Friday, August 22, 2014

Executions are kiddie entertainment in Gaza

Here is a photo from one of the public executions done today in Gaza.

Notice the upper right corner (h/t CifWatch)

This video shows the blood and scattered clothes afterwards - along with more children hanging around:

Fun for the family!

"Palestine" nominates poster collection for UNESCO - but there are none from before 1967

From The Palestine Poster Project:

The nomination of a major collection of posters from the Palestine Poster Project Archives has been accepted for formal review by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Memory of the World program. The UNESCO program’s International Register inscribes library and archival holdings of “world significance and outstanding universal value.”

The nominated work, the Liberation Graphics Collection of Palestine Posters, is the first documentary heritage resource ever nominated by the state of Palestine for inscription to the Memory of the World program. If inscribed, it will join a register that includes the Bayeux Tapestry, the Book of Kells, the Phoenician Alphabet, the Gutenberg Bible, Karl Marx’s personally annotated manuscript of Das Kapital, and hundreds of other historically significant documents.

The Liberation Graphics Collection of Palestine Posters comprises 1,700 rare posters created by Palestinian and international artists in solidarity with the Palestinian quest for liberation, sovereignty, and the right of return. These documents cover a critical time period in Palestinian history: the second half of the twentieth century, when Palestinians organized and asserted themselves under conditions of colonization, war, exile, and occupation.
I have nothing at all against the Palestine Poster Project. Despite the name, they have gathered an incredible collection of historic Zionist posters from as far back as 1897. It is a tremendous research site with fascinating tidbits and some fantastic and important poster art.

Here is a poster from the Fifth Zionist Congress in 1901.

Not only that, they include several dozen of my posters on their site! While most of them are politically oriented and were not created to be great art, I am proud of this poster that they included.

There are a also few early anti-semitic posters from the Dreyfus Affair.

Now, let's look at the special collection that the "State of Palestine" nominated to be included along with the Gutenberg Bible.

The earliest Palestinian Arab posters they have (outside a reproduction of a 1960 painting) are from 1967.

They include this poster against UNSC resolution 242 put out by Fatah:

And they have an early version of The Map That Lies:

I agree that the collection should be seen - people need to compare and contrast the violent posters of the Palestinian Arabs...

 with the forward-looking posters of the Zionists.

If the special Palestinian Arab collection of posters gets accepted by UNESCO, they will be hailed as an important part of Palestinian history and culture. Clearly the PA government thinks so.

Will anyone ask the simple question: Why were there no posters created before the Six Day War?

08/22 Links Pt1: Israeli boy, 4, killed by mortar; Rocket hits Ashdod synagogue, injuring 3

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: A moral and military blow for Hamas
A long time will pass before Izzadin Kassam manages to fill the vacuum created by the departure of the three top figures and symbols whose expertise dates back to the late ’80s, when Hamas was established.
Even if the killing of the Hamas leaders does not affect the movement’s military capabilities, it is still seen as a severe moral blow to the armed wing.
A statement published Thursday by Izzadin Kassam openly admitted that the loss of its three top commanders was a “moral shock to the spirits of the members and supporters of the resistance.”
Nonetheless, the group said that despite the “moral pain,” the killings would strengthen the determination of others to step forward to succeed the slain commanders.
Finally, it remains to be seen whether the targeting of the military commanders will affect relations between Izzadin Kassam and Hamas’s political leaders.
The armed group is now urging the political leaders not to return to the Cairo cease-fire talks, lest that be interpreted as a sign of weakness and submission on the part of the movement.
Caroline Glick: Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance
Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event. It is happening in the context of the vast changes that are casting asunder old patterns of behavior and strategic understandings as actors in the region begin to reassess the threats they face.
Hamas was once funded by Saudi Arabia and enabled by Egypt. Now the regimes of these countries view it as part of a larger axis of Sunni jihad that threatens not only Israel, but them.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey, are the key members of this alliance structure. Without their support Hamas would have gone down with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last summer. As it stands, all view Hamas’s war with Israel as a means of reinstating the Brotherhood to power in that country.
Melanie Phillips: Israel’s strategic failure on the information battleground
Simply by always being on the defensive, Israel looks guilty. It should instead be investing money and manpower in using information as a strategic weapon. In addition to taking the dissemination of information onto a different level altogether, it should be going onto the attack against all those who are undermining the defense of the innocent in the Middle East and empowering the aggressors.
It should have a public media rebuttal unit, which would not just monitor and correct every piece of false information but publicly call out news organizations and named journalists for promulgating lies or distortions. At a political level, it should be accusing such media outlets of inciting hatred and violence and, in acting as the agents of Hamas propaganda, serving as accessories to mass murder.
It should be calling to account British and European governments for their astonishing silence about the sustained demonization of Israel. It should be publicly asking the British government why, in threatening an arms embargo against Israel if it should defend itself against Hamas attacks in a “significant” escalation, the UK is effectively taking the side of exactly the same kind of Islamist fanatics against whom it is now taking such urgent action in Iraq.
It should be helping set up an independent commission composed of distinguished international jurists to investigate not just Hamas war crimes but the complicity of the UN Relief and Works Agency, the vast majority of whose workers are Hamas members and whose schools brainwash Gaza’s children into hating and murdering Israelis.
In other words, Israel’s strategy should be actively to reframe the narrative of the Middle East conflict and delegitimize the delegitimizers, whether these be the media, the UN or Israel’s supposed allies abroad.
Why hasn’t it done so? Because its government is chaotic, arrogant and timid. It contemptuously dismisses the need to win Western hearts and minds, and is afraid to puncture the lies told by its allies about the conflict. Given to machismo bluster, the only strategic thinking it understands is military. As a result, it is being beaten on a battleground it can’t bring itself to accept it is even on.

How valid is the ISIS=Hamas equivalence?

A lot of people have been comparing Hamas to ISIS lately, and Hussein Ibish lashed out at them yesterday:

In response to a question from Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies , Ibish said that the answer was "too basic:"

The thread went on:

Ibish didn't really argue anything in this thread, he's just making assertions.

There are some differences between Islamist groups. Hamas has fought against Salafi groups in Gaza, for example. Al Qaeda once criticized Hamas - believe it or not, for targeting civilians!

But while the tactics of the groups differ their goals do not. Perhaps to Ibish these are fundamental differences, but I believe that the differences are tactical, not strategic.

The overriding goal of an Islamic caliphate is the most important issue. Of course they disagree with each other; when have Arabs ever been unified? But given the same goals and roughly the same disregard for human rights, the differences are much less than their commonality.

Because all three groups will do whatever they deem necessary to reach their goals.

Would the NYT have published this yesterday?

Yesterday, Richard Behar at Forbes published a blistering attack on Western media coverage of the Gaza war, specifically the New York Times.

It seems more than coincidental that the first paragraphs of today's NYT piece are a 180-degree change in style from everything we've seen for the past six weeks:

Hamas is the party that keeps extending this summer’s bloody battle in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly breaking temporary truces and vowing to endlessly fire rockets into Israel until its demands are met. But the latest round of fighting appears to have given Israel the upper hand in a conflict that has already outlasted all expectations and is increasingly becoming a war of attrition.

Barrages of rockets from Gaza sailed into Israel nearly nonstop on Thursday, but they did little damage, and a Hamas threat against Ben-Gurion International Airport failed to materialize. Israel, meanwhile, killed three top commanders of Hamas’s armed wing in predawn airstrikes, and by afternoon had called up 10,000 reservists, perhaps in preparation for a further escalation but in any case a show of strength.

Israel’s advantage has never looked more lopsided. In contrast to the earlier phase of the war, Israel this week deployed its extensive intelligence capabilities and overwhelming firepower in targeted bombings with limited civilian casualties less likely to raise the world’s ire.
To flatly state that Hamas is the party that is at fault, without caveats, would have been unthinkable yesterday.

There has been no difference in the percentage of civilian casualties this week compared to any other week. The "world's ire" came from biased reporting of "civilian" casualties who weren't civilians and people killed while legitimate military targets were being hit, not in a small part because of the New York Times.

Behar's meticulously researched article seems to have struck a nerve.

Of course, the haters at Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss will mobilize the tens of thousands of anti-Israel bigots at their disposal to complain to the NYT and the paper will back down from reporting the truth, claiming that  "are getting complaints from both sides."

I don't expect this to change the reporting at the NYT for more than a day or two, but this shows that when publicly shamed, the media will at least pretend to change.

(h/t EBoZ)

Hamas executes 14 "collaborators" - will their deaths be blamed on Israel? (UPDATE: 21, real photo)

Times of Israel reports:
A Gaza security official announces Hamas has killed 11 suspected informers for Israel.

The security official says the 11 were killed early Friday at the Gaza City police headquarters. He says all the men had previously been sentenced by Gaza courts.

He speaks on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorized to discuss the incident with reporters. The killings of the 11 are also reported by al-Rai and al-Majd, two websites linked to Hamas.
These are in addition to the 3 reported executed on Thursday - which was reported separately in the same Al Majd website.

A witness said he saw their bodies lying on the ground near Al Azhar University before the bodies were transferred to the morgue at Shifa Hospital.

Hamas is calling this initiative "Operation Neck Choking."

No doubt, Israel's targeting of senior Hamas officials has gotten the remaining Hamas leaders very jumpy - and trigger-happy. They are now executing anyone who looks at them the wrong way, or using this as an excuse to kill off their political rivals, especially from Fatah.

In the al-Majd post about the story, they write, "It is prohibited to publish photographs or names of the executed in order to preserve the social fabric; and the criminal is by himself and his actions should not affect the other members of his family."

Which means that these "collaborators" will be counted as "civilians" killed by Israel. As we've seen before, the bodies of the murder victims are transported to a hospital morgue without telling anyone the circumstances of their death, so they are naturally assumed (and presumably reported by the Hamas health minister) as having been killed by Israel.

UPDATE: Reuters says, and the Al Majd site notes, seven more were executed:

Hamas militants killed seven Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in a public execution in a central Gaza square on Friday, witnesses and a Hamas website said.

The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque after prayers, witnesses and al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, said.

Ma'an says "Seven men were shot dead in front of a mosque by men in Hamas military uniforms after Friday prayers, witnesses said."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Caption contest

What is the Emir of Qatar thinking as he looks at Khaled Meshal?

Egyptian soccer star turns down the Pope game because of Israeli player

From Haaretz:

Retired Egyptian soccer star Mohammed Aboutrika has refused the Vatican's invitation to play in an interfaith soccer match promoting peace - because Israeli player Yossi Benayoun is taking part.

The “Inter-Religious Match for Peace" will take place on September 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

Aboutrika tweeted his refusal with the invitation letter he received from the Vatican. The tweet said, "This is a photo for the match invitation which I turned down because of the Zionist state. Pardon us, we are raising new generation."

Among the top players, active and retired, who did accept Pope Francis' invitation are Argentine greats Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. Maradona told Argentine media that the pope called him personally and asked him “to play for the peace between Israel and Palestine.” Francis also called Messi to request his participation. Players from Russia, Cameroon, Italy, France and Brazil, will also participate.

Aboutrika once revealed a "Sympathize with Gaza" T-shirt after scoring a goal.

