Friday, May 28, 2021

From Ian:

The People of Israel Live!
Now that Hamas and Israel have entered into a ceasefire, everyone seems obsessed with who won and who lost. The Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy has just emailed me telling me that, “Since war is about inflicting pain, winning can be evaluated by two separate pain parameters” and claiming that Israel won on that basis.

I’m not convinced that this description of war passes muster. It wouldn’t with Carl von Clausewitz, the soldier whose book On War defined the study of warfare from 1832 right up to today. He calls war “an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfil our will”. A more philosophical ancient Chinese general, Sun Tzu, claimed that, “to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”

But what if life is war and enemies are eternal? What if your life consists of constant struggle against adversity to succeed in your own goals? By what measure can we decide whether an individual skirmish is a success?

This makes the articles I’m seeing about who “won” the latest round of violence rather galling. No one won. There was no war and there is no peace.

The latest flare up between the two sides is almost perfect as a metaphor for the Jewish experience. After having no peace, we fought. The fighting finished and now Jews, within Israel and without, have to wait in fear for the next round of fighting.

Talk of winning and losing belongs to the same mode of thinking as those who talk about a “solution” to the conflict as if it will all just go away once a piece of paper is signed or a magic wand is waved.
People are accusing Israel of genocide. These human rights lawyers beg to differ
According to the United Nations, “genocide” consists of “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” That can include killing members of the group, inflicting serious bodily harm on them, preventing births, forcibly transferring their children or creating “conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

Some Palestinian advocates say that definition applies in Gaza. Noura Erakat, a human rights lawyer and assistant professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University, wrote a Twitter thread to her 108,000 followers last week explaining why she believes Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians and trying “to eliminate their presence & destroy their nation.”

“The whole world stays silent and turns a blind eye to the genocide of whole Palestinian families,” Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki said at the United Nations last week. Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan walked out of Al-Maliki’s speech.

Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian-American international human rights attorney, told JTA that she used to avoid describing Israeli actions as genocide because when she did, some people “will automatically just have this visceral reaction that shuts you out instead of actually listening to you” because the word is so strong and because, for Jews, it evokes the Holocaust.

Now, however, she is reconsidering. Arraf said that given the ongoing Israeli oppression of Palestinians that she observes, the question of whether Israel is committing genocide deserves to be investigated.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that Israel does not want the Palestinian people there,” she said. “The actions are so vicious and brutal that it’s almost wrong to shy away from calling it what it seems like it is now. It might cause some people to close it off or blow it off or become just defensive, but I’m not sure that that’s necessarily a sufficient reason to hold back from calling it what it looks like.”

Pro-Palestinian activists have accused Israel of genocide before — and sparked backlash from Jewish groups and others. During the 2014 Gaza war, Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American professor, lost a tenured position he had been hired for at the University of Illinois following a series of critical tweets about Israel, including one that said, “The word ‘genocide’ is more germane the more news we hear.”
JINSA: Gaza Proves that Iran’s Next War on Israel Will Be Far Bloodier
At a minimum, that means making clear to Iran and its regional terror network that this latest conflict in Gaza has only strengthened the U.S.-Israel alliance. For sure, doing that won’t be easy in the face of the growing power of the Democratic Party’s increasingly strident progressive wing, which has been harshly critical of Israel’s policies.

But it’s essential. Biden and those embattled remnants of his party in Congress who remain faithful to the muscular internationalism championed by the likes of President Harry S. Truman and Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson need to push back against the rising anti-Israel chorus among progressives. They’ll have the overwhelming support of their Republican colleagues if they do so, as well as the majority of average Americans who still intuitively grasp the difference between a democratic ally exercising its inherent right to self-defense and a terrorist group dedicated to its destruction. Among other things, that United States support should include an announcement from the administration on the immediate resupply and strengthening of Israel’s life-saving missile defense system, its inventory of precision-guided munitions and bunker-busting bombs, and its air power. The president’s statement last week declaring his “full support” to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor missiles was an excellent start.

But it also means that President Biden needs urgently to reassess the wisdom of his administration’s headlong rush back into the Iran nuclear deal. As surely as night follows day, a resumption of the 2015 deal—with its requirements for massive American sanctions relief—will result in tens of billions of dollars being funneled to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their terrorist proxies not only in Hezbollah and Hamas, but among Houthi rebels in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq as well.

There’s no polite way to say this: Especially after the tragic scenes that we’ve just witnessed in Gaza, it would border on strategic madness for the United States to barrel ahead on a course that is virtually guaranteed to underwrite Iran’s next war against Israel and help the Revolutionary Guards and their terrorist foreign legion inflict levels of destruction on U.S. allies and interests that will make the awfulness of the recent Gaza war seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

Former Ambassador David Friedman: ‘Trump administration would have given Israel free reign to defend itself’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was dispatched to Israel by U.S. President Joe Biden this week in the direct aftermath of an acute conflagration highlighted by 11 days of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli population centers and pinpoint Israeli airstrikes on Hamas installations in Gaza in retaliation.

Blinken attempted to apply significant pressure on Israel behind closed doors in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, which were suspended during the Trump administration, were officially restored.

The visit confirmed fears in Jerusalem that Washington’s policy would now be essentially reversed, following four of the friendliest years ever between a U.S. administration and Israel. The United States intends to renew funding to the P.A. and reopen a shuttered consulate in Jerusalem dealing exclusively with Palestinian affairs. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has explicitly rejected the prospect of opening up a Palestinian office in Israel’s capital.

In addition, Blinken updated Netanyahu on U.S. intentions to negotiate towards a new Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Former President Donald Trump had pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and set about to level the harshest sanctions to date on any nation against the Islamic Republic.

On the heels of Blinken’s visit, JNS sat down with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a trusted adviser of Trump, and one of the key architects of the administration’s Mideast policies.

NGO Monitor: NGOs Distort International Law with “Disproportional” Casualty Claims
During and after armed conflict in Gaza, a common refrain is that the higher number of Palestinian civilian casualties, relatively to Israelis, reflects a “disproportionate” response to thousands of missile attacks on Israeli population centers. This erroneous claim is repeated regularly on news and entertainment platforms, as well as by government officials, such as the EU foreign policy heads.

Like many misnomers about international law and Israel, distortions regarding proportional responses to aggression are central to NGO political advocacy campaigns that exploit legal rhetoric for demonization. As opposed to Palestinian rockets fired in large numbers toward population centers, which are unequivocal and undeniable war crimes, Israeli strikes against terror infrastructure in Gaza are legally justifiable. Even if questions can be raised about certain incidents, the issues are complex and intensely debated by international legal experts.

Moreover, without access to detailed information from the Israeli army about intelligence assessments and targeting, NGOs cannot possibly conclude definitively that Israeli actions in Gaza are illegal and “disproportionate.”

Nevertheless, as seen below, NGOs misrepresent the laws of armed conflict in a number of fundamental ways in order to accuse Israel of committing “war crimes.” NGOs:
1. Count civilian deaths in a vacuum
2. Erase terrorist casualties
3. Ignore Hamas’ shielding of military targets in civilian areas
4. Refuse to blame Hamas for Palestinian rockets that land inside Gaza

What does international law actually say?

Most media references to Israeli responses that highlight the imbalance between Israeli and Palestinian civilian casualties use the term “disproportionate” colloquially, not legally. While the discrepancy in casualties may reflect each side’s priorities (Iron Dome and bomb shelters vs. rockets and terror infrastructure), it does not define “proportionality” under the laws of armed conflict.

International law prohibits attacking civilians and non-military structures, per se, under the rules of distinction. This means that militaries must distinguish between civilians and legitimate targets.
Ruthie Blum: Did UNRWA’s Gaza director lose the plot? - opinion
Sadly for Schmale, neither this little clarification nor subsequent ardent retractions on social media that he claims were not coerced wouldn’t and didn’t cut it with Hamas and its supporters, who are calling for him to be ousted.

It was, however, a good reminder of where UNRWA really stands.

