Could the Collapse of the Palestinian Authority Be on Its Way?

Nov. 19 2021

When the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established by the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, it governed the Gaza Strip as well as parts of the West Bank. In 2006, the Hamas takeover of Gaza effectively severed the two territories. Now, writes Sean Durns, there are growing signs that Mahmoud Abbas—the Fatah party leader and PA president—is starting to lose control of the West Bank as well:

An octogenarian in the sixteenth year of a four-year term, Abbas has reacted poorly to the growing dissatisfaction of many Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority hasn’t held elections in sixteen years, and its legislative council hasn’t met in more than a decade. Criticism of the regime is often met with imprisonment, savage beatings, and death threats. Economic conditions are poor, and Abbas has steadfastly refused to end the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying salaries to terrorists.

The last week has seen West Bank family feuds erupting into violence, and the Palestinian Authority has been unable to stop it. Universities under its rule, such as Hebron University and al-Quds University, have had to close temporarily due to violent brawls and shootings. Several Palestinians have been killed. Neighborhoods and homes have been set on fire. Some residents of Hebron have even appealed to King Abdullah of Jordan to send troops to end the street-fighting, claiming that the Palestinian Authority has “lost control of the situation.”

Hamas believes that the West Bank is ripe for the taking. It might be right.

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Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, West Bank

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter