BDSers are scared you’ll find out the truth about Israel.

Readers might be familiar with the story of opera singer, Celine Byrne who was targeted by anti-Israel activists on Twitter following her announcement that she was going to be taking part in 10 performances with the Israeli Opera in February. There was an almost botlike consistency to the tweets with the constant repetition of the three words “racist, apartheid Israel” as if iteration made it somehow truer. It doesn’t, and anyone who thinks that Israel is a racist or apartheid state knows little about racism, apartheid or Israel – probably all three.

Hot on the heels of that story comes the news that the IPSC (Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) is among a list of organizations banned from visiting Israel. The IPSC folks have distinguished themselves over the years with activities targeting ordinary Israelis, including protests against Israel football teams and fans or targeting shoppers in supermarkets where Israeli goods are on sale. Such is the level of intimidation in some anti-Israeli protests that Gardai have had to be called to protect staff and shoppers. That the Israelis would take such action is hardly surprising. Would the Irish government allow free and unfettered entry to a group that protests against Irish football teams and fans?

There is an apparent irony here. While the IPSCers strongly object to anyone else visiting Israel, they howl with rage when told to follow their own advice and to errr…..not visit Israel. It’s only an apparent irony, though because from the IPSC point of view, it all makes perfect sense. If they pressure others to stop them from visiting the only democracy in the Middle East whilst they themselves go, then they get to control the narrative. They’ll be free to feed us all the propaganda they can on the claim that they’ve been there while no-one else has. BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) founder, Omar Barghouti would be quite comfortable with this given that he studied at Tel Aviv University even though he calls for an academic boycott of Israel. So the BDS artfulness has deep foundations and the fear that people might actually discover the truth runs deep.

Only special people can go. Okay?

Only special people can go. Okay?

Another example of this artfulness is the platitude that the person being targeted should “respect” the anti-Israel BDS boycott. It’s a clever one since the implication is that anyone who doesn’t agree is showing disrespect. Not so. One can respectfully disagree with others – even when they’re being disrespectful and abusive and, at this point in time, Celine Byrne is admirably refusing to give in. However, it’s notable that the tone of the tweets turned deeply nasty (“f–king disgrace“, “Zionist terrorist supporting fascist“, “disgusting“) once this became clear.

As we’ve said before, for so long, anti-Israel groups in Irish society have dominated and controlled the narrative with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue; for so long that they believe it’s their God-driven right to have their view, and only their view heard and accepted. Hence the nasty responses to anyone who doesn’t give in to them, never mind challenging them. The more people visit Israel, the more people will see their propaganda for what it is and for BDSers, that’s a scary prospect.


The crock of fairy-tales at the end of Finian’s rainbow.

Readers of a certain vintage may be familiar with an American film of the 1960s called Finian’s Rainbow. It’s a musical, a fantastical piece of paddywhackery about an Irish guy who steals a leprechaun’s pot of gold and flees to the United States. It speaks volumes that the awful accents and stereotype-laden story was panned in many quarters even 50 years – at a time when we were generally happy that anyone in Hollywood would pay us a blind bit of notice.

Scroll forward five decades and we might be a lot wealthier and more sophisticated but unfortunately, some of us still are susceptible to swallowing fairy tales. Even more unfortunately, some of the fairy-tale swallowers get to be government ministers.

Enter Finian McGrath, Independent Alliance TD for Dublin Bay North and Minister of State with Responsibilities for Disability Issues. He will have entered the public consciousness recently with a hilarious plan whereby he and two colleagues would fly to North Korea and somehow….do something. It was never clear what three greenhorns, not knowing a word of Korean, could possibly do simply by turning up in the world’s most secretive and paranoid state but more on that later.

McGrath has history with repressive leftist regimes. Back in 2006, Finian paid a visit to Cuba where he gulped down the buckets of propaganda served up to him by the Castro regime and regurgitated it when he returned. Imprisonment of dissidents, journalists and human rights activists? No, no! “It’s a different kind of democracy to Ireland”, said Finian and, if his handlers in Havana had heard that line, no doubt they’d have howled in hilarity at the credulity of useful western fools. In late 2016, he dismissed reports of torture and human rights abuses as “exaggerated”.

More recently, he’s been acting as a spokesperson for the Venezuelan ambassador to Ireland, parroting the line that the Venezuelan opposition is “covertly supported by external forces” and is “exploiting” government cutbacks due to falling oil prices which accounts for 95% of Venezuela’s export revenues. McGrath even goes so far as to compare the opposition protests to the brutal overthrow of the Allende government in Chile in 1973.

In reality, the leftist Venezuelan government gravely mishandled the peak in oil prices and the opposition is calling out this mismanagement. That’s actually “criticizing”, it’s what oppositions do and referring to it as “exploiting” is a clumsy attempt to put a negative slant on it and to justify the suppression and jailing of anti-government activists. Meanwhile, that glugging sound is Finian with his head stuck (once again) in the propaganda bucket.

 

Hmmm….leftist propaganda.

Hmmm….leftist propaganda.

 

However, McGrath is all hostility and enmity when it comes to an actual democracy where people are free to criticize the government with no fear of imprisonment or torture. In an interview in the Irish Examiner yesterday (January 1st), he called for economic sanctions against Israel and a boycott of Israeli goods. As Minister of State with Responsibilities for Disability Issues, one wonders will he be preventing Irish people with disabilities from accessing these Israeli technologies which would benefit them. He’s already signed an IPSC petition that, if acted on, would bar Irish soldiers from accessing various key Israeli protection technologies. One wonders what Irish families with soldiers overseas on peacekeeping missions would make of anyone wanting to put their loved ones in danger.

Going back to North Korea, younger but far more intelligent members of the government put the kibosh on the farcical trip. McGrath should thank them for saving him from a self-inflicted humiliation because as sure as anything, he’d have been gobbled down every piece of propaganda and fairy tale fed to him by the Pyongyang regime. And it’s quite likely that he’d have come home describing as “exaggerated” the well-documented horror that is North Korea. People like Finian McGrath need to be protected from themselves but given the damage he, as  a government minister, can do to our international reputation, the country needs to be protected from him too.


A UN vote no longer comes with any ethical legitimacy.

According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion in 2015, a clear majority of Palestinians living in Jerusalem would rather be citizens of Israel than citizens of a Palestinian state. And thousands of them are voting with their signatures every year by applying for Israeli citizenship.

These facts jar very awkwardly with the huffing and puffing at the United Nations where 128 countries voted last week to declare as “null and void” the USA’s recent decision to accept Israel’s 1980 declaration of Jerusalem as its capital and to declare its intention to move its embassy there. But why should the UN care about the feelings of the actual people on the ground when there’s some Israel-bashing to be done?

It’s a mark of a country’s sovereignty that it gets to choose which of its cities should be its capital. It’s also a mark of relations between two states that they can decide between themselves where their respective embassies should be located in the other country.  No country, apart from Israel, faces such interference in matters which should never be the subject of a UN vote. But then, no country, apart from Israel, faces such a sustained campaign of vilification at the United Nations.

There’s nothing new under this sun. As recently as May 2017, the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO passed an Arab-sponsored resolution on Jerusalem which repeatedly refers to only the Islamic name for the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and effectively ignored thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, at the recent UN General Assembly, there were a total of 27 resolutions submitted criticizing individual member states. 21 of these – submitted by Arab states or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – were attacking Israel. There were no motions submitted dealing with Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, the growing famine in Venezuela, the despotic absolutism of the regime in Eritrea, or the growing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It’s feeding time at the United Nations General Assembly.

It’s feeding time at the United Nations General Assembly.

