Thursday, September 22, 2016
By Fred Maroun 10-7-2016
For the full article go to Gatestone Institute - http://tinyurl.com/z3gp678
This is part two of a two-part series. The first part examined the mistakes that we Arabs made in our interactions with Israel.
There is much that we can do to improve our relationship with Israel -- if we want to -- and there is good reason to think that it would be in both our short- and long-term interest if we did. The most critical change is in approach. Changing that would start to repair the foundation of the relationship and would provide a basis for mutual respect and trust, without which any solution would remain fragile.
We must see the real Israel rather than the monstrosity that Arabs have been brainwashed to see. We are so afraid to call Israel by its real name that we refer to it as the "Zionist entity". The name is "Israel"; as written in Haaretz, "Israel has been the name of an ethnic group in the Levant going back at least 3200 years".
The standard Arab narrative about Israel is that it is the result of Western colonialism. This language has also been adopted by many, who claim that "settler colonialism that began with the Nakba ... in 1948", implying that all of Israel is a colony. This claim is not true, and no healthy relationship can be built while one side keeps repeating lies about the other.
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, a people with a long and complex history on that land. Attempts to kill them and exile them came from many sources over the centuries, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and the Crusaders. These are historical facts.
Israel's then Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1973, "We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs -- we have no place to go". No matter how much pressure Arabs put on Jews to leave, they are not going anywhere; in fact, that pressure only hardens their resolve. Israel is their home.
We must look at Israel not as foreign presence, which it is not, but as a unique and remarkable component of the Middle East that enriches the region.
Not our enemy
We must stop calling Israel our enemy. We deliberately chose to make Israel our enemy when we attacked it, rather than accept the existence of a tiny Jewish state in our midst.
Israel is only 19% of British Mandate Palestine (which included Jordan), on which Britain promised in 1924 to build a "Jewish National Home". Israel is so small that it would have to be duplicated 595 times to cover the entire Arab world.
We made self-defeating decisions in our relationship with Israel, based on the belief that it is our enemy and that we can only deal with it though force -- but the tiny state of Israel is not a threat to the Arab world.
Every year, Palestinians hold rallies, often violent ones, to commemorate the Nakba ("catastrophe"), which is name they give to the Arab loss in the war of 1948/49. They carry keys, symbolizing the keys to homes that their ancestors fled during that war. This commemoration, like much of the Arab rhetoric about Israel, is a one-sided view that demonizes Israel while it absolves Arabs of all responsibility for starting and continuing a conflict that resulted in decades of violence as well as displacements of both Arabs and Jews.
This false narrative does not leave much room for peace with Israel. How can peace be acceptable to Arabs who are repeatedly fed the false narrative that everything is Israel's fault, when, in fact, "everything" is not "all Israel's fault"?
Building a positive future requires accepting that the past is gone and cannot be restored.
Resolving the Palestinian Question
For a successful resolution of the Palestinian question, we must understand the few fundamental issues on which Israel cannot compromise. At present, the Arab world, and particularly the Palestinians, shows so little understanding of Israel's fundamental issues that the Israeli public's faith in peace negotiations is low. As reported in the Jerusalem Post, "most Israelis (67.7%) do not believe that negotiations will bring peace in the coming years and less than a third (29.1%) think it will ever yield such a result".
Israel's ability to remain a Jewish state and a haven for Jews worldwide is its most basic existential necessity. Without it, Israel would be only a name. For this reason, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated unequivocally that there is "no room to maneuver" on the Palestinian claim of a "right of return" for the descendants of Palestinian refugees. It may be unreasonable to expect relatively small and weak countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan to absorb all the refugees residing there, but rich Gulf countries have the ability to help. If Europe can absorb millions of Muslim refugees, why could we not do it too?
A second existential necessity for Israel is its need for defensible borders, as explained in an extensive report. Israel has been defending its very existence against Arab attacks for seven decades. It has been attacked from all sides using all methods imaginable, from missiles to suicide belts to tunnels. Israel does not see the pre-1967 armistice lines as defensible, as was explained as far back as 1977 by then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, widely considered a pro-peace moderate.
A third fundamental point is Jewish access to holy sites, starting with the most important one, the Old City in East Jerusalem. Jews see their win in East Jerusalem in the war of 1967 not as a conquest, but as the liberation and reunification of their historic home since the time of King David, ca. 1000 BCE. Although Israeli governments, both in 2000 and in 2008, offered to give up control over part of Jerusalem, one should not assume that a similar offer will be likely in the future. In June of this year, PM Netanyahu pledged that, "The idea of a divided, split, wounded city is one we will never return to." Other issues such as borders, compensation for refugees, removal of some settlements, and the level of Palestinian sovereignty appear to be negotiable. Netanyahu further stated, "Israel wants peace. I want peace. I want to renew the diplomatic process to achieve peace".
But we Arabs must understand that this can only be possible within the constraints of the three fundamental issues.
The Arab League's Peace Initiative
A peace initiative was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and again in 2007, but this initiative falls short in two ways, first in its substance and second in its form.
The initiative demands that Israel go back to the pre-1967 armistice lines. Not only does Israel not consider those borders defensible, but during the fifty years that elapsed since then, Israel has built large settlement blocks in the West Bank. We Arabs had previously expelled the Jews who were native to that land, and it is unrealistic to expect that Israel would agree to victimize its own Jewish citizens yet again.
The initiative declares that Arab states reject "all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries", implying that Israel and the new Palestinian state would be responsible for absorbing the descendants of all Palestinian refugees. For the new Palestinian state, it would be a huge burden to add to the task of building a new state, as it would mean an increase to its population from 6 million to 9 million. This would leave Israel to receive the refugees, which it will not do.
Equally unrealistic is the initiative's casual reference to "the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State". The creation of such a state under today's conditions is likely to result in a Hamas-dominated state that is violently hostile towards Israel. The Palestinian Authority must be transitioned into a peaceful and stable entity before it can be expected to run a state.
There was no need to write this document at all. All that the Arab League had to do was to declare that Arab states are open to making peace with Israel, accept Sharon's offer to attend, then send a delegation to Israel as a sign of goodwill.
Sadat in His Own Words
We should take inspiration from and follow the lead of Sadat, an Arab leader who took a bold step towards peace and achieved a peace agreement that even the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt felt compelled to respect 35 years later.
We should take inspiration from and follow the lead of Sadat, an Arab leader who took a bold step towards peace and achieved a peace agreement that even the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt felt compelled to respect. Pictured: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (right) acknowledge applause during a Joint Session of Congress in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords, September 18, 1978. (Image source: Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress)
Sadat knew that taking steps towards peace requires more than simply writing documents and speaking from afar, which is why he went to Israel to present his vision. He said to the Israeli Knesset, "There are moments in the life of nations and peoples when it is incumbent on those known for their wisdom and clarity of vision to overlook the past, with all its complexities and weighing memories, in a bold drive towards new horizons".
Sadat demonstrated that he understood some of Israel's fundamental issues when he said, "What is peace for Israel? It means that Israel lives in the region with her Arab neighbors, in security and safety".
A New Page
The Arab world has an abysmal record on human rights, is mired in internal wars, and continues pointless hostility towards Israel, a neighbor that is far ahead of us scientifically and economically, and from which we could benefit greatly.
We must take ownership of our past actions towards Israel, and we must make the changes needed to turn the page. In the words of Sadat, "We must all rise above all forms of fanaticism, self-deception and obsolete theories of superiority". It is up to us.
Fred Maroun, a left-leaning Arab based in Canada, has authored op-eds for New Canadian Media, among other outlets. From 1961-1984, he lived in Lebanon.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016
This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will examine what we Arabs can do differently today.
