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Sunday, April 6th, 2014

by Tova Dvorin (Arutz Sheva News)

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett published a manifesto on Sunday morning explaining why he believes that the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s application to international organizations for legitimacy will not do much harm to Israel – and, according to him, is really bound to hurt the PA itself.

“Every year we renew a ‘festival of threats’: if we don’t do what the PA wants, they will go to the UN, they will turn into a country and slam us at the Hague,” Bennett wrote. “This is their ‘judgement day’ weapon. A Defense Minister once gave it this name: the ‘political tsunami.”

“But it’s time to change this concept,” he declared. “This is not the PA’s ‘judgement day’ weapon. The rifle is empty.”

“There is good reason why the Palestinians are not members of the Hague, and not members of the UN,” he continued. “There is a reason why the gun is almost empty. What should be done about this threat? Understand what it is, stop being afraid – and, of course, act on it.”

Bennett noted that threats against Israel at the Hague may look menacing on paper, but will probably not change much in reality.

“A lawsuit against us in the Hague will have Israel join the ranks of other distinguished countries brought to court there, such as the US and UK, and no one is telling London to withdraw from their land over it,” he stated.

If anything, according to Bennett, “Israel and other countries should bring the PA to the Hague over war crimes.”

Fatah, Hamas – It’s All the Same

“There are two reasons for this: first – the PA’s killing and terror against innocent people,” he continued. “The Palestinians deliberately fired thousands of rockets at schools, hospitals and kindergartens. Shooting to harm civilians is clearly a war crime.”

Bennett also shot down possible counter-arguments to this, including the claim that the PA and Hamas are utterly unconnected.

“The PA leadership in Ramallah will tell them that it is Hamas who shoots at civilians, not them,” he said. “But this is like saying that it is [Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's party - ed.] HaTnua that is conducting negotiations with the PA, not the State of Israel. ”

“Hamas is a political movement operating under the PA umbrella in Gaza,” he fired. “[PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas transfers funds every month from the PA to Gaza for ‘public servants’ there.”

“He believes that Gaza is part of the same ‘Palestine’ that he asks the UN to unilaterally establish. Therefore, he is responsible for Hamas’s war crimes.”

Incitement Kills

The second accusation Israel should launch against the PA, according to Bennett, is over its ongoing incitement against Israel.

“Every month the PA issues stipends to murders of women and children that Israel released [as part of preconditions to negotiations - ed.], as well as to those who are still in prison” Bennett noted. “They tell murderers: go kill a Jew and instead of receiving compensation now, you’ll receive compensation later.”

“This is encouraging terror. This is incitement.”

Last month, the PA allocated another $74 million to the families of terrorist ‘mayrtrs,’ despite suffering from 4.8 billion dollars in debt.

The pledge was announced just a few weeks after news surfaced that a man had killed several Jewish Israelis for financial reasons, using the stipend money as an incentive to fund his own wedding.

The Israeli government only recently released its annual “Palestinian Incitement Index”, which showed that incitement against Israel and the Jewish people is continuing on official media channels including – inter alia – by bodies that are very close to the PA Chairman and in educational and religious networks.

Such incitement ranges from the glorification of Nazism and the lionization of Adolf Hitler, to programs on official PA television featuring heavily-stereotyped Jews as villains (and encouraging violence against them), and various TV and radio shows which literally wipe the Jewish state off the map.

‘The Only Fear is Fear Itself’

Bennett concluded by noting that the only danger Israel faces by the PA going to the UN is self-inflicted.

“Threats of the PA going to the UN are groundless,” Bennett stated. “But the fear of it in itself has allowed the PA to continue blackmailing us at a heavy price.”

“It’s time to stop the cycle of blackmail,” he continued. “The only nation to be damaged from the PA’s application to the UN will be the PA itself.”


Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Ari Yashar (IsraelNationalNews)

A senior source in the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed on Wednesday that the organization wanted US Secretary of State to continue the peace talks, despite PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s breach of talk conditions Tuesday by requesting to join 15 international UN institutions.

“We hope Kerry’s efforts will be renewed in the coming days,” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo told AFP.