No club can be much better than its members and a majority of the members of the United Nations are corrupt and failed or quasi-failed states ruled by leaders whose claims to democratic legitimacy are at best suspect. So, how do they deflect attention from their misdeeds and miserable records? Easy – just club together, keep shouting about the Israel-Palestine issue, and flood the UN with resolutions attacking Israel. And if they’re the majority (and they are), they win the vote every time.

It’s sad that Ireland and most of the European Union plays along with this charade year after year. However, the sadness is alleviated to some extent by the amusement one can’t help but feel at the whooping and hollering from those who line up under the various BDS and Palestinian Solidarity banners – as if a vote by the UN General Assembly comes with some sort of ethical legitimacy.

Sorry, folks – that horse bolted decades ago. And if approval from the likes of the tyrants of Eritrea, North Korea, Myanmar and Syria is your benchmark of virtue and integrity, then your value system is even more perverted than I’d feared.


Jewish Refugees: The Forgotten Nakba

No religious or ethnic group has a longer documented history in the Middle East than the Jews. There were Jewish communities in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt stretching back into the mists of time. There were smaller communities in almost every other North African and Middle Eastern country. Over 1000 years before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and before a word of Arabic was heard outside of the Arabian peninsula, there were Jews going about their business, attending Synagogue getting married, having children and celebrating the various Jewish festivals.

To say that they were well integrated into the local community is an understatement; when your ancestors have been in a country for well over 2,000 years, you ARE the local community. They tended to be a well-educated group, contributing far more to their countries than their numbers would suggest. Yet, all of this history was to be erased in a few decades of insanity and violence in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

The first sign that Middle Eastern countries were turning on their ancient Jewish communities came in the 1920s with the rise of Arab and Islamic nationalism. As many as 800 Jews were murdered in 24 hours of bloodletting in Baghdad in June 1941 during the horrific Farhud massacre. In the years that followed, almost all Middle Eastern and North African countries launched a crusade against their Jewish citizens through a combination of violence, intimidation, boycotts, expulsion from employment, confiscation of businesses, and denationalization (revocation of citizenship). Between 1945 and 1947, more anti-Jewish pogroms and violence swept across the Islamic world with massacres in Libya, Aleppo, Damascus, Aden, Alexandria, and Cairo with the murder toll running into hundreds.

Increasing violence and discrimination forced a mass exodus of Jews from Arab and Islamic states with the result that some 900,000 had to flee from their ancient homelands usually with little more than their clothes on their backs. Some ended up in France or the USA but most moved to Israel. Behind them, they left their houses, wealth, synagogues, hospitals, schools, shrines and deeded land five times the size of the State of Israel. However, most of all they left behind their history.

And no-one is talking about THEIR right of return to the lands stolen from them.

And no-one is talking about THEIR right of return to the lands stolen from them.

No-one ever speaks of their right of return. No United Nations resolution has ever been passed noting the injustices visited on them. No leftist cabal has ever organized to have their flag fly over a public building in Dublin or Sligo. But even now, across the tiny State of Israel, elderly matriarchs cherish photographs and memories of houses, communities and lives that have been lost forever.

Remember them today, November 30th, a day set aside by the Knesset since 2014 to commemorate the Expulsion of Jews from Middle Eastern and North African Countries. Because the world has chosen to forget.


Does Solidarity/PBP respect the Palestinian flag more than the Irish flag?

You probably won’t be familiar with the name of Matt Waine but he’s a councillor for Solidarity/PBP on Fingal Council. This week, when a motion came before the council that the Irish flag be flown outside County Hall, he strongly opposed it because it might offend non-Irish people living in the council area. Councillor Waine called instead for the flags of minority groups to be flown or the “red [Marxist] flag” and “maybe in the future, that will be the case”. He went on to speak of “[t]he issue of religion, language, nationality [being] extremely sensitive and we’ve seen how that can play out to divide people”.

So far, so politically correct. Let’s dispense immediately with the quite dangerous idea that non-Irish people find the Irish flag to be offensive. It’s irresponsible to suggest any such thing and this sort of statement can be twisted very easily by bigots and racists to promote xenophobia.

