05/14/21

Hostility towards Israel as functional antisemitism

By: Renato Cristin

On one thing, the recent report by Human Rights Watch dedicated to Israel is right: “a threshold has been crossed”. Yes, one limit has been crossed, or rather two, but it is Human Rights Watch itself that has exceeded them: on the one hand, its report goes beyond the limits of the caricature and the grotesque (which is inadmissible for an organization accredited to the UN), presenting a political and social reality through the distorting lens of pro-Palestinian, pro-Islamic and anti-Zionist ideology; on the other hand, the border that divides criticism of the work of the State of Israel from antisemitism as the result of an action, an analysis or an opinion has been crossed. Yes, this relationship has introduced a new level: it cleared that form of anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hatred that I call functional antisemitism.

We know that these organizations, protected by the UN, have no problem attacking any government not aligned with the Palace, tarnishing it with hallucinating and often spurious accusations. But towards Israel there has always been, in that Palace and in its ideologies, a special aversion, which can be explained above all by the resistance that Israel opposes to the tendency to annihilate the nations that the UN has always supported and with the refusal Israel to accept the warnings (or rather: the diktats) to behave according to criteria that the UN considers politically correct.

Today, with an apparently isolated but in reality concerted action at the highest level, because it is connected with the orientation of the UN and, as we will see, with the action of the International Criminal Court, this questionable NGO puts Israel in the dock for racism and crimes against humanity (but with what credibility, then?, with what historical heritage, with what spiritual mission, with what political authority, with what popular mandate, with what ideological neutrality?), as if it were Amin Dada’s Uganda or the Central African Republic of Bokassa. Absurd, as in a piece by Beckett or Ionesco.

Yes, the measure is really full; the insults have exceeded all limits. And yet it would not be worth commenting on the HRW report, so much is it false due to bias of the accusations and even ridiculous due to the groundlessness of the analyzes, as Fiamma Nirenstein has incontrovertibly shown in an article in the italian newspaper Il Giornale of 28 April, if it were not for three dense reasons of strategic implications: the NGO Human Rights Watch is highly rated among the UN leaders; it receives funding from institutions, organizations and personalities of considerable depth and a certain political orientation, such as, but not by chance, George Soros; HRW’s anti-Israel theses have far-reaching repercussions, which can range from the consolidation of a defamatory vulgate and, unfortunately, also of a boycott front against Israel (understood as a state and as a people), to the encouragement of acts of sabotage and, hopefully not, also of terrorism by that galaxy of acronyms that make up the anti-Israeli hatred in the Middle East, to the unleashing of isolated but very violent aggressions against symbols and people of Judaism in Europe, up to the indirect support of those state powers, Iran in the front row, which explicitly aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. For these reasons, maximum attention must be paid to pages that would otherwise be classified as junk.

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05/13/21

More Exact Colonial Pipeline Hack Details

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

It is prudent to review several sources for the real evidence and details and most often non-government companies are the ‘go-to’ places for that. Government spins stuff but private cyber experts offer up great context and such is the case below.

FBI Confirms Darkside Behind Colonial Pipeline Ransomware ...

As a primer, CISA is a government agency launched by the Trump administration for all the right reasons.

Alert (AA20-049A)

Ransomware Impacting Pipeline Operations

But read on.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an Alert that offers a set of best practices to protect against ransomware-induced business disruptions. The Alert was prompted by the attack against Colonial Pipeline, and it includes in its introductory section the preliminary conclusion that DarkSide ransomware affected Colonial’s IT systems only, and had no direct effect on the company’s OT networks. The best practices CISA advocates are familiar. The Alert closes with a statement strongly discouraging any victim from paying the ransom their attackers demand: “Paying a ransom may embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, encourage other criminal actors to engage in the distribution of ransomware, and/or may fund illicit activities. Paying the ransom also does not guarantee that a victim’s files will be recovered.”FireEye yesterday published a report on DarkSide that emphasizes the group’s ransomware-as-a-service model. It’s a selective operation (criminal applicants for affiliate status are, for example, interviewed before being given access to DarkSide’s control panel) but it’s also not a monolithic one. FireEye’s Mandiant unit currently tracks five “clusters” of DarkSide threat activity. The affiliate model DarkSide uses shares criminal profits: “Affiliates retain a percentage of the ransom fee from each victim. Based on forum advertisements, this percentage starts at 25 percent for ransom fees less than $500,000 USD and decreases to 10 percent for ransom fees greater than $5M USD.”

Colonial Pipeline’s website came back online late yesterday, newly armored with a reCAPTCHA landing page. The company published an update in which it reported progress toward resumption of refined petroleum deliveries, with some 967,000 barrels delivered to Atlanta, Belton and Spartanburg in South Carolina, Charlotte and Greensboro in North Carolina, Baltimore, and Woodbury and Linden (close to the Port of New York and New Jersey). Some lines have been operated under manual control since Monday, at least, and have been moving existing inventory. As the company prepares to restart deliveries, they’ve taken delivery of an additional two million barrels, which they’ll ship once service is restored.

The company appears also to be addressing some concerns about its pipelines’ physical security, having “increased aerial patrols of our pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel to walk and drive ~ 5,000 miles of pipeline each day.” (hat tip to CyberWire)

Related reading:

Colonial Pipeline using vulnerable, outdated version of Microsoft Exchange: report

Pipeline operators were warned about potential attacks in 2020


05/13/21

Global Experts Weigh in on Hamas’ War on Israel: Michael Johns

By: Rachel Brooks | Republic Underground

In the photo above, taken on May 11, 2021, Israeli sirens wail in the night as bombs meet in the air. Hamas has launched hundreds of missiles at Israeli civilian targets.

With the terrorist movement Hamas launching major missile attacks against Israel beginning on May 10, 2021, Republic Underground sought the opinion of some of the world’s leading Middle East experts on the conflict and its ramifications. In this second in a series of these interviews, Republic Underground managing editor Rachel Brooks spoke on May 11 with Michael Johns, co-founder of the influential U.S. Tea Party movement who has served previously as a White House speechwriter, Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst, and influential U.S. expert and strategist on national security, foreign policy, and other public policy matters.

Michael Johns

Michael Johns launched the influential U.S. Tea Party movement in 2009. Its extensive national political victories in 2010 and 2014 proved immensely politically consequential, blocking Obama’s progressive legislative agenda for the last six years of his two-term presidency. The Tea Party has proven globally consequential, inspiring Britain’s Brexit campaign and other populist political movements in Europe and globally.

Johns’ immense influence on public policy has been a constant in Washington, D.C. since the 1980s when, as a Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst during the Reagan administration, he helped lead the development and implementation of the Reagan Doctrine that provided military support to anti-communist resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and other communist regimes in the Soviet orbit. These efforts have since been credited widely as a major contributing factor to the U.S. victory in the Cold War in 1991.

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05/10/21

The Harbinger of the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The harbinger is what protections were in place against hacks and ransomware that are underway. Stopping oil and gas flow and delivery is how to stop life and economies. Apply some critical thinking here… it goes way beyond cost as supply is crucial. If the FBI was well aware of the DarkSide in 2020… we need to rethink the Bureau completely.

PC Magazine provides this update in part:

The FBI today confirmed that the cyberattack that forced Colonial Pipeline to take its network offline over the weekend is due to ransomware known as DarkSide.

“The FBI confirms that the DarkSide ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks,” the agency says. “We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.”

During a Monday White House press briefing, Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, said the FBI has been investigating the DarkSide variant since October 2020 and has determined that it’s a ransomware-as-a-service attack, meaning “criminal affiliates conduct attacks and then share the proceeds with ransomware developers,” she said.

Though news reports have tied DarkSide to Russian operatives, President Biden said Monday that “so far, there’s no evidence…from our intelligence people that Russia is involved, although there is evidence that the actors [behind the ransomware are] in Russia, [so] they have some responsibility to deal with this.”

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05/5/21

Conditioned to Comply

by Tabitha Korol

Lokesh Gupta, from Jaipur, India, wrote that if a baby elephant is tethered to a rope, it will never attempt to free itself from that bondage despite its growing strength to do so.  This is conditioning no different than what we see in our fellow humans.

