The Pope has said something that has been interpreted as a probable reference to the on-going persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. He did it in the context of a speech recalling the genocide of Christian Armenians* by the Muslim state of Turkey a hundred years ago.
Today too, in fact, these conflicts at times degenerate into unjustifiable violence, stirred up by exploiting ethnic and religious differences.
That was it. That’s all. He added a suggestion that the heads of states and “International Organizations” might do something about it:
All who are Heads of State and of International Organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.**
Uncountable numbers of Christians have been killed in this century by Muslims. In Nigeria, the Muslim organization Boko Haram shoots, hacks, burns its victims to death, buries them alive, enslaves them, and scatters them, destitute, from their homes. The Muslims cut off the limbs of living babies or throw them on fires. (See our post with pictures here.)
In Iraq and Syria, Christians are victimized in just such savage ways by the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, and in Judea under the government of the Palestinian Authority – notably in Bethlehem, the putative birthplace of the Christian God – Christians are mercilessly oppressed. The numbers of Christians in Muslim lands continually dwindle as those survivors escape who can.
What is the Christian world doing about it? Nothing.
Are Christian leaders speaking out in angry protest? No, except for the remark made in passing by Pope Francis a few days ago. Maybe another Pope will talk about it more fully in another hundred years.
So what is the good of Christianity? If ever in its history it has been put to the test, it is now.
And it fails.
But it does not recognize its failure.
Recently we had a Christian visitor to this site who called himself/herself “LilySmith”. (I’ll use the pronouns “she” and “her” since it is a woman’s name.) She commented in defense of Christianity under our post A perfect match. She wrote this about what her Christian group is doing about the victimization of Christians by the Islamic State:
Governments, not individuals, are responsible for law enforcement and going to war. Christianity isn’t a government. Instead we are taught as individuals to overcome evil with good. In that vein, we support the work of Christian friends living in Iraq serving the people there in any way needed. We also support those helping Christians in the ME who are under stress right now.
What form does that “help” for the victims of “stress” take which she and her friends “support”? Food, clothing, shelter, a secure refuge? Or just sympathy? She did not say.
Nor did she say anything about wanting to see justice done. Nothing about stopping and punishing the perpetrators. That sort of thing is the concern of governments not Christians, she says.
Thinking like that is as true to Christianity as savage cruelty is true to Islam. Both are true to their holy texts.
Christianity does not speak of justice. It orders Christians to love and forgive the evil-doer. “Resist not evil,” it commands.
Christian websites which report the sufferings of Christians at the hands of Muslims, dwell on the brave endurance of the victims.
Here again we quote from the Pope’s speech from the Vatican, April 12, 2015, on the centenary anniversary of the Armenian genocide:
As Saint John Paul II said to you, “Your history of suffering and martyrdom is a precious pearl, of which the universal Church is proud …” .
… Saint Gregory of Narek, an extraordinary interpreter of the human soul, offers words which are prophetic for us: “I willingly blame myself with myriad accounts of all the incurable sins, from our first forefather through the end of his generations in all eternity, I charge myself with all these voluntarily.” …
The Church thrives on suffering, on bloodshed, on agony. It invites persecution, and is thus a promoter of evil. And that makes it co-responsible for the atrocities Islam inflicts on Christians.
The Christians who are having their throats slit, their heads sawn off, their babies burnt alive, are martyrs, potential saints, and that is what matters; because Christianity is not a religion for the betterment of the life we live on this earth. Its concern is with an imaginary afterlife in an eternal heaven or hell.
So Christianity has not failed by its own lights.
By every measure of reason, by the yardstick of accustomed morality and the norms of civilization, by the judgment of common-sense, by the test of whether it serves good and opposes evil, Christianity has failed utterly.
* On the Armenian genocide, Dr. Ileana Johnson Pugh, writing at Canada Free Press, quotes Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who “published in 1918 his personal account of the Armenian genocide”. ( A Personal Account of the Armenian Genocide, Henry Morgenthau, Cosimo Classics, New York, 2010). We extract a small part of the passages she quotes which describe the atrocities committed by the Turks.
Throughout the Turkish Empire a systematic attempt was made to kill all able-bodied men, not only for the purpose of removing all males who might propagate a new generation of Armenians, but for the purpose of rendering the weaker part of the population an easy prey.
When thousands failed to turn in weapons, the Turks ransacked churches, desecrated altars, marched the naked men and women through the streets, letting them be whipped by angry Turkish mobs. Those imprisoned who did not manage to flee into the woods and caves were subjected to the “bastinado” torture, the beating of the soles of the feet until they burst and had to be amputated.
