Hamas

A Grieving Father Pulls a Thread That Unravels BNP’s Illegal Terror-Funding Deals

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2014-07-27 06:12

URL: 
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/a-grieving-father-pulls-a-thread-that-unravels-illegal-bank-deals/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
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Presbyterian Church Divests From Israel, Ignores Persecuted Christians

A church bombed by Islamic extremists in Kirkuk, Iraq

A church bombed by Islamic extremists in Kirkuk, Iraq

by: 
Raymond Ibrahim

Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church in America withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”

Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move.

Netanyahu responded:

It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.

It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.

First, the obvious: Why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?

And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.

Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now, according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:

  • Libya: Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Gaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. It’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was not the case under Gaddafi.
  •  
  • Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
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  • Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). In the last decade, Christians have been terrorized into near extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.

If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christians in the Middle East.

 

Christians are also being targeted in the Palestinian Authority territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.

In 2012, for example, a pastor noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians], 'Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.' ” And in fact, the kidnapping and forced conversions of Christians in Gaza is an ugly reality.”

More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”

Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, 15 leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.

Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.

Other Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beast ostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”

In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism threatens all non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).

Little wonder, then, that more Arab Christians—double the number of each of the preceding three years—are now joining the Israel Defense Forces.

They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel -- more than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: Both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason -- they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated.

 

Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013). He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum. Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.

Moral Clarity in Gaza

Submitted by Emily on Mon, 2014-07-21 05:36

URL: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-moral-clarity-in-gaza/2014/07/17/0adabe0c-0de4-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html
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Hamas is Playing a Dangerous Game with Gazan Lives

Submitted by Emily on Wed, 2014-07-16 10:04

URL: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hamas-is-playing-a-dangerous-game-with-gazan-lives/2014/07/15/cc5f101e-0c3b-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html
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Wed, July 9, 2014 Hamas Bombing Civilians, Using Gazans as Human Shields

Hamas terrorists in Gaza. (Photo: © Reuters)

Hamas terrorists in Gaza. (Photo: © Reuters)

by: 
Elliot Friedland

The Islamist terrorist group Hamas has launched hundreds of rockets into Israel over the last few days from the Gaza strip, which it controls. In response, the Israeli army has announced the launch of "Operation Protective Edge," a new campaign to end attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza and is preparing for a possible ground invasion.

Jewish-Arab tensions have been soaring since the abduction and murder by Hamas of three Israeli teenagers: Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel by terrorists. The situation was further exacerbated when 17-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, an Israeli-Arab, was abducted and burned alive in a suspected revenge killing by seven Israeli extremists. The spate of murders was strongly condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

It is important to understand who Hamas is and what their goals are. According to the Council on Foreign Relations: "Hamas combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamic fundamentalism. Its founding charter commits the group to the destruction of Israel, the replacement of the PA (Palestinian AUthority) with an Islamist state on the West Bank and Gaza, and to raising 'the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.' "

Hamas was founded as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and share that group's goals and ideology. After the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power an Egypt triggered by a popular uprising, deposed President Morsi was put on trial for colluding with Hamas. In March this year, an Egyptian court banned Hamas and ordered its activities to cease, its offices closed and its assets seized.

The Hamas leadership, despite earlier predictions that they were not interested in an escalation, seem to be willing to open a full-scale confrontation with Israel. Some of their leaders are openly calling for a third intifada.

Hamas' deputy political bureau chief, Moussa Abu Marzouk, posted on his Facebook page: "Today, we are all called upon for a popular intifada, an intifada for prisoner Jerusalem. Today, more than ever before, we are demanded to express our rejection of the occupation … we are sick of talk of resolutions and peace." This echoed calls for intifada that were chanted at the funeral of Abu Khdeir.

Hamas is currently in a unity government with the Fatah movement, sharing control of the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas' Fatah movement today declared their support for Hamas' rocket attacks. A posting on the groups official Facebook page declared that Fatah, Hamas' military wing and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are all "brothers in arms" sharing "One God, one homeland, one enemy, one goal."

 

This latest bout of conflict between Israel and Hamas was caused by Hamas' longstanding goals of destroying the Jewish state, and greatly exacerbated by its policy of deliberately placing civilians, especially the weak and vulnerable, in harm's way.

Hamas' policy of deliberately targeting civilians in indiscriminate aerial attacks breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention, created, as it says in its preamble "for the purpose of establishing a Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War." It was signed in the aftermath of World War II in order to prevent a repeat of some of the atrocities seen during that war, in particular the carpet-bombing of cities such as Coventry (by the Germans) and Dresden (by the British). Other conventions deal with the treatment of prisoners, provisions for the sick and wounded and other matters.

Hamas has so far fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, reaching as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the two main population cities in Israel. This shows an increase in the range of rockets since the last flare-up in 2012 and has sent over a million Israelis running to bomb shelters.

According to the BBC, "The military wing of Hamas has warned that all Israelis are targets."

Hamas has also failed in their requirement, provided by article 88 of the Geneva Convention to provide adequate air raid shelters to its population. On the contrary, they have a deliberate policy of using the population of Gaza as human shields.

This is in breach of an additional protocol mandating that "parties to the conflict shall to the maximum extent feasible … avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas."

Most recently this policy was put into place on Tuesday in Khan Younis, a city south of Gaza, when Israel targeted the home of a Hamas operative. According to Pakistani newspaper, The News International: "Witnesses said an Israeli drone fired a warning flare, prompting relatives and neighbors to gather at the house as a human shield and that, shortly afterwards, an F-16 warplane fired a missile that levelled the building." Seven people were killed.

In the eyes of Hamas, every Palestinian killed is another photo opportunity and another way to build popular support, playing on anger against Israel. It was the deaths of two teenagers on Tuesday, whom Hamas had sent to the house of one of its operatives to act as human shields, that was used as the pretext to announce the targeting of all Israelis. Rather than heed the warnings sent by Israel to avoid the imminent strike, Hamas purposely engineered the deaths of civilians in order to gain a propaganda boost. 

 

Elliot Friendland is a research fellow with The Clarion Project.

Hamas Puts ‘Resistance’ on Gaza Schools Curriculum

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2013-11-10 11:14

URL: 
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/11/05/Hamas-puts-resistance-on-Gaza-schools-curriculum-.html
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