***

I admit to my disappointment when I discovered a two-star review among the fives for my book, “Confronting the Deception,” with the only comment from Paul Wilson being that he considered it “hate speech.”  Hate speech is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence toward a person or group based on something, such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”  Had Wilson been more astute, he’d have understood that in my extensively referenced book, I am actually combating hate speech, namely, the animosity that is expressed toward our conservative values.  It is obvious that the accuser defines hate speech as any ideas or news he opposes, with the hope of encouraging others to act in collaborative censorship.  Elon Musk said, “They don’t ban hate speech; they ban speech they hate.”

I suspect Paul Wilson has been trained over the years to accept only what he learned from his respected sources (school, media), which, sadly, are reflective of Communism, Fascism, and Islam.  He will not read with an open mind or regard and discuss anything antithetical to his rooted comfort level, and he uses his freedom of speech to alert others to avoid and ban the speech they disapprove of.

What might he have found so offensive?  My disclosure of the Islamic ideology and historic imperialism by any means, including lies, forced conversions, invasion, and conquest by bloodshed; the massacre of 890 million people over 14 centuries; the way it continues to this day through Islamic relocation; and overcoming the native population with migration and their harsh Islamic law.  These are not opinions but facts that I thoroughly document and reference, and Wilson should be offended at the facts, not my readiness to expose them.

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01/14/21

Wasted Lives

By: Tabitha Korol

The Muslim Brotherhood produced The Project, a document that contains its plan for radical Islam to infiltrate and dominate the west. Among their aspirations is to make “Palestinians” a cause célèbre, and to instigate a constant campaign of inciting hatred against Jews, by any means. As a member of BDS (Boycott Divestment, Sanctions) and SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), Susan Abulhawa, a jihada, advocates the economic and civilizational destruction of Israel. The inexact and skewed information in her book, Mornings in Jenin, is Da’wa, a strategy of silent jihad, designed to delegitimize Israel and invite Muslims to accept Islam as a peaceful religion.

***

Following their Prophet, Muslims may never accept the world’s transformation after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of Israel. To delegitimize Israel, they must maintain that Palestine and Palestinians have always existed, yet there is no documentation of any governance, language, customs, currency, artifacts, or date and cause of its demise. These are Bedouin Arabs descended from nomads of the Arabian Peninsula and Syrian Desert living in Judea and Samaria, who yielded to the armies’ directions and were then abandoned, leaving their abused, traumatized children to wage jihad – Holy War. Abulhawa’s book follows the lives of four generations of the fictional terrorist family of Yehya Mohammad Abulheja.

In each generation, the Abulheja family is bound to wage jihad and establish their god’s authority on the earth. “The Holy War (Islamic Jihad) in Islamic Jurisprudence is basically an offensive war. . . the duty of Muslims in every age . . .” This story’s oldest generation, Grandfather Yehya traces his ties to the land since 1189, AD, its founding attributed to a general of Saladin’s. Had he gone further back, he’d have discovered the Jewish Kingdom that lasted for thousands of years, beginning with the reign of King Saul, 11th c. BCE. Had he gone forward, he’d have had to contend with the Saladin dynasty’s conquest by the Mamluks.

In 1953, Yehya dons his newly whitened clothes and his Bedouin kafiyyah. As an aside, I recognize this as the same attire worn by U.S. Army Major Hasan on his murderous rampage at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. Despite his son’s plea to stay, Yehya leaves Jenin refugee camp for Ein Hod, returning with olives and fruit from property he owned years before. On his second foray, he is killed by residents of the artists’ colony, hailed as a martyr as his body is returned to his home by the Red Crescent. The author is deceptive with half-truths. Yehye did not have his clothes whitened for harvest. His first trip would have been an investigative mission. Though not disclosed, we can be certain that he was armed for his second venture, dressed for holy war, and prepared to die as a shahada, a martyr.

The next generation is his two sons. Darweesh is the first to meet beautiful Dalia, the 14-year-old Gypsy Bedouin, but her father prohibits the clandestine relationship and, to enforce his point, puts a hot iron to the palm of her hand, warning her not to scream or cry. She pulls her pain inward. In Islamic reality, her hand would have been chopped off or her father would have murdered her for his honor. Dr. Tawfik Hamid explains the severe suppression of conscience and desensitization to or acceptance of violence without remorse, as displayed by Dalia’s father.

Before long, Yehya’s other son, Hasan, announces he will marry Dalia. His mother blames the Zionists for his not accepting the family’s choice of bride and for the world’s turmoil.