It’s not for nothing that former US president Donald Trump ceased funding to the “flawed” body “in need of serious reform.” More aptly put, all UNRWA has been good for is perpetuation a “refugee crisis” of its own making.

Not to worry, though. The new administration in Washington recently announced a reversal of that decision. Yes, US President Joe Biden is restoring all aid to the Palestinians that Trump had cut off, including that which goes to UNRWA.

Bravo for scoring Hamas a financial windfall. The group’s got tunnels to renovate and rockets to refurbish, after all, ahead of the next assault. So much for Schmale’s “hope there will never be a war again.”

In the meantime, he would do well to focus on less lofty aspirations with greater personal and immediate concern: keeping his job and staying alive. Getting on the wrong side of Hamas is only wise when you’re on the right side of history and have a moral army to fight your battles. UNRWA certainly isn’t the former. Nor does it believe in the latter.

Still, it’s hard not to feel somewhat sorry for Schmale. He’s probably engaged in self-flagellation for having lost the plot and initially failing to stay on message, especially when his Israeli interviewer gave him ample rope with which to hang the Jewish state out to dry.
Joe Truzman: Israel Eliminates Key Members of Hamas and PIJ Commands
As part of its military operations against terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip during the recent war, Israel targeted key leaders and commanders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The elimination of these senior figures is part of an effort by Israel to degrade its adversaries’ command-and-control structures and limit their capacity for future operations.

Hamas and PIJ fired almost 4,400 rockets at Israel over 12 days, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). An earlier IDF statement said Israel had faced “the highest daily rate of rocket fire … in the history of the country.” The rockets targeted Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other Israeli cities, with the goal of inflicting maximum casualties on the civilian population. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the war.

In cooperation with Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, the IDF executed numerous targeted killing operations against Hamas and PIJ leaders in order to disrupt the firing of rockets by degrading the command-and-control structures of the organizations.

On May 12, the IDF launched an airstrike in Gaza City, killing Bassem Issa, the highest-ranking member of al-Qassam Brigades – the military arm of Hamas – killed since the 2014 war in Gaza. Issa was the commander of the Brigades’ Gaza City battalion, the Shin Bet stated.

Alongside Issa, several prominent al-Qassam Brigades members were killed in the airstrike. They included Jama’a Tahla, the head of Hamas’ cyber command, who was also responsible for improving the accuracy of the group’s rockets; Jamal Zabeda, the head of research and special projects in Hamas’ munitions production department; and Hazzem Hatib, the chief engineer of the group’s munitions department.

A dozen other members of Hamas’ research-and-development division were killed in a separate strike that destroyed their facility, according to the Shin Bet statement.
FDD: FAQ: Hamas
What is Hamas?
Hamas is an armed Palestinian movement created in 1987 as a violent splinter faction of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. The group became a powerful rival to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which for decades had been the dominant armed Palestinian organization. Hamas has conducted numerous attacks against Israelis, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised explosive device attacks, and shootings. As of September 21, 2020, attacks by Hamas had killed approximately 25 U.S. citizens. In 2014, Hamas kidnapped and murdered 16-year-old Naftali Fraenkel, who had dual American and Israeli citizenship.

Hamas’ charter, published in 1988, describes the organization as an Islamist movement. “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors,” the charter states.

In 2017, Hamas, known in Arabic as Harakat Muqawama al-Islamiya, released a policy document, which did not replace or supersede its charter, as part of a failed attempt to portray the organization as less radical. The new document, however, changed little from the 1988 charter: It still calls for the destruction of Israel. Referring to Israel’s borders, the charter says, “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” Hamas upholds “armed resistance” as the only way to liberate Palestine. In Article 13 of the charter, Hamas states that negotiations are a “contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against [Islam].” This poses a challenge to those wishing to include Hamas in negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Who leads Hamas?
Hamas’ founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was a Palestinian cleric and the organization’s spiritual leader. Israel assassinated him in 2004. Ismail Haniyeh is the current leader of Hamas’ political wing. Yahya Sinwar is Hamas’ leader in Gaza. Sinwar is best known for his role in founding the military wing of Hamas, formally known as the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and Majd, an internal security apparatus created to hunt down those who are in contact with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Mohammad Deif is the commander of al-Qassam Brigades. On May 10, 2021, as another conflict between Israel and Hamas began, Deif issued an ultimatum demanding that Israeli authorities release prisoners arrested in Jerusalem and withdraw Israeli security forces from al-Aqsa Mosque. The security forces were on the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif, to prevent extremists from lobbing Molotov cocktails and rocks at Jews praying at the Western Wall. Deif likely knew that Israel would not accept the ultimatum, thus giving him an excuse to launch rockets toward Jerusalem later that day.
Inside Hamas' Hate
There is ongoing incitement by the radical Muslims and their supporters against Israel using lies and deception. These actions are preparing their supporters to use and implement the concept of Jihad, to act against the Infidel in general, and against the Jews in particular.

Recently, there has been a confluence of several factors which gave the terror-supporting Iran and their proxy Hamas the miscalculated incentive to rally their oblivious supporters, and try to liquidate the state of Israel and gain power.

The initial excuse for the Arab confrontation in Jerusalem, was associated with two big lies: 1. "The Jews decides to evict innocent Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem" - This is a lie. The fact is that this dispute is related to a long-standing refusal of four Arab squatter Families to pay rent to their Jewish landlords. This case was deliberated in the Israeli courts for many years and now it seems that the courts, that have already ruled to recognize the ownership of the Jews of these houses in the past, clarified that the Arab tenants refusal to pay rent is against the law. There is a pending Supreme Court decision which may decide that the squatters should be removed form these houses, which do not belong to them.

2. "The Israeli police decided to attack peaceful Muslim worshipers on Temple Mount" - This too is a lie. The fact is that following violence by some Radical Muslims and by few Radical Jews, Arab Palestinian agitators and Hamas supporters piled up fire bombs, firecrackers and rocks on the Temple Mount and in the Al Aqsa Mosque, and used them to attack the Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall Plaza, about 70 feet below them. The police had to go into the involved areas on Temple Mount, in order to stop these terror attacks and riots which spilled over also into other locations in Jerusalem and into other cities in Israel.
Ted Cruz: Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself—Despite What Democrats Say
So what's the answer here? What should we do to promote peace and stop this wave of anti-Semitism?

The answer is simple: we should stand unequivocally with Israel. When the United States sends a clear message that we stand with Israel, there is more peace in the Middle East.

Eight months ago, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the historic Abraham Accords. President Donald Trump made two policy decisions that led to the agreements—the first was to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. The second, and the single most important national security move President Trump made, was to withdraw from the catastrophic Obama-Biden Iran nuclear deal.

When the Abraham Accords were signed at the White House last September, I was there. I spoke with senior officials from the UAE and Bahrain, and both said virtually the same thing—that it was clear to them that the United States stands unequivocally with Israel, and they want to be friends with the United States. Therefore, they were going to be friends with Israel. That clarity, that strength, produces peace.

President Biden ought to say firmly and emphatically that the United States stands with Israel against Hamas. He needs to immediately replenish the Iron Dome munitions that saved thousands of lives by intercepting the Hamas terrorists' rocket attacks. And he needs to stop attacking, belittling and undermining Israel. Democrats in Congress also have an opportunity right now to decide where they stand—do they stand with Israel, or do they stand with terrorists?

In the Senate, I introduced a resolution this week supporting the arms sale to Israel. It will be a chance for Democrats to decide if they're going to stand with Israel or tremble before the anti-Semitic far left of their party. I'm also traveling to Israel in the coming days to assess directly what else the Israelis need to protect their national security, which is closely tied to our national security.

Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East. It's time for President Biden and Democrats to start acting like it.
Biden Admin Can’t Guarantee Taxpayer Aid Won’t Enrich Hamas
As the Biden administration allocates more than $100 million in U.S. taxpayer aid to the Palestinian government and aid groups, critics are raising concerns that the State Department cannot ensure this aid won't reach the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas.

