Monday, December 31, 2007

Israel gets warned: Al-Qaida coming!

Aaron Klein
© 2007

JERUSALEM – Israel in recent months received warnings from foreign intelligence agencies that al-Qaida operatives were seeking to infiltrate the Jewish state to set up cells to carry out large-scale attacks, WND has learned.

The warnings were followed up by the release this weekend of a new audiotape in which al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel. According to Israeli security officials, Israel several times received general warnings indicating al-Qaida was attempting to fly operatives into the Jewish state's international airport disguised as tourists carrying foreign passports. The latest warning was received a few months ago and indicated the passports may be from Britain, Australia and the United States.

The security officials said al-Qaida has come to the conclusion Palestinian terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have had great difficulty infiltrating Israel due to the country's security barrier and antiterror measures and that Palestinians who do successfully infiltrate are not capable of carrying out large-scale attacks inside the country.

The Israeli security officials said the latest warning, which was shared with Palestinian intelligence agencies, indicated al-Qaida has made a strategic decision to attempt to send foreign cells into the Jewish state instead of relying on Palestinian militants.

The warning also listed other countries aside from Israel that al-Qaida may attempt to infiltrate using the same methods, the officials said.

Groups ideologically aligned with al-Qaida are widely suspected to be operating in the Gaza Strip and there have been some reports of similar groups attempting to establish themselves in the West Bank.

But with strict border controls in place at airports and crossings, Israel is largely thought to be difficult for al-Qaida to infiltrate.

Israeli security officials did not indicate there were any thwarted al-Qaida attempts to infiltrate the country. A Palestinian security official familiar with the report also said he was not aware of any recent attempts.

Israel previously acknowledged it arrested suspected al-Qaida infiltrators. In August 2003, Israel's mission to the U.N. submitted a report stating the country had thwarted several attempts by al-Qaida operatives carrying foreign passports to enter Israel in order to gather intelligence and conduct attacks. The Jewish state also noted in the report it had captured Palestinians recruited by al-Qaida abroad to conduct attacks in Israel.

The latest al-Qaida warning was received here just a few months before bin Laden's videotape was released this weekend vowing to "expand jihad to Palestine."

"I would like to assure our people in Palestine that we will expand our jihad there," said bin Laden. "We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he continued, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

While bin Laden and other Al-Qaida figures many times vowed to attack Israel, the latest comments were a more direct language than bin Laden usually uses.

"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.

The majority of the terror chieftain's message dealt with Iraq, including a warning to Iraq's Sunni Arabs against joining tribal councils fighting Al-Qaida or participating in any unity government.

Israeli officials said they were taking bin Laden's latest threat seriously. After yesterday's meeting here of the government's security cabinet, Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told reporters, "The threat of al-Qaida is real. They've struck in Lebanon, Australia, Indonesia, Madrid, New York and London. They can easily target the Middle East and we need to be prepared for that."

Al-Qaida at Israel's border

While al-Qaida is not thought to have infiltrated Israel, the global jihad group is suspected of operating in Gaza and previously carried out numerous attacks near the Jewish state's borders.

Al-Qaida took responsibility for a series of hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan in November 2005 killing 60 and injuring over 115 others. While Jordan, which borders Israel, has had some successes fighting al-Qaida cells, security officials fear the terror group still maintains a significant infrastructure there capable of carrying out attacks.

Egypt has had difficulty eliminating al-Qaida cells, particularly those operating among Bedouin villages in the Sinai desert bordering the Gaza Strip.

Al-Qaida has been widely blamed for several Sinai attacks the past three years including the bomb blasts in April 2006 that killed 24 people and injured over 85 in the Sinai town of Dahab, and deadly bombings in the resort centers of Taba and Ras Shitan in October 2004 as well as in Sharm el-Sheik in July.

Last April, al-Qaida was blamed for two bombings near multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai adjacent to Gaza. Almost simultaneously inside Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees attempted to carry out a large-scale car bombing at the Karni Crossing, the main cargo passageway between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The attack was foiled at the last minute after Palestinian forces became suspicious and opened fire at an approaching vehicle. Some security officials told WND the thwarted Karni attack was planned in conjunction with al-Qaida elements in Gaza.

"Peaceful borders" are dangerous

Guy Bechor

We are used to automatically speak favorably of “borders of peace,” for example the ones with Egypt and Jordan, as well as the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Meanwhile, we speak negatively of wartime borders, such as our northern border with Lebanon. However, the border paradox is much more complex than that: We should in fact direct much attention and be more concerned about our “peaceful borders.” A peaceful border constitutes a threat, because through it we see the infiltration of illegal immigration, which changes demographic realities, as well as drugs, prostitutes, and weapons, mostly directed to criminal elements. These are the borders that allow the third world to pour into the developed world. For example, look at the scope of Palestinian immigration to Israel, which was coupled with the granting of citizenship, during the Oslo years.

When the difference in gross domestic product between Israel and its neighbors is 20-fold and even more than that, the movement will always be one-way. The United States and Mexico also have peaceful borders, so why are the Americans building sky-high fences there? Because these borders separate the developing world from the third world.

This insight raises an interesting question: Would Israel be able to maintain its existence as a Jewish State in a situation of peace and open borders? I find it hard to believe.

To this day, the construction of our fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians has not been completed. We haven’t truly benefited from it, because it has always been breached in one area or another. Now we are told that the fence would not be completed, because the government budget allotted to it has been cut. This is terrible, because today we already see many Palestinians immigrating to Israel while circumventing the fence.

In Israel, and our police know this very well, there are currently tens of thousands of Palestinian illegal aliens, as if we never had an Intifada and went 10 years back in time. What’s the point in constructing a fence if we fail to complete it? This is not only a security issue, but rather, also an economic and demographic issue. This is about the survivability of Israel’s Jewish society.

In the south we have another threatening “border of peace,” with Egypt, which is almost completely breached. Weapons, explosives, drugs, prostitutes, and illegal immigration pass through it almost freely. Meanwhile, the inflow of African jobseekers continues unabated, and every night the IDF encounters more people looking for jobs and a new country to move to.

While the situation in Darfur is increasingly stabilizing, Israel has turned into a preferred immigration destination, and not only from there. The news has spread, and the masses are arriving from across Africa. And why shouldn’t they come? Egyptian troops fire at them on occasion, but this will not deter them. Israel does not expel them, but rather, imprisons them, and many are already working in Israel, particularly in Eilat hotels, and telling their relatives about the heaven that had opened up to them.

There is an urgent need to seal the border between us and Egypt with a fence, and immediately complete the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Whatever we fail to do today shall come to haunt us tomorrow and for a long time to come. Based on the rules of the Middle East, and we must always keep this in mind, borders of peace always constitute a serious threat.


Egypt warns Israel of diplomatic reprisals

Cairo threatens to use its diplomatic clout if Jerusalem continues to 'undermine Egypt's ties to Washington. 'We have capabilities which may inflict profound damage,' says Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Reuters Egypt's foreign minister warned Israel that Cairo could use its diplomatic influence against Israel which he said was trying to undermine Cairo's ties to Washington, state news agency MENA said.

"If they continue to push and try to affect Egypt's relationship with the US and harm Egyptian interests, Egypt will certainly respond and will try to damage their interests," MENA quoted Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Monday as saying in a television interview aired a day earlier.

"We have capabilities in every direction - all in diplomatic areas but not extending beyond that - which may inflict profound damage," he added.

Egyptian-Israeli ties have been particularly strained since Israel said this month it had sent a videotape to Washington that Israeli officials said showed Egyptian security men helping Hamas militants smuggle arms across the border to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also said last week that Egypt had done a terrible job of trying to stop arms smuggling to Gaza via Egypt's Sinai peninsula, and said there could be regional implications.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak accused Israel of fabricating evidence to implicate Egyptian security men in arms smuggling and said Livni had crossed "red lines".

Egypt also accused Israel last week of encouraging pro-Israeli groups in the United States to lobby members of the US Congress to the detriment of Egyptian interests. Cairo said Israel was trying to distract attention from Jewish settlement building.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that recent legislation by Congress withheld $100 million in aid to Egypt until Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice certifies that Cairo has done enough to stop arms smuggling to Gaza.

But that legislation also allows US President George W. Bush to waive the restriction on national security grounds, according to the Post.

Aboul Gheit said Egypt was waiting to see what Washington would do but said he believed the Bush administration opposed putting conditions on the aid because it would affect US interests.

The warning:Hamas' spokesperson: If Haniyeh is assassinated, "earthquake will shake the region"

From Arab media

Typical warning shot-this demonstrates our enemies belief: we live in fear of them and their strateges of terror work.

Bethlehem – Ma'an – exclusive – The spokesperson of the Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubayda threatened on Sunday that if Israel assassinates the deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyeh, "an earthquake will shake the region," and the Israelis will be held responsible for all the repercussions. Abu Ubayda told Ma'an, "If the Israelis commit such a criminal act, after getting the green light from Washington, we will use all the means which we have not yet used." However, he expalined that Hamas will endeavor to thwart such an attempt.

With regards to whether the Israeli threats are serious or not, the spokesperson said, "The Israelis have nothing to restrain them, and Haniyeh was a target for the Israelis before, so we take that possibility seriously."

Commenting on the issue of transferring Palestinian resistance outside Palestine, Abu Ubayda said, "The Palestinian resistance is meant to confront the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories, and so it will not be transferred outside."

Additional comment: Every time we appease ,capitulate or cower to their demands and actions, we reinforce their primary belief: terror and fear will ultimately defeat the West. This "warning" is yet one more demonstration of this long held strategy. You see, they keep repeating it because it does work-time to get some courage!!

2007: A Global Assessment of the Confrontation

Walid Phares

The conflict we call the War on Terror still continues at the end of 2007 and all indications are that its battlefields are expected to spread further, and escalate, in the upcoming year. The following is a global assessment of the confrontation that has taken place since 2001, though the systematic war waged by the Jihadi forces against democracies and the free world began at least a decade before 9/11. This evaluation isn't comprehensive or definitive, but a collection of observations related to major benchmarks, directions and projections. Global cohesion lacking

The main powers and allies involved in the War on Terror still lack global cohesion. While the US integrates its efforts in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with its efforts globally to defeat al Qaeda and contain nuclear proliferation of rogue regimes like Iran, other powers and blocs of countries have different outlooks and plans. While Britain and other U.S partners in Europe espouse common views on the global scale, France, Germany, Spain and Italy agree on the Afghan theater but still are uninvolved in the Iraqi theater. All Atlantic partners, however, pursue al Qaeda and consider it -- along with other Salafi networks -- as the principal threat. Also, most Western partners perceive the Iranian threat as serious, although differ in the ways in which to respond. Non-Western powers fighting Jihadist forces do not necessarily unite in the international arena against a common foe. India is targeted by Islamists but doesn't associate with the US-led efforts in the Middle East. Russia is also at war with Jihadi terror, yet it distances itself from the Afghan theater, opposes the US in Iraq, and worse, backs the two terror-spreading regimes in Tehran and Damascus.

In the region, Western-inclined governments claim they fight "terrorism" but only the terrorists who threaten their own regimes, not the worldwide Jihadi threat. The current Turkish government fights the terrorist-coined PKK, but isn't concerned with the growth of Wahhabism and Khomeinism in the region. Saudi Arabia dismantles al Qaeda cells inside the Kingdom but still spreads fundamentalism worldwide. Qatar hosts the largest US base in the region, and at the same time funds the most notorious indoctrination programs on al Jazeera. In short, there are several "wars" on terror worldwide. Surely America is leading the widest campaign, but efforts around the globe are still dispersed, uncoordinated, and in many cases, contradictive

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Many critics asserted in 2007 that the Taliban were returning and that NATO wasn't providing full stability yet. In my assessment, this is a long war: the neo-Taliban weren't able to achieve full enclave control anywhere in the country. The government of Mr. Karzai should take advantage of international backing to achieve a breakthrough in the counter-ideology campaign, because the US-led mission will be successful as long as it provides space and time for Kabul to win the war of ideas. Efforts in 2008 must focus on coordination with Pakistan against the Jihadists, and on civil society political gains.


Finally, General Musharaf's government widened its military offensives during 2007 in the neo-Taliban zones, prompting terror counter strikes in various cities and a major Jihadi uprising in Islamabad. The escalation opened a window among political opposition to make gains against Musharaf. By the year's end, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif came back to the country and were leading the opposition in the next elections. The assassination of Bhutto was a setback to the political process. Musharraf and the secular forces need to coalesce around a platform of national security and democracy and move forward with elections and anti-Terror campaign in 2008. But for international security, the priority is to preserve Pakistan's nuclear assets and keep the Jihadists at bay. Will secular opposition and the President understand this higher national priority in 2008?


An important, but still temporary, victory was scored in Somalia against the Islamist Mahakem, the Taliban of the Horn of Africa, and it took Western support to the Somali Government and an Ethiopian intervention to accomplish it. Denying a state sanctuary to al Qaeda in Africa is a plus, but the future will depend on Bin Laden's advances or defeats across the African continent in 2008.


The main international concern in Africa is undoubtedly toward Darfur. The Sudanese regime was able in 2007 to stall Western intervention for one whole year, allowing the Janjaweed to strengthen and perform additional atrocities. Playing the Arab League and the African Union roles to delay a UN action, Khartoum is battling African resistance movements on two fronts: Darfur, but also the south. The regime, similar to other Jihadi powers in the region, is gaining time to crumble its previous commitments and unleash counter campaigns. The international campaign in Darfur must begin in 2008, otherwise the Jihadi counter offensive in Africa will strike deep in Chad and across the Saharan countries by early 2009.

North Africa

Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian counter terrorism efforts increased in 2007 but so did Terror attacks by al Qaeda in the Maghreb. The North African battlefield is now wide open after the combat Salafists have joined Bin Laden officially. U.S and European support need to target the Sahara region as a whole from Mauritania to Chad in 2008 before it slips to the Jihadi forces. If al Qaeda entrenches itself in the area, West Africa will be threatened by 2009.


The surge by US forces and allies has worked and al Qaeda plans have been impacted and delayed in 2007. The goals of the combined enemies of Iraqi democracy (al Qaeda and the Syrian and Iranian regimes) were to crumble the Coalition's role and to interdict the rise of a Government in the country. US military action eliminated al Qaeda's attempts to create enclaves. The rise of Sunni Tribes against the Terror groups in the center is a major development in the Iraq Theater. Furthermore, the rise of Shia tribes in the south against Iranian influence and in solidarity with the central Sunni tribes is the beginning of a strategic shift in the country. However the persistence of Damascus and Tehran in supporting Terror forces can eventually reverse these advances. Hence, during 2008, it is important for the US-led Coalition to counter the moves by the Iranian and Syrian regimes in Iraq and set up a national Iraqi capacity to deter the Pasdaran activities.


On the negative side, confusing messages issued by US Congressional leaders regarding a so-called "dialogue" with the Iranian regime during 2007 weakened the US containment strategy and harmed efforts by the Iranian opposition. Furthermore the American NIE findings during the Fall of this year gave Tehran's Mullahs additional room to maneuver. On the positive side, the sanctions issued by the US president against the Pasdaran and the Quds force reverberated throughout the country, encouraging an escalation by the opposition inside the country. President Sarkozy's strong attitude reinforced the Western coalition against nuclear weapons sought by the Khomeinists. However if by end of 2008, no further containment is achieved, by 2009, the (Iranian-Syrian) "axis" will be achieving a regional offensive. It is advisable that significant efforts to support Iran's civil society uprising during 2008.


During 2007 the Syrian regime continued to back Terror activities in Iraq, Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories without significant responses from the international community. In Lebanon, the Assad regime was successful in weakening the Government and the Cedars revolution to a tipping point. In Gaza, it backed Hamas coup along with Iran. And it was able to dodge the Hariri international tribunal for one more year. Furthermore Damascus continued to strengthen its missile capabilities and programs of weapons of mass destruction. As for Iran, if no serious containment strategy is applied to the Assad regime as of 2008, by the following year a domino effect would be taking place in the region against the rise of democracies with Syria playing a significant role. During the present year both US Congress political messaging towards "dialogue" and the Russian backing encouraged Assad to pursue his policies and created harsher conditions for the Syrian opposition.


The year 2007 witnessed a series of tragedies with terror assassinations directed against legislators from the majority in Parliament and a senior general in the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah and its allies were successful in intimidating the Government and the Cedars Revolution with violence and threats. The United States public position stayed the course in support to the democracy movement while French initiatives further confused the Lebanese. In 2008 the fate of Lebanon will be centered on the election of a new President. The US, the European Union and their allies in the region have about 9 months to back free Lebanon, otherwise the following year could witness the fall of the country back into the hands of the "axis."


The inevitable dragging of the Turkish Army in incursions against the PKK in northern Iraq during 2007 indirectly serves the interests of the Syro-Iranian "axis." It also deflects the attention from the ideological change performed by the Islamist Government in Ankara.

Saudi Arabia

During 2007, the Saudi Kingdom continued its efforts against the al Qaeda cells inside the country. It developed additional tactics to wage theological pressures on the organization. But at the same time, Saudi funds were still made available to fundamentalists around the world.


Although Russia continues to be a main target to Wahhabi and Jihadist terror and incitement, ironically, the Putin government during 2007 staged three moves to the advantage of terror regimes: opposing the US missile defense system in Europe, meant to protect Europe from the Khomeinist threat; shielding Tehran from Wsetern ressures; and protecting the Assad regime. In 2008, the current direction taken by the Kremlin should be addressed seriously by the US and Europe through a historic and open dialogue on the future of Terrorism. Russia's current policies, if not corrected, can backfire against its own national security in view of the Jihadist rising activities in Chechnya and the Caucasus as well as in central Asia.


India continued to be targeted by the Jihadists in 2007. As a nuclear power, and the largest democracy in the world, this country should be further included in the international coalition against Terror and granted a more important role in south Asia in 2008.


During 2007, Chinese technology and weapons continued to flow to Terrorism-supporting regimes including Sudan, Iran and Syria. As for Russia, China's own security within its own borders can be affected by a growing Jihadi network in its north Western provinces.


The election of Nicholas Sarkozy in 2007 is a positive development as the new President intends to increase French participation in the War against Terrorism. Continuous incitements by Jihadists networks against France also escalated projecting forthcoming confrontations in France.

Europe and the West

Developments and arrests made in Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium in 2007 all indicate that Jihadi warfare in Western Europe is to be expected in 2008 and beyond. Similar trends were detected in Australia and Canada during the same year

The United States

During 2007 several arrests and dismantling of cells within the United States demonstrated the spread of the Jihadi networks at various levels and in different areas. A Projection of these developments and of the type of infiltrations already in place in this country shows that the map of the Jihadi web is much wider and deeper than anticipated, even by Government agencies and estimates. The diverse nature of the Jihadi activities in America lead me to believe that the next waves will be more sophisticated and better inserted in the institutions and society. The 2007 arrests and reports show that the Jihadists had interest in penetrating the US defense system.

However another type of threat has also appeared: the Jihadi ideological penetration of various spheres of education and decision-making, including at the strategic level. Both Wahabi and Khomeinist funding and influence have been spotted in 2007. The US Congress and the Administration should be spending time and efforts during 2008 to develop a national consensus on the definition of the threat doctrine, Jihadism. Short of achieving a minimal understanding of the Terror ideology, 2009 and beyond will witness a faster mutation of the Jihadi threat inside the country.


Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a Visiting Scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy. He is the author of Future Jihad and The War of Ideas.

Boim Case Reversal Could Be Major Blow To Victim-of-Terrorism Litigants

Victor Comras

I want to join my colleague Andrew Cochran in expressing disappointment with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision to reverse and remand the Boim Case for a new trial. This landmark case is key to determining whether those responsible for funding terrorism can be held liable and accountable to the victims through civil damages. And the concern here is that the 7th Circuit Court may now have set much too high an evidentiary bar when it comes to showing a causal link between the funding of terrorists and the terrorist act itself. At a minimum the court’s decision, along with the recent jury verdict in the Holy Land Foundation Criminal trial, underscore the great difficulties that civil litigants will now have to overcome to pursue such cases against terrorism financiers.

The two-to-one Seventh Circuit Court majority decision in the Boim case turns principally on the issue of establishing a sufficient causal link between the defendants funding of Hamas activities and the actual murder of David Boim by Hamas Terrorists. The Court found that the trial court had erred, inter alia, by “relieving” plaintiffs of the burden of actually showing that such a causal link did in fact exist between their financial support for Hamas and David Boim’s murder. The Circuit Court also expressed its concern that the District Court had erred by using the earlier findings of a DC Federal Court upholding Treasury Department terrorism designation actions against Holy Land Foundation and the American Muslim Society to incorrectly alleviate Plaintiff’s burden to prove that these entities had, in fact, funded Hamas. This comment does not address this latter question.

The problem here is in understanding just how much evidence the Circuit Court will require to establish a sufficient causal link between terrorism financing and specific acts of terrorist before defendants can be held accountable. As Judge Evans points out in his dissenting opinion:

“No one would seriously dispute that there must be a causal link between the defendants and the terrorist act. … But just what does “causal link” mean in this context, and how must one prove that the link exists between the defendants and Hamas? The majority wisely declines to set up an absurd requirement that the money given to Hamas by the defendants must be traced directly to, say, purchasing the gun used in the attack. Money, the majority recognizes, is fungible. At times, though, it seems that the majority is requiring a pretty clear trail leading from a defendant to the specific act which caused David’s death. For instance, the majority says that what 'is strikingly absent from the district court’s analysis is any consideration of a causal link between the assistance that the court found AMS/IAP to have given Hamas and the murder of David Boim.' The majority also says that 'there must be proof that the defendant aided and abetted [Hamas] in the commission of tortious acts that have some demonstrable link with David Boim’s death.' But then there is the statement that '[n]othing in Boim I demands that the plaintiffs establish a direct link between the defendants’ donations (or other conduct) and David Boim’s murder . . . .'”

Just where the Circuit Court is going with this causal link question should be a matter of great concern. And it appears to this writer that the Court may be imposing causal link requirements that very few, if any victim- of-terrorism litigants can meet. For the Boim case the court insists that the plaintiffs "must be able to produce some evidence permitting a jury to find that the activities of HLF, Salah, and AMS contributed to the fatal attack on David Boim and were therefore a cause in fact of his death.”. The Opinion further states that “It is not enough to show simply that a defendant generally aided and abetted HLF or even Hamas as organizations; there must be proof that the defendant aided and abetted them in the commission of tortious acts that have some demonstrable link with David Boim’s death.” This involves being able to present evidence of a high degree specificity linking any funding activities to the specific terrorist acts in question.

At the same time the Circuit Court majority also suggests that one way of establishing such a necessary causal link would be to show that the defendants “aided and abetted David Boim’s murder by taking some step that aided Hamas’s terrorism while knowing of its terrorist activities and desiring to help those activities succeed.” What civil litigant, on his own, and without access to hard intelligence, would be able to trace terrorist funding sufficiently to link it to a “fatal attack,” or to establish its aforeknowledge and support. It is extremely unlikely that any terrorist organizations such as Hamas would share information about its terrorist activities with those providing funding for its activities. Such details of envisaged or planned terrorist attacks are always closely held. It is already evident from so many failed criminal trials seeking to attribute “prior knowledge” or “terrorism motivation” to entities that use “charitable giving” as a cover for their terrorism financing activities, that proving such involvement is dubious, and often impossible. These evidentiary standards just don’t fit the reality of terrorism cases where court room evidence concerning the financing and interior workings of terrorist organizations is so extremely difficult to obtain. And even where such evidence may be available to government entities, it is usually classified and considered too sensitive for use in court, or to share with terrorism victims. In such cases it is clear the civil plaintiffs have no choice but to try and “piggyback” much of their evidentiary case on the criminal and administrative findings already established by US government agencies and prosecutors against such entities.

This latest 7th Circuit decision may not augur well for the pending NATWEST and Credit Lyonnais cases now before the New York Eastern Federal District Court. Senior District Court Judge Sifton, in upholding the claims presented in that case, wrote that:

“The requirement that the defendant have specifically intended to further terrorist activities finds no basis in the statute’s language which requires only that the defendant “knowingly provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization” but makes no mention of any specific intent. Such a reading in fact clashes with Congress’s intent. When Congress enacted section 2339B, section 2339A already prohibited the act of providing material support or resources to further illegal terrorist activities when done by an individual “knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out” enumerated terrorist activities…. Congress’s choice to omit the word “intending” from 2339B, while using it in 2339A suggests that Congress did not wish for 2339B to include an intent requirement.”

Compare this to the 7th Circuit Court majority opinion which states:

“To say that funding simpliciter constitutes an act of terrorism is to give the statute an almost unlimited reach. Any act which turns out to facilitate terrorism, however remote that act may be from actual violence and regardless of the actor’s intent, could be construed to “involve” terrorism. Without also requiring the plaintiffs to show knowledge of and intent to further the payee’s violent criminal acts, such a broad definition might also lead to constitutional infirmities by punishing mere association with groups that engage in terrorism . So merely giving money to Hamas or a Hamas-affiliated entity would not by itself suffice to establish civil liability under section 2333 for terrorist acts committed by the agents of Hamas. The Boims would have to show that the donor was aware of Hamas’s terrorist activities and intended to further those activities and also that the murder of David Boim “was a reasonably foreseeable result of making the donation.”

Could it be that we will see a clear divergence between the 7th Circuit and the 2nd Circuit on this very important evidentiary issue?

UK: The War On Terror Is Over -- If You Want It

Close your eyes and repeat it over and over again: We are not in a war. We are not in a war. We are not in a war. The aimless death cult has nothing to do with Islam. The aimless death cult has nothing to do with Islam. The aimless death cult has nothing to do with Islam. Keep your eyes closed, now! If you keep your eyes closed and believe very, very hard, it will come true!

"Britain Drops 'War on Terror' Label," from the Daily Mail via (thanks to Sparta):

The words "war on terror" will no longer be used by the British government to describe attacks on the public, the country's chief prosecutor said Dec. 27.

Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless "death cult."

The Director of Public Prosecutions said: 'We resist the language of warfare, and I think the government has moved on this. It no longer uses this sort of language."

London is not a battlefield, he said.

"The people who were murdered on July 7 were not the victims of war. The men who killed them were not soldiers," Macdonald said. "They were fantasists, narcissists, murderers and criminals and need to be responded to in that way."

His remarks signal a change in emphasis across Whitehall, where the "war on terror" language has officially been ditched.

Officials were concerned it could act as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which is determined to manufacture a battle between Islam and the West.

The term "Islamic terrorist" will also no longer be used. Officials believe it is unhelpful because it appears to directly link the religion to terrorist atrocities....

Comment: This is precisely our enemies' "game plan"-capitualtion. Of course, I and others have argued for several years now that this is not War on Terror-it has been misnamed from thebeginning. I ask that you read Barry Rubin's piece located several stories down on today's blog. He has properly and accurately identified the issue of our day!

"Jihad: war against non-Muslims to convert them to Islam"

Robert Spencer

Pop quiz! Who said that? Me? Andy Bostom? Serge Trifkovic? Greg Davis? Must have been one of us "Islamophobes," no?Whoops! Nope! It comes from a book, Islam and Christianity, printed by a Muslim publishing house, Waqf Ikhlas Publications, and distributed by the modern, moderate, secular Turkish government to non-Muslims who come to work in Turkey. It's on page 316 of the 7th edition.

I expect that Ibrahim Hooper and Salam Al-Marayati will be on the phone to Waqf Ikhlas Publications forthwith, explaining to them that they're misunderstanding Islam and jihad. Oh, those Turkish Islamophobes!

Turkey arrests five suspected misunderstanders of Islam

Jihad Watch

Maybe this book from Waqf Ikhlas Publications made them misunderstand their religion. "Turkey arrests five for al Qaeda links: report," from Reuters:

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has detained five people for links with al Qaeda after police operations in four cities including the capital Ankara, Turkish TV reported on Sunday. The arrests follow the detention at the weekend of 19 people for suspected links to the Islamist militant group, which had claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks against the British Consulate, two synagogues and an HSBC bank in Istanbul killing more than 60 people in November 2003.

The court ordered five of the suspects to be held for possible trial.

Turkish media said one of the suspects was a Turk who taught English language in the country's central city of Aksaray.

Authorities have stepped up security in main cities ahead of the New Year Holiday, fearing bombings. Istanbul municipality cancelled a traditional New Year's Night party in the city's main square.

Allahu ak--

Whoops. No virgins. "Two suicide bombers die in botched Pak attack," from Reuters (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

KARACHI - Two suspected suicide bombers were killed in Pakistan’s central Punjab province early on Sunday when the devices they were carrying exploded prematurely in an apparent botched attack on a former minister, police said. The blast in Haroonabad, in southern Punjab, comes just days after former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was slain in a suicide attack, triggering widespread violence that has killed at least 44 people.

Police said they believed Mohammad Ejaz-ul-Haq, a former religious affairs minister in President Pervez Musharraf’s government who had earlier been staying at a house 200 metres (yards) away from the site of the blast, was the intended target.

“My guess is that they were there to target Mister Ejaz-ul-Haq who visited the area a day earlier,” Zafar Abbas, district police officer in nearby Bhawalnagar, told Reuters by telephone. Haq had already left the area before the incident.

Police found scattered body parts and the wreckage of a motorcycle at the scene of the blast, and suspect they either met an accident or fell from the bike, detonating the explosives.

“We have retrieved two heads, which are badly mutilated and cannot be identified. One appeared to be in his early 40s while the other is a younger one,” said another police officer....

Police said some religious elements at a nearby mosque had chanted slogans against Ul-Haq and Musharraf’s former government over a military assault on a Taliban-style movement at Red Mosque in Islamabad in July, which triggered a wave of suicide bombings.

B'Tselem Report Bashes Israel, Notes Jewish Growth in Yesha

Hillel Fendel

B'Tselem, the extreme-left Israeli civil rights organization, has published its annual report condemning Israel for various offenses against the suspected Arab terrorists of Judea and Samaria.Though it concentrates on Israel's apparent misdeeds, it also notes that the growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria was three times higher than in the rest of Israel.

The report's opening blurb sums up by noting that though the number of Israelis and Arabs killed in "clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" has decreased, "there has been a deterioration in many other measures of the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories."

The description of the perpetual Arab terrorism against Israelis, and the Israelis' counter-terror military responses, as mere "clashes" sums up, for many Israelis, the report's anti-Israeli bias.

In addition, the "List of Topics" covered by the report includes administrative punishment, restrictions on movement, separation barrier, and 13 others describing Israeli misdeeds - while only one topic deals with "Palestinian violations."

Among the report's findings:

* In 2007, the number of PA Arabs held in administrative detention without trial increased by 13%.
* On average, 66 staffed checkpoints and 459 physical roadblocks controlled travel inside Judea and Samaria.
* The number of houses demolished in eastern Jerusalem rose by 38%, from 50 to 69. The report does not note that thousands of Arab homes in the eastern Jerusalem vicinity have been estimated to been built illegally.
* The instances of Arabs killing Arabs have increased to their highest level in many years.

B'Tselem further notes that Israel uses "security justifications for virtually every Israeli action in the Occupied Territories . There is no doubt that Israel faces serious security threats, and is entitled and even obligated to do its utmost to protect its population. However," B'Teslem continues blandly, "far too often, Israel fails to appropriately balance its security needs with equally important values, including protecting the rights of Palestinians under its control."

"In addition," the report notes, "Israeli authorities often exploit security threats in order to advance prohibited political interests, such as perpetuating settlements and effectively annexing them to Israel." In actuality, however, the Israeli government has decreed a freeze on new construction throughout Judea and Samaria.

Despite this, and despite the looming threat over the future of Jewish towns in these areas, demand for housing there continues to be strong - and this is reflected in rising real estate prices. The daily Yediot Acharonot reports that a five-room apartment in Ariel is now going for $145,000, up $20,000 from last year, while in Maaleh Adumim a similar unit has risen from $215,000 to $240,000. Similar increases have been registered in many other Yesha towns.

Comment: This group does not imprve Israel's position in the eyes of our enemies. The truth is that it plays into our enemies hands. Furthermore, the data it uses has proven to be unreliable, inflated and its conclusions are often based upon its agenda rather than by actual data.

How the Ruling Party Rules in Democratic Gaza

Baruch Gordon

A report released Sunday by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documents multiple cases in which the ruling Hamas party in Gaza is using its police to silence the Fatah opposition. In January 2006, Hamas won a landslide victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, and officially became the government for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In a mini civil war in June 2007, Hamas cemented its rule over Gaza violently. Hamas took over rival Fatah party locations and killed several Fatah leaders. Judea and Samaria remained under the rule of the Fatah party, headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

PCHR strongly condemned Hamas's attacks against offices and institutions of the Fatah movement and demanded that the ruling party respect Fatah's right to freedom of speech.

PCHR reports that on Saturday night, the Hamas police raided an office of the Fatah movement in the al-Remal neighborhood on the west side of Gaza City. They confiscated a computer, a photocopier, a fax machine, a scanner, documents, photos, and flags of Palestine and the Fatah movement. They also arrested six people in the office and only released them after the six signed pledges not to participate in activities related to the anniversary of the Fatah movement. Failure to comply with the signed pledge would carry a $4,000 fine.

Later on Saturday night, the Hamas police, accompanied by masked gunmen in civilian clothes, raided Fatah offices in the al-Daraj neighborhood on the east side of Gaza City. There, too, they confiscated furniture and equipment and destroyed photos and flags of Fatah.

An hour later, the Hamas police, again accompanied by masked militants dressed as civilians, simultaneously raided the Fatah headquarters near the Ansar security compound and the office of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization, both in Gaza City. In both places, the police broke down the door and confiscated equipment.

On Friday evening, the Hamas police raided the campus of al-Azhar University in Gaza City and arrested 35 students who were preparing for the celebration of the anniversary of the Fatah movement. The detainees were taken to the al-Abbas policestation and were forced to sign documents pledging not to participate in any activity related to the anniversary. Punishment for participation in the Fatah celebration was set at a $4,000 fine and a 15-day jail term.

PM Olmert: 'Yesha Construction Stops Here'

Hillel Fendel

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has sent a letter to his Defense, Housing and Agriculture Ministers, stating clearly, "Your approval is not sufficient; from now on, all construction in Judea and Samaria - including additions to existing structures - must be OK'ed by me." Defense Minister Ehud Barak must approve all construction as well.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded sharply: "Even in the days of the White Paper [during the 1930's, when the British rulers tried to choke Jewish growth in the Holy Land - ed.], the British High Commissioner did not need to give his approval any time someone wanted to close in a porch. The time has come for civil disobedience against Olmert, who wants to choke the settlement enterprise."

Olmert: No Building At All Until March
Olmert also says he must review every new building plan or housing tender issued in Judea and Samaria. It is widely assumed that this is just another step by Olmert towards making sure that U.S. President George Bush, who is set to visit Israel next week, has nothing to chastise Israel about on the settlement front. Olmert told Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim last week that all construction in Yesha is officially frozen for at least the next two months.

Also last week, Olmert said building in Jerusalem-neighborhood Har Homa must stop, after Bush expressed his consternation at Israel's freely building apartments in its capital. Har Homa, located just east of Gilo, was liberated in the Six Day War and was immediately annexed, along with the Old City and other areas, to the nation's capital. Most of its land was state-expropriated from Jewish owners, while a small part had belonged to Arabs; no homeowners were displaced to build what is now a 2,500-family neighborhood.

Calls, Again, on Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu
Olmert's decision became yet another occasion for right-wing figures to call upon the right-leaning Shas Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) to quit the government and thereby bring it down. Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan said, "Let there be no doubt: Jerusalem is also part of this no-building ban. We call upon the parties that are still loyal to the Zionist enterprise to shorten the government's days and topple it; it has lost its right to exist."

The Road Map stipulates an end to Palestinian terrorism against Israel while Israel stops construction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. However, the Olmert government is going along with the Bush-Rice administration's demand that Israel fulfill its obligation even before the PA shows signs of fulfilling its own.


Barry Rubin

Much will be said about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination; little will be understood about what it truly means. I’m not speaking here about Pakistan, of course, as important as is that country. But rather the lesson—as if we need any more—for that broad Middle East with Pakistan at one end and the Atlantic Ocean coast on the other.. This is a true story. Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily attacked the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. “The Russians,” he said, “they kill people!” Murder is a very effective way to influence people.

A dozen years earlier, in 1933, an Iraqi official, Sami Shawkat, gave a talk which became one of the major texts of Arab nationalism. “There is something more important than money and learning for preserving the honor of a nation and for keeping humiliation at bay,” he stated. “That is strength....Strength, as I use the word here, means to excel in the Profession of Death.”

What, you might ask, was Shawkat’s own profession? He was director-general of Iraq’s ministry of education. This was how young people were to be taught and directed; this is where Saddam Hussein came from. Seventy-five years later the subsequent history of Iraq and the rest of the Arab world show just how well Shawkat did his job.
September 11 in the United States; the Bali bombing for Australia; the tube bombing for Britain; the commuter train bombing for Spain, these were all merely byproducts of this pathology. The pathology in question is not Western policy toward the Middle East but rather Middle Eastern policy toward the Middle East.

Ever since I read Shawkat’s words as a student, the phrase, “Profession of Death,” which gave his article its title, struck me as a pun. On one hand, the word “profession” means “career.”
To be a killer—note well that Shawkat was not talking specifically about soldiers, those who fight, but rather those who murder—was the highest calling of all. It was more important than being a teacher, who forms character; more important than a businessperson, who enriches his country; more important than a doctor who preserves the life of fellow citizens. Destruction was a higher calling than construction. And for sure in the Arabic-speaking world what has been reaped is what has been sowed.

But also the word “profession” here reminds me of the verb “to profess” as in the word “professor,” that is “to preach” and to teach. What is of greatest value is for an educator to preach and glorify death. What kind of ideology, what kind of society, what kind of values, does such a priority produce? Look and see.

Like children playing with dynamite, Western intellectuals, journalists, and diplomats fantasize that they are achieving results in the Middle East with their words, promises, apologies, money, and concessions. Yet how can such innocents cope despite—or perhaps because of--all their good intentions with polities and societies whose basic ruling ethos is that of the serial killer?

