International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Bin Laden assassination stirs anger in East Jerusalem, Gaza

Palestinians rioted in East Jerusalem Monday after hearing news of Osama bin Laden’s death. The rioters threw stones at police and attempted to block roads in the Silwan neighborhood, right outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

Hamas, which has recently announced that it is finalizing a reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority, denounced the assassination of bin Laden, hailing him as an “Arab holy warrior.” Hams leader Ismail Haniyeh condemned the U.S. for killing bin Laden and claimed that this is an example of “American policy based on the oppression and bloodshed in the Muslim and Arab world.”

Hamas’ reaction to bin Laden’s death and the riots in East Jerusalem shouldn’t be too surprising. When terrorists struck the U.S. on 9/11, many Palestinians in Ramallah and East Jerusalem took to the streets and celebrated the news. Though there are many Arabs that did not celebrate and generally steer clear of the tangled politics of the Middle East, anti-American sentiment is pervasive throughout the region.

Islamist propagandists will try to spin the news of bin Laden’s death by saying that he died as a martyr. But there is no question that by taking out the best-known terrorist in the entire world, the U.S. dealt a severe blow to the morale of jihadists around the world.

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 8:03 PM  | afarkas

Iran, then and now

Holocaust survivor Simcha Applebaum lighting the first of six memorial beacons at Yad Vashem (Photo: Isranet)

Today Israel marks Yom Ha’ Shoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, in remembrance of the six million Jews  who perished during the Holocaust. We also honor the sacrifice of the “Righteous Among the Nations,” non-Jews who risked their own lives to help save Jewish people during the Holocaust. 

Surprisingly, one of the countries that came to the Jewish people’s aid during those dark times is Iran. During the Holocaust the Iranian government allowed Jewish philanthropic organizations to gather much needed supplies from throughout the British Empire – which ruled much of the Middle East – in Iran. The Jewish Agency established aid convoys in Iran which delivered aid to fleeing Polish Jews.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the current Iranian regime’s attitude toward Israel and Jews, Iranian Jewry has enjoyed a long and rich history. The Jewish people’s history in Iran dates back to the pre-Second Temple period, and the Second Temple in Jerusalem was built with the help of the Persian King Cyrus the Great.

While Jewish people today view Iran as an enemy to the State of Israel, we still recognize the rich history which the Jews enjoyed in Iran, and we commend the efforts of those Iranians who tried to help the Jewish people survive the terrors of the Holocaust.

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 1:50 PM  | afarkas

Justice comes calling for Osama bin Laden

The U.S. Navy Seals’ Team Six — the best of the best of U.S. military elite forces — pay a visit to the terrorist mastermind’s compound in Pakistan:

Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces Monday, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.

Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy. The stunning news of his death prompted relief and euphoria outside the White House and around the globe, yet also fears of terrorist reprisals against the United States and its allies.

“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House.

More than a strategic victory, bin Laden’s killing is a critically important symbolic victory in the war against global terror. The war, of course, will go on. But its most visible figurehead is gone, thanks to U.S. military intelligence, organization, and the raw courage of U.S. special forces. Blessings and thanks to all of them.

While almost everyone agrees that bin Laden’s death is an instance of justice being served, there are those who disagree:

 Hamas on Monday deplored the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces, while its prospective power-sharing partner, the Palestinian Authority, issued a statement welcoming the al Qaida-leader’s death.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, called bin Laden a martyr.

That’s Hamas — the group that just signed a reconciliation agreement with the U.S.-recognized Palestinian Authority in order to present a facade of Palestinian unity to the world and push through a bid for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. in September.

How do you feel about that deal this morning, Mr. Abbas?

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 6:42 AM  | David Kuner