In the current state of the relationship between the Arab world and Israel, we see a patchwork of hostility, tense peace, limited cooperation, calm, and violence. We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians.
The Original Mistake
Our first mistake lasted centuries, and occurred well before Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948. It consisted of not recognizing Jews as equals.
As documented by a leading American scholar of Jewish history in the Muslim world, Mark R. Cohen, during that era, "Jews shared with other non-Muslims the status of dhimmis [non-Muslims who have to pay protection money and follow separate debasing laws to be tolerated in Muslim-controlled areas] ... New houses of worship were not to be built and old ones could not be repaired. They were to act humbly in the presence of Muslims. In their liturgical practice they had to honor the preeminence of Islam. They were further required to differentiate themselves from Muslims by their clothing and by eschewing symbols of honor. Other restrictions excluded them from positions of authority in Muslim government".
On March 1, 1944, while the Nazis were massacring six million Jews, and well before Israel declared independence, Haj Amin al-Husseini, then Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, declared on Radio Berlin, "Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you."
If we had not made this mistake, we might have benefited in two ways.
Jews would likely have remained in the Muslim Middle East in greater numbers, and they would have advanced the Middle Eastern civilization rather than the civilizations of the places to which they fled, most notably Europe and later the United States.
Secondly, if Jews felt secure and accepted in the Middle East among Arabs, they may not have felt the need to create an independent state, which would have saved us from our subsequent mistakes.
The Worst Mistake
Our second and worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947. UN resolution 181 provided the legal basis for a Jewish state and an Arab state sharing what used to be British-controlled Mandatory Palestine.
Video of the week- 9/11 memorial monument in Israel - http://tinyurl.com/zo37x6h
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
By Pinhas Inbari: Jerusalem Centre For Public Affairs
Note Palestinian police in riot gear.
- The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. Some districts are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA's disintegration.
- In Hebron, the large clans of Mount Hebron have linked up with each other, reestablished the Tribal Council of Mount Hebron, and sent a delegation to Amman to express loyalty to the king of Jordan.
- Nablus has gone into a tailspin of total anarchy, under the rule of gangs, with exchanges of gunfire in the heart of the city and attempts at political assassinations. Local Fatah strongman Ghassan Shak'a, who resigned as head of the Nablus municipality in August 2015, announced that he will run in the next municipal elections with his own list of candidates against the Fatah slate. On June 1, 2016, unknown persons in Nablus fired at his house. On July 24, bullets struck the home of Muhammad Jihad Dwekat just days after he announced his intention to run for Nablus mayor as an independent non-Fatah candidate.
- In Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, a dense network of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (PNGOs) that relies on European aid is leading a growing opposition to the PA. Europe believes that the successor to Mahmoud Abbas will emerge from this network - from the local Palestinians that the Oslo agreements disinherited when the PLO leadership in Tunis was brought in to rule. However, the PLO is not prepared to agree to any power sharing with the PNGOs. It wants to take measures against them, but is encountering problems with Europe.
- The PA's loss of control in the West Bank raises questions about its ability to run a state. The fragmented West Bank will be a weaker entity than the weak states that collapsed in the Arab Spring. When the Palestinian entity collapses, the vacuum will be filled by the negative forces that have become the nightmare of the world.
Click here to read the full article.
Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.
Video of the week: Who are the “Palestinians” - http://tinyurl.com/zrulwqh
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Israel Hayom 31-8-2016 by Ariel Bolstein http://tinyurl.com/jrknxd5
The doctors of late singer Meir Ariel recommended, as his song Terminal Lominelt tells, a monthly visit to the airport. By the same token, I would recommend that those complaining about Israel's international isolation visit an English pub from time to time, preferably outside of London. While every pub has a television or two, the patrons' opinions about Israel will, for the most part, be very different from what we've become accustomed to hearing on international media networks.
"Way to go, Jews! Respect! You are succeeding in dealing with all the troubles that Europe is bowing to," said Dale, who sat at the bar at a Manchester pub, immediately after he realized that I am Israeli. His enthusiasm was so great that he gathered the rest of the patrons around us and asked them how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. And let's just say that the responses were taken from the extreme Right of our political spectrum. After another round of beers, it became clear that there were people of different backgrounds at the bar -- academics, like Dale, manual laborers, Conservatives, Labour Party voters, those who were happy about Britain's exit from the European Union and those who were against it. But everyone supported Israel, without exception. And I asked about the future of Jerusalem -- everyone wanted it to remain in Jewish hands.
Surprisingly, the same consensus repeated itself at dozens of other pubs that I visited during my two weeks in England and Scotland. Many of my conversation partners even apologized for the British media's completely different attitude. "Here, you hear what people really think," one man told me at a small country pub in northern Scotland. "And there," he pointed at the television screen," There, they will only tell you things that someone determined to be political norms."
This distinction between "here" and "there" is not only in Britain, but in all of Europe. The difference between what people on the street think and what is presented by the media elite as the "right opinion" has never been greater. This is the Europe that nobody talks about, and it is growing bigger and stronger each day. On days when there is an Islamist terrorist attack, it grows twice as much. This new Europe has no negative sentiment toward Israel. The opposite is true -- as the preaching in the pages of The Guardian newspaper about the supposed evils of the Israeli military continues, love for Israel grows in Britain's pubs. The pub-goers are beginning to understand: Israel is fighting the same enemy that sets off bombs in Brussels, slits throats in London and rams into crowds in Nice.
A few years ago, Israel was for many Europeans the "bad seed" in the Middle East. Arab propaganda achieved a lot and managed to create a terrible image for Israel in certain European countries. But images are fluid, especially when they clash with reality. The reality of the culture war with extremist Islam is causing many Europeans to look at Israel as a preferred ally.
This trend has not yet found expression in politics, because the political echelon in Europe follows behind the opinion of its voting public. Officials in Brussels were late to identify European voter disappointment in the European Union project, and now they are again late in identifying the public trend from resentment of Israel to admiration of it. Europe is on the verge of a major turning point. The reasons for the rising tides of change are not related to Israel, but Israel must be prepared to ride the waves.
Ariel Bolstein is the founder of the Israel advocacy organization Faces of Israel.
Video of the week: Golda Meir silenced the world - http://tinyurl.com/hwnf28a
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Israel Project “Daily Tip” – http://tinyurl.com/j6ancqb
A rocket was fired Sunday afternoon from Gaza into the Israeli border city Sderot, prompting an exceptionally muscular reaction from Israel in what some analysts have called a strategic turning point. Running counter to Israel’s usual tit-for-tat retaliation, the IDF seized the opportunity to attack dozens of Hamas infrastructure targets in the northern Gaza Strip over the course of two hours. The IDF launched about 50 strikes in total, using both tanks and aircraft.
“You can’t expect the State of Israel to allow [Hamas] to rearm itself, to steal money from the residents of Gaza. They are levying taxes and not constructing buildings, but tunnels,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commented Tuesday morning at an army base in the Galilee. Indeed, as Hamas continues to build underground tunnels and invest its resources militarily – at the expense of its own people – Israel seems to have discarded its previous approach of deterrence in favor of a more proactive posture.
Even Hamas decided to comment on the apparent shift in tactic. "The escalation is the Israeli occupation's desire to create new equations in the Gaza Strip," Hamas's spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on Sunday. A senior Israeli military source credited the new policy design to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eisnekot, which was then approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
By David Bedein, (Behind the news in Israel) 9-8-2016
For full article go to: http://tinyurl.com/z4yqpbm
Over the past week, the World Vision, a well-known humanitarian organization, was formally accused and indicted for secretly aiding military activities of Hamas, designated as an FTO by the US – a “Foreign Terror Organization”.
Yet a much larger humanitarian organization looms on the horizon, which openly aids Hamas military operations.
That organization is UNRWA, the agency that hosts descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war in refugee facilities for perpetuity.
UNRWA operates with a budget of more than one billion dollars, provided by more than forty western nations. The US is the leading donor to UNRWA, donating $400 million each year to UNRWA.
Working with an Israeli-Palestinian team of journalists over the past few years, I have documented and filmed how UNRWA allocates cash from donor nations to conduct military training for children in the UNRWA classroom along with weapons training camps which Hamas organizes for UNRWA children.
Al-Kutla al-Islamiya, a division of Hamas, runs military activities, which attract UNRWA’s younger students, paving the way for recruitment in al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.
UNRWA “education” teaches children how to fight, shoot lethal weapons, use hand grenades, and climb through various spaces all in preparation for war.
After exposure to al-Kutla, elementary and middle schoolers join a week long war games program, held in a military campment, where they study “jihad, determination, to trust Allah and other Islamic values” in addition to military tactics.
Here is a case where a UN agency actually violates the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which states “children… should not be forced or recruited to take part in a war or join the armed forces”.
Yet all this is occurs in the public domain, without a peep from 38 nations that donate more than a billion dollars each year to UNRWA, with the notable exception of Canada.
Ottawa suspended aid to the UNRWA general fund in 2008, in response to a report commissioned by the European Parliament, which documented how Hamas was elected to run the UNRWA teachers association and the UNRWA workers association. Now there is a move in the new Canadian government to restore Canadian tax dollars to the general fund of UNRWA.
Yet binding legislation passed by the US Congress requires UNRWA to vet personnel to see determine if there are terrorists on their payroll is ignored.
UNRWA simply refuses to vet personnel in the UNRWA facilities, which operate in the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and no one is asking them to do so, including the US.
After the March 2009 election, when Hamas was again elected to run the UNRWA workers union and UNRWA teachers association in Gaza, Congress asked the newly appointed Sec’y of State Hilary Clinton for comment on whether she would demand the removal of terrorists from the payroll Of UNRWA.
Amazingly, Clinton told Congress that there was no evidence of Taliban activity in UNRWA – even though Taliban have never played a role in that part of the Middle East.
In her four years as secretary of state, Clinton did nothing to impede Hamas domination of US funded UNRWA facilities.
The US Congressional Research Service reports that the US has never asked if UNRWA humanitarian funds wind up in the hands of HAMAS or if HAMAS is present in UNRWA.
Yet UNRWA remains in violation of US penal code § 2339B – providing material support or resources to a designated FTO.
On the record, the Hamas Minister of Religion told us on camera “Hamas’ relationship with UNRWA is good, very good! We assist UNRWA and Hamas cooperates with UNRWA on many levels. Now a direct connection exists between UNRWA and Hamas.”
Video of the week: The UNRWA Road to Terror http://tinyurl.com/h84kyk5
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
By EVELYN GORDON, The Commentry; AUG. 11, 2016 http://tinyurl.com/j752u39
The Los Angeles Times published an eye-popping report this week: According to Kadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, roughly one-fifth of all Palestinian attacks on Israelis in recent months have been attempts to commit “suicide by cop.” Even if that estimate were exaggerated, Israeli security officials concur that there have been many such cases, which begs an obvious question: Given that suicides are usually interested mainly in killing themselves, why do so many suicidal Palestinians try to kill others in the process? And Fares is quite upfront about the answer: “In our culture, suicide for no reason isn’t honorable,” he said. “If they try to confront a soldier, however, it’s looked on with more respect.’’
Or to put it more bluntly, Palestinians have created a culture where mass murder is the quickest, easiest and surest path to glory. What distressed Palestinians are told by their society is roughly the following: “Do you feel like a failure? No problem. All you have to do is murder a Jew, and you’ll be an instant hero. You’ll be lionized on radio and television programs; schools and soccer tournaments will be named after you; politicians will sing your praises. And as a bonus, you’ll also earn the respect that goes with being a breadwinner: If you live, the government will pay you an above-market salary while you’re in prison, and if you die, it will pay your family.” For a distraught youngster, such a prospect of instant redemption is enormously tempting.
This, clearly, is a form of society-wide child abuse: Instead of being encouraged to seek help, distressed young people are encouraged to commit murder, thereby ensuring they will either be killed by security personnel or sentenced to years in jail. That this practice is ignored by all the myriad “human rights” groups active in the West Bank is ample proof that they care as little about Palestinians’ human rights as they do about those of Israelis.
But contrary to the LA Times’ headline writer, who titled the article “Politics isn’t the only motive driving Palestinian knife attacks on Israeli soldiers,” the fact that so many would-be suicides try to attack Israelis is all about politics–not the assailants’ politics, but those of their society. For in Palestinian society, murdering Jews is the height of political achievement. And you needn’t take my word for it; just look at the Fatah party’s election campaign for October’s planned municipal vote.
Last week, Fatah’s official Facebook page proudly sported a list of the party’s achievements. The very first on the list was “Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis.” And what about numbers two, three, and four? In order, Fatah “has sacrificed 170,000 martyrs” (the Palestinian term for people killed attacking Israelis); it “was the first to carry out operations [i.e., terror attacks] during the first Intifada”; and “it was the first to fight in the second Intifada,” the brutal terrorist onslaught that killed more Israelis in four years than all the Palestinian terror attacks of the previous 53 years combined. In fact, there’s only one nonviolent “achievement” on the list, and even that relates to anti-Israel activity: “Fatah led the Palestinian attack on Israel in the UN.”
Elsewhere in the world, governing parties seeking reelection usually highlight their efforts to improve people’s lives–for instance, job creation, new infrastructure or anti-poverty measures. But no such measure appeared on Fatah’s list of achievements, even though it has run the Palestinian Authority for the last 22 years. Granted, it might be hard-pressed to find any such achievements to boast of even if it wanted to, but that’s precisely because it has consistently prioritized hurting Israel over helping its own people.
And lest anyone has forgotten, Fatah is the “moderate” Palestinian party–the one led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s ostensible peace partner. Hamas, as I’ve pointed out before, is at least equally bloodthirsty.
This, of course, is the main reason why more than two decades of “peace processing” have yet to produce peace. It’s hard to make peace when one side exalts killing the other as the highest possible good. Yet the West has consistently turned a blind eye to this problem rather than confronting it, preferring instead to pretend that peace would break out tomorrow if Israel would just make more concessions. And many Westerners even actively enable this abusive death cult by blaming not the Palestinian leaders who incite troubled youth to kill both themselves and others, but Israel, on the dubious theory that it must somehow be guilty if so many Palestinians want to attack it (if that doesn’t sound dubious to you, just try saying that women must be guilty because so many men want to rape them).
Neither Israeli-Palestinian peace nor a better life for Palestinians will ever be achievable as long as this culture of death continues to dominate mainstream Palestinian politics. This is a change Palestinians will ultimately have to make for themselves, but the West could help it along if it finally stopped playing enabler.
The latest report by the Middle East Quartet (the U.S., EU, UN, and Russia) took a positive first step; it did at least acknowledge that Palestinian incitement to terror is a problem. But until Western countries start condemning this behavior clearly and consistently, and actively penalizing it, rather than aiming most of their fire at Israel, Palestinians will have every reason to conclude that their death cult is working beautifully. For in a political system that deems harming Israel to be the highest good, any policy that encourages the West to turn against the Jewish state is a success, no matter how many young Palestinians have to die in the process.
video of the week: PM Netanyahu has had enough with world's anti-Israel bias - http://tinyurl.com/joo5z4d
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