Monday, February 29, 2016

Lessons from the life and death of a Palestinian Arab terrorist

American Jews could have done something about Naif Zaid

A Palestinian terrorist who murdered a yeshiva student was found dead in the Palestinian Authority's embassy in Bulgaria last week. Before we all turn the page and forget the names of both the killer and his victim, it's worthwhile pausing to consider some lessons from this episode.

Naif Zaid ambushed and murdered a young yeshiva student, Eliahu Amedi, in Jerusalem in 1986. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. But it did not take him long to figure out how to manipulate the system. In the spring of 1990, Zaid announced that he was going on a hunger strike. After forty days, the Israeli authorities transferred him to a hospital in Bethlehem.

Being situated in an all-Arab city created an opportunity for Zaid to escape, which he soon did--from the hospital and from Israel. By 1994, Zaid was living in Bulgaria. There he married, fathered three children, and generally enjoyed life as Eliahu Amedi never will.

While Zaid was enjoying his new life in Europe, Amedi's name was forgotten by everyone except his immediate family and friends. And that, sadly, is what happens to almost all victims of Palestinian terror.

But an unusual development brought the story back into the headlines in December 2015. Apparently fearing that Israeli agents were about to capture him, Zaid took shelter in the Palestinian Authority's embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital.

Israel asked the PA to hand him over, in accordance with Annex IV, Article 2, Par.7(f)(1) of the Oslo II agreement that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PA signed in 1995. That clause specifically obliges the PA to comply with every Israeli request for extradition. But the PA refused, just as it has refused Israel's dozens of other requests for the extradition of terrorists.

For more than two months, the yeshiva student's murderer remained in the PA embassy, eluding justice--and nobody did anything.

Of course, in most instances of Palestinian terrorism, there's not much that American Jews can do. We rely on the Israeli security authorities to pursue the attackers and bring them to justice. We are merely spectators, hoping that the Israelis will catch the bad guys and finding ourselves powerless to do much beyond collect tzedaka for the victim's family.

But the case of Naif Zaid was different. The pursuit of justice left the security realm and entered the political arena. Once the PA refused to hand him over, the question became how to put pressure on the PA to change its mind. And that's where American Jewish protests could have played a role.
There are those in the Jewish world who speak out forcefully when yeshiva students are threatened with being drafted into the Israeli army, or when yeshivas are in danger of receiving less government funding. Why weren't those voices heard in protest against the PA sheltering the murderer of a yeshiva student?

There was so much that could have been done to put pressure on the Bulgarian authorities to intervene.

-There could have been a rally outside the Bulgarian Consulate in New York City.
-A delegation of Jewish leaders could have visited the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington.
-Jewish groups that sponsor tours to Europe could have dropped Bulgaria from their itinerary. (Recall how the Jewish boycott of Mexico in 1975 forced the Mexicans to withdraw their endorsement of Zionism-is-racism.)

And there was so much that could have been done to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority. There could have been a petition to President Obama, urging him to pressure the PA to surrender Naif. Members of Congress could have been mobilized to reassess U.S. aid the PA. Jewish peace activists could have announced that they would cut off contacts with Palestinian leaders until Zaid was surrendered.

The story of Naif Zaid has an unusual ending. One day last week, he was found dead in the PA's embassy. News reports claimed he was involved an unspecified "altercation" in the embassy. The Palestinians are--naturally--accusing Israel of killing him. The truth may never be known, and the names of Zaid and Amedi will soon vanish from the news.

Still, it's only a matter of time before some similar situation arises again, and American Jews will again face the choice between silence and activism. Let's hope they make the right choice.

This post originally appeared on

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Iran gets its money, terror victims are disgusted by the Obama administration's disrespect

Mike Kelly of northern New Jersey's Bergen Record writes today about the release of money earmarked to pay American victims of Iranian sponsored terror.

Promised that the American government would reimburse itself for payments made on behalf of the Iranian government, the money has now been released.

As said by Arline Duker, the mother of Teaneck resident Sara Duker murdered 20 years ago this week-
"No one sat with us or sent us anything to indicate that our children’s lives and that our feelings mattered in all of this,” she said. “It’s as if this is only about the money and the agreement with the Iranians, and the lives of the Americans didn’t matter. It feels disrespectful.”
And so it goes.

The full column may be read here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

US State Department prattles on while Arab terrorists exploit democracy; Israel pays the price

When will things change?  If the State Department has its way, never.  As a result, Israel finds itself hemmed in by "democratically" elected governments with war in their eyes.
One of the most interesting items in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails is a message from a left-wing Israeli leader complaining about the Obama administration being too soft on Hezbollah and Hamas.
Find out what Tzipi Livni said by reading the full column.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Madeleine Albright’s other ‘undiplomatic moments’

Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright is backtracking, a little, on her remark last week that “there is a special place in hell” for women who failed to endorse Hillary Clinton. Writing on the op-ed page of the New York Times, Albright did not apologize or withdraw the comment, but she did concede that it was “undiplomatic” of her to say what she said.
Indeed, friends of Israel have had bitter experiences with Albright’s “undiplomatic moments.”
During the 2014 Gaza War, Albright told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Israel’s anti-terrorism actions were “disproportionate” and that Israel has lost its “moral authority.”
This is the same Madeleine Albright who was asked on “60 Minutes,” on May 12, 1996, if international sanctions against Iraq were worth the cost, because “we have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died.” Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.” So much for proportionality!
One of Albright’s most memorable undiplomatic moments took place on Oct. 4, 2000, when she was meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Paris. At some point, Arafat had a temper tantrum and stormed out of the meeting. Albright went running down the hall after him, stumbling in her high heels, and shouting to the guards, “Shut the gates! Shut the gates!” in the hope of blocking Arafat’s car from leaving. (We know about this pathetic scene because a Palestinian negotiator happened to be in the hallway, speaking on the phone to a Reuters correspondent, just as the chase and shouting erupted. The Reuters reporter overheard what happened and broke the story.)
Less than 15 months later, Israel intercepted the “Karine A,” a ship carrying 50 ons of weapons that the “moderate” Arafat was trying to smuggle into Gaza. I don’t recall any op-ed in the New York Times by Albright admitting that she might have been wrong to place her faith in Arafat and to pressure Israel to make concessions to him.
American victims of Palestinian terrorism know a thing or two about Albright’s habit of “undiplomatic moments.”
When president Bill Clinton went to Israel in early 1996, he visited the grave of Nachshon Wachsman, an Israeli-American who had been kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Clinton personally promised Nachshon’s parents that the U.S. would “make it a top priority” to capture the mastermind of the killing, Mohammed Deif.
Martin Indyk, who was then the U.S. ambassador to Israel, reiterated that promise in writing. In a letter to the Wachsman family on March 26, 1997, Indyk pledged that “the arrest of Muhammed Deif…remains a high priority for the U.S. government.”
Then, on Dec. 19, 1997, secretary of state Albright took part in a conference call with American Jewish leaders, which was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. A leader of the National Council of Young Israel asked Albright why it was that the Clinton administration did not insist press the Palestinian Authority (PA) to hand over killers of Americans, such as Deif, who were being sheltered in PA territory. Incredibly, Albright replied that she did not know who Deif was.
It is simply inconceivable that the secretary of state did not know who Deif was. Albright was deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. She had to be aware of the fact that Bill Clinton and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, with whom she worked closely, had made high-profile public statements about Deif.
Moreover, Albright had developed a close relationship with Arafat. Recall this nugget from The New Republic (April 26-May 3, 1999): “Contrast [Albright’s] truculence toward [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu with her cordiality toward Arafat. One high [Clinton] administration official, on seeing her kissing the Palestinian leader during his last visit to Washington, said, ‘Oh my God, she’s all over him.’ Albright also entertained Arafat at a dinner at her home, an almost unprecedented intimacy.”
Albright was that close to Arafat, yet she didn’t know anything about the most-wanted Palestinian fugitive in the world, who was being sheltered by Arafat? Come on.

So why was Albright “undiplomatically” denying knowledge of Deif? Because it would have meant having to answer the unanswerable question: why our State Department and the Justice Department refuse to pursue justice when the killers of Americans are Palestinians. I am tempted to say that there is “a special place in hell” for those who knowingly let murderers walk free. But that would be stooping to Madeleine Albright’s level.

This column first appeared on JNS.ORG.

News from Gaza reveals Palestinian values

Three news stories came out of Gaza this past week, and at first glance, they might appear to be unconnected. But taken together, they reveal important truths about Israel and the dangerous neighborhood around it.

The first news item, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, concerns a prominent Muslim religious authority in Gaza encouraging men to beat their wives.

Hassan al-Laham, a leading mufti in Gaza, declared that when Muslim men find their wives to be troublesome, they should first "warn them politely." But if the problem continues, then “Allah created a solution for this…hitting—hitting that does not make her ugly.” The mufti continued: “The Prophet [Muhammad] said: ‘Do not hit the face and do not make her ugly,'” he continued. “In other words, not hitting that will bring the police and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly. No….The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm, or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke. He will hit her jokingly.”

It should be noted that Mufti al-Laham's endorsement of wife-beating was broadcast on some obscure Hamas or Islamic Jihad television station, but on official Palestinian Authority TV (on February 8, 2016).

The second news item from Gaza, reported by the Associated Press on February 16, concerns the United Nations' Mideast envoy, Nikolay Mladenov. While touring Gaza, Mladenov complained that "only a third of funds pledged by international donors" after the 2014 Gaza war has actually been received.

The third piece of Gaza news comes from the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, General Gadi Eizenkot. He held a press conference to reveal that Hamas is actively building new tunnels from Gaza to Israel, in order to stage kidnappings and other terrorist attacks. He said that Hamas' tunnel-digging is so extensive and dangerous that the Israeli army has re-enforced to "concentrate considerable engineering and intelligence efforts to combat this threat."

What do wife-beating, international stinginess, and new tunnel-digging have to do with each other? Everything.

After the last Gaza war ended, the Obama administration pressured Israel to permit Hamas to import construction materials for "humanitarian purposes." Various countries pledged large amounts money to "build homes." And pundits assured us that homes and jobs and foreign aid would encourage the emergence of a peaceful, modern, civilized society in Gaza.

It all turned out to be a lie. And of course Israel is left to deal with the real-life consequences of what everyone demanded.

Most of the countries that made pledges have not delivered. They talked big about the "suffering" of Gaza, but they don't really care. They just wanted to make Israel look bad--calculating, correctly, that their complaints would get lots of publicity and their failure to pay up would get little or no publicity.

As for the "humanitarian aid" that has reached Gaza, part of it has been used for building terror tunnels, not homes--exactly as Israel warned. Yet that has not resulted in the Obama administration reducing its annual aid package to Gaza.

And the wife-beating? A horrifying reminder that Palestinian society--whether the portion run by Hamas, or the portion run by the Palestinian Authority, which broadcast the mufti's sermon--continues to embrace values that are vastly different from those of the civilized world.

Homes and jobs and international donations will not make a whit of difference until Palestinian culture enters the modern world. Until then, Palestinian violence --against women, against political dissidents, and most of all against Israel-- will continue to be a way of life. No peace process or international peace conference or Israeli concessions will change that cruel reality.
This column first appeared on Israel National News.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lack of Western compassion over Middle East terror attacks

The below article appears in Russia Today.  "RT news covers the major issues of our time for viewers wishing to question more and delivers stories overlooked by the mainstream media to create news with an edge. RT provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint."  OK, so let's expect a bit of condemnation of the West, shall we?

Facebook users were not instructed to do so, but may nonetheless wish to change their profile pictures in solidarity with the families and friends of victims of recent terrorist attacks.
A great many of the victims were aspiring university students, others were school teachers, children, infants, parents, and elderly. Their bodies were torn apart in the acts of violence, many unidentifiable.
Most of these innocent victims will go unnamed, their murders obfuscated, or largely unnoticed, in Western media.
There then follows a list of various terror attacks that received little attention in the Western media or on government levels.  They are compared to the Paris attacks that resulted in President Obama ordering US flags to be flown at half-staff.

As has often been explained to me by news editors in the US, there is no "news" in most Middle Eastern terror attacks.  They are called "dog bites man" stories, and they're just not news.

Of course, RT has an objective here to place the US and Western Europe among the world's hypocrites when it comes to identify terror.  You can read the full article here.