Crucifixion, pulling of fingernails, of hairs, of eyebrows, tearing of flesh with red-hot pincers, and then pouring hot oil into the wounds were some of the barbaric methods of torture drawn from the records of the Spanish Inquisition.
Torture was just the beginning of the Armenian atrocities. What was to come was the actual destruction of “an entire Armenian race” by deporting it to the south and southeastern part of the Ottoman Empire, the Syrian desert and the Mesopotamian valley. …
The deportations took place through the spring and summer of 1915. The entire Armenian population of villages were ordered to appear in the main square, sometimes with little time to prepare, their homes and possessions confiscated for “safekeeping” and then divided among Turks. Once the deported Armenians had traveled several hours, they were attacked and killed in secluded valleys by Turkish peasants with clubs, hammers, axes, scythes, spades, and saws.
Out of a population of two million Armenians, only about 500,000 Armenians survived the genocide.
(Later in the twentieth century, Turkey was admitted as a member of NATO.)
** When the Inquisition condemned a heretic to be burnt at the stake, the Catholic Church handed the victim over to the secular authorities whom it compelled to carry out the atrocious deed, so the Church might keep itself clean of the sin of killing. The term used by the Church for the handing-over was that he or she was “relaxed”.
Nothing could be more obvious than that Obama hates Israel. That’s probably his main reason for wanting Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel, to be armed with nuclear weapons. So it can do the job.
On March 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu won re-election.
Obama refuses to call him to congratulate him for two days. When he does, he threatens to remove American support in the international community, even as he moves to loosen sanctions and weapons embargoes on Iran.
A few days later:
The press announced that the Obama administration would fully consider abandoning Israel in international bodies like the United Nations.
This is the culmination of a longtime Obama policy of destroying the US-Israel relationship. Obama has spent his entire life surrounded by haters of Israel, from former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi to former Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, pro-Hamas negotiator Robert Malley, to UN Ambassador Samantha Power (who once suggested using American troops to guard Palestinians from Israelis), Jeremiah Wright (who said “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me”) to Professor Derrick Bell (“Jewish neoconservative racists … are undermining blacks in every way they can”).
We quote from a very useful article by Ben Shapiro at Breitbart. He provides this “concise timeline”:
February 2008: Obama says while campaigning, ‘There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel.” At the time … Israel was run [not by Likud but] by the Kadima government … [which] was attempting desperately to bring the Palestinians to the table. Instead, the Palestinians launched war, as always.
June 2008: Obama tells the American Israel Public Affairs Conference that Jerusalem ought to remain undivided, attempting to woo Jewish votes. He then walks that back the next day, saying only that the capital shouldn’t be divided by barbed wire.
March 2009: The Obama administration reverses the Bush era policy of not joining the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Clinton said, “Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,” completely neglecting the UNHRC’s abysmally anti-Semitic record. The Washington Post reported that the administration joined the Human Rights Council even though they conceded that it “has devoted excessive attention to alleged abuses by Israel and too little to abuses in places such as Darfur, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.”
May 2009: Obama tells Netanyahu that “settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.” Netanyahu announces a settlement freeze to comply. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate. Obama then slams Israel: “They still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures.”
June 2009: Obama tells the world in his infamous Cairo speech that Israel was only created based on Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. He then says that Palestinians have been similarly victimized by the Jews: “They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
July 2009: Obama threatens to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel. He tells Jewish leaders, “Look at the past eight years. During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that?” Except for Israel forcibly removing thousands of Jews from the Gaza Strip, the election of Hamas, and the launch of war by the Palestinians and Hezbollah, nothing happened. Obama then lectures the Jews about the need for Israeli “self-reflection”. The same month, Obama tells CNN that the United States would “absolutely not” give Israel permission to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
September 2009: Obama tells the United Nations that “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements”. Obama’s definition of Israeli settlements, as the world soon learned, included building bathrooms in a home already owned by Jews in East Jerusalem. Obama offers no serious criticism of the Palestinians.
March 2010: Obama follows up on his threatening language about settlements by deploying Vice President Joe Biden to Israel, where Biden rips into the Israelis for building bathrooms in Jerusalem, the eternal Jewish capital. Hillary Clinton then yells at Netanyahu for nearly an hour on the phone, telling him he had “harmed the bilateral relationship”. David Axelrod calls the building plans an “insult” to the United States. When Netanyahu visits the White House a week and a half later, Obama makes him leave via a side door.
April 2010: Obama refuses to prevent the Washington summit on nuclear proliferation from becoming an Arab referendum on the evils of Israel’s nukes.
June 2010: An anonymous “US defense source” leaks to the Times of London that Israel had cut a deal with the Saudis to use their airspace to strike Iran. The deal is scuttled.
May 2011: The State Department labeled Jerusalem not a part of Israel. The same month, Obama demanded that Israel make concessions to the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 borders, which Israelis call the “Auschwitz borders” thanks to their indefensibility.
November 2011: Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are caught on open mic ripping Netanyahu, with Sarkozy stating, “I can’t stand him, he’s a liar,” and Obama replying, “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.”
December 2011: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rips into the State of Israel, stating that it is moving in the “opposite direction” of democracy. …
February 2012: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta tells David Ignatius at the Washington Post that the possibility he worried about most was that Israel would strike Iran. The Post then adds, “Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June – before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb.” The goal: to delay any potential Israeli strike.
March 2012: NBC News somehow gains information from “senior Obama administration officials” that Israel had financed and trained the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq, and adds that the Obama administration had nothing to do with hits on Iranian nuclear scientists. More daylight. More leaks. The same month, Foreign Policy … reports that a “senior administration official” has told them, “The Israelis have bought an airfield, and the airfield is Azerbaijan.” Again, a potential Israeli strike is scuttled. …
June 2012: In an attempt to shore up the Jewish vote, top members of the Obama administration, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and then-CIA director Leon Panetta were quoted by David Sanger of The New York Times talking about the President’s supposedly deep involvement in the Stuxnet plan to take out Iran’s nuclear reactors via computer virus. Until that point, it had been suspected but not confirmed that Stuxnet was an Israeli project. The Obama administration denied leaking the information. A year later, the State Department released emails showing that Sanger had corresponded regularly with all the top Obama officials, including correspondence on Stuxnet.
December 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Saban Forum on US-Israel Relations, where she says that Israelis have a “lack of empathy” for Palestinians, and that the Israelis need to “demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds”.
March 2013: Obama forces Netanyahu to call Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israel’s actions to stop a terrorist-arming flotilla from entering the Gaza Strip to aid Hamas. Erdogan had recently labeled Zionism racism.
May 2013: Members of the Obama Pentagon leak information that Israel attacked the Damascus airport to stop a shipment of weapons to terrorist groups. Obama officials actually had to apologize for this leak, since it endangered American lives. They blamed “low-level” employees.
June 2013: The Obama administration leaks specific information regarding Israeli Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile sites. Weeks later, US sources tell CNN that Israel attacked a Syrian installation full of Russian-provided missiles. The same month, “American intelligence analysts” tell the New York Times that Israeli strikes had not been effective. All that information was classified.
June 2014: Three Jewish teenagers are kidnapped, including an American, and murdered by Hamas. The Obama administration immediately calls on Israel for restraint, and says it will continue to work with a Palestinian unity government including Hamas. … Throughout the ensuing Gaza War, in which Hamas fired rockets at Israeli civilians and tunnels were uncovered demonstrating Hamas’ intent to kidnap Israeli children, the Obama administration criticized Israel’s prosecution of the war.
August 2014: In the middle of a shooting war, Obama stopped weapons shipment to Israel. According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama found out that Israel asked the Defense Department for shipments of Hellfire missiles. Obama personally stepped in and blocked the shipments.
October 2014: Jeffrey Goldberg, court Jew for the Obama administration, releases an article in The Atlantic quoting Obama officials calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit”. Goldberg, naturally, blames Netanyahu (of course, he also wrote in 2008 that any Jew who feared Obama on Israel was an “obvious racist”).
January 2015: Obama deploys his campaign team to defeat Netanyahu in Israel. A group titled “One Voice”, funded by American donors, pays for the Obama campaign team, led by Obama 2012 field director Jeremy Bird. The announcement comes days after Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invite to Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress. Obama quickly announced he would not meet with Netanyahu, making the excuse that the meeting would come too close to the [Israeli] election.
Meeting him would be “interfering in the election”. Which in fact Obama was doing on a massive scale. Hypocrisy is one of Obama’s characteristics.
Nothing has changed. Obama is who he always was. The mask has simply been removed.
Obama interfered grossly in the internal affairs of Israel. He did his best to get Bibi Netanyahu ousted from power in Israel. His agents worked to subvert the Prime Minister and his government, using Americans’ tax dollars. He failed.
Now he is intending to exact a vindictive revenge.
He will no longer allow the US veto on the UN Security Council to protect Israel from unjust International censure and compulsion.
Of course he’s been longing to have an excuse for doing that all his political life long. It is increasingly obvious that Obama is on the side of Islam. Islam and Obama hate Israel, and Obama is expediting Iran’s capacity to destroy it – so he specially loathes Netanyahu who is the man most likely to save Israel from destruction.
The historic victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week in a campaign defined by hard-line policies is prompting the Obama administration to consider a major shift in its strategy toward Israel.
The White House on Wednesday suggested it could reverse its decades-old policy of using its veto in the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel. It could refuse to veto resolutions related to the Palestinians or introduce a measure of its own, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. could also lend its support to a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders, a senior White House official told The New York Times.
Forcing Israel to declare its borders to be the 1948 armistice lines is another way to destroy Israel. The country would be so attenuated as to be almost impossible to defend from overland attack, and would have enemies bent on its destruction on three sides.
It is peculiarly horrible to die in some grotesque manner at the hands of Islamic murderers who kill in the name of Allah – as, it is reported, Kayla Mueller probably did. She was an American woman who went to the battlefields of the Middle East to”help” people, some of them Islamic murderers who kill in the name of Allah.
She was a member of an organization called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), whose mission is described by Discover the Networks:
Radical, anti-Israel organization that recruits Westerners to travel to the Holy Land to obstruct Israeli security operations
Justifies Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians
Supports the Palestinian “right of return”
Supports boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel
According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some ISM activities are carried out “under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations”
A senior IDF officer says ISM is “a pro-Palestinian organization, set up by Palestinians, funded by Palestinians and linked to Palestinian terror”
Co-founder Huwaida Arraf has acknowledged that ISM cooperates and works with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
… From its inception, ISM realized that if any of its volunteers were to be arrested, injured, or killed in the course of their activities in the West Bank or Gaza, such events could be exploited as major propaganda victories for the PLO. As ISM leader George S. Rishmawi once put it: “When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore. But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”
One of ISM’s most well-known activists was the late Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old volunteer who, in March 2003, was crushed beneath an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah when its operator failed to see her trying to block the destruction of a tunnel through which Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were receiving smuggled weapons.
Another high-profile casualty was Tom Hurndall, a British-born ISM volunteer who was shot in the head by an Israeli solier during a firefight between the IDF and Palestinian terrorists on April 11, 2003. Hurndall’s life was initially saved by a four-hour emergency surgery, but he spent the next nine months in a coma and then died on January 13, 2004.
Both Corrie and Hurndall were lionized as martyrs by pro-Palestinian activists and media outlets. …
For comment on how misplaced such lionizing is, see our post, No, the name’s not Rachel Corrie, March 10, 2010.
In 2004, ISM operative Abe Greenhouse said that the International Solidarity Movement was using Gaza and the West Bank not merely as venues for its anti-Israel activism, but also as training grounds for anti-American campaigns that the American Anarchist Movement was planning to stage along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Front Page article traced the connection between ISM and the London bombings of 7/7/2005:
Among the less publicized details of the July 7th London bombings is the connection of … Muhammad Sadique Khan to the preeminent group of the pro-terrorist “solidarity” movement, the International Solidarity Movement.
Israel National News reports on the life and death of Kayla Mueller:
The myth that she was a wonderful altruistic young woman should be exposed. This is another Rachel Corrie propaganda story in the making, and the western media is falling for it again, or embracing it on purpose.
Kayla Mueller was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who spent at least two years working with that terrorist support group. She was involved in demonstrations against the Jews in Sheikh Jarrah (part of East Jerusalem) after a 20 year long court decision recognized the Jews’ legal rights to homes they were chased from in earlier wars launched by the Arabs. She also participated in demonstrations to interfere with the IDF demolishing the homes of terrorists and suicide bombers after the courts okayed the demolitions.
Just as with Rachel Corrie, the press tries to paint Kayla as a selfless volunteer helping poor Arab refugees. She may have helped injured Arabs in “refugee” camps, but she was working to support the goals of Palestinian irredentists and to interfere with the IDF on behalf of terrorist groups.
