Saturday, April 8, 2023

This Year's Annual Ramadan Terror Spree

A variation of this was sent out as a PRIMER-Israel alert. There are three PRIMER groups, in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Israel. Check out their websites and consider getting on their alerts lists.

PRIMER-Connecticut    PRIMER-Massachusetts    PRIMER-Israel

While we mourn our victims, both murdered and injured, of this year’s Ramadan terror spree, and while our soldiers and police act to protect us all from the additional attacks we know are planned or will be planned, those of us who fight with our keyboards need to do our part to prevent Iran, the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah and the other terror groups from also getting a propaganda victory.

Almost all the reporting has been typically biased, using loaded language, terminology defined by Israel’s enemies, misinformation, disinformation and outright false information while often omitting important context. It’s up to us to do our best to provide it.

We will include some of our own thoughts below, but urge you to read the emails you get from so many other sources with more resources and also check their websites and write letters and social media posts to give the facts and your unique perspective as an Israeli living here in Israel.

Among the resources we recommend (forgive us for leaving out so many; we’ll just list a handful of our favorites):

For examples of media bias:

CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis)


For fairly up-to-date information:

JNS (Jewish News Syndicate)

JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency)

Jerusalem Post

Times of Israel

i24 News

Thoughts and observations:

• I heard this expressed on i24 News. I have not been able to find the video to watch again, so my recollection may not be exact.

The question came up regarding why the Muslim “worshippers” barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday night, arming themselves with the stones and fireworks, when they are generally allowed to stay overnight during the last ten days of Ramadan anyway.

The reason explained was that since the first Seder was Wednesday night, they knew many Jews would be visiting the Temple Mount on Wednesday, so it was a golden opportunity to attack a lot of Jews with the stones and fireworks.

It was also noted that the rockets started flying from Gaza as soon as videos of the confrontations with the Israeli police were posted on social media and this was not a coincidence. This was planned, almost certainly masterminded by Iran. The rockets were prepared in advance and people were ready in the mosque to take videos and post them as soon as the confrontations started, while the terrorists in Gaza were prepped and ready to launch the rockets as soon as those videos were posted.

My interpretation - this wasn’t clear from what I remember on i24 - was that Iran and its terrorists in the mosque were prepared for two possibilities:

The first: What happened. The police, knowing they were preparing to attack Jews on the Temple Mount with the stones and fireworks they had smuggled into the mosque, would enter the mosque to prevent the attacks, in which case they would start attacking the police, take videos, quickly edit them to make Israel look bad to the world, post them on social media and immediately launch rockets.

The second: The police wouldn’t enter the mosque, in which case they would attack Jews on the Temple Mount Wednesday morning, take videos, post them with the message they were protecting Al-Aqsa from the Jews, and immediately launch rockets.

• The media almost always describes Al-Aqsa as the third holiest site for Muslims. However, it’s only holy for Sunni Muslims; it has no significance for Shiite Muslims. Moti Kedar has also explained (there are many sources, both articles and videos) how the source of its holiness was a fraud and that the “Al Aqsa” mentioned just once in the Koran was actually in what’s now Saudi Arabia, not far from Mecca and Medina. (See, for one example out of many, “Why and When was the Myth of al-Aqsa Created?”)

• Media bias can be simultaneously blatant and subtle. Here’s one example taken from today’s Hartford Courant. (I used to live in Connecticut and keep an eye on that paper.)

The Hartford Courant published an Associated Press article on Friday’s murder of Maya and Rina Dee. (As I write this, their mother remains in critical condition.) The article was accompanied by a large photo of a seriously damaged automobile. But, although there are many photos available of the car ambushed by the terrorists, the photo accompanying the article wasn’t of that; rather, it was of a car in Gaza allegedly damaged by Israeli airstrikes. The text of the article similarly changed the focus from the fatal terror attack to Israel’s responses to all the terror attacks and was written in a way as to create sympathy for the terrorists.

• How holy can “worshippers” believe Al-Aqsa is if they use it as a weapons arsenal (storing stones and fireworks) and use it as a base from which to attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount?

• Although I personally think it’s rather meshuga to consider sacrificing a goat today, on the Temple Mount or anywhere else, there’s absolutely no reason for Arabs or Muslims to get upset about the possibility unless they’re animal activists and/or vegetarians. That they make an issue of the desire of some to do it on the Temple Mount - especially since they know the Israeli officials will not let them carry it out - is just another example of them looking for pretexts to launch attacks.

• There is invariably an uptick in terror attacks during Ramadan. There are also almost always serious attempts to perpetuate bloody terror attacks during Jewish holidays. It would thus have been astounding if the Palestinian Arabs didn’t do everything in their power this year, with Pesach being celebrated during Ramadan, to make sure Ramadan did not pass quietly.

Please check the newspapers you are familiar with, along with the examples provided by CAMERA, HonestReporting and other sources, and fight back with your keyboard.

Friday, April 7, 2023

The U.S. must end its 'pay-to-slay' incentive in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

This commentary was published in the CT Mirror on April 6, 2023.

The U.S. must end its 'pay-to-slay' incentive in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

by Mark Fishman and Alan Stein, Ph.D.

Israeli soldier on a Palestine street.

Since a reversal of long-standing American policy around the turn of the century, several American administrations have been obsessed with achieving a so-called "two-state solution" between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs for a final peace, including division of the land outside Israel's 1949 armistice line with Jordan, sometimes incorrectly called the "West Bank."

There have been numerous offers, all rejected by Palestinian leaders, who prefer rejectionism, terrorism and maybe Western funds instead of an end to the conflict. Their main objective remains the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state and the removal of all Jews. Thus, the signs proclaiming "Free Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" at Palestinian rallies. In light of conflicting goals and objectives, it is no surprise that there is no agreement.

What is a surprise, however, is that American administrations rush to reward and incentivize Palestinian intransigence and murderous violence.

President Clinton hosted a summit at Camp David in 2000 with Prime Minister Barak and PLO Chairman Arafat. Israel offered almost all of the land which it had recaptured from Jordan in 1967 plus Gaza to form a sovereign Palestinian state. Not only did Arafat reject the offer, sparking Clinton's ire, but he launched years of terrorism and terror throughout Israel, the so-called "second intifada," in which over a thousand Israelis were killed.

After Arafat rejected the 2000 offer, Israel made an even more generous offer in 2001. Then, in 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered then-President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority the equivalent of 100 percent of the disputed territories and even part of Jerusalem.

Since then, we have given large sums of money to the Palestinians, directly through the PA and indirectly through UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), in a vain attempt at a solution the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected, while never abandoning terrorism or their goal of destroying Israel.

Each time, rather than pressuring the party which initiated and refuses to end the conflict, our government has pressured Israel instead to make more concessions, including releasing 78 murderers and freezing housing construction upon request of President Obama, effectively rewarding the Palestinians for their intransigence and deadly violence.

The fact that the PLO, which is affiliated with the PA, has never changed its charter provisions calling for the destruction of Israel and proclaiming there is no alternative to use of terrorism has not made a difference.

The fact that Abbas told President Obama that he would never accept the core concept of the two-state solution, two states for two peoples, has not made a difference.

The fact that in 2016 the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority declared the PA would never again negotiate directly with Israel has not made a difference.

The fact that Palestinian terrorists have murdered countless Israeli and American civilians over the years and 13 already this year through February, including West Hartford native Elan Ganeles, has made no difference.

Palestinian towns grotesquely celebrate deadly terror attacks with candy. The PA lauds terrorists as heroes. It names schools, stadiums and public squares after mass murderers. It produces textbooks which demonize Israel and Jews, glorify terrorism and deny Israel's existence. These textbooks are also used by UNRWA, of which we are the largest supporter. We stopped funding UNRWA but resumed in 2021, making us again complicit in radicalizing Arab youth, especially since many UNRWA teachers are members of Palestinian terror groups.

The Palestinian Authority also spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on its infamous "pay-to-slay" program. When a terrorist murders Israelis, he is rewarded with a salary by the PA. If the terrorist is killed, the PA rewards his family. If the terrorist murders more Israelis, he or his family are paid more.

Our Taylor Force Act is named after a young American murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in 2016. It prohibits assistance to the PA until it ends pay-to-slay. Most funding was terminated when the Act was passed. However, like UNRWA funding, it resumed in 2021 and has increased several times despite greater Palestinian terrorism.

We need to resume compliance with the Act. Pay-to-slay doesn't only lead to more Israelis and Americans, including Connecticut natives, being murdered. Many terrorists themselves are killed while attacking Israeli civilians. They become martyrs, are glorified by the PA, and their example is followed by Palestinian youth.

If we want to save lives, both Palestinian and Israeli, and bring closer a Palestinian-Israeli peace, whether the so-called two-state solution or some other, perhaps more workable scenario, then ending the rewarding  and incentivizing of Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism is a necessary first step.

Mark Fishman of New Haven is President and Alan Stein, a former long-time resident of Waterbury, is President Emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting.