While Christians’ thoughts are turned to the “Holy Land” in this season, and the cloying and absurd story of “God’s son” being born there is told and retold, we turn our thoughts to a present day reality in that most troubled part of our troubled world.
Reflecting our own views, here is an extract from a speech by George Deek, an Israeli Arab, speaking recently in Oslo:
In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees? Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere.
And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations.
Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.
While there is one U.N. agency in charge of all refugees in the world – the UNHCR, another agency was established to deal only with the Palestinian ones – UNRWA. This is no coincidence – while the goal of the UNHCR is to help refugees establish a new home, establish a future and end their status as refugees, the goal of UNRWA is opposite: to preserve their status as refugees, and prevent them from being able to start new lives.
The International community cannot seriously expect the refugee problem to be solved, when it is collaborating with the Arab world in treating the refugees’ as political pawns, denying them the basic rights they deserve. Wherever the Palestinian refugees were granted equal rights – they prospered and contributed to their society – In South America, in the U.S., and even in Israel. In fact, Israel was one of the few countries that automatically gave full citizenship and equality for all Palestinians in it after ‘48. And we see the results: despite all the challenges, the Arab citizens of Israel built a future.
Israeli Arabs are the most educated Arabs in the world, with the best living standards and opportunities in the region.
Arabs serve as judges in the Supreme Court; Some of the best doctors in Israel are Arabs, working in almost every hospital in the country. There are 13 Arab members of parliament who enjoy the right to criticize the government – a right that they exhaust to the fullest – protected by the freedom of speech; Arabs win popular reality shows; and you can even find Arab diplomats – and one of them is standing in front of you.
Today, when I walk the streets of Jaffa, I see the old buildings and the old port, But I also see children going to school and university; I see flourishing businesses; and I see a vibrant culture. In short, despite the fact that we [Arabs] still have a long road ahead of us as a minority, we have a future in Israel.
Not only does UNWRA teach children to become intifada fighters and suicide bombers, it was recently discovered to be storing Hamas’s weapons in its Gaza schools.
UNWRA must be destroyed!
After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.
In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.
So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.
In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.
The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.
This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:
It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.
That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.
Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.
It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.
Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.
Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.
Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.
But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.
“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”
The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA] in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …
Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.
More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.
Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.
Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.
Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.
Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.
It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.
While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.
It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.
We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.
Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.
But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.
No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.
Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?
Time may tell.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.
An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis
(just for decoration)
… is not the same for the Coalition gander.
General Dempsey reported on Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid harming civilians.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.
The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.
The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.
But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he thought the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.
“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.
Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.
“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.
In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.
Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.
“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.
(It should also be remembered that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, used civilians – children in particular – as human shields, often forcing them to remain in the very buildings they had been warned were to be bombed.)
Whatever lessons the team from the Pentagon learnt from the IDF’s expertise at taking measures to prevent civilian casualties, were apparently not applied by the US when the Air Force bombed IS/ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.
US bombing kills children in Iraq.
Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered his first major shakeup of his military since taking office three months ago, relieving 26 army officers of their commands and retiring 10 others as a monitoring group said airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians, since they began in September. …
On Wednesday, three bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 17 people and wounded nearly 40, police and hospital officials said. …
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that at least 50 civilians, including eight children and five women, also have been killed in the airstrikes, the group said.
The mainstream media do not feature these deaths. The TV news screens of the West are not filled with images of these dead children. They are of less concern than the dead children of Gaza. Because the hearts of the hardboiled media bleed only when the Israelis are doing the bombing.
What did the Obama administration have to say about all this?
When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the flood of rockets being launched at its cities, and particularly when it mounted a short ground operation to locate and destroy infiltration tunnels under the border, there was the predictable response from the UN, the NGOs and Israel’s usual critics that it was causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties in Gaza. Surprisingly (or not), the Obama Administration and State Department joined the chorus.
You probably recall John Kerry’s sarcastic remark that Israel had carried out a “hell of a pinpoint operation”. And you may remember that back in July, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “there’s more that could be done [by Israel]” to reduce civilian casualties. There are also reports of a particularly “combative” phone call from President Obama to PM Netanyahu during the war.
So [on November 8], the intrepid Matt Lee of the AP asked Psaki whether the Chairman of the JCS knew what he was talking about:
QUESTION: Yesterday, the ICC made its decision that there was no case to prosecute for war crimes in Gaza. But also yesterday – and you spoke about that very briefly here. But also yesterday, General Dempsey, who is no slouch when it comes to military things, told an audience in New York that the Israelis went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage during the Gaza war.
And I’m puzzled, because I thought it was the position of the Administration – or maybe it was just the position of the State Department and the White House – that Israel was not doing enough to live up to its – what you called its own high standards. Back on August 3rd, there was the statement you put out after the UNRWA school incident, saying that the U.S. “is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling’. And that was some pretty fierce criticism.
How do you reconcile these two apparent divergent points of view? When this statement came out, the United States was appalled? Did that just mean the State Department was appalled?
- PSAKI: No, that is the position of the Administration; it remains the position of the Administration. As we made clear throughout the summer’s conflict, we supported Israel’s right to self-defense and strongly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, and the use of tunnels, of course, of attacks into Israel. However, we also expressed deep concern and heartbreak for the civilian death toll in Gaza and made clear, as you noted in the statement you pointed to, that we believed that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties, and it was important that they held their selves to a high standard. So that remains our view and position about this summer’s events.
QUESTION: Okay. But I’m still confused as to how you can reconcile the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who knows a bit about how military operations work, I would venture to guess; I don’t know him, but I assume that he wouldn’t be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if he was – if he didn’t —
- PSAKI: Correct.
QUESTION: — says that the Israelis essentially did the best that they could and lived up to – by extension lived up to their high standards by taking – by going to, quote, “extraordinary lengths” to limit the collateral damage.
- PSAKI: Well, I would point you to the chairman’s team for his – more specifics on his comments. But it remains the broad view of the entire Administration that they could have done more and they should have taken more – all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.
But the Coalition is not required to do the same? Apparently not.
So is there an element of special treatment for Israelis? Do anti-Semitic Europe and anti-Israel pro-Islam Obama set the moral bar higher for Israelis than for any others – or for themselves?
To borrow a saying: We report, you decide.
… all add to the gaiety of nations.
As the world order disintegrates, its leaders and elites laugh and play merrily. We should all join the greatest party of all time.
If recognizing breakaway countries can stabilize the unstable Middle East, just think of how much stability it can bring to Europe. Now that Sweden has solved the problem of Muslim violence in the Middle East, perhaps a few breakaway republics will solve Muslim violence in Sweden.
Daniel Greenfield writes in the only way this subject – the absurd step Sweden has taken in “recognizing” a non-existent State of Palestine – deserves to be written about: with brilliant sarcasm.
And he puts forward a great plan to reward Sweden for solving the central problem of the world with the pronouncing of one magic formula.
On Thursday, Sweden finally solved all the problems in the Middle East by recognizing the State of Palestine.
For decades all the instability in the region had been blamed on the lack of a PLO state. Foreign policy experts stood in line to tell us all that the only thing that could end terrorism in the Middle East was a terrorist state. …
Our leaders kept the faith. The White House’s Middle East coordinator insisted that Israel’s obstinate refusal to create a Palestinian State, against the wishes of the unelected president of the Palestinian Authority who refuses to negotiate one or to stop the terrorism, was causing instability in the region.
Secretary of State John Kerry had denied that ISIS [the “Islamic State”] was Islamic, but blamed Israel for ISIS recruitment.
The Obama administration, and most other governments, also deny that ISIS is a state. But it has a government, a huge and growing army, it collects taxes and has a thriving economy from the sale of oil, it runs hospitals and schools, collects garbage, and maintains order by a system of instant decapitation for any head that pops up too far. True, it has no fixed borders, but then neither does “Palestine”.
But it wasn’t John Kerry who saved the Middle East from instability. Instead Sweden did it by recognizing a terror state whose leaders stopped bothering with the onerous duty of holding elections once they realized that the Eurocrats and Obama would keep shoveling money at them even if they chose their unelected terrorist leaders by playing Russian Roulette.
Sweden’s new Palestine not only dispensed with elections, routing the business of governance through its core PLO organizations, but also has no economy, instead employing an army of people who are paid not to run a country that doesn’t exist with money sent over by America, Europe and Japan.
Some would call that a scam, but it’s remarkably similar to how the European Union works.
In addition to lacking such luxuries as an elected government and an economy, the State of Palestine also doesn’t control Gaza, which is run by another terrorist group, Hamas. The international community has been ignoring that minor problem because it wouldn’t do for a bankrupt terrorist state which happens to be our last best hope for stability in the Middle East to be disqualified just because it’s actually two quarreling bankrupt terrorist states. …
With Sweden’s bold step, a bright future dawns over the Middle East. ISIS recruitment is bound to start falling as the Canadian and Swedish Jihadis with their Burqaed brides heading to kill as many Yazidis as they can will realize that there’s no more need for them to behave the way that their religion has for over a thousand years.
There’s a Palestinian State now. All their grievances have been met. A million cartoons and a thousand YouTube videos couldn’t outrage them now. Unless they were about Mohammed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if ISIS transformed into a humanitarian agency for gluing back all the Yazidi, Christian and Shiite heads that it cut off back on the bodies it beheaded. Even now, Sunnis and Shiites are hugging each other all over Iraq and only occasionally blowing themselves up in the process.
Sweden should be rewarded in kind:
Sweden has given a great gift to the world. It’s only a question of how to properly repay it and the answer is obvious. If Sweden recognizing a micro-nation inside Israel’s borders will stabilize the region, it’s only right for Israel, and all right-thinking people, to recognize a micro-nation inside Sweden.
Sweden ended the occupation of Norway, but it continues to occupy such embryonic nations as the Royal Republic of Ladonia and the Republic of Jamtland.
A “Royal Republic”? Hail, Ladonia, land of the brave and free!
While many of us might know Lars Vilks for his Mohammed cartoons, he also founded the Royal Republic of Ladonia after some of his other artwork was censored by Swedish authorities.
The Royal Republic of Ladonia was founded in 1996, three years after the Palestinian Authority, making it only slightly younger and a lot less violent than that micro-nation.
While Ladonia is only around a third of a mile in size, it has a government, a newspaper, a lot of citizens and almost as many nobles.
Queen Carolyn I rules over the constitutional monarchy while President Christopher Matheoss was recently elected by a wide margin over such candidates as Count Wrigley, Antonio Maria De Grandis and Alexander Nevzorov III.
Unlike Palestine, Ladonia holds elections making it a much more legitimate country. And unlike both Palestine and Sweden, Ladonia has freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
Considering how many newly created countries lack either, the Royal Republic of Ladonia has more of a claim on existence for its mere willingness to extend these freedoms to all.
Israel should recognize the Republic of Ladonia. So should the United States. It’s the only hope for stabilizing Sweden which continues to experience outbursts of Muslim violence in its major cities.
A better case for independence can be made for the Republic of Jamtland, which unlike Palestine, has an ancient history and was an independent peasant republic before the Muslims even invaded Jerusalem.
It declared independence in 1963, a year before the PLO was founded …
Despite generations of Swedish occupation, the Jamtlanders have not turned to violence. At least not in several centuries. Ten of thousands gather for their Freedom Festivals. Their Jamtland Republican Army remains peaceful even when it sets up its own tolls and checkpoints. The only violence there can be seen from the Jamtland Republicans, a local American football team, vigorously playing on the field.
Jamtish, a dialect, is spoken. The flag of the Republic, blue for the sky, green for the forests and white for the snow, is waved. And the European Union and the Swedish government are denounced.
Considering the peacefulness and antiquity of the Republic of Jamtland, its sizable population and unique cultural heritage, recognizing this micro-nation would be the right thing to do. It’s time for Sweden to end the long occupation of Jamtland’s rivers and forests and for this brave republic to take its rightful place among the free and democratic nations of the world.
Sweden chose to recognize two terrorist states inside Israel’s borders. It would only be proper for nations of goodwill to recognize two wholly peaceful republics inside Sweden’s borders. …
Sweden saved the Middle East. Now maybe someone can save Sweden.
We are posting Pat Condell rather frequently of late, but that’s because he says what needs to be said, and says it very well.
Here’s his latest video which is titled Boo Hoo Palestine.
If only Secretary of State John Kerry would watch it … But no. Either he wouldn’t understand it, or he wouldn’t give a damn for these truths anyway.
The one really helpful thing that a strong American leadership could do to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: persuade the Egyptian and Jordanian governments to assimilate the Palestinians. Egypt could annex Gaza – something it resisted doing even when Gaza was under its administration before 1967. And Jordan could add the population of the West Bank to its existing Palestinian majority. Jordan was created to be the Arab state in the Palestine area over which Britain was granted a mandate after the First World War.
Many Gazans find life under the cruel government of Hamas intolerable. Thousands try to flee the Strip. They pay smugglers to get them to Europe.
On arrival in Europe they claim to be refugees from Syria.
Recently two ships carrying Palestinian refugees from Gaza were sunk – by rival smugglers. Most of the men, women, and children they were carrying drowned.
This report comes from the repellent, left-slanted, but informative Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
Thousands of Palestinians have left the Gaza Strip for Europe using tunnels, traffickers and boats …
Gazans have been fleeing the Strip since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge [Israel’s name for the most recent war], but their escape was hardly covered in the media since they have been leaving clandestinely, with the help of paid smugglers.
And the smugglers are in cahoots with Hamas.
The sinking of two ships carrying Palestinians from Gaza — one off the coast of Malta last week, and the other off the coast of Egypt — and the drowning of hundreds of passengers have focused attention on the trend.
The Palestinian Embassy in Greece reported yesterday that the ship that sank off the coast of Malta was carrying more than 450 passengers, most of them Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and that it was rammed intentionally by another ship run by rival smugglers.
The Gaza-based human rights group Adamir has collected the names of more than 400 missing people. “No one knows where they are; the whole Gaza Strip is talking about it. It’s such a painful story, as if it’s not enough what happened in the last war and now another blow comes,” said Adamir director Halil Abu Shamala, noting that most of the passengers were young people but that there were also whole families aboard.
At least 15 Palestinians drowned when another ship sank off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria on Saturday. …
One prominent smuggler leader named Abu Hamada Asuri oversees a network that brings people out of the Gaza Strip to Europe by sea. He lives in Egypt but has representatives in the Strip, some of whom are well-known figures there.
A Palestinian told the newspaper:
This trip costs between $3500 to $4000 dollars a person. People who want to go make arrangements ahead of time to come to the entrance to a tunnel in Palestinian Rafah. It’s a relatively small tunnel; most of the big ones have been blocked by the Egyptians. People crawl dozens of meters and at the end of the tunnel on the Egyptian side of Rafah a minibus or other vehicle waits for them and takes them to Port Said.
The man said that once they get to Port Said or other locales, they wait in an apartment or other building that has been prepared for them ahead of time. He added that Egyptian security officials are bribed to look the other way and stamp passports with forged stamps. …
The refugees wait until they get word from the smugglers to proceed to Alexandria, where they board small boats, sometimes dozens per boat. Once they leave Egyptian territorial waters they switch to another boat that in most cases sails to Italy. The trip usually takes about a week.
One refugee who managed to get to the Italian coast [said] that when the boat approaches the shore it issues a distress call and Italian navy and Red Cross ships pick them up. In other cases, the boat approaches the shore and people jump into the water with life jackets, and are rescued by the Coast Guard or the Red Cross.
Most of the refugees say they are Syrians or Palestinians who have arrived from Syria seeking safe haven from the war in that country. The refugees are transferred to special facilities where they wait for a few days. They say the long arm of the smugglers reaches right into those facilities; representatives of the smugglers sign papers releasing them from the facilities, and then onward to their destinations. Some want to leave Italy for another country where they have relatives.
One Gaza resident, who had planned on leaving the Strip in the next few days … changed his mind after he heard about the drownings. People hear about how to leave Gaza by word of mouth, he said. “Some people came and told about the good life and the normal conditions and of course anywhere in Europe is better than here. Whether you get through the whole trip safely depends on what kind of luck you have.” …
One woman survivor of the ship that sank off the coast of Alexandria said Egyptian smugglers had rammed it and that they saw people were drowning and offered no help. “But I don’t think even such a terrible incident will stop the phenomenon because people are completely desperate and want to leave. They say clearly it’s better to die at sea than die of despair and frustration in Gaza,” the resident said.
