In Budapest this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an unintentionally revealing moment.
On an open microphone, he was overheard condemning as “crazy” the EU’s insistence on resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a precondition for closer trade ties. European links with Israel, he said, would determine whether the EU would “live and thrive or shrivel and disappear.”
The situation is surely even broader and starker than that. European leaders don’t realize their fate is wrapped up not only with Israel but with Judaism itself.
They don’t grasp that prejudice against the Jews is a major driver of Islamist attacks not just against Israel but also against the West. And they don’t understand how their own orthodoxies are aiding that malign process.
Last April Sarah Halimi, a 67-year-old French Jewish woman, was murdered by her 27-year-old neighbor, Malian immigrant Kobili Traore, who beat and tortured her before throwing her alive out of the third floor window of her Paris apartment. During the attack he shouted “Allahu akbar” and “you sheitan!” (devil). He had previously taunted her repeatedly with anti-Jewish remarks.
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For the record, this is not a defense of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas or of funding terrorists. It is simply an explanation of what is taking place. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the idea of ending payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families is a challenging one, to say the least. Old habits, especially of hate, are hard to break.
The practice of paying salaries to terrorists and the families of “martyrs” is as old as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964. It did not start after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Nor did this practice start after Abbas was elected as president of the PA in January 2005.
Prior to the establishment of the PA, the PLO relied solely on Arab and Islamic financial aid to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of those killed in terror attacks against Israel.
But after most of the Arab countries turned their backs on the PLO, following its support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent establishment of the PA, the Europeans and Americans became the major donors to the Palestinians — including payments to the terrorists and their families.
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Mere weeks after the terrorist attacks in Britain — on May 22 in Manchester and earlier in Westminster — there is planned in London, on July 8-9, a major event which its organizers describe as:
Palestine Expo: the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine to ever take place in Europe. In a year of immense significance for Palestine, we are pleased to announce, Palestine Expo 2017
The “biggest ever in Europe”: heady stuff. In a major coup, the exposition will take place, not in a scruffy hall on the outskirts of the city, but in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament, in the shadow of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The prestigious centre is owned by the UK Government and its operation is conducted by an executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government. It has 2,000 square metres of exhibition space, four main auditoria, seven conference rooms and many smaller rooms, and specialises in events for more than 1,000 delegates. Palexpo will occupy five of its six levels.
Events listed include:
Academic Workshop (“will be run by a group of academics from leading UK universities”)
On the surface, it might appear that this is merely a cultural event designed to give the British public a taste of Palestinian cooking, music, art, in particular, history (starting in 1948!). A closer examination, however, reveals something less pleasant. Underneath the surface, this exposition is dedicated to a presentation of Palestinian victimhood and “resistance” (read terrorism), the same “resistance” as in Israel, and on similar false pretexts.
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The Palestinian Authority (PA) honored two terrorists this month in the lead up to President Trump’s visit with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Media Watch reports.
Though Abbas tried to present a moderate stance to the American president, the PA named public squares in Jenin and Tulkarem after terrorists Karim and Maher Younes, two Israeli Arab cousins convicted in the 1980 kidnapping and murder or Israeli soldier Abraham Bromberg.
Both terrorists were sentenced to 40 years in jail.
Abbas’ Fatah party and Jenin’s municipal authorities sponsored one of the ceremonies.
“…Jenin District Governor Ibrahim Ramadan conveyed a greeting [expressing] honor and pride to the prisoners and their relatives on behalf of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership,” the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on Friday and translated by PMW.
In Tulkarem, the public ceremony featured a Palestinian official openly supporting the PA’s policy of glorifying terrorists and supporting convicted murderers.
“This is in appreciation of fighter Maher Younes… I thank the Tulkarem Municipality and all of the district’s bodies for this national act of standing side by side with the prisoners and expressing support for them. We permanently stand by our fighters,” proclaimed Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr, quoted in Ma’an news on May 11.
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The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a body dominated by loyalists to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, has resumed its incitement against Israeli media outlets and journalists.
