Why Israel Vowed to Protect a Pro-Assad Syrian Village, and Why That’s Risky

The Syrian Salafist rebel group Tahrir al-Sham—which is closely tied to al-Qaeda—carried out a suicide bombing last week in the Syrian Druze village of Hader, located just a few miles from the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The village’s residents, like most Syrian Druze, have remained loyal to Bashar al-Assad throughout the civil war, and are thus considered enemies by Tahrir al-Sham. In response to pressure from Israeli Druze, the IDF warned Tahrir al-Sham that any attack on Hader will be repulsed forcefully. But protecting Syrian Druze, Yoav Limor explains, poses a dilemma for Jerusalem:

While the covenant between the Israeli Druze and the state of Israel is clear and unquestionable, [and means Israel will defend Druze outside its borders as it would Jews], Hader is an enemy village whose allegiance lies with Assad. In fact, Hizballah cells have been sent from the village to operate against the IDF. Supporting Hader, therefore, would not just support the Druze, but help Assad in the civil war in Syria.

On the other hand, refraining from aiding Hader would not only be a slap in the face of Israeli Druze, some of whom have relatives in Hader, but would also aid the rebels, in this case, al-Qaeda. No one in Israel has any illusions about what will happen if Hader is conquered and terrorists will be a stone’s throw away from Majdal Shams [a Druze village on the Israeli side of the Golan].

The Israeli decision was unambiguous. Just like the last time it was feared the village would be captured, in 2014, Israel made it clear last Friday that it would protect Hader as part of its covenant with the Druze in Israel. This, however, should not be taken to mean that the IDF intends to send ground forces into Syrian territory. Israel dominates Hader topographically and could stop the rebels by an aerial operation and long-range [artillery] fire.

Even though Israel made a clear call, the problem remains. All anyone who wants to drag Israel into the Syrian civil war, or even just to undermine its close ties with the Druze community, needs to do is attack Hader. This does not bode well for Israeli strategy in Syria, as it takes some of the control over events in the area away from Israel and places it in the hands of irresponsible third-parties in the Golan Heights.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Al Qaeda, Druze, Golan Heights, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Nusra Front, Syrian civil war

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority