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Syria

  • First, do no harm: Israel and the Druze in Syria

    Some Druze in Israel are campaigning for intervention to save their kin on the Syrian side of the border, but the Druze in Syria reject the idea out of hand. Instead, they are demanding that Israel stop supporting the people threatening to massacre them. By Rabah Halabi ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra are fanatical religious movements that pose a danger first and foremost to moderate and enlightened Islam, then to the Arab world, and humanity itself. These same dark forces are threatening the wellbeing and very existence of the Druze in Syria, because of their religious beliefs, which they have held…

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  • Why not boycott Iran?

    The fact that there are human rights abusers worse than Israel should not obscure the fact that the Palestinian-led BDS movement is asking for one thing: solidarity. One of the most common claims one hears against the BDS movement is that it is hypocritical. "Why don't they boycott Iran/Syria/Hamas/ISIS?" is a question that comes up quite often. The answer? We actually do boycott other countries and groups. Iran and Syria are facing a harsh sanctions regime. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization across Europe and the United States, and the Gaza Strip is under siege by Israel and Egypt. Nearly…

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  • Lifelong refugees: Palestinian boat people search for a new home

    After escaping the horrors of the Syrian Civil War by boat, a group of Palestinian refugees washed up on the shores of Greece. Now they are wandering the streets of Athens without food or shelter. By Samah Salaime After four days at sea, with no food or fuel, 175 Palestinian refugees were rescued by the Greek navy. After fleeing the horrors of war in Syria for neighboring Turkey and paying huge sums to their smugglers, who promised to bring them to Italy (not to mention ensure they had entry permits, as well as food and drink), the refugees found themselves…

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  • If only there was oil under Yarmouk

    As Palestinians are being murdered and starving to death in the refugee camp near Damascus, the Arab world is busy intervening in Yemen, the Palestinian Authority is silent, and Israeli television is talking about where to eat during the Passover holiday. By Samah Salaime Monday morning, on the morning show on Israel’s Channel 10, which was co-hosted by the station’s military correspondent because the regular hosts are on vacation, they were supposedly discussing recommendations for the Israeli holiday traveler. After describing Israelis on vacation as ugly and litterers and more, the hosts recommended places to see and good places to…

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  • Why Israel picks fights with Hezbollah

    And why it will probably pick another one before too long. After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today. What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start…

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  • Israeli soldiers killed in Hezbollah retaliation attack

    Two Israeli soldiers are killed in a cross-border attack on an Israeli patrol road with anti-tank missiles. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL is reportedly killed by Israeli retaliatory shelling. Israeli politicians call for harsh response. Israel killed a Hezbollah commander a week earlier. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack on the Lebanese border Wednesday morning, for Hezbollah quickly took responsibility. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, was killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling. The border attack comes a week after Israel assassinated a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in the…

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  • Israeli air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

    From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…

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  • How a Galilee Palestinian beat the odds to become an Arab Idol finalist

    On his way to the finale of one of the most important shows in the Arab world, Haitham Khalailah had to deal with the Shin Bet, restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens and the fraught connection between Palestinians in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Will he be the second Palestinian in a row to be crowned winner? By Yael Marom and Henriette Chacar Haitham Khalailah, a 24-year-old Palestinian singer from Majd al-Krum, competed Friday night in the finale of Arab Idol - the most popular singing competition in the entire Arab world. Hundreds of millions of viewers…

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  • Does a strengthened Hezbollah make Israel safer?

    The catastrophic outcomes of another Israeli-Hezbollah conflict  for both sides is likely deterring escalation into all-out war.  By Aaron Magid Since the Gaza war ended, Israeli media quickly shifted its focus to the next conflict - with Hezbollah. Channel 2 aired an extensive interview with a senior Israeli military officer under the headline “The 3rd Lebanon War” detailing the immense costs such a clash would incur, as if another conflict with Hezbollah is a pre-determined fact.  Referring to the threat, longtime Israeli journalist Ben Caspit warned, “not since the War of Independence has the sovereignty of the Jewish State been in such peril.” Ironically…

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  • Another Israeli act of military madness in Syria

    On Tuesday morning the Air Force shot down a Syrian fighter jet for no good reason on earth. For the first time in 30 years, a Syrian fighter jet on Tuesday morning strayed over the border with Israel – or rather, over the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which rightfully belongs to Syria. Israeli military officials reportedly think it was an accident. They also think the Syrian jet was on its way to bomb Al-Nusra jihadists on the Syrian side of the border. The incursion of the Syrian plane lasted two seconds. It got about 800 meters onto the…

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  • Trapped between Assad and 'IS': Inside the capital of the 'Islamic State'

    Following a long period of quiet, the Syrian city of Raqqa is once again being shelled — this time by Assad’s forces. Residents have been forced to flee the shelling, along with IS’s extremist agenda. An interview with a resident of the 'Islamic State.' By Elizabeth Tsurkov Raqqa, the capital of the “Islamic State” in northern Syria, for the past two months has been forced once again to deal with a devastating phenomenon — indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian Air Force. According to reports from the local coordinating committee, a Syrian air force bombing of a bakery on Saturday took the…

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  • As violence rises, Muslim moderates must do more

    My colleagues at 'Let Us Build Pakistan' and I have discovered various overlapping interests on certain issues and we occasionally cross-post material that we think our audiences would find relevant. Here is one such article I found interesting. Against the background of a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East, a Muslim writer calls for introspection. By Asif Zaidi The following book review in The Telegraph addresses two recently published books mainly defending British Muslims. A friend sent me the article, hoping that it will help me “see the light.” But I believe the review downplays some significant problems.…

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  • Don't cry for me: A letter from a little girl in Gaza

    With Palestinian children in Gaza bearing the brunt of Israel's offensive on the Strip, this is what one little girl may have written to us – had she the chance. By Sam Bahour As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and, maybe even more so, those who survive. Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law – let alone its blatant disregard for its very own…

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