Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Terrorism Analyst

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ludicrous U.S. Travel Ban to Israel

And so it begins. The Obama administration and its cohorts in the European Union have been unable to browbeat Israel into stopping its much-needed operation to root out terrorists in Gaza. So now they are getting personal with Israel--and shamefully so. The Obama administration has announced a 24-hour ban on travel to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport for all U.S. airlines, and now European airlines seem poised to follow suit. The FAA says the travel ban for American airlines was prompted by rocket shrapnel falling near Ben Gurion Airport. But don't be fooled.

The real reason for the ban is political. President Obama wants Israel to stop Operation Protective Edge right now and pull its forces out of Gaza, leaving the mission incomplete and Hamas intact to fight another day with tunnels and rockets aplenty. So he is trying to hit Israel in the pocketbook and send a message by shutting off its lone major airport during the height of the summer tourist season. As Noah Pollak of The Weekly Standard writes:

Yesterday, moments after Secretary of State John Kerry departed for the Middle East to attempt to broker a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war, the State Department issued a warning recommending that “U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel” due to the threat from “long-range rockets launched from Gaza.”

Interesting timing.

Long-range rocket fire from Gaza has been dramatically curtailed in recent days by the IDF’s ground operation, and was heaviest at the beginning of the war – some two weeks ago. Despite Hamas and Islamic Jihad barrages of M75 and M302 rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on July 8th, 9th, and 10th, no travel warning was issued.

Israel earned over $10 billion last year from 3.5 million visitors, the plurality of whom were Americans. Coming at the height of summer tourism season, State's warning could cost Israel many millions of dollars in lost revenue.

So why did the State Department issue this warning not when long-range rocket fire was a more serious threat, but only yesterday, days after such fire had decreased sharply, and coinciding with Kerry's trip to the region?

The answer may be that the Obama administration is using the travel warning to exert pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire. It could be a shot across the bow – a deniable but very real signal to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Obama administration’s support for Israel’s operation in Gaza has come to an end, and that there will be consequences for its continuation. And at the same time the State Department was delivering a blow to the Israeli tourism industry, Kerry was showing solidarity with Gaza by announcing a $47 million aid package, much of which is slated to be administered by UNRWA, the corrupt and terror-linked UN agency that has been in the news for storing Hamas rockets in one of its schools.

How nice. The Obama administration has now rewarded Hamas with a major victory and sent exactly the wrong message: one of fear and submission to terror. The only silver lining in this? If rockets out of Gaza are enough to shut down Ben Gurion, imagine what rockets fired from the mountains of Samaria (the so-called "West Bank"), which overlooks the airport and the Tel Aviv metro area, would do?. Translation: Israel will not be giving up one inch of Judea and Samaria to form a new Palestinian terror enclave anytime soon.  






posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 6:25 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Watchman Show: Israel's Operation Protective Edge

On this week's edition of The Watchman, we analyze Israel's latest conflict against Hamas with CBN Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell and Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer.

Click play to watch.

posted @ Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:55 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Palestinian Authority's Cash for Killers Program

As Israel continues its defensive action to protect its citizens and eliminate Hamas rocket barrages out of Gaza, remember that Mahmoud Abbas, who the Obama administration continues to trumpet as a "man of peace," recently forged a unity government with Hamas. Yet this should have come as no surprise, as Abbas is no stranger to terror. 

His Palestinian Authority has long provided generous salaries to terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis.  
 And those PA terrorist salaries are paid for, in part, by U. S. taxpayers.

 Click on the viewer below to watch my report.



posted @ Wednesday, July 09, 2014 2:58 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Watchman Show: Jihadists On the March

On this week's edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the growing global jihadist threat.

Click play to watch.

posted @ Wednesday, July 02, 2014 10:32 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Watchman Show: The Brutal Rise of ISIS

On this week's episode of The Watchman, we examine the stunning rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria--also known as ISIS--and its bloody advance in the heart of the Middle East.

We also analyze the assault on free speech in America and the Iranian regime's dark plans for Israel and the United States.

Click play to watch.

posted @ Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:52 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Analysis: Terrorist Army ISIS Rampages Through Iraq

I appeared on CBN News today discussing the lightning advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through Iraq.

This terrorist army is now driving southwards towards Baghdad and the Iraqi military appears unable or unwilling to stop the jihadist onslaught (although Iraqi forces may now have some unsavory help).

Click below to see my analysis on ISIS and Iraq:

posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 2:53 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Anti-Semitic Attacks Growing in Europe

Although it did not receive heavy media coverage, an Islamic terrorist recently murdered four people (including two Israeli citizens) at a Jewish museum in Brussels.

My first thought upon hearing this horrific news was, "my worst fears have been confirmed."

I paid a visit to Brussels in June 2012 to cover the rise of anti-Semitism among Islamists and the radical Left in that city and heard stories from longtime Jewish residents there& that shocked me.

After all, this was the de facto capital city of the supposedly tolerant, multicultural European Union. But as you'll see by clicking on my on-the-ground report from Brussels below, things are anything but "tolerant" for Brussels' Jews in the face of an increasingly violent Islamist/Leftist onslaught.

By the way, Belgium's neighbor, France, has also experienced a rash of similar violent anti-Semitic attacks, perpetrated, as has become the norm, by radical Islamists. This is becoming an alarming, Europe-wide trend.

Click on the viewer below to watch my 2012 report from Brussels.

posted @ Thursday, June 05, 2014 4:08 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Watchman Show: Walid Phares on 'The Lost Spring'

On this week's edition of The Watchman we sit down with worldrenowned terrorism and Middle East expert and Fox News analyst Walid Phares to discuss his latest book, The Lost Spring: U.S Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid.

Click play to watch.

posted @ Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:42 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Analysis: Who is Boko Haram?

I discussed the Nigeria-based Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, on yesterday's edition of CBN Newswatch.

Boko Haram has captured international headlines this week due to its kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls, which the group has threatened to sell into slavery

My Q and A begins around the 2:09 mark of this clip, after a report on Bobo Haram from my CBN News colleague, Dale Hurd:

posted @ Friday, May 09, 2014 3:23 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Watchman Show: Arab Winter Comes to US, UK

On this week’s episode of The Watchman, we’re joined by Paul Weston, chairman of Great Britain’s Liberty GB party, to discuss his recent arrest for quoting none other than British icon Winston Churchill.

We also talk to bestselling author Robert Spencer about his latest blockbuster book, Arab Winter Comes to America.

Click play to watch.

posted @ Wednesday, May 07, 2014 9:01 AM | Feedback (0)