Hasan’s best friend is Ari Perlstein who, with his parents, fled Germany in 1937, after his leg was permanently injured by a Brownshirt. Ten years later, the author predictably uses Ari’s Jewish voice to announce that the Jews are heavily armed and on the attack. Factually, Britain embargoed weapons for Jewish forces and surrendered strategic locations and arms to the Arab Liberation Army for Palestine.

Thousands of Jews arrived on the shores of what was then called Palestine. Having survived torture, starvation and disease, the loss of loved ones and belongings, the war-damaged Holocaust refugees wanted only to return to their G-d-ordained <c:\users\tybee\desktop\jewishvoice.org\read\article\where-did-it-all-start-origins-arab-israeli-conflict>sliver of land, two-tenths of one percent of the Islamic landmass. Ill-equipped to fight five armies with the remnants of WW II munitions, they suffered huge losses.</c:\users\tybee\desktop\jewishvoice.org\read\article\where-did-it-all-start-origins-arab-israeli-conflict>

War is upheaval. Those who reached Israel had to again fight for their survival. By the 1948 War’s end, 400,000+ Arabs flee the area and 450,000 Jews fled Arab lands. Abulhawa’s information is deficient.

The Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected recommendations of the special UN General Assembly in November 1947. When the British withdrew, the Arabs attacked the new state of Israel on May 14, 1948. Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha announced, “This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre,” and Israel launched a (retaliatory) massive artillery and aerial bombardment of villages, which Abulhawa, in her fiction, mischaracterizes. More than 400,000 Arabs heeded their leaders and evacuated, expecting to return victoriously. The <c:\users\tybee\desktop\1947 un=”” resolution=””>1947 UN resolution would have meant two states, no refugees, and full and equal citizenship in Israel. Cairo called for Holy War.</c:\users\tybee\desktop\1947>

In her novel, as the Israelis enter Ein Hod, Arab families flee on foot and with carts. Hasan carries five-year-old Yousef while Dalia follows, carrying baby Ismail, when he is swiftly ripped from her arms. She screams her deepest agony, but he is lost to them forever. The author conjures up an Israeli soldier, Moshe, who “believes himself on a mission from G-d” and “envious” of the Arab women’s many children. He impulsively snatches Ismail and flees home to his wife Jolanta, who’d been made barren by Nazi cruelty. She embraces the child and names him David. The author, in a moment of “creative genius,” calls the baby’s discerning feature, a scar on his cheek from a protruding crib nail, “the scar of David.”

The logicality of a soldier carrying a baby while dutifully looting the village with his unit is more than ludicrous; it is a case of projection. It was Mohammed’s warriors who kidnapped for slavery, conversion, and booty. Realistically, Moshe and Jolanta would have welcomed one of the many parentless children who were brought to Israel.

Considering her father’s brutality, her shock by an explosion and minor leg injury, and the kidnapping of her six-month-old son, Dalia begins displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. She rallies with the birth of her daughter, Amal, in 1955, but gradually sinks into dementia, as her husband and first-born Yousef join the wars. Dalia eventually becomes unraveled, needing Amal’s constant care, and dies before Amal turns 14.

Returning to real facts, in 1966, Soviet Intelligence incorrectly reported Israel’s imminent campaign against Syria, heightening tensions and causing fledgling Palestinian guerilla groups to increase in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, and Israel retaliated in the Jordanian West Bank in November. On May 14, 1967, Abdel Nasser mobilized Egyptian forces in the Sinai, requested that UNEF (UN Emergency Forces) leave, and, joined by Jordan and Iraq, blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. To the endless overt threats, Israel launched a preemptive assault against Egyptian and Syrian air forces on June 5 and captured the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In the fictional account, Hasan mobilizes to defend against Zionist aggression, and that contrary to reason and truth, Israel singlehandedly attacks Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. After removing his cache of 20 weapons from beneath the kitchen floorboards, Hasan and Yousef leave the twelve-year-old Amal and her friend Huda behind, hidden under the floor, with only each other for comfort through the terrifying sounds of war. It is this act that haunts Yousef for the rest of his life, the guilt that he was unable to stay and comfort them as they trembled until the bombing abated. Abulhawa fails to perceive that these children are steeped in dread, their lives consumed with war and death.

