Friday, February 26, 2010
Posted by Thomas Braun at 12:23 PM
Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has called for a jihad, or holy war, against Switzerland, as an ongoing diplomatic row between the two nations heats up.
Posted by News Service at 2:15 AM
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Dubai hit exposes the failure of international law to fight jihadi terror, forcing the Jewish state to act independently.
The headlines and video images allegedly showing Israeli spies in Dubai are titillating, but they mask the serious issues involved in the death of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Along with predictable European hand-wringing over forged passports, this case is the latest example of the failure of the international legal system and the United Nations to provide a remedy to mass terror.
Al-Mabhouh was a cold-blooded murderer—in an interview just last year on Al Jazeera he boasted about kidnapping and then killing two Israeli soldiers. He was also a major figure in arranging arms shipments from Iran to Gaza. Al-Mabhouh shared responsibility for the thousands of rocket attacks fired at civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns, which resulted in last year's war in Gaza. In his travels, the Hamas terrorist was probably making arrangements for the next round of attacks.
But international law provides no means for stopping terrorists like Al-Mabhouh, or for his Hezbollah counterpart, Imad Moughniyeh, whose life ended with an explosion in Damascus in 2008. (In addition to numerous attacks against Israelis, Moughniyeh has been blamed for the 1983 Beirut bombings that killed hundreds of American and French peacekeepers and the murder of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.) Cases involving Muslim terrorists, supported by Iran, would never be pursued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or raised in the framework of the United Nations. Al-Mabhouh violated the human rights of untold Israeli civilians, but the U.N.'s Human Rights Council—which is dominated by such moral stalwarts as Libya, Algeria, and Iran—has no interest in Israeli complaints.
It is equally hard to imagine Interpol issuing arrest warrants in response to Israeli requests. And if warrants were issued, history shows that German, French, Belgian, and other European governments would not risk the consequences of acting on them. Little effort was ever made to apprehend the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic massacre, or of the deadly bombing attacks against synagogues in Istanbul and Athens. It's a widely known secret that European governments had ungentlemanly agreements with the PLO that allowed the Palestinians to operate from their territories, provided the terror attacks occurred elsewhere. Not until 2003 did the EU even put Hamas on its terror list. Hezbollah is currently free to operate in Europe.
The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope of justice. Instead, these frameworks are used to exploit the rhetoric of human rights and morality to attack Israel. In European courts, universal jurisdiction statutes, initially created to apprehend and try dictators and genocidal leaders, are now exploited as weapons in the service of the Palestinian cause. In this way, Israeli defense officials are branded as "war criminals."
Similarly, Richard Goldstone's predetermined "fact finding inquiry" into the Gaza war makes no mention of Al-Mabhouh or Iran, which supplied Hamas with over 10,000 rockets for attacks against Israelis. Mr. Goldstone and his team have remained silent about what would be the "legal" way to bring jihadi murderers to justice. In their efforts to demonize Israel, Palestinian terror actually doesn't really exist. The Goldstone team simply refused to accept conclusive Israeli video evidence of Hamas war crimes.
The same legal distortions are found among the organizations that claim to be the world's moral guardians, such as Human Rights Watch. HRW's systematic bias is reflected in a Middle East division that sees no problem in holding fund-raising dinners in Saudi Arabia—one of the world's worst human rights violators and a country officially still at war with Israel—to help finance their campaigns against the Jewish state.
In the absence of any legal remedies or Western solidarity, Israel's only option to protect its citizens from terror has always been to act independently and with force. When in 1976 a group of Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked an Israel-bound Air France plane to Uganda and separated the Jewish passengers, Israel decided to act. In a daring mission, it rescued all but three passengers while killing all terrorists and several Ugandan soldiers who had been protecting the terrorists. Back then, Israel's detractors also fretted about the "violation of Ugandan sovereignty" even though dictator Idi Amin was in cahoots with the terrorists. Entebbe, though, quickly became the gold standard for successful counter-terror operations. Only a year later, Israeli-trained German special forces freed in Mogadishu, Somalia a Lufthansa plane hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Similarly, when after years of horrific suicide bombings Israel pioneered the targeted killings of Hamas terrorists—often with the help of unmanned drones—Israel's Western adversaries complained about "extrajudicial assassinations." Today, though, U.S. forces have copied Israel's technique with their own drone killings of jihadi terrorists in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Unlike those Predator strikes, though, which hardly raise an eyebrow in the West these days, there was no "collateral damage" in the mysterious Dubai hit. No innocent civilians were hurt, no buildings were damaged. Justice was done, and al-Mabhouh's preparations for the next war ended quietly.
All this is lost on those diplomats, "legal experts," and pundits who blame Israel for Dubai, and angrily denounce the passport infractions. In the absence of viable alternatives, and a refusal to share any of the risks, they are in no position to condemn actions aimed at preventing more terror.
Mr. Steinberg teaches political science at Bar Ilan University and heads NGO Monitor.
Posted by Thomas Braun at 5:52 PM
Admiral Mullen's visit reaffirms US-Israel ties based on mutual strategic interests Yoram Ettinger
Published: 02.22.10, 09:38 / Israel Opinion
The February 2010 visit to Israel by Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, sheds light on the larger context of US-Israel relations, which transcends the Arab-Israeli conflict, leverages Israel's unique capabilities, and benefits both the US and Israel. The visit reaffirms that US policy toward Israel is based, primarily, on regional and global strategic interests and not on domestic politics. US-Israel relations do not resemble a one-way-street (the US gives and Israel receives), but a mutually-beneficial two-way street.
The evacuation of US forces from Iraq could trigger a political-military volcano, with boiling lava sweeping Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and Jordan, further deteriorating the region, highlighting Israel's contribution to the national security of its most critical ally, the USA.
For example, in 2010, US special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan leverage Israeli battle tactics and 61 year counter-terrorism experience. US Marines benefit from the Israeli-developed "Pioneer" unmanned aerial vehicle, which provides intelligence otherwise unobtainable, preempting terrorists, thus saving many lives. A US special operations colonel told me – in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – that his battalion benefited in Iraq from Israel's unique contribution in the areas of training, urban warfare, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, booby-traps, suicide bombers, roadblocks and checkpoints, interrogation of terrorists and anti-tank missiles.
According to Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Israeli experience played a role in defeating terrorists in Iraq's "Sunni Triangle."
According to Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense and a veteran of the Intelligence Committee, "Israel's contribution to US military intelligence is greater than all NATO countries combined."
In September 2006, Israel demolished a nuclear plant in Syria, thus dealing a blow to the anti-US Syria-Iran-North Korea axis, while upgrading the posture of deterrence and joint interests of the US and Israel.
'Largest US aircraft carrier'In 1982, Israel's Air Force was the first ever to destroy a Soviet built surface-to-air network. Israel destroyed 23 of the most advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, employed by Syria and considered impregnable. Israel's battle tactics and lessons, electronic warfare and other technological innovations were shared with the US, thus tilting the global balance of power in favor of the US.
In 1981, Israel devastated Iraq's nuclear reactor, in defiance of brutal US and international pressure – including a military embargo – thus according the US the conventional option during the 1991 war against Iraq. It spared the US and the world a nuclear confrontation, along with its mega human losses and mega-billion dollar cost.
In 1970, a Soviet proxy, Syria, invaded a US ally, Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and activate a pro-Soviet domino scenario into Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. US forces were overly-involved in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but Israel mobilized its military, forcing a Syrian evacuation of Jordan, thus preventing a collapse of pro-US regimes, a setback to US national security, havoc in the Arab oil-producing countries and a blow to the US standard of living. Israel's capability of snatching roasting chestnuts out of the fire – with no US involvement – transformed President Nixon into a supporter of enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, in spite of the fact that only 12% of US Jews voted for him, and irrespective of severe US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Former Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig, a former Supreme Commander of NATO, refers to Israel as "the largest, most battle-tested and cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located at a most critical area for US national security interests."
If Israel did not exist in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean - adjacent to most critical oil resources and water lanes, in the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa - the US would have to deploy a few aircraft carriers to the region, along with tens of thousands of military personnel, costing scores of billions of dollars annually and risking involvement in additional regional and international confrontations.
The Jewish State constitutes a battle-proven laboratory, which has improved thousands of US-made military systems and technologies, sharing with the US such improvements, thus enhancing the competitive edge of the US defense industries, expanding US employment and export base, upgrading US national security and saving many US lives and mega billion of dollars in terms of research and development cost. For instance, the current generation of the F-16 includes over 600 modifications introduced by Israel.
The US-Israel strategic cooperation surged meteorically during 1949-1992, despite rocky disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict, entirely due to a series of mutual threats and joint interests, which are much more pertinent to US national security. In hindsight, such disagreements have been merely bumps on the road toward unprecedented strategic cooperation. On a rainy day – in the battle against Iran and other threats - Admiral Mullen prefers a "tough nut" over a "punching bag" as an ally!
Posted by Thomas Braun at 5:29 PM
JERUSALEM -- The son of one of Hamas's founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.
Mosab Hassan Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas," is being published next week in the United States, and highlights of the book and an interview with the author appeared Wednesday in Israel's Haaretz daily. Yousef declined to comment, but his Facebook page plugs the book as "a gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices."
The revelation of such a high-level informant is another apparent blow to Hamas, which suffered a setback last month when one of its top commanders was assassinated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai authorities have accused Israel of carrying out the hit, and there have been reports that a Hamas insider assisted the killers.
Hamas, however, said it was suspicious of Yousef's activities for years and had kept a close eye on him to prevent him from gathering valuable information. His father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Islamist militant group in the 1980s and still a senior figure, issued a statement through his attorney saying his son had been "blackmailed" by Israeli authorities during a stint in jail in 1996.
Mosab Yousef told Haaretz that he was one of Israeli intelligence's most valuable sources in the Gaza Strip. His reports led to the arrests of several high-ranking Palestinian figures during the violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule that began in 2000, the newspaper said.
The younger Yousef converted to Christianity and moved to California in 2007.
Hamas officials rejected the Haaretz report as propaganda meant to divert attention from the Dubai assassination.
The elder Yousef said in his statement that when Hamas concluded Israel was extorting his son, "the members of the movement were warned about him." He was placed "under the supervision" of his father, whom the statement described as a politician uninvolved in militant activities. The elder Yousef is currently serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison for his political activities.
Collaboration with Israel is tantamount to treason in Palestinian society and can be punishable by death.
Yousef told Haaretz that Israeli intelligence agents first approached him in prison in 1996 and proposed he infiltrate the upper echelons of Hamas. He did so and is credited by Israel with saving hundreds of Israeli lives.
His book's publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, which prints books with Christian themes, confirmed the details in the Haaretz report. Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence agency, declined to comment.
Posted by Thomas Braun at 2:34 PM
Monday, February 22, 2010
Ask anyone from the EU or someone like Richard Goldstone whether Israel has the right to defend itself, and you will get the answer of "Yes, but...."
European Union foreign ministers condemned on Monday the use of forged European passports by assassins who killed a a top Hamas figure in Dubai, but made no direct reference to Israel.
Even though Goldstone ridiculously asserted that Israel could somehow eliminate the rocket threat through "commando actions" - showing his extreme ignorance of what the threat even was - apparently the clean assassination of a terrorist scumbag in Dubai is not an appropriate way to approach that very same threat. After all, the killing of Mabhouh was much cleaner than any actions Israel could do in Gaza - no damage to anyone's houses, no unwanted injuries, no danger to innocents. And yet it is condemned.
(It will be recalled that Mabhouh's often used forged passports as well, and no one seems to be very worked up about that.)
Putting it all together, and Israel's critics still cannot come up with a single realistic scenario of how Israel can legally defend itself, even as they insist that Israel has that "right." Having the right without the practical ability means that, according to these people, Israel really doesn't have the right to defend itself.
They might as well just admit it.
Posted by Thomas Braun at 5:56 PM
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Hamas: Dubai assassins were likely Arabs, not Israelis
Posted by Thomas Braun at 1:56 PM
As in yesteryear, so in the 21st century, it's axiomatic that Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews, but the Jews'
attempts to deflect such blows are evil, outrageous and deserving of merciless punishment.
Terrorist arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's son, Abdel-Rauf, stood teary-eyed before TV interviewers and lavished praise on his deceased father. He bragged that the late lamented, who was discovered dead in Dubai, "fought the Jews, hit the Jews, kidnapped and killed Israelis.
He outfitted and dispatched suicide bombers." That evidently made him an object for admiration, a source of honor and a claim to fame.
Killing Jews is a noble objective, one to take pride in, to revere.
So when we Israelis point to Mabhouh's gory record, it isn't just our biased say-so. It's hardly an unsubstantiated allegation, a pretext to justify assassination. His own son concedes this, indeed he crows about it as the paramount tribute he can pay his father.
And it isn't a mournful son's subjective or self-serving aggrandizement either. Hamas issued an official statement celebrating its latest shahid (martyr). Prominent in the Hamas-compiled catalog of Mabhouh glories are the 1989 abduction-murders of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa'adon.
By the boastful admission of both his kin and organization, Mabhouh's hands were bloodstained. Hence, by the Arabs' own rules of engagement, he was liable for reprisal. The principal code governing these rules is dam butlab dam (blood begets blood).
Because of this core premise Hamas now vows to wreak the most horrific vengeance on Israel, actual proof of Israeli culpability for Mabhouh's demise being entirely immaterial. All Israelis are therefore fair game. This is the elementary protocol of the blood feud.
But here's where we encounter our enemies' cynical lopsided logic. By their own rules assuming for argument's sake that we submit ourselves to them we should be perceived just as entitled as they to hunt down and kill whoever killed our own. Yet our retribution is condemned a priori as illegitimate. The right to avenge Mabhouh's death is unchallenged, whereas the right to avenge Mabhouh's victims is categorically denied. What is valid, in fact a sacred duty for one side, is intolerable and entirely villainous for the other.
The underlying assertion is that Mabhouh's acts were virtuous and sanctioned by absolute supernal will. Unlike our own, Arab society is unbothered by the pluralistic niceties of postmodern moral relativism.
Allah is exclusively on their side and they are the only interpreters of his wishes. This isn't only Hamas ideology. The Palestinian Media Watch disseminated the text of the January 29 sermon on PATV, under the auspices of our supposed peace-partner Mahmoud Abbas.
It called on all Muslims to remember that "the Jews are the Jews! The Jews are the Jews! Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. The Prophet said that if two Jews would be alone with a Muslim, they would think only of killing him… The Prophet says: 'You shall fight the Jews and kill them...'"
There is a whole loathsome lot more, but the basis is clear: the murder of Jews is divinely decreed.
In other words, Mabhouh acted morally. Those who opposed him are immoral. By this precept Jews must die and have no right to resist.
That is their lot. Not only do they possess no right to avenge, they possess no right to self-defense, to fight at all. Their very existence is a provocation, a casus belli.
THIS IS key to understanding today's Mideast. As in yesteryear, so in the 21st century it's axiomatic that Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways but the Jews' attempts to deflect such blows are evil, outrageous and deserving of merciless punishment.
Failure to admit how selective Arab rules of warfare are precludes making sense of anything in our region and dooms to failure any so-called peace drives and mediation initiatives. The tragedy is that not only is the fundamental asymmetry between Jewish and Arab mind-sets not comprehended abroad, but there's no inclination to even consider it.
Worse yet the Arabs' skewed standards are commonly accepted overseas. Hence the outcry whenever Israel does anything in aid of its self-preservation. Large-scale campaigns like Defensive Shield, the Lebanon War or Cast Lead are decried for "lack or proportionality."
However, there was censure even for pinpointed targeting such as the recent Nablus killing (in an exchange of fire during an attempted
arrest) of the three ambushers who had earlier slain Meir Avshalom Chai in a drive-by shooting. Abbas described them as "ruthlessly executed martyrs." Even the trials and convictions of murderers like Marwan Barghouti are portrayed as illegitimate. There plainly is just nothing Israel may do to secure itself. Even the most legalistically scrupulous remedies are repudiated.
The Goldstone Report is part and parcel of ongoing efforts to paralyze and disallow Israeli self-defense. The mud now slung at Israel is intended to intimidate use of force in future.
It's nothing new. This isn't the product of what's castigated as occupation and/or the shortage of suicidal concessions on Israel's part to appease Arab/Muslim appetites. Jewish self-defense, in its most rudimentary and literal sense, was anathema way before the Jewish state's birth and subsequent cheeky survival.
In his milestone, still ever-relevant 1943 book The Forgotten Ally, Dutch-Canadian journalist Pierre Van Paassen quotes his own interview with the British Mandate's acting high commissioner Harry Luke during the countrywide Arab rioting of 1929 (most notorious for the Hebron massacre). Van Paassen told Luke: "You arrested first and foremost, in every case I investigated, the Jews who successfully defended themselves. You arrested 50 Jews in Haifa at the moment they defended themselves heroically against the attack of a mob of some 2,000 runners-amok… yesterday I saw a man brought into Jerusalem by the mounted police and recognized in him an older settler from the neighborhood of Lifta, the owner of a small canning factory who had been in this country for more than 50 years a real pioneer. I visited this man in jail. His name is Isaac Brozen… He was arrested after he had barricaded himself in his factory… Arabs from Lifta raped and massacred his old wife and two daughters and set fire to his house across the roadway."
Luke, like Goldstone eight decades later, argued that he was only looking out for Jews. Brozen, and the many others Van Paassen listed, were merely "placed in protective custody for their own good." The interviewer countered: "but they were in chains and in solitary confinement… Mr. Brozen was loaded down under chains… chains on his hands and chains on his feet, old Turkish chains at that…"
The more things change, the more they stay the same. "Impartial" Brits once sought to foil Jewish defense with chains. Now "impartial"
Goldstone tries to foil Jewish defense with different, no less restrictive shackles.
The writer was The Jerusalem Post's long-time political correspondent (as well as for years of the now-defunct Davar). She headed the Post's Tel Aviv bureau, and wrote daily analyses of the political scene as well as in-depth features.
Posted by Thomas Braun at 1:31 PM
|February 21, 110 Sunday 15 AdarI 3870 12:25 IST|
|Fahmi Shabaneh is an odd candidate for dissident status. Shabaneh is a Jerusalemite who joined the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service in 1994.|
Working for PA head Mahmoud Abbas and GIS commander Tawfik Tirawi, Shabaneh was tasked with investigating Arab Jerusalemites suspected of selling land to Jews. Such sales are a capital offense in the PA. Since 1994 scores of Arabs have been the victims of extrajudicial executions after having been fingered by the likes of Shabaneh.
A few years ago, Abbas and Tirawi gave Shabaneh a new assignment. They put him in charge of a unit responsible for investigating corrupt activities carried out by PA officials. They probably assumed a team player like Shabaneh understood what he was supposed to do.
Just as Abbas's predecessor, Yasser Arafat, reportedly had full dossiers on all of his underlings and used damning information to keep them loyal to him, so Abbas probably believed that Shabaneh's information was his to use or ignore as he saw fit.
For a while, Abbas's faith was well-placed. Shabaneh collected massive amounts of information on senior PA officials detailing their illegal activities. These activities included the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid; illegal seizure of land and homes; and monetary and sexual extortion of their fellow Palestinians.
Over time, Shabaneh became disillusioned with his boss. Abbas appointed him to his job around the time he was elected PA head in 2005. Abbas ran on an anti-corruption platform. Shabaneh's information demonstrated that Abbas presided over a criminal syndicate posing as a government. And yet rather than arrest his corrupt, criminal associates, Abbas promoted them.
Abbas continued promoting his corrupt colleagues even after Hamas's 2006 electoral victory. That win owed to a significant degree to the widespread public revulsion with Fatah's rampant corruption.
With Israel and the US lining up to support him after the Hamas victory, Abbas sat on his hands. Enjoying his new status as the irreplaceable "moderate," he allowed his advisers and colleagues to continue enriching themselves with the international donor funds that skyrocketed after Hamas's victory.
Since 2006, despite the billions of dollars in international aid showered on Fatah, Hamas has consistently led Fatah in opinion polls. Rather than clean up their act, Abbas and his Fatah colleagues have sought to ingratiate themselves with their public by ratcheting up their incitement against Israel. And since Abbas has been deemed irreplaceable, the same West that turns a blind eye to his corruption, refuses to criticize his encouragement of terrorism. And this makes sense. How can the West question the only thing standing in the way of a Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria?
Recently, Shabaneh decided he had had enough. The time had come to expose what he knows. But he ran into an unanticipated difficulty. No one wanted to know. As he put it, Arab and Western journalists wouldn't touch his story for fear of being "punished" by the PA.
In his words, Western journalists "don't want to hear negative things about Fatah and Abbas."
Lacking other options, Shabaneh brought his information to The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh.
On January 29, the Post published Abu Toameh's interview with Shabaneh on our front page. Among other impressive scoops, Shabaneh related that Abbas's associates purloined $3.2 million in cash that the US gave Abbas ahead of the 2006 elections. He told Abu Toameh how PA officials who were almost penniless in 1994 now have tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in their private accounts. He related how he watched in horror as Abbas promoted the very officials he reported on. And he showed Abu Toameh a video of Abbas's chief of staff Rafik Husseini naked in the bedroom of a Christian woman who sought employment with the PA.
If Shabaneh's stories were about Israeli or Western officials, there is no doubt that they would have been picked up by every self-respecting news organization in the world. If he had been talking about Israelis, officials from Washington to Brussels to the UN would be loudly calling for official investigations. But since he was talking about the Palestinians, no one cared.
The State Department had nothing to say. The EU had nothing to say. The New York Times acted as if his revelations were about nothing more than a sex scandal.
As for Abbas and his cronies, they were quick to blame the Jews. They accused Shabaneh – their trusted henchman when it came to land sales to Jews – of being an Israeli agent. And when Channel 10 announced it was broadcasting Husseini's romp in the sack, Abbas demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bar the broadcast, (apparently forgetting that unlike his PA-controlled media, Israel's media organs are free).
SHABANEH'S ODYSSEY from PA regime loyalist to dissident is an interesting tale. But what is more noteworthy than his personal journey is the world's indifference to his revelations.
Just as the mountains of evidence that Fatah officials – including Shabaneh's boss Tirawi – have been actively involved in terrorist attacks against Israel have been systematically ignored by successive US administrations, Israeli governments and EU foreign policy chiefs, so no one wants to think about the fact that Fatah is a criminal syndicate. The implications are too devastating.
Since at least 1994, successive US administrations goaded by the EU have made supporting Fatah and the PA the centerpiece of their Middle East policy. They want to receive proof that Fatah is a terrorist organization that operates like a criminal organization like they want – in the immortal words of former EU Middle East envoy Christopher Patten – "a hole in [their] head."
As for the Western media, their lack of interest in Shabaneh's revelation serves as a reminder of just how mendacious much of the reportage about the Palestinians and Israel is. For 16 years, the American and European media have turned blind eyes to Palestinian misbehavior while expansively reporting every allegation against Israel – no matter how flimsy or obviously false. When the history of the media's coverage of the Middle East is written it will constitute one of the darkest chapters in Western media history.
But while the American and European allegiance to the fable of Fatah as the anchor of the two-state solution accounts for the indifference of both to Shabaneh's disclosures, what accounts for the Netanyahu government's behavior in this matter?
Shortly after the Post first published Shabaneh's story, the PA issued an arrest warrant against him. He was charged among other things with "harming the national interests" of the Palestinians.
But Abbas's henchmen couldn't put their hands on him.
Israel had already arrested him.
Shabaneh was booked for among other things, illegally working for the PA. It is illegal for Israeli residents to work for the PA. But oddly, although Israeli authorities have known whom he worked for since 1994, until his disclosures were made public, they never saw any pressing need to arrest or prosecute him.
Official Israel has nothing to say about Shabaneh's information. Instead, in the wake of his disclosures, everyone from Netanyahu to Defense Minister Ehud Barak has continued to daily proclaim their dedication to reaching a peace accord with Abbas. This even as Abbas and his cronies accuse Israel of using the "traitorous" Shabaneh to pressure Abbas into negotiating with Israel.
There are two explanations for Israel's behavior. First, there is the fact the presence of Barak and his Labor Party in the government makes it impossible for Netanyahu and his Likud Party to abandon the failed two-state paradigm of dealing the PA. If Netanyahu and his colleagues were to point out that the PA is a kleptocracy and its senior officials enable terror and escalate incitement to deflect their public's attention away from their criminality, (as well as because they want to destroy Israel), then Labor may bolt the coalition.
Beyond that, there is no doubt that an Israeli denunciation of Abbas and his mafia would enrage the US and EU. Apparently, Netanyahu – who to please President Barack Obama accepted the two-state paradigm in spite of the fact that he opposes it, and suspended Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria despite the fact that knows doing this is wrong – is loath to pick a fight by pointing out the obvious fact that the PA is a corrupt band of oppressive thieves.
Shabaneh argues that due to PA corruption, Hamas remains the preferred alternative for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. In his view, the only reason Hamas has yet to take over Judea and Samaria is the IDF presence in the areas.
The strategic implications of his statement are clear. Far from being a bulwark against Hamas, Abbas empowers the Iranian-backed jihadist force. The only bulwark against Hamas is Israel.
WHAT THIS means is that Israel must end its support for Abbas. Every day he remains in power, he perpetuates a myth of Palestinian moderation. As a supposed moderate, he claims that Israel should curtail its counterterror operations and let his own "moderate" forces take over.
To strengthen Abbas, the US pressures Israel to curtail its counterterror operations in Judea and Samaria. To please the US, Israel in turn cuts back its operations.
Abbas's men fight Hamas, but they also terrorize journalists, merchants and plain civilians who fall in their path, and so strengthen Hamas. To ratchet up public support for Fatah, Abbas escalates PA incitement against Israel. This then encourages his own forces to attack Israelis – as happened last week when one of his security officers murdered IDF St.-Sgt. Maj. Ihab Khatib. And so it goes.
It is clear that Barak will threaten to bolt the coalition if Netanyahu decides to cut off Abbas. But if he left, where would he go? Barak has nowhere to go. He will not be reelected to lead his party. And if Labor leaves the coalition, Netanyahu would still be far from losing his majority in Knesset.
As for angering the White House, the fact of the matter is that by pointing out that Abbas is not a credible leader, Israel will make it more difficult for Obama and his advisers to coerce Israel into making further concessions that will only further empower Hamas.
Shabaneh told the Post that he fully expects the PA to try to kill him. But in a way, the yawns that greeted his story are his best life insurance policy. Until the world stops believing that Fatah is indispensable, no one will listen to the Shabanehs of the world and so the PA has no reason to kill him.
Just as the Post was the only media organ that would publish his story, so the Israeli government is the only government that can force the rest of the world to recognize that Abbas is not an ally. But to do that, the government itself must finally break with the fairy tale of Fatah moderation.
Posted by Thomas Braun at 1:08 PM