In light of the recent national unity deal between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian officials of all stripes continue to announce their true objective: destroying Israel.
The official Palestinian mission to Colombia issued a tweet Thursday calling for Israel's demise, citing a quote from former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"Our goal is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations.... We don't want peace. We want WAR and victory — Yasser Arafat," read the Spanish-language tweet, according to the Times of Israel.
It was deleted after Israel's Channel 1 television reported on it.
"Gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel," said Sinwar, adding that "no one will disarm us."
These types of statements directed to Palestinians around the world appear to conflict with other Palestinian officials seeking to promote the unity deal to western audiences.
"The deal that we signed with Hamas talks about building a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders - which is in line with international law," Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawasmeh told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
But these seemingly diverse messages are not contradictory. The main Palestinian factions may wish to attain a temporary state on 1967 borders now, while continuing to fight for Israel's destruction in the longer run.
Beyond the recent reconciliation deal, Hamas and Fatah appear united on another front as well: the glorification of terrorists. On Sunday, Fatah's official Facebook page posted a photo of a ceremony for incoming students at al-Quds University, commemorating several prominent terrorists behind the deaths of hundreds of Israelis.
Senior Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen spoke at the ceremony, reports Palestinian Media Watch, which honored Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, Palestinian Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi, and leaders of other Palestinian terrorist organizations.
"Anyone who believes everything the Palestinians say must also believe them when they say this [call for Israel's destruction]," Marco Sermoneta, Israel's ambassador to Colombia, told Israel's Channel 1 following the Palestinian mission's hostile tweet.
Palestinian officials and leaders from across the political spectrum are openly calling for the murder of Israelis and genocide of the Jewish state. Western observers, who largely remain silent on these issues, should give all forms of official Palestinian statements equal attention – not just the diplomatic candor.
Now Nihad Awad is preparing a prestigious lecture for Harvard University students on how "to inspire a deeper engagement with critical social issues on campus and in the wider community." He is scheduled to be honored the first weekend of November with the Phillips Brooks House Association's Robert Coles "Call of Service" Lecture and Award. Past recipients of the honor include former Vice President Al Gore and Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman.
A Harvard release describes Awad as "a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding, promoting dialogue and empowering American Muslims."
That's extraordinarily generous, as Awad's words and deeds foster mutual enmity, not understanding; deception, not dialogue.
He was a member of a Muslim Brotherhood-created network of organizations operating in the United States with a mission to help Hamas politically and financially. Awad appears on the "Palestine Committee's" telephone list. Internal records seized by the FBI also show that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which Awad co-founded in 1994 and has served as its only executive director ever since, was a Palestine Committee branch.
Before creating CAIR, Awad ran a second Palestine Committee entity, called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). The IAP served as a Hamas propaganda arm, publishing the terrorist group's communiques and articles advocating on its behalf. The FBI described his partner at both IAP and CAIR, Omar Ahmed, as a "leader within the Palestine Committee."
Again, all of this is drawn from internal Muslim Brotherhood/Palestine Committee records seized by the FBI. They were entered into evidence in a federal terror financing trial involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The foundation, another Palestine Committee entity, and five former officials all were convicted of illegally routing $12 million to Hamas through a network of charities.
All of this information is in the public domain.
So what prompted a Harvard student group – by definition smart, educated young people – to identify Nihad Awad as an inspirational paragon of service?
It turns out that the Phillips Brooks House Association's programming chair, Anwar Omeish, is the daughter of another advocate for Palestinian violence, former Muslim American-Society President Esam Omeish.
Awad was in Omeish's home for a 2010 political fundraiser where U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., accused Israel of controlling U.S. foreign policy.
We are First Amendment supporters, and the Phillips Brooks House Association is free to invite whomever it pleases. Whitewashing Nihad Awad's decades of work on behalf of terrorists and radicals, however, doesn't seem to be in the best interests of a group seeking inspiration on public service.
Fears about a terrorist using the U.S.-Mexican border as a gateway for an attack have been realized. Evidence shows that Somali Edmonton terrorist Abdulahi Hasan Sharif crossed the U.S.-Mexican border from Tijuana into San Diego at the San Ysidro border crossing on July 12, 2011.
Sharif allegedly hit an Edmonton police officer with a white Chevrolet Malibu on Sept. 30. He then got out of his car and stabbed the officer with a knife. A police manhunt ensued. The attacker then stole a U-Haul and drove it into four pedestrians before police apprehended him.
Investigators found an ISIS flag in his car, but the jihadist group has not claimed responsibility for his attacks.
Canadian press reports indicate that when he entered the U.S in 2011, Sharif lacked valid travel documents and almost immediately ended up in the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). An immigration judge ordered Sharif deported to Somalia. But ICE released him because Somalia lacks a functioning government. He fell of the radar and U.S. authorities were unable to locate him.
He entered Canada in 2012 and obtained refugee status, Canadian officials said. It isn't clear why Canadian officials were unaware of Sharif's deportation from the United States. Privacy laws in both countries could keep that information secret, adding to widespread speculation that he received asylum in the U.S. Asylum applications are confidential, which further complicates the public's right to know.
Reports of Sharif's radicalism, including his open support for ISIS, first surfaced in 2015 after coworkers reported him to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Sharif would rant about how "polytheists" needed to die and how he hated Shiite Muslims, a coworker told the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).
The other question is how Sharif got to the U.S.-Mexican border – nearly 10,000 miles from Somalia.
Sharif likely worked with "long haul smugglers," national security expert Todd Bensman theorized in a recent post on his LinkedIn account, using prior court-established smuggling patterns as a baseline. Bensman wrote his Master's thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School on Somali smuggling patterns.
Many Somalis travel from Kenya to South Africa on the first leg of their trip to the U.S. From there they make their way to Brazil and then made his way northward through Latin America until they reach the U.S.-Mexican border.
Sharif's penetration of the U.S.-Mexican border isn't unique, Bensman wrote. He notes that others with ties to Al-Shabaab have also been identified but were apprehended before they could do anything.
A rift has opened up between left-leaning alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) chapter of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and conservative Islamists in the group. At least two dozen alumni addressed an open letter to the club on Facebook asking them to disinvite an anti-liberal Muslim writer, Daniel Haqiqatjou.
MSA's Tufts University chapter disinvited Haqiqatjou last month.
The alumni say that Haqiqatjou's socially conservative views are "regressive" and that they should not be heard because he is not a researched academic. Haqiqatjou's writings attack feminism as the enemy of all religion, and claim that Muslim feminism puts self-described Muslim feminists a path to apostasy.
"From its very inception, feminism has been anti-religion. In fact, the most prominent figures of each wave of feminism have been viciously anti-religious," he wrote on his blog. Late Boston College radical feminist scholar Mary Daly received his ire because she encouraged women to have "courage to sin."
Haqiqatjou likewise questions gay rights and same-sex marriage.
The split is unusual given the MSA's roots within the global Muslim Brotherhood network. It was founded by Brotherhood members who came to the United States in the 1960 and some members push extreme rhetoric.
Opponents of Haqiqatjou's talk criticized the MSA for not holding a forum on Muslim feminism, describing Haqiqatjou's views as "deeply problematic and ... half-baked ideas that have no real intellectual basis. Haqiqatjou spreads vile ideas about women in general as well as critical social movements such as Islamic feminism, slanders Muslim feminists very frequently and undermines the struggles of an entire gender."
Oddly, no one took issue with Haqiqatjou's seeming embrace of another Islamist speaker who says he had a campus lecture canceled for failing "to show sympathy w/Charlie Hebdo and its satanic Shuhada." ISIS-inspired terrorists killed 12 people the magazine's Paris offices in 2015 as revenge for its caricatures of Islam's prophet Mohammed.
Haqiqatjou found Hamza wald Maqbul's canceled talk last year at St. Louis University, "Shocking, that's even more egregious."
Hizballah terrorists are exploiting Germany's refugee policy and entered the country as part of the recent wave of Middle East migrants, according to the Jerusalem Post's review of a German intelligence report released this month.
"Since mid-2015 there are increased indications of fighters from Shi'ite militias entering Germany as legal refugees," the report says, and "roughly 50% [of the fighters] show a direct connection to Hezbollah."
A growing number of Hizballah operatives are settling in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, the report says. The region hosts the Imam-Mahdi Center – a traditional hub for Hizballah operatives. The report also cites a growing and open Hamas presence in North Rhine-Westphalia, despite Germany's terrorist designation of the Palestinian organization, where Hamas supporters exploit Germany to "collect funds" and "recruit new members to spread their propaganda."
There are roughly 950 Hizballah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Jerusalem Post. Though the number of Hizballah supporters is believed to be far higher in Germany than listed in the report.
Radical Islamists are "the greatest danger to Germany...Germany is on the spectrum of goals for Islamic terrorists," said Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
Hizballah operatives serve as senior employees of a German government-funded theater project aimed to assist refugees in the country, a 2016 Berliner Zeitung daily report said.
For example, German prosecutors allege that Haidar Syed-Naqfi was ordered to identify Jewish and Israeli institutions in Germany and other Western European countries for potential terrorist attacks. He allegedly monitored the headquarters of a Jewish newspaper in Berlin and identified several Israel supporters. German authorities believe his preparations were "a clear indication of an assassination attempt."
Between July 2015 and July 2016, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) al-Quds Force paid Syed-Naqi more than $2,200.
While the European Union, including Germany, designated Hizballah's military wing as a terrorist entity, Germany allows Hizballah's political wing to operate freely. The U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization entirely. Even senior Hizballah officials have noted the futility in distinguishing between its political and military wings, acknowledging that Hizballah is a hierarchical organization with a clear chain of command. The organization's terrorist and military wings answer to its senior leadership and political echelons, including Iran – its primary sponsor.
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) on Tuesday lamented the anniversary of the death of Mohamed Kamal, who is believed to have led the Brotherhood's military wing. Kamal, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau, died in a shootout last year with Egyptian security forces.
It was a year ago that "the criminals in Cairo have announced the assassination of the leader of the revolution, the Martyred Doctor Mohamed Kamal and his companion, the hero and martyr Yasser Shehata," EAFJ spokesman Mahmoud ElSharkawy wrote on his Facebook page.
Egyptian authorities believe that Kamal created a network of Muslim Brotherhood-linked terror groups have carried out attacks since 2014 – sometimes claiming joint responsibility along with ISIS. That includes a May 2016 attack on Egyptian police near Cairo by the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM). Kamal's Hassm Movement claimed responsibility for an attack against the Myanmar (Burmese) Embassy in Cairo earlier this week.
ElSharkawy's post came shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood posted its own eulogy for Kamal on its official Facebook page.
The Brotherhood's eulogy placed Kamal on par with its founder Hasan Al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and recently deceased Supreme Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef. All of these men preached violent jihad against the Brotherhood's enemies. Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ashraf Abdelghaffar in August called on Brotherhood members to return to al-Banna's violent jihadist traditions.
The Brotherhood statement promised "that vengeance for the blood and dignity is a debt and a pledge that we will not abandon, the time for punishment is coming, and your fortresses and castles will not stop us, you will see what you were warned against from us, we will come out for you from every lane, every street and every square, we will destroy your fortresses from above and from below. You will find the revolutionaries where you never expected. Allah Is Greatest."
ElSharkawy's group, EAFJ, opposes the Egyptian government which ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 and "seeks to put pressure on the American administration to stand by democracy" in Egypt. But it has close connections with the Muslim Brotherhood and EAFJ members frequently declare their support for the Brotherhood, as they did during last week's memorial service for former Supreme Guide Mohamed Akef.
Egypt's Al Bawaba newspaper identified ElSharkawy in 2015 as a member of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood who allegedly helped fund these groups in conjunction with exiled Brotherhood members in Egypt and Qatar.
In the past 10 days, EAFJ members have mourned the deaths of two prominent Brotherhood leaders, including one who is credited as the driving force behind a new terrorist infrastructure. They may operate in the United States, but democracy is not what EAFJ is standing by
Ties to non-violent Islamism are strongly associated with an eventual embrace of jihadism, according to a new study that explores the trajectories of British jihadists.
In "For Caliph and Country: Exploring How British jihadis Join a Global Movement," researcher Rachel Bryson seeks to find out how a radical global ideology has captivated so many people living in the United Kingdom.
More than three-quarters of 113 randomly selected British jihadists studied were linked with non-violent Islamist organizations and networks prior to their radicalization toward jihad. For this study, jihadists include people who have engaged in terrorist operations, active supporters, and facilitators of jihadi activity.
While there is no universal path to jihad, the report shows that "the vast majority of our sample moved towards jihadism after their exposure to non-violent Islamist ideologies."
Many of the people profiled were radicalized through "personal connections," or after attending Islamic institutions, including several mosques featuring Islamist preachers.
"At least 17 per cent of our sample attended talks by Islamist preachers at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London," including Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical imam suspended in 2002 who continued to offer radical sermons outside the mosque's gates. Abu Hamza "was also a leader of 'Supporters of Sharia,' an Islamist group."
Several prominent terrorists committed attacks after listening to Abu Hamza preach, including one of the suicide bombers in the July 7, 2005 London subway attacks that killed 52 people.
"Individuals in our sample also had connections to Islamist bookshops or markets that sold Islamist materials," the study concludes.
Click here to read the full report.
In 2016, a study by the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics suggested that membership or ties to non-violent Islamist organizations can be associated with an individual's trajectory towards violence and terrorism.
More than half of the prominent jihadi terrorists in that study were previously connected to Islamist groups that claim to be non-violent, including "bodies that are not necessarily political activist organizations but form a functioning arm of existing Islamist groups, such as youth wings, student associations, and other societies." One in four of the 100 Salafi-Jihadi figures examined had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliated groups.
Iran has drastically increased financial support for its Lebanese-based terrorist proxy Hizballah since the Iran nuclear deal was signed two years ago, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Iran secured $100 billion in frozen assets and sanction relief in January 2016 as a result of the deal with the United States and European countries. Flush with cash, Iran immediately increased its support for terrorist proxies in the region and nefarious activities worldwide. Hizballah was receiving $200 million from Iran. Now, it's $800 million.
Last month, Hamas terrorist leader Yahya Sinwar admitted that "relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the [Hamas military wing] Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms." Iran reportedly provides Hamas with about $60-$70 million.
Both Hizballah and Hamas remain dedicated to Israel's destruction and continue to invest considerable resources to fight the Jewish state. Iran also spends hundreds of millions of dollars for Shi'ite militias in Syria and Iraq, while increasing support for Houthi militants in Yemen.
Shortly after the July 2015 nuclear deal was signed, Iran expanded its presence in regional conflicts and even increased its own intervention in Syria's civil war, leading to mounting Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) casualties.
Iran also increased efforts to subvert its neighbors. In March, Bahrain security authorities arrested members of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist cell, accusing them of planning to assassinate senior government officials. The IRGC reportedly provided military training to several cell members.
Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal, including many within the Obama administration, argued that the agreement would moderate Iran's behavior. On the contrary, Iran immediately enhanced its support for terrorist organizations, while extremist factions within Iran gained more influence. Two years later, Iran has proved to be even more emboldened to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions, drastically increasing financial and military support to terrorist organizations and cells worldwide.
Belgian authorities investigated 58 mosques and 61 Islamic associations in 2016 in an effort to counter the spread of radical Islamist ideology, according to the country's justice minister and reported by the Brussels Times.
The data suggests that one in five mosques in Belgium are a cause for concern among domestic intelligence services.
Mosques in Belgium attract inspections for various reasons, including imams who may be delivering radical sermons and for particular mosque attendants who catch the eye of security agencies. State authorities focus their efforts on threats related to "extremism, the radicalisation process and terrorism."
The country is increasingly targeted for terrorist attacks. On Friday, a man of Somali origin stabbed and wounded two soldiers in Brussels in an attack claimed by ISIS. He reportedly yelled "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) during the attack. One of the soldiers shot the attacker twice, killing him.
According to Belgium's migration minister, the man was granted asylum in 2009 before acquiring Belgian citizenship in 2015.
Belgian soldiers regularly patrol Brussels after major Islamist terrorist attacks striking Europe, including Paris in 2015 and Belgium in 2016.
Last year, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for simultaneous terrorist bombings targeting Belgium's airport and its Metro system, killing 32 people.
Palestinian terrorists and their families are receiving far higher payments than welfare recipients, according to an analysis of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) budget by The Middle East Media Research Institute.
A family on welfare receives less than $170 per month, while the PA pays Palestinian prisoners a maximum monthly payment of roughly $3,340 – more than 20 times more than a needy Palestinian family. By amending the Palestinian Prisoners Law in 2010, PA President Mahmoud Abbas increased monthly installments from approximately $275-$1,110 per month to $390-$3,340.
Payments to current and former Palestinian prisoners fall under the "fighting sector" category and terrorists' families receive a "monthly salary," while poor families receive quarterly "monetary aid."
The practice triggered a civil lawsuit by American victims of Palestinian terrorism. A jury awarded the victims $210 million in damages, which under law would be tripled. Evidence indicated that payments from the second Palestinian intifada were approved by then-PA President Yasir Arafat. But an appeals court found the U.S. District Court in New York lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case, wiping out the judgment.
Today, a terrorist's socioeconomic status is not factored into the salaries. Payments to released prisoners and jailed Palestinians are based on the length of a prison sentence, which is a function of their action's severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money a Palestinian prisoner gets. Even jailed Israeli Arabs receive terror salaries – almost $140 more than prisoners with PA residency. The detailed PA budget is concrete proof that the Palestinian government systematically incentivizes terrorism through financial compensation.
This comes as a U.S. Senate committee approved legislation earlier this month to suspend aid to the PA until it stops its financial support programs for Palestinian terrorists and their families. The PA budget clearly shows how the PA prioritizes segments of Palestinian society – people who try or succeed in killing Israelis above all else.
In June, Palestinian sources revealed that Abbas refused another U.S. demand to halt the practice of paying terrorist salaries. Reports in Arabic media, according to The Times of Israel, suggest that an American delegation eventually reduced its demands and insisted that the PA only cut payments to roughly 600 prisoners directly responsible for the Israeli deaths. The day after the meeting, Abbas defended issuing salaries to all Palestinian prisoners and terrorists as a "social responsibility."