-Part Two-

1967: Despite being outnumbered, Israel regained Judea and Samaria. In the story, when Yousef returns briefly, he tells Amal that he has seen a scarred Israeli soldier, undoubtedly their lost brother Ismail, called David. David hears his own friend remark about their likeness, and Moshe is burdened with his secret, admitting it to David only on his deathbed, begging forgiveness. He is haunted by Dalia’s cries, the awful evictions, killings, and rapes.

The rape accusation is projection, customarily a Muslim action against their enemy’s women. Islam teaches and justifies violence against women. Quran 2:223, “Women are your fields, go, then unto your fields when and how you please.” Quran 8:60: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power . . . to strike terror (into the hearts of) the enemies of God.” Islamic rape is steeped in hatred and vengeance. Jihadis are trained to dehumanize and inflict great physical harm on women, one method being Taharrush. Islamic apartheid also fosters rape of boys by older men “of status,” an age-old, self-perpetuating Islamic practice of humiliation and emasculation.

Strangely, in 2017, an anti-Israel activist declared that Israelis are racist because they don’t rape Palestinian women! Notwithstanding military purpose, Israelis pursue a high moral culture, attested by Colonel Richard Kemp. All capable Israeli youths are required to serve in the armed forces, re-enter society to become devoted spouses and parents and contribute to their country’s growth.

Abulhawa has her creation, Amal, riding through Jerusalem and witnessing the destruction of ancient houses, but omits clarifying that this is not senseless injustice, but Israel’s way of punishing residents responsible for deadly terrorist attacks.

It is 1982, and the author brings her family to the next accusation, that Israel provoked the PLO to strike. The historical facts are that Israel had been harassed, shelled, attacked, and raided by PLO guerrillas in Lebanon, a major component of the Lebanese Civil War, which triggered Syria’s intervention and limited occupation. Israel provoked the PLO actions that would justify their full-scale invasion of Lebanon, in order to bomb the PLO targets in Beirut and southern Lebanon, headquarters for 14,000 armed fighters.

In August, the Christian Phalangist militia, the PLO’s bitter enemies, massacred as many as 3,500 Palestinians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians, and Algerians in Sabra and Shatila, 400,000 made homeless, infrastructure devastated. Women and children were evacuated to Lebanon, the PLO exiled to Tunisia. Had there been no raid, the Palestinians would have continued their homicidal jihad unimpeded. The author appears to be lacking in understanding.

Amal, now living in Philadelphia, receives a call from her brother, Yousef, screaming vengeance for the massacre in both refugee camps. He screams that his wife and daughter have been killed, as was Amal’s husband, Majid. Amal gives birth to Sara, and suffers from depression, remaining a traumatized, emotionally distant mother, as Dalia had been.

Amal is next contacted by her long-lost brother Ismail, now called David, who has come to America to meet his sister for the first time, and the author has a field day inventing unfound slurs against Israel. David is convinced that “Israel is a lie,” and that “Palestinians paid the price for the Jewish Holocaust,” the author’s vicious trope. No. Palestinians are paying the “price” for Mohammed’s desire for world triumph and the Palestinian all-or-nothing conquest strategy, with a strong faction that is unable to live in peace. The women suffer desperately for their inferior position in Islamic societies. Amal and David promise to meet again soon.

Amal and 19-year-old Sara visit “Palestine” and are met by David and his son, Jacob. They visit Dr. Ari Perlstein who suggests that Hasan was killed in the 1967 war and that Yousef bombed the US embassy in 1983. Amal sees the “Judaizing of Jerusalem,” never alluding to Jerusalem’s (Yerushalayim in Hebrew) being one of the oldest cities in the world, est. 4th millennium BCE), and the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah in 10th C BCE.

The four continue their drive to Jenin, population 45,000, an infamous den of terror, and visit Huda, whose husband and mute son, Mansour, were taken by Israelis for terrorist activities. Suicide bombings and attacks had been increasing in intensity, followed by two Israeli incursions, arrests, demolitions, and curfews. They hear the destruction of nearby homes and buildings, proving the Israeli policy of bulldozing homes of terrorists, when an Israeli soldier enters this terrorist home, aims his weapon at Sara and Amal runs to take the bullet. Amal is killed.

