Sunday, July 24, 2016

24-Jul-16: In Germany, a gunman with Iranian citizenship kills 9

Heavy armed security as patrons leave the mall in Munich on
Friday evening [Image Source
Yet another mass-killing of innocent victims in a public European space. Nine dead, 27 injured as of this hour, and ten more critically injured according to BBC. And once more, rapid-fire near-certainty by the local authorities - at least to judge by news reports - that this latest mass-casualty shooting assault, this time by a teen with dual German and Iranian citizenship, has nothing whatever to do with plots or planning or Islamist groups.

This is from Reuters:
World | Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:41pm EDT Related: WORLD | Munich gunman fixated on mass killing, had no Islamist ties | MUNICH | BY JOERN POLTZ AND KARIN STROHECKER | 
A German-Iranian teenager who shot dead nine people in Munich was a deranged lone gunman obsessed with mass killings who drew no inspiration from Islamist militancy, police said on Saturday. The 18-year-old, born and raised locally, opened fire near a busy shopping mall on Friday evening, triggering a lockdown in the Bavarian state capital. Seven of his victims were themselves teenagers, who police said he may have lured to their deaths via a hacked Facebook account on what was the fifth anniversary of twin attacks by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik that killed 77 people. The Munich shooting, in which a further 27 people were wounded, some seriously, was the third act of violence against civilians in Western Europe - and the second in southern Germany - in eight days. Bavarian state crime office president Robert Heimberger said the gunman, who German media named as Ali David Sonboly, was carrying more than 300 bullets in his backpack and pistol when he shot himself. Munich police witnessed the suicide at 8:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT), the police force said on Saturday.  
Following a police search of the attacker's room, where a book on teenage shooting sprees was discovered, Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae all but ruled out an Islamist militant link to the attack. "Based on the searches, there are no indications whatsoever that there is a connection to Islamic State" or to the issue of refugees, he told a news conference. "Documents on shooting sprees were found, so the perpetrator obviously researched this subject intensively."
At the Independent UK, they quote the police saying
there are no indications the gunman had links with Isis, identifying the attack as a "classic shooting rampage" and not terrorism... Police said the victims killed in the massacre included teenagers, with children among the 16 people injured. Video uploaded to social media purportedly shows the attacker shouting "I am German" and "I was born here" after an onlooker shouts xenophobic remarks to him during the attack.
AFP reports the shooter was "quiet [and] helpful... calm and shy... a good person" but also "a bullied teen" who "had been an admirer of another German teenager who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009". And "a shy boy" who "laughed like a normal person".

And this from a United Arab Emirates news report tonight:
He was born a Shiite and his parents think he may have converted to Christianity at some point, but what really fascinated Ali David Sonboly was mass killers. On Friday, the 18-year-old became one himself when he gunned down nine people in a shopping centre in Munich. The police who raided Sonboly’s home in Munich found nothing to indicate any interest in extremist causes but much evidence of an obsession with mass killers. In his bedroom they found a stash of books and documents about so-called "spree shootings" and including a German translation of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters. Written in 2010 by Dr Peter Langman, the book examines the phenomenon of teenage murderers with particular reference to the Virginia Tech and Columbine school massacres in the United States. Sonboly also admired the 17-year-old German who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009... 
Did he shout "Allahu Akbar" as he fired at his unarmed victims? Yes, according to this report.

Friday, July 22, 2016

22-Jul-16: Heavy-handed Swedish efforts to silence an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism

In "Watching the Moon at Night", Clara Rojas, freed from FARC 
captivity in Colombia describes her years of suffering at the hands 
of the terrorists
A really fine piece of documentary cinema made by acclaimed Swedish filmmakers Bo Persson and Joanna Helander was recently screened in the European Parliament. Prior to that it had been shown in the Swedish parliament, at a prestigious list of international film festivals and in front of selected private audiences in the United States and Europe.

Called "Watching the Moon at Night", the 90-minute-long documentary addresses in a lyrical and insightful way the intertwined issues of terrorism and antisemitism. (There's a trailer here.)

We don't do this often but 
we are asking readers (for the second time) to please sign an important and meaningful petition that relates to what is being done to the film and its authore. You can read more and sign on the GoPetitions site. We blogged about it in previous posts: "13-Jan-15: Terrorism: watching its victims, trying to understand their experiences" and "28-Mar-16: Upcoming premiere screenings (NYC, Washington) of an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism".
We know from the directors that the project was inspired by some of the world's most eminent authorities in those two fields. They included Walter Laqueur, and the late André Glucksmann and the late Robert S. Wistrich

What distinguishes it from similar-seeming undertakings is the sensitive and enlightening role it gives to the voices of the victims. They (and we are in it) speak, in apolitical terms, of awful personal experiences of terror in a variety of places including Algeria, Spain, France, Moscow, Israel, New York, Colombia, Munich, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

This film began as a co-production of the producers Kino Koszyk HBFilm i Väst, a regional Swedish film fund; and Sveriges Television with important support from the Swedish Film Institute.

Subsequently, Sveriges Television officials shockingly refused to allow it to be screened on TV in its home country. Several reports in the mainstream Swedish and Danish media in the wake of that decision refer to political correctness and to a concern about a backlash (for showing a television documenary!) from certain corners.

Prominent Swedish commentators have called for this awful decision to be reversed. In these fraught and dangerous times, terrorism and antisemitism threaten the institutions of democracy everywhere. Attempting to hide this reality and distorting the public debate is the worst way to confront these threats when we should instead stand up for human rights and European values.

From "Watching the Moon at Night"
We are joining the call by distinguished Scandinavians and a growing circle of concerned Europeans to require the management of Sveriges Television to reverse its gagging of this important film, and to immediately schedule it for the widest possible television exposure in Sweden.

The silencing of this fine film (full disclosure: as mentioned above, we play a small role in it, testifying to our experience) is an outrageous abuse of bureaucratic power, an act of thuggery dictated by unspoken and shameful motivations.

There's a petition calling for the film to be shown in Sweden and drawing attention to the politically-aligned decision to silence the voice of the film's makers. If you did not already respond to our earlier request, please now go to the GoPetitions site and sign.

And please help us get the word out. (We are working on a longer piece. Hopefully we will get it out soon.)

22-Jul-16: Who says the BBC never calls terror terror?

Currently appearing on the BBC website (if it has changed by the time
you click, here's the archived version)
Regular readers of this blog, and of the much-more focused and excellent BBC Watch, will be aware of the infuriating and ultimately dangerous practice at the BBC to (a) Never use the word terror outside of quotation marks and (b) To use it when it suits the editors.

Then there's another option: (c) To change their minds once or twice on a single day depending on... well, in truth, we don't know on what such editorial swings depend.

But they certainly happen. We watched it and then described it in "22-Mar-16: At the BBC, they're challenged by terror in quite revealing ways" when the BBC decision-makers couldn't quite determine whether their news consumers could be entrusted with knowing that terror played a role in the Brussels Airport terror massacre.

(In the end, they decided that it did not, then that it did, and eventually, later the same day, that it did not. We documented the silliness here.)

Rule of thumb: it almost never suits the editors and has not suited them for years, to use the word terror when describing any act of savagery, no matter how transparently jihadist in nature, when such acts are directed at Israelis. Check it out.

Knowing this, and understanding how much double-talk and hypocrisy lie behind it, take a look at this morning's BBC report from Brazil and the events we ourselves mentioned yesterday ["21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus"]. The screen shot above show how that BBC item is currently headlined.

Click to see how very seriously the BBC
takes its own editorial guidelines - on paper
What's obviously going on is that, while BBC editorial guidelines are one thing, the decisions taken by the editors at the BBC on a given day are frequently another. 

We tried to lay out our view of those double-standards (we're being polite) in this post: "06-Jan-16: Perceptions and realities at the BBC". It includes a revealing (though discouraging) list of our earlier comments on this important issue, all of them addressing the BBC and its terror strategy from a critical perspective.

There's also the disturbing way the BBC pays what we consider to be self-evidently inadequate attention to the frequency and nature of terror attacks (whatever the BBC chooses to call them) against Israelis compared with its comprehensive and often up-close coverage of Israeli actions against the Arab side after those terror attacks happen, 


Over at BBC Watch, they address this very matter on a monthly basis via a statistical review, and in March 2016 provided this summary chart ["Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel"]:
From BBC Watch
As you mull over BBC's editorial practices, think of its standing as a publicly-funded (to the tune of an unparalleled billions of dollars each year), globe-straddling radio/TV/web/print colossus with a mission
to ensure that the BBC gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news, other information, and analysis of current events and ideas.
Yep: Accurate and impartial, and it's clear that many people buy that. '

But closer inspection, and some informed knowledge of what goes on in Israel, and a person realizes this is how ideology-driven journalism works. All those well-rounded vowels, the pompous self-justifications and the serious-sounding guidelines don't change that. 

We can take comfort from the fact that today's BBC headline doesn't read "Violent extremism arrests in Brazil".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

21-Jul-16: Lone wolf truck-ramming murderer transforms - yet again - into a far more lethal figure

The weapon in the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, France
[Image Source]
What we know, or were told we know, or thought or suspected we knew turns out - almost as we watch - to be very different. And what's different makes it much, much more threatening. (For background: "15-Jul-16: The terrorist vehicle-ramming murders in France: what the media see and won't see"] Above all, this was not, in any sense, an attack by a truck.

From Associated Press tonight:
The truck driver who killed 84 people on a Nice beachfront had accomplices and appears to have been plotting his attack for months, the Paris prosecutor said on Thursday. Prosecutor Francois Molins said five suspects currently in custody are facing preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in the July 14 attack in the southern French city. Molins' office, which oversees terrorism investigations, opened a judicial inquiry Thursday into a battery of charges... The suspects are four men — two Franco-Tunisians, a Tunisian and an Albanian — and one woman of dual French-Albanian nationality, Molins said. The driver was a Tunisian man who had been living in Nice for several years. People close to Bouhlel said he had shown no signs of radicalization until very recently. But Molins said information from Bouhlel's phone showed searches and photos that suggested he could have been preparing an attack as far back as 2015.
Almost no aspect of what was suggested about the attacker in the hours and first days after the incredibly lethal assault by truck-ramming has remained in its original shape. This will not prevent the very same thing from happening next time there is a terrorist attack in which, as far as the naked eye can see, is done by an individual. He or she will be a lone wolf for media and government policy purposes until the facts make that theory impossible to sustain.

We, the civilized side, are not winning this ongoing war yet.

21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus

In Rio, Brazilian security forces do their work a week ago [Image Source]
Ready, set...

Yesterday, a news report from the country hosting the upcoming Olympic Games that get started on August 5 ["Brazil Not Underestimating Olympic Terror Threat, Says Minister", Voice of America, July 20, 2016] quoted its sports minister saying that Brazil
was not underestimating the threat of terrorism and was taking all necessary measures ahead of next month's games in Rio de Janeiro... "The government has adopted all the measures recommended by inter-national security protocols... The government is absolutely convinced that the Games will be safe." ...Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper he is more concerned about violence and street crime, problems that affect Rio on a daily basis. "Crime is more of a worry than terrorism and that is why we are reinforcing patrols," he said. Brazil plans to deploy about 85,000 soldiers, police and other security personnel during the Olympics — over twice the size of the security force in London for the 2012 Games.
Twenty-fours later, and things already look a little different compared with the plan. Reuters reported this evening (Thursday) that its security officials had
arrested 10 people on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to a group supporting Islamic State (IS) and preparing acts of terrorism during next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, [the same] Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes said. The loosely organized group were all Brazilian citizens and in contact via internet messaging groups such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but did not know each other personally, the minister said. The group did not have direct contact with IS though some of its members had made "pro forma" declarations of allegiance to the militant Islamist group, the minister said. He did not elaborate. "Those involved participated in an online group denominated 'the defenders of Sharia' and were planning to acquire weapons to commit crimes in Brazil and even overseas," Moraes told a news conference... The minister said the leader of the group was based in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, with others spread in nine Brazilian states. [Reuters, July 21, 2016]
Other reports say the Brazilian jihadists call themselves "Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil" and propagate ISIS materials in the Arabic, English and Portuguese languages. And according to a report today on the Foreign Desk News website, Israelis are among the jihadists' targets:
In a list published on social media, jihadis are advised to target American, British, French and Israeli athletes with the notion that “One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else in sha Allah.” “Your chance to take part in the global Jihad is here! Your chance to be a martyr is here!” the jihadis said, citing the easy process of obtaining visas for travel to Brazil as well as the wide availability of guns in “crime-ridden slums.” Israeli athletes are further singled out. “From amongst the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen amongst the Muslims,” they state. [Foreign Desk News, today]
Just two days before Thursday's arrests, a noted counter-terrorism authority in the US, SITE Intelligence Group, issued a report referring to calls by the Brazilian jihadists for "lone wolf" attackers to launch assaults on specific Olympic sites and via specific weapons.