And what can be achieved when those most forward-looking and most creative, those who want to break with the ideas and methods creating a disastrous mess, the stagnant system which characterizes so much of the Middle East, are systematically murdered? Read the roll: King Abdallah of Jordan, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon, the bold author Farouq Fawda in Egypt, Iraqi Sunnis who dare seek compromise, Palestinian moderates, Algerian modernists, and thousands of women who seek a small degree of freedom.

The radicals are right: dying is a disincentive. And for every one they kill how many thousands give in; and for every one they threaten how many hundreds give in? Even in the West many individuals who pride themselves as knights of knowledge and paladins of free speech quickly crumble at the prospect of being culled for their cartoons.

Seventy-five years after Shawkat, Hamas television teaches Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip that their highest aspiration should be to become a suicide bomber, with success measured by how many Jews are killed. And, by the way, the Palestinian Authority’s television in the West Bank sends a similar message, albeit slightly less frequently.

Will billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) change anything when the men with the guns grab what they want? Are PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, respectively a timid bureaucrat and a well-meaning economist, going to take a bullet for lifting one finger to get a compromise peace with Israel?
How are you going to get a government of national conciliation in Iraq when the insurgents have shown they can gun down any Sunni politician or cleric who steps out of line?

The current supporters of the Lebanese government are the bravest politicians in the Arabic-speaking world, men willing to defy death rather than surrender to the radical Islamists of Hizballah or the imperialism of Syria. But how can they stand firm when democratic governments rush to engage with the Syrian government that murder them, while Western media proclaim the moderation of a Damascus ruler who systematically kills those who oppose him?

Can anyone really expect a stable society capable of progress in Pakistan when a large majority of the population expresses admiration for Usama bin Ladin? And what about the Saudi system where, as one local writer put it, the big Usama put into practice what the little Usama learned in a Saudi school?

Don’t you get it? The radical forces in the region are not expecting to retain or gain power by negotiating, compromising, or being better understood. They believe they are going to shoot their way into power or, just as good, accept the surrender of those they have intimidated.

That is why so much of the Western analysis and strategies for dealing with the region are a bad joke. Usama bin Ladin understands that, as he once said, people are going to back the strongest horse in the race. According to all too many people in the Western elites, the way to win is to be the nicest horse.

But doesn’t this assessment sound terribly depressing and hopeless? Well, yes and no.
Radical Islamists like to proclaim that they will triumph because they love death while their enemies—that is, soon-to-be-victims—love life
Be careful what you wish for, though, because you probably will get it. For those who love death the reward is…death.
For those who love life, the outcomes include decent educational systems, living standards, individual rights, and strong economic systems. I can't help but thinking that Western Civilization has been built on a different model, even when people completely forget about it and take it for granted, based on ideas like this:

"I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...." (Deuteronomy 31:19)
All these things, and others that go along with them, are what really produce strength. And isn’t it interesting that, contrary to Shawkat, the nations that put the priority on these values, ideas, and constructive efforts enjoy far more honor and suffer far less humiliation than happens with his model. This is not that they have no faults but they also contain the mechanisms that are usually sufficient to correct these faults.

In contrast, the profession of death has wrecked most Middle Eastern societies. But it has never succeeded in defeating a free society. It is not an effective tactic for destroying others but only for devastating one’s own people.
Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The Sami Shawkat philosophy: alike in its Arab nationalist, Islamist, and Pakistani authoritarian versions which dominate Middle East politics.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (GLORIA) Center His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

On the rights of 'settlers'

Shmuel Katz

US Ambassador Richard Jones was recently reported to have asked Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch about the legal status of the "settlements."
This is indeed a subject which has long been neglected - or simply ignored. The answer to the question is a simple one, but in view of the obfuscation which has for years gathered around it, it is essential to examine its roots. They lie comfortably in the text of the Mandate for Palestine which was conferred on Britain in 1922 by the League of Nations.

The Mandate's objective was to facilitate the "reconstitution" of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. It was intended to serve as the legal instrument for implementing Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration. The essential obligations of the mandatory were to facilitate the immigration of Jews and encourage their "close settlement" on the land, including state and waste lands. (In accordance with the Balfour Declaration, "the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities" were to be protected.)

The vision of the Balfour Declaration was encapsulated a couple of years later by cabinet minister Winston Churchill, who wrote that "aJewish state will arise in our day on the banks of the Jordan."

At that time, too, the League of Nations conferred on Britain a Mandate for Mesopotamia (Iraq); and Mandates for Syria and Lebanon were conferred on France, presaging the establishment of sovereign Arab states. Thus did the Allied nations complete the sharing out of the territories they had captured from the Turks in the Great War of 1914-1918.

ADDED UP, these Arab states-to-be accounted for some 99 percent of the total conquered area. In its capture during the war it may be said the Arabs themselves played practically no part. The so-called Arab Revolt against the Turks, heavily financed by Britain and brilliantly portrayed by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), did not in fact take place at all. Eighty percent of the Arabs who fought in the war did so on the side of the Turks. The Jewish people not only fielded a Jewish fighting legion in Palestine, but also a most effective intelligence service in Palestine and Syria.

Nevertheless, when peace came Arab voices were raised against the
British undertaking to the Jews. Balfour admonished them. He pointed out that it was the British who had established an independent sovereignty in Hejaz (the Mandates came two years later), and he added:

"I hope they will remember that it is we who desire in Mesopotamia to prepare the way for the future of a self-governing Arab state and I hope that, understanding all that, they will not grudge that small
notch being given to the people who for all these hundreds of years
have been separated from it."

Yet - in 1922 at the last moment, the British inserted a clause (Number 25) excluding the provision of the Jewish National Home from the area east of the Jordan River. Zionist protest went unheeded; and so the almost-empty eastern Palestine, renamed Transjordan, ultimately became the Kingdom of Jordan, adding another state to the tremendous Arab domain. The fact that it was a Palestinian state could not be erased, nor that the majority of its inhabitants have come from western Palestine. Thus was executed the first partition of the Land of Israel.

THE STATUS of Jewish settlement in what remained of Palestine remained unaffected. But as the years went by, the steady British retreat from their obligations, particularly by severe limitations on Jewish immigration, finally led to the White Paper of 1939. Apart from new land laws, it projected that Jewish immigration would be allowed at 15,000 souls a year for five years and then completely frozen. There would be no Jewish National Home. There would be an Arab majority, and some form of British overlordship to protect Jewish minority interests.

The White Paper, fiercely attacked in Parliament, was passed - by a reduced majority. But any change in British policy in Mandatory Palestine was subject to the approval of the League of Nations. The League, it was true, had for some years already been seen as an effete body, but its constitutional authority had remained intact. For monitoring the progress of the various mandates it maintained a kind of watchdog commission, and considered any proposed changes in the terms of the Mandate only if approved by the Mandate Commission. When in 1939 the British government submitted the White Paper to the commission, it refused its approval on the grounds that it did not conform to the terms of the Mandate.

Angry British Foreign Office senior officials exchanged notes and discussed among themselves the desperate policy of proposing a change in the Mandate itself. But they were stymied. It was too late nearly the end of August 1939, and on the first of September World War II broke out. The Council of the League of Nations never met again. With it died the White Paper. The Mandate remained the defining document for governing Palestine.

THE BRITISH government, frustrated, did not relent. It launched a bitter campaign, using diplomatic channels in Europe to prevent Jews escaping and employing the Royal Navy to intercept boats carrying Jewish refugees from Europe and prevent their reaching the Jewish National Home. Indeed, when Churchill was prime minister he wrote in an internal instruction that "the White Paper stands."

The Mandate, however, with its injunction to assist Jewish settlement, remained intact and after World War II was "inherited" by the United Nations. It was a period of considerable unrest which, despite much repressive effort, the British could not subdue. Under the pressure of a highly effective Jewish underground fighting force (and consequent reactive political pressure at home) the Labor government finally returned the Mandate to the UN (in the spring of 1947).

The UN, in a dramatic special session, in effect accepted Britain's resignation and later that year decided to recommend the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. (Not Palestinians. Nobody had heard of such a separate entity.) The Arab states rejected that offer. Thus Palestine, with the rights of Jewish settlement, remained undivided as the Jewish state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The Arab refusal was not a whim. The idea of a non-Arab state (and specifically a hated Jewish state) "in the heart of the Arab world"was anathema to them. It was reflected by a claim of possession of the whole country. Immediately after the UN session, the League of Arab States decided to go to war to destroy the Jewish state at birth.

In the meantime a preliminary campaign of terror was launched against the Jewish community. Then on May 14, 1948, the day the British left, five well-armed Arab states - Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq invaded the country. The losses Israel sustained in that war of nine months exceeded, in proportion of population, the losses sustained by Britain and America in World War I. The invasion success was limited not only by the inordinate valor of the youth of Israel, but in time by the supply of much-needed arms by Czechoslovakia (with Soviet permission) and France.

HOWEVER, Jordan succeeded in holding on to the eastern highlands(primarily Judea and Samaria) and then even presumptuously announced their annexation. Egypt captured the Gaza "Strip." It is not irrelevant to mention that in the next 19 years of Jordanian and Egyptian occupation, neither Jordan nor Egypt proposed, nor did the Palestinian Arabs demand from Jordan and Egypt, the establishment of a Palestinian state. To the contrary, Palestinian Arab terror continued to operate as before against Israel.

Then in 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan again attacked Israel, again with the repeated announcement that the objective was its"annihilation." Israel turned the tables and won the war. Soon after that victory, Israel offered the Arabs to hand them all the territory it had regained, in return for peace. At a conference in Khartoum the unanimous Arab reply was: No negotiations. No peace. No recognition.

So once again Jewish settlement rights had been endangered, and once again had been saved by Arab intransigence.