State Department officials have thus far declined to outline what mechanisms, if any, it has put in place to stop a tranche of aid money from reaching Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is responsible for initiating a deadly conflict with Israel this month. The State Department admitted this week that it could not guarantee the tranche of money will be kept from Hamas.

"As we've seen in life, as we all know in life, there are no guarantees," a senior department official said.

U.S. aid money has reached Hamas and Palestinian terrorists in the past, prompting the Trump administration to stop sending aid in 2018. One of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's first moves after taking office was to resume the aid without preconditions. That appears to be the case again as the administration commits millions more to the Gaza Strip and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which allows Hamas to use its facilities. Multiple Republican foreign policy leaders and a top former Trump administration official described the moves as reckless. They said the State Department's first priority should be putting stringent barriers in place to ensure no aid money gets to Hamas and its affiliated militant groups.

"The Biden Administration has a fundamental obligation to do whatever it can to prevent American taxpayer dollars from winding up in the bank accounts of terrorists. It is in no way acceptable for the State Department to flippantly offer that this is all a matter of fate well beyond their control," Rep. Darrell Issa (R. Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Issa also called out the administration for declining to provide further explanation about its "no guarantees" remark.

"This reinforces the imperative of Congress' core oversight function, and I hope that the White House provides quick clarification and commits to redoubling all its efforts to ensure that American aid is never handed over to those who would use it to take other people's lives," Issa said.

Mideast Pacifists, Drag Queens, and Feminists Celebrate UN anti-Israel Human Rights Probe (satire)
Middle Eastern human rights advocates, such as Syria’s self-declared pacifist leader Bashar Assad, Hezbollah drag queens, and Yemeni feminist jihadists celebrated the UN Human Right Council’s decision to create a permanent fact-finding mission to probe alleged Israeli war crimes worldwide such as “chicken soup addiction.” The progressive human rights organization Woke Ayatollahs against Zionist Nukes also demanded a probe into “Zionist crimes against Hiroshima and Atlantis.”

Beloved Syrian leader Bashar Assad who won with an impressive 98.99 % of the vote in Syria’s recent election spoke to The Mideast Beast from the world-renowned Damascus Institute for Selective Human Rights and Genocide Concealment.

“As someone who truly appreciates the value of human life, my heart aches terribly for the victims of Zionist war crimes in Gaza. The poor and innocent Hamas children in their twenties are completely defenseless, clinging desperately to their exploding teddy bears, Kalashnikov water guns, and Iranian rocket toys. I also urge the UN to probe the Zionist crimes behind the mysterious disappearance of half a million precious Syrians.

Hezbollah drag queen Lolita al-Jihadida celebrated the UN probe with several halal beers at Beirut’s progressive Genderfluid Jihad Oktoberfest.

“If you discount our unintentional misplacement of half a million Syrians, accidental bombings of the US marine barracks in Beirut, Buenos Aires’ Jewish Community Centre, and a few other places, Hezbollah is a natural partner for all peace-loving human rights activists worldwide.”
MEMRI: Bangladesh Removes Israel Exclusion From Its Passport, Tells Palestinian Ambassador: 'We Are A Sovereign Country; We Will Decide What To Do'
On May 23, 2021, the government of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed that it had removed the words "except Israel" from the Bangladeshi passport.[1] In practical terms, this means that Bangladesh has, albeit theoretically, lifted a bar on its citizens from travelling to Israel. Prime Minister Hasina, who was in office from 1996 to 2001 and has now been in office since 2009, is currently in a strong position, with the political opposition at its weakest, the Islamist religious opposition tamed, and Bangladesh forging ahead of its giant neighbor India in terms of per capita income. In 2007, Bangladesh's per capita income was half of that of India, but in 2021 it is $2,227 compared with India's $1,947.[2]

The landmark decision by the Hasina government is being seen in the context of a number of Islamic countries – notably the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco – having moved in the direction of normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel in recent years. Even in Pakistan, some eminent Islamic scholars have spoken publicly in favor of normalization of ties with Israel.[3] According to the Department of Immigration and Passports, new Bangladeshi passports will now declare: "This passport is valid for all countries of the world" – with the last two words "except Israel" being dropped."[4]

