Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hamas Rising

The End of Mahmoud Abbas - Caroline Glick

Like it or not, the day is fast approaching when the Palestinian Authority we have known for the past 22 years will cease to exist.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s US-trained Palestinian security forces have lost control over the Palestinians cities in Judea and Samaria. His EU- and US-funded bureaucracies are about to lose control over the local governments to Hamas. And his Fatah militias have turned against him.

In Nablus, Fatah terrorist cells are in open rebellion against PA security forces. Since August 18, Fatah cells have repeatedly engaged PA forces in lethal exchanges, and according to Inbari, the town is now in a state of “total anarchy.”

In Hebron, tribal leaders, more or less dormant for the past 20 years, are regenerating a tribal alliance as a means of bypassing the PA, which no longer represents them. Their first major action to date was to send a delegation of tribal leaders to meet with King Abdullah of Jordan.

All of this fighting and maneuvering is taking place against the backdrop of the encroaching PA municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.

Hamas is widely expected to win control over most of the local governments in Judea and Samaria. Hamas’s coming takeover of the municipalities is likely playing a role in decisions by Fatah terrorist cells to reject the authority of the PA. Many of those cells can be expected to transfer their allegiance to Hamas once the terrorist group wins the elections.

Given his Fatah party’s looming electoral defeat, more and more PA functionaries are wondering why Abbas doesn’t use the growing anarchy in Palestinian cities as a reason to cancel them. Abbas seems to have calculated that Israel will step in and, as it has repeatedly done over the past 20 years, cancel the elections for him.

Media organs Abbas controls are full of conspiracy theories whose bottom line is that Israel is not canceling the elections Abbas declared because it is in cahoots with Hamas and other “collaborators” to undermine the PA.

Although Israel, of course, is in cahoots with no one, it is the case that the government has apparently finally lost its patience with Abbas and is looking past him.

Repeated angry denunciations by government leaders of Abbas for his lead role in inciting violence against Israelis, leading the international movement to delegitimize Israel, refusing to negotiate anything with its leaders, and radicalizing Palestinian society, are finally being translated into policy.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent announcement that Israel is adopting a carrot-andstick approach not toward the PA but toward the Palestinians themselves, and will advance development projects in areas where terrorism levels are low and take a hard line against areas where terrorist cells are most active, has sent shock waves through Abbas’s palaces.

For 22 years, Israel has bowed to Palestinian and Western demands and agreed to speak only to PA functionaries and Palestinian civilians authorized by the PA to speak to Israelis. Liberman’s decision to base Israel’s actions on the ground on the behavior of the Palestinians themselves rather than act in accordance with PA directives, along with his decision to speak directly to Palestinian businessmen and others, marks the end of Israel’s acceptance of this practice.

Confrontation between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Palestinians in Judea and Samaria is inevitable.

Moreover, this process will likely be rapid. Just as Hamas’s complete takeover of Gaza from Fatah forces happened seemingly overnight in June 2007, so its seizure of control over Judea and Samaria will happen in the blink of an eye.

Many Westerners, Israeli leftists and PA functionaries hope that some deus ex machina will fall from the sky at the last minute and cancel the elections.

But even if that happens, the underlying reality in which Abbas is rapidly losing all semblance of control over events in Judea and Samaria will not be reversed. Abbas has incited the Palestinians to the point where they reject not only Israel, but Abbas and the PA.

Now that Abbas’s reign is ending, the West is losing their man in Ramallah. Abbas’s Hamas successors will not be beholden to Western donors, although to their discredit, the Europeans in all likelihood will shower them with cash and side with them against Israel.

16 years after the failed Camp David summit, the fiction of the two-state solution is about to be shattered once and for all. The only relevant question today, is what does Israel intend to do next?

[Jerusalem Post]

Egypt and Jordan Fear Hamas Victory - Yoni Ben Menachem

After talks in Cairo, King Abdullah of Jordan and Egyptian President el-Sisi issued a joint statement on the Palestinian problem. The statement reflects the Egyptian-Jordanian order of priorities: first reconciliation within Fatah and only afterward reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

The statement called on Abbas to mend fences with his bitter rival Dahlan so that Fatah can run in the elections in a unified form and prevent a Hamas victory. 
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Video: Anarchy in the West Bank - Yoni Ben Menachem

On the run-up to October Palestinian local elections, the Palestinian Authority has arrested 100 suspects and in Nablus confiscated a million shekels' worth of weapons, including rockets.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Video: PA Losing Control - Pinhas Inbari 
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman says Palestinian President Abbas' "reign of corruption" is the main obstacle to improving the Palestinian economy in the West Bank. The defense minister views Abbas as a bitter enemy of Israel and says that Abbas' policies have eliminated any possibility of advancing the peace process.

