Seeking husbands among fighters in Syria
This dispatch contains some recent news developments and commentary.
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1. Shlomo Avineri: “Don’t expect Abbas to sign anything”
2. Abbas: Palestinians should be given financial rewards for killing Israeli civilians
3. Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister: last pre-Oslo prisoners will be freed as scheduled without any obstacles
4. Arafat recognized Israel as a Jewish State
5. Hamas: “International troops in Palestine would be same as the occupation”
6. Al-Qaeda-linked group claims Sunday’s bombing of South Korean tourists
7. Rise in Palestinian attacks on Israelis on Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway
8. Number of economic migrants who are voluntarily leaving Israel doubles
9. “ISIS forcing Raqqa women to wed its fighters, say activists” (Asharq Al-Awsat)
10. “Jihadist groupies flocking to Syria with marriage in mind” (Times of London)
11. The Islamic concept of “temporary marriage”
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
SHLOMO AVINERI: “DON’T EXPECT ABBAS TO SIGN ANYTHING”
Shlomo Avineri, the widely respected professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is a longtime advocate of a two state solution, writes in Ha’aretz (extracts only):
As (Israeli) prime minister, Ehud Olmert met 36 times with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and couldn’t reach an agreement with him. Olmert was prepared to go further than any other Israeli leader in meeting the Palestinians’ demands, but when Olmert proposed that Abbas sign a document containing the Israeli concessions, he refused.
This is exactly what happened in 1995 in Yossi Beilin’s talks with Abbas. There was never any Beilin-Abbas agreement. There was only a paper laying out Israeli concessions.
Abbas will talk as long as the talks are designed to lead Israel to make more and more concessions. Then he will bring the negotiations to a halt, so they can be restarted in the future “where they left off”: with all the previous Israeli concessions included, and no concessions having been put forward by the Palestinian side.
ABBAS: PALESTINIANS SHOULD BE GIVEN FINANCIAL REWARDS FOR KILLING ISRAELI CIVILIANS
Earlier this week in a meeting lauded by the New York Times and other newspapers, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met 300 Israeli students in Ramallah.
Dr. Aaron Lerner comments: “If a Palestinian had murdered all 300 Israeli students on their way back from Ramallah today, and the IDF had captured that Palestinian, the official position of Mahmoud Abbas would be that Israel should release that Palestinian murderer. This is not speculation. This is their official position. And this is the simplest litmus test of where we really are.”
Tom Gross adds: Abbas continues to divert large sums of European aid money to Palestinians who attack Israelis. Last week, one Palestinian admitted that he only attacked Israelis because he wanted the money and said he had nothing against those he attacked. All Palestinians and their families who carry out terror attacks receive considerable sums – amounting to much more than they would earn in most regular jobs.
PALESTINIAN PRISONER AFFAIRS MINISTER: LAST PRE-OSLO PRISONERS WILL BE FREED AS SCHEDULED WITHOUT ANY OBSTACLES
The Arab League held “an emergency meeting” yesterday to address not the situation in Syria or Iraq or Egypt (where South Korean tourists were murdered a few days ago) or Lebanon (where there were two more suicide bomb blasts yesterday, killing at least four people and wounding 70) – but “the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”
Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said that “the last group of pre-Oslo prisoners to be freed from Israeli jails, would be released as scheduled without any obstacles.”
Regarding those Palestinians convicted of carrying out terror attacks post-Oslo, who remain in Israeli prisons, representatives of Arab countries and members of the Arab League said yesterday that they would take the matter to the UN “because it is responsible for the protection of humans and so it should protect prisoners.” (This from regimes with some of the highest numbers of political prisoners in the world.)
Among previous dispatches on this subject, please see:
But me, you do not really know at all
ARAFAT RECOGNIZED ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE
Ha’aretz reports today:
In 2004, Ha’aretz’s editor in chief David Landau and senior diplomatic reporter Akiva Elder asked PLO chairman Yasser Arafat: “Should Israel continue to be a Jewish state?”
“Definitely,” Arafat replied. Landau and Elder then doubled-checked: Definitely? “Definitely,” confirmed Arafat.
Thus Ha’aretz’s lead headline on June 18, 2004, was: “Arafat: Israel is Jewish,” with the story declaring: “Yasser Arafat ‘definitely’ understands that Israel must preserve its character as a Jewish state.”
HAMAS: “INTERNATIONAL TROOPS IN PALESTINE WOULD BE SAME AS THE OCCUPATION”
A spokesman for Hamas said that the group would regard any international military presence (i.e. international peacekeepers to prevent Hamas and other Palestinians firing rockets and launching other attacks from the West Bank into Israel) within a future Palestinian state as “occupation” forces.
During a rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri said that “any international forces stationed in Palestine” as a result of a peace agreement with Israel would be treated the same as the Israeli occupation, and attacked.
Abu Zuhri called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from negotiations with the U.S. and Israel, saying that the Palestinians would never recognize Israel’s existence.
AL-QAEDA-LINKED GROUP CLAIMS SUNDAY’S BOMBING OF SOUTH KOREAN TOURISTS
An Al-Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for the bomb that tore through a bus carrying 31 South Korean tourists near an Egyptian border crossing with Israel on Sunday.