On May 7, Israeli authorities released a video showing imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is leading a “hunger strike” of more than 1,000 inmates held in Israeli prisons, secretly eating a candy bar in the bathroom of his prison cell. Israeli media outlets and journalists, like many of their Western colleagues, reported on the video, which has seriously embarrassed Barghouti and many other Palestinians.
The prisoners’ “hunger strike” is not about torture or denial of medical treatment. The prisoners seek expanded visitation rights, better access to public phones and more access to higher education.
But Barghouti, who began leading the “hunger strike” on April 17, has more on his mind than incarceration privileges.
The “hunger strike” is actually a strike against Mahmoud Abbas, who Barghouti believes has marginalized him, denying him an official senior position in Fatah.
It is worth noting that no one in the Israeli media was involved in the secret filming of Barghouti. Nor did any Israeli journalist know in advance about the authorities’ decision to film Barghouti. All the Israeli media did was report on the release of the scandalous video, together with analysis about the implications of the video on the Palestinian prisoners’ “hunger strike.”
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The name Hebron in both Hebrew and Arabic – Hevron and al-Khalil – is derived from the root meaning “friend.” The city, holy to both Jews and Muslims, is believed to be the burial place of some of Judaism and Islam’s most consequential patriarchs and matriarchs.
Nestled in the hills some 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem, Hebron was once a model of Jewish-Muslim coexistence, but is now typified by a very strained and often violent relationship between its Israeli and Palestinian residents.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Jews and Arabs lived side by side in Hebron, sharing shops, hospitals, and holy sites. However, with the rise of increased Jewish Zionist immigration to Palestine and the growth of Arab nationalism and incitement, growing tensions culminated in the massacre of 67 Jews in 1929, effectively ending the Jewish presence in Hebron.
The event was so destabilizing to Jewish-Arab relations that historian Hillel Cohen called it “year zero of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” despite Arab violent opposition to Zionism even before the British Mandate.
WHEN JEWS returned, under the protection of the IDF and the State of Israel, to the city in the decades succeeding the 1967 Six Day War, the Palestinian population viewed them hostile occupiers.
While succeeding governments did not actively promote Jewish settlement in the city, they acquiesced to the uncompromising settlers, who viewed their mission in messianic terms.
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Westerners often refer to Ramallah as a modern and liberal city dominated by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction. The city boasts fancy restaurants and bars where alcohol is served freely to men and women in Western dress, who sit together to eat and to smoke water pipes (nargilas).
But the scenes on the streets of Ramallah, headquarters of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) last week broadcast a rather different message — one that calls for the elimination of Israel. The message came on the eve of Abbas’s visit to the White House for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump.
According to PA officials, Abbas is scheduled to affirm during the meeting with Trump his commitment to the two-state solution and a “comprehensive and just peace” with Israel.
As Abbas and his advisors prepare for the May 3 meeting with Trump, however, thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to call on Arab armies to “liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” The Palestinians also called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate.
The call for the elimination of Israel was made in the center of Ramallah, only a few hundred meters away from Abbas’s office. It came during a rally organized by Hizb ut Tahrir (Party of Liberation), a radical pan-Islamic political organization whose goal is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic state. Like the terrorist group ISIS, Hizb ut Tahrir seeks to establish a state to enforce Islamic sharia law and carrying the da’wah (preaching) of Islam to the rest of the world.
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Palestinians cannot expect to see a lasting peace until their “leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to … violence and hate,” President Donald Trump told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a White House meeting Wednesday. The president also raised concerns over the PA’s program of paying terrorists and their families.
Abbas is unlikely to end the program, with a top aide calling the idea “insane.”
Amid growing pressure to halt this practice, it is important to note that Abbas is directly behind the policy surrounding terrorist transfers. By amending the Palestinian Prisoners Law in 2010, Abbas increased monthly installments from approximately $275-$1110 to $390-$3320 per month, reports Palestinian Media Watch.
“Who else has elevated the cause of the Palestinian prisoners other than President Mahmoud Abbas?” asked Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein, in a 2014 interview on Official PA TV, adding that “all the laws, the tenfold increase of the budget of the Ministry of Prisoners’ [Affairs] – [all this] was done during the tenure of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and according to the wishes of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas…”
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