"We've met dozens of economists and businessmen from the Palestinian Authority, and when you ask what's most important for the Palestinian economy, they all reply that the most important thing is to get rid of Abu Mazen [Abbas]," Lieberman said recently. "He has imposed a reign of corruption that encompasses everything. He has people in every economic sector - in real estate, the fuel market, the communications market. Abbas' people take a tithe from every deal, and aside from the people in the inner circle, the PA leadership doesn't allow anyone there to develop economically. That's why it's so important for him to go. As long as Abbas is there, nothing will happen."

Lieberman said he didn't think Israel should actively work to end Abbas' rule, but at the same time, it shouldn't blame itself for the situation in the West Bank. "Not everything depends on us," he said. "As long as the PA's corrupt and ineffective management continues, the economic situation there won't improve." 

In the upcoming Palestinian local elections on Oct. 8, the Fatah movement has maintained a surprising degree of unity. Even the close associates of Mohammad Dahlan - considered Mahmoud Abbas' main rival - have refrained from running on competing lists and are cooperating with Fatah.

In Gaza, Fatah appears to be mounting a close challenge. Unlike in the West Bank, Gazans will be able to choose between two lists explicitly identified with either Fatah or Hamas. Fatah may well be the better organized faction, at least in the large cities. 
(Times of Israel)

The Palestinian high court in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday postponed Palestinian municipal elections set for Oct. 8 following disputes between Fatah and Hamas over candidate lists.
Earlier on Thursday, a court in Gaza invalidated five electoral lists belonging to Fatah.
(Times of Israel)

The Fragile State of the Palestinian Authority
- Jonathan Schanzer and Grant Rumley

A Palestinian court postponed municipal elections scheduled for Oct. 8 because the two largest political factions, Fatah and Hamas, couldn't agree on terms. Palestinian opinion polls show a majority of voters want President Mahmoud Abbas, 81, to resign. Armed gangs regularly skirmish with Palestinian Authority forces, while Abbas' rivals, such as exiled Palestinian leader Mohammad Dahlan, continue to foment opposition.

Ramallah has so far managed to avoid the Arab Spring and its aftershocks, but under the one-man rule of Abbas, the Palestinian Authority is becoming brittle. More pressing than an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is the need to reconcile and stabilize Palestinian politics. 
Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Grant Rumley is a research fellow.
(Wall Street Journal)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Carlos Santana & The Changing Winds



Has the Cultural Boycott of Israel Peaked? - Adam Shay 

In the 2016 concert season, there is no shortage of international performers coming to Israel and virtually all categories are represented.

The South African rave-rap duo Die Antwoord, one of the hottest names around, was a prime target for BDS activity. However, the band paid little or no attention to this and once they took the stage in Tel Aviv they told the boycott activists exactly what they thought of them.

Guitar icon Carlos Santana had cancelled his performance in Israel back in 2010 when the cultural boycott was at its height. This is why Santana's recent performance in Tel Aviv was so important.

The fact that a performer of iconic status, who has in the past cancelled a performance, now feels it is safe and legitimate to return, tells us that as far as the cultural boycott is concerned, the worst may very well be behind us.
The writer is an expert on the cultural boycott of Israel.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Power Vacuum Brings Military Alliance Between Iran & Russia

The Price of Powerlessness - Charles Krauthammer

Iran's intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now. This week Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The reordering of the Middle East is proceeding apace. Where for 40 years the U.S.-Egypt alliance anchored the region, a Russia-Iran condominium is now dictating events.

That's what results from the nuclear deal with Iran. The nuclear deal was supposed to begin a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. Instead, it has solidified a strategic-military alliance between Moscow and Tehran.
(Washington Post)

Who Should Rule Syria? - Jonathan Spyer

Any real possibility of rebel victory in Syria ended with the entry of Russian forces last autumn, but the government's forces are also far from a decisive breakthrough. A victory for the Assad regime would be a disaster for the West.

Assad, an enthusiastic user of chemical weapons against his own people, is aligned with the most powerful anti-Western coalition in the Middle East - an alliance dominated by the Islamic Republic of Iran. If Assad won, the Iranian alliance would consolidate its domination of the entire land area between the Iraq-Iran border and the Mediterranean Sea - a major step towards regional hegemony for Iran.

At the same time, the Syrian rebellion today is dominated by Sunni Islamist forces. In the now extremely unlikely event of the Islamist rebels defeating the Assad regime and reuniting Syria under their rule, the country would become a Sunni Islamist dictatorship.

It is important to understand that "Syria" as a unitary state no longer exists. As a rebel commander told me in June: "Syria today is divided into four projects, none of which is strong enough to defeat all the others. These are the Assad regime, the rebellion, the Kurds and the Islamic State."

So the beginning of a coherent Syria policy requires understanding that the country has fragmented into enclaves, and is not going to be reunited in the near future. 
The writer is Director of the Rubin Center (formerly the GLORIA Center), IDC Herzliya, Israel, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


The Budding Alliance of Russia, Iran, and Turkey - Bret Stephens

In July 2015, Iran's Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani paid a visit to Moscow to propose a plan to save Bashar Assad's regime in Syria from collapse. Iran and Russia are not natural allies, but what tipped the scales in favor of a joint operation was a shared desire to humiliate the U.S. and kick it out of the Middle East.

Since then, Tehran has agreed to purchase $8 billion in top-shelf Russian weapons and is seeking Moscow's help to build another 10 nuclear reactors - useful reminders of how the mullahs are spending their sanctions-relief windfall.

All this is happening as the nuclear deal was supposed to be nudging Iran in a more pro-American direction.

Moscow and Ankara are also moving toward rapprochement and even a possible alliance. Turkish newspapers - all of them organs of the state - are whipping Turks into an anti-American frenzy with allegations that retired American generals were behind July's failed coup.

Erdogan is rapidly Iranianizing his regime on the Khomeini model. Turning the U.S. into a Great Satan is a necessary part of the process.
(Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Olympic Non-Handshake Reveals Arab Racism

What the Olympics Say about Anti-Israel Racism - David Rosenberg

Egyptian judoka Islam el-Shehaby refused to shake hands or ceremoniously bow to his Israeli opponent Or Sasson and was reprimanded by the International Olympics Committee. But the media response to the story only touched the surface.

A search of Olympic snubs comes up with zero incidents apart from Arabs dissing Israelis. There are no cases of Israelis dissing Arabs, and none of Yemenis insulting the Saudis who are bombing their country. There are no protests against the Syrians, Iran or Russia, who are playing a key role in the Syrian bloodbath. Anti-Israeli racism is exactly what we see, not just at the Olympics, but in the Arab world's attitude toward Israel in general.

The racist attitude of Arabs toward Israel is the kind based on deep hatred that lumps all Israelis into one monstrous, violent people who don't deserve to live in our neighborhood and should go back to where they came from. Anti-Israeli racism goes beyond criticism of Israeli behavior. It gets down to the very personal level of refusing to have direct contact with Israelis or even be in their presence.

Arab anti-Israeli racism has far greater implications for Israel than an occasional Olympic snub. We can sign peace treaties and we can form strategic alliances, but those ties haven't penetrated below. Like the first black family with the courage to move into a white neighborhood, we can buy the property and make it our home. But we're not going to be a part of the neighborhood until our neighbors' attitudes change.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Saudis Warming to Israel

A media campaign in Saudi Arabia is seeking to combat anti-Semitism in the kingdom, apparently in an effort to prepare public opinion for deepened relations with Israel.
Ehud Ya'ari, a senior analyst at Israel's Channel 2 TV, read out examples of recent articles by Saudi columnists demonstrating a shift in attitude towards the Jewish state and Jews in general.
(Times of Israel)


Israel and the Alliance of the Imperiled - Ethan Seletsky

As neighboring nations face the increasingly rabid Islamic State, the security tactics and expertise of Israel are extremely valuable international commodities. Israel, in turn, could gain a large amount of international favor and begrudging cooperation from nations that have historically been enemies to the Jewish state by acting as a teacher and security expert.

Israel has already used military aid as a tool for foreign relations, particularly in Africa and Latin America. This allowed Israel to build relationships outside of the hostile Middle East.

Israel is now poised to make new allies in the region to unify against the common enemy of Islamic fundamentalism. Israeli intelligence, technology, and expertise have already proven themselves in the war against Islamic extremism.

Egypt and Israel combat Islamic State affiliates in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel is already working with Jordan against Levantine Islamic State threats. As a result, relations between the three nations have improved, in what has been described as a "unity of the threatened."

The Saudis and the Turks, who have seen a dramatic increase in Islamic State attacks, are in prime position to join this alliance of the imperiled. In the wake of Iran, which stands upon the threshold of nuclear capabilities, this alliance of the imperiled is all the more vital for the future of peace in the Middle East.

This is an opportunity for Israel to rebuke its critics and demonstrate its ability to cooperate and seek out peace. It is one thing to be secure against one's rivals; it is quite another to be something they need.

Of course, some nations will decline this opportunity. The French have stubbornly refused to utilize Israeli technology in the past for fear of negative publicity. As terror threats proliferate in the years to come, however, the price of such obstinacy will be far too high.
[The Jewish Advocate]

The New Normal: Arab Debate over Israel Ties - David Pollock

  • At the security and intelligence levels, direct contacts between Israeli and Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian, and other Arab officials have become so frequent and mutually useful as to be routine.
  • What is noteworthy today is that the issue of dialogue with Israel is being actively and openly debated in major Arab media. Some Egyptian writers and academics most critical of ties to Israel acknowledge that the younger generation, turned against Iran, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood by their own government, is losing some of its animosity toward their Israeli neighbors.
  • While Arab publics overwhelmingly dislike Israel (and Jews), solid majorities in most recent surveys, on the order of 60%, nevertheless voice support for a "two-state solution," which implies peace with the Jewish state.
  • In the past two years, polls in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE show that "the Arab street" is much more concerned about the conflicts with Iran, Assad, and ISIS than about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • The conclusion is clear: today a broader regional approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, rather than a strictly bilateral Israeli-Palestinian one, offers somewhat better prospects of success.
  • For an increasing number of Arabs, Israel may not be a friend, but could become a partner.
    The writer is a fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Fikra Forum to support Arab democrats.
  • (Fikra Forum-Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Saudi Media Soften Hostility toward Israel - Michael Wilner and Herb Keinon

    Saudi state-run media appear to be softening their reporting on Israel, running unprecedented columns floating the prospect of direct relations, quoting Israeli officials, and running fewer negative stories on Israel's relationship with the Palestinians. One column called for Saudis to "leave behind" their "hatred of Jews," and another said that talks between the two nations should be direct, based on Saudi national interests.

    Saudi conservative Islamists view Iran, the Shi'ites and Hizbullah as "much worse than the Jews," noted David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Israeli National Security Strategy - Moshe Yaalon

    The Sunni Arab camp comprises Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, and others. Israel shares several common adversaries with this camp.

    The U.S. should join Israel in publicly aligning with the Sunni Arab camp

    These states are not asking the U.S. to deploy ground troops to the region - they just want Washington to be more engaged by supporting partners on the ground with airstrikes and intelligence and making their alliances known more openly.
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Monday, August 15, 2016

    Palestinians Fake An "Historic" Village

    Regavim, a Zionist organization, exposes the"historic" Palestinian village of Sussiya as a fraud.  It never existed.

    The Creation of A Fake "Historic" Palestinian Village - Josh Hasten

    The “global Shabbat against demolitions” this past weekend gathered around 300 Jews from some five countries to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian village of Sussiya. They claimed that “As Jews, we say emphatically that forced displacement, dislocation and demolition do not represent our values.”

    However, the fact is that these so-called “activists” are simply expressing anti-Israel bias by supporting thieves and squatters who have illegally settled on swaths of state land.

    [T]he town of Susiya is a small, ancient and historical Jewish community in the Southern Hebron Hills. But the interest isn’t actually on Jewish Susiya, a thriving Jewish town today which archeological evidence indicates was originally a Jewish village established around 1,500 years ago. Instead the attention is being given to what some call “Arab Susiya,” an illegal encampment built on state land adjacent to the Jewish historical site.

    The reason for the fuss is that following years of back-and-forth court hearings, with the High Court issuing an order calling to knock down the illegal structures on the site, the Civil Administration might finally carry out its duty. All that remains is the approval of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was asked to issue a ruling around August 15 in response to a petition drafted by Regavim to implement the demolition.

    Regavim has been monitoring the illegal building and expansion on state land taking place at Susiya over the past several years and per the organization’s mandate is insisting the Civil Administration uphold the law and remove the squatters from land that is not theirs. While Regavim stands nearly on its own defending Israel’s state land, around 50 other NGOs have come forward to defend the land thieves.

    These anti-Israel NGOs both here and abroad are appealing to foreign entities including the US State Department to pressure Minister Liberman not to carry out the demolition of “Arab Susiya.” These groups claim that the encampment is an ancient historical Palestinian village. To put it bluntly, that is a complete fabrication.

    Surveys of villages and populations conducted by the British Mandatory powers in 1945, which mention all of the villages in the area and even some of the inhabitants, prove there is no hint of the existence of an Arab village named Susiya. More recently aerial photos obtained by Regavim from 1999 show nothing resembling a village in that area. An identical photo from 2013 shows how squatters have infiltrated the locale.

    Regavim research also shows that this clan of bandits is mainly from the Nawajah family who reside in the nearby town of Yatta. In 1986, using the ruse of being harmless shepherds in search of grazing land, members of the clan settled at the archeological site itself, but were evicted by the IDF. It was at that point that they moved to their current location. The Nawajah family has tried to take permanent control of the area ever since, in complete violation of the law.

    So while the anti-Israel NGOs claim to be standing up against an “expulsion” of the Arabs in the area, this is simply a media stunt to paint Israel in a negative light. What this really would amount to – should the Defense Minister come out on the side of the courts, is an eviction of illegal squatters.

    “But won’t the Arabs be left homeless,” if Israel were to destroy the structures? First, let’s remember that most of the trespassers are homeowners in Yatta. In other words, they can simply go home. But even so, out of humanitarian concerns and leniency, Israel agreed to allot an alternate area to the residents of the encampment, on state land adjacent to Yatta. The Arabs rejected this generous offer, proving it’s not about providing adequate housing and a future for their children, but all about illegal encroachment on Israeli lands in area C of Judea.

    A similar strategy of Arabs illegally squatting and building on state land in area C is currently being implemented in other parts of Judea and Samaria by the Palestinian Authority with backing and funding from the European Union, to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros. The goal is to illegally create a unilateral de-facto Palestinian state in area C and avoid any future peace talks with Israel.

    Regavim has been working tirelessly to expose this deception both at Susiya and in other areas. The NGOs involved are transparent in their anti-Israel agendas by siding with the illegal builders who continuously belittle law enforcement and refuse all offers of compromise, while cynically exploiting the legal process to further illegal activities. It is highly doubtful that the legal system of the United States, Europe or any other country would conduct itself with such a high level of tolerance and patience in a similar case.

    So while some anti-Israel Jews are getting together to support the thieves, let’s hope our defense minster makes the right decision to halt the illegal activity at Susiya by taking down the illegal buildings, thus sending a message that in a democracy such as Israel, the established laws must be upheld.
    The writer is the international director of Regavim, a legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring responsible, legal and accountable use of Israel’s national land.
    [Jerusalem Post]

    VideoBite: Muslim Zionist Speaks Out

    Courtesy of Aish.com
     A 6 minute video of Sarah Zoabi, a proud Muslim Zionist

    Wednesday, August 03, 2016

    Anarchy in Palestinian Authority's West Bank

    The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity - Pinhas Inbari

    The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. Some districts are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA's disintegration.

    In Hebron, the large clans of Mount Hebron have linked up with each other, reestablished the Tribal Council of Mount Hebron, and sent a delegation to Amman to express loyalty to the king of Jordan.

    Nablus has gone into a tailspin of total anarchy, under the rule of gangs, with exchanges of gunfire in the heart of the city and attempts at political assassinations. Local Fatah strongman Ghassan Shak'a, who resigned as head of the Nablus municipality in August 2015, announced that he will run in the next municipal elections with his own list of candidates against the Fatah slate. On June 1, 2016, unknown persons in Nablus fired at his house. On July 24, bullets struck the home of Muhammad Jihad Dwekat just days after he announced his intention to run for Nablus mayor as an independent non-Fatah candidate.

    In Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, a dense network of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (PNGOs) that relies on European aid is leading a growing opposition to the PA. Europe believes that the successor to Mahmoud Abbas will emerge from this network - from the local Palestinians that the Oslo agreements disinherited when the PLO leadership in Tunis was brought in to rule. However, the PLO is not prepared to agree to any power sharing with the PNGOs. It wants to take measures against them, but is encountering problems with Europe.

    The PA's loss of control in the West Bank raises questions about its ability to run a state. The fragmented West Bank will be a weaker entity than the weak states that collapsed in the Arab Spring. When the Palestinian entity collapses, the vacuum will be filled by the negative forces that have become the nightmare of the world.
    The writer is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Tuesday, August 02, 2016

    Europe Sleepwalking Through History

    The Sleepwalkers - Jonathan Spyer

    The terror attacks in Nice, Wurzburg and Normandy are the latest manifestations of what should now be seen as a still fairly low-level Islamist insurgency taking place in a number of west European countries. The fact that this insurgency has been allowed to kindle itself and slowly emerge before now bursting forth represents a profound failure of Western European political culture and of the continent’s elites.

    This is not merely a matter of poor police or intelligence work. Rather, it is the culmination of a long process of enfeeblement. The Islamist insurgency is a disease attacking an already weakened body which lacks the means to defend itself.

    A hollowing-out of European culture has taken place over recent years. The elites of the continent are united by a set of joint perceptions deriving from a shared experience of life. They are transnational, cosmopolitan, skeptical of passionately held belief, reflexively secular. Their shared experience of the world is of a safe place, in which a certain set of attitudes and connections enables life to be lived in a pleasant and free way.

    Civilizational conflict, passionate religious ideological commitment, even fervently experienced patriotism do not feature very highly on the elite’s radar. Such sentiments are to be dismissed with a smile, or treated with bewildered fear and apprehension if they appear to be persistent and potent.

    The problem with this elite is not that they are evil or decadent. It is that their worldview is inadequate to grasp the nature of the time in which they are living. They are an easy generation, made for prosperous times, for the cool management of systems, for times of plenty.

    But the times of plenty have gone.

    The Middle East is in the midst of a massive historic convulsion. Political Islam, in its many variations, has captured the minds of millions and is now leading to war and state fragmentation in the Middle East. And through the process whereby Mideastern refugees seek to quit the region and enter Europe, these ideas enter Europe, carried by some of the young men making their way behind the walls, like a plague bacillus.

    The result is the current insurgency. It is erupting out of parts of the society untouched and undreamt of by the elite.

    The response is denial. Ways are found to maintain that the insurgents are not in fact Islamists or jihadis at all.

    Absurdly high levels of knowledge and religious commitment are required for the perpetrator to be considered an Islamist, as if such knowledge tests were ever demanded in ascertaining the affiliation of terrorists past.

    Mohammed Lahouaiyej Bouhlel drives a truck into a crowd of passersby screaming “Allahu Akbar”? This is found to have nothing to do with Islam because of his poor record of mosque attendance. And so on. It would be comical if it were not so serious.

    The current European intellectual and political elite is simply not equipped to understand what is taking place. It is utterly unprepared to understand the nature of sectarian holy war; such things are utterly outside of its experience. What is clearly unfolding before their eyes — a largely homegrown Islamist insurgency running on the fuel of ideas coming out of the Middle East — cannot be happening. So it isn’t. Their solution is to block their ears.

    Does this mean that Western Europe is doomed and must resign itself to seeing its cities turned permanently into battlegrounds for Islamist insurgency? As things currently appear, the answer is “not necessarily.”

    When faced with external threats and tests, cultures can do one of two things.

    If they are played out and decadent and old, they can admit defeat. Yet if something of vitality remains, the culture will produce antibodies, alternative voices, and modes of resistance. History is replete with examples of both.

    As of now, the growth of voices and political parties outside of the mainstream who are prepared to speak openly about the challenge attests to a residual will to survival in a number of European countries.

    However, since the Islamist side is entrenched, well-financed, and full of wild desire for the fight, we should assume that the efforts at resistance will presage not an early return to order, but rather the prospect of further and increased civil strife in Western Europe in the period ahead.
    [Rubin Center]

    More Flirtation Between Saudis & Israel

    Saudi Visitor: 'Israeli Society Wants Peace' - Adam Rasgon

    Abd al-Mujid al-Hakim, a member of the Saudi Arabian delegation that recently visited Israel, told BBC Arabic, "In Arab societies, the picture of Israeli society is that it embraces a culture of death, wants to spill blood, and does not believe in peace. That is not correct. The Israeli society that I encountered embraces a culture of peace, has accomplishments it wants to (protect), wants coexistence, and wants peace."

    Hakim serves as director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Policy in Jedda.
    (Jerusalem Post)