08/21 Links Pt2: ‘Non-kosher’ Islamists and ‘kosher’ ones; Palestinians Should Boycott Hamas

From Ian:

David Horovitz: Netanyahu’s vital message, and his marginal one
“Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace; they’re the enemies of Israel; they’re the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians. And I’m not the only one who believes it,” he concluded.
The degree to which the Israeli leadership can impress upon the international community that Hamas is one of the tentacles of Islamist terror along with the likes of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda may well prove critical to the way this conflict, and thus Israel, are perceived in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Netanyahu has clearly internalized the imperative to stress that this is not a war against Gazans, but a war against the terror group that took over Gaza — in the same way that IS seeks to take over Syria and Iraq, and that Al-Qaeda spreads its rapacious territorial and ideological agenda. Critically, for an America stomach-churned by the Foley beheading, and for a Britain belatedly realizing that many of its own citizens are now engaging in Islamist jihad, this places Israel on the front line of the battle against terrorism — challenging the false narratives critics so successfully peddle of obdurate, aggressive Israel as a root cause of that terrorism.
Analysis: ‘Non-kosher’ Islamists and ‘kosher’ ones
While some might think that the sudden surge of Islamic State will give Israel a greater degree of understanding in the world – it was indeed telling to hear French President François Hollande on Wednesday talk about convening an international conference to fight the Islamic extremists – this should not be overstated.
In the fight against the Islamic extremists, there will be those in the international community who will want to signal to the world’s Muslims that they have nothing against them. One way to do this might be to differentiate between the bad evil folks, such as Islamic State – which beheads American journalists in front of video cameras – and the good evil folks: Hamas, which “only” executes kidnapped Jewish youth, something some out there find possible to “understand,” because those youths wore kippot and were hitchhiking near a “settlement.”
All those who think that as a result of the Islamic extremists’ killing of Yezidis, and the gruesome beheading of US journalist James Foley, the West will now take a more understanding view of Israel’s battle with Islamic extremist Hamas, should think again. Hamas will always be given leeway by some of the world’s “progressives” because – after all – they are fighting the “Zionist occupation.”
The Beheading of James Foley and Other Unintended Consequences
Secretary of State John Kerry followed the President with an equally harsh statement. "There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil. ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity."
Both the President and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. That is not an appropriate distinction for American political figures to make. Ours is a country that is secular in its governance and does not truck in "true religions" or parsing other people's religious beliefs. The organization speaks precisely in Islamic terms and holds itself out to be authentic Islam. Muslims themselves will either accept ISIS as part of their religious family or drum it out.
It is only possible for the United States to declare ISIS, whether part of Islam or not, to be an enemy organization to the United States and to declare our intention to destroy it. If the President now needs to recalibrate our military intervention in Iraq to include the decimation of ISIS, either his earlier promises of limitations will be broken or the chances of American success are slim to none.
Here is another unintended consequence, perhaps the only positive one to emerge: In the President and Secretary's words resides the basis for "recalibrating" on Hamas. They appear to have (belatedly) come to an understanding that the appropriate Western position toward unacceptably aggressive, "evil," behavior, is to not to negotiate with it, plead with it, "reform" it, or buy it off -- but to destroy it.
The terrorist group Hamas also massacres innocents. That Hamas cannot kill as many Israelis as it would like and cannot currently impose its version of Islam on West Bank Palestinians is irrelevant.

MUST READ: Forbes withering criticism of US media coverage of Gaza

Richard Behar of Forbes has a dazzling analysis of the media coverage out of Gaza. It takes everything I've been mentioning, and much more, into a single article damning US media, especially the New York Times.

As more than a month has passed since Israel began its Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, it’s high time to dig through the carnage that many of my colleagues from major U.S. media outlets are leaving behind—especially the New York Times.
Since late July, I’ve conducted an in-depth look at the credibility of the media coverage, plus interviews with military experts and some journalists covering the war. Among other things, I’ve discovered that the Times’ most important reporter in Gaza for the past few years has used the late Yasser Arafat as his profile photo on Facebook, and, in a second photo, praised the former Palestinian leader. This suggests that the Times may have less to worry about in terms of Hamas intimidation than others in the press corps. Indeed, this Times reporter’s parallel pieces for Qatar’s Al Jazeera since the war began can only be pleasing to the terrorists.
It's long but well worth it.

Fares Akram, the NYT's main Gaza correspondent, has a photo of Yasir Arafat on his Facebook profile.

Egyptians worried that Jews might "buy citizenship"

There has been a recent rumor in Egypt that the government might start selling Egyptian citizenship:
Economic experts have recently begun discussing the idea of selling of Egyptian citizenship to foreign investors as a solution to the deteriorating investment climate in Egypt.

Following the 25 January Revolution, official figures show Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fell drastically due to instability, from approximately $13.2bn in the 2007/2008 fiscal year to around $5bn in the last fiscal year (FY). A total amount of $2.8bn of the $5bn was in the first half only, according to chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) Hassan Fahmy. In FY 2012/2013, FDI had marked $3bn.
Although the rumors have been denied, the Egyptian street is in an uproar about it.

Because they are worried that Jews will become Egyptian citizens.

In late 2012 there was a similar uproar when an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official said that Jews who used to live in Egypt should be able to return when Israel is properly destroyed.

Egyptians are paranoid that the Jews they expelled will come back and claim all the land and buildings that were stolen. In early 2013 there was a rumor that the Muslim Brotherhood had burned down a museum that included state archives in order to allow Jews to come back and claim their stolen heritage.

At the same time there was another rumor that the US ambassador said that King Tut was Jewish, and that Egypt will go bankrupt and Jews will return and enslave the Egyptians.

So for some reason the idea that Jews are going to go to Egypt really freaks many Egyptians out.

Perhaps it is guilt - because they know that they stole so much from so many.

08/21 Links Pt1: ISIL and Hamas Are Branches of Same Tree; IDF Blog: Hamas Human Shield Policy

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: Why Does President Obama Condemn ISIS But Ask Israel to Accept Hamas in Unity Government?
At the same time that President Obama has called for an all-out war against the “cancer” of ISIS, he has regarded Hamas as having an easily curable disease, urging Israel to accept that terrorist group, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, as part of a Palestinian unity government. I cannot imagine him urging Iraq, or any other Arab country, to accept ISIS as part of a unity government.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu have gone even further, urging the international community to recognize the legitimacy of Hamas as a political party and to grant it diplomatic recognition. It is hard to imagine them demanding that the same legitimate status be accorded ISIS.
Why then the double standard regarding ISIS and Hamas? Is it because Hamas is less brutal and violent than ISIS? It’s hard to make that case. Hamas has probably killed more civilians—through its suicide bombs, its murder of Palestinian Authority members, its rocket attacks and its terror tunnels—than ISIS has done. If not for Israel’s Iron Dome and the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas would have killed even more innocent civilians. Indeed its charter calls for the killing of all Jews anywhere in the world, regardless of where they live or which “rock” they are hiding behind. If Hamas had its way, it would kill as least as many people as ISIS would.

Michael Lumish: Eliminate Hamas
The western liberal-left has been consistently wrong about almost everything when it comes to foreign policy under the Obama administration, particularly the Arab-Israel conflict, yet they never admit a mistake and excoriate those who point them out.
We need a new paradigm to discuss the long Arab war against the Jews, because relying upon the terms of Oslo is to rely upon the enemy’s terms. It is not merely that we yield the home field advantage, but that we concede the debate before it begins.
What I suggest, as a preliminary to even thinking about the question, is to remember to expand the context historically. It is exceedingly important to include thirteen hundred years of dhimmitude in the conversation if Jews wish to have any hope of appealing to rational liberals… which, in itself, does not seem very likely.
It is also exceedingly important, and for the same reason, to get them to understand the conflict is not some Jewish “Goliath” against a thumb-sucking and helpless Arab “David.” Arabs outnumber Jews 60 or 70 to 1 in that part of the world and are more than willing to use their cousins in Gaza, and in Judaea and Samaria, as a club against the hated Jewish prophet-killers.
We can never win the argument so long as we fight on progressive-left anti-Israel rhetorical turf and, yet, with few exceptions, we almost never seem to fight anywhere else.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Not a Good Idea
A third reason Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank. Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear.
This is precisely what Hamas wants, a weak Palestinian authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel.
Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of it responsibilities toward the residents of Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority.