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Sunday, March 21

Aaron Klein does the best reporting on Israel-Palestinian conflict. When will Jerusalem and Washington listen?

I don't know whether it's because he's associated with the politically conservative World Net Daily, or simply because he's outside the think tank-academic establishment, but in my view Aaron's reporting on Israeli defense matters has never received the attention it deserves from foreign relations/ defense policy experts in the U.S.

It's a little easier to see why his reports can be ignored by Israeli policy experts: he is highly critical of the Israeli government's approach to the Palestinian situation.

And yet, year in and year out, Aaron's reports from Israel are the best window on what's happening with the Hamas-Fatah-Israeli conflict. That's because he goes straight to the source and he listens when the source talks. He really does "schmooze with terrorists," to quote the title of one of his books.

Aaron has built up such trust with his sources that when Hamas was falsely accused of marrying off underage girls, they turned to him for help in setting the facts straight for the public.

The trust has paid off many times in scoops. The years since 9/11 can run together in my mind but I think it was in 2008, in the summer, that Hamas agreed to a cease fire with Israel. Jerusalem was certain Hamas was on the level that time, even though Hamas had broken cease fires before.

Aaron rang up his sources in Hamas and asked what they planned to do with the cease fire. They told him they planned to use it to rearm and regroup, which he duly reported on John Batchelor's radio show.

Weeks passed, then with no warning Hamas began firing rockets into Israel. And it came out that they'd been very busy during the cease fire. They'd copied Hezbollah's style of tunnel building and turned Gaza into a warren of cement tunnels. So then the Knesset was shocked to discover that Hamas had used the cease fire to rearm and regroup.

This is also the story in Washington. For all their access to classified signals intelligence reports and high-level political contacts, the NSC and Congress are generally the last to know. But by gum, no matter how many times they're caught short, they still won't heed Aaron's reports.

Maybe they think that whatever Muslim terrorists tell a Jewish reporter can't be trusted -- although after five years of Aaron reporting from the Middle East and getting the story right, that excuse wouldn't hold water.

Aaron's view is that the terrorists have a great need to be heard and understood by the Jews -- and by the rest of the world. This is something the wonks, and the politicians who form their opinions by reading policy papers, don't like to acknowledge. But if the wonks aren't fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew, and don't have reliable sources inside Hamas and Fatah, their theories about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict derive from the voices in their heads.

As to how a nice Jewish boy got on first-name basis with Arab terrorists -- from all I've heard of his reports on the John Batchelor Show, which I've been listening to since he first appeared on the show, I'd say the short answer is that he's a real investigative reporter. You can’t turn over rocks from the safety of a press room or the halls of academia. You have to get out there on the ground and commit to spending years out there. That type of reporting is a calling, not an occupation.

Yet perhaps the best explanation is found in a reply he gave when Front Page Magazine interviewed him in 2007: Jamie Glazov asked about the desecration of ancient Christian and Jewish landmark sites by Muslim fanatics. After outlining some of the attacks Aaron observed:
Meeting with these holy site desecrators, I wasn't angry at them. How can I fault evil for being evil? I cannot be upset when their society, which preaches suicide terror and extreme anti-Semitic propaganda, desecrates holy Jewish sites the minute Israel evacuates.
Aaron saves his anger for Jews who refuse to confront the situation and the Israeli government "for repeatedly giving up land and expecting the Palestinians will respect our holy sites and allow freedom of worship."

And yet his phlegmatic acceptance of the evil practiced by the terrorists, his refusal to patronize them, means they don't feel they have to lie to him. That's an enviable situation for a reporter. I just wish more people in the defense and political establishments in Washington would take advantage of the news that Aaron turns up.

Happily the general public has access to Aaron's Middle East reports via his column for World Net Daily (he is the site's Jerusalem Bureau Chief), his reports for the John Batchelor Show (check the daily podcasts of John's show at the 77 WABC AM radio website), and his own show on WABC on Sundays (2 to 4 PM Eastern Time). The show can be heard online and podcasts are available at the WABC website.

For his show last week Aaron interviewed, among others, the chief of Hamas in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar, who rarely gives interviews to the English media. Here's the lineup for today's show (H/T RBO, which has permission to 'cross-post' Aaron's reports for WND):
Broadcasting live from Tel Aviv, Aaron Klein will confront the Obama administration's generated crisis with the Israeli government over whether Jews can build homes in Jerusalem.

Joining Klein will be Danny Danon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.

Also, Klein will play an interview he conducted this week with Jeremy Ben Ami, the director of J Street, a Jewish organization that claims to be pro-Israel but which sided with Obama against the Jewish state and is highly critical of Israeli policies. Hear the question that resulted in Ben Ami hanging up on Klein!

Plus, Klein will expose how Obama helped to fund "Alinsky Academy."
You might also want to check out Aaron's latest book, The Late Great State of Israel, which unfortunately is as timely today as when it was published in May 2009.

For readers who are completely new to Aaron's reporting, here are the opening paragraphs from a September 2008 report for WND, which I saved because it was an important warning that Washington and Jerusalem ignored until it was too late.
'Peace partner' funding 'al-Qaida'

JERUSALEM – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization has been providing financial support to al-Qaida allies in the Gaza Strip, including some of the most radical Islamist organizations in the territory, according to information obtained by WND.

Fatah, considered moderate by U.S. and Israeli policy, has been backing the Al-Qaida allies in a bid to destabilize the rival Hamas' leadership in Gaza. Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Fatah last June, after Abbas unilaterally dismantled the democratically elected Hamas-led PA. [...]
And yes, for people who cannot live without social media, Aaron uses Twitter.
He has a very good strategy in getting reliable sources of information without risking his life. He must be the real media man from which other journalists should learn. Oftentimes, the government does not listen fully to the press in the sense that they thought those information are totally sensationalized to attract listeners and viewers but Klein is different. They must take heed of the information he revealed before everything will be too late!
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