Will Israel Also Remove an Umbrella from the Western Wall Plaza?

The latest spate of violence in Jerusalem during July 2017 has been described by the mainstream media as stemming from Israel’s erection of metal detectors on the Temple Mount in reaction to the shooting of Israeli security guards by Israeli Arabs. The explanation falls flat.

Metal detectors are found all around the world at mosques, churches and synagogues. Just a few hundred feet from the Temple Mount, metal detectors are in place at the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza. Security cameras  can be seen at the Vatican and Mecca. Metal detectors are found at the entrances to mosques throughout the Middle East.

So why the protest?

It is not about security. It is about control over the Temple Mount and the Al Aqsa Mosque that sits at its southern tip.

Many Arabs and Muslims strongly object to any Islamic holy site being under the control of non-Muslims (known as kafir, non-believers). Jews are supposed to have a lower secondary status (known as dhimmi) in lands that they consider as Islamic lands. As such, Jewish control over an Islamic holy site in a land that they view as Arab is considered extremely insulting to the honor and pride of many Muslims.

Muslims are not insulted by the presence of metal detectors to protect visitors from violence. They are outraged by anything that implies the authority and control of the Temple Mount by non-Muslims; even the placement of an umbrella to act as a protection from the sun.

That is neither a joke nor an exaggeration.

Arab states put forward a resolution at the United Nations in October 2016 condemning Israel for placing an umbrella in the Western Wall Plaza at the approach of a ramp that goes up to the Temple Mount (known as the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate).

“19. Deprecates the continuing Israeli unilateral measures and decisions regarding the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate, including the latest works conducted at the Mughrabi Gate entrance in February 2015, the instalment of an umbrella at that entrance as well as the enforced creation of a new Jewish prayer platform south of the Mughrabi Ascent in Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza”, and the removal of the Islamic remains at the site, and reaffirms that no Israeli unilateral measures, shall be taken in conformity with its status and obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict”

The authority of the Jewish State at the Temple Mount is repulsive to many devout Muslims, and they have taken to the United Nations resolutions and to violence to purge  such Jewish presence.

Will Israel remove an umbrella to keep the Muslim world from “resorting to violence,” the way it removed the metal detectors? Who is throwing shade on this topic?


The Western Wall and the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate
(photo: First.One.Through)


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Arabs in Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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Is Trump Seeing Mid-East Countries to Combat Religious Extremism, or Visiting Religious Sites to Promote Coexistence?

On May 4, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that he will visit the Middle East. He saidThe purpose of this meeting is to bring together all the different countries and all the different religions in the fight against intolerance and to defeat radicalism.” The destinations on the trip included the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Israel and the Vatican. The GOALS of the visit were to fight against intolerance and radicalism.


President Trump announcing intention to visit the Middle East
May 4, 2017

Can Trump “bring together” the countries and religions in such an effort?

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

KSA is just one of 50 Muslim-majority countries, so Trump could have visited any of the fifty to make a point of connecting with Islam.

But KSA has a number of key attributes that the other Islamic countries do not have:

  • It holds the two holiest sites for Islam, Mecca and Medina
  • It is a US ally, compared to several Muslim countries that are not
  • It is a major opponent to Iran, which is a US-designated state-sponsor of terrorism
  • KSA has received billions of dollars in US military equipment and is engaged in joint strikes against targets in war zones like Yemen

Trump will not get to visit Mecca or Medina, the central places holy to Muslims because KSA forbids non-Muslims from visiting the Islamic holy sites. However, his meeting with the custodian of the holy sites – the KSA royal family – will make clear that the trip is not simply a visit to any Muslim country, but one that is willing to fight alongside America.

Is KSA a repressive regime? No question. It’s human rights record is appalling and many Trump critics think it outrageous to give the royal family such honor. But Trump made clear in his remarks:

“Our task is not to dictate to others how to live, but to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism, and bringing safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East.”

Trump’s focus is narrow: the war on terror. However, KSA is actually a supporter of Wahabism and radical Islam. It happens to be a foe of Iran which earned its designation of a sponsor of terrorism well before it got involved in regional wars in Syria and Yemen, wars in which KSA is opposing Iran.

In visiting KSA, Trump will be visiting a country that is both a custodian of religious holy sites and a military partner. He will not get to visit religious sites nor showcase religious tolerance.

The Vatican

There are dozens of countries with a majority of Christians that Trump could have visited. And the Vatican isn’t even a country according to the UN.

But Catholicism is the largest of the Christian denominations, and the Pope is unique in being a central figure of a church. No other single individual has a command over such a flock.

While the Pope has no army to engage in a military battle against violent extremism, his message of tolerance is one that Trump seeks to connect with and spread throughout the world.

Israel

There is only one Jewish majority state, which makes the choice of Israel apparently simple in rounding out the Trump tour of the monotheistic faiths. In the other two countries with a significant Jewish populations – the United States and France – the Jews make up just a small percentage of the overall population, 2.1% and 0.8%, respectively.

For many decades, Israel has been America’s closest ally in the entire Middle East. It is the only true democracy in the region and Americans and Israelis share many of the same values. Israel has also been an important ally for the US in the ongoing War on Terror.

But there are large differences between Israel and the other stops on Trump’s trip:

  • Israel is the only country in Trump’s Mideast tour to tamper radicalism, that suffers from ongoing terrorism
  • Israel is the only country that had the (former) United Nations Secretary General stand up and state that he supports a terrorist regime (Hamas) and their inclusion in a Palestinian Authority government
  • The Jewish State is the only country where the world doesn’t recognize its holiest location and where the Muslim Waqf forbids Jewish prayer.

Israel promotes religious tolerance but receives none. It does this while confronting ongoing terrorism.

Trump will visit the holiest site in Judaism accesible to Jewish prayer today – the western wall of the Jewish Temple Mount. But he will do so WITHOUT Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the US is not comfortable stating that the Jewish state is the custodian of the religion’s holiest site.

It is an interesting backdrop on which to draw further comparisons.

The War on Religious Radicals and
the Promotion of Religious Tolerance

As Trump navigates the Middle East, he will attempt to promote two messages: of religious tolerance and of the battle to stamp out religious violence.

Religious Tolerance:

  • Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim and the Vatican is 100% Christian. Only in Israel is there a mix of religions (75% Jewish and 25% non-Jewish)
  • Saudi Arabia restricts access to its holy sites only to Muslims. The Vatican welcomes all religions to the city. In Jerusalem, the Islamic Waqf which is overseen by Jordan, prohibits Jews from praying at its holiest site, the Temple Mount.
  • Saudi Arabia restricts bringing religious artifacts like a cross or Jewish bible into the country. The Vatican and Israel have no such restrictions.

The list goes on. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia clearly has nothing to do with rewarding it for promoting religious tolerance. Perhaps that is an aspiration. Israel is the prime example of religious tolerance to be emulated in the Middle East

War on Radicalism:

  • In the attacks of 9/11/01, fifteen of the 19 terrorists were from KSA. Saudi Arabia continues to fund a radical form of Islam in schools around the world. For its part, the Catholic Church tries to convert people to Catholicism, but not by force and it does not promote violence. Israel and the Jewish State do not attempt to convert anyone in any manner and is not engaged in terrorist activities around the world.
  • Saudi Arabia does not fight radical Islam; it fights Iran and the Islamic State as discrete entities in an ongoing war between Sunni and Shia Islam. The Vatican has no army to participate in any war. For its part, Israel is actively fighting terrorism in its homeland, principally against an enemy that is rabidly anti-Semitic that wants to rid the region of Jews.

In short, only in Israel will Trump find both a partner in promoting religious tolerance and a partner in combatting violent religious extremism. Only in Israel will Trump see a people that faces terrorism on a daily basis.

Together:

Trump stated that he sought to bring parties “together.” With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, the rest of the Arab countries have refused to recognize the legitmacy of the State of Israel. Perhaps Trump hopes that this initiative to eradicate radical jihadists will change that dynamic. It would appear to be wishful thinking: The Saudi royal family has funded the families of Palestinian terrorists for years.

 

These are important points for Trump to address during his Mideast visit. A key victory in advancing both agendas of combatting religious violence and promoting religious tolerance would be to get the Palestinian Authority to finally rip up the anti-Semitic law which calls for the death sentence for any Arab that sells land to a Jew. Nothing demonstrates the vileness of intolerance and radicalism as much as the Palestinian Land Law.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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The Palestinian’s Three Denials

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Saudi Arabia, “Ally” of the United States

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

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Are Muslim-Majority Countries Anti-Christian?

The February 2017 “Muslim ban” imposed by the Trump administration was criticized in many circles. People who were opposed to the limit on refugees from seven war-torn countries pointed to a carve-out in the order that allowed minorities (read non-Muslims) to find refuge in the United States. The protestors claimed that the clause showed the anti-Muslim sentiment of the executive order.

President Trump said that the rationale for the carve-out for minorities was because Christians in those countries had been “horribly treated,” but former President Obama did not make enough allowance for the Christian minorities to escape. He sought to change that dynamic by giving Christians and other minorities priority.

The statments have a mix of facts.

Anti-Christian Countries

The organization Open Doors USA monitors anti-Christian activity from around the world. On January 11, 2017, it announced the worst 50 countries regarding the persecution of Christians.

As there are over 50 Muslim-majority countries, or about 27% of the total number of countries, statistically one would expect 27% of the worst 50 countries to Muslim-majority. According to Open Doors, the number was actually 70%.

However, that statistic – while accurate – is misleading since the vast majority of the 73% of non-Muslim majority countries in the world are Christian-majority, which are unlikely to persecute Christians. The worst non-Muslim countries persecuting Christians were: North Korea (globally ranked #1); India (15); Vietnam (17) and Kenya (18).

open-doors-2016
Open Doors USA 2016 Map of Christian Persecution

The seven countries listed on the refugee ban were among the worst persecutors of Christians in 2016, with Somalia (ranked #2); Sudan (5); Syria (6); Iraq (7); Iran (8); Yemen (9) and Libya (11). The travel ban did not cover Afghanistan ranked #3 and Pakistan ranked #4 regarding Christian persecution.

Obama Not Allowing Christian Refugees

Trump accused Obama of not doing enough for Christian refugees. The statement is both correct and incorrect.

Obama barely allowed in any refugees from the seven war-torn countries. The only country where Obama did more than President George W. Bush was in Iraq, and the comparison to Bush is sorely lacking, as most of the region fell to war and mayhem under Obama’s watch.

However, statistically, the Obama administration did permit a respectable number of Christians into the US, relative to their population in the country.

Country Percent Muslims in Country Percent of Refugees that were Muslim allowed under Obama Jan 2009-Jan 2017
Iran 99.7% 6.5%
Iraq 98.9% 64.9%
Libya 96.6% 100.0%
Somalia 98.9% 99.7%
Sudan 97.0% 84.7%
Syria 90.0% 98.5%
Yemen 99.0% 33.3%

Source: Wrapsnet.org

As seen in the table above, Obama did not favor Muslim refugees over other minorities in general.

Obama just didn’t do much for any refugees.

But when Trump protestors point out that the biggest casualties of ISIS, al Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorist groups are other Muslims, that comment is also devoid of meaning. Almost everyone living in the country is Muslim, having long ago gotten rid of any minorities. Over 90% of the casualties in Muslim wars since 1948 are Muslims. That’s the makeup of their societies today.

So beware of each side quoting statistics. The concept of “targeting minorities” in a society that is almost exclusively Muslim has little meaning anymore.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Media Finds Religion in Matters of Security. Sometimes.

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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The Media Finds Religion in Matters of Security. Sometimes.

Several news sources described President Donald Trump’s suspension of admitting refugees from war-torn countries as a “Muslim ban.” The media called out the “seven Muslim-majority countries,” highlighting the religion of those countries.

Why?

There are approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world. That means that there are many more Muslim-majority countries that are NOT banned by the Trump order.

What the seven countries – Syria; Yemen; Libya; Somalia; Sudan; Iran; and Iraq – do have in common are unstable governments. Syria and Yemen are in embroiled in civil wars. Libya and Iraq are failed states that have been taken over by terrorists. Somalia and Sudan are combinations of both.

And Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world (just ahead of Syria and Sudan).

trump-ban

So why does the media not state that these seven countries are failed states that cannot be relied upon to vet the citizens? It is not as though the media has a record of discussing religion in matters of American security.

In 2014, the Obama administration opted to cancel US flights to Israel after a missile fired by Palestinian Arab terrorists fell close to the Israeli airport near Tel Aviv. It uniquely cancelled flights for Israel, even though planes had been shot down in various countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia and Egypt. Actually shot down; not just a missile landing near an airport causing minimal damage.

Did the media debate whether the ban was unconstitutional or unwarranted? Did it point out that it was Muslim terrorists that shot at the Israeli airport? That Obama created a ban against the only Jewish-majority country in the world? Did protestors take to the streets around the United States to lift the ban?

No, no, no and no.

Israeli officials protested loudly. Ephraim Sneh, a retired general and deputy defense minister of Israel, was sharply critical of the decision to suspend flights. He said that it was a dream of the Hamas leadership “to disconnect Israel from the outer world.” A reward for the terrorists.

But virtually no one – other than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – voiced outrage at the ban. More than voicing his outrage – Bloomberg actually flew to Israel in spite of the ban.


The media and Democrats long ago concluded that Trump is a “deplorable” racist. They have been telling the world for many years to be wary of “Islamophobia,” and America’s biggest security threat is really from the right-wing.

Therefore, when a racist (Trump) passively harms Muslim refugees (it must be Islamophobia), the religion must be called out. But when a peace-loving liberal (Obama) harms Israel (not ever really innocent according to mainstream media), there was no need to discuss religion (the Jewish-majority country) or anti-Semitism (which Obama couldn’t possibly harbor.)

That jaundiced narrative of no anti-Semitism/ real Islamophobia and liberal purity/ Republican racism certainly won’t stop now.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

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If you Only Loved Refugees as Much as you Hate Donald Trump

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

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Trump’s Take on Obama’s “Evil Ideology”

Donald Trump and Barack Obama took very different approaches to dealing with terrorism.

While president, Barack Obama referred to the “evil ideology” in extremists that engaged in barbarous acts of violence, without referring to it as “radical Islamic terrorism.” His handling of the “evil ideology” essentially broke down into four categories, as detailed in “Grading Evil and Evil Doers.”

  • Evil to Destroy: those terrorist groups that threaten America like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State
  • Evil to Condemn: terrorist groups that target other countries, but not the USA, like al-Shabaab and Boko Haram
  • Evil to Tolerate: These are countries that slaughter their own citizens including minors, like Syria, Iran and America’s ally Saudi Arabia
  • Evil to Ignore: This is from governments and aspiring countries like the Palestinian Authority that routinely incites violence against an American ally, Israel.

Obama used direct military action against the first category, when he felt that American lives were at stake, while only lending support against the second. When it came to countries that harbored evil ideologies, Obama opted to remain inactive and relatively silent.

In short, the “evil ideology” itself was not the barometer of whether Obama took action; it was the nature of the threat to American lives, and whether he could act narrowly against relatively small groups of people rather than entire countries.

Trump’s Approach to Radical Jihadist Terrorism

In his first week in office, Donald Trump is seemingly approaching his obligation to protect Americans in a manner quite different than Obama.

  • Name: For one, Trump clearly labeled the “evil ideology” as “radical Islamic terrorism.” While Obama felt that attributing the extremist actions specifically to Islam was unfair, Trump thought that avoiding the connection between the terrorists’ motives and Islamic teachings masked the problem.
  • Breadth: While Obama sought to target a narrow audience for military attacks, and giving a pass to others with “evil ideologies,” Trump seems more willing to go broader and use more tools to address the issues. He has advocated for using torture to get information from terrorists (he said he would be willing to reconsider it if his defense advisors warn against it). Trump has instituted restrictions on immigrations from several countries that have been unable to deal with terrorists, to minimize the probability of terrorists coming to the United States.

Trump has only been in office for ten days, so it is difficult to ascertain how he will use the military in fighting groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda that Obama targeted, and others where Obama acted indirectly like Boko Haram and al-Shabaab. He has already authorized an attack in Yemen in an operation that reportedly killed 14 militants. Will he use troops rather than relying mainly on drones as Obama did in countries like Yemen and Somalia?

trump-refugee-ban
Donald Trump signing ban on some refugees January 2017
(photo: Reuters: Carlos Barria)

Beyond combatting terrorism, how will Trump interact with countries that promote radical Islamic terrorism like Iran and Saudi Arabia? Obama traded with them and gave them billions of dollars. Will Trump treat them as potential business partners too and ignore their support of terrorism?


The United Nations called on the world to not label violent extremism as “Islamic” as they argued that doing so would be unfair to the religion. The UN preferred to only use the term “extremists” in regards to Jews, as part of its ongoing attack on Israel.

Obama lied to the world that the birthplace of extremism was in poverty, rather than a twisted view of the world. His #AlternativeFacts were parroted by the members of his administration, even though every study on the subject showed the statement to be bogus.

So now that Trump has opted to call out the root of terrorism as not being from lack of economic opportunity, but having distinct Islamic origins, will the US push to take actions against Islamic countries rather than a limited number of terrorist groups? Is Trump calling out a clash of civilizations? If so, how will such a clash play out?


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

Civil Death and Terrorism

Strange difference of opinion on Boko Haram and Hamas in New York Times

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Hillary Clinton Wants Muslim Americans to Squeal on Each Other

On September 18, 2016, a Somali-American Muslim man went on a rampage and stabbed nine people in Minnesota, before being shot by an off-duty police officer.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and both presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, weighed in on the attack.

Clinton’s remarks deliberately misled Americans that she had a tough plan using law enforcement to deal with terrorism.

Her statement read:

“ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Minnesota, and this should steel our resolve to protect our country and defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups. I have laid out a comprehensive plan to do that. This includes launching an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out, and to spot lone wolf attackers.”

A casual reader would imagine that Hillary is planning on relying on a range of security personnel in an “intelligence surge” to protect Americans from local radical jihadists.

They would be wrong.

clinton-9-16
Hillary Clinton addressing reporters September 16, 2016

On December 15, 2015, Hillary Clinton was in Minnesota where she discussed her detailed plan to thwart ISIS in America. Her three-part plan included an effort to prevent attacks before they could be carried out, which was based on Muslim Americans reporting on fellow Muslims who were becoming radicalized.

“Here in the Twin Cities, you have an innovative partnership that brings together parents, teachers, imams, and others in the Somali-American community with law enforcement, non-profits, local businesses, mental health professionals and others to intervene with young people who are at risk.

It’s called the Building Community Resilience Pilot Program, and it deserves increased support.  It has not gotten the financial resources that it needs to do everything the people involved in it know they can do.  And we’ve got to do a better job of supporting it.

Now I know that like many places across the country, there’s more work to do to increase trust between communities and law enforcement.  Just last month, I know here a young African American man was fatally shot by a police officer.  And I understand an investigation is underway.  Whatever the outcome, tragedies like this raise hard questions about racial justice in America and put at risk efforts to build the community relationships that help keep us safe from crime and from terrorism.

When people see that respect and trust are two-way streets, they’re more likely to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement.  One of the mothers of the 10 men recently charged with conspiring with terrorists said, “We have to stop the denial,” she told other parents that.  “We have to talk to our kids and work with the FBI.”  That’s a message we need to hear from leaders within Muslim-American communities across our country.”

Hillary Clinton’s plan relies on Muslim Americans reporting on fellow Muslim Americans to the police.

As discussed in “Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota,” Donald Trump does not believe that law enforcement can rely on the Muslim American community to squeal on its bad actors.  He relies on reports that state the “Islamist terror threat in the U.S. homeland has escalated dramatically,” and summations from fellow Republicans like “Republican Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and long a hawkish critic of the Obama administration, said the report proves “homegrown terrorism remains a serious issue in Minnesota.””

Donald Trump’s statement about the Minnesota attack in September 2016 was shorter on details, but more aggressive in stance.  Trump did not suggest waiting passively for Muslims to mention possible attacks, he put the onus directly on law enforcement including “extreme vetting for immigrants from troubled parts of the world where terrorists live and train.”  He went further to attack Clinton’s approach: “We will not allow political correctness and soft-on-terror, soft-on-crime policies to threaten our security and our lives.

Therein lies the fundamental difference of the presidential candidates in fighting Islamic terror in the US. Both want to stop terror, but Trump will rely completely on law enforcement, whereas Clinton will seek to empower the Muslim community in the hopes that fewer people will become radicalized and more Muslims will be inclined to report on fellow Muslims.

Many Americans will only be comfortable with one of these approaches.

In September 2016, as the presidential race tightened and a series of attacks occurred in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey, Hillary Clinton concluded that she needed to appear more bold on fighting terror, and less reliant on the Muslim community’s cooperation.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Big, Bad Lone Wolves of Terrorism

Absolute and Relative Ideological Terrorism in the United States

“Jews as a Class”

Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

Half Standards: Gun Control and the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Deal

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UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

The United Nations is gathering this week for a summit in New York to discuss ways of helping refugees and migrants.  The various roundtables will review the difficult situation facing millions of people due to a number of wars, principally in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) as well as in Afghanistan.

The UN will then ask for countries of the world – principally the United States and Canada – to contribute money and homes to settle these refugees.

There are three principle flaws with the UN approach:

  1. There are billions of dollars already allocated to refugees at the UN, but not used for them, due to bias at the global body
  2. Key related parties are not taking their share of refugees
  3. The response of stopping the flow of refugees at the source is not properly addressed

un
The United Nations headquarters in New York City

 

The UN Wastes the World’s Money on Non-Refugees

The United Nations currently spends billions of dollars that are earmarked for refugees, to people that are NOT refugees.

As described in “Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA and Fund the UNHCR,” the United Nations created the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and tasked it with helping millions of people from around the globe who are fleeing conflict.  The UNHCR helps these refugees find safety in new countries and establishes some infrastructure (temporary homes, hospitals and schools), far from their homes, where they have little support.

However, the UN also created a distinct agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) just for a single group of people – Palestinian Arabs. These Arabs are NOT refugees, but descendants of people who fled their homes and settled a few miles away in the exact same region. Refugee status does not pass down through the generations, and has absolutely nothing to do with people leaving a certain house to a location nearby.

Despite this, the UN has a larger staff and spends significantly more money on these non-refugees.

As the world is facing a true refugee problem, with actual refugees fleeing harm to find protection in lands where they know no one and have no infrastructure at all, it is well past time to shut down the farce of UNRWA which exists solely to perpetuate the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and devote those resources to actual refugees.

Muslim World Must Take in Refugees

The European Union is pushing the US and Canada to accept more refugees, particularly those fleeing the civil war in Syria. The EU argues that it has already accepted the lion’s share of the refugees, and many Europeans have become uneasy with the large influx of foreigners.

But where is the push for Muslim countries to accept more of these Muslim refugees? Aside from Turkey and Jordan, most Muslim countries have not taken any refugees. These refugees fleeing Arab countries like Sudan, Yemen and Libya, and Muslim countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, could more easily adapt to countries where they share language, culture and religion.  The very wealthy Gulf states could easily take in these refugees.

But the 57 Islamic states will vote at the UN to make the non-Islamic countries take in the refugees, to an unfamiliar environment. Why are so many Muslim countries only making refugees and not helping them? Why does the world enable the situation?

Stop the Flow of Refugees

The biggest causes of the refugee crisis is the civil war in Syria and the growth of ISIS in Iraq. Trailing these are the wars in Afghanistan and Libya, the civil war in Yemen, and the failed state of South Sudan.  These are problems that erupted and spread under the hands-off approach of the Obama administration in the Middle East, and its active involvement in Afghanistan.

The ramifications have spread to the entire world.

Obama did little to nothing when Syria’s President Assad dropped barrel bombs and chemical weapons on his own people. Obama vacated Iraq to allow a vacuum to be filled by ISIS.  After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toppled the regime in Libya, the US left the country in shambles.  Those decisions allowed terrorists to penetrate Europe.

obama-red-line

It is time to reverse that inaction.

A no-fly zone must be established in Syria to give a safe haven to refugees within their own borders. A real ceasefire must be established to allow the millions of refugees to return to their country.

ISIS must be defeated and the US must remain in Iraq to help the country stabilize.   Active involvement in Libya must happen immediately, before Libya becomes another Iraq.

The only country that has become more powerful under Obama is the state sponsor of terrorism, Iran.

The implementation of Obama’s poor decisions must stop, and refugees should be encouraged to return to their countries as soon as practical.

The United Nations Farce

Over September 19 and 20, the world will witness the dictatorships and human rights abusing-countries dictate to the western world that the West must take responsibility for the failed Islamic states.  The perpetrators will claim victim status, and insist that Europe and North America must both pay for the MENA refugees and shelter them, while the Muslim world itself does nothing.

Well, in fairness, the Muslim world won’t do nothing; it will dictate its demands.

One of the speakers at the summit will be the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.  Hamdallah is well known to viewers of Palwatch and MEMRI for calling on the Islamic world to attack Israel for chasing the Muslim agitators who curse and throw stones at non-Muslims visitors to the Jewish Temple Mount.  He often asserts that Israel is “Judaizing” their holy city of Jerusalem.  Most significantly, he actively promotes the families of terrorists killed while attacking Jews, ensuring that they receive monies from global agencies.

Yes, that’s illegal, but Hamdallah gets diplomatic immunity while visiting NY.  What a great choice for a speaker!

Another speaker is Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, the agency that has waged a multi-decade war against the only democracy in the Middle East. Krähenbühl ignores the role that UNRWA played in storing weapons for Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza.  He focuses on asking the world for yet more money for the non-refugees that live in a land that they already control in Gaza!

dsc_0108
UNRWA office in Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

While listening to the sad state of refugees, sympathize with their plight, but don’t be fooled by the UN’s recommended courses of action.  Stop the UN farce of perpetuating conflicts and wasting the world’s money, while never demanding accountability from the Islamic countries and entities.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

A Logical Approach to Immigration from Personal History

The UN is Watering the Seeds of Anti-Jewish Hate Speech for Future Massacres

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

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Bernie Sanders Supports America’s Targeted Killings While Banning Israel’s

On May 22, 2016, the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was killed in a U.S. strike.  The assassination was announced by President Barack Obama:

We have removed the leader of an organisation that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and Coalition forces, to wage war with the Afghan people, and align itself with extremist groups like al-Qaeda.”

The logic for the assassination seemed logical, and consistent with past statements by Obama to target individuals who posed a threat to the security of Americans.

Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders had a slightly different take on American drone strikes.  He preferred a more limited use of the drones, as he said I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case.”

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However, Sanders had a completely different attitude when it came to Israel defending itself.  Israel, he said, had NO right to use targeted killings:

the Israelis must end their policy of targeted killings.

Bernie Sanders claimed to condemn “the terrorist actions of Hamas, including their practice of firing rockets into houses and urban centers.”  Then why does Sanders feel that Israel should be precluded from using a tool to protect civilian lives that the US uses?

It is fair to assume that Sanders’ foreign policy will resemble the United Nations’ hypocrisy regarding Israel.


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The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

The Middle East is producing refugees in great numbers, as the civil wars in Syria and Sudan drag on, ISIS takes over large swathes of Iraq, and Libya and Yemen deteriorate into failed states.

The refugees are being welcomed into various western countries including Germany, Sweden and Canada. Just recently, Canada changed its laws under its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to facilitate refugees becoming citizens.

In the Arab Middle East, only Jordan has opened its doors to fellow Muslim Arabs. The Islamic country of Turkey is not Arab, and prefers to act as a way station to refugees in transit to Europe.  The vast Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not opened its doors. The rich states of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait have done nothing.

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Syrian refugees in Jordan

There is a long history of the Muslim Arab Middle East creating refugees, but not welcoming them.

  • In 1991, after the Palestinians supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in his takeover of Kuwait, the Kuwaitis expelled over 300,000 Palestinians. Goodbye.
  • In 1967, after the Egyptians and Syrians threatened to destroy Israel, but ended up losing the war, the countries did not welcome any Arabs from the region into their countries as new citizens.
  • In 1948-9, when the Arab countries surrounding Israel launched an attack to destroy the Jewish State, but failed to do so and consequently helped create 711,000 Arab refugees, they let the people suffer.  While the Syrian government allowed the United Nations to establish refugee camps for the Palestinian Arab refugees inside Syria, it never allowed those refugees or their descendants to obtain work permits to get professional jobs.

And so it continues to this day. While the Islamic State dreams of building a unified caliphate to unite the Muslims of the Middle East, the established monarchies continue to do their utmost to cement divisions.

The Muslim Middle East today is divided between the genocidal jihadists of ISIS who seek Muslim unity by killing anyone not like themselves, and the corrupt, racist monarchies that do nothing to promote unity.

Will the Muslims that flee the insanity of the region adopt western values of tolerance, or will they bring one of these brands of barbarism to the western world?


Related First.One.Through articles:

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Considering a Failed Palestinian State

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

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Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that America needs to be “very vigilant” in scrutinizing Muslims regarding matters of security, as it is difficult to separate Islam from radical Islam.  He told CNN that Americans “have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States… There’s a sickness going on and you have to get to the bottom of it.

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Donald Trump on CNN March 2016

For her part, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that America must “empower our Muslim-American communities, who are on the front-lines of the fight against radicalization.”

Are the two positions as far apart as they seem?

Republican Scrutiny

Trump has been accused of being an “Islamaphobe” for his position about Muslims and Islam. His call to place a temporary ban on all Muslims applying to enter the United States was roundly criticized by all of the other presidential candidates.  Trump argued that America needed more information and better background checks on people that might pose a threat to the country because “Islam hates us.“.

Before Trump made his comments, in September 2015, the US House Committee on Homeland Security released a report about jihadist operations in the U.S. Among the major takeaways of the report were:

  • “The jihadist threat in the U.S. homeland is high and has escalated dramatically this year
  • ISIS is fueling the Islamist terror wildfire across the globe at unprecedented speed
  • Islamist terrorists are intent on killing American law enforcement and military personnel, in addition to innocent civilians”

The report went on to highlight that the state with the highest number of potential jihadists – by a far margin – was Minnesota, at 26% of the total sample set. The report included a sample story about the growing threat of jihadists: “Abdi Nur, only 20-years old when he left Minnesota for Syria last year, is a prime example. Once in the conflict zone, he spent months persuading his friends in Minneapolis to join him.  His peer-to-peer recruiting nearly worked, as six of his friends attempted to leave the United States for Syria; they were arrested by the FBI this April.

The newspaper Star Tribune wrote about a Republican reaction to the report: “Republican Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and long a hawkish critic of the Obama administration, said the report proves “homegrown terrorism remains a serious issue in Minnesota.” Kline said it also demonstrates the Obama administration “does not have a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and Islamist terrorists.”

Ami Horowitz, a freelance reporter who often produces stories for Fox News, conducted several interviews in May 2015 with Somali Muslim Americans in Minnesota. In his interviews, seen here, Muslim Americans said they were happy and felt welcomed in America.  Yet despite those feelings, the Muslims would prefer to live in Somalia, not America. They further believed, that elements of sharia law, such as using the death penalty for anyone that insulted their prophet, should be practiced in the US.

Republicans like Kline and Trump directly pointed to “homegrown terrorism” stemming from the Muslim community.  They called for greater scrutiny of those communities to better protect Americans.

The Democrats semmingly suggested a different tactic.

Democratic Empowerment

The liberal senator from Minnesota had a very different reaction to the September House report of jihadists in his state.  The Star Tribune wrote: “In Washington, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn, said the report “only underscores the urgent need for adequate resources to fight terrorist recruitment.” He noted the need to build stronger community outreach programs while refraining from stereotyping. “It’s important that we don’t indiscriminately target members of one community,” he said.”

Just months later, in December 2015, Hillary Clinton addressed a crowd in Minnesota about how to defeat ISIS.  One of her points addressed Muslims in America, where her “strategy is empowering Muslim-American communities who are on the front-lines of the fight against radicalization.  There are millions of peace-loving Muslims living, working, raising families, and paying taxes in our country.  These Americans may be our first, last, and best defense against home grown radicalization and terrorism.  They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, intervene to help set a young person straight.  They are the best positioned to block anything going forward.

That’s why law enforcement has worked so hard since 9/11 to build up trust and strong relationships within Muslim-American communities.  Here in the Twin Cities, you have an innovative partnership that brings together parents, teachers, imams, and others in the Somali-American community with law enforcement, non-profits, local businesses, mental health professionals and others to intervene with young people who are at risk.

It’s called the Building Community Resilience Pilot Program, and it deserves increased support.  It has not gotten the financial resources that it needs to do everything the people involved in it know they can do.  And we’ve got to do a better job of supporting it.

Democrats like Clinton and Franken suggested the solution to dealing with homegrown jihadists is to “empower” that same community that Republicans sought to scutinize.  Their approaches were seemingly polar opposites.

Ignorance and Analysis

In reality, the concerns of jihadist terrorism for Republicans and Democrats are much the same.  Republicans feel that the entire Muslim community should be scrutinized as they are not confident in being able to distnguish between the “good” and “bad.”  The Democrats want to embrace the good, and get them to both reform and squeal on the “bad.”

Both the Republicans and Democrats advocate intelligence gathering.  Clinton wants to use people from within the Muslim community to do the work, while Trump lacks confidence in relying on the community for America’s safety.

Where Trump and Clinton divide is in their basic thoughts about Islam.  Trump seemingly believes that Islam is inherently intolerant of western values, so the peaceful Muslims are doing so in spite of their religion.  Clinton believes that there is nothing inherently anti-American about Islam, and there are just a small percentage of violent jihadists in the community.

In the end, both Trump and Clinton want to root out homegrown Islamic radicals.  Trump just wants to use law enforcement to handle the task and believes that Clinton’s approach allows the fox to guard the henhouse.


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