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The Red Cross Must Stop Facilitating Pay-for-Slay Terror Salaries

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visiting the West Bank city of Jenin. Photo: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced that those Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel who must submit new forms to continue to receive their terror salaries from the PA in 2024, must immediately have this arranged through the International Red Cross.

The following is the announcement by Fatah in Bethlehem:

Posted text: “Honored prisoners’ relatives, please produce a [International Red] Cross document for those who have no sentence whose names appear below; a [International Red] Cross document accompanied by a new administrative [detention] order for the administrative detainees; and a [International Red] Cross document accompanied by a verdict for the sentenced prisoners.

This is in order to renew the monetary eligibility approval [i.e., PA salaries for terrorist prisoners] before Jan. 1, 2023 [sic., Jan. 1, 2024] …

Thank you.”

List title: “The list of prisoners whose eligibility will end during December 2023 … Administration of District 7 — Bethlehem District”

[Fatah Movement — Bethlehem Branch, Telegram channel, Dec. 4, 2023]

The accompanying pictures show a list of prisoners from the Fatah’s Bethlehem District whose period of eligibility to PA terror salaries will end in December 2023, unless they renew the forms though the Red Cross.

A similar announcement was released in Hebron by the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs — Hebron Directorate:

Posted text: “The relatives of the prisoners whose names are noted below must produce the signed [International Red] Cross documents. Respectfully.”

The pictures show a list of prisoners from the PA’s Hebron District whose period of eligibility for PA terror salaries ends in December 2023. Next to the prisoners’ names is written either “Bring a new [International Red] Cross document” or “Bring an administrative [detention] document with the [International Red] Cross’ [signature]”

List title: “The relatives of these prisoners must hurry and bring new signed [Red] Cross documents — before Dec. 5, 2023”

[PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs – Hebron Directorate, Facebook page, Nov. 26, 2023]

Earlier that same month, the Hebron district sent out a similar announcement:

Posted text: “The relatives of the prisoners whose names are mentioned below must produce the [Red] Cross documents by the end of the day [Nov. 5, 2023].”

[PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs — Hebron Directorate, Facebook page, Nov. 5, 2023]

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) calls on the Red Cross to permanently cease to be the facilitator for terrorists to receive the terror rewards from the PA. Especially now, when terrorists in the Gaza Strip are holding Israeli hostages and preventing the Red Cross from seeing them, the Red Cross should at a minimum refuse to facilitate new terror salaries until the Israeli hostages are seen to and released.

PMW likewise calls on the Israeli government to demand the Red Cross not facilitate salaries to terrorists, and certainly not until the hostages are released.

The author is the founder and executive director of Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.

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The Myth of British Exceptionalism

Britain’s former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts after the general election results of the Islington North constituency were announced at a counting center in Islington, London, Dec. 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Hannah McKay.

JNS.orgThat old image of the Jewish family with a packed suitcase at the ready in case they are compelled to suddenly leave their home has returned with a vengeance across Europe.

In France and Germany, home to sizable Jewish communities, the “Should we leave?” debate is raging in earnest. Both of these countries experienced record levels of antisemitic incidents in 2023, most of them occurring after the Hamas pogrom of Oct. 7 in southern Israel. Similar conversations are also being held in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Belgium and Spain—countries with tiny Jewish communities that are nevertheless enduring a painful rise in antisemitism.

What about Britain, though? It’s a pertinent question insofar as there has always been a “British exceptionalism” with regard to the continent. During World War II, the Nazis failed in their quest to conquer the British Isles, in contrast to the rest of Europe. After the defeat of Hitler, the British supported efforts to transform Europe into an economic and political community that eventually became the European Union, even joining it. Yet Britain was never fully at peace with its identity as a European state, and as is well known, the “Brexit” referendum of 2016 resulted in the country’s full-fledged withdrawal from the European Union.

When it comes to antisemitism, however, Britain is very much part of the European rule, not the exception. Again, that’s important because while the British don’t deny that antisemitism is present in their politics and culture, they don’t believe that it’s as venomous as its German or French variations. “It is generally admitted that antisemitism is on the increase, that it has been greatly exacerbated by the war, and that humane and enlightened people are not immune to it. It does not take violent forms (English people are almost invariably gentle and law-abiding),” wrote George Orwell in an essay, “Antisemitism in Britain,” penned towards the war’s close in April 1945.

At the same time, Orwell conceded that British antisemitism was “ill-natured enough, and in favorable circumstances, it could have political results.” To illustrate this point, he offered a selection of the antisemitic barbs that he had encountered over the previous year. “No, I’ve got no matches for you. I should try the lady down the street. She’s always got matches. One of the Chosen Race, you see,” a grumpy tobacconist informed him. “Well, no one could call me antisemitic, but I do think the way these Jews behave is too absolutely stinking. The way they push their way to the head of queues, and so on. They’re so abominably selfish. I think they’re responsible for a lot of what happens to them,” a “middle-class” woman said. Another woman, described by Orwell as an “intellectual,” refused to look at a book detailing the persecution of Jews in Germany on the grounds that “it will only make me hate them even more,” while a young man—a “near-Communist” in Orwell’s description—confessed that he had never made a secret of his loathing of Jews. “Mind you, I’m not antisemitic, of course,” he added.

I’d wager that were Orwell to tackle the same subject today, he would write a similar essay. The rhetoric he quotes echoes eerily in what we are hearing almost 80 years later, particularly the denial that recycling antisemitic tropes makes one an antisemite, as well as the digs against chosenness—because antisemites have never understood (or don’t want to understand) that Jewish “chosenness” is not about racial or ethnic superiority, but a duty to carry out a specific set of Divine commandments.

Last week, the Community Security Trust (CST), a voluntary security organization serving British Jews, issued its annual report on the state of antisemitism in Britain. The CST has been faithfully issuing these reports since 1984, and over the last few years, it has regularly registered new records for the number of offenses reported. 2023 was the worst year of all; there were a stomach-churning 4,103 incidents reported—an increase of 81% on the previous annual record in 2021, when 2,261 incidents were reported (largely due to that year’s conflict between Israel and Hamas for 11 days in May).

Instructively, the worst month in 2023 was October, in the days immediately following the rapes and other atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists on that black day. Oct. 11 was, in fact, the worst day, with 80 incidents reported. As the CST pointed out, “[T]he speed at which antisemites mobilized in the U.K. on and immediately after Oct. 7 suggests that, initially at least, this increase in anti-Jewish hate was a celebration of the Hamas attack on Israel, rather than anger at Israel’s military response in Gaza.”

Of course, the present situation in the United Kingdom differs from Orwell’s time for two main reasons. Firstly, in 1945, there was no Jewish state, and antisemitism revolved around cruder tropes invoking supposed Jewish rudeness, clannishness, financial power and so forth. (Even so, Britain was also one of the first Western countries to experience antisemitic rioting linked to the Zionist movement and Israel; in 1947, after two British officers in Mandatory Palestine were executed by the Irgun, or “Etzel,” resistance organization, violence targeting Jewish communities broke out across the United Kingdom, thereby establishing the principle that all Jews, everywhere, are to blame for the alleged evils of Zionism.)

Secondly, in 1945 Britain was still largely a white, Christian society. In the interim, it has become far more diverse and is now home to nearly 4 million Muslims who constitute 6.5 percent of the population. Since the late 1980s—when the Iranian regime issued a fatwa calling for the death of the Anglo-Indian author Salman Rushdie, alleged to have slandered Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses—what was once a relatively docile population has become politically animated, with the Palestinian cause pushed front and center.

In the four months that have passed since the Hamas atrocities, with weekly demonstrations in support of Hamas in London and other cities, Muslim voices have been disproportionately loud in the opprobrium being piled not just on Israel, but on those Britons—the country’s Jewish community—most closely associated with the Jewish state. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every Muslim, and many of the worst offenders are non-Muslims on the left. Indeed, the Oct. 7 massacres have enabled the return to politics of a particularly odious individual whom I had forlornly believed had been banished to the garbage can of history; George Galloway, an ally of Hamas and one-time acolyte of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who is standing in the forthcoming parliamentary election in the northern English constituency of Rochdale for an outfit called the “Workers Party of Britain,” whose manifesto combines nationalism and socialism, but which would probably balk at the description “national socialist” in much the same way that some antisemites balk at the description “antisemitic.”

British Jews have weathered a great deal in recent years, especially the five years when the Labour Party, the main opposition, was led by the far-left Parliament member Jeremy Corbyn, who has since been turfed out of the party by his successor Sir Keir Starmer. Having survived that, the belief has spread that they can survive anything. But there’s another question to be asked: Is the effort worth it? Increasingly, and worryingly, growing numbers of British Jews are now answering “no.”

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Biden’s Foul Language

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a Hanukkah reception at the White House in Washington, US, Dec. 11, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

JNS.orgPoor Joe Biden. The special counsel investigating Biden’s retention of classified documents found at his home and office justified his belief that criminal charges should not be brought by saying a jury wouldn’t convict a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who has “diminished faculties in advancing age.”

We know that the president fumfers frequently and mixes up names, dates and places. I was on the receiving end of one of his “word salads” at a lunch about 20 years ago after I commented on his negative remarks about then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Suffice it to say, he never addressed my comment and ran out the clock on the meeting.

However, comments made by the president over the past few days show he’s not just easily confused but also a mean old man who knows how to cuss.

Evidence of the former abounds whenever Biden goes off-script during a speech. That’s nothing new for a man who has been in politics for most of his adult life and believes he is Lincoln giving his second inaugural address every time he takes the podium. I believe that’s not only true of Joe Biden but of other elderly politicians as well.

I was once on the speaker’s platform at an event with the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. He got up to speak with the text in his hands. But as he approached the microphone, he folded the speech and put it in his pocket. I heard his aide standing next to me audibly sigh because he knew what was coming next: A rambling talk about why Lautenberg was running for office again at the age of 78. (This was a man who, in his first campaign for the Senate in 1982, hinted his opponent was over the hill because she was 72.)

But two recent incidents show that Biden may have, like Fonzi, “jumped the shark” when it comes to U.S. support for Israel during the current war, making some very nasty comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Given the president’s snippiness at recent press conferences, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Biden first called Netanyahu “a f***ing guy” and followed up by calling him an “***hole.”

Biden wouldn’t be the first president to have what are now called “hot mic” moments, in which words are said that are not really intended for widespread publication, as they would make the speaker look bad or insult an important person.

Here are three incidents:

In 1984, during a microphone test before a radio address, then-President Ronald Reagan joked, “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

“The Gipper,” a former radio announcer, was just being funny. But in humor there is often truth. Underlying his comment was his belief that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. The Russians didn’t think it was funny, but we have to remember that the USSR’s demise began under Reagan.

In 2006, during the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic addressing then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the phrase “Yo, Blair.” All was well, though, because the remark drew attention to the close relationship between the two leaders.

During a summit in South Korea in 2012, Barack Obama was caught telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more flexibility to negotiate on issues like missile defense after his reelection. Obama said, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Medvedev responded positively by saying, “I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin],” who was serving as Russian prime minister at the time.

But remember that Israel is an American ally and Biden jumped to its aid following the Oct. 7 massacre. He traveled to Israel and sought to neutralize a possible threat to Israel from the Hezbollah/Iran axis by moving two U.S. Navy carrier task forces to the eastern Mediterranean. As the Israel-Hamas war continues, however, Biden’s support may be wavering. Are these comments from the president an indication of this?

At the end of the day, Biden’s comments are far beyond the red line of acceptable diplomatic talk. His language was crude and severely demeaning to a democratically elected prime minister. The lack of response from major Jewish organizations is a sad commentary on how they view Biden and Netanyahu.

We can only hope that Biden’s public coarseness about Netanyahu was a one-off event and not an indication of imminent American policy changes.

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Sinwar Agonistes

Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, attends a meeting with people at a hall on the seashore in Gaza City.

JNS.orgHamas leader Yahya Sinwar, mastermind behind the Oct. 7 invasion of Israel and the worst single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, is believed to be lurking within the subterranean labyrinth that lies beneath Gaza.

With funds provided by the “international donor community,” Hamas constructed more than 300 miles of tunnels—a network more extensive than the London Underground.

We may assume that Sinwar is somewhere below the southern Gazan cities of Khan Yunis or Rafah, and that he is surrounded by hostages abducted from Israel and barely clinging to life. On the streets above, Gazans serve as his human shields—some voluntarily, some not.

I’d wager that Sinwar is pondering four options.

Option 1: He can wait, betting that President Biden will pressure the Israelis to accept a “ceasefire,” a deal that would allow him to rise, praise Allah for victory, resume ruling Gaza and prepare for the next round of atrocities.

Sinwar was surely encouraged to learn that Biden last week said that Israel’s “conduct of the response in Gaza has been over the top.”

That charge is entirely unfounded. In truth, despite Hamas’s human shields strategy, the ratio of civilian-to-combatant casualties is unprecedentedly low for urban warfare, as historian Andrew Roberts last week explained to Britain’s House of Lords, and as John Spencer of the Modern War Institute has attested.

War is always hell, but Israelis have done more than any other nation ever to spare civilians—despite the fact that they are fighting a genocidal enemy backed by Iran’s rulers. The battle against Hamas is not one the Israelis can afford to lose or even end in stalemate.

Option 2: The Israelis let Sinwar go into exile, say in Algeria, in return for his release of hostages he hasn’t yet murdered. He may be giving serious thought to that way out.

Option 3: “Martyrdom in the way of Allah.” To jihadis everywhere, Sinwar would be a hero and an inspiration.

I’ll come to the fourth option in a moment.

Though Sinwar has plenty of food and fuel—stolen from the aid that’s been pouring in for Gazan non-combatants—life in the tunnels cannot be pleasant.

But he may derive occasional amusement hearing Western leaders and U.N. apparatchiks solemnly pronounce their support for “territorial compromise,” “land-for-peace negotiations” and a “two-state solution.”

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken went further, calling for “a concrete, time-bound and irreversible path” to a Palestinian state.

Note that Blinken is not saying that the leaders of such a state would forswear terrorism and peacefully coexist alongside the Jewish state. Nor is he guaranteeing that such a state will not become a vassal of Tehran.

All he’s said is that Israelis will have “security assurances.”

Like the security assurances Israelis received from the U.N. Security Council after they withdrew from Lebanon?

Like the security assurances Ukrainians received from the United States when they gave up their nuclear weapons?

Like the security assurances Hong Kong received when the British turned the territory over to China’s Communists?

Sinwar is not fighting for a Palestinian state. He is fighting for the extermination of the Jewish state and its replacement—“from the river to the sea”—by an Islamic emirate, a jewel in the crown of the mightier-than-ever caliphate that is to come.

For Sinwar a “two-state solution” would solve nothing—unless it provided an improved platform from which to launch Oct. 7-style attacks.

Also, for all intents and purposes, was there not a Palestinian state on Oct. 6? What attributes of statehood has Gaza lacked since Hamas took power in 2007 after forcibly expelling the Palestinian Authority?

What expressions of sovereignty do Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Malta possess that Gaza under Hamas did not? A vote in the U.N. General Assembly? Oh, big whoop.

I know you’ve heard that, despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the territory continued to be “occupied.” That charge was based on the claim that Israelis had “hermetically sealed” Gaza, turning it into the “world’s largest open-air prison.”

You were misinformed.

Yahya R. Sarraj, the Hamas-appointed mayor of Gaza City, recently expressed his distress over the destruction of his municipality’s theater, library, zoo, cultural center, parks, seaside promenade, restaurants and recreation areas.

We now know that senior Hamas officials lived in luxurious villas by the sea. Fighters went to Lebanon and Iran for training.

There were poor people in Gaza, to be sure, but they were provided welfare and social services by U.N. agencies, in particular UNRWA, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

UNRWA employees include Hamas members, Hamas sympathizers and the beneficiaries of Hamas patronage. They turned a blind eye to the terror tunnels, even those built right under their headquarters. Some participated in the atrocities of Oct. 7.

The Israeli “blockade” was nothing more than an attempt to prevent Hamas from receiving tons of weapons and ammunition, mostly from Iran. We now know that this mission failed. Gaza’s border with Egypt appears to have been porous.

Hamas amassed an enormous arsenal which is why, four months after Oct. 7, Sinwar’s fighters are still firing missiles and shooting Israelis.

Israeli forces are now battling a Hamas brigade in Khan Yunis, and have begun “pinpoint raids” in Rafah, where four battalions reportedly remain. On Sunday night, Israeli commandos rescued two hostages in Rafah.

Which brings us to Sinwar’s fourth option. He could emerge from the depths, surviving hostages in tow, and order his troops to cease firing.

That would save the lives of many Gazans, both his comrades-in-arms and those serving as Hamas pawns.

But that option, I’d wager, is the one Sinwar is least likely to choose.

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