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Will there be Peace in the Middle East?
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In the News



The Arab Spring Comes to China

By Mohamed Chtatou
Gatestone Institute
October 27, 2014

ImageAs in every dictatorship, the government's only fear is of its own people.

Today, China's authorities are going back on their promise of maintaining Hong Kong's special political status, inherited from Britain. Hong Kong, however, is moving the Arab way: it is choosing democracy.

Such movements do not die; they just take shelter to let the storm pass. The Arab Spring will arrive in these lands with the sweetness of democracy, equal opportunity, and the promise of freedom for everyone.

In 2010, the tiny North African nation of Tunisia rejected patriarchy, nepotism and tribalism and opted for Arab democracy. Soon its call for overthrowing absolutism engulfed the Arab world and ushered in a new beginning -- only soon to find itself undermined and overwhelmed, like Egypt, by organized, well-funded autocracies.

The Kurds in Turkey and the Fight for Kobani

By Veli Sirin
Gatestone Institute
October 26, 2014

ImageA historical process is now threatened with failure: the reconciliation of the Turkish State with the Kurds living in Turkey.

Turkish guns point in every direction but that of Kobani, and the Turkish air force continues bombing the Kurdish PKK, not ISIS. Many Kurds believe that the Turkish state considers it acceptable for the "Islamic State" to murder Kurds, and would rather bomb the Kurds than help them against ISIS.

The world has watched the town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border, where the Wahhabi terrorists of the so-called "Islamic State" [IS], also known as ISIS, ISIL, and, in Arabic, the "Daesh," are fighting the Kurdish peshmerga, a word meaning "those facing death." The Turkish authorities, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Islamist Justice and Development Party [AKP], have stood among the ambivalent observers of the battle for Kobani.

At the same time, he who is called "the man on the island" has put an ultimatum to Erdoğan. Abdullah Öcalan, in jail surrounded by the sea near Istanbul and still the real leader of the Kurdish Workers Party [PKK], has given the Turkish authorities more time to achieve a full agreement with its Kurdish subjects. If it does not, he says he can do "nothing more for the peace process." But as reported by the London Financial Times on October 22, Öcalan said he remained "optimistic" about relations between Ankara and the Kurdish revolutionaries. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by the United States and various European governments, as well as Turkey.

How Likely Is Deradicalization?

By Denis MacEoin
Gatestone Institute
October 26, 2014

Will radical Muslims line up to be deprogrammed and end up teaching kindergarten or devising a twelve-step program for their younger siblings? Since the start of deradicalization programs, the number of radicalized Muslims has risen.

Why is there no Muslim Peace Movement campaigning for an end to violence in Muslim countries? Why do Muslims -- and others -- take to the streets to condemn democratic Israel, yet never march to protest Hamas's use of Palestinians as human shields, or the violence of al-Qaeda, Boko Haram or any other jihadi group? Why not be angry at the way violent Muslims drag the image of non-violent Muslims in the mud? Many Muslims, however, complain about "Islamophobia" while ignoring the primary causes of hostility to themselves.

Many Muslims are trapped, because the Qur'an and the ahadith, which make up the holy writ, all condone or command jihad and hatred for non-believers, and they do so abundantly. Yet commentators and politicians still wonder where the fighters of the Islamic State or the killers of Theo van Gogh get their inspiration. A young man who sees the world through such a lens will easily turn to this to justify his desire to wage jihad.

Egypt cancels Hamas-Israel talks following Sinai attack

By Elhanan Miller
The Times of Israel
October 26, 2014

Cairo bars Islamist delegation, points finger at Palestinians for deadly bombings; ‘Stop blaming Gaza, you failed leaders,’ Hamas chief retorts

Dashing Hamas hopes of a détente with the Egyptian regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt closed its borders to a high-ranking Hamas delegation to talks with Israel on Sunday, accusing Palestinians of involvement in a deadly terror attack in Sinai Friday. The Hamas delegation had been set to resume indirect talks between the Palestinians and Israel over a long-term Gaza ceasefire on Monday, but those talks were canceled.

Sissi said on Saturday that “foreign hands” were behind a suicide car bombing that killed over 30 soldiers at a checkpoint near the northern Sinai town of el-Arish, declaring a three-month state of emergency in the peninsula. But Egypt’s deputy interior minister, Samih Bashadi, was more specific on Sunday, accusing “Palestinian operatives” of involvement in the attack.

