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Who is in More Trouble: Wilders or The Netherlands?
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders again made international headlines. Nazi comparisons are rampant, self-proclaimed victims are lining up to sue and now more than ever there is a chance that Wilders actually might be convicted of hate speech.
In an interview on the Dutch Public News Service [NOS] on March 12, Wilders said (10:10): "[People] will now be voting for a safer, a more social, and... in any case a city with fewer costs, and, if at all possible, with fewer Moroccans."
Wilders has the numbers to support his concern. Statistics show that 65% of all Moroccan youths have been arrested by police, and that one third of that group have been arrested more than five times.
Wilders emphasizes the inordinate costs associated with the disproportionately high number of Dutch Moroccans registered as social welfare beneficiaries and who are implicated in welfare fraud.
Based on those numbers, Wilders seems to imply that if there were not such a large number of Moroccans, Dutch crime rates and social welfare costs would significantly drop.
Wilder proposes that Dutch Moroccans who are habitual criminal offenders should be deprived of their Dutch passports and sent back to Morocco, an act that is possible as all Moroccans and their descendants are, by Moroccan law, prohibited from relinquishing their Moroccan passports.
Dutch Moroccan criminals are known to be highly indifferent to sentences in Dutch prisons, which are known for their comfort. In a majority, Dutch prisons are populated by Dutch Moroccans.
Moroccans also apparently derive status from prison sentences. Evidently, upon their release, many gloat. Apparently it is only the thought of having to trade the luxury of the Netherlands -- even prison -- for Morocco that strikes terror into the hearts of potential offenders. In Italy, the same threat is already in effect and acts as a successful deterrent. It seems as if it is only the threat of deportation, more than any other measure, that is likely to deter young Moroccans from a life of crime.
Although the proposal is being used by Wilders's opponents as either a laughing stock or beating stick, the merits of the proposal are rarely elaborated on, including even by Wilders. A recent poll showed 76% of Dutch voters to be in favor of the measure.
The NOS, interviewing Wilders again on March 14, asked him if he actually meant what he had said regarding Moroccans in general, possibly expecting him to say that he had only been referring to Dutch Moroccan criminals. But Wilders stood firm. He emphasized that his concern lay with the number of Moroccans currently flooding the crime statistics, and repeatedly stated, "The fewer Moroccans, the better."
"Can you imagine that people are startled by your remarks?" he was asked.
"It is unfortunate if people are startled by the truth," he said.
This latest round of anger against Wilders began after the announcement of voting results on March 19. At the end of his victory speech, Wilders remarked, "And the third question is, and I'm actually not allowed to say this, because I'm being sued, and there might even be Social Democrat DAs that would prosecute me, but freedom of speech is a great thing, and we have said nothing that is not allowed. We have said nothing that is not accurate. So I am asking you now: Do you want, in this city and the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans?" The crowd replied: "Fewer, fewer, fewer!"
That time, however, after the event, Wilders did nuance his views. He stated that he was referring to criminals, and only in favor of the voluntary repatriation of law-abiding Moroccans.
Now the police have apparently decided to become part of the prosecution. They have drafted pre-filled "Wilders forms" to press charges and have offered to come to people's homes to fill out the paperwork.
Is Wilders a racist? He recently tweeted: "Support for Moroccan businesswomen Elou Akhiat. It is a shame she receives death threats over opening a wine bar."
The Trouble with Gaza
Under the rule of the Hamas regime, the Gaza Strip has transformed itself in recent years into one of the world's most active terrorist havens, and this radical enclave is destined to burst.
Currently, Israel's government and defense establishment are choosing to contain, rather than uproot, the extensive terrorist infrastructure that has taken root in the Hamas-run enclave.
Hamas is so far cooperating with this approach. It is seeking to expand its local rocket production industry; increase the number of its gunmen, and consolidate its grip on power. All of these long-range goals require time and stability.
Israeli defense officials have acknowledged, however, that containment is a time-limited tactic.
In addition to Hamas, Gaza hosts an array of radical Islamist armed organizations, such as Iran's direct proxy, Islamic Jihad, and a growing assortment of armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda -- all of which reject the legitimacy of a truce with Israel, and which seek to challenge it.
The ease with which smaller terror groups can challenge a ceasefire was apparent in recent days, when Gazan terrorists fired several rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. The attack set off air raid sirens and sent civilians fleeing for cover. This assault was accompanied by a rocket-propelled grenade attack directed at an Israel Defense Force [IDF] patrol operating along the fence that separates Israel from Gaza. That attack failed to cause injuries.
The Israel Air Force [IAF] responded within a couple of hours, uncharacteristically launching daytime air strikes on targets in south and central Gaza.
Hamas, for its part, acted to restore the calm.
Hamas's desire for a break from direct conflict with Israel appears genuine.
According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hamas has amassed over 5,000 short-range rockets and dozens of medium-range rockets that all can reach greater Tel Aviv, and place 70% of Israeli civilians in its range. There is little doubt that Hamas would like to build more rockets. Any renewed clash with the IDF, however, would put these assets in immediate jeopardy; the IAF would destroy them.
Additionally, Hamas is exploiting the calm to build extremely long attack tunnels into Israel. They stretch for more than a kilometer, and can be used to inject terror cells into Israel to carry out terror attacks or kidnap soldiers. Hamas pours millions of dollars into these tunnels. The IDF often discovers and destroys them.
Hamas's fighting divisions consist of some 16,000 gunmen. In a full-scale conflict with Israel, their fate would be compromised -- meaning that should war erupt, Hamas's very existence as a government could be undermined. Hence, Hamas seems to prefer to keep the truce going.
The trouble for Hamas is that it is not alone. With the aid of Iranian funds and training, Islamic Jihad has built up a fighting force of 5,000 armed guerrillas. Islamic Jihad has more than 2,000 rockets, and that number is growing. Should Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, give the order to Islamic Jihad, a confrontation in Gaza could quickly begin, leaving Hamas with the option of either trying to face down a fellow terror organization or joining it in a war against Israel.
There are also 4,000 or so members of smaller Gazan terror groups, each armed with its own mini-arsenal of rockets, bombs, and assault weapons. Many of these groups are loyal to the vision of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri of an Islamic caliphate, and maintain ties with fellow jihadis in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.
These groups are, it seems, outraged by what they see as Hamas's soft policy on Israel, and have pledged soon to resume hostilities against it.
Therefore, even if Hamas wanted to extend a truce for years, its ability to do so is seriously in doubt. Further, as Israel's policy of containment is founded on the idea of a deterred Hamas reigning in the other terror organizations, a failure by Hamas to do so would lead to a collapse of that approach.
It is for this day that the IDF is preparing around the clock. In the meantime, as Gaza continues to fester with radical terror organizations, its unfortunate population continues to pay the price.