all kids in Israeli hospitals get schooling regardless of where they live.)
One of those students from the West Bank, Muhammad, is 12 years old. He shares a classroom with Hodaya in the surgery department, and while Hodaya practices writing the Hebrew alphabet with her Hebrew-speaking teacher, he sits alongside his instructor, a Druze teacher named Amtaz Manfor, and together they practice reading and writing English.
“English is the language of the world,” Muhammad, who also wears a mask to protect himself from contamination in the classroom, says. “So I like learning it. And my teacher likes speaking it.”
Manfor, who wears the traditional white veil of Druze women, hugs Muhammad and laughs. “I do like English,” she says. “And he is a good student.”
Also in the classroom are two girls from Gaza, who are gluing multi-colored sequins onto pieces of white paper with Dima Chamra, a Christian Arab who is a trained art therapist.
“It’s stressful here,” she says in English before giving a direction to the girls in Arabic. “The art is really helpful for them. It gives them an outlet. Some of them are here for a very long time.”
Dr. Rafael Beyar, Rambam’s director general, says that inside of a hospital, there is no place for politics.
 “This is really a way for us to show that coexistence can happen,” he says of the classrooms in the pediatric wing. “We have Jewish and Muslim kids, Arab kids, kids from Gaza, kids with cancer, kids with kidney diseases, kids that stay here for a very long time. The hospital becomes their home. And whn you live together and you also learn together.”
Rambam has recently undergone a series of massive renovations and reconstructions, including the unveiling of a cutting-edge hybrid parking garage/underground hospital facility that is fully fortified. The shimmering Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, a cheerful, light-filled new pediatric building, had its soft opening this summer. The children interviewed for this story are still being housed in the old building, but Beyar says that once all the pediatric cases have been moved to the new unit, classes will be larger and offer more chances for children from across the region to learn alongside each other and even become friends.
“A life is a life,” Beyar says. “It doesn’t matter where the patient comes from or what his religion or opinions are. We are care for patients, we educate the children who live here at the hospital, and we stay out of political arguments.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

IDF’s Dogs in Gaza - Man's Best Friend

September 9, 2014 

During Operation Protective Edge, the dogs of the IDF’s Oketz unit battled terrorists in Gaza.

Many of them were wounded in combat, but that didn’t stop them from continuing the fight.  

Only ten days after suffering a severe injury in Gaza, Whiskey – a dog in the IDF’s Oketz unit – returned to the battlefield. He wasn’t alone. During Operation Protective Edge, several of the IDF’s canines were wounded in clashes with Hamas terrorists. Like Whiskey, many of them continued fighting despite their wounds.

Oketz (Hebrew: ‘Sting’) is the IDF’s elite canine unit and the best of its kind in the world. The unit’s soldiers undergo intense training to lead infantry forces and special units into battle. They prepare year round to join IDF troops in all sorts of situations, from basic missions to the most complex operations.
“Our dogs are filled with motivation, and they rarely reveal that something is wrong with them,” explained Major A, one of the unit’s senior veterinarians. On the first day of the operation’s ground phase, a bullet entered Whiskey’s leg near a major artery. Despite his injury, he continued to carry out his mission alongside IDF soldiers.

More than two hours after Whiskey’s injury, his handler noticed that he was limping and needed urgent medical attention. IDF soldiers immediately evacuated him to a hospital in Israel, where veterinarians performed surgery and saved his life. Only ten days later, Whiskey returned to the battlefield. “He was determined to keep going,” Major A explained. “His wound was very dangerous, and he survived it almost by a miracle.”
A bond between warriors
Kimba, another of the unit’s canines, and her handler were wounded after terrorists fired a mortar in their direction. After suffering shrapnel wounds to the head and chest, Kimba underwent surgery in an Israeli veterinary hospital. Throughout her period of recovery, she received regular visits from her IDF handler, who insisted on coming to see her despite his own wounds.

The IDF honors its canines much like its soldiers. When four dogs were killed in Gaza, Oketz held a moving ceremony in their memory. Dozens of handlers came to pay their respects to the fallen canines – a sign of the strong bonds between the unit’s handlers and their dogs.
Oketz fighters do everything possible to save the lives of wounded dogs. “They’re like fighters on four legs, and we take the evacuation of an injured dog very seriously,” Maj. A said. “We decide how to evacuate each dog according to the severity and urgency of each injury, whether by car or helicopter. In Gaza, there were always veterinarians in the field who treated dogs when they were injured.”

“All of our wounded dogs suffered trauma,” explained Major Y, another senior veterinarian in the unit. “They were hit by shrapnel in places that would disable a human being, but all of them kept going. Many of them continued fighting because they insisted on hiding their wounds.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How ALEH HaNegev Coped Under Fire

The innovative ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran rehabilitative village, located in Israel’s southern region, is a multi-faceted facility that provides severely disabled young adults the opportunity to live a rich and productive life within a safe environment. They were faced with extreme difficulties during the recent war in Gaza and their report of this period makes for compulsive reading. 

Now that things have calmed down, even as we return to normal routine, we look back with pride at the way ALEH’s staff, administration, volunteers and friends all came together during Operation Protective Edge.

Here are a few highlights of the past few weeks:

Over 230 ALEH residents, all with intellectual and developmental disabilities, were living in shelters for over 6 weeks.

Over 140 rockets were fired at the Ofakim area, where ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran is located.  Three rockets landed within the village itself – the last one half an hour before the final ceasefire went into effect.

National Service girls moved into the village, making themselves available 24/7 to help during a siren and to run various activities within the shelters.  ALEH Jerusalem’s dedicated National Service Girls also began sleeping in the facility, serving as staff reinforcement at night in case of siren warnings.

Staff attendance remained at nearly 100%.  Everyone – from caregivers to paramedical staff and maintenance workers -- continued to come to work, despite the fear and danger, demonstrating a remarkable sense of responsibility and commitment.

Residents were treated to special activities by professional entertainers at least 3 times a week, bringing joy and laughter to the crowded shelters – clown shows, music and movement fun, puppet and theater etc.

ALEH’s Special Education Schools opened their doors daily throughout this time, both for residents and for the attending community children.

Despite the rockets, ALEH Bnei Brak accepted more children.  A 3-month old infant was just welcomed into Aleh Bnei Brak's Infant Ward for as long as necessary.  She was transferred from the Barzilai Medical Center in the south, where she had been in an underground reinforced shelter together with all the other hospital patients.   Another 3 children from the rocket-ridden communities in Ashdod and Tifrach have joined Aleh Bnei Brak's special education school….   
Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran’s outpatient Rehabilitation Center was open throughout this period. Therapists came to work daily to serve the patients who braved the trip to the village in order to continue the treatment and therapies so vital to their rehabilitation.

A Day Camp for children of staff members was opened at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran.  Some 35 children whose parents are caregivers, secretaries, school assistants and maintenance workers attended the daily day camp, where they were close to their parents in a safe environment.  The camp was staffed by parents and volunteers from all over Israel.

Workers received ongoing emotional support from the ALEH’s social worker staff and psychologists.  They were also treated to medical massages, hot meals and various incentives during their shifts, activities and special shows from some of Israel’s famous entertainers.  We plan to treat them to a day of recreation as a gesture of appreciation for their dedication during this critical time.

While dealing with the immediate day-to-day ramifications of the war, we must also plan for the short and long-term future.  It is clear that there is a lack of extant resources and an urgent need for more comprehensive medical, paramedical and rehabilitative services in the Negev/southern region.  To that end, a Rehabilitation Hospital is being planned onsite at Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, to respond to the hundreds of residents of the Negev region who will require in-patient rehabilitation. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hamas: Give Us West Bank So We Can Destroy Israel

 Khaled Abu Toameh  September 7, 2014
What Hamas and Iran are saying is that if and when Israel pulls back to the pre-1967 lines, they, together with other Palestinians, would bring weapons into the West Bank to achieve their goal of eliminating the "Zionist entity."

Abbas's initiative also ignores that Hamas could easily seize control of the West Bank through force or through the promised free and democratic elections, which recent polls show Hamas is assured of winning. Abbas is demanding something that would bring about his own demise.

If the West Bank had one quarter of the weapons that the Gaza Strip has, Israel would be eliminated in one day. This is what Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told worshippers during a sermon he delivered on September 5.

Zahar, who delivered his first sermon since the Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Hamas and Israel was announced in late August: he chose to remind Palestinians and the rest of the world of his movement's dream to destroy Israel.

"If only the West Bank had one quarter of what Gaza has of resistance tools, the Israeli entity would end in one day," Zahar declared, reiterating the claim that Hamas had scored a "big victory" in the war.

The Hamas leader went on to criticize those who still have doubts as to whether Israel could be destroyed.

"Those who were skeptical as to whether Palestine could be liberated are no longer doubtful after the enemy was hit from the Gaza Strip," Zahar said. "Can you imagine what would happen if the enemy is targeted from the West Bank, which makes up 20% of the size of Palestine?"
Zahar's wish to see the West Bank flooded with rockets and mortars and other "tools of resistance" was echoed by other Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and spokesmen after the recent war in the Gaza Strip.

Zahar himself was quoted recently as saying that Hamas's goal now was to "move the Gaza example of resistance" to the West Bank.

Even the Iranians seem to think that the time has come to turn the West Bank into a launching pad for attacks on Israel.

During the war in the Gaza Strip, a senior Iranian commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohamed Reza Naqdi, announced that Tehran had plans to "arm Palestinians in the West Bank" in order to destroy Israel.

Naqdi boasted that the weapons used by Hamas and other Palestinian groups during the recent war had been manufactured and supplied by Iran.

The threats by Hamas and Iran regarding the West Bank show why it is critically important for Israel (and the Palestinian Authority) to insist on the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip as part of any long-term cease-fire agreement.

Even more significantly, these threats underline the need to keep the West Bank a demilitarized area in any future peace agreement, especially one that would see the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

Moreover, these threats support Israel's insistence on maintaining permanent security control over the border with Jordan. Without such a presence, Iranian-made weapons would easily find their way into the West Bank.

What Hamas and Iran are saying is that if and when Israel pulls back to the pre-1967 lines, they, together with other Palestinians, would bring weapons into the West Bank to achieve their goal of eliminating the "Zionist entity."

Zahar does not even believe that there is a need for large amounts of weapons – just one fourth of what Hamas and Islamic Jihad already have in the Gaza Strip are sufficient, in his eyes, to destroy Israel in one day.

In the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge, it is not difficult to understand why flooding the West Bank with weapons poses an existential threat to Israel.

But this is also something that would wreak havoc on Palestinians in the West Bank.

Fortunately, Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are fully aware of attempts by Iran and Hamas to turn the West Bank into a base for terrorism and jihadis.

Thanks to Israel, they are also aware of Hamas's effort to topple the Palestinian Authority and replace it with an Islamist government.

Last month, Israel announced the arrest of more than 90 West Bank Hamas members who planned to stage a coup against Abbas and renew terror attacks against Israelis. Were it not for Israel's effort, Abbas and his top officials would have been either killed or imprisoned by Hamas.

That episode explains why Abbas has now ordered a massive crackdown on Hamas members 
and supporters in the West Bank. During the Gaza war, Abbas refrained from such measures against his Hamas rivals out of fear of being accused of "collaboration" with Israel.

Since the cease-fire went into effect, Abbas's security forces in the West Bank have detained more than 80 Hamas men. They have also stopped Hamas-affiliated preachers from delivering sermons during Friday prayers.

Abbas will be able to rein in Hamas in the West Bank only if he pursues security coordination with Israel.

However, it would be unrealistic to expect Abbas or any Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority would not be able to survive for one day in the West Bank without the presence of the IDF, especially given Hamas's rising popularity among Palestinians in the aftermath of the war.

Last week, Abbas sent two senior officials, Saeb Erekat and Majed Faraj, to Washington to present his "new peace initiative" to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Abbas's initiative envisages the establishment of a Palestinian state within three years either through negotiations or by having the UN Security Council impose a solution on Israel.

Abbas's initiative, however, ignores the threat from Hamas and Iran to use the West Bank as a launching pad for destroying Israel. It also ignores that Hamas could easily seize control over a future Palestinian state by force or through the promised free and democratic elections, as assured by a recent public opinion poll published by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

Abbas is demanding a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines (including the border with Jordan). But he cannot offer any assurances that Hamas and Iran would not use this border to smuggle weapons into the West Bank.

In fact, Abbas is demanding from the Israelis and Americans something that would bring about his own demise. His only option for now is to hold onto power in the West Bank and continue to work with Israel against the common enemy – Hamas. The day Hamas agrees to lay down its weapons and abandon its dream of destroying Israel, he will then be able to go to the U.S. and Security Council and ask for an independent state next to Israel.

Moderate Islam is Our New Religion

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog
I have been searching for moderate Islam since September 11 and just like a lost sock in the dryer, it was in the last place I expected it to be.

There is no moderate Islam in the mosques or in Mecca. You won’t find it in the Koran or the Hadiths. If you want to find moderate Islam, browse the newspaper editorials after a terrorist attack or take a course on Islamic religion taught by a Unitarian Sociologist wearing fake native jewelry.

You can’t find a moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but you can find it in countless network news specials, articles and books about the two homelands of their respective brands of Islam.

You won’t find the fabled land of moderate Muslims in the east. You won’t even find it in the west. Like all myths it exists in the imagination of those who tell the stories. You won’t find a moderate Islam in the Koran, but you will find it in countless Western books about Islam.

Moderate Islam isn’t what most Muslims believe. It’s what most liberals believe that Muslims believe. The new multicultural theology of the West is moderate Islam. Moderate Islam is the perfect religion for a secular age since it isn’t a religion at all.