As an ISM activist she was a tool for the worldwide jihad. …
First, she lived and rioted with other ISM activists with an Arab family that refused to vacate a home they were squatting in after a legal case that took 20 years established it was stolen from the Jewish owners. …
She was also a human shield in support of terrorists. …
Another ISM strategy is to try and disable Israeli security tactics. One of the newer ones is to try and suggest that when the IDF uses tear gas to avoid lethality in controlling weekly Arab rioters, the gas is really deadly and must be stopped altogether. The real reason for this inversion about tear gas is the Palestinians and their ISM lackeys hope they can make it impossible for the IDF to control the weekly riots such as in Bi’ilin, riots Kayla was a part of.
[She wrote:] ” … The nature of impermanence is our greatest ally and soon the rules will change, the tide will turn and just as the moon waxes and wanes over this land so too the cycles of life here will continue. One day the cycle will once again return to freedom.”
Freedom? For whom? Another Arab dictatorship. Arabs who are Israeli citizens are free, but Kayla wanted the “free” Palestinian-state-to-be from the “river to the sea” as a good ISM activist. Her writings suggest the classical thought processes of pampered American student “radicals” and “revolutionaries” who can’t get enough of supporting dictatorships and terrorists overseas as liberation movements, the complete opposite of what they are.
“Oppression greets us from all angles”, she wrote. “Oppression wails from the soldiers radio and floats through tear gas clouds in the air. Oppression explodes with every sound bomb and sinks deeper into the heart of the mother who has lost her son. But resistance is nestled in the cracks in the wall, resistance flows from the minaret 5 times a day and resistance sits quietly in jail knowing its time will come again. Resistance lives in the grieving mother’s wails and resistance lives in the anger at the lies broadcasted across the globe. Though it is sometimes hard to see and even harder sometimes to harbor, resistance lives. Do not be fooled, resistance lives,” Kayla concluded in her letter.
This certainly doesn’t sound like a tireless “aid worker”. Instead, it connotes a supporter of Palestinian Arab terrorist groups. …
Kayla Meuller made it clear she was involved in the weekly riots in Bi’ilin. She wrote of … several members of the same [Arab] family whom she roomed with dying. Rachel Corrie did the same thing, creating a story for the ISM of protecting an Arab family from IDF bulldozers. One family daughter Kayla guested with died in her own home, not at a demonstration. The fact was the woman was very ill, with leukemia and other internal infections. As in good ISM tactics, her corpse then became another propaganda tool. But like any good ISM activist, Kayla Mueller didn’t let this stand in the way of her propaganda letter home:
“And now just today, the daughter of the Rahmah family, Jawaher, has been asphyxiated from tear gas inhalation. Jawaher was not even participating in the weekly demonstration but was in her home approximately 500 meters away from where the tear gas canisters were being fired (by wind the tear gas reaches the village and even the nearby illegal settlement often). There is currently little information as to how she suffocated but the doctor that attended her said a mixture of the tear gas from the IDF soldiers and phosphorus poisoned her lungs causing asphyxiation, the stopping of the heart and death this afternoon after fighting for her life last night in the hospital. The following is a clip from today showing hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international activist carrying her body to her families (sic) home where they said their final goodbyes.”
The IDF doesn’t use phosphorous in the West Bank. The ISM always claims it does. It’s good for propaganda. …
Kayla Mueller came from Prescott, Arizona where she once volunteered at a women’s shelter. … She chose to take the ISM’s revolutionary path and to embrace part of the worldwide jihad and she died for it … She sought “freedom” working to support fascist groups that provide just the opposite for their people and she paid the ultimate price for that choice.
We think it is appropriate to quote (as we have had occasion to do before) some lines from Joseph Conrad’s scornful portrait of privileged women in his story The Informer. (What he says applies equally well to men from the same secure Western backgrounds.)
For all their assumption of independence, girls of that class are used to the feeling of being specially protected, as, in fact, they are. This feeling accounts for nine tenths of their audacious gestures. …
She had acquired all the appropriate gestures of revolutionary convictions – the gestures of pity, of anger, of indignation …
She was displaying very strikingly the usual signs of severe enthusiasm, and had already written many sentimental articles with ferocious conclusions.
Perhaps she thought the jihadis would love her. Should love her. Should be grateful to her. It was not fair that after all she’d done for them, they killed her.
Why had she not discovered that the ideology of Islam, which holds that it is good and right to subjugate women, cut off limbs, stone adulterers to death, burn up fellow Muslims, throw homosexuals from high buildings, decapitate prisoners, keep slaves, bury children alive, has nothing in it that would prompt its devotees to value a stranger’s self-sacrificing service given with a friendly smile in a spirit of sweetness and light?
Could it be because intense moral conceit makes the mind it conquers impervious to reality?
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).