Lapid: Israel-US relations in 'crisis'

By Moran Azulay
Ynet/Israel News
October 25, 2014

After Ynet learns White House officials prevented defense minister from meeting Kerry and Biden, Lapid says 'We need to act with more respect. We must remember that US funds and technology helped Gaza operation.'

"There is a crisis with the Americans and it needs to be addressed as a crisis," Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Saturday after ongoing tensions between Washington and Jerusalem led US officials to block Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon from meeting with senior administration officials during his current US visit.

Image"We mustn't pretend there isn't a crisis," Lapid told a crowd in Tel Aviv Saturday. "Our relations with the US are vital and everything that can be done must be done to end this crisis."
Finance Minister Yair Lapid / Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Photo: Eli Mendelbaum / Ido Erez)

Earlier on Friday, Ynet revealed that the Obama administration refused the Israeli defense minister's request to meet with other top officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Security forces prepare for fallout from two funerals

By Itamar Sharon and AP
The Times of Israel
October 25, 2014

ImageServices for a Palestinian teen killed by troops on Friday and a terrorist who ran over pedestrians on Wednesday could spark renewed riots

Israeli security forces were on alert Saturday ahead of the funeral of a Palestinian teenager who was shot and killed by IDF troops Friday in the West Bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah. Fearing riots and unrest, the army said it would boost forces in areas prone to confrontation and violence.

ImageOn Saturday evening another funeral was set to be held – that of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, the terrorist who ran over pedestrians at a Jerusalem light rail station on Wednesday, killing a 3-month old baby and injuring eight others. Israel Radio reported that al-Shaludi would be buried at a Muslim cemetery near the Old City’s Lions’ Gate at 10 p.m. after a court authorized a service to be attended by 80 people.

The court rejected Israeli authorities’ request to hold the service at 1 a.m. while only authorizing 20 people to attend — apparently an attempt to discourage demonstrations and rallies surrounding the funeral.

Turkey: The "Great Muslim Democracy"

By Burak Bekdil
Gatestone Institute
October 25, 2014

Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.

"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.

The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.

ImageThe European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.

"We have made the conservative, pious [Muslim] masses not just a part, but a major actor of the political system." Thus said Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, not even trying to hide his pride.

Two Israelis said killed when Nepal bus drives off mountainside

By Times of Israel staff
October 24, 2014

Accident north of Kathmandu claims at least 11 lives, more than 48 said wounded; conflicting reports suggest six more Israelis may have been injured

Two Israeli women are dead after a tourist bus drove off a mountainside in Nepal, according to the local Chabad House in Kathmandu. The two were later named as Shira Dabush, a 30-year-old physician, and Omer Shemesh, 22.

According to Israeli and local media reports, between three and six more Israelis were wounded in the crash on Friday morning, which claimed at least 11 lives and left at least 48 wounded, most of them tourists.

Unrest, instability, intifada — whatever its name, it’s in Hamas’s interest

By Mitch Ginsburg
The Times of Israel
October 24, 2014

ImageThe simmering violence in Jerusalem, culminating in Wednesday’s fatal terror attack, may not have a moniker, but it is a flame that Hamas wants to spread to the West Bank

Whether the violence in Jerusalem since the gruesome murder of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir in July amounts to a Third Intifada will only be clear in hindsight. But what the murder on Wednesday of Chaya Zissel Braun has shown, beyond the ruthlessness of the act and the enduring tension in Jerusalem, is the shrewdness of Hamas’s strategy of overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank by, of all things, persistently killing innocent Israelis.

That is one of the ways Israel should view the recent developments in Jerusalem. When Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, a Hamas member and relative of a former head of the organization’s armed wing, turned his car into a lethal weapon on Wednesday, he was, whether by design or not, acting exactly according to the alleged Hamas coup plans exposed in August.

The 14th Century in Washington

The Jerusalem Post
By Sarah Honig
October 24, 2014

ImageMedieval manuscript showing Jews burned at the stake in Flanders according to the popular antidote to the Black Death

In all fairness, it’s not just the Obama Administration which is fond of insinuating that somehow Israel is to blame for all that ails the Mideast. This has been the underlying theme of the US State Department since Israel’s birth in 1948.

The variations in the stance vis-à-vis Israel derive from the intensity of antipathy – the subtlety and sophistication of the tone in which it’s expressed. Given its strident hectoring, the Obama Administration is doubtless America’s least-subtle and least-sophisticated ever.

While past presidents and their secretaries of state took greater pains to pretend not to side with glaring Arab anti-Israel falsehoods, such niceties are all but absent from Barack Obama’s and John Kerry’s rhetoric. Anti-Israel idioms and calumnies are repeated by them as an obvious and infallible politically-correct gospel.

Abbas's Responsibility for Murder

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Insitute
October 24, 2014

ImageTo understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.

The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.

While Hamas's rockets and suicide bombers have been killing Israelis over the past twenty-five years, the Palestinian Authority's rhetoric has not been less lethal.

Metropolitan Opera Stifles Free Exchange of Ideas about a Propaganda Opera

By Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Insitute
October 21, 2014

ImageOn Monday night I went to the Metropolitan Opera. I went for two reasons: to see and hear John Adams' controversial opera, The Death of Klinghoffer; and to see and hear what those protesting the Met's judgment in presenting the opera had to say. Peter Gelb, the head of the Met Opera, had advised people to see it for themselves and then decide.

That's what I planned to do. Even though I had written critically of the opera—based on reading the libretto and listening to a recording—I was also critical of those who wanted to ban or censor it. I wanted personally to experience all sides of the controversy and then "decide."

Lincoln Center made that difficult. After I bought my ticket, I decided to stand in the Plaza of Lincoln Center, across the street and in front of the protestors, so I could hear what they were saying and read what was on their signs. But Lincoln Center security refused to allow me to stand anywhere in the large plaza. They pushed me to the side and to the back, where I could barely make out the content of the protests. "Either go into the opera if you have a ticket or leave. No standing." When I asked why I couldn't remain in the large, open area between the protestors across the street and the opera house behind me, all I got were terse replies: "security," "Lincoln Center orders."

Kerry Links ISIS Recruiting Success to Israel

By IPT News
October 17, 2014

Israeli government officials are fuming over remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday which connected the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict to waves of international recruits flocking to the terrorist group ISIS.

"As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition," Kerry said, "the truth is we – there wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to."

In a Facebook post written in Hebrew, Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan wrote, "I actually respect Kerry and his efforts, but every time he breaks new records of showing a lack of understanding of our region and the essence of the conflict in the Middle East I have trouble respecting what he says."

French Jewish girl, 17, ‘planned terror attack on parents’ store, was set to join IS’

Expert describes how loving family of ‘self-radicalized’ Paris teenager turned to her center for help

By Times of Israel staff
October 16, 2014

A young French Jewish girl was radicalized, became an anti-Semite, planned a terrorist attack at her parents’ shop and was a moment away from getting on a plane to join the Islamic State in Syria, a French anthropologist who runs a de-radicalization center in Paris revealed.

Dounia Bouzar, the founder of the Centre de Prévention des Dérives Sectaires liées à l’Islam (Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Abuses linked to Islam), told Channel 2 on Wednesday that she came across the case when the family of the 17-year-old Paris resident contacted her for help.

The center conducts research and works with French youth who have undergone Islamic radicalization and brainwashing. Some, she said, were well on the path to joining IS, including the young Jewish girl, whom she calls “A.”

UK Votes Overwhelmingly for a Racist, Terrorist, Apartheid State

By Douglas Murray
Gatestone Institute
October 16, 2014

ImageThe House of Commons is filled with people who would like to flaunt their anti-racist credentials… and show they are tough on terrorists. Yet here they were trying to will into existence a state which in the words of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking last year, "would not see the presence of a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our lands." It is a pre-Mandela apartheid they are willing into existence.

"Our enterprise extends far beyond Palestine: Palestine in its entirety, the Arab Nation in its entirety, and the entire world." -- Mahmoud al-Zahar, speech, 2010. It is what the proxies and officials of al-Qaeda and Iran have said in European capitals for years and what they say every day.

All efforts to stop the mad rush to declare Palestine a state, without the Israel's agreement as assured under international law, are dismissed as "Israeli propaganda." The idea that sensible people can sensibly object is washed away.

On Monday night British Members of Parliament passed a motion by 274 to 12 saying, "That this House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution." It comes only weeks after the Swedish Parliament passed a similar unilateral motion.

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