Cement entering Gaza from Israel last year at the Kerem Shalom Crossing
Hamas, which imperiously rules Gaza, has been named in the latest issue of Forbes Israel as the world’s second-richest terrorist organization. It annually rakes in a billion dollars, outdone only by Islamic State (a.k.a. Da’esh, ISIS, ISIL) which – with an annual income of some two billion dollars – tops the chart of terrorist moneybags.
Hamas’s financial success has by far eclipsed Hezbollah, Taliban and al-Qaida.
IS finances its offensives by selling thousands of barrels of Iraqi oil every day on the black market. Hamas’s chief sources of earnings, according to the exhaustive Forbes report, are accrued from skimming hefty sums off foreign NGO donations and putting the squeeze on ordinary Gazans – the very ones the NGOs are ostensibly seeking to aid. Continue reading
Moshe German’s car ablaze in Taibe
“I am not a contractor for calming operations,” proclaimed MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) when asked in a host of interviews, following the Kafr Kana shooting and ensuing countrywide riots, what he might do to cool passions.
With in-your-face bluntness Tibi proceeded to do quite the opposite and to pour oil on the flames. In breathless succession he accused the officers who shot 22-year-old Khair-a-din Hamadan of pre-meditated homicide, deliberate execution mafia-style, committing racist murder and altogether being “bloodthirsty animals.”
Shouting down other speakers, Tibi railed and vituperated. He charged that the policemen were out to “intentionally terminate Hamadan” rather than neutralize him when he attacked them with a knife. Tibi belittled Hamadan’s actions as “an understandable expression of anger.”
He insisted on stiff punishment for the individual cops, their commanders and government ministers. Continue reading
An Israeli military outpost as seen from South Lebanon, where a Hezbollah flag flutters
Perceived dangers to our lives and ways of life can be a function of trends – just like everything else in our existence. The latest headline-grabbing focus of fear is Islamic State expansionism. This isn’t a bugbear of negligible proportions. IS bloodlust and fanatic belligerence are nothing to scoff at.
That said, however, IS isn’t the only threat to the world’s democracies – Israel among them. Neither is it the greatest threat – certainly not to Israel.
Regardless of the repugnance aroused by IS’s sensationalist and lurid beheadings, worse villains abound in our region. Iran with its nuclear ambitions is foremost one, even though the White House is poised to appease Tehran’s ayatollahs without disarming them. Continue reading
Egypt’s Army demolishes Rafah buildings to create a buffer zone
Imagine the following: Israel declares its intention to create a buffer zone between itself and the Gaza Strip.
The rationale is trenchant. After the discovery of numerous attack tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli communities – to say nothing of ambushes, attempted abductions and mortar fire – Israel resolved to clear a swathe of territory from any habitation. This would deny the terrorists cover for their tunnel-digging, ambushes, etc.
It’s no stretch to suppose that immediately upon Israel’s announcement of intentions, the entire international community would explode into a deafening recriminatory uproar. Condemnations and threats would flow in from around the globe. The UN would censure, the US would threaten and the EU would preach.
If Israel would proceed with its plans despite the pandemonium, a horrific terror spate would erupt, rockets would rain on Israeli civilians, Israel would be ostracized, sanctions would ensue and a maelstrom of malevolence would engulf the Jewish state. Continue reading
A young woman – 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari – was hanged last Saturday from the gallows in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Her crime was self-defense. She struck down an attacker as he attempted to rape her when she was still a teenager in 2007.
President Hassan Rouhani, who won election last year on a purportedly liberal reformist platform, failed to intervene and commute the death sentence imposed back in 2009.
If anything, this tragedy underscores the gaping chasm between the regime’s “make-nice” affectations toward the international community and the unchanging face of the harsh ayatollah rule at home.
Jabbari’s sad story exposes Iranian hypocrisy and double-dealing vis-à-vis the West, which could barely contain its alacrity to ease sanctions on Tehran as soon as Rouhani was sworn in. Continue reading
For quite a few hours it was assumed last Wednesday that terrorists had launched the attack from Sinai on IDF troops patrolling, inside Israel, along the border with Egypt. It wasn’t far-fetched conjecture considering that the extremist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis rushed to claim responsibility. Wounding an Israeli officer and her adjutant was a prestige-booster.
Later, however, it transpired that this was a drug smuggling caper gone wrong. Nonetheless, there is no cause for any sigh of relief here.
The undeniable fact of Sinai’s anarchic reality is that the lines between crime and terrorism are so blurred that they often become altogether indistinguishable. Sinai’s rampaging outlaws dabble in everything indiscriminately. All their diverse illegal pursuits are intrinsically intertwined and mutually beneficial. Continue reading
May this be a truly Good Year – full of health and happiness for each one and for all of us collectively.
On the sidewalks of south Tel Aviv
The High Court of Justice has dealt Israeli democracy a grievous blow this week when for the second time in a year it nixed the notion of detaining illegal infiltrators and struck down Knesset legislation on the matter.
The operative upshot is that 2000 detainees will soon be back on the crime-ridden streets of south Tel Aviv – which has been turned into a festering lawless African enclave – exacerbating the already dreadful plight of its Israeli residents.
Worse yet, it means that all Africans have now been told that if they only manage to sneak into the Jewish state, they’d become legally invulnerable despite having willfully broken Israeli law by their illegal entry. This is a potent message.
Sisyphys (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum
The most effective weapon which Hamas wielded against Israel throughout Protective Edge was its manipulation of civilian casualty numbers and images. The cumulative impact was used to provoke hate campaigns against Israel and/or Jews worldwide and misrepresent Israel’s self-defense as a calculated massacre of helpless civilians.
Some of the ploys were cynical beyond belief.
Photos of dead bodies from the Syrian conflict were recycled as Gazan victims of Israeli malevolence. Even pictures of the Fogel family children, slaughtered inside their Itamar home in 2011 by Palestinian terrorists, were purported to show Arabs murdered by Israeli troops.
Footage from the emergency room at Shifa Hospital in Gaza was rerun continually as if chronicling brand new incidents. Patients brought in due to disease, accidents and domestic violence were all exhibited as casualties of deliberate Israeli barbarity.
But none of this rivaled the numbers game.
UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, has joined Hamas’s clamor for lifting the blockade on Gaza forthwith. This was the gist of what UNRWA’s Gaza spokesman Chris Gunness demanded. No surprise here. UNRWA never played a remotely constructive or impartial role in the Mideast.
Its self-preservation interests perhaps rule out neutrality and fairness to begin with, lest these actually lead to improvements that might obviate the sham pretext for keeping UNRWA around. UNRWA’s continued existence hinges on not solving this region’s problems.
Put differently, it’s in UNRWA’s distinct interest to keep the flames of conflict burning high. Continue reading