The Palestinian Authority yesterday warned Palestinians to be wary of the smugglers. But the government cannot act against those who flee because its security forces don’t have control over the smuggling routes, which are in the hands of influential people who are close to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
Another Israeli source, also reporting on the sinking of refugee ships and Hamas’s involvement in the smuggling, writes this:
Internal Arab polls indicate that at least 70% of Gazans want to leave Gaza for good. The Europeans must take the moral step to help these people leave safely to European shores.
What? Seventy percent of the population of Gaza to be added to the Muslim colonists of Europe?
Europe should rather join America – when it has proper leadership – in bringing about the annexation of Gaza by Egypt (and the absorption of the West Bank Palestinians by Jordan).
An interesting video, worth the hour it takes to watch it.
Kasim Hafeez, a British Muslim of Pakistani descent, talks about how and why he changed from being fiercely anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, to being an admirer of Israel and a defender of Zionism.
We cannot resist quoting this article by Sultan Knish because it made us laugh a lot and we think our readers might enjoy it as much as we did.
What follows is most of it, but for the full pleasure, read the whole thing here.
There are few weapons as deadly as the Israeli house. When its brick and mortar are combined together, the house, whether it is one of those modest one story hilltop affairs or a five floor apartment building complete with hot and cold running water, becomes far more dangerous than anything green and glowing that comes out of the Iranian centrifuges.
Forget the cluster bomb and the mine, the poison gas shell and even tailored viruses. Iran can keep its nuclear bombs. They don’t impress anyone in Europe or in Washington. Genocide is a minor matter when in the presence of the fearsome weapon of terror that is an Israeli family of four moving into a new apartment.
Sudan may have built a small mountain of African corpses, but it can’t expect to command the full and undivided attention of the world until it does something truly outrageous like building a house and filling it with Jews. Since the Sudanese Jews are as gone as the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Syria and good old Afghanistan, the chances of Bashir the Butcher pulling off that trick are rather slim.
Due to the Muslim world’s shortsightedness in driving out its Jews from Cairo, Aleppo and Baghdad to Jerusalem, the ultimate weapon in international affairs is entirely controlled by the Jewish State. The Jewish State’s stockpile of Jews should worry the international community far more than its hypothetical stockpiles of nuclear weapons. No one besides Israel, and possibly Saudi Arabia, cares much about the Iranian bomb.
But when Israel builds a house, then the international community tears its clothes, wails, threatens to recall its ambassadors and boycott Israeli peaches.
Angry British men in red Keffiyahs hold up signs about the Holocaust in front of Jewish cosmetics stores in London. Marginalized French youth, by way of Algeria and Tunisia, hurl stones at synagogues. John Kerry interrupts a speech on the dangers of Global Warming as an aide notifies him of an even bigger threat to the world: David just made a down payment on a two bedroom in Gvaot.
You can spit on the White House carpets and steal all the gold in Greece. You can blow up anything you like and threaten anyone you will, but you had better not lift a drill near the hills from which Balaam tried and failed to curse the Jewish people. Where the old Mesopotamian warlock failed, his successors in the United Nations follow in his footsteps by cursing Israel every day of the week.
Some may think that nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons, but as we see, time and time again, the ultimate weapon is a hammer and a fistful of nails in a Jewish hand.
Obama has yet to dig up a strategy for ISIS and can’t think of what to do about Putin in the Ukraine, but there’s always a final status solution strategy for Israel which involves destroying as many Jewish houses as possible and driving out the families living inside them.
Everyone has their standards. There are things that we all cannot abide. And for all the Miss America answers about ending war, hunger and people who wear plaid in public, the one thing that everyone will stand up against or sit down in opposition to is the Israeli house.
China announcing that there would be no democracy in Hong Kong, ISIS losing a battle to Iraqi forces and Jihadists occupying the US embassy in Tripoli were all minor stories thoroughly buried by the horrifying report that Israel might “seize” 988 acres of land for housing.
From the amount of media coverage you might have thought that Israel had conquered France or Kuwait instead of allocating some land the size of a farm or a ranch for housing. …
The land being “seized” had belonged to Israel and had no prior claims against it. If Qatar had decided to finance a Muslim construction project on the site, no one would have been opposed. But there are different rules for the Jews. There have always been different rules about where the Jews can live. International law is the new ghetto. Its enforcers are diplomats and BDS.
The State Department has claimed that building houses is “counterproductive” to peace. On the other hand the Palestinian Authority’s funding of terrorists never seems to be counterproductive. …
White House officials have in the past claimed that Netanyahu “humiliated” Obama by authorizing the building of houses. While Russia may threaten nuclear war against the United States, and Iran may play Obama for a fool, only Israel has managed to achieve official recognition for “humiliating” Obama, without even trying, proving once again that the Jewish race is so talented that it often achieves things that other peoples may only dream of without even realizing that it is doing it.
Now that Netanyahu has gone to the mattresses, literally, by authorizing new housing, the media will begin braying that Israel has humiliated Obama all over again. …
According to the New York Times, which is never wrong, building more houses makes peace impossible. Peace, which is not in any way obstructed by rockets, suicide bombers, unilateral statehood bids and declarations of war, comes up against only one obstacle. The stout unyielding wall of the Israeli house.
You can shell Israeli houses, bomb them and break inside to massacre the people living inside, but then after all that, Israel goes and builds more of those damn things.
Hamas shoots thousands of rockets and Israel builds thousands of houses. But Israeli houses generally stay where they’re built, while Hamas rockets are as likely to kill Gazans as they are to put holes in the roofs of those dastardly houses. And in the arms race between houses and rockets, the Israelis appear to be winning. And that’s not good for peace.
If Israelis get the dangerous idea that they can just keep building houses and outlast all the talented rocketeers who spend their time with the Koran in front of one eye and the Anarchist’s Cookbook in front of the other, what hope is there for peace?
That is why no one cares much about Hamas rockets, which mostly kill Israelis, who most reasonable people in London, Paris and Brussels think have it coming anyway, but get into a foaming lather about an Israeli house.
Killing Israelis has never been any obstacle to peace. Twenty years of killing Israelis has not dissuaded a single Israeli government from sitting down at the table to dicker with the terrorists. But an Israeli family living in a house is holding down territory that it will be harder to then cede to terrorists when the angels have blown their horns, the seas have all gone dry and peace is carried in on a golden platter by 72 virgins accompanied by their flying suicide bomber mates. …
The world, or those portions of it populated entirely by diplomats and the better class of journalists, has been urging Israel to give back the land to an imaginary country to be populated entirely by terrorists.
This peace plan, which has worked as well as fighting fire with gasoline, has not in any way been endangered by two decades of terror, but trembles down to its toes every time an Israeli hammer falls on an Israeli nail. Because that land must go back so that rockets can be shot from it into Israel, so that Israel can invade it and reclaim it, and then sit down for another peace process to return the land from which the rockets will be fired, which will be invaded, which will be given back… for peace.
And Israeli houses endanger this cycle of peace and violence. They endanger it by creating “facts on the ground”, a piquant phrase that only seems to apply to houses with Jews. Muslim houses in no way create facts on the ground, even though they are built out of the same material and filled with people. Or perhaps they create the good kind of facts on the ground. The kind of preemption of negotiations that the professional peacemakers approve of. …
UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has declared Israeli houses to be an “almost fatal blow” to the peace process. It is, of course, only an “almost fatal blow” because the peace process, like Dracula, cannot be killed. Israeli houses, fearsome as they may be with their balconies and poor heating in winter, are never quite enough to kill it. …
The army of lethal Israeli houses, which may not be built for another five years, if ever, seem formidable in the black newsprint of the New York Times and in the fulminations of Guardian columnists, but their actual potency is limited to housing Jewish families and infuriating international diplomats and their media coathangers.
Europe is furious, Obama is seething, the UN is energized, and somewhere in Iraq, the Caliph of ISIS wipes the grease out of his beard and wonders what he could do to get this much attention. He briefly scribbles down some thoughts on a napkin but then dismisses them as being too implausible.
As much as it might get the world’s attention, there is no way ISIS can build houses for Jews in Israel.
President Sisi of Egypt has offered to cede half of Sinai to be joined with Gaza to create an independent state of Palestine. The importance of this development cannot be overestimated.
Caroline Glick reports and comments:
Something extraordinary has happened.
On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.
Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.
On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.
According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.
In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.
In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story’.” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”
In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”
Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.
Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. …
“What must be done” being an Arab solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
Very recently there have been huge shifts in the relations of Middle Eastern states with each other and with Israel. The amazing thing, that could not have been predicted or even imagined two years ago, is that some Arab states now see Israel as an essential ally.
So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.
Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.
Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.
Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.
Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.
In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent [the “Grand Mufti”] Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas.
Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).
Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.
For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.
First of all, it indicates that the Egyptian-Saudi- UAE decision to back Israel against Hamas in Operation Protective Edge was not a fluke. It was part of an epic shift in their strategic assessments.
And if their regimes survive, their assessments are unlikely to change so long as Iran and the Sunni jihadists continue to threaten them.
This means that for the first time since Israel allied with Britain and France against Egypt in 1956, Israel can make strategic plans as part of a coalition.
Second, Sisi’s plan is good for Israel on its merits.
The only way to stabilize the situation in Gaza and comprehensively defeat Hamas and the rest of the terrorist armies there is by expanding Gaza. …
Sisi’s plan is a boon for Israel as well because it calls Abbas’s bluff.
Abbas is genuflected to by the US and the EU who insist that he is a moderate. The Israeli Left insists that he is the only thing that stands between Israel and destruction.
Yet here we see him openly acknowledging that from a strategic perspective, he is no different from the last of the jihadists. He prefers to see his people … without a state to call their own, than to see Israel benefit in any way.
Abbas’s rejection of Sisi’s offer demonstrates yet again that he and his Fatah comrades are the problem, not the solution.Continued faith in the PLO as a partner in peace and moderation is foolish and dangerous. He would rather see Hamas and Iran flourish than share a peaceful future with Israel.
The only reason that Abbas is able to continuously reject all offers of statehood and an end to Palestinian suffering, while expanding his diplomatic war against Israel and supporting his coalition partner’s terror war, is because the US and Europe continue to blindly support him.
The final way that Sisi’s offer helps Israel is by showing the futility of the West’s strategy of supporting Abbas.
According to Army Radio’s report, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration have been briefed on the Egyptian plan. The Americans reportedly support it. …
Obama supports Sisi’s plan? What has he said about it? We wait to see how the media reports Sisi’s offer, Abbas’s rejection of it, and Obama’s reaction to it.
Sisi’s offer is a challenge to the US and Europe.
Sisi’s offer shows Washington and Brussels that to solve the Palestinian conflict with Israel, they need to stand with Israel, even if this means abandoning Abbas.
If they do so, they can take credit for achieving their beloved two-state solution. If they fail to do so, they will signal that their primary goal is not peace, but something far less constructive.
The Islamic State has invited Muslims from everywhere in the world to come and live in it.
This presents a golden opportunity for Palestinians to be assimilated at last by their own people. Arabs among Arabs. They can be citizens of the new Caliphate.
Israel should encourage the transfer of willing West Bank Arabs and Gazans to the new Islamic State.
Of course it is likely that most Israeli Arabs citizens will prefer to stay in Israel. They are not on the whole a problem to themselves or anyone else. Israel has never aimed at becoming an Arab-free country (though it has been accused of wanting to be just that by its enemies, especially Leftist Israeli historians), and it would be the poorer if it were.
But the Gazans who voted for Hamas to govern them – it will be just like home for them to be under the rule of ISIS/ISIL. And the stone-throwing youth of the West Bank – they’ll be given real weapons by the Islamic State.
Who will not have what they want? Only those Arab states that want to use the Palestinians as a perpetual reproach to Israel and the Western powers who allowed Israel to come into existence.
The loss of that use of them might irritate Obama too, but he could console himself that ISIS is Islam Victorious.