It was shortly afterward that the movement of Jewish settlers was launched. It is noteworthy that the last defining document thatunderwrites the legality was the Geneva Convention of 1949. It dealt with occupied territories. Its second clause, stating its scope,
makes it clear that it does not apply to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria - because Jordan was not a sovereign possessor but an illegal invader, and similarly was Egypt an illegal invader of Gaza. Israel liberated both areas, restoring them to the territory of the
Palestine Mandate of 1922.

From the point of view of international law these settlers are as
legal as any resident of Manhattan or of Shreveport, Louisiana.

My trip to the heart of Jewness

Tim Blair

AN odd shift has taken place over the past 60 or so years. Where once the Jews were blamed by the far Right for controlling the world's finances, dividing societies and generally setting out to dominate the globe, now they are blamed for the same things by the far Left.
You can see evidence of this at any Left-dominated protest march, anywhere on earth - banners and signs condemning Israel, Jews and the power they wield over Washington, Canberra and London. Admittedly, these protests are a step up from Hitler's level, which held that Jews were at once racially inferior yet somehow wily enough to undermine the entire German economy.

Also, modern protesters call them "Zionists". Last year, during the Israel-Lebanon conflict, some on the crazy Left actually took to waving Hezbollah flags - showing support for people who provoked a war by kidnapping Israeli soldiers from within Israeli territory.

Luckily, having just spent several days in Israel, I'm now in a position to correctly assess the massive influence of this sinister nation. Following is an account of my visit to the very heart of Jewness:

At Bangkok airport in Singapore, preparing to catch a connecting flight to Jerusalem, I am called aside - along with just about every other non-resident passenger - for special attention from agents of the great Zionist conspiracy. Questions are asked, passports closely examined, luggage inspected.

It could be airline El Al simply wishes to maintain its enviable security record flying into one of the world's more troubled regions. Or it could be my first encounter with the sprawling, globe-encircling oppressor-beast that is today's Israel.

Soon I find myself in a room far, far beneath the airport's surface (well, one floor) being subject to advanced metal-detection. Certain items of clothing are removed, possibly for study and duplication by notorious Jewish fashion barons.

In the confusion of gathering various possessions my belt is lost. I blame Mossad. The Jews may not control the world, but for now they control the height of my trousers.

Lunch with senior Israeli official. Tells of being born on a train as his parents fled the Soviet Union (reminder to self: check records to find any other cases of people claiming to have run away from full healthcare and free education). Interrupted by appearance outside restaurant of hot Israeli army chicks with guns. Close inspection - very close - reveals each and every one is wearing a belt. Coincidence?

Guided by Israeli functionary Roley to inspect ancient churches and synagogues from hill high above Jerusalem. Her lecture - entertaining and informative, who knew this place had so much history? - is accompanied by spontaneous visual assistance from one of the city's many tourist exploiters, who holds up maps and photographs to illustrate Roley's historical analysis.

Wanting to protect my remaining garments, I offer to buy some of the fellow's wares. "What are you doing?" he says, alarmed. "Don't open your wallet like that! Open it towards you. There are thieves around."

(Note to self: perhaps this chap has contacts within the Israeli belt-rebirthing racket. Keep him close.)

Later visit the Wailing Wall, now known as the Western Wall presumably due to the international wailing ban. Following local custom I write an impassioned personal prayer on a small piece of paper and jam it in one of the wall's crevices. Now to wait for proof of Zionist magic: if Collingwood wins the 2009 AFL premiership, we are dealing with a very powerful force indeed.

Local shops sell "Guns'n'Moses" T-shirts. No belts.

Meet the Gush Etzion region mayor Shaul Goldstein. Clever, engaging and belted, Mr Goldstein voices opposition to the so-called "security fence" keeping Hamas suicide bombers from innocently murdering Israeli citizens (down from 450 in 2004 to 33 in 2005). Turns out his main complaint is the fence makes it harder to pursue and capture these alleged militants and money spent on the fence could have been better used on other means of stopping the, er, Palestinian population explosion.

Mayor declares himself in favour of many small "local obstacles" rather than one continuous giant wall - boutique walls, they'd be. Mayor has background in engineering and construction. Follow the money!

Distracted from further pursuit of this subject by a section of Gush Etzion architecture that resembles exactly the buildings occupied by the Teletubbies.

Visit the Knesset. Note that security guards protect their own belts by hanging firearms off them. Good thinking. Observe attractive young female parliamentarian wave to little girl in viewing deck, was it code? An attempt to question the girl is waved away by her inexplicably hostile mother. Realise pants have fallen down.

Wake in unfamiliar surrounds far north of Jerusalem. Preliminary research reveals location to be an alleged "kibbutz". Further research reveals many empty Carlsberg and Heineken bottles. Concluding research reveals kibbutz stopover was included on itinerary planned months ago. Fellow journalists on tour report similar disorientation. Vow to never again research the products of Carlsberg and Heineken.

In three days of travel, have only seen three cars not entirely utilitarian in function - an old Triumph Spitfire, a sporty Audi coupe and a tiny dune buggy. About to form compelling thesis on the joyless, purpose-only nature of Israeli society when informed that locals pay 100 per cent tax on imported vehicles. There is no local motor industry. (Note to self: Israeli market wide-open for introduction of Hebrew-friendly models. Email instructions to copyright the name "Holden Menorah".)

Accompanied on drive through northern zone by Israeli Defence Force spokesman Eli Rubinstein. Oy, what a belt that man has! Such a fine, fine belt! Caution self against adopting local speech patterns.

Long dissertation on military matters diverted by Rubinstein comment: "Israel is not only about national security. It is also a birdwatcher's paradise." Thereafter follows 15-minute description of avian migratory patterns. Was about to put this down as ruse to distract us from the day's 17 rocket attacks - why is nobody talking about this? - when informed the rocket attacks were actually made on Israel by Hezbollah forces inside Lebanon.

Million-course Lebanese lunch at town of Kish, followed by similar force-feeding at elaborate Decks restaurant in . . . hey, these pants are kind of tight. I might have to loosen my . . . oh.

"The Malaysian government has banned non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah'.

A church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word "Allah" can only be used by Muslims. In the Malay language "Allah" is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries.

Opponents of the ban say it is unconstitutional and unreasonable.

It is the latest in a series of religious rows in largely Muslim Malaysia, where minority groups claim their rights are being eroded.

A spokesman for the Herald, the newspaper of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, said a legal suit was filed after they received repeated official warnings that the newspaper could have its licence revoked if it continued to use the word.

"We are of the view that we have the right to use the word 'Allah'," said editor Rev Lawrence Andrew.


The Sabah Evangelical Church of Borneo has also taken legal action after a government ministry moved to ban the import of religious children's books containing the word.

In a statement given to Reuters news agency, the church said the translation of the bible in which the word Allah appears has been used by Christians since the earliest days of the church.

There has been no official government comment but parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the decision to ban the word for non-Muslims on security grounds was "unlawful".

"The term 'Allah' was used to refer to God by Arabic-speaking Christians before Arabic-speaking Muslims existed," he said.

Religious issues are highly sensitive in Malaysia, which has a 60% Muslim population.

Religious freedom is guaranteed in the law but minority groups have accused the Muslim Malay majority of trying to increase the role of Islam in the country.

Maimonides and the “Meshugga” Prophet

Andrew Bostom

December 13th marked the 804th anniversary of the death of Maimonides (d. 1203, in Cairo), renowned Talmudist, philosopher, astronomer, and physician. The biography of this “second Moses,” is often cited by those who would extol the purported Muslim ecumenism of the high Middle Ages—particularly in “Andalusia,” or Muslim Spain, invariably accompanied by a denunciation of the fanatical intolerance of Christian Western Europe, during the same era.

A particularly egregious example of this genre of loaded comparisons was made by Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate economist, in his recent book Identity and Violence. Sen has the temerity to proclaim, “…the Jewish Philosopher Maimonides was forced to emigrate from an intolerant Europe in the twelfth century, he found a tolerant refuge in the Arab world.”

Sen’s ahistorical drivel aside, Maimonides (b. 1135, in Cordova) was but thirteen years old (in 1148) when Muslim Cordova fell into the hands of the particularly fanatical Berber Muslim Almohads, who invaded the Iberian peninsula from North Africa. Maimonides and all the dhimmi Jews in Cordova were compelled to choose between Islam and exile. Choosing the latter course, Maimonides and his family for twelve years subsequently led a nomadic life, wandering across Spain. By 1160 they crossed the Mediterranean, and settled at Fez, Morocco (also under Almohad control) where, unknown to the authorities, they hoped to pass as Muslims, while living as crypto-Jews. Maimonides’ dual life, however, became increasingly dangerous as his reputation was steadily growing, and the authorities began to inquire into the religious disposition of this highly gifted young man. He was even charged by an informer with the crime of having relapsed (apostasized) from Islam, and, but for the intercession of the poet and theologian Abu al-‘Arab al Mu’ishah, a Muslim friend, he would have suffered the fate of his colleague Judah ibn Shoshan, who had shortly before been executed on a similar charge. Given these precarious circumstances, Maimonides’ family left Fez, embarking in 1165 to Acre, then to Jerusalem, and on to Fostat (Cairo), where they settled, living once again as dhimmis, albeit under more tolerant Fatimid rule.

The jihad depredations of the Almohads (1130-1232) wreaked enormous destruction on both the Jewish and Christian populations in Spain and North Africa. A contemporary Judeo-Arabic account by Solomon Cohen (which comports with Arab historian Ibn Baydhaq’s sequence of events), from January 1148 C.E, described the Muslim Almohad conquests in North Africa, and Spain, as follows:

Abd al-Mumin…the leader of the Almohads after the death of Muhammad Ibn Tumart the Mahdi …captured Tlemcen [in the Maghreb] and killed all those who were in it, including the Jews, except those who embraced Islam…[In Sijilmasa] One hundred and fifty persons were killed for clinging to their [Jewish] faith…All the cities in the Almoravid [dynastic rulers of North Africa and Spain prior to the Almohads] state were conquered by the Almohads. One hundred thousand persons were killed in Fez on that occasion, and 120,000 in Marrakesh. The Jews in all [Maghreb] localities [conquered]…groaned under the heavy yoke of the Almohads; many had been killed, many others converted; none were able to appear in public as Jews…Large areas between Seville and Tortosa [in Spain] had likewise fallen into Almohad hands.

This devastation—massacre, captivity, and forced conversion—was described by the Jewish chronicler Abraham Ibn Daud, and the poet Abraham Ibn Ezra. Suspicious of the sincerity of the Jewish converts to Islam, Muslim “inquisitors”, i.e., antedating their Christian Spanish counterparts by three centuries, removed the children from such families, placing them in the care of Muslim educators. When Sijilmasa [an oasis town southwest of Fez] was conquered by the Almohads in 1146, the Jews were given the option of conversion or death. While 150 Jews chose martyrdom, others converted to Islam, including the dayyan [rabbi, or assistant rabbi] Joseph b. Amram (who later reverted to Judaism). The town of Dar’a suffered a similar fate. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s moving elegy Ahah Yarad Al Sefarad describes the Almohad destruction of both Spanish (Seville, Cordova, Jaen, Almeria) and North African Jewish communities, including Sijilmasa and Dar’a (along with others in Marrakesh, Fez, Tlemcen, Ceuta, and Meknes).

Ibn Aqnin (d. 1220), a renowned philosopher and commentator, who was born in Barcelona in 1150, fled the Almohad persecutions with his family, also escaping to Fez. Living there as a crypto-Jew, he met Maimonides and recorded his own poignant writings about the sufferings of the Jews under Almohad rule. Ibn Aqnin wrote during the reign of Abu Yusuf al-Mansur (r. 1184-1199), four decades after the onset of the Almohad persecutions in 1140. Thus the Jews forcibly converted to Islam were already third generation Muslims. Despite this, al-Mansur continued to impose restrictions upon them, which Ibn Aqnin chronicles. From his Tibb al-nufus (Therapy of the Soul), Ibn Aqnin, laments:

Our hearts are disquieted and our souls are affrighted at every moment that passes, for we have no security or stability…Past persecutions and former decrees were directed against those who remained faithful to the Law of Israel and kept them tenaciously so that they would even die for the sake of Heaven. In the event that they submitted to their demands, [our enemies] would extol and honor them. . . But in the present persecutions, on the contrary, however much we appear to obey their instructions to embrace their religion and forsake our own, they burden our yoke and render our travail more arduous. . . .Behold the hardships of the apostates of our land who completely abandoned the faith and changed their attire on account of these persecutions. But their conversion has been of no avail to them whatsoever, for they are subjected to the same vexations as those who have remained faithful to their creed. Indeed, even the conversion of their fathers or grandfathers…has been of no advantage to them.

If we were to consider the persecutions that have befallen us in recent years, we would not find anything comparable recorded by our ancestors in their annals. We are made the object of inquisitions; great and small testify against us and judgments are pronounced, the least of which render lawful the spilling of our blood, the confiscation of our property, and the dishonor of our wives.

… the [Muslim] custodians are able to dispose of our young children and their belongings as they see fit. If they were given to an individual who feared Allah, then he would endeavor to educate the children in his religion, for one of their principles is that all children are originally born as Muslims and only their parents bring them up as Jews, Christians, or Magians. Thus, if this individual educates them in [what they state is] their original religion [i.e., Islam] and does not leave the children with those [i.e., the Jews] that will abduct them therefrom, he will obtain a considerable reward from Allah…

… We were prohibited to practice commerce, which is our livelihood, for there is no life without the food to sustain our bodies and clothes to protect them from the heat and cold. The latter can only be obtained through trade for this is their source and cause, without which its effect, namely our existence, would disappear. In so doing their design was to weaken our strong and annihilate our weak…

… Then they imposed upon us distinctive garments…As for the decree enforcing the wearing of long sleeves, its purpose was to make us resemble the inferior state of women, who are without strength. They were intended by their length to make us unsightly, whereas their color was to make us loathsome… The purpose of these distinctive garments is to differentiate us from among them so that we should be recognized in our dealings with them without any doubt, in order that they might treat us with disparagement and humiliation. . . Moreover it allows our blood to be spilled with impunity. For whenever we travel on the wayside from town to town, we are waylaid by robbers and brigands and are murdered secretly at night or killed in broad daylight…

Now, the purpose of the persecution of Ishmael, whether they require us to renounce our religion in public or in private is only to annihilate the faith of Israel and consequently one is bound to accept death rather than commit the slightest sin . . . as did the martyrs of Fez, Sijilmasa, and Dar’a.

Maimonides’ The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen was written in about 1172 in reply to inquiries by Jacob ben Netan’el al-Fayy_mi, who headed the Jewish community in Yemen. At that time, the Jews of Yemen were experiencing a crisis—hardly unfamiliar to Maimonides—as they were being forced to convert to Islam, a campaign launched in about 1165 by ‘Abd-al-Nab_ ibn Mahdi. Maimonides provided the Yemenite Jewish communal leader with guidance, and what encouragement he could muster. The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen provides an unflinchingly honest view of what Maimonides thought of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or “the Madman” as he calls him, and about Islam generally. Maimonides writes:

You write that the rebel leader in Yemen decreed compulsory apostasy for the Jews by forcing the Jewish inhabitants of all the places he had subdued to desert the Jewish religion just as the Berbers had compelled them to do in Maghreb [i.e.Islamic West]. Verily, this news has broken our backs and has astounded and dumbfounded the whole of our community. And rightly so. For these are evil tidings, “and whosoever heareth of them, both his ears tingle (I Samuel 3:11).” Indeed our hearts are weakened, our minds are confused, and the powers of the body wasted because of the dire misfortunes which brought religious persecutions upon us from the two ends of the world, the East and the West, “so that the enemies were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side.” (Joshua 8:22).

Maimonides makes clear that the unrelenting persecutions of the Jews by the Muslims is tantamount to forced conversion:

…the continuous persecutions will cause many to drift away from our faith, to have misgivings, or to go astray, because they witnessed our feebleness, and noted the triumph of our adversaries and their dominion over us…

He then notes: “After him arose the Madman who emulated his precursor since he paved the way for him. But he added the further objective of procuring rule and submission, and he invented his well known religion.” Medieval Jewish writers often referred to Muhammad as ha-meshugga, Madman—the Hebrew term, as historian Norman Stillman has observed wryly, being “pregnant with connotations.”

Georges Vajda’s magisterial 1937 essay on the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith, includes a fascinating discussion from Maimonides Teshuvot Responsa on the question of whether Jews should attempt to teach the Torah to Muslims, versus Christians. Although, in principle the response is negative, i.e., non-Jews were proscribed from formal study of the Torah per se, Maimonides makes this striking distinction between Christians and Muslims, regarding the teaching of the commandments and their explanations, because of the unique threat posed by Muslims due to their doctrinal intolerance:

…it is permitted to teach the commandments and the explanations according to [rabbinic] law to the Christians, but it is prohibited to do likewise for the Muslims. You know, in effect, that according to their belief this Torah is not from heaven and if you teach them something, they will find it contrary to their tradition, because their practices are confused and their opinions bizarre mippnei she-ba’uu la-hem debariim be-ma`asiim [because a mish-mash of various practices and strange, inapplicable statements were received by them.] What [one teaches them] will not convince them of the falseness of their opinions, but they will interpret it according to their erroneous principles and they will oppress us. [F]or this reason…they hate all [non-Muslims] who live among them. It would then just be a stumbling block for the Israelites who, because of their sins, are in captivity among them. On the contrary, the uncircumcised [Christians] admit that the text of the Torah, such as we have it, is intact. They interpret it only in an erroneous way and use it for purposes of the allegorical exegesis that is proper to them Ve-yirmezuu bah ha-remaziim hay-yedu`iim la-hem [They would exchange secret signs known only to them.] If one informs them about the correct interpretation, there is hope that they will return from their error, and even if they do not, there is not stumbling block for Israel, for they do not find in their religious law any contradiction with ours.

Returning to The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen, Maimonides highlights one of the presumptive reasons for Muslim hatred of Jews:

Inasmuch as the Muslims could not find a single proof in the entire Bible nor a reference or possible allusion to their prophet which they could utilize, they were compelled to accuse us saying, “You have altered the text of the Torah, and expunged every trace of the name of Mohammed therefrom.” They could find nothing stronger than this ignominious argument.

Elaborating on the depth of Muslim hatred for the Jews, Maimonides makes a further profound observation regarding the Jewish predilection for denial, a feature that he insists will hasten their destruction:

Remember, my co-religionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us, as Scripture has forewarned us, ‘Our enemies themselves shall judge us’ (Deuteronomy 32:31). Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they …. Although we were dishonored by them beyond human endurance, and had to put with their fabrications, yet we behaved like him who is depicted by the inspired writer, “But I am as a deaf man, I hear not, and I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.” (Psalms 38:14). Similarly our sages instructed us to bear the prevarications and preposterousness of Ishmael in silence. They found a cryptic allusion for this attitude in the names of his sons “Mishma, Dumah, and Massa” (Genesis 25:14), which was interpreted to mean, “Listen, be silent, and endure.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, ad locum). We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation, as Isaiah instructed us “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.” (50:6). All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition, as David predicted, “I am all peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalms 120:7). If, therefore, we start trouble and claim power from them absurdly and preposterously we certainly give ourselves up to destruction.”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Islam by far the BEST way of life; West is a society of pigs and apes

Muhammad Walae Kourani

Dear readers,

We keep receiving interesting letters from readers, particularly from Muslims, all the time. We are publishing one such letter which you might find interesting and useful in understanding the Muslim mind.

MA Khan, Editor
Just because Islam is by far the BEST way of life any being of flesh and blood can ever ask for, does not mean one must possess abhorrence on such purity. Everyone knows that Islam is the key to eternal bliss, and the disbelievers will reside in hell forever.

If you wish to speak blasphemy, do so, but use evidence that can be believed. You are plain ridiculous and a disgrace to humanity.

The western society and the religion it brought with it is a society of pigs and apes. Therefore, the article you posted about "is porn haram" speaks the truth of YOUR nature, not Islam's teachings. It is the nature of an animal that posses no morality, dignity, integrity, and lacks a sense of honor. Why divulge your ignorance in such a way?

Allah (SWT) will only guide those HE (THE EXALTED) wishes to guide. Pity is what I feel for all the pigs and apes that you (WESTERN civilization) really are. Your porn websites that imitate the actions of animals not humans is evidence to your vulgarity and cheapness within yourselves. Shame is the word that you are assaulted with.

Allah made us humans and elevated us by blessing us with a sense of conscience unlike animals, and you devils chose to degrade yourselves. Just because your nature is evil does not mean you must portray it wherever you feel like it.

You are undergoing a psychological discomfort and are using a defense mechanism to defend your (evil) self by hurting another person or aspect. You can talk all day, but where is that going to get you? You are only piling up your sins. From the kindness of every Muslim's heart comes a wish that May Allah guide you, if there is faith as small as a needlepoint in your heart.

Ayah 34 of Surah Muhammad means: {Those who blaspheme and prevent others from embracing Islam, then die as blasphemers, will not be forgiven by Allah.}

Blasphemy is the opposite of belief, just as darkness is the opposite of light. It is of three types: likening God to the creation (tashbih), contradicting (takdhib), and denying (ta^til).

Comment: I posted this as but one example of posts numbering in the hundreds circulating on the internet interationally-you may not agree with its message; yet we'd better understand this is not an anomaly!

The Middle Easts Tribal DNA-Part 3

Philip Carl Salzman
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2008

Conflicts within the Middle East cannot be separated from its peoples' culture. Seventh-century Arab tribal culture influenced Islam and its adherents' attitudes toward non-Muslims. Today, the embodiment of Arab culture and tribalism within Islam impacts everything from family relations, to governance, to conflict. And now, Part 3 ... Conflicts in material interest—such as over land and water—are important, but they are common whenever people live together. Seldom do they become intractable. Arab rulers' diversion of internal discontent outward toward Israel is also important. But it is the balanced opposition drawn from tribalism that impacts enmity more. The Arab saying, "Me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother, and my cousin against the world," holds true. Take for example the situation of Libya in the years prior to World War I: Prior to the Italian invasion of Libya in 1911, Arab Bedouin there fought Turkish overlords. But, rather than stay neutral or join the Italians, the Bedouin instead sided with their co-religionists against the Italians. For much the same reason, Arabs will unite in enmity to any non-Arab, let alone non-Muslim. In the conflict with Israel, the most basic Arab social principle is solidarity with the closer in opposition to the distant. "Right" and "wrong" are correlated with "my group" (always right) and "the other group" (always wrong). The underlying morality is that one must strive always to advantage one's own group and to disadvantage the other group.

For Arab Muslims confronting Jews, the opposition is between the dar al-Islam, the land of Islam, and the dar al-harb, the land of the infidels. The Muslim is obliged to advance God's true way, Islam, in the face of the ignominy of the Jew's false religion. Islamic doctrine holds that all non-Muslims, whether Christian or Jewish dhimmi or infidel pagans, must be subordinate to Muslims. Jews under Qur'anic doctrine are inferior by virtue of their false religion and must not be allowed to be equal to Muslims. For Muslim Arabs, the conceit of Jews establishing their own state, Israel, and on territory conquered by Muslims and, since Muhammad, under Muslim control is outrageous and intolerable. As Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and an expert on Arab politics explains, "Underneath the modern cover there remained the older realities of sects, ethnicity, and the call of the clans."[23] There is no way, in this structure, to reach beyond the Arab versus Israeli and Muslim versus Jew opposition to establish a common interest, short of an unimagined attack on both Arabs and Israelis by some group more distant. In this oppositional framework, it is impossible to seek or see common interests or common possibilities. Israel will always be the distant "other" to be disadvantaged and, if possible, conquered.

A corollary principle, also with roots in Arab tribalism, is honor. Arab honor consists of the warrior's success in confrontations against outsiders. Only the victorious have honor. The more vanquished are the defeated, the greater is the victor's honor. As Ajami observes, in the Arab world, "triumph rarely comes with mercy or moderation."[24] Arabs are taught, and many have taken to heart, that honor is more important than wealth, fame, love, or even death. Imbued with such a sense, today's Arab finds himself in an untenable situation: Juxtaposing their recent history to the years of glory under Muhammad, Arabs can see only defeat visited upon defeat. First there was the breakdown of Arab solidarity and fighting among the Arabs themselves, then the Turkish Ottomans conquered the region. The decline and fall of the Ottomans led to conquest and occupation of almost all Arab lands by the Christians of Europe. Even their successful anti-colonial struggles turned into empty victories with Arab populations subject to power-hungry rulers, sadistic despots, or religious fanatics.

What honor can be found in defeat and oppression? And what self-respect can Arabs find without honor? In a world of defeat and failure, honor can be found only in resistance. Arab self-respect demands honor be vindicated through standing and fighting, no matter what the cost. In a 2006 interview, Pierre Heumann, a journalist with the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, asked Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Ahmed Sheikh whether enmity toward Israel is motivated by self-esteem. Sheikh explained, "Exactly. It's because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab."[25] Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi echoes a similar theme in his 1979 volume Wounded Thunder in which he laments the failure of the Arabs to defeat Israel. "How heavy is the shame," Hawi asks. "Do I bear it alone?"[26]

These four factors—the defense of honor, segmentary opposition, transference of discontent outward, and conflicting material interests—militate in favor of alienation between the Arabs and Israel and the tenacious rejectionism of the Arabs. The two cultural factors—honor and opposition—are influences deeply embedded in Arab character. What appears to be reasonable to Westerners will not appear reasonable to Arabs. Such is the power of culture.

The conflict between Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, is not the only major conflict between Muslims and others. On the contrary, military contests along the borders of lands dominated by Muslims are pervasive. Samuel Huntington, a Harvard political scientist, observed, "The overwhelming majority of fault line conflicts … have taken place along the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims. While at the macro or global level of world politics, the primary clash of civilizations is between the West and the rest, at the micro or local level it is between Islam and the others."[27] Among the conflicts enumerated by Huntington are the Bosnians versus the Serbs, the Turks versus the Greeks, Turks versus Armenians, Azerbaijanis versus Armenians, Tatars versus Russians, Afghans and Tajiks versus Russians, Uighurs versus Han Chinese, Pakistanis versus Indians, Sudanese Arabs versus southern Sudanese Christians and animists, and northern Muslim Nigerians versus southern Christian Nigerians.

Indeed, everywhere along the perimeter of the Muslim-ruled bloc, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. Muslims may only comprise one-fifth of the world's population, but in this decade and the last, they have been far more involved in inter-group violence than the people of any other civilization.

Muslim Middle Eastern countries, from Morocco to Iran, are dictatorships. None are ranked free, and some, such as Egypt, Iran, Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, are ranked not free, the lowest category.[28] The propensity of Arab states and Iran to dictatorship also has roots in tribal culture. There is an inherent conflict between peasants and nomads. Peasants are sedentary, tied to their land, water, and crops while tribesmen are nomadic, moving around remote regions. Peasants tend to be densely concentrated in water-rich areas around rivers or irrigation systems while pastoral tribesmen, in contrast, are spread thinly across plains, deserts, and mountains.

To state leaders, cultivators are vulnerable and rewarding targets who cannot escape without sacrificing their means of making a living. In comparison to peasant cultivators, pastoral nomads are much less vulnerable than cultivators to state importunity. Both their main capital resource, livestock, and their household shelter are mobile. While farming follows a rigid schedule of planting and exploitation, nomadism requires constant decisions and initiative, which instill willfulness and independence. Mobility and guerilla prowess make tribesmen less vulnerable than peasants to state control.

States struggle to impose effective control over the nomads. State authorities do not, however, always take a modest, compromising attitude in dealing with tribes. The Ottomans tended to be a bit more stringent in their own heartland. If tribes in Anatolia were deemed to be too independent, the government responded rigorously. Ottoman authorities forcibly settled unruly tribes and, in the 1920s and 1930s, Reza Shah subjected and forcibly settled in villages Iran's nomadic tribes—the Qashqai and Basseri of the southwest, the Lurs of the west, the Kurds of the northwest, the Turkmen of the northeast, and the Baluch of the southeast.[29] When occupying British officials deposed Reza Shah in 1941, many of the tribesmen reverted to nomadism.

In order for states to retain control over and exploit the production of their subjects, they must transform tribesmen into peasants. Governments cannot extract taxes and recruit soldiers from tribesmen, but they can do so from sedentary populations. Peasants are socially fragmented because the state has monopolized responsibility for collective action. Fast forward to the modern day. This tribal dynamic leads to dictatorship. Dictatorship occurs in one of two ways: In some societies, political leaders must use repression to stymie the centrifugal force inherent in tribalism. In countries, though, such as Libya or some Persian Gulf emirates, tribes are encapsulated in the national government. Tribal leadership morphs into the governing structure. Tribal notables become regional if not national elites. Either way, a rigid governing structure takes root.