Thursday, December 08, 2011

Child soldiers of Hamas not the sole victims of a conflict clouded by propaganda

From The Australian, 3 December 2011, by Gerald M. Steinberg*:

IN the long history of terrorism in the Middle East conflict, Palestinian children have tragically been exploited by groups such as Hamas for a wide range of attacks against Israeli civilians - including in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks which have taken many innocent lives.

On March 11 this year, Khakim Awad and Amjad Awad murdered five members of the Fogel family, including three children. At least one killer was a minor. More frequently, Palestinian children often rain down heavy rocks on Israeli cars - often fatally.

Unfortunately, in the article headlined "Stone cold justice" (The Weekend Australian Magazine, November 26) on the efforts by the Israeli courts to deal with the very difficult problem posed by Palestinian "child terrorists", these basic facts are erased. Instead, it repeats the highly distorted image of Palestinians as victims and relies primarily on organisations and individuals who have invested heavily in promoting this political campaign. For example, officials from Defence for Children International - Palestine Section, a noble-sounding name that masks its real activities as a powerful propaganda organisation, provided many of the claims in the article. DCI-PS's agenda is primarily political, and its emphasis on children is a means towards this objective.

In many of their activities, the leaders of this organisation distort history beyond recognition, such as by erasing the history of Arab attacks. The 1948 war (known as the Nakba in Arabic), in which many Israeli children and others were killed, is twisted by DCI-PS to fulfil its political agenda. According to the organisation's version, Israel has "historical and legal responsibility for the Nakba" and its consequences, even though the war was initiated by the invasion of Israel by five of its neighbours.

In more recent examples, DCI-PS propagandists erase tens of thousands of rockets launched at Israeli towns such as Sderot (each such attack is a war crime), instead declaring that Israeli efforts to protect civilians from attack are "illegal acts of aggression". After the Gaza war in early 2009, DCI-PS published a list of innocent Palestinian children it claimed had been killed by Israel, and disregarded evidence showing that 17-year-olds Ibrahim Mostafa Fraih Sa'id and Ibrahim Abed al-Rahim Rajab Suliman, among others, were clearly involved in the Hamas attacks.

The DCI-PS claims further misrepresent the situation by failing to address the gravity of these crimes. In September of this year, Asher and Yonatan Palmer were murdered in a terror attack near Hebron. Asher lost control of the car after a rock smashed the windshield, killing him and his one-year-old son.

Systematic reports from the Israel Defence Forces detail "160 severe cases implicating minors . . . stone and rock throwing as well as bomb throwing that have caused death" in recent years.

Court documents in 2008 reveal attacks on individuals such as Revital Ben Haim and Lipaz Rotter, who each sustained major injuries after their vehicles were struck by stones.

Israel's court system is sensitive to the age of these perpetrators. In both the cases mentioned above, judges issued reduced sentences to the minors involved in these attacks because of their age.

The tragedy of Palestinian children who are taken advantage of by groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for attacks, their Israeli child victims, and the resulting moral dilemmas faced by Israeli courts are important topics for discussion. Any analysis should examine ways in which minors are used by militants and politicised NGOs such as DCI-PS as pawns.

Attempts to minimise or erase the severity of these crimes works against an enduring solution, and perpetuates the exploitation of Palestinian youth, as well as adding to the toll on Israeli children.

*Gerald Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

San Remo's Mandate: Israel's 'Magna Carta'



"Deception: Betraying the Peace Process" catalogues and contextualizes the PA's numerous violations of commitments to peace process, reveals flagrant messages of hate; Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and prominent human rights leader Robert L. Bernstein condemn spread of hatred against Israel and glorification of terror in the PA

NEW YORK, December 6, 2011 - Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli research institute studying Palestinian society and its leadership through its Arabic language media, today announced the release of Deception: Betraying the Peace Process, a new book describing the systematic hate speech used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) even as they portray themselves to the world as pursuing peace.

At a press conference today, the authors and human rights activists warned that the hate speech and incitement against Israel by PA leaders is the fundamental impediment to achieving peace. In the book, authors Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik document numerous breaches in the PA's commitments to recognize Israel, to cease hate incitement and to reject violence and terror - requirements established by the international community and accepted by the PA.

The book meticulously catalogues hundreds of examples of hate speech, glorification of terrorist murderers and other anti-Israel communication, detailing efforts to spread hate even among school-aged children.

"Well documented, Deception confronts a disturbing discovery; Palestinian texts contain scandalous anti-Semitic pages," said Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. "They incite young children to hate Jews not only in Israel but wherever they live. They must be denounced by all students of history."

"The PA's campaign of hate speech and demonization of Israelis and Jews is a denial of basic human rights and is used to maintain political control at the cost of negotiating for real and lasting peace. This book is important because it is not advocacy but a factual catalogue of public statements and activities showing that the Palestinian leadership teaches its children to hate, to deny Israel's right to exist and to envision a world without Israel," said Robert Bernstein, Chairman of Advancing Human Rights, Founding Chairman Emeritus of Human Rights Watch and Chairman and President of Random House from 1965-1990.

The breadth and impact of the PA's efforts are made chillingly clear in the 267-page book. Examining the totality of the PA's activities and statements during the one-year period beginning with the renewal of the peace process in May 2010 through April 2011, the authors assert that "the peace process has yet to begin; a peace process may never have been intended." The book takes the reader on a journey through hundreds of the PA's cultural events, educational media and political leaders' statements, citing ways the PA conveys one message to the international community through official communications channels and another, very different message of hate to the Palestinian people using the Arabic language.

"The PA has intensified its diplomatic campaign, claiming it has fulfilled its commitments and is advancing peace," said Marcus. "But PA leaders' communications to their own people in speeches, at events, through the media it controls and in children's magazines contradict the content of its diplomatic stance."

At today's press conference, Itamar Marcus presented an overview of Deception, citing examples of the ways in which the PA uses the cultural, educational and media structures it controls to distance its people from reconciliation with Israel. Wiesel and Bernstein condemned the PA's indoctrination and education of children, which continues to undermine any chance for reconciliation and lasting peace.

"Until the PA starts preparing its children for peace and teaches them to see Israel as a legitimate neighbor, peace will remain an illusion," said Bernstein. "Deception should be read as a warning. Government-sponsored hate speech is incompatible with peace."

PMW has published hundreds of documents, in-depth reports and other research since 1996, chronicling the PA leadership's ongoing hate and terror promotion. Deception is the latest and most comprehensive compilation of evidence to date, representing a year-long monitoring of Palestinian activities, statements and educational resources. It draws a clear picture of the PA's destructive spoken, written and visual messages of hate against Israel that have become a major impediment to peace.

"Unless the PA changes its messages that only 'Palestine' exists and not Israel, that Jews are inherently evil and that terrorists are role models, and unless the PA turns to peace education, there is no chance of achieving authentic peace," says Zilberdik.

Select examples from Deception include:
-  The authors draw a direct correlation between the PA's messages of hate speech that demonize Israelis and Jews and bolster the glorification of terror and a child's perception of Hitler as a positive role model. They offer an example of an essay submitted by a Palestinian teenage girl to a PA-funded educational magazine presenting Hitler as a hero because he killed Jews. In her essay, Hitler tells the girl in a dream: "I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world."

-  The authors detail examples of how the PA uses libels and lies to demonize Israelis, including various accusations that have been promoted via communications and media channels: Israel intentionally spreads AIDS, drugs and prostitution among Palestinians; Israel has plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque; and Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat.

-  The authors illustrate how the glorification of terror and terrorists remains a mainstay of PA policy, as evidenced in the numerous summer camps, sports tournaments and events named after Palestinian terrorists.

-  The authors point to examples of the PA's constant denial of the legitimacy of Israel's existence. An official PA TV video clip broadcast during the peace talks described Israelis as foreigners on stolen land who should all leave Israel.

Does Yahya Ibrahim encourage homegrown terrorism in the West?

From Wikipedia:
Inspire is an English language online magazine reported to be published by the organization al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The use of the magazine is to increase the availability of their message without challenges to their value system. The magazine is one of the many ways AQAP uses the Internet to reach its audience. However, its message is also intended for the enemy. The magazine is a political warfare tool targeting the American and other Western governments, with the intent of inspiring homegrown terrorism. The tactic is used to generate over-reaction by the governments of its Muslim population with threats of individual jihadist attacks. Since AQAP lacks the 'Open Front' capabilities to assault the West, its tactic is to attack the West using covert operations run independently by radicalized individuals. They believe this strategy will eventually lead to an overt open front attack from Islam against the West. The magazine features the logo of the "al-Malahim Media", AQAP's media arm, and contains articles by and about AQAP members and the al-Qaeda core to promote "open source jihad". It is an important brand-building tool, not just of AQAP, but of all al-Qaeda branches, franchises and affiliates.
The magazine aimed at young British and American readers and provided translated messages from Osama bin Laden. The first issue appeared in July 2010. A second edition of 74 pages was published in October 2010. It confirmed the magazine was then produced by Samir Khan, an online propagandist who has since been killed, and most of the material was apparently written by him. Various articles in the second issue encouraged terror attacks on U.S. soil, suggesting that followers open fire at a Washington, D.C. restaurant or use a pickup truck to “mow down” pedestrians.
The ADL web site also refers to the magazine as "Al Qaeda's English-language magazine [that] encourages terror attacks on U.S. soil..." and also reports that "Following its release, the [US] Department of Homeland Security stated that 'the sophisticated, colloquial English-language magazine could appeal to certain Western individuals and inspire them to conduct attacks in the United States in the future.'"
The second edition, includes  the following graphic, and creditsYahya Ibrahim as the author of a feature article to "give our readers suggestions  on how to wage their individual jihad...".
The article includes
The idea is to use a pickup truck as a mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah....

You would need a 4WD pickup truck. The stronger the better. You would then need to weld on steel blades on the front end of the truck. These could be a set of butcher blades or thick sheets of steel. They do not need to be extra sharp because with the speed of the truck at the time of impact, even a blunter edge would slice through bone very easily. You may raise the level of the blades as high as the headlights. That would make the blades strike your targets at the torso level or higher.
Pick your location and timing carefully. Go for the most crowed locations. Narrower spots are also better because it gives less chance for the people to run away....
...If you have access to firearms, carry them with you so that you may use them to finish off your work if your vehicle gets grounded during the attack....
The March 2011 edition, as posted on Public Intelligence, includes Contents (page 4) that refer to a "Letter from the Editor" (page 5) that is signed Yahya Ibrahim.
The September 2011 (ISSUE 7) edition is a "Special Edition" dedicated to "The Greatest Special Operation of all time". The "LETTER FROM THE EDITOR" on page 2, credited to "YAHYA IBRAHIM, EDITOR IN CHIEF", includes the following:
We dedicate this special supplement to the great events of the Expeditions of Washington DC and New York, as Shaykh Usama would call it, or simply 9/11. As America mourns and we celebrate this glorious event, we look into what 9/11 means ten years on....
...The story of 9/11 is the story of jihad. It is the story of a small band of men who were guided by Allah, made the intentions to fight, trained on the battlefields and then culminated their struggle with martyrdom to end up their short, but eventful lives, in meeting their Lord. ...We bring to you some of what the world was saying, and some of the images from that decade to remind our readers of that great day. We ask Allah to shower His blessings on the nineteen brothers who fulfilled their duty and moved on and all those who participated in the planning of that glorious event and we ask Allah to grant us the strength to carry on the fight and to grant us victory against our enemies.