Will Hamas Be Held Accountable for War Crimes?

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

While the world has begun to realize the danger of terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, Hamas continues to deny that it belongs in the same category. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, the always astute Khaled Abu Toameh says that Hamas is exactly the same as such groups, in that it executes those who stand in its way or challenge its terrorism:

Hamas’s extrajudicial executions of Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israel are a sign that the Islamist movement is beginning to panic in the wake of Israel’s successful targeting of its leaders.

But the public executions by firing squad of more than 26 suspected “collaborators” in the Gaza Strip could also turn many Palestinians against Hamas …

Over the past few days, Hamas officials have gone out of their way to tell the world that their movement is not like the Islamic State terror organization, which has become notorious for beheading almost everyone it finds standing the way of its creating an Islamic Caliphate.

“We are not a religious, violent group,” Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said in an interview with Yahoo News from his luxurious hotel in Qatar. He said that Hamas, unlike the Islamic State terrorist group, operates only in Israel, the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

What Mashaal forgot to mention in the interview was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or dare to challenge their terrorism.

Even the Palestinian Authority [PA] now seems to be drawing an analogy between Hamas and the Islamic State and other radical Islamist terrorist groups.

Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Mahmoud Abbas, strongly condemned Hamas’s extrajudicial executions, adding that that they are “reminiscent of the summary executions carried out by Wahhabi militant groups in other parts of the Middle East.”

Abdel Rahim added, “The executions were done in cold blood and according to Hamas law, which…

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Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 8:43 AM  | Stand for Israel

Why Hamas Isn’t Falling

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

(Photo: flickr/ ahmadmesleh)

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues today, with some saying a long-term agreement is possible, while others say the sides are apart. Either way, it seems that despite the military defeat it has suffered at the hands of the IDF, Hamas hasn’t completely been beaten. At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin writes that Hamas’ grip on the people of Gaza isn’t slipping because of the Palestinian insistence on war on Israel and the terror organization’s control over both the press and possible political dissent:

Though no one in Gaza had to like the results of the fighting, Hamas’s political stock may actually have gone up due to the perverse culture of Palestinian life. Throughout the last century Palestinians have always given the bulk of their support to whichever faction proved to be the most violent. That dynamic kept Yasir Arafat at the top of the Palestinian pyramid and has inspired the ongoing competition between Hamas and Fatah in the last generation. Since Palestinian national identity has always been inextricably linked to their war on Zionism, peacemaking has always been political poison. Instead of concentrating on development or providing services for their backers, Hamas and Fatah have both concentrated on demonstrating their belligerence, with even moderates like Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas understanding that agreeing to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state is simply impossible. That’s why no matter what Hamas does it appears that Gazans will blame their suffering on Israel.

As for possible dissent, it should be noted that the one demonstration held in Gaza against Hamas was met with a stern response. Those involved were executed. That is where the iron rule comes in.

Throughout history, tyrannies have only fallen when they are ready to liberalize, not when they are still prepared to spill the blood of their people. The French revolution happened during the reign of the least tyrannical of the Bourbon kings, not under that of the most bloodthirsty. The Soviet Union fell after glasnost and perestroika, not…

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 8:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

Condemning Murder

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

The kidnapping and murder of an Arab teenager in Jerusalem this week is horrifying. It is disturbing to consider the possibility that one of my people could have committed such a heinous act. Though the international press and the Arab world have already condemned Israel for the murder of the Arab teen, the police are still investigating other possibilities. Families defending their honor and feuding between Arab clans often result in bloodshed, so it’s important to let Israeli authorities complete their investigation before rushing to conclusions.

If the investigation does find that the boy was killed by Jews, make no mistake, the perpetrators will be treated as terrorists. A massive public outcry from the media, politicians, and amateur pundits will be heard for months. But no such reaction over the murder of the three murdered Israeli teens – Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali – can be expected from the Palestinians.

This highlights the difference between the Israeli and Palestinian cultures. In general, Israelis do not want to harm the Palestinians, and would trade land for peace if the other side was willing. It’s true – we do have our radicals who would hurt Palestinians as revenge for decades of terrorism. However, this group of extremists is small, it is shunned by Israeli media and society, and when members of this group do act against Palestinians, Israel’s security forces and justice system punish them for their crimes.

On the other hand, Palestinians routinely rejoice at the news of a “successful” attack against Jews. Sure, there are decent Palestinians who condemn such actions, but unfortunately they are outnumbered by their counterparts.

Anti-Semitism and support for terrorism amongst Palestinians is the product of Palestinian culture and many years of propaganda in the Palestinian media. But to say that Jew-hatred is merely a reaction to the creation of the state of Israel is to deny over a thousand years of Jews living in fear and persecution in Arab lands.

Yes, we certainly condemn the murder of the Arab teen in Jerusalem, and…

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Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 at 2:53 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Kidnapping, the Settlements, and History

(Photo: he.wikipedia/ Daniel Ventura)

(Photo: he.wikipedia/ Daniel Ventura)

It has now been two weeks since the three Israeli teens were kidnapped, and much of the world seems to care very little. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin wonders if this is partly due to the fact that the boys’ yeshiva (religious school) is located in the West Bank, giving a lesson on the historical Jewish presence in the Gush Etzion area south of Jerusalem:

That this territory is the heart of the historic Jewish homeland to which Jews have legal, religious, and moral claims is something that is almost never discussed …

If the Palestinians wish to live in peace with Israelis, they must come to terms with the permanent nature of the Jewish return to the country and give up fantasies of Israel’s elimination. Even more to the point, if they wish Israelis to come to terms with the reality of Palestinian nationality, the abduction of the Etzion yeshiva students is a good occasion for them to stop ignoring or denying Jewish history.

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Monday, June 30th, 2014 at 8:43 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Surgeon Treats Palestinians Despite Despair Over Kidnapped Youths

(Photo: PikiWiki - Israel/ Avishai Teicher)

(Photo: PikiWiki – Israel/ Avishai Teicher)

As people across the world longingly pray for the three kidnapped Israeli teens, those living in the Holy Land face a far greater emotional toll. The Algemeiner brings us this piece on Israeli surgeon Dr. David Mishali, who operates on Palestinians while his son is a classmate and friend of one of the abducted boys:

Mishali shared his internal deliberations on an impossibly complex reality, one in which he will operate on the infant child of a young Palestinian couple from Hebron – one of the prime areas security officials suspect the youths are being held captive.

Making the irony even more agonizing is the fact that Mishali’s own son is friends with one of the kidnapped youths, and is exposed to the same dangers, since the two attend the same religious high school …

“And sometimes, along the way, they’d hurl rocks at me – and it never moved me, that I’d travel to operate on a Palestinian child; that I’d operate on the son of a ‘Hamasnik’ in Gaza,” he says, passing an IDF checkpoint on his nightly route to the medical center.

We admire the compassion that this doctor shows, saving the lives of those who very well could be doing harm to his family, friends, and fellow Israelis.

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Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 2:09 PM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Prepares for War As Abbas Talks Peace

(Photo: flickr/ mateus27_24-25)

(Photo: flickr/ mateus27_24-25)

Back when a Hamas-Fatah unity government still seemed like a pipe dream, we were sure that if such an agreement did occur, it would never succeed. Now that the Palestinian factions have entered into such a pact – and the agreement has not succeeded – we won’t gloat, but will instead look at the results. Writing for the Gatestone Institute, the always spot-on Khaled Abu Toameh notes that instead of moderating Hamas, the unity agreement has instead allowed the terrorist organization to head down the road toward increased extremism, violence, and war against Israel:

Hamas seems to be hoping that the reconciliation accord, which was signed in the Gaza Strip in April, will legitimize the Islamist movement in the eyes of the international community. Abbas himself even contributed to the legitimization of Hamas by repeatedly assuring the U.S. and many EU countries that the new Palestinian government would recognize Israel and renounce violence.

Today, however, it has become obvious that the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction has had no moderating effect on the Islamist movement. On the contrary, Hamas seems to be headed toward more extremism and its defiant leaders are now talking about preparations for a new intifada against Israel.

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Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 8:20 AM  | Stand For Israel

Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers – A Palestinian View

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Uriber)

While we’ve been sickened by the sight of many Palestinians taking to the streets to celebrate the kidnapping of the three Israeli students, not all Palestinians are rejoicing at the terrorist act. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Mudar Zahran says that many Palestinians worry that this situation will not only hinder them going to work or receiving medical treatment in Israel, and wish that the Palestinian Authority – and not Israel – would be boycotted and dissolved:

Instead of financing the P.A. leaders’ lavish lifestyles, the world might finally start questioning the P.A.’s institutionalized incitement of terror and hatred to my people which they relay daily through media, education and the religious institutions.

Ever since the P.A. came into existence, it has been keen to mass-produce and institutionalize the hatred of Jews and also the West. With their government-controlled TV shows that teach children how to kill Jews, and textbooks that preach hatred for Israel, the P.A. and Hamas are directly and fully responsible for each and every terror act committed by Palestinians, including the kidnapping of the three teenagers.

Is this what the West is so breathless to support?

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 at 8:59 AM  | Stand For Israel

Pro-Kidnapping Salute Gains Steam on Palestinian Social Media

(Photo: Facebook)

(Photo: Facebook)

As we pray for the safe return of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali – the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped last Thursday – and spread the word to those who stand for Israel to do the same, some Palestinians are using social media in a disgusting and nefarious manner. At the Times of Israel, Elhanan Miller reports on the online support being shown for the terrorists who abducted the boys:

The “three Shalits” hashtag emerged online almost as quickly as #BringBackOurBoys, with Palestinians posting photos of themselves signaling a three-fingered victory sign, sometimes writing the words “three Shalits” in pen on their hands.

The new victory sign has quickly become a symbol of Palestinian defiance as the IDF expands its campaign across the West Bank.

Despite this sickening use of social media to support terrorism, we can use it for good, spreading the word for others to join us in praying for the safe return of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali, knowing that God will hear our prayers.

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Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 1:31 PM  | Stand For Israel

Transforming a Culture of Hate

(Photo: flickr/ the-imeu)

(Photo: flickr/ the-imeu)

Anyone still wondering why twenty years of peace negotiations have led nowhere needs to look no further than the Palestinian reaction to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. I assume even the biggest supporters of a two-state solution never thought Israelis and Palestinians would necessarily learn to love one another. Yet, many wrongly perceived that the conflict was about territory – that the Palestinians simply wanted a land of their own, and had not deeply ingrained national hatred towards the Jewish people as a whole.

But events like this shatter this optimistic view of the conflict. I’m not sure when the hand gesture of index and middle finger raised to form a “V” – which originated as the “V for Victory” sign used by the allies during World War II and was later adopted by counterculture activists in the 60s as the “peace” sign – was co-opted by terrorist sympathizers. But now every time an Israeli bus, pizza parlor, or hotel lobby is blown up – or when innocent Israeli teens are kidnapped – Palestinian men, women, and children celebrate in the streets by brandishing this sign that not so long ago in the West symbolized the victory not of terror, but of justice, and a call for peace, not war and hatred.

Today, Palestinian children have been taught a new salute, this time raising three fingers, one for each of the Israeli teens kidnapped last Thursday night. They even call this salute the “Three Shalits,” named after Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and held by Hamas for five years. This should anger anyone with a shred of decency and conscience. No one should ever relish the kidnapping of teenagers, even if they are his enemy’s children.

If this sad incident highlights anything, it is that Arab anti-Semitism in general, and Palestinian incitement and hatred of Jews in particular, is the core cause of the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land. To dispute this fact one needs to adopt…

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Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 8:42 AM  | afarkas

Despite “Unity,” New Palestinian Government Headed for Failure

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

(Photo: flickr/News Agency)

It is noteworthy that, yesterday, Hamas called on its armed wing (Hamas has an unarmed wing?) to kill Israeli soldiers and settlers. You remember Hamas, right? The same Hamas that is part of the Palestinian unity government sworn in last week with the blessing of the European Union and – despite U.S. law explicitly forbidding support of a Palestinian government including the Islamist terror organization – the United States?

Many observers – including yours truly – did not believe that the Palestinians would ever get as far down the road to reconciliation as they have. The fact that they were able to agree on a list of government ministers was remarkable. The history between the competing factions in Palestinian society – but especially between Fatah and Hamas – is bitter and the road to this détente is littered with failed previous attempts.

But, as is so often the case in the morally backward Palestinian political culture, violence against Israel often serves an internal political purpose in addition to satisfying the seemingly bottomless lust for Jewish body count. And this latest threat by Hamas is hardly the announcement of some kind of new policy; seriously, when do you suppose Hamas was doing something other than telling its “armed wing” to kill Jews?

Also happening yesterday, Fatah forces in the West Bank suppressed a number of Hamas-led protests over the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – not because Fatah doesn’t want people protesting or doesn’t want anti-Israel hysteria whipped up. It’s just that, if someone is going to be whipping it up, it has to be Fatah so that the general public understands which group gets the credit for hating Israel more.

In another Fatah slap at Hamas, the provisional P.A. government yesterday began paying back wages to Palestinian government workers in the West Bank while refusing to begin making the same overdue payments to workers in Gaza. This is an especially sore subject between the two camps because there are tens of thousands…

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Thursday, June 12th, 2014 at 8:14 AM  | Jonathan Greenberg