Rabbo claimed that “Kerry knows the reality. We don’t want these efforts to finish.” The official stated that the PA would remain in the peace talks, which are set to last until April 29.

“The Palestinian leadership respects its commitments and wants the political process to continue, but we want a real political process, without tricks,” claimed Rabbo. “We will continue our efforts with the US administration, and will do everything we can to remove all obstacles.”

Despite the talk of tricks, a PA official two weeks ago revealed that UN status was being used as a “weapon” to “blackmail” Israel into releasing terrorists. PLO Official Nabil Sha’ath revealed last November that the PA is only staying in the peace talks to secure the release of all 104 promised terrorists.

In response to Abbas’s breach of the peace talk conditions, Kerry cancelled a planned meeting with Abbas in Ramallah for Wednesday.

However, Kerry insisted that it was too early to tell if the peace talks were over, stating “it is completely premature tonight to draw…any final judgement about today’s events and where things are.” Kerry added “President Abbas has given me his word that he will continue to negotiate until the end of April.”

“Israel to blame”

Rabbo held Israel solely to blame for the latest crisis in the peace talks, claiming Israel didn’t release the fourth and final batch of prisoners last Saturday “without any reason or even any excuse for not doing so.”

Israel at least temporarily cancelled the terrorist release, given the widespread protest to the highly unpopular move and the lack of progress in the talks. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted to Kerry that if the release happened it threatened toppling his government.

As noted, aside from the unpopularity of the move, the total lack of progress in talks was cited as a reason for the cancellation, given that the “gesture” was meant to encourage talks and was dependent on their progress. Abbas has brought the talks to a standstill by consistently refusing to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

Rabbo himself threatened last week that if Israel did not release the terrorists, the PA would turn to the UN for international recognition this week.


Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

by Tova Dvorin (IsraelNationalNews)

US Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel Tuesday morning without meeting personally with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, leaving analysts scrambling to figure out what it all means for the future of talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has scrambled to save talks in the wake of Israel’s standing firm to prevent more terrorists to be released, making last-minute meetings with both Abbas and Netanyahu Monday night.

But as AFP reported earlier Tuesday, Kerry’s meetings with Abbas were cancelled Monday when a meeting with Netanyahu dragged on too late. He met instead with PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. He will be back, however, on Wednesday to complete the talks.

“Kerry will fly to Europe today for previous engagements and will come back to meet the president tomorrow at noon.

Ongoing controversy over the talks stems around the fourth batch of terrorist releases, as MKs point out that the previous releases have done nothing to further talks, and that several of the released terrorists have contributed to the increase in terror attacks over the past year.

Erekat himself stated last month that Abbas was staying in talks solely for the sake of the terrorist releases, prompting Israeli officials to reconsider completing the deal – which has always been contingent on real progress in the talks.

In response, Israel told PA officials over the weekend that the deal was postponed, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the release would “topple the government” due to public and political backlash.

In the meantime, the White House also offered to release US captive Jonathan Pollard in exchange for releasing more terrorists, enacting a construction freeze, and keeping talks going, but there is no word yet on whether the proposal was accepted.

The PA has already formally refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state throughout talks, stating that “the Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state.” In addition, the PA Chairman will reportedly only agree to extend talks if Israel allows a “right of return” for Palestinian Arabs, free terrorist leaders, and withdraw from Judea and Samaria.

Abbas has repeatedly said that unless all his preconditions are met, there will be no peace with Israel.


Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

by Uzi Baruch (Arutz Sheva News)

An Israeli official has confirmed to Arutz Sheva that a deal to secure Jonathan Pollard’s release over the next two weeks has crystallized, in a bid to exchange him with over 400 Palestinian Arab terrorists – arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti among them.

While both the US and Israel have now admitted that Pollard’s release is on the table, the State of Israel itself has not officially announced that it is accepting the proposal. If true, however, Pollard would be released just prior to the Pesach (Passover) holiday – the Jewish holiday of freedom and redemption.

The exchange will also include a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem, according to the source.

“It won’t be a complete freeze,” the source stated. “Tenders and projects already being built will continue, as well as government and public buildings in Jerusalem.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly refused to a full construction freeze, and will only halt construction for government buildings in Judea and Samaria. According to Channel 2, he is in the midst of updating senior ministers on the status of the deal.

IDF Radio reports Tuesday afternoon that there is an additional concession: both sides must remain in peace talks well into 2015.

Last-minute change

The news contradicts reports earlier this week, when the White House restated Wednesday that it has no intentions to free Pollard, after reports suggested the US was offering to release him in order to pressure Israel into going through with the last terrorist release and continuing peace talks. The report Monday night by the Reuters news agency was denied by the White House, which said that “nothing had changed” in its refusal to pardon Pollard.

Now, all that has changed, after US Secretary of State John Kerry made an emergency visit to Israel over the failure of talks.

Jonathan Pollard has recently been subject of a high-profile campaign for his release. He is now in his 29th year of incarceration in a US jail for passing classified security-related information from America to Israel. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and has been held ever since, in harsh and sometimes inhuman conditions.

Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious than those that landed other spies in jail, yet those spies served a few years’s jail time at most, critics noted, and slammed the US for “hypocrisy.”

Over 106 MKs attended a special Knesset session in December to protest US President Barack Obama’s refusal to release the prisoner, and signed a petition urging the President to reconsider.

Several top US officials, including Former Deputy National Security advisor Elliott Abrams, United States Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Jonathan Pollard affair Lawrence Korb, and former CIA chief James Woolsey have also called for Pollard to be released. Former captive Gilad Shalit reiterated those calls in an emotional plea Monday morning.


Monday, March 31st, 2014

by Yaakov Levi Bennett (Arutz Sheva News)

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett said Sunday that he was ready to call Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’ bluff on his threats to take his case to international tribunals, unless Israel does what he, Abbas, wants. “Is he doing us a favor by continuing negotiations with us? If he doesn’t want to negotiate, that’s fine. And if there are no talks he plans to complain to the United Nations? Let him – he will be the one that gets hurt.”

Abbas cannot afford to antagonize Israel too much, said Bennett. “There are many death warrants on the heads of Fatah leaders” at the hands of Hamas and other terrorists. “He has no economy, he has no security. If the IDF abandons him he is finished. I would recommend to him that he not make such threats.”

Abbas last week threatened that if Israel did not release the final batch of terrorists on time, he would “turn to the UN’s international organizations.” The release of the prisoners is in return for the freeze on seeking membership in international organizations,” Abbas said. “If Israel were to refuse to free the fourth batch it would have serious consequences, including initiatives at the United Nations,” threatened former PA negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh.

Israel agreed to release about 100 terrorists last summer, as a “concession” to persuade Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks after a three year hiatus. The last batch was set to be released Saturday night, but Netanyahu, apparently under pressure from his ministers, has postponed the release.

One way to keep the talks going, the PA said, was for Israel to release even more terrorists. On Saturday, the PA claimed that Israel had offered to release 400 terrorists from its prisons so that peace talks continue. But to Bennett, the idea of releasing any more terrorists is ridiculous. “Why would we release 400 more prisoners? To continue talks? This is not going to happen, I have discussed this with other ministers and I do not see any chance of this passing the government. We in Jewish Home will do everything we can to prevent this,” he added.

And if Israel’s refusal means that Abbas will “go to the UN,” so be it, said Bennett. “Let him do it already. We will know how to deal with it. If he wants to establish the Palestinian state as a viable one he will have a lot of problems. He doesn’t even have borders, let alone security, government, or independent rule. If it doesn’t look like a state and doesn’t sound like a state, it’s not a state, regardless of what they will say in the UN.”

Regarding the current release that was postponed from Saturday night, Bennett said that Jewish Home opposed it, but the government approved the release. He himself had spoken to Netanyahu on the talks with the PA, telling the Prime Minister that as Abbas has said that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there was no point in continuing with the negotiations – or releasing more terrorists.


Sunday, March 30th, 2014

by Jonathan Spyer

It has become a commonplace to claim that the unrest in the Arab world is challenging the state borders laid down in the Arab world following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.

This claim, however, is only very partially valid. It holds true in a specific section of the Middle East, namely the contiguous land area stretching from Iran’s western borders to the Mediterranean Sea, and taking in the states currently known as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
In this area, a single sectarian war is currently taking place. The nominal governments in Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut may claim to rule in the name of the Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese peoples. But the reality of power distribution in each of these areas shows something quite different.

In each of these areas, local, long suppressed differences between communities are combining with the region-wide cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia to produce conflict, discord and latent or open civil war.

In each case, sectarian forces are linking up with their fellow sect members (or co-ethnics, if that’s a word, in the case of the Kurds) in the neighboring “country” against local representatives of the rival sect.

Let’s take a look at the rival coalitions. These are not simply theoretical constructs. The cooperation between the relevant sides is largely overt, and has been extensively verified. On one side, there are the Shia (and Alawi) allies of Iran. These are the Maliki government in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, and Hizbullah, the Iranian proxy force which dominates Lebanon.

Both Hizbullah and the Maliki government, at the behest of Iran, have played a vital role in the survival of Bashar Assad and his current resurgence. Hizbullah’s role is well-documented. The movement maintains around 5,000 fighters at any one time in Syria. They have just completed a spearhead role in a nearly year long campaign to drive the rebels from the area adjoining the Lebanese border. They are also deployed in Damascus.

Assad’s Achilles heel throughout has been the lack of committed fighters willing to engage on his behalf. Hizbullah, working closely with Iran, has played a vital role in filling that gap.

In addition, Hizbullah is working hard to suppress any Sunni thoughts of insurrection in Lebanon itself. Its forces cooperated with the Lebanese Army in crushing Sunni Islamists in Sidon in June, 2013. It also offers support to Alawi elements engaged in a long running mini-war with pro-Syrian rebel Sunnis in the city of Tripoli. Maliki’s role on behalf of Assad is less well-reported but no less striking. It is first of all worth remembering that the Iraqi Prime Minister spent from 1982-90 in exile in Iran, and his political roots and allegiances are, unambiguously, to Shia Islamism.

Regular overflights and ground convoys have used Iraqi territory since the start of the Syrian civil war to carry vital Iranian arms and supplies from Iran to Assad’s forces in Syria.

A western intelligence report obtained by Reuters in late 2012 confirmed this, noting that “planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels.”

It also asserted that Iran was “continuing to assist the regime in Damascus by sending trucks overland via Iraq” to Syria. In addition, Iraqi Shia volunteers from the Abu Fadl al-Abbas Brigades and other formations have helped to fill Bashar’s gap in available and committed infantry. The Maliki government has made no effort to stop the flow of such fighters across the border – even as it engages in a U.S.-supported counter insurgency against Sunni jihadis in western Anbar province in Iraq.

So the Iran-led regional bloc is running a well-coordinated, well-documented single war in three countries. The Sunni Arab side of the line is predictably more chaotic and disunited. On this side, too, there are discernible links, but no single, clear alliance. Unlike among the pro-Iran bloc, only the most radical fringe of the Sunnis cross the borders to engage in combat. There is no Sunni equivalent to the Quds Force cadres active in Syria and Lebanon. Among the Sunni radicals, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group now controls a single contiguous area stretching from eastern Syria to western Anbar province in Iraq, and taking in Fallujah city in Iraq.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda, is now active also in Lebanon. It has on a number of occasions penetrated Hizbullah’s security sanctum in the Dahiyeh neighborhood of south Beirut.

More broadly, Saudi Arabia is the patron of the Sunni interest in both Lebanon and Syria. It is currently backing rebel forces in the south of Syria, and pro-Saudis dominate the Syrian National Coalition, which purports to be the political leadership of the rebellion. It also supports and promotes the March 14th movement in Lebanon, and recently pledged $3 billion for the Lebanese Armed Forces – presumably in a bid to build a force that could balance Hizbullah.

But both Qatar and Turkey also play an important role in backing the Syrian rebels, and have their own clients among the fighting groups.
Saudi and Turkish fear and distrust of radical Sunni Islamist fighting groups prevent the emergence of a clear “Sunni Islamist international” to rival the Shia international of Iran.

Still, it is undeniable that cooperation exists among the various Sunni forces in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

It’s just that it’s a complicated and sometimes chaotic criss-crossing of various rival interests and outlooks on the Sunni side, rather than a coherent single bloc. And finally, of course, there is a single contiguous area of Kurdish control stretching from the Iraq-Iran border all the way to deep within Syria. This zone of control is divided between the Iraqi Kurds of the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Syrian Kurds of the rival, PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Once again, it is a contiguous area of control based on ethnic affiliation.
None of this means that the official borders of these three countries are going to officially disappear in the immediate future. The U.S. administration and others are committed to their survival, so they are likely to survive for now, in the semi-fictional and porous state in which they currently exist. This, however, should not obscure the more crucial point that the entire area between the Iraq-Iran border and the Mediterranean Sea is currently the site of a single war, following a single dynamic, fought between protagonists defined by ethnic and sectarian loyalty.

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Thursday, March 27th, 2014

by Ari Soffer (Arutz Sheva News)

Israel and Turkey may be close to a full normalization of ties, including the reopening of national embassies, according to Turkish media outlet Today’s Zaman.

According to the paper, at a recent meeting in Ankara between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s representative on energy and security issues, David Meidan, and the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan, a possible visit by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Israel was seriously discussed.

However, a spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied the report, saying that no such dramatic breakthroughs had yet been made in the attempt to mend relations between the two former allies.

The claims of progress come as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu echoed his country’s Deputy Prime Minister’s comments earlier this week, saying that a contentious compensation deal with Israel over the death of Islamist activists on the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla in 2010 was close to being settled.

“Progress has been made to a great extent, but the two sides need to meet again for a final agreement,” he said, and added that his government’s “first job” after the upcoming local elections “will be making sure the compensation is bound by a legal document”.

Davutoglu also said that “an answer is expected from the Israeli side” to Turkey’s demands.

Relations between the once-close allies had soured after Erdogan famously stormed out of a televised debate with Israeli President Shimon Peres over Israel’s Cast Lead counterterrorism operation in Gaza, back in 2009.

But the attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza by Turkish Al Qaeda-linked Islamists and left-wing activists, and the IDF’s subsequent interception of the Mavi Marmara, marked the lowest point in relations between the two countries. Nine Islamists were killed and several others injured as they violently attacked the lightly-armed soldiers sent to intercept what was thought to be a group of peaceful protesters, prompting the use of live fire in self-defense by Israeli forces.

In response, Turkey expelled Jerusalem’s ambassador to Ankara, prompting Israel to do the same.


Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

The latest impasse in the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is enough to cause U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to interrupt a visit to Italy to meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan.

Kerry’s surprise trip to Amman, which will take place on Wednesday, aims “to continue to narrow the gaps between the parties”, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, according to AFP.

Kerry will also be in touch with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “over the phone or by video conference”, Psaki added, in what is seen as an acknowledgement by the Americans that talks have hit a snag.

Kerry coaxed the two sides back to the negotiating table in July after a three-year hiatus, but the talks have stumbled as he has sought to hammer out an agreed framework to guide the next few months.

The new meeting with Abbas comes just over a week after the PA Chairman visited the White House to meet President Barack Obama for what were described as “difficult” talks.

Kerry’s unexpected plans to leave the Italian capital only hours after arriving came as fresh tensions arose over the peace talks, which he is struggling to keep on track and hopefully extend beyond an April 29 deadline.

Arab leaders meeting Tuesday in Kuwait backed the PA’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, an Israeli demand that threatens to derail the talks.

In a draft statement endorsed by foreign ministers, the summit stressed a “categorical rejection” of the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and rejected “all pressures exerted on the Palestinian leadership” to force it into agreeing.

Abbas, meanwhile, Abbas launched a tirade against Israel at the Arab League summit, accusing the Jewish state of being responsible for the peace talks not progressing.

“The Israeli government is trying to dodge an agreement it had with the U.S. administration to release pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners,” Abbas said.

“The Israeli government took every chance to foil the American efforts. This proves what we say about the lack of seriousness and preparedness of the Israeli government to withdraw and create peace,” he charged.

On Monday, a PA official stated that Abbas would agree to extend peace talks with Israel, but only if certain conditions are met.

These conditions, according to the official, are more terrorist releases and a freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria.

Abbas has consistently said that unless all his preconditions are met, there will be no peace with Israel.


Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to extend peace talks with Israel, but only if certain conditions are met, a PA official told the Ma’an news agency on Monday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that during a recent meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Abbas agreed to extend peace negotiations if Israel pledged to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and release more terrorist prisoners.

The official told Ma’an that a good test to see if Israel is serious about making concessions will be whether it releases the last of the four groups of terrorist prisoners it agreed to free before talks began in July.

The official said that if Israel delayed the release of the last group of terrorists, the PA would turn to international organizations, a threat it has made several times in the past.

Israel agreed to release 104 terrorists in four batches as a “gesture” to Abbas. Three of the four releases have already gone through, but the PA chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, admitted earlier this month that Abbas was staying in talks solely for the sake of the terrorist releases. In the wake of these statements, government ministers have been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to go through with the fourth release.

Abbas has consistently said that unless all his preconditions are met, there will be no peace with Israel. At the same time, he has refused to agree to Netanyahu’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to achieve peace.

On Sunday, Erekat once again accused Israel of taking “actions against the Palestinian people” that indicate that it has “chosen settlers over peace.”

The comments came several days after Erekat declared that Israel would have to choose between “settlements” and peace.


Monday, March 24th, 2014

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

A lawmaker from Hamas recently called for a “massacre” of Jews, explaining that Koran indicates that this must be done.

In a televised address the lawmaker, Yunis Al-Astal, also said that Jews must be forced to pay the “jizya” tax, which under the strict Islamic Sharia doctrine, non-Muslims living under Muslim sovereignty must pay in return for the ruler’s protection. Jihadist rebels who have taken control of areas in Syria have imposed such a tax on Christian minorities.

Al-Astal’s address aired on March 6 on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV. It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“In today’s show, we will discuss the demand that the Palestinian people recognize Israel as a Jewish state, so that the occupation will graciously hand them out scraps. I would like to begin by quoting what Allah said about them: ‘The worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who disbelieve. They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time,’” said Al-Astal.

“The obvious question is: What is the solution to this gang of people? The Al-Anfal chapter of the Koran provides us with the answer,” he continued. “After He said: ‘They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time,’ Allah added: ‘If you gain mastery over them in a war, use them to disperse those who follow them that they may remember.’ This indicates that we must massacre them, in order to break them down and prevent them from sowing corruption in the world. They are the ones who still spark the flame of war, but Allah has taken it upon Himself to extinguish it.”

MEMRI’s release of Al-Astal’s comments comes on the same day that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh threatened Israel it would pay dearly if it heeded the growing calls to retake Gaza.

“We tell the enemy and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman who is threatening to reoccupy Gaza that the time for your threats is over,” Haniyeh declared, at a rally in Gaza City. “Any aggression or crime or stupidity you commit will cost you a very high price.”

Arab incitement against Israel has continued throughout the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA). It is not only Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by most Western countries, that has incited against Israel, but also the PA under Mahmoud Abbas, who is often described as a “moderate peace partner.”

The Israeli government only recently released its annual “Palestinian Incitement Index”, which showed that incitement against Israel and the Jewish people is continuing on official media channels including – inter alia – by bodies that are very close to the PA Chairman and in educational and religious networks.

Such incitement ranges from the glorification of Nazism and the lionization of Adolf Hitler, to programs on official PA television featuring heavily-stereotyped Jews as villains (and encouraging violence against them), and various TV and radio shows which literally wipe the Jewish state off the map.

In addition, top officials in Abbas’s Fatah party have also openly supported Hamas’s efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers. One of these officials, Abbas Zaki, recently declared that “Allah will gather Israelis so that we can kill them.”

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