Take Islam, turn it inside out and you have moderate Islam. Take a Muslim who hasn’t been inside a mosque in a year, who can name the entire starting lineup of the San Diego Chargers, but can’t name Mohammed’s companions and you have a moderate Muslim. Or more accurately, a secular Muslim.

The current generation of Western leaders seeks the affirmation of their secular liberalism in a moderate Islam. Even if they have to make it up.

Without a moderate Islam the Socialist projects of Europe which depend on heavy immigration collapse. America’s War on Terror becomes the endless inescapable slog that the rise of ISIS has once again revealed it to be. Multiculturalism, post-nationalism and Third World Guiltism all implode.

Without moderate Muslims, nationalism returns, borders close and the right wins. That is what they fear.

Moderate Islam is a difficult faith. To believe in it you have to disregard over a thousand years of recorded history, theology, demographics and just about everything that predates 1965. You have to ignore the bearded men chopping off heads because they don’t represent the majority of Muslims.

Neither does Mohammed, who did his own fair share of headchopping.
The real Islam is the religion of Mohammed, the Koran, the Hadiths, the Caliphs and its practitioners in such places as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq or Indonesia. Moderate Islam is a religion that does not exist, but its supporters  fervently believe it must exist because without it their way of life is as doomed as the dodo.

The true moderate Muslims are secular liberals of loosely Christian and Jewish persuasion who have invented and believe in a moderate Islam that doesn’t exist outside of their own heads. This secular Islam, which values all life, is dedicated to social justice and universal tolerance, is a counterpart of their own bastardized religions. And they are too afraid to wake up and realize that it doesn’t exist.

When American and European leaders insist that Islam has nothing to do with the latest Islamic atrocity, they are not referencing a religion practiced by Muslims, but an imaginary religion that they imagine Muslims must practice because the alternative is the end of everything that they believe in.

When you say that moderate Muslims don’t exist, you are calling him a bad person. When you challenge Islam, you are attacking multiculturalism and he will call you a racist, regardless of the fact that Islam is as much of a race as Communism, Nazism or the Mickey Mouse Fan Club were races.

The moderate Muslim is an invention of the liberal academic, the secular theologian, the vapid politician and his shrill idiot cousin, the political activist. Like the money in the budgets that underpin their plans and the scientific evidence for Global Warming, he does not exist.

The degraded lefty descendants of Christians and Jews wait for a moderate Muslim messiah who will reconcile the impossibilities of their multicultural society by healing the conflicts between Islam and the West. Until they find him, they have to believe, not in a divinity, but in the moderate Muslim. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Western Progressives Successfully Prevent Israel's SodaStream From Employing Palestinian Workers

Mr. Miller is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Cincinnati.

The full article is available online at: http://onforb.es/1lzxovf

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel appears to have won a Pyrrhic victory over SodaStream, resulting in 900 Palestinian workers, who received Israeli wages and benefits, being thrown out of their jobs. SodaStream is putting a good face on the “potential” closing, saying it is not submitting to the terror-aligned BDS campaign. But two hundred Palestinian workers have already been let go, and to many observers in Israel, the handwriting is on the wall.

In the front ranks of the campaign against SodaStream has been the
sanctimonious Oxfam, which proudly reminds us that it does not support BDS, but it is for boycotting SodaStream.

Now the left can celebrate sending 900 Palestinians into poverty, people who made four times the going rate for wages in the Palestinian Territories—that is if they could have found jobs in an economy with 40% unemployment. In the Berkeley hills, the peace and justice crew and the gaggle of assorted leftists are opening fine bottles of California wine, looking out over their million-dollar views, and clinking crystal glasses in celebration. Meanwhile some of these 900 former factory workers will find their way into the territories’ sole thriving industry, terrorism.

The leftist retort is that the settlements are illegal and they impoverish the Palestinians. Like most things that come from the left, the legality or illegality of the settlements is far and away more complex than stated, especially in the SodaStream case, which operates in Area C, an area legally under joint Israeli/Palestinian administration.

The factory was a glimmer of hope where hope is a rare commodity. It was a cooperative venture between Palestinians and Israelis, a reminder of what could and should be. Economic integration between Arabs and Israelis is the road to both peace and prosperity, just as it was in medieval Wales, where the market place brought Welshmen and Englishmen together in a common, vital interaction that assuaged their differences and over centuries transformed them into one people.

Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has spoken against BDS as
hurting the Palestinians. But the left knows better. For them, ideological purity is more valuable than alleviating the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinians. Oxfam cherishes its work in alleviating hunger, while in the Palestinian territories, it has just condemned 900 people and their families to the economic conditions it works to prevent.

Well done, BDS. You have helped extinguish that ray of hope that might lead to peace.