In other parts of the terrorism-focused social media, an article from two years ago asserts that Brazil had become “an operational hub for Iran and Islamic terrorism” already then, offering safe haven for Islamic extremist groups.

A Wall Street Journal report today says
the arrests are certain to elevate concerns about the possibility of a terrorist attack in Rio, which is expected to attract 500,000 tourists and athletes, and raise additional questions over Brazil’s security preparations.
Telegraph UK says the Brazilians have formed an Integrated Anti-Terrorism Centre (called CIANT) for the Games. It works with the security agencies of the US, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Paraguay and Argentina. Officers at CIANT, headquartered in the capital, Brasília, "are monitoring Rio 24 hours a day. Among the areas covered are hotels where Olympic officials and VIPs will stay, Games venues and training sites". Four days ago, the general coordinator for public security at the Games, said
there was no identified threat of a terror attack against Brazil but said the level of alert had been raised since the Bastille Day attack in Nice. “Today, in the absence of a concrete threat to Brazil, we are on yellow alert, which is characterised by increased attention and the level of response in relation to everyday life,” he said. “This can develop into an orange or red alert according to any specific threat that is identified in relation to Brazil.” [Source]
It appears now that the light changed this morning.

21-Jul-16: Palestinian Arab ass being saved, once more, by concerned Israelis

Image Source: Screen shot
Thanks to Aussie Dave over at Israellycool, we just watched a brief video clip that, on its face, is about Israeli police confiscating Palestinian Arab property. It originates with Corey Gil-Shuster, who interviews subjects for his Ask an Israeli/Ask a Palestinian video project and who came across the Hebrew-only source on an Israeli channel for animal lovers.

In dry terms, it's a clip filmed recently by someone from Israel Police that graphically shows the mistreatment of a neglected, very badly-lacerated donkey. And the frightened, angry, frustrated boy in charge of the animal. And the animal being saved from a slow and awful death through the intervention of grown-ups wearing Star of David symbols on their uniforms.

Dave quotes Corey noting the significance of what's being shown, beyond the cruelty and the animal, and touching on truths that are central to the generations-long Arab/Israel conflict. Paraphrasing Corey,
  • An Arab child of 11 from the West Bank, despatched into Israel on his own to work illegally, almost certainly by his hard-scrabble family. He could have been hurt or killed. And it's certainly illegal to do this to a child of his age.
  • Indications, based on what we see the child do once the police move, that he gets beaten at home and will likely be beaten some more for losing the donkey to the Zionists.
  • And "this video will end up being edited to show that Israelis steal donkeys from Palestinian children".
Dave adds that "it shows the compassion of the Israeli police officers towards this illegal entrant into Israel, even though he has abused a donkey and is not cooperating with them". He's of course right. He could have also mentioned their admirable patience and forbearance.



But there's also this aspect:

Deeply cynical, and very often life-threatening, abuse of Palestinian Arab children is not only a well-documented reality. It's also one of these perplexing sides of the conflict that causes human rights bodies  - the sort we would otherwise expect to scream to the heavens in protest - to lose their voices and stare off into the distance, humming.

Palestinian Arab children, whether they are having their heads filled with life-changing hatred and often-lethal bigotry by an education system run by UNRWA, or whether being incited by their despotic president to go out into the fields and onto the streets and (literally) kill Jews and die for the "purity" of their "homeland" - in other words, when they are being weaponized - are egregiously ignored by the likes UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalUNESCOChild Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development and others.

The self-incriminating silence of the thriving multi-billion dollar children's rights industry on what's being done to the Palestinian Arab children by their own ruling clique is an articulate expression of their priorities and of the ideology motivating many of the prime movers of those charities and NGOs. It's a scandal that ought to get more attention than, say, a plagiarized paragraph in a politician's wife's speech. But it gets close to none.

In an age of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, they certainly can't say they don't know. They have decided to not care, not intervene and not do what their donors want them to do. Instead, they align themselves with the sadly familiar narrative that preposterously ascribes "Palestinian suffering" to "occupation" (as the British House of Lords, in a report it withdrew this week after a single day's exposure, does and did) Since it's children's lives being ruined, we're entitled to feel and express fury. It surprises us to see that so few other people get that. 

There's something about advocacy for the Palestinian Arabs that makes smart people stupid, empathetic people cruel and philanthropy-minded Westerners witless.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

19-Jul-16: With ISIS involved, the refugee and the knifer/axer get some media attention; the victims, not so much

The 17 year-old slasher: German security officials chased him
and shot him dead, bringing last night's attack to an end [Image Source]
We now know more about the minor who carried out the knifing/axing attack on innocent travelers aboard a German train last night that we reported here earlier today.
Bavaria's interior minister Joachim Herrmann said the teen — who came to Germany over a year ago as an unaccompanied minor and had lived with a foster family for about two weeks — appeared to have acted alone. He told a press conference that the handpainted ISIS flag was found in the teen's room along with texts discussing the life of Muslims and how they "have to stand up and fight." A note found also suggested the teen may have written a farewell letter, Herrmann added. The ISIS-affiliated Amaq Agency issued a statement saying a "soldier" responding to the militant group's call to target the West was responsible for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The statement did not indicate that ISIS had any role in directing or organizing the attack. Herrmann, however, said the motive for the attack still needed to be investigated and that authorities were trying to find out more about about the suspect's background and route to Germany. "I cannot say if this is the result of a network," he told the press conference.
Over at the website of i24news.tv, they are reporting that the attacker was in the service of ISIS when he carried out the slashing rampage - and they seem to be relying on the very same source as the report above:
The Islamic State group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for an axe and knife attack carried out on a German train by a 17-year-old Afghan refugee the night before, according to the IS affiliated Amaq agency. The "individual who carried out the axe attack in Germany was a soldier of the Islamic State who executed the operation in response to calls to target nations in the coalition fighting the Islamic State," said the statement.
Israel National News has this:
In the footage released by ISIS's al-Amaq propaganda outlet, 17-year-old Afghan national Mohammed Riyad can be seen delivering a speech in the Pashto language, while brandishing a knife. He is described in the video as "a soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the Wurzburg attack."
For the record, here is how the German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle is currently (in the past hour) reporting this latest development:
Afghan migrants fear backlash after Würzburg attack | Afghan asylum seekers in Germany say the recent terror attack in Würzburg could further delay their asylum applications and trigger a backlash against them. They urge not to be painted with the same brush... Germany saw an influx of over 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, more than any other European country. The highest number of asylum seekers came from Syria, followed by Afghanistan. Many of them were underage, unaccompanied boys and girls fleeing their countries in search of a better life in Europe.
We checked to see what Deutsche Welle had reported in the past 18 hours on the victims of the slashing attack. So far all we could find was this:
Four passengers were injured. Two of them are still in mortal danger. [Source: Axe attack on German train]
and
"Hong Kong's government condemns Würzburg train attack"
Being a victim was never much good, but it's especially true about being a victim of a terrorist attack. Basically, no one in the media is that interested. It's the perpetrators that tend to get the lion's share of the attention.

UPDATE Wednesday July 20, 2016: It's now evident that the murder-minded axe/knife attacker in Monday night's slashing of passengers on a German train (a) has a name different from the one the German authorities reported; (b) is not from Afghanistan but a different country; (c) while yesterday he was neither a radical nor a fanatic today he appears to have been both; (d) there was no evidence tying him to the global jihadists on Tuesday but on Wednesday it's fairly overwhelming; and (e) the authorities in Germany, which will have taken in about a million more refugees and asylum seekers by the time 2016 is over, are completely on top of things and the situation could hardly be better, more or less. This is from today via AFP:
"Sources close to the German security services now think he might have pretended to be Afghan on arrival in Germany in 2015 in order to have a better chance at securing asylum, television station ZDF reported. In the IS video the youth uses phrases of a dialect of Pashto spoken in Pakistan and not Afghanistan and experts have indicated that his accent is also clearly Pakistani, ZDF said. A Pakistani document was also found in his room. The name he used in the video, “Mohammed Riyadh,” does not match the name under which he registered in Germany, Riaz Kahn, the station added... Locals described the assailant, identified in media reports as Riaz A., as “calm and even-keeled” and a “devout Muslim who did not appear to be radical or a fanatic,” according to Joachim Herrmann, interior minister of Bavaria state.
“According to the investigation thus far, there was no evidence on site to point to him belonging to the Islamist network,” Herrmann said. Police however later found a farewell letter he apparently left for his father in which he said the world’s Muslims “must defend themselves.”
“Now pray for me that I can take revenge on non-believers, pray for me that I can get to heaven,” the note said. Prosecutors said he shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) three times as he made his way through the carriage. An eyewitness told DPA news agency that the train, which had been carrying around 25 people, looked “like a slaughterhouse.”

19-Jul-16: Tentacles in Germany: Again, a train, an axe, a religious war-cry, innocent victims and a search for motives

Sadly familiar: Disingenuous reporting from
Aljazeera where the "real" victim gets
mentioned in the headline and motive is always
a deep mystery [Source]
From Associated Press this morning:
A man armed with an ax and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany | Police kill attacker who slashed passengers on German train
Monday, July 18, 2016 | BERLIN (AP) — A man armed with an ax and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany on Monday night, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled. Wuerzburg police said on their Facebook page that three of the victims suffered serious injuries and one was slightly injured. Another 14 people were being treated for shock. Police said there was not yet any information on the motive behind the attack, nor details on the identity of the attacker. The train was on its way from the Bavarian town of Treuchtlingen to Wuerzburg, which is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Nuremberg.
Certainly not the first such recent attack on a European train [background]. And reminiscent of an attack in May 2016 when a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" stabbed one innocent victim to death and slashed three others at a railway station near Munich. That act of evident jihad "raised fears that Germany... was now being targeted by Islamist extremists". That's a dramatic revelation.

And did we mention the role of "Allahu Akbar" in last night's attempted murder-by-slashing? Though it does not get mentioned at all in AP's report or in the vast majority of newspapers this morning, one British source says
Police have confirmed that 18 people have been injured in the horrifying attack - which began in a train this evening. Four are understood to be seriously injured. A 17-year-old Afghan refugee believed to be behind the attack was shot dead by police as he reportedly charged at them following the incident at Würzburg-Heidingsfeld station. The boy is reported to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" before the attack... The Bavarian Interior Ministry has now confirmed the attacker shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) before hacking at passengers... An official has said the incident was ‘probably’ linked to Islamic extremism.
Aljazeera manages to avoid touching on any issues of religion or the theological war cries in telling what happened. It's sadly typical of a certain kind of disingenuous reporting in which they specialize there. See "Afghan refugee shot dead after train attack in Germany" and note whose victimhood is mentioned in the carefully-phrased headline.

Here's how German's state broadcaster recounts what happened:
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann confirmed in a television interview that the teenager boarded the train in Ochsenfurt, where he had been staying with a foster family after traveling unaccompanied to Germany to seek asylum. "The attacker appears to have been a 17-year-old Afghan who has been living in Ochsenfurt for some time," Herrmann said. "He suddenly attacked passengers with a knife and an axe, critically injuring several. Some of them may now be fighting for their lives." The Afghan national reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" before launching the attack, wielding a knife and axe. "The perpetrator was able to leave the train, police left in pursuit and as part of this pursuit, they shot the attacker and killed him," a police spokesman said. The motive of the attack was not immediately clear.
The BBC says
Although the motive has not been established, the BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin says there is nervousness in Germany about attacks by Islamist extremists following the attacks across the border in France.
Yes, we can fully understand the nervousness.

But among the questions we're left to ponder: don't they do careful checks of passengers on public transport in Germany to see if they happen to be carrying axes? Or knives? Perhaps they should.

And at what point, under what circumstances, does the motive of a young man with a knife and an axe and an urge to kill people by slashing them to death while invoking an only-too-familiar religious war cry become "immediately clear"? If ever?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

17-Jul-16: At a Jerusalem corner with a tragic history, a human bomb is intercepted this morning

Scene of this morning's successful intercept. The corner building on the right is
the site of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre fifteen years ago [Image Source]
Our child was murdered there.
It's hard for us to observe what went on in the center of Jerusalem during this morning's rush hour and not make comparisons with events at the very same location almost exactly fifteen years ago.

Here's how Times of Israel is currently reporting today's drama in a still-unfolding terror attack:
Police in downtown Jerusalem on Sunday morning arrested a man who was carrying explosives in his backpack. The suspect, identified as a West Bank Palestinian, was detained near the light rail stop on Jaffa Road after he raised the suspicion of a security guard. Police said the man was standing “behind the stop, with a bag in his hand.” When the guard asked to examine the contents of the bag, he noticed a bomb and called police. Sappers were promptly deployed to the scene and the road was closed off, along with the adjacent King George Street. Police said the man was found to be carrying “a number of pipe bombs” and had been arrested and taken in for questioning. A video from the scene showed police pointing their guns at the suspect, who lay on the ground near the train stop. A second clip showed sappers strip-searching him, apparently for explosives. Media reports said the man was a resident of Beit Ula, near Hebron in the West Bank. Police said he was “in his 20s.”
The human bomb, lying prone but unharmed on
the ground at a central Jerusalem light rail 
station today. Security personnel are pointing
guns at him from every direction
[Image Source: Video]
The alert security guy, by the way, is an Israeli Druze.

On August 9, 2001, a human bomb, dispatched by Hamas under the management of a female Hamas agent, came to the very same spot.

The instructions he had been given (as we know from the public, first-person testimony of the woman who managed and engineered the massacre) were to explode the contents of the guitar case on his back right in the center of the intersection of King George and Yafo, Jerusalem's busiest corner. It seems he noticed that there were more people - and in particular more children - inside the Sbarro pizzeria whose all-glass facade looked out onto that intersection. So he ignored what he had been told about where to kill the largest possible number of people and walked an additional few meters into the fast-food place on the corner. At that hour, it was filled with boisterous youngsters on school summer vacation.

The explosion, at 2:00 pm, took the lives of fifteen people, most of them children. More than 130 were seriously injured, many of them standing outside the pizzeria where today's intercept occurred. (There was no Jerusalem Light Rail in 2001, and therefore no light rail station. Today's human bomb was stopped and stripped on the light rail station platform.)

An incredible decision taken by the government of Israel on that awful day fifteen days ago to avoid notifying the public of what the intelligence services know - that a human bomb was making his way to Jerusalem at that very hour - meant that many people, especially children, and specifically including our daughter Malki who was 15 when she was killed in the explosion, had no idea of the mortal danger they faced by being in the center of town.

Thankfully, with the greatly-heightened awareness and aggressive security measures that have been adopted by Israel over the years in the face of overt incitement to and encouragement of terror by the Mahmoud Abbas regime and its fellow travelers, no one was hurt in today's attempt jihad attack. Not even the jihadist fanatic.

But it could so easily have ended so very differently.

Assuming he's convicted, this morning's thwarted human bomb starts earning Rewards for Terror cash from the Palestinian Authority via its malevolent, ever-so-slightly-disguised prisoner payments authority. The funding all comes from European and American foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, as government officials of all the relevant countries know well - but in large measure deny.

As for the man in underwear in the photo above, today's would-be human bomb, his financial future, and that of his dependents, is suddenly secure.

Friday, July 15, 2016

15-Jul-16: Abbas, who praises vehicle rammers to the sky, has just (yes) condemned the French savagery

Leaders of many countries marched solemnly in the streets of Paris in
January 2015, condemning terrorism with their serious faces and
determined words. Except for one delighted man: Abbas. [Image Source]
There's no need to belabor the point: 

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, elected to a four year term as president of the PA on January 9, 2005 and having successfully deflected all attempts by his citizens and foes at another election since then, has this afternoon brazenly condemned the very action that he fulsomely praises when it's done by Palestinian Arabs. Here's today's report from an Arab source:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent his condolences to his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Friday, following an attack Thursday night that left at least 84 people killed, including children, and at least 100 injured when a man deliberately drove a lorry into crowds during national celebrations in Nice, France. According to the Palestinian national news agency WAFA, Abbas declared his support and solidarity with the French people and the families of the victims, while condemning the attack which international media have deemed a “terrorist attack” reportedly carried out by a 31-year-old French-Tunisian. [Ma'an News Agency, July 15, 2016]
For a sense of how utterly devoid of sincerity and how rich in cynicism today's Abbas crocodile-tears statement is, consider just these five background items (from among many) posted by us in the recent past:
Go to that last link and you will see Abbas quoted widely and publicly in the wake of one of the many recent Arab-on-Israeli vehicle rammings, saying of the attacker to her freshly-bereaved parents:
We consider her to be someone who is with Allah, may He be exalted and elevated, as a martyr who quenched the land of Palestine with her pure soul. I share your deep sorrow and anguish, and express my most sincere condolences to you and to your distinguished family,.. [08-Mar-16: The lethal anguish of "moderate" Abbas]
Abbas is no moderate. He's not a moderate liar. He is not even a moderate kleptocrat. He formulates his views carefully and in odious ways that are frequently fig-leafed by a compliant media concerned that the man's true views and actions might accidentally get better known outside the fellowship of Pal Arab advocates.

In fact, as we see it, the only thing more loathsome than this man's actions - and especially his incitement to murderous stabbings, to vehicle rammings, to shootings and their impact on the lives lived by ordinary people in this part of the world - is the stunning ignorance of reporters and their editors. With the journalistic equivalent of a straight face, they manage to publish transparent nonsense like this afternoon's Abbas "condemnation" without falling off their stools laughing or becoming paralytic with embarrassment.

15-Jul-16: The terrorist vehicle-ramming murders in France: what the media see and won't see

The BBC news home page this morning: Death by attack truck
In the wake of a vicious mass-killing perpetrated by a person (or persons) who drove a large truck at high speed in zig-zag fashion through a huge crowd for about two kilometers, France's president, François Hollande, said in a televised speech last night what only the most obtuse of observers can have failed to comprehend: that all of France is living under the threat of Islamic terrorism:
“After Paris in January 2015 and then St. Denis in November last year, and now Nice, in its turn, is touched, it is all of France that is under the threat of Islamist terrorists,” Hollande said in a pre-dawn broadcast Friday which the Elysee, the presidential palace, posted on social media. He referred to deadly mass attacks in January on a satirical weekly and a kosher supermarket in Paris and in November on a concert hall in Paris, carried out by terrorists affiliated with Islamist terrorist groups.
A truck barreled into a crowd Thursday night during celebrations marking Bastille Day, the French independence day, killing 77 people. Reports said there might have been more than one attacker, and that the truck’s cab was filled with guns, explosives and grenades, according to local authorities.
The driver, who fired a gun into the crowd, was killed by return fire. An identity card in the truck cab bore name of a French Tunisian.
There was no claim of responsibility and security authorities were not yet describing the attack as terrorist, but Hollande made clear he believed that it was.
“The attack’s terrorist character cannot be denied,” he said. [JTA, July 14, 2016]
Though he made plain what we meant, Hollande's words have been distorted, ignored or turned on their heads in certain parts of the news media. Overall, as of Friday morning, there's a conspicuous avoidance of drawing the kinds of stark conclusions that the French leader has:
    The terror weapon [Image Source]
    But in certain parts of the Arab world, there's neither avoidance nor doubt:
    ...[A]s in the hours immediately after the Paris, Brussels and Orlando attacks, there was a now familiar celebration on channels run by groups that support the Islamic State, as well as on at least one channel affiliated with the group, also known as ISIS and ISIL. They cheered the carnage. On a channel created Thursday, called the United Cyber Caliphate, run by a group that has previously tried to carry out cyberattacks in the Islamic State’s name, a message included a single word — France — followed by a smiley face. The channel of an Islamic State member, Aswarti Media, which has repeatedly been shut down and claims 1,987 members, was posting the phrase “Allahu akbar.” Yet another suspected pro-ISIS channel showed an image of the Eiffel Tower going up in flames. [New York Times, July 15, 2016]
    In the UK, the Telegraph via its live-blogging, shares some of what ordinary people, particularly in France, already seem to know [all direct quotes from Telegraph]:
    • The truck driver who rammed his vehicle into a massive crowd in Nice fired a pistol several times before being shot dead by police, a local official said Friday. 
    • The truck driver was said to have shouted 'Allahu Akbar' — God is greatest — before being shot dead by police.
    • [H]e drove a heavy truck at high speed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday. The driver was shot dead after barrelling the truck two kilometres (1.3 miles) through the festive crowd on the palm-lined Promenade des Anglais, sending hundreds fleeing in terror and leaving the area strewn with bodies.
    • Authorities said they found identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen in the truck, as well as "guns" and "larger weapons".
    • The truck driver was known to French police for common law crimes such as theft and violence, according to police sources, but not to the intelligence services.
    • ...French President Francois Hollande has vowed to strengthen his country's role in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria after a deadly attack on Nice, which has not been claimed by any group. "Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil," he said, in reference to the Islamic State group.
    Some observations from the Wall Street Journal:
    The carnage in Nice marks the latest in a string of attacks against France over the last 18 months, traumatizing the country just as the government was preparing to relax its antiterror posture. If confirmed as a terror attack, it would represent a breakdown of the vast security dragnet France erected after the November’s Islamic State-sponsored assault that left 130 dead in Paris. It would also point to the country’s vulnerability in the face of extremist groups such as Islamic State, which has called for sympathizers to strike soft targets such as Thursday’s Bastille Day fireworks display celebrating the French Revolution.
    Not only France's vulnerability, but that of every other city and country in the world. This is a war, and it will be won only after that's comprehended.

    And this:
    The French public and the government had just started to breathe easier eight months after the November attacks. The country had been on high alert as it hosted the European soccer championship, which ended this month without incident. “In the life of a nation there are tests—and we have been tested in the last year, and doubtless will be again. But in the life of a nation there are also moments of exhalation and collective joy,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said earlier this week. “The Euro (tournament) was one of those special moments.” [Wall Street Journal]
    The practitioners of terror are not acting on spur-of-the-moment impulses but see this as a process with a long path ahead and a distant horizon. Each killing, every outrage and massacre, represents for them a marker towards the victory they so clearly seek. The name we chose for this blog embodies the view we take of the period in which every country on earth now finds itself.

    Here in Israel, terror by vehicle ramming is only too familiar to ordinary citizens and to the security forces. Click here for some of the dozens of vehicle ramming terror attacks we have reported in the past ten months.

    The president of the Palestinian Authority, who we can be confident will be urged by his advisers to quickly denounce the carnage in France, has explicitly and repeatedly praised the vehicle-ramming attackers when the victims have been Jews and Israelis. We can be quite sure Mahmoud Abbas will refrain from calling the Nice terrorist "a martyr who quenched the land" with his "pure soul". But that's exactly what he did from Ramallah just four months ago. Does anyone think this is going to be mentioned in the mainstream media?

    As of now, the French death toll has passed 80, and at least 100 others are injured. We will be updating this post during the day.

    Sunday, July 10, 2016

    10-Jul-16: Saturday night Arab-on-Israel gunfire attack on car-full of children in Gush Etzion

    The injured driver: No other family member in the vehicle
    was hurt [Image Source]
    Visitors to Israel and especially to the capital know that the Gush Etzion communities are located just a few minutes drive south of Jerusalem and are a thriving component of the greater Jerusalem urban area. In fact, they offer some of the most pleasant living environments in all of Israel.