Three South Koreans tourists were killed along with the Egyptian driver. The passengers were all members of a church group from the central South Korean county of Jincheon who were on a 12-day trip to Turkey, Egypt and Israel.
Here is a video of the attack taken by the Israeli Airports Authority which monitors the vicinity from nearby Eilat airport:
On Tuesday, the Egyptian Islamist extremist group Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis warned all foreign tourists to leave the country by February 20 (i.e. today), saying it will attack any that remain, according to Reuters.
RISE IN PALESTINIAN ATTACKS ON ISRAELIS ON JERUSALEM-TEL AVIV HIGHWAY
Since the Palestinian Authority agreed to sit down with Israel again last year under American pressure, there has been a steep rise in attacks on Route 443, one of only two roads linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. These include 20 firebomb attacks during the first two months of the year.
Analysts say that this is part of a deliberate strategy by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The 16-km. road is under constant surveillance, with young Israeli soldiers monitoring cameras round-the-clock, observing the road for any sign of terrorist activity.
NUMBER OF ECONOMIC MIGRANTS WHO ARE VOLUNTARILY LEAVING ISRAEL DOUBLES
The Israeli immigration authorities say that the number of economic migrants leaving Israel voluntarily has doubled. In December, 325 illegal migrants left voluntarily, aided by large sums of Israeli taxpayers money. In January. 765 left voluntarily. And already in February a similar number has departed
There are currently about 50,000 African migrants in Israel, almost all of whom are men in their 20s and 30s. About 10,000 are working in the hotel and construction industries. The Israeli government offers migrants the considerable sum of $3,500 in cash each to leave the country of their own accord. (This is over two years salary for many in Eritrea, for example.)
Despite various hysterical comments from European-funded activist groups who helped organize demonstrations in Israel last year claiming that most of the migrants are asylum seekers, experts point out that in almost every case of genuine refugee movement around the world (for example, in Syria), people flee with their wives and children and often their parents, and in the case of economic migration men of working age typically come alone, which is the case with almost all the migrants who have illegally entered Israel.
Israel has recently allowed in thousands more Palestinians workers from the West Bank and many in Israel said Israel should first of all help more Palestinians gain employment rather than encourage further illegal migration from sub-Saharan Africa.
JIHADIST GROUPIES FLOCKING TO SYRIA WITH MARRIAGE IN MIND
The Times of London reports (Monday, Feb.17, 2014)
Extracts from the article:
British women are travelling to Syria in increasing numbers to marry jihadists as the civil war radicalizes Muslim societies across Europe.
Two women from Portsmouth, one from London and one from Surrey – one of them a convert – are known to have married English-speaking rebels fighting in Syria, and it is believed that dozens more are already there or are trying to follow them.
Other women with similar intent have travelled from countries including France, Sweden, Belgium and Serbia, according to researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London…
Unlike previous recruits attracted to fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq, young Muslim men from across Europe going to Syria have in many cases constructed online profiles through social media — posting self-consciously heroic updates and photographs, and exhortations to others to follow…
The jihadists are using the internet to answer questions and offer religious and practical advice, seemingly attracting groupies who frequently propose, or pose questions about marriage.
He said that many women contacting British jihadists appeared to see them as living a “perfect life” and wanted to share it. Last month, a British student, Nawal Msaad, 26, was charged with terrorist offences after she was arrested at Heathrow allegedly carrying £16,500 to give to a fighter in Syria.
Two 17-year-old girls, from West Yorkshire and London, were arrested at the airport last month, seemingly destined for Syria via Istanbul…
ISIS FORCING RAQQA WOMEN TO WED ITS FIGHTERS, SAY ACTIVISTS
The pan-Arab paper Asharq Al-Awsat reports (Monday, Feb.17, 2014):
Extracts from the article:
Fear of reprisals from members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has led to an increasing number of marriages between its fighters and local girls in the cities of Aleppo and Raqqa, say activists.
Monzir Al-Sallal, an opposition activist in Aleppo, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “This phenomenon is on the increase in the Aleppo area where members of ISIS are present.”
Despite some foreign fighters who come to Syria to fight alongside ISIS bringing their families with them, the younger ones prefer to marry Syrian women, especially in the areas which are under the control of the group.
These marriages raise social tensions, especially in conservative, tribal areas where families are usually keen to know the backgrounds of men who want to marry their daughters.
Around two weeks ago, a 22-year-old university student called Fatima Al-Abdallah Al-Abou reportedly committed suicide by poisoning herself when her father tried to force her to marry a Tunisian jihadist affiliated to ISIS.
Opposition activists said: “Fatima was studying English at the Faculty of Humanities and belonged to Al-Ajail tribe.”
This incident raised great anger among the residents of Raqqa who continue to adhere to tribal customs and traditions.
Some activists in Raqqa said another girl who married one of the leaders of ISIS was hospitalized after he subjected her to sexual assault.
Since taking control of Raqqa, ISIS have imposed strict rules on the inhabitants, including a specific dress code for women which includes the niqab and gloves. Activists told journalists last week the group recently flogged two women for breaching its rules.
THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF “TEMPORARY MARRIAGE”
Tom Gross adds: Some of the marriages in Syria may be temporary, “to aid the fighters.”
Here is a film from last year on the “Iranian Sex Bazaar,” about the Islamic concept of “temporary marriage”. In Persian with English subtitles.