The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

October 1, 2014 will begin the 100 day-countdown to a peculiar anniversary on the world stage. January 10, 2015, is the tenth anniversary of Mahmoud Abbas winning a four-year term as President – and then never leaving.

abbas UN
The Palestinian Straw Man, Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas’s first four years (while actually sitting and ruling) watched him lose all control of the territories he was supposed to govern:

  • One year after his election, in 2006, his Fatah party was trounced in governmental elections. The rival Hamas party took 58% of the 132 seats in parliament.
  • A year later, in 2007, Hamas evicted Fatah from the Gaza Strip. Abbas and Fatah have had virtually no presence there since then.
  • Abbas showed no ability and/or willingness to stop missile attacks from Gaza into Israel (1777, 2807 and 3716 projectiles in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively). Those rockets killed 12 people and injured 1500. In 2008, Israel finally took action. Abbas complained about Israel’s action even though he was then elected leader of the territories that did nothing to halt the attacks.

No matter. The world seemed to love this “moderate” leader. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held.

  • For six years, the world has continued to pretend that Abbas had any legitimacy as an elected leader.
  • For six years, the world ignored the will of the Palestinian people who had repeatedly shown in every poll, their preference to elect Hamas, a rabidly anti-Semitic rival party to Abbas’s Fatah party. The world has been complicit in holding up elections which would confirm that there is no possibility for peace at this time.
  • For six years Abbas did nothing to deliver peace. Rocket fire from Gaza only slowed down because of Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead (858, 365 and 680 projectiles fired from Gaza at Israel in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively). When missiles jumped to 2273 in 2012, Israel needed to step in for Abbas’s failure, with Operation Pillar of Defense. Rocket fire dropped 95% in 2013 after the Israeli action. However, missile fire, the murders of teenagers and terror tunnels into Israel brought Israel to “quiet” the situation with Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – again, due to Abbas’s either failure or unwillingness to provide security for Israel and Gaza.
  • For six years, the world has pushed Israel to sit and negotiate with Abbas, the straw man with neither legitimacy nor power to deliver peace.
  • The United Nations gave Abbas the main podium to address the General Assembly, even though he was simply an acting-President for a non-country. He used those opportunities to repeatedly lie about Israel, lie about Jews in the Holy Land and lie about his performance.  And why not? The world actively engaged in the charade.

Perhaps the United Nations would like to produce a 10th anniversary stamp to honor the accomplishment of holding onto a four-year presidential title for so many years, in the face of a public that does not want him. Perhaps a fitting image would be a combination of the UN’s 1981 Palestinian stamp, together with a scarecrow: the inalienable right to be a Palestinian President.

scarecrow stamp palestine stamp


Abbas election 2005:

Hamas win elections 2006:

Abbas demands respect music video:

Hamas leads in polls 2014:

FirstOneThrough on the will of the Palestinians:

Gaza rocket fire:


The Banners of Jihad

Jihad is a war that Muslims fight against non-Muslims. It is considered a holy crusade that each Muslim must take according to the Quran.

There are different ways that jihad can be waged. According to the Quran and Hadith, it can be fought with the heart, the tongue, the hand, or the sword.

The nature of the battle changes according to place and enemy. A non-believer who lives as a dhimmi – a second-class citizen in an Islamic country – is fought with the heart, not violence. Countries or people that do no accept dhimmi status, that live in or influence lands that are considered to be “Muslim lands” are combated with force.

In modern times, the banners of jihad first appeared on the battlefields.  It spread to Muslim countries and then to the center of western cities.  It can now be found on college campuses. There are already news reports that it is arriving in smaller communities – perhaps like your neighborhood.

The banners will be different, depending on the makeup of your town and country. But make no mistake, the jihad is the same.

jihad burndenmark2 burnaustralia burnswitz burnfrance burnuk burnsweden burnus norway a4bia massacre parisstreets shariafrance shariauk enddemocracy netherlands holocaust jihad uk UK israel nazi stop israel streets protest cairo behead gaza antiUS bokoharam hamas al shabaab isis bds


Jihad definition:

FirstOneThrough on the global/local nature of Jihad:

Pick Your Jihad; Choose Your Infidel

The rise of Islamic extremism is not new. It is not a surprise. The mission of jihadists has been clearly broadcast for years – the destruction and annihilation of non-Muslim people and non-Islamic countries by Muslims and replacing them with Islamic states:


The Hamas Charter was drafted in 1988. It mentions the word “jihad” 11 times in the charter. Its enemy is spelled out clearly: Jews.

In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews,
we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it

Jew/s/ish is mentioned 12 times in its charter. “Zion/ism/ist” is mentioned 20 times.

Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people in 2006 to carry out a war against the Jews and to destroy Israel. The attacks against Israel in the summer of 2014 that continue to this day are a consistent part of its mission.


Hamas jihadist


Al Qaeda did not suddenly appear on 9/11/2001. In 1998, it stated its goal of killing all Americans:

we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military —
is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it
in any country in which it is possible to do it

Al Qaeda has not backed down on its pledge while the US has enlisted the world support to defeat the group.


The kidnapping of over 200 Christian girls in Nigeria in April 2014 shocked the world. Boko Haram made no secret of its targeted enemy a few years earlier: Christians.

 “The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies
and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state
and its security apparatus as well as churches
until we achieve our goal of

establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state.

The world tweeted its support to bring back the girls and has provided support to find the attackers.

Many extremist groups continue to operate around the MENA region: Al-Shabaab, ISIS and Khorasan are only a few. Their aims are clear. Their path is jihad. Only the name of the infidel changes based on where the jihadists operate.

What is the world reaction to each of these extremist groups? Is the global community clear in its response?

A few years ago, the United Nations established an anti-terrorism unit. Its directive has noble goals for combating terrorism such as stopping the flow of funds and people to these groups.  However, the committee has not been clear about who the terrorists are, as it only mentions Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as terrorist groups. These other jihadists could thereby escape sanctions.

Jihad is Jihad.  Terrorism is Terrorism.  The world must unite to stop it.  The goal must be clear and unequivocal.

The Jihadists are.


Hamas Charter 1988:

Al Qaeda 1998 fatwa:

Boko Haram 2012:

Boko Haram kidnapping girls:

Al Shabaab:

ISIS February 2014:


UN terrorism agency:

FirstOneThrough on NY Times preference for Hamas:

Palestinian antiemetism, Holocaust denial and call for jihad:

The United Nations Applauds Abbas’ Narrative

Acting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took the stage at the United Nations in September 2014. When he took the podium in 2011, 2012 and 2013, he distorted history out of all bounds as seen in the music video below.


In 2014, Abbas opted to move past simply lying about history. He chose the Jewish New Year of 5775 to repeatedly described Israel as a racist colonial occupier which was waging genocide on the Palestinian people. Hamas could not have written the speech any differently.

Abbas concluded by essentially calling for an end to negotiations with Israel.

The United States had the only immediate reaction, saying the speech “included offensive characterizations” and was “counterproductive”. Little reaction could be heard from the rest of the world.

If governments applaud complete distortions of fact and history, it abets war and undermines prospects for peace. Will the world finally call out Abbas or will it also refuse to engage with Israel?


Abbas UN speech 2014:

US comment on speech:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

The Fleeing Refugees

There is a mass migration occurring in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). People are fleeing their home countries due to turmoil and are crossing land and sea to escape to more stable societies.

  • Fleeing Syria: Over 3 million people have poured into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt;
  • Fleeing Libya: 100,000 have crossed the Mediterranean towards Italy and southern Europe;
  • Fleeing Iraq: Iraq is now hosting people fleeing Syria, while simultaneously, watching thousands of its own citizens flee from ISIS

The new host countries are attempting to find solutions for the flood of new people, many which do not speak the language and lack professional skills. The United Nations is working to assist these countries handle the millions of new people who need shelter, food, clothing and education for an indeterminate amount of time.

The UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is currently staffed with 8600 people handling 34 million refugees from 125 countries. The number of refugees continues to swell each day and hundreds of others die before they even reach safety. In 2014 alone, an estimated 2900 refugees died in transit. In 2014, UNHCR estimates that it will assist over 41 million people. Its biennial budget is $5.3 billion.

The Swell and Permanence of UNRWA

Meanwhile, the UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, has continued to stretch its “temporary” existence for 66 years. This distinct refugee agency for Palestinians manages virtually no refugees anymore, but instead handles services for 5.4 million children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of people who left Palestine in 1948.

The UNRWA staff stands at 30,000, or 3.5 times the staff that the rest of the world gets for actual refugees. It services only 13% of the people that UNHCR assists.

Unlike the refugees serviced by UNHCR, the Palestinians speak the language and have skills. The UNRWA infrastructure and systems have been established for decades. Yet, the UNRWA biennial budget is over $2 billion, or $370 per person serviced compared to $130 for each UNHCR refugee who needs real and immediate services and infrastructure such as shelters, medical facilities and schools.

Almost every UNRWA worker is a Palestinian. The few Europeans that occupy the senior positions and act as the face of the organization mask the reality that the organization is simply an employment agency for Palestinians that runs schools and medical facilities in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. As UNRWA writesStaff costs constitute the bulk of UNRWA’s budget. This is because the day to day direct delivery of services requires a large number of staff (some 29,000). Efforts to maintain parity with host authorities’ public sector salaries render the Agency’s financial sustainability susceptible to economic volatility”. (In other words, when Jordan gives its public sector unions a 5% raise, the entire world gives the Palestinian UNRWA workers a raise too.)

UNRWA continues to extend its life and grow its mission. Per the UNRWA documents, the agency “has evolved over time in response to developments in the operational context, extends at present to providing education; health; relief and social services; microfinance and emergency assistance to refugees; infrastructure and camp improvement within refugee camps; and protection.”

The mission of the agency, in short, is no longer to have temporary workers in temporary hospitals assist a defined number of people for a temporary period of time. It has become a conduit for the global community to pay generations of Palestinians to care for themselves.  As Queen Rania of Jordan put it elegantly “UNRWA is a way of living.

UNRWA Office just south of the Temple Mount

The Abuse of UNRWA

UNRWA’s evolving mission has distanced itself from core relief operations (as offered by the UNHCR) and the tone and tenor of the organization has come to mimic Palestinian society at large.  For example, UNRWA has come under repeated fire for its actions related to Jews and Israel.

During Operation Protective Edge, UNRWA schools extended the meaning of their new mission of “protection”.

  • UNRWA housed Hamas missiles in its schools;
  • It handed those missiles to Hamas while it was in active combat;
  • It watched as Hamas fired rockets into Israeli civilian areas from its courtyards.

Long ago, UNRWA stopped being an independent relief agency, but has morphed into a Palestinian agency with its own agenda, courtesy of funding by the global community.

Ending UNRWA

The Palestinians and the global community have been co-conspirators in a permanent welfare situation for over six decades. Meanwhile, there is a true humanitarian crisis around the MENA region which is underfunded and understaffed. It is time to transition to a new paradigm for each area in which UNRWA operates.

Lebanon and Jordan: Each country has been over-run with actual refugees from Syria and Iraq. These refugees sit in squalor and receive a fraction of the aid that the Palestinian permanent residents receive. It is unfair and outrageous. The UNRWA should hand over all of its operations to the host countries of Lebanon and Jordan. The incremental cost of carrying these facilities should be carried by each country, with a UN contribution made at the country-level which declines over time. At the same time, additional monies should go towards infrastructure for the new actual refugees.

Syria: As the country is still engaged in a civil war, the UN should still maintain operations until hostilities end.

West Bank and Gaza: If the UN truly considers Palestine a country, by definition there can be no Palestinian refugees or SAPs (Stateless Arabs from Palestine) in Palestine. And whether it is or isn’t, all UNRWA facilities should be handed over to the government. The UN will likely give monies to the government as part of establishing and stabilizing the country, which would help cover the cost of the former UNRWA facilities.


The world’s focus on the descendants of Palestinians who left their homes 66 years ago has hurt millions of refugees from around the world. In today’s particularly violent and unstable situation in dozens of countries, the United Nations must transition from spending billions of dollars in welfare checks to capable young SAPs, and direct funds to the millions who are fleeing their home countries due to war and violence.



Dying in transit:

Syria refugee count:

Libya refugees:

UNHCR staffing:

UNHCR budget:


UNRWA budget and mission:

Queen Rania on UNRWA:

Missiles in UNRWA schools:

Related First One Through articles:

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

“Please Sir, May I have Some More?”





“Flowing with Milk and Honey”

On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, Jews have a tradition of eating fruit (usually an apple) dipped in honey. People eat the tasty combination and pray for a sweet new year. The meaning of the apple-and-honey combination extends deeper into the physical land of Israel and human behavior.

The Bible uses the expression “a land flowing with milk and honey” for the first time in Exodus 3:8, when God tells Moses at the burning bush that he will bring the Jews to a “good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”. The biblical commentator Ramban (Nachmanides b.1194-d.1270) said that the phrase has nothing to do with milk or honey. “Milk and honey” refers to the nectar of the fruit, and a land “flowing with milk and honey” is an expression used for a particularly fertile land that could produce abundant and juicy fruit.

The saying is used several times in the bible, each time meant to convey the richness of the land of Israel. In some cases, the phrase is paired with a threat or caveat. In Exodus 33:3-4, God uses the expression after the sin of the Golden Calf:

“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you,
because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.
When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn.”

Years later, when the spies returned from scouting the land as the people of Israel prepared to enter it, the spies paired the richness of the land with a warning in Numbers 15:27-28:

“it is also flowing with milk and honey and here is its fruit,
however, the people who dwell in the land are fierce.”

The promised land is identified as rich and fertile, but there are obstacles to getting it. God warns the Jews that their own behavior could keep them from reaching the land. Conversely, the spies described how other people may try to keep them out of the land. God’s words of warning direct the people to improve themselves or risk never reaching Israel; the spies caution that enemies will fight them for the land. God tells people to look inward; the spies, outward.

As Jews around the world welcome in the new year, they consider more than just the sweetness of the foods they eat. The honey dripping from the apple is a reflection of the fertility of the land of Israel. To continue to merit that promised land, Jews must consider and always improve upon their own behavior. Internalizing the blessings of Israel and the necessity to behave properly will fortify the people to defeat its enemies.

Let the New Year of 5775 be a year full of blessing for the land and people of Israel.

Blessing Islamophobia

The New York Times gave a warm and strong endorsement for Islamophobia this weekend. It’s opinion pages wrote strongly about the importance of free speech and the logic of exploring the hatred that many people feel towards all Muslims around the world, whether due to the 9/11 terror attacks or the beheadings of innocents today.

The New York Times editorial said it was “entirely correct” for people to express why they want to kill Muslims. It added that people “should not yield to critics” who want to use political correctness to suppress their anger.

The Times is on record – again – defending those who want to broadcast their rationale for killing any follower of Islam. Free speech “gives voice to all sides” including racists.

The paper remains standing “properly firm in defending… the principle of artistic freedom in a world rife with political pressures.” A surprising wake-up from a paper that people often view as erring more towards political correctness than towards the right of free speech.

In case you don’t believe the quotes and sentiments of the current NY Times editorial board, the links to the two editorials are below. The one (small) item worth noting, is that the paper actually wrote about killing Jews, not Muslims. But in balancing free speech and political correctness, I have made an assumption that the Times isn’t going to limit free speech just to anti-Semites. Was that a bad assumption?



NY Times editorial September 20 “The Met Opera Stands Firm”:

NY Times editorial June 19:

FirstOneThrough on Klinghoffer Opera:

Reading Roduren: “Unrest by Palestinians”

On September 18, 2014, NY Times journalist Jodi Rudoren wrote yet another article light on history and description (regarding Palestinian violence and Jewish history) entitled “Unrest by Palestinians Surges in a Jerusalem Neighborhood“.

The article mentioned an “Israeli-owned gas station that was looted by masked youths who broke a pump and smashed windows.” What Roduren failed to mention was that the Arab riot included dozens of youths and adults who repeatedly threw firebombs at the gas pumps in an effort to ignite them and blow up the entire station.

Roduren described “a hill near where Jesus is said to have sat under a carob tree”. There was no nod to Samuel the Prophet or dozens of Jewish leaders who lived and preached in the area.

In yet another egregious example of understating Arab violence, Roduren wrote that Palestinians were arrested for “throwing rocks and other actions.” Those “other actions” included Arabs throwing Molotov cocktails at Jewish homes. An uninformed reader might think they were simply making “crude gestures toward Israeli soldiers” as Roduren wrote in the preceding paragraph.

According to the article, the start of the “tensions” arose from “the abductions and murders of three Israeli teenagers, followed by the gruesome abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat on July 2, by Jewish extremists.” Note that the Israeli teenagers were not mentioned by name whereas the Palestinian boy was. There was no adjective for the murder of the Israelis, but the Palestinian murder was described as “gruesome”. There was no blame on Palestinians for the murder of three Israelis, but the sole Palestinian boy was killed by “Jewish extremists.” (FYI, when the New York Times reported on the arrest of the murderer of the Israeli teens, the man was simply mentioned by name and was not described as an Arab, a Muslim or an extremist.)

Roduren ignores a lot of highly relevant history in describing “East Jerusalem”. She writes that “Palestinians claim it as their future capital. Israel captured it from Jordan, along with the West Bank, in 1967, and later annexed some 27 square miles.” Neglected from this quick overview was that “Palestinians” were Jordanians in 1967, as they had Jordanian citizenship since 1950. It was the Jordanians (and Palestinians) who attacked Israel first in 1967, and Israel responded in self-defense. To state that “Israel captured it from Jordan”, ignores the reality that the Palestinians, together with the Jordanians, launched the attack on Israel.  Additionally, by beginning the overview of Jerusalem in 1967, ignores that:

  1. Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860s;
  2. Arabs initiated attacks and killed Jews throughout Jerusalem well before Israel was even created including in 1920; 1929; 1936-9
  3. Jerusalem was never intended to be a Palestinian city according to the UN plan in 1947;
  4. the Jordanians and other Arab nations attacked Israel in 1948;
  5. the Jordanians illegally seized and annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1949;
  6. the Palestinians became Jordanians in 1950, and were complicit in expelling all of the Jews from the eastern part of Jerusalem and barring their entry to the city and Jewish holy sites;
  7. the Jordanians (together with the Palestinians) initiated the attack on Israel in 1967.

The fact the Jordan gave up all claim to Jerusalem in 1988, and Israel gave control to half of the Holy Basin as described by the UN – Bethlehem – 20 years ago is ignored.

When Roduren described “300,000 of Jerusalem’s 830,000 residents are Palestinians. They are not citizens,” she deliberately misrepresented that they were offered Israeli citizenship, but declined.

Regarding the Temple Mount, Roduren refers to it by its Muslim name, the “Al Aqsa compound in the Old City has long been the site of sporadic clashes between Muslim and Jewish worshipers”. Other than denying the Jewish name of the holiest site in Judaism, the “long” history of conflict dates back well before 1967 when Muslim men attacked and killed Jews. Further, it is untrue to paint it as a mutual clash between parties – it was Jews who were repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

In describing the “nearly 100 attacks on the light rail system”, no party is mentioned in the violence, even though all of the attackers were Arabs. Instead, Roduren wrote that “Palestinians report attempted kidnappings, aggression and racist taunts by Jews.”

Roduren repeated her long-running narrative of painting the Arabs as indigenous and Jews as recent settlers. In the article, she refers to an Arab community leader “whose family dates back 800 years,” (she presents this as fact, not something the man simply claims). The fact is that the area discussed barely had any people living there: in 1922, the census reported a grand total of 333 persons in the neighborhood (and also reported that Jews were the majority, making up 54% of all of Jerusalem). Consider that during the British Mandate, over 800,000 Arabs from the Middle East moved to Palestine – hardly making the Arabs indigenous. By ignoring Jewish ties (as in only reporting Jesus’s history and calling the Temple Mount only by a Muslim name), Roduren tries to distance Jews from being the actual indigenous people of the region.

Maybe one day, the New York Times will finally print the undisputed fact that Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem for 100 years before the Six Day War. Perhaps the paper will finally call out the Palestinians when they instigate the violence. Yeah, right.

20140921_121806 20140921_121829


Murder of Israeli teenagers arrested:

NY Times coverage of arrest of Palestinian who killed Israeli teenagers:

From Jordanian king’s own site about launching offensive against Israel in 1967:

1922 census:

FirstOneThrough on East Jerusalem history:

800,000+ Arabs moved to Israel under the British Mandate:

1920 riots in Jerusalem against the Jews:

Palestinian Xenophobia:

Demographics of Jerusalem:

Gay Rights in the Middle East

Jerusalem held its gay pride parade last week, after the event was delayed due to the Palestinian War from Gaza in July and August.  The event is an anomaly in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) where most countries consider homosexuality a crime.  In several countries such as Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania, gays are sentenced to death.

There are still over 76 countries in the world that consider being gay a crime.  Outside of Europe, there are only five countries that achieve a “perfect” score for gay and lesbian rights according to the ILGA, a leading gay rights group: Israel was the first to be awarded such score in 2008, followed by Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand.

music video:



Saudi Arabia, “Ally” of the United States

The USA has many allies in the world. Many are natural due to common language or culture between the countries (such as United Kingdom and Canada). These allies have deep relationships that extend beyond military ties between the governments. The connections extend to the populations where there are natural flows of business and tourism. The relationships extend to the founding of the countries.

Other American allies developed over time for a number of reasons. A country may have discovered valuable natural resources (such as oil) or the geographical location of the country may have grown in significance because of evolving military dynamics. Other than such practical (sometimes temporary) reasons, the countries may share little in common. Saudi Arabia is such an example.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the most repressive governments in the world. Minorities have virtually no rights and women have few freedoms. Still, the US government chooses to ignore Saudi policies and distrust between the populations, and focuses narrowly on Saudi oil and military cooperation between the countries.  US President Obama underscored the point again on September 10, 2014, with an announcement of strategic military cooperation.

On the 13th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11/01, it is worth remembering that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Countries with few common values will always remain tenuous friends.

A political music video (music by The Cars):