But there’s another point here. It seems that the political grouping to which he belongs has far less of a problem with flag-flying at public buildings – if the flag is Palestinian. Back in May, we reported on one of Councillor Waine’s leftist colleagues at Dublin City Council (DCC) proposing a motion that the Palestinian fly over DCC offices for a month. John Lyons of the Solidarity/PBP group proposed it and it was supported by his party colleagues such as Tina McVeigh.

Do the Solidarity/PBP leftists respect that flag that’s bottom right?

Is this how Solidarity/PBP folks actually view the relationship between the Irish & Palestinian flags?

Of course, Councillor Waine isn’t on Dublin City Council and didn’t get a chance to vote on the motion. However, his promotion of and support for this IPSC march suggests which way his sympathies lie. Would he have been bothered by the usual profusion of Palestinian flags at such a march, and how they “can play out to divide people”? Somehow, I suspect that such a prospect is about as likely as pigs, or Hammers and Sickles flying over Fingal.


Tinfoil keffiyehs at Electronic Intifada

We’ve known for some time that the folks at Electronic Intifada (EI) have an unhealthy obsession with Irish4Israel. So, on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when we saw an increase in website traffic coming through from there, we knew something was up.

Do you want your oul’ lobby watched down? Contact EI.

Do you want your oul’ lobby watched down? Contact EI.

 

Sure enough, there was an article on their page written by David Cronin. David’s latest concern is that in a Facebook post, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar had tagged the founder of Irish4Israel, Barry Williams. His post was about a cartoon representation of the Taoiseach on a coffee mug and Mr Varadkar was humorously asking if the representation looked anything like him. He tagged Barry in response to a question Barry had raised in a previous post.

Leo Varadkar has tens of thousands of Facebook followers and Barry is one of them. However, such an innocent explanation is of no interest to the tinfoil hatters at Electronic Intifada and a mere two words on Facebook has led to a diatribe by David Cronin that’s probably about a thousand times longer.

It’s vintage Electronic Intifada stuff with much dark mutterings about who Leo Varadkar chooses to have or not to have for Facebook followers and (oh, the horror!) the possibility that An Taoiseach might dare to differ with their simplistic and binary analysis of the Israel/Palestine issue. Apparently. “multiple requests for comment to Varadkar went unanswered”, another special phrase beloved of the EI brigade who seek to make something sinister out of the fact that no-one important pays them a blind bit of notice. Sorry, David, but the proper word to use is “ignored” because the prime minister of a nation of 4.6 million people has a lot more to do than deal with the paranoid obsessives of EI telling him who he should or shouldn’t have as followers on social media.

Storm in a coffee mug

LV1

The article refers darkly to the affair as “The Mystery of the Mug”. We at Irish4Israel would not be so unkind as to wonder if the real mug is between a computer and a chair at Electronic Intifada but really; this stuff is beyond parody. Is El trying to be Breitbart for leftists and anti-Zionists? Or even The Onion?

This is not the first time that Electronic Intifada has written in paranoid terms about Barry Williams and Irish4Israel. It tends to lead to more hits on our website and a temporary peak in donations so the publicity certainly doesn’t hurt us. However, it does point to a familiar theme of petulant leftists who simply can’t bear to accept that there are people in the world who disagree with them. They feel that this is so WRONG that there must be conspiracies and sinister forces at play. Such anti-intellectualism used to only be a feature of the far-right. Not any more.

Protect yourself against that Zionic radiation!

Protect yourself against that Zionic radiation!

It’s not an attitude we reciprocate. We’re happy to accept that others disagree with us on the Israel/Palestine issue and don’t see any dark plots or sinister schemes. We’ll leave the tinfoil headgear (keffiyehs, presumably?) for the folks in Electronic Intifada. However, we might tag Leo in a Facebook post sometime soon. Pots (and coffee mugs) don’t stir themselves. :-)

 

 

 

 

 


Israel: The Canary In The Coalmine

‘Why the hypocrisy?’ When It Comes To Israel, It’s An Ironic Question

The recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe, with jihadists using vehicles and knives to maim and kill innocent civilians appear to be waking some European governments up to the reality that the so-called ‘charities’ they support are, in fact, supporting incitement to hate. According to a recent article in Israel Hayom, the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden have frozen funding to a Palestinian NGO called WATC because of its involvement with a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis.

Screen capture from an animated video warning ‘Zionists’ they will be targeted in car ramming attacks. (screen capture: YouTube/JewTube.tv)

Screen capture from an animated video warning ‘Zionists’ they will be targeted in car ramming attacks. (screen capture: YouTube/JewTube.tv)

It’s a start, and quite a satisfying one at that, given that two years ago, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom publicly called for a “thorough investigation in order to bring about accountability” of Israeli security forces carrying out “extra-judicial killings” of Palestinian terrorists.

Her hypocritical call, given that she’d never called for such accountability from any other country who had experienced terrorist attacks, came at the height of a particularly intensive and vicious “car and stabbing intifada” within Israel, with Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders urging their followers to use accelerators and knives to spill as much Jewish blood as possible.

Left: Gas pedal exchanged for ammunition magazine. The Arabic reads, "Hero, take hold of your weapon" (PALDF, November 6, 2014). Right: Traffic sign showing a car hitting civilians. The Arabic reads "The vehicle intifada, [vehicular] attack" (PALDF, November 5, 2014).

Left: Gas pedal exchanged for ammunition magazine. The Arabic reads, “Hero, take hold of your weapon” (PALDF, November 6, 2014). Right: Traffic sign showing a car hitting civilians. The Arabic reads “The vehicle intifada, [vehicular] attack” (PALDF, November 5, 2014).

Palestinians duly took to the streets with knives, scissors, cars and guns, while social media was aflame with violent videos and graphics encouraging them to “Hit the gas at 199 [km/h] for Al-Aqsa” and sing happily along to lyrics such as “Run over the two-month-old-baby – that is how we get them” and “He began fighting with a car, running over them like rabbits.”

Any of this sound familiar? Is Europe finally realising that Israel is the canary in the coalmine? Or is the move by the above governments too little, too late? It’s a sobering question, especially given the Palestinian Authority has paid out some $1.2 billion in “salaries” over the past four years to terrorists and their families, otherwise known as the “Martyrs Fund.”

An anatomical chart posted on Palestinian social media showing which parts of the body to aim for when stabbing a victim. (Courtesy of MEMRI)

An anatomical chart posted on Palestinian social media showing which parts of the body to aim for when stabbing a victim. (Courtesy of MEMRI)

The Israeli legal system is as robust as any other democratic country and anyone can call for a hearing or bring a case against the State if there has been a miscarriage of justice. But many European countries, including Ireland, fund NGOs working outside and within Israel which cause the State unprecedented amounts of interference and damage, particularly when it comes to the matters of the law.

According to NGO Monitor in 2015 the Irish government provided direct funding of €720,000 to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and over €32 million in funding to Irish and international NGOs involved in anti-Israel activities. Among these NGOs are PCHR, Yesh Din and  Al-Haq, leaders in anti-Israel “lawfare” who propose sabotaging the Israeli court system by “flooding [it] with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.”

And closer to home, in June of this year Trócaire launched a video, petition and street display accusing Israel of denying Palestinians “their right to freedom of movement”, in a direct response to Israel’s need for security checkpoints due to the terrorism that has killed hundreds of Israelis and maimed scores more.

All the while, European governments are continually reviewing their security measures and there is a noticeable increase in armed police and soldiers on the streets of UK, France and Belgium. Only this week the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, issued a statement promising “if someone runs in St. Mark’s Square screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ we’ll shoot him.” Here’s a quick reminder of the recent spate of terrorist attacks within Europe where the terrorists were shot dead by security forces:

August 25 2017: In Brussels, a machete-wielding man was shot dead by soldiers after he attacked them shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

August 17 2017: The Barcelona terror attacks killed 14 people when a terrorist ploughed a van into a crowd killing 13 and injuring more than 100. Police shot dead five terrorists after a second attack in Cambrils, a coastal town south of Barcelona.

June 3 2017: The London Bridge terror attack killed 8 people and injured many others. Three knifemen were shot dead by police after mowing down pedestrians and going on a killing spree at pubs and restaurants.

April 20 2017: A police officer was gunned down on the Champs Elysses in Paris. The attacker was shot dead by police.

March 27 2017: Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing 4 and injuring others. He then fatally stabbed a police officer. Masood was shot dead by armed police.

February 3 2017: A knifeman was shot while trying to attack a group of soldiers with a machete while guarding the Louvre in Paris.

July 26 2016: Armed men slit the throat of an elderly priest after storming a church in Normandy. Police shot dead the attackers.

July 14 2016: A terrorist rammed a lorry into people watching a fireworks display to mark Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 84 and injuring hundreds others. The attacker was shot dead by police.

There are no calls for accountability or claims of extra-judicial killings for any of the above, and rightly so. But why the hypocrisy? When it comes to Israel, it’s an ironic question.

Are our government leaders listening? It might be timely to remind them of Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States Ron Prosor’s comments in November 2014: “A person doesn’t just wake up one day and decide to stab someone or ram his car into a crowd of people. These attacks are the results of years of anti-Israel indoctrination and the glorification of so-called martyrs. The incitement is everywhere. In schools, mosques and media, the Palestinian Authority is glorifying terrorists and celebrating attacks on Jews and Israelis.”

The canary in the coalmine. You get the idea.


Tiocfaidh ár flaw – Sinn Féin confusion about Palestinian flag

Readers of this occasional blog may be aware that earlier this summer, there was a sudden outburst of local authorities around Ireland flying the Palestinian flag to show recognition of and solidarity with Palestine. In vain, we pointed out that the two main Palestinian factions weren’t doing much to show solidarity with each other or to recognize each other. Indeed, a bitter struggle was going on to get control of Gaza and four months later, it’s showing no signs of abating what with Mahmoud Abbas now threatening a complete financial blockade of Gaza. No doubt the condemnation of this act will be coming any week now from the IPSC and various other leftists.

Anyway, back to the flags. When it comes to waving the Palestinian flag, it’s hard to beat Sinn Féin. You’re guaranteed to see a few being brandished at the annual ard-fheiseanna and any time, they hold a rally, the Palestinian flags will more than likely outnumber the Irish tricolours. They’ve even flown them in the Dáil. So, you’d imagine that your average party member would know the right way to hold them.

Not so! At least not at Queen’s University in Belfast (QUB). A couple of days ago, the Sinn Féin cumann there posted a tweet welcoming students back for the new term. In the accompanying photo montage, one can clearly see a bunch of young party members decked out in their right-on keffiyehs and holding the Palestinian flag. Upside down. It’s highlighted below in red.

QUB1

Hey…….at least they got the Irish flag right!

 

Now, flags are a serious issue in Northern Ireland. Every July 12th, pro-British loyalists burn the Irish Tricolour on bonfires and accidentally place it the wrong way around so that it looks like the flag of the Ivory Coast. This provokes much derision from the other side of the community. At least, the loyalists can now comfort themselves that they’re not the only ones who are vexillologically -challenged.


What’s Going On at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount?

A deadly terrorist attack took place early last Friday morning, 14th July, on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (considered to be Judaism’s holiest and Islam’s third holiest site) when three Israeli Arab terrorists took guns onto the holy site and stormed an Israeli police outpost killing two Israeli Druze policemen on the spot. Ironically, the terrorists, two of whom were subsequently shot dead by the Israeli police, enjoyed full citizenship rights within the only democracy in the Middle East, which exposes once again the lie that Arab terrorists are simply oppressed Palestinians fighting for equal rights and statehood.

 In the days that followed, Arab protests and clashes erupted throughout East Jerusalem and the Old City. A “Day of Rage” was then called for by the Palestinian Authority, which took place following Friday prayers this week. Why the outrage you might ask?

We need to go back in history to understand what’s going on at the Temple Mount, often described as the most contentious piece of real estate on the planet. Although Israel took control of Jerusalem in 1967 they didn’t declare it a Jewish site once again, rather they respected the Muslim’s claim of right to worship there. Israel agreed for the Muslims to remain on the Mount with their religious jurisdiction, which means that the Muslim religious authority, the Jordanian Waqf, still controls the Mount.

It is worth noting that the Temple Mount, which from the late 7th century CE has housed the Islamic Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque, is the site of the two former Jewish Temples, with archaeological excavations testifying to this fact, but for the sake of maintaining a fragile peace, Jews are not allowed to pray there and their visiting times are restricted. The Israeli police enforce these restrictions.

A crucial factor the terrorists took full advantage of was the fact that there were no metal detectors and nobody to check bags on the site, as Israel respects it as a Muslim place of worship and it is part of the status quo that Muslims can pray there without interference.

However, as a result of the deadly shootings, Israeli police closed the holy site for two days and carried out a search. Jerusalem’s Police Chief is quoted as saying, “We found dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting materials, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, binoculars…”, which begs the question: What are items such as these doing on a holy site that’s supposed to be devoted to Muslim prayer and worship?

A selection of the dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes found in the Al-Aqsa mosque (Photo Credit: @news10)

A selection of the dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels and spikes found in the Al-Aqsa mosque (Photo Credit: @news10)

For reasons of safety, Israel decided to place magnetometers (advanced metal detectors which are selective in which metals they react to) around the entrances to the site. The security measures prompted an uproar from the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian Waqf, who demanded a return to the “status quo.”

However, no violation of the status quo was committed, and the Israeli government issued a statement which read “Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. Israel is committed to protecting the safety of all worshippers and visitors to the Temple Mount.”

In truth, it’s astounding that prior to this week, no metal detectors were present on the site, even though Judaism’s holy site at the Western Wall includes metal detectors, CCTV and armed guards. Pilgrimage sites around the world have upgraded their security in recent years including the Buddhist site Bodh Gaya, the Sikh Golden Temple and the Mecca Masjid in India. In 2015 the International Business Times reported that Saudi Arabia was “issuing pilgrims with electronic bracelets” in addition to 5,000 CCTV cameras and over 100,000 people employed to provide security during the annual Hajj. The Vatican has also recently deployed metal detectors at St Peter’s Square.

It is important to note that it was never the intention of the terrorists to kill Druze necessarily – a peaceful sect who number about 100,000 and come from the northern Israel regions of Galilee, Mount Carmel and the Golan Heights. The goal of the terrorists, first and foremost, was to kill Jews. This is borne out by the fact that a week later, on Friday 22nd July, a young Palestinian, in response to Palestinian Authority incitement, entered the house of an innocent Israeli family who were sitting down to their Friday evening Shabbat meal and slaughtered three Israelis – a grandfather, his son and daughter, with a knife.

Hamas subsequently issued a statement of support for the attack, calling it a “necessary reaction” to new Israeli security procedures at the Temple Mount. In a tweet, they called it “heroic.”

It is hardly surprising, given the facts, that Israel has now installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount to prevent further terrorist attacks. For 50 years Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East, allowed Muslim worshippers to walk freely into the Temple Mount. In fact all religions are allowed to worship freely at their respective worship sites. Christians feel safer in Israel than they do anywhere else in the Middle East, as indeed do Muslims. Israelis do not attack Muslims who worship freely in their worship sites. If anything it’s the opposite. You will never see Jews throwing rocks from the Western Wall (where they are allowed to pray) onto the Temple Mount.

Israel, as a response to lines that were crossed and the advantage that people took of their religious liberties, had no option but to install metal detectors. When the surrounding twenty-two Arab States put metal detectors at the entrance to their mosques, not an eyebrow is raised, but when Israel does likewise, to defend from terrorist attacks, all hell breaks loose.

It is high time Ireland stands with Israel, unequivocally. Whether we realise it or not, or whether we shy away from it for reasons of political correctness, Israel’s values of freedom and democracy are our own values. The jihad which inspires young Arabs within Israel and the Palestinian territories to commit acts of barbarism is the same jihad that incites radicalised Muslims to commit acts of terror within Europe and the wider world.


Recognize Palestine? The Palestinian factions don’t even recognize each other!

You wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media in the West but the two territories that are supposed to comprise a future Palestinian state are engaged in an increasingly bitter political and economic war with each other.

Local elections were held in the West Bank yesterday with “local” being the operative word. No such elections were held in Gaza and Hamas is boycotting the elections in the West Bank. With only Fatah participating, the result will be a foregone and pointless conclusion.

The split between Hamas and Fatah goes back to at least the middle of the last decade when Israel ended its presence in Gaza. In June 2007, Hamas set about systematically slaughtering anyone in Gaza connected with Fatah. Within a few days, after between 100-200 deaths, they had inflicted a bloody and crushing defeat on their rivals and have been in control of Gaza ever since.

Fatah remains the dominant Palestinian party in the West Bank but is increasingly nervous about growing support for Hamas there. .And if recent student elections at Bir Zeit University are anything to go by, they have every reason to be worried with a Hamas-backed party winning them for a third year in a row. If these elections are a good gauge of public opinion, then Fatah is under pressure in its West Bank heartland and would explain why Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t held any proper municipal, legislative or presidential elections since 2006.

Since 2007, there have been various attempts at reconciliation between the two sides but all have failed. In the last few days, the Fatah leader signed a decree ordering Gazans not to pay taxes to Hamas. This follows an earlier decree from Abbas cutting off funding for electricity to Gaza as well as another order from Fatah slashing by 30-50% the salaries paid to public servants in Gaza.

Anyway, this is all part of what seems to be an increasingly pointless campaign by Mahmoud Abbas to re-establish Fatah control of Gaza. Abbas is unable to visit Gaza and arguably would end up being hanged or flung from one of the city’s high-rise buildings, as a number of his Fatah colleagues were in the last ten years. He is persona non-grata in a large chunk of what’s supposed to be his future state. Just remember that next time someone tells you that Israel is the obstacle to Palestinian sovereignty.

Hamas and Fatah militants attack each other in Gaza in 2007 (Source: Haaretz)

Hamas and Fatah militants attack each other in Gaza in 2007 (Source: Haaretz) 

What relevance does this have to little old Ireland? Well, the denizens of the “Fair City” might wonder why Dublin City Councillors were in such a tizzy to express solidarity with “the people of Palestine” recently when one part of this “Palestine” is inflicting stringent economic sanctions on the other part. Shouldn’t solidarity begin at home? For the record, if the Israelis were to do this, e.g. in response to missile attacks, there are UN resolutions, protests and much outrage. When the Palestinians do it to each other, the world yawns.

Also, there were some rumblings a few months ago that the Oireachtas would vote to recognize a Palestinian state. The idea seems to be on the back-burner now with wise heads in the Department of Foreign Affairs pointing out that Swedish recognition last year had no effect apart from seriously damaging Israeli-Swedish relations.

What should be of equal concern is the pointlessness of recognizing an entity that would clearly be incapable of being even remotely stable. Even by the fractious standards of the Arab world where religious, tribal and clan identity is usually much stronger than national identity, this proposed Palestine would be so riven by internal divisions that it would collapse into chaos before you could say “failed state”.

The Oireachtas members who are pushing to recognize “Palestine” would do well to ponder these issues. What is the point of recognizing a state divided between two warring cabals that don’t even recognize each other? Answers on a postcard, please to Irish4Israel.