Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why Have Economic Prosperity When One Can Blame Israel For Misery?

by  Bassam Tawil   May 21, 2019 

Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website
Photo Credit: 

In most normal societies, a businessman who seeks to improve the living conditions of his people by boosting the economy and creating job opportunities for the unemployed — including a host of jobless university graduates — is treated with respect. The Palestinians, however, do not seem to belong to those societies.

Ashraf Jabari is a 45-year-old businessman from the West Bank city of Hebron. A member of a large Palestinian clan in the city, Jabari believes in economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence with his Jewish neighbors, including settlers living in the West Bank.
Earlier this year, Jabari and some of his Jewish friends launched a new economic initiative to advance joint entrepreneurship between Israelis and Palestinians there.

“We are working on taking down borders, and both Israelis and Palestinians need to take part in this,” Jabari explained. “We need to breach this wall. We must first create good links and good relationships not just in the West Bank, but all over Israel so we can achieve our desired goal.”

To advance his goal, Jabari recently announced the establishment of a new party that calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians:

The Reform and Development Party, he said, seeks to solve the economic problems of the Palestinians, including high unemployment. “We have an army of university graduates who are unemployed,” he said. “We’ve reached a situation where a young [Palestinian] man holding a Master’s degree in law has to work as a street vendor because he can’t find work.”

One would expect a message like that to be welcomed by Palestinians. Here is a man who is talking about helping his people put food on their tables. Here is a man who is saying: “Let’s put aside our political differences and focus on ways of achieving economic stability for our people.”

Instead of giving Jabari a chance to carry out his initiative, Palestinians have waged a massive smear campaign against him, with many denouncing him as a “traitor” and “collaborator” with Israel and Jews. Some Palestinians have even gone as far as callingfor his arrest or execution.

The campaign against the Palestinian businessman reached its peak on May 13, after he hosted at his home several Jews for the Ramadan break-the-fast meal, Iftar. It is not unusual for Muslims to host non-Muslims for the Iftar meal. In this instance, however, Jabari seems to have invited the “wrong” guests: Jews.

As soon as photos of the Ramadan meal appeared in various media outlets, many angry Palestinians took to social media to voice their strong condemnation of Jabari.

In the face of the widespread protests and resentment, Jabari’s clan was forced publicly to denounce and disown him. “Ashraf Jabari is a criminal, and he doesn’t enter the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories,” said Arif Rubin Jabari, a leader of the clan. “Our family already disowned this fraud back in 2002. He doesn’t represent anyone from our clan or Hebron.”

The clan leader further claimed that Israel was “using Jabari to carry out its suspicious schemes against Palestinians.” He called on Palestinian Authority officials to “study Israel’s attempt to give prominence to Jabari by presenting him as an alternative to the current Palestinian leadership.”

The clan’s public denunciation of Jabari, however, has failed to placate many Palestinians, who are now calling for severely punishing the him for his words and deeds.

The Palestinian news website Wattan, based in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, called for bringing Jabari to trial for treason. “The [Palestinian] security services must act immediately to arrest him,” Wattan said in an article published on its website.

“According to Article 135 of the Revolutionary Penal Code of the PLO (1979), the punishment for treason is prison with hard labor. The law states that anyone who offers accommodation, food or clothes to an enemy soldier or a spy or helps him escape, should be punished. Dozens of spies have already been punished in accordance with this law. Article 140 of the same law stipulates the death sentence for anyone who serves as an informant for the enemy. Indeed, many spies have been executed.

Judging from the reactions of the Palestinians, they are angry with Jabari mainly for two reasons: engaging in “normalization” with Israelis and promoting the idea of “economic peace.” The Palestinians’ “anti-normalization” movement is strongly opposed to any form of relations with Israel — including sports and cultural events. Now, it seems that they are even opposed to seeing Palestinians and Jews eating together.

Jabari offended many Palestinians because he dared to invite his Jewish friends to the Ramadan meal at his home.

Moreover, his talk about “economic prosperity” for Palestinians has turned him into a public enemy. How dare the man discuss seeking ways to improve the living conditions of his people and create jobs for the unemployed?

In the eyes of many Palestinians, the struggle against Israel should be paramount, even if they have to eat and drink that struggle instead of the food they could buy through engaging in economic initiatives such as those proposed by Jabari.

Had Jabari joined Hamas or Islamic Jihad, or one of the anti-Israel organizations in the West Bank, he would have been idolized. Had he called for boycotting Israel rather than working — and eating — with them, he would have been lauded among his people and his clan.

In light of the uproar sparked by the Palestinian businessman’s actions and statements, it is safe to assume that his new party will never succeed in winning the hearts and minds of Palestinians. It’s also hard to see how any of the economic enterprises he’s talking about will ever materialize.

The unprecedented campaign of hate and intimidation against Jabari comes weeks before the US administration rolls out its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century.”

The upcoming peace plan, according to various reports, talks about giving the Palestinians billions of dollars and raising money for them from wealthy Arab countries. Yet, as Jabari’s case makes clear, the Palestinians are less invested in gaining economic stability than they are in hating Israel.

For Palestinians, the financial aid is a cynical attempt to lure them away from their struggle against Israel — and no Palestinian leader has the stomach to face the threats that Jabari is currently confronting. So, far from any “deal of the century,” the Palestinian leaders long ago struck a dirty deal of their own: they put their stock in Israel-hatred rather than in their own people.

A Families Terror Experiences

(Guest posting from "Grandma's Army")

In Israel, the boundaries between the home-front and the army are very blurred. My son and family, who live in the south, are constantly being bombarded by  missiles from the Gaza Strip - by air and ground. Two weeks ago, 700 missiles were fired from Gaza to the south of Israel! in which several civilians were killed. One rocket even reached Tel-Aviv. 

At the same time, their youngest daughter (Adi) is an army instructor. She belongs to a corps which teaches soldiers, taken from  all the army’s ground forces, how to use the different weapons used to locate and destroy enemies and armament - in order to clear the area. 

It’s hard for me to picture Adi, who is an extremely feminine young woman of 20, instructing soldiers on how to use lethal weapons. These include a particular type of rocket called “Gil”, which was developed in Israel. With the means of a special device the “Gil” can follow any target, even a moving one. The shooter can manoeuvre the rocket all the time while it is in the air, in order to strike the target with maximum precision (just like a computer game), and can reach to a distance of up to 4 kms.

Usually two divisions of a regiment, each consisting of 20 fighters, are sent  to  her corps simultaneously. Adi mostly instructs older civilians from the army Reserves who are called up, usually one month a year,  in order to maintain their fighting skills. Since the Reserves make up 70% of the fighting forces, it is very important that they keep up with their particular task, since it is  never known when hostilities will break out.

It is particularly hard to instruct middle-aged civilians since they are not accompanied by commanders of the corps who – in the case of regular soldiers - can impose disciplinary measures. To keep them focused on the subject at hand is a real challenge, especially when the instructor is a young woman.

Adi spends an entire week of  intensive training with each group, in which they eat together and train together in the field. She says that she finds the work very stimulating since she has to adapt her training methods according to the particular group she is instructing at the time. In this way, she gets to meet interesting and diverse types of soldiers from a wide variety of backgrounds.

At times when no such groups of Reservists are sent, the instructors are taken to frontiers all over the country in which regular soldiers are serving. In this way Adi has the opportunity  to travel to different army bases which is an experience in itself. 

The work can be difficult, especially in times of pressure when they get up very early and get to bed very late - the whole day being spent, either in the field, or giving lessons. This also affects the attention span of the soldiers who have to be motivated enough to concentrate.

In Adi’s words: “The job has taught me how to stand before an audience and to speak without getting nervous and with self-confidence. I have learned to master complicated material and to present it in an interesting way. Also, the ability to conduct a discussion with different types of people. I am grateful to be part of a team of female colleagues with whom I enjoy a warm and very friendly relationship".

The fact that the ability of the fighters to serve their country in the best possible way is dependent to a large extent on their training, gives the trainers a significant role in any future war. The satisfaction they experience as a result is enhanced by the trainees themselves, who show respect and appreciation to their instructors.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Egypt and Iran Vie for Influence in Gaza

At the start of April, Hebrew media reports quoted unnamed Israeli security officials as saying that the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror faction, which possesses a rocket arsenal even larger than that of Hamas, was planning a major attack on Israeli targets.
The disclosure of this information appeared to achieve its goal of discouraging the perpetrators, and no attack transpired. But the fact that PIJ was reportedly planning an incident that could have upset Egyptian attempts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip could hint at a wider struggle taking place within Gaza between Egypt and Iran.
Gaza’s ruling regime, Hamas, has reportedly faced demands from Egypt in recent months to decide whether it “takes its orders from Tehran or continues to implement the understandings for calm” formulated by the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel.
The clash of interests between these two regional powers seems clear. Egypt wishes to see Gaza calm, stable, and cut off from ISIS-affiliated terror networks in Sinai, which also threaten Egyptian security; while Iran sees Gaza as one more base from which it can exercise its radical influence and encourage the growth of a terrorist army that threatens not only Israel but the stability of the whole region.
Iran transfers $100 million a year to the military wings of Hamas and PIJ collectively, according to Israeli estimates.
Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, recalled that with the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Cairo had no interest in retaking Gaza.
Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat “understood the problematic nature of this territory, which is the most crowded in the world, and racked with poverty, fundamentalism, and a lack of a sovereign ruler,” said Ganor. As a result, Sadat did not demand a return to Egyptian rule over Gaza, even though Egypt had controlled the Strip prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
“What Sadat understood, [current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi also understands, although in a different manner,” Ganor said. “Sisi understands that the Strip contains many risks to Egypt within it. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is tied by the umbilical cord to its mother movement – the Muslim Brotherhood – who are Sisi’s loathed strategic enemies.”
Sisi has identified a process of Iranian infiltration into Gaza via its proxy, PIJ, “and is concerned by the growth of a forward Iranian post on the northern border of Egypt,” said Ganor.
Another source of concern for Sisi is the fact that ISIS in Sinai is linked to other Salafi-jihadist elements in Gaza. These security and political factors, as well as Egyptian concern over the prospect of a new armed conflict erupting between Israel and Hamas on Egypt’s border, have all led to “massive Egyptian intervention and a will to be active in what is taking place in the Strip,” said Ganor. Israel, for its part, is in favor of this intervention and has even requested it over the years.
Iran is trying to neutralize Egyptian influence in Gaza, Ganor noted, while looking to tighten its links with its Gazan proxies. Tehran is trying to transfer funds and weapons into Gaza. “It also seeks to instruct its proxies to disrupt every process that can lead to calm,” said Ganor.
Tehran’s relationship with Hamas is somewhat complicated.
According to Ganor, “Iran’s influence on Hamas is significant, but much smaller than its influence on Hezbollah. Hamas zealously safeguards its independence and does not view itself as being obligated to Iranian interests.”
With Iran conducting training sessions for PIJ inside the Islamic Republic, the organization is an “explicit proxy of Iran, in contrast to Hamas, which is under Iranian influence but has its own agenda and is more independent,” he argued.
Egypt has far more at stake in Gaza, which is at its back door. “Whatever happens in Sinai directly influences Egypt. Iran, meanwhile, is distant, and tries to activate its influence in Gaza by remote control,” said Segall.
He summed up the Iranian proxy strategy as follows: “The more Israel bleeds on its borders, the less it can engage Iran directly.” And the Iranians would like the same thing to happen in the West Bank, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for terror factions there to be armed just as they are in Gaza.
“This is central component in Iranian doctrine. It’s about asymmetric warfare. Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria have become part of Iran’s asymmetric warfare doctrine,” said Segall. “The Iranians work with a proxy toolbox against the Saudis, the Egyptians and Gulf states. This is not limited to Gaza,” he said.
While Iran has the power to activate PIJ to disrupt Egyptian mediation efforts or spark a new conflict, PIJ also faces pressure from Hamas, which can force its will on it, including through the force of arms, according to Segall.
“I think that on the day they receive their orders from Iran, PIJ will obey and cash its checks, which it has received over the years from the Iranians,” he said.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Terror Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists

The message in the video says it all.

If this is not a war crime, what is?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

What Should a Grandmother tell her Grandchildren?

(Guest post from a grandmother)

Driving home this evening from a lovely visit to my 6 year old grand-daughter and her 8 month old baby brother I was listening to the radio. 
In the 20 minutes or so it took me to drive from Yokne'am to ZIchron Ya'akov the radio broadcast was interrupted EIGHT times so that those in Ashdod could hear a siren and be given the advice, "Go to the shelter." Eight times. Eight attacks. TWENTY minutes.
Just one hundred kilometres south of this rolling peaceful landscape, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians are being attacked in their own homes.
A grandmother just like me isn't laughing with her grandchildren. She's cradling them and comforting them and telling them there is nothing to worry about as the explosions sound in the night air outside.
Sometimes it's even hard for us here in Israel to really grasp the everyday reality of our Southern countrymen.
Perhaps we can understand that ordinary people in other countries don't get it. But how, how can the media twist and lie about the situation?
What evil drives them to demonise Israel, our tiny country, where we Israelis just want to live in peace in our ancient home land? This tiny country that has given more to the world than any other. This tiny country that is made up of parents and children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, just ordinary decent human beings.
Why do the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN … the list goes on and on … why do they dehumanise us, we who go to such lengths to prevent loss of life of an enemy that chants for our blood, that wants us wiped off the face of the earth?
Who does it help when they wilfully paint this false picture, over and over again?

Massive rocket barrages launched from Gaza

     By launching 600 rockets  in 30 hours from positions within the civilian population of Gaza,    the  terror organizations are committing a double war crime: the targeting of Israeli civilians     while using their own civilian population as human shields. ‎ (Incidentally almost 400 landed     in open areas and nearly 200 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system )

Following sniper attacks on Israeli soldiers that took place yesterday (Friday, 3 May 2019), 
wounding of two IDF officers, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations initiated today
 (Saturday, 4 May) a massive rocket attack of over 430 rockets that were launched on Israeli 
towns and villages in southern Israel. Several Israeli civilians were injured in the attacks,
 including one fatality. The shelling also caused severe damage to homes and property.

In response to the rocket attacks, the IDF targeted terror facilities belonging to the Islamic
 Jihad and Hamas terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of terror targets
 including an Islamic Jihad terror tunnel from Rafah, rocket launchers, underground weapons manufacturing facilities and terror training bases.

The rockets were launched from positions within the civilian population of Gaza. The terror organizations are thus committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians on the one 
hand while using their own population as a human shield on the other.

Both terror organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (which acts as an Iranian proxy), are 
acting against the interests of the residents of the Gaza Strip and are the main barrier to 
the peaceful development of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which also receives direct support 
form Iran, ruthlessly rules the Gaza Strip and bears full responsibility for any attack. This
 murderous regime holds the residents of the Gaza Strip captive and endangers their lives.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system was activated dozens of times on Saturday to intercept 
the barrage of rockets launched at Israeli communities from Gaza. Israel will continue to 
 do its utmost to defend its citizens and ensure their security against the aggression of 
the terror organizations controlling the Gaza Strip.

The rocket barrages come shortly before a potentially tense month, with Ramadan,
 Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, Nakba Day, and the one-year
 anniversary of the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

The IDF is also preparing for violence ahead of Eurovision, the finale of which 
will take place in Tel Aviv on May 18 with thousands of tourists expected to attend.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

How does One Understand This Idiotic Mindset?

D.C. Synagogue will mourn Palestinians, ignore Israeli Independence Day

Stephen M. Flatow..01 May '19..

A prominent synagogue in Washington, D.C., will mark Israel’s 71st birthday by mourning “Palestinian losses” alongside Israeli terror victims, and refrain from holding any kind of Israeli independence celebration.

It’s the latest example of an appalling “both sides” mentality that blurs right and wrong, good and evil, and Israel and its would-be destroyers.

On Tuesday evening, May 7, Israelis—and Jews around the world—will hold solemn Yom Hazikaron ceremonies to remember the approximately 25,000 Israeli Jews murdered by invading Arab armies and Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1948.

But at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in the nation’s capital, a different kind of ceremony will be held. Called the “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony,” participants will gather together for what they describe as “a memorial based on the values of hope, solidarity and non-violence. Hear from Israelis and Palestinians as they share their families’ stories of loss.”

Yes, Palestinian Arabs have been killed in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But that doesn’t make them all “victims.” And that doesn’t mean they should all be “mourned.” That doesn’t place them all on the same moral level.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Israel is the victim and the Palestinian Arabs are the aggressors. Nobody is saying Israel is perfect. No country is perfect. No army is perfect. But we still should be able to make the basic distinction between right and wrong. We still should have enough sense to distinguish between cops and robbers.

( This is a pathetic attempt at moral equivalence without any semblance of understanding of the Palestinian mentality)