Israel had endured approximately 16 bombings, many of them suicide attacks. Following the Battle of Jenin, in 2002, however, there were cries worldwide of massacre and genocide, when Israel conducted two waves of incursions with ground troops, helicopters, tanks, and fighter jets. Of the camps’ 15,000 residents, 25 terrorists, 26 civilians, and 25 IDF soldiers were killed, far fewer than the thousands killed in Kosovo by Muslims or from the suicide bombing at an Israeli hotel (28 killed, 140 injured) by Palestinians. The IDF was ambushed with explosive devices in the Jenin homes and on the roads, and women helped to lure the soldiers into traps.

The next generation will live in Philadelphia. Sara and Jacob return to her mother’s home in Philadelphia, and Mansour, Huda’s only surviving son, will join them while also studying art. Yousef to remain unidentified and kill no more. Still, this author’s inaccuracies or misinformation, accusations, and slander, are stealth jihad, intended to encourage violent jihad. The ambition of a depraved warlord of the 5th century continues to waste the lives of Muslims and their victims in the 21st century.

After visiting Israel, John LeCarre wisely said, “No nation on earth was more deserving of peace — or more condemned to fight for it.”

01/12/21

Cuba Re-Designated as State Sponsor of Terror

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

President Obama removed Cuba from the designation and it is expected early into the Biden administration, this action will again be reversed.

The United States has once again designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, accusing it of granting safe haven to terrorists and also providing support for acts of “international terrorism.” The move by the Trump administration comes days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, who would have liked to start where he and Obama left the US-Cuba relations in 2016. Former President Barack Obama had delisted Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 2015, seeking normalization of ties with the Communist State.

State Department officials say the decision is not politically motivated and argue Cuba has not met the standards to remain off the list during the Trump administration.

American Enterprise Institute research fellow Ryan Berg affirmed the basis of the Trump administration’s decision.

Cuba sees Obama terror promise as healing of historic wound

“Cuba has provided unequivocal support to terrorist and insurgent groups throughout Latin America for many decades, such as Colombia’s ELN and the FARC, to name just a few,” Berg told the Washington Free Beacon. “Today, it also continues to support the consolidated dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, aiding and abetting what the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared to be ‘crimes against humanity.’”

Havana has also played a role in helping China expand its influence in the Caribbean. In November, Cuba followed the lead of China in echoing far-left talking points regarding race relations in America at the United Nations, and China covered for Cuba on its record of harboring terrorism. China, meanwhile, has reportedly expanded its surveillance capabilities in the Caribbean, using telecommunications networks to spy on American mobile phones in the region.

The move could affect President-elect Joe Biden’s approach to reengaging with the communist country, a policy out of the Obama administration’s playbook. Biden’s transition team for the Department of Defense included Frank Mora, an Obama administration holdover who advocated lifting sanctions on Havana.

Berg said the Cuba policy favored by Mora and Biden would probably require a reversal of the decision to return Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“A diplomatic opening with a country designated as a ‘state sponsor of terror’ is a difficult lift,” Berg said. “Therefore, one of the first steps to any Cuba opening would likely require a reversal of this decision.” source

12/2/20

Palestine: A Self-Imposed Prison

By: Tabitha Korol

Hayaat loves her grandmother, Sitti, who always reminisces and sings about her previous home and their life before the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.  In an effort to restore Sitti’s health, Hayaat and her friend, Samy, set out on a journey to the other side of the wall to bring her a gift of Jerusalem soil.  This children’s book exchanges the customary propaganda for Palestinianism for a search for the truth.  This is my eighth children’s book review.

Thirteen-year-old Hayaat is the heroine in Where the Streets Had a Name, by Randa Abdel-Fattah.  She lives with her Mama and Baba, siblings – older sister Jihan, 7-year-old brother Tariq, 3-month-old Mohammed – and 86-year-old grandmother, Sitti Zayneb. The family is preparing to shop during the two-hour respite from the curfew imposed by the Israeli government.  Not explained was that the Israeli army sometimes places refugee districts in the West Bank and Gaza under army curfew as “collective punishment” and “environmental pressures” after a terrorist attack or when they are unable to control population unrest in the streets.  We learn nothing of the Israeli victims who are seriously maimed or killed, or of the families left to grieve, but this family is inconvenienced as they rush to the store, each with a list of items by aisles, load the car, and return home in time.  The Israelis “confiscated our land,” Sitti laments, and the family of seven must manage in a smaller apartment in a poor Bethlehem neighborhood.

Additionally, Hayaat’s school is closed for the curfew’s duration, and she is tired of comments about her face – the contorted skin she sees in her mirror.  Her older sister Jihan is engaged to Ahmad, an Israeli Arab from Lod, who found a reception hall for their wedding in Ramallah, the West Bank, where he works and where they will live as a couple.  They grumble about the roadblocks and checkpoints that could delay their timely arrival at the wedding, but similar conditions exist worldwide to maintain security from interlopers and terrorists.  In the case of Israel, it is to ensure that Palestinians are unarmed and not bent on a killing spree.

The West Bank is Judea and Samaria, part of what the Israelis re-captured when they defended themselves against the unlawful siege and blockade of Israel by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan’s armies in 1967.  Despite the rhetoric, according to international law, this land is not “occupied,” but “disputed.” Inasmuch as the territory never belonged to Palestinians or to any sovereign nation, Israel cannot be an “occupier.”  The territory’s ultimate ownership is to be determined by agreement.  Further, the “1967 borders” were only the demarcation of an armistice line, the final border to be established by agreement.

Hayaat enjoys spending time with Baba, hearing his stories of their vast property in Beit Sahour, the olive trees, and the harvest.  He speaks of the mountain, home to many Christian sites, and the time before the Israeli “settlements” (a term used to delegitimize Israel’s legal housing) and bypass roads were built.

Her only friend is a boy, Samy, who doesn’t seem to mind her scars; they are kindred spirits and share their stories.  Samy’s father had been dragged from their house by Israeli security services and imprisoned these past seven years.  He was a terrorist, and the boy often acts out at school, angry that his father chose activism over fatherhood. He said, “He traded me for the cause.”  His mother died of a heart attack and Samy lives with an aunt and uncle.  Hayaat tells Samy that she overheard her Mama speak about a deaf boy who had been killed by a bulldozer that was flattening his house.  The author failed to explain that it is Israel’s policy to destroy the terrorist’s family home – sometimes seen as a deterrent; the death was an unfortunate accident.

At home, Hayaat listens to Sitti reminisce about her home in Jerusalem, and the war of 1948, the fighting everywhere.  She was terrified of the Zionist fighting forces and pressed to leave, adding “200 men, women and children were massacred.”  Perhaps Sitti does not know, but surely the author who undertook this narration does, that the Palestinian Arabs proclaimed jihad against the Palestinian Jews in November 1947, just before the partition vote, and in defiance of the Palestine Commission’s resolution.  There were massacres and death throughout.  No doubt the Jews were also ill-prepared and terrified when 1,000 armed Arabs descended upon the communities in northern Palestine, as were the British who turned over their bases to the Arab legion, leaving the Jews to suffer severe casualties and devastating defeat.  The trapped 1,500 to 1,600 women and children were entrusted to the Red Cross.  At this point, the Hagganah, a paramilitary group of immigrants, was renamed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and succeeded in stopping the Arab offensive.

With minimal help from the West, the Jews won with sheer determination and their purchased or smuggled crude British Sten guns, French 65-millimeter howitzers, and other leftovers from World War II, as well as fighter aircraft supplied by Czechoslovakia.  Iraq promised, “It would be a war of annihilation,” but the Arabs wound up with less territory than was originally offered, which they’d refused.  The cost to Israel was enormous, with $500 million in expenditures and the death of 6,373 Israelis, one percent of their 650,000 Jewish population. An additional estimated 12,000 Jews were killed by Nazi sympathizer and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1950.

Sitti explains that they fled and could not return to her old neighborhood until after the 1967 War, only to find her home occupied by a Jewish family, Holocaust survivors.  Known also as the Six-Day War, it was initiated by the Arab states of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.  Again, Israel won and re-captured the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Grandmother was of that warring population and permanently displaced, but the Palestinians are adamant about wanting Israel.  Therefore, when Sitti collapses and is taken by ambulance to the hospital, Hayaat devises a plan.  She tells Samy that she wants to get Jerusalem soil from the other side of the wall to make her grandmother happy.

And so begins Hayaat and Samy’s journey to Jerusalem, with money “borrowed” from Jihan and an empty hummus jar to collect Jerusalem soil for Sitti.  They meet several people along the way, including Wasim, a dirty boy from Aida refugee camp, who speaks of one day playing with a famous soccer team; a cab driver who helps the children, knowing they are illegals with blue passes; bus passengers David and Mali, the story’s requisite young Jewish couple against the occupation, who block bulldozers and dine with Palestinian families; and the checkpoint’s young Israeli soldiers who search cars and bags, delaying some passengers while allowing others to pass.  Hayaat does feel some humiliation, but she understands their need to search for weapons and explosives.

They continue their adventure when the driver stops suddenly in front of a six-foot-high, barbed-wire wall.  The children exit the bus and follow two others who jump the wall to enter Jerusalem illegally. While on their own, they meet Yossi, an Israeli cab driver who often helps to smuggle people into West Jerusalem.  When they reach a roadblock protest, Yossi tells them to jump out and lose themselves among the crowd of protesters.

With the noise of a grenade and smell of tear gas used to quell the crowd, she faints to the triggers of a repressed memory of soldiers, a bulldozer, and homes breaking and falling.  She has a flashback of her old friend Maysaa falling to the ground, hit by the rubber-coated bullets used to disperse the people, and feels again her own face oozing blood.  She awakens as Yossi carries her to his cab, Samy beside them.  Yossi fills Hayaat’s jar with soil and uses his cell phone to call her family to assure them that the children are safe in Jerusalem and he will drive them home.

The family welcomes them and Sitti is again sitting in her bed, singing about her homeland.  With the next news report about another curfew, the family readies their pots and pans to resound in solidarity.  With the TV announcement about the latest bombing in Tel Aviv,  Baba says “revenge does nothing.”  As the family dresses for Jihan’s wedding, Hayaat assesses what she has learned – that she wants to live as all human beings do, to be “a free people with hope and dignity and purpose.”

Hope alone cannot bestow freedom to a people who deny others theirs.  Hayaat’s own people invented demonstrably false slurs that the Jews live well at the expense of the Palestinians and that killing is permissible. Their differences are also cultural.  The Jews returned to their land of malarial swamp and desert, sacrificed blood and treasure to restore their history and ancient language, and toiled to create a successful country, whereas the Arabs, after losing the war they began, were made to abandon their original heritage (Egyptian, Lebanese, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq) and replace it with the false identity of “Palestinians,” and a victimhood mentality.  When they accepted the world’s donations, they were robbed of their pride.  Palestinian leadership keeps their own people subjugated, their children emotionally focused on envy and weaponized for revenge.  This book reveals that they are surrounded by anger and death, with only Baba’s one-time reflection on the consequences of their actions.

It is not the soil of the land that would bring dignity to the Palestinians, but the freedom to live and make choices for themselves. The Arabs have been given a scapegoat, Israel, and countless excuses for their failures, which become self-fulfilling prophecies.  Were they told that their opportunities are endless, that they must earn their own wage by building their country, homes, businesses, creating services or products, they would increase their purpose, pride, and individual wealth.  Instead, the masses are raised in conformity, rigidity, illiteracy, and fear.  They sacrifice their own lives and wellbeing to continue Mohammed’s revenge – a ceaseless condition of discontent.

To her credit, Abdel-Fattah reveals that the previous generation perpetuates the vengeance.   Grandmother has confessed her envy of those who live better than she, and we glimpse the trait in Hayaat.  Sitti expresses her bitterness and anger against the UN, the Arab countries, and their traitors.  The traitors remain undefined, but they must include the Arabs who began the wars as well as those who offered no sanctuary to the dispossessed, those who were abandoned and left for pawns.  She reveals that her son-in-law, Baba, had had bad things happen to him (TK: he has learned lessons from his acts of retribution).  His generation includes Samy’s imprisoned father, whose political activism destroyed his own family.

We learn of Hayaat’s past when she fainted in the Jerusalem crowd, relived her trauma and the death of her friend.  It may well have been the girls’ deeds that resulted in the demolition of their homes.

This story appears to be teaching that the Islamic system, with its lust for what belongs to others, keeps them in a constant state of dissatisfaction.   The numerous clues and lessons to be learned exist for the reader, but they may be too obscure for the designated audience of teens and young adults.