    But they are also located within close proximity of Hebron from where extreme Arab-on-Israel violence has emanated since at least the tragic massacre of 1929 in which on a single day (August 24) about seventy defenseless Jews were slaughtered, holy sites were pillaged and destroyed, and the entire Jewish population which had lived, worked and studied there for centuries was forcibly removed.

    Polite reminder to the history-challenged: There were at that time no "oppressive" IDF checkpoints, no occupation, no "illegal settlements", no "Apartheid" security barrier. But there certainly was Arab-on-Jew hatred on a scale that defies the imagination. Some think that has passed. Others see it as a constant.

    Now to last night. As reported by Israeli National News ["Man shot, wounded near Tekoa"]
    A 30-year-old Israeli man was shot and wounded near the Gush Etzion community of Tekoa on Saturday night. MDA first responders were at the scene and treated the victim. He is now at Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek hospital, where doctors say that he is in moderate condition with a bullet wound to the shin.
    The communities of Gush Etzion, sorted by size of population
    [Data Source: Wikipedia]
    Since that was published, it has become clear the attack was not adjacent to Tekoa but between the small Gush Etzion community of Metzad (previously called Nahal Asfar) and the nearby T-intersection that serves it. Metzad is the southern-most community in Gush Etzion, and has a largely Haredi Jewish population.

    Times of Israel says this morning (Sunday) that the IDF is currently
    keeping two West Bank villages under closure as a troops searched for a shooter who opened fire at an Israeli car in the area the night before, injuring one person. The Israeli man, who has not been identified by officials, suffered light to moderate injuries and remained hospitalized in Jerusalem Sunday morning after the attack, which occurred on a road in the Etzion settlement bloc southeast of Jerusalem... The man’s wife and five children were in the vehicle with him during the shooting, a spokesperson for the Etzion bloc said... The shooting attack took place south of what’s known as the “T” junction on the highway connecting the east and west sides of the Etzion settlement bloc. The terrorist fled the scene and the army subsequently sealed off the nearby towns of Sa’ir and Al-Aroub as troops searched for the gunner. The army overnight Saturday-Sunday arrested eight Palestinians in the West Bank suspected of involvement in riots and attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, but were still searching for the attacker. Palestinian media reported on Saturday night that following the closure, clashes broke out between IDF soldiers and residents in Sa’ir after soldiers imposed the closure, which involves surrounding the town and checking anyone leaving or entering.
    Those Arab towns now being locked down have some terrorism background. We described what's special about Sa'ir six months ago in "08-Jan-16: Four more thwarted knife attackers, all from one town". It's regarded as a Hamas stronghold, which may surprise people who think that's true only of the terror-addicted Gaza Strip. Al-Aroub was last in our blog posts in April 2016 when one of its citizens launched a strikingly-unsuccessful ax attack on an Israeli [reported here].

    In the Hebrew social media, Saturday night's shooting victim is described [here] as a Haredi resident of Netivot who had been a Sabbath guest in Metzad, along with his wife and children, all of them in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Other than the driver, no one else was injured in the terror attack. Netivot is some 100 kilometers (an hour and a half's drive) from Metzad. A later report identifies him as Eitan Finkel. That's him in the photo at the top. We wish him a speedy and full recovery from his injuries. His six children were inside the car when it came under fire.

    Since October 2015, according to a Times of Israel tally, 35 Israelis and four others have been killed and hundreds more injured in the wave of Arab-on-Israeli attacks. Some 200 Palestinian Arabs have been killed, about two-thirds of them the actual attackers in the course of their jihadist assaults, with the remainder killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.

    Friday, July 08, 2016

    08-Jul-16: Violence, terror, cash and the PA Rewards for Terror Scheme: Congress takes a look

    Shell Game: Back in February 2013, the man on the left was
    the PA's then Minister of Prisoners Affairs. He's boasting 
    of the huge number of prisoners receiving guaranteed 
    monthly salaries from the PA. [Source Video: PMW}
    Eli Lake, writing for Bloomberg last week ["The Palestinian Incentive Program for Killing Jews", July 1, 2016] says
    Whoever said crime doesn't pay hasn't talked to the family of a Palestinian terrorist. For the Palestine Liberation Organization and the related Palestinian Authority, the killers of Jewish Israelis are considered "martyrs." And as such, their families are paid for the service these murderers have done for the Palestinian cause. [Bloomberg - Eli Lake]
    A few days later, and in the wake of several especially shocking Arab-on-Israeli terrorist murders, the US Congress' House Foreign Affairs Committee conducted hearings into how that works. We're not claiming to be objective by-standers in the discussion: we know that all the members of the Hamas gang who bombed Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 have been, and some still are, major takers of those payments.

    The Committee was told on Wednesday that the Palestinian Arab government spends about a tenth of its annual budget "paying terrorists who attack Israelis and supporting their families... [T]he Palestinian Authority is investing $137.8 million this year in salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel and payments to the families of imprisoned terrorists or suicide bombers, in violation of the Oslo peace accords with Israel."

    Describing how the payments to Palestinian Arabs who have carried out murderous assaults on frequently-unarmed Israeli civilians are made - it's a process we call the PA Rewards for Terror Scheme - in recent months, Dr Yigal Carmon, president of the Middle East Media Research Institute [MEMRI] told committee members that
    the PA transfers funds to terrorist prisoners in Israeli or their families using two Palestinian Liberation Organization funds. The financial support of these individuals is mandated by [Palestinian Arab] law. Prisoners must be provided a monthly salary ranging from $364 to over $3,000 during their detention, and salaries or jobs upon their release. Those who commit the most grievous attacks receive the most substantial monthly payments and are also entitled to jobs in the Palestinian Authority institution upon their release. ["Palestinian Authority Pays Terrorists and Their Families $140 Million a Year", Morgan Chalfant in Washington Free Beacon, July 7, 2016]
    This is relevant to the stabbing, ramming and/or shooting attacks on Israelis by non-uniformed, seemingly random Palestinian Arabs that have come to be frequently termed in parts of the news media as the work of "lone-wolf" attackers. It's become a currently fashionable term. The chairman of the House committee turned his attention to that aspects and argued (as we have repeatedly done in this blog):
    “These terrorists are not, in fact, lone rangers. They are not lone wolves,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), who chairs the committee, in opening remarks during the hearing. “Instead, these terrorists are the product of the programming done by the PA’s perverted culture that glorifies the willingness to die or to spend time in prison in pursuit of killing or maiming Israelis.” [Washington Free Beacon, July 7, 2016]
    Roughly 250 such Arab-on-Israeli attacks have been carried out or attempted since the outbreak of the latest wave of extreme violence in October 2015. More than 30 Israeli lives have been lost, and dozens of Palestinian Arabs have been killed by Israeli police and security actions during and after them.

    How does that "perverted culture" stay funded? It's a non-trivial question. Dr. Carmon, in the written testimony he filed in conjunction with his appearance before the committee, includes a revelation which is, not surprisingly, consistent with those we have published here in the past year. Let's call it the mechanics of the shell game, the one that the Abbas regime, and Mahmoud Abbas himself, use to hide the true nature of the PA payments:
    [Mahmoud] Abbas issued a presidential order according to which the payments to prisoners would no longer be made by the PA's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Instead, they would be disbursed by a PLO Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. The aim of this deliberately misleading move was to alleviate pressure on the PA by donor countries that do not wish their money to be channeled to support terrorism. However, the offices remained the same and the official in charge remained the same under a new job title. The source of the money remains the PA, which receives them from donor countries, and the overseeing body remains none other than the PA. [Quoted in "Is U.S. Foreign Aid Funding Terrorists?", Josh Luckenbaugh for MRCTV, July 7, 2016]
    What that reporter could have said but did not - and we will - is that this transparent blood-soaked fraud is fully understood and known to officials throughout the foreign ministries, and other parts of the governments, of all the Western nations who provide the funding. 

    The United States and the European Union are the major sources of that cash, but Norway is prominent in the list as well and so is the UK, The Netherlands and Germany. We have written a stream of background pieces about it - for instance (and the list is much longer than these pieces) "27-Mar-16: In UK, facing up to UK Aid's scandalous ongoing financing of Palestinian Arab jihad", "27-Mar-16: The PA's "Rewards for Terror" scheme and the lies that keep the pounds flowing in", "28-Mar-16: Is it time yet for UK's foreign aid office to come clean on their part in funding Palestinian Arab terror?", "31-Mar-16: More on UK funding of Abbas' Reward for Terror scheme", "02-May-16: Norway's polite and cautious funding of Palestinian Arab terror", "04-May-16: The PA's Rewards for Terror scheme: Abbas, fobbing off Norwegian criticism, incriminates self", "13-May-16: Ongoing gullibility: UK foreign aid and the Palestinian "Rewards for Terror" scheme", "25-May-16: Wall-to-wall agreement at last: The Pal Arab kleptocrats and the devastation they wreak", and "14-Jun-16: In the UK, law-makers (some) worry over the bloodshed funded by their taxpayers". As we said, there are many others.

    In his appearance before Congress, Carmon called the PA scheme a “deliberately misleading move” to assuage concerns from donor countries worried about their money being funneled to terrorists.
    “The source of the money remains the PA, which receives them from donor countries, and the overseeing body remains none other than the PA,” Carmon told lawmakers. He said that countries who provide aid to Palestine, including the United States, are “complicit” in inciting terrorism because the Palestinian Authority uses foreign donations to subsidize terrorists and their families. By providing this support, the PA is encouraging terrorism in violation of its Oslo commitment. Furthermore, the PA has been using money granted by donor countries for this purpose, and by doing so, has made [the funders] complicit in encouraging terrorism as well,” Carmon said. [Washington Free Beacon, July 7, 2016]
    We're not sure Dr Carmon's term "encouraging terrorism" is the best way to look at this. Numerous public opinion polls taken of the Palestinian Arab view on violence and terror and their utility consistently suggest that not much encouragement is needed.

    Eli Lake, in the article we mentioned above, describes efforts made by the US and Israel in particular to disincentivize Abbas' PA regime from continuing its Rewards for Terror Scheme. He writes:
    One problem is that the payments to terrorists' families are exceedingly popular these days. Ziad Asali, the president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, told me that in recent years the media and politicians have elevated these payments to something "sacred in Palestinian politics." Asali said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and others are too weak to stop it. "This is where we find ourselves now. The vast majority understand there has to be an end to violence; it's not serving the Palestinians in any way," Asali said. "But I think nobody really has the stature and clout to confront these issues publicly."
    Really? How great it would be if a statement like "The vast majority understand there has to be an end to violence; it's not serving the Palestinians in any way" were true. But if Ziad Asali is referring to the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs (which he seems to be doing), the numbers show he has it back to front. And we mean Arab numbers compiled by Arab pollsters. We explained that in a recent blog post:
    In the March 2016 poll, the last time this question was asked, 60% of Palestinians backed Arab-on-Israeli-civilian terror attacks... We believe, and the polling data bear it out consistently over years, that when columnists and analysts speak of the desire of Palestinian Arabs to live in peace, to get on with ordinary, quiet, constructive lives - as compelling as this interpretation is, the data don't support it. It's, to put it kindly, wishful thinking unsupported by any evidence and contradicted by what we can measure based on Arab pollsters. Anyone paying attention to the incitement pumped, generation after generation, into their communities and heads will not be surprised. What the people living on the other side of the fence are saying is clear, credible and measurable. Being optimistic about the prospects for the sort of painful compromise that leads to peaceful relations is counterfactual and foolishas much as we wish it were otherwise. That's a message we wish the public figures pushing their literally-hopeless "peace plans" would internalize. ["15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?"]
    So in the face of this, and the overwhelming support that lethal violence gets among the people we call our neighbors, what legal and financial steps make sense? And what does the Obama administration (as distinct from the Congress) say? And how about the Europeans? It's a big subject. We will come back to it in the next few days.