Bangladesh being an Islamic country, some questions will certainly be asked of the government regarding any policy change involving Israel. Mirza Fakhrul Islam, the secretary general of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), criticized the Hasina government for the passport decision. "[The government] has decided to remove the word 'except Israel' from the new passport. There's a consensus among our people that Israel is our enemy as they've destroyed human rights," Mirza Fakhrul Islam said.[5]

Mirza Fakhrul Islam added: "Israel is a threat not only to the Middle East but also to the entire world. Why's the Bangladesh government going to build a loving relationship with Israel?"[6] He reiterated his party's position: "We would like to make it clear BNP has no link with Israel. We have an anti-Israel stance. We've always been against Israel."[7]

Brushing aside such criticism, Bangladesh's Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that the decision will ensure that Bangladeshi passports meet the "international standards."[8] To manage any likely protests from religious circles, the Hasina government has, for now, said that the decision to remove "except Israel" does not mean that Bangladeshi citizens can travel to Israel. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, the foreign minister of Bangladesh, said that Bangladesh still does not recognize Israel and there is no change in this position.[9]
France’s Great Debate Over the Sources and Meaning of Muslim Terror
Kepel’s vision is important in the sense that it reinstates France within the political turmoil of the Mediterranean, where it belongs. To imagine that the oligarchic powers of the region will quietly allow a tolerant, enlightened version of Islam to rise at their Mediterranean borders and undermine their influence—to suppose that they will not exploit every social weakness in France to compete for influence among Muslims there—is, at best, naïve. There is a civil war in Islam today, a war that knows no borders, and it explains what’s been going on in France much better than any abstract debate over laïcité. What Kepel’s vision shows us, in other words, is that France’s future will be bloody.

But then, what do we do with Roy’s existential problem? What do we do, specifically, with the converts we met at the beginning of this essay? Should we dismiss them once and for all as meaningless?

“We are not in a war between civilizations,” wrote Roy in Le Monde, “but in a war between values. The conflict is not between the Enlightenment and Islam, but between the values inherited from the ’60s (women’s rights, LGBT rights, sexual freedom, abortion, etc.) and the conservative values that religions stand for.” A suggestive sentence, even from a man who denies any role of Islam in terror.

One could argue that Roy’s main problem—aside from his ideology—is his classicism. He’s a follower of Dostoyevsky, for whom, morally speaking, religion and nihilism are like matter and anti-matter. But how true is this poetic idea in the 21st century? Everywhere one looks, from Trumpism to Salafism, if the last decades are any indication, the transgressors and the prophets of order and are in fact one and the same. Orthodoxies and heresies have melted to create conceptual and humans monsters.

At their best, both Kepel and Roy hold part of the key to understanding France’s new reality. One reflects “existentially” on how religions and postmodern nihilism fight and influence each other, the other focuses acutely and pragmatically on geopolitical chaos in the Middle East and its deleterious consequences for France and Europe. As for the social competition, while Kepel was among the guests at Macron’s inauguration party on May 14, 2016, Roy maintains the upper hand on control of the funding, and coordinates the EU grants on Islamic studies. Roy remains a major influence on academia, whereas Kepel figures more as an outsider. It therefore seems likely that as France endures continued turmoil and bloodshed, we will be hearing more from both in the decade to come.

Sheikh Jarrah: The Property Dispute.
Arabs have rioted in Jerusalem and Israel has been blamed. A Jewish organisation is seeking the eviction of Palestinians occupying some buildings in the Shimon haTzadik neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah a short distance north of the Old City in Jerusalem.

UKLFI Charitable Trust held a webinar on 13 May 2021, when Prof. Avi Bell explained the legal background to this property dispute, interviewed by Natasha Hausdorff, legal director of UKLFI Charitable Trust.

Court pushes off ruling on evictions of Palestinian families in Silwan
The Jerusalem District Court on Friday indefinitely postponed announcing a decision on an appeal against the eviction of several dozen Palestinian residents from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, delaying a verdict that some fear could reignite the tinderbox city.

The judges decided that they would wait to make their ruling until the Supreme Court hands down a decision on a similar appeal against other eviction orders in Silwan. The top court will only be convening on that matter in December, meaning the delay announced Friday essentially pushes off the second Silwan case to next year.

The eviction of 19 families in Silwan’s Batan al-Hawa section, including the cases discussed on Wednesday, is currently pending in Israeli courts.

Both cases revolve around claims on homes currently occupied by Palestinians but which were owned by Jews before Jordan occupied East Jerusalem during the war of Independence in 1948.

Similar cases in Sheikh Jarrah, another Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood, sparked protests and a harsh crackdown by police in early May, with the unrest eventually snowballing into the 11-day war fought between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers this month.

At a hearing on Wednesday, the district court said it would issue a decision on the appeals “soon,” while attorneys representing the Palestinian families petitioned for Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to weigh in on the case.

The Strategic Genius Behind Allowing Qatari Suitcases of Cash Into Gaza
Qatar’s head of state and his cronies no doubt felt duped, as nearly a billion dollars of investment in Hamas went up in smoke — or, more precisely, was caved in and pulverized into dust during the recent fighting.

Political analysts were likely no less surprised. And I’m certainly one of them, having looked on in amazement ever since the reemergence of Hamas violence in early 2018 after three and a half years of quiet. Why did the Israeli government, with Benjamin Netanyahu firmly at its helm, tolerate renewed Hamas missile strikes, then missiles and incendiary balloons, then missiles and incendiary balloons and rioting, along the fence dividing Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel?

This is to say nothing of the high-profile visits of the Qatari special envoy, who brought suitcases full of millions of dollar bills to be placed in Hamas coffers — either directly or indirectly with Israel’s permission.

I couldn’t figure out why Israel, which had succeeded in each of the three rounds between 2000-9 and 2014 in achieving greater and greater deterrence against Hamas (i.e., increasing quiet between rounds with fewer missiles leveled at Israel), should change course so radically.

After all, it was clear from the smaller rounds of late 2018 and 2019 that Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip were increasing their firepower and their ability to conduct multiple simultaneous launchings, a prospect that threatened to overwhelm the Iron Dome system. And it was common knowledge that the Qatari suitcases of cash facilitated those advances.

So why, in heaven’s name, did Netanyahu, his government, and his generals allow all this to happen?

The mystery was solved on the fourth night of the offensive, when the Israeli Air Force made aviation history by amassing, over the small space of Gaza, 160 fighter jets and other air vehicles to pound and destroy — over a mere 40 minutes — the “Hamas Metro:” a vast array of interlocking tunnels Hamas had dug to protect its command posts, ease the movement of its terrorists, and enable the transport of its missiles and other ordnance.

MEMRI: Throughout Recent Gaza Conflict, Qatari Press Mobilized In Support Of Hamas: Praises Rocket Attacks On Israel In Articles With Antisemitic Motifs; Celebrates Its 'Victory' As Step Towards Liberation Of Palestine

Qatar's sweeping support for Hamas and the other Gazan terror organizations during their recent round of fighting with Israel[1] was also reflected in the Qatari press's coverage of the events and in articles it published about it. Throughout the conflict, the Qatari establishment papers praised these organizations and served as a platform for their positions, especially for statements by Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya and the head of the movement abroad, Khaled Mash'al, who reside in Qatar.

Dozens of reports and articles in the Qatari press praised the firing of rockets into Israel, celebrated the improvement in the military capabilities of the Gazan terror organizations and glorified their operatives as jihad fighters struggling in the cause of Allah. Some of the articles even contained antisemitic themes, presenting the Jews as the enemies of Allah and killers of the prophets and the struggle against them as the fulfillment of Allah's directives in the Quran. Also conspicuous in the papers was criticism against Arab states, especially those who recently signed normalization agreements with Israel, over their inaction in the face of Israel's attacks and the situation of the Palestinians.

The position of the Qatari press was also reflected in cartoons it published, which celebrated the rocket attacks on Israel and the power and sacrifice of the resistance, and even hoped for Israel's demise.

This report reviews some of the articles and cartoons published in the Qatari press during and after the fighting.

Praise For Rocket Attacks On Israel And For Improvement In Terror Organizations' Military Capabilities

As stated, during the fighting and after it, many reports and articles in the Qatari press praised the Palestinian terror organizations and their rocket attacks on Israel, and presented their operatives as "waging jihad for the sake of Allah."[2] The articles also celebrated the organizations' military capabilities, while downplaying the abilities of Israel's Iron Dome rocket defense system. For example, the website of the Al-Sharq daily posted a report headed "Iron Dome Is Failing and Palestinian Rockets Are Pulverizing Israel – Each [Iron Dome Interceptor] Missile Costs $100,000."[3]

'Abdallah Al-'Amadi, a former deputy editor of the daily Al-Sharq and former advisor to Qatar's education minister, wrote in a May 25 article: "[Hamas's military wing,] the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, began sending its messages to the Zionists, one after the other… [and] the Zionist understood the gravity of Gaza's messages, [which appeared in the form of] rockets that lit up the skies over its cities, both near the Gaza Strip and far from it. Moreover, new strategic rockets joined the campaign, compelling [Israel] to close its Ben Gurion international airport, with all the attendant financial losses, and forcing over 70% of the residents of the occupation state to live in shelters… The minute the enemy started attacking, heavy [rocket] barrages were immediately fired in response into many parts [of Israel], and the enemy's Iron Dome [system] was unable to intercept them… A single Zionist airstrike on Gaza was answered with hundreds of Al-Qassam Brigades rockets fired into the enemy's cities, and the message of the [Gaza] Strip was, 'If you do this again, so will we.'

Syria’s Assad Wins 4th Term With 95% of Vote, in Election the West Calls Fraudulent
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth term in office with 95.1% of the votes in an election that will extend his rule over a country ruined by war but which opponents and the West say was marked by fraud.

Assad’s government says the election on Wednesday shows Syria is functioning normally despite the decade-old conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million people — about half the population — from their homes.

Head of parliament Hammouda Sabbagh announced the results at a news conference on Thursday, saying voter turnout was around 78%, with more than 14 million Syrians taking part.

The election went ahead despite a UN-led peace process that had called for voting under international supervision that would help pave the way for a new constitution and a political settlement.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States said in a statement criticizing Assad ahead of the election that the vote would not be free or fair. Turkey, an Assad adversary, has also said the election was illegitimate.

The win delivers Assad, 55, seven more years in power and lengthens his family’s rule to nearly six decades. His father, Hafez al-Assad, led Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000.
Iranian agents linked to terrorist plot in Sweden against dissidents
Two refugees who entered Sweden in 2015 with claimed Afghani identities are believed to be agents for the Islamic Republic of Iran who sought to execute a terrorist plot against Iranian dissidents opposed to the theocracy in Tehran.

Bulletin, a Swedish online newspaper, reported last week Sweden’s security police arrested Salma K. and Fouad M. in April for planning an act of terrorism within the territory of Sweden, and it has turned out that they are not Afghani nationals.

Sweden’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hans Ihrman of the National Security Unit said the two suspects’ identities are fabricated. Ihrman said their ages are ten years older than they initially claimed and their names not authentic.

The Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) recently confirmed, according to a report in the online news publication IranWire, that the two people might have travelled to Europe as a terrorism “sleeper cell."

IranWire journalist Kambiz Ghafouri reported on Monday that "A well-positioned Swedish source told me all the evidence points to their connection to the security agencies of the Islamic Republic. For now at least, it is strongly suspected that their real nationality is Iranian."

IranWire added that the pair “spoke with Iranian accents. They asked for an Iranian interpreter because, they said, having lived for many years in Iran they could no longer understand certain words in Dari: the Afghani strain of Persian.”

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