Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Abbas at the UN: Decoding the Babble

September 27, 2013 By Arlene Kushner 

Mahmoud Abbas – putative president of the Palestinian Authority – addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday, focusing on the negotiations between the PA and Israel. How eminently reasonable was the tone he attempted to project.  There he stood on the dais, expressing his intention to work hard for peace, even pleading for peace.
“Our quest is supportive of the path of peace,” he assured those assembled.
“I affirm before you that… we shall continue [the negotiations] in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success…we shall …foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations…”
Ah! That he should truly be what he would have us believe he is. But an even cursory look at his words tells us that he is not.  The leopard has not changed his spots.
We might start with that bit about fostering “the most conducive atmosphere…” Khaled Abu Toameh has just described the atmosphere that Abbas fosters:
“Although Abbas and some of his aides have been telling Israelis, Americans and Europeans that they are opposed to violence and terror attacks against Israel, they continue to incite Palestinians against Israel on a daily basis.”
The irony is that Abbas himself provides an example of this incitement in his talk, as he refers to almost daily attacks on the Al-Aksa mosque.  This is pure and outrageous fabrication.  The reality is that Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount – which is where the mosque is located – are sometimes accosted by stone-throwing Arabs, and sometimes prevented from visiting at all because of threats of Arab riots.
“The objective of the negotiations,” he explains,
“is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative.”
This run-on sentence must be unraveled. What we are seeing here is the Palestinian Arab “narrative”: A host of claims without legal or historical basis that have been repeated so often that much of the world believes them.
There is no “occupation.”  “Belligerent occupation” applies only when a sovereign state moves into the territory of another sovereign state.  This was not the case here, when Israel took Judea and Samaria in a defensive war in 1967.  What is more, and perhaps more significantly, this area is historically the cradle of the ancient Jewish nation. This fact – the reality of the region as the heritage of the Jewish people – was recognized in the Mandate for Palestine, an international legal document mandating establishment of a Jewish homeland from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Prior to the ‘67 war, Jordan was the presence on the other side of the Green Line, not “the Palestinians.”  And so, in no event should that land be referred to as “Palestinian land.”: And, it should be noted here, that Green Line was merely an armistice line, which Jordan, when signing the armistice agreement, concurred would be temporary only.
UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed shortly after the war in ’67, recognized that Israel would not move back behind the Green Line, as this would not provide a secure border. That resolution referred neither to a “Palestinian state” nor to a “Palestinian people.”
As to the “refugees,” Palestinian Arabs and their supporters routinely point to Resolution 194 as proving that they have a “right to return” to lands in Israel they left in 1948.  But this is a misrepresentation of the facts.  That was a General Assembly resolution, and GA resolutions are merely recommendations – not binding and without weight in international law. What is more, while one phrase in the resolution speaks of “return,” when one reads the entire resolution, it becomes apparent that this was only one option mentioned, along with resettlement.
Israel has never agreed to the Arab Peace Initiative, for it was a “take it or leave it” deal that is nothing more than a formula for her destruction – precisely along the lines that Abbas spells out here.  Recently there were suggestions by representatives of the League that “minor” adjustments “might” be made but were never approved by the League.
The initiative consists of a two-part plan. First, to push Israel back behind the indefensible armistice line.  And then to push on that “right” of refugees to return to their villages of  65 years ago, thereby inundating Israel with a hostile population.
We see this two-track theme in Abbas’s speech. In one place he refers to the “injustices” of 1948, and in another, the “occupation” of 1967. There is a reason why Palestinian Authority textbooks routinely reflect “Palestine” from the river to the sea.
Abbas indicates that if Israel signs on to the deal he outlines, there will be recognition from 57 Arab and Muslim states, but this is simply not the case.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members, but by no stretch of the imagination have they all signed on to recognition of Israel, whatever the parameters of an agreement.  The Arab League consists of 22 members.
What must be emphasized here is that Israel would, ostensibly, be recognized. But not Israel as the state of the Jewish people.  This is more than a technicality, for it is the intention of supporters of the Palestinian Arabs to push for Israel as the “state of all its residents,” by which is meant that its Jewish character would be erased.
Lastly here I note the outrage of Abbas instructing Israel that it is time to “stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions.”
In 1967, the Security Council recognized Israel’s need for secure and defensible borders.  How much more so is this the case in the volatile Middle East of today.  Nightly operations by the IDF in Palestinian Arab areas of Judea and Samaria control the threat of terrorism.  Radical Islamic groups would have a field day, were the IDF no longer able to enter within the borders of a Palestinian state. What is more, should Jordan fall to Islamists, there would be risk from farther east.
Where Israel’s borders are set is of enormous, existential, import.
Postscript: - For more of the tunnel discovered in Gaza go to article;  ISRAELI CEMENT, CABLES, CANDY WRAPPERS: INSIDE THE TUNNEL http://tinyurl.com/m33t3tb

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview with Khaled Abu Toameh

 Charley J. Levine,  September 2013                    

Khaled Abu Toameh, 50, an award-winning Israeli journalist and documentary filmmaker, has reported on Arab affairs for three decades. He writes for The Jerusalem Post and the New York-based Gatestone Institute, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank, where he is a senior adviser. Since 1989, he also has been a producer and consultant for NBC News. He grew up in the Arab Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye near Haifa and studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He now lives in Jerusalem.
Q. What are the challenges of working as a journalist in the West Bank and Gaza?
A. Before the Oslo peace process began, Arab journalists had almost no problem traveling throughout the West Bank and Gaza, speaking freely with Palestinians. But ever since the Palestinian Authority came to the West Bank and Gaza, the situation has become much more challenging and dangerous. The P.A. expects you to serve as an official spokesperson and avoid criticism of its leaders.
With Hamas in power in Gaza, it’s become even more dangerous for independent Arab journalists. Because of the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement against Israel, journalists representing the Israeli media, like myself, face not only difficulties but threats and even physical violence when we go to Ramallah. The P.A. leadership in the West Bank promotes BDS against Israel and also fights normalization with Israel. It bans meetings between Palestinians and Israelis and condemns the Israeli media as extremely hostile, which makes it impossible to work there and endangers our lives.

Q. How does the Arab street respond to your reporting?
A. No one tells me that what I am reporting is inaccurate or untrue. I am often criticized, however, for reporting the facts. I am only reporting what many Arab journalists want to report. If I resided in Ramallah, I would not be reporting many things. There are P.A. journalists who post critical things on Facebook and risk prison. Those who ask the wrong questions at press conferences are sometimes detained or even tortured.
I live inside Israel, so my reality is sharply different. I receive more threats from pro-Palestine students and academics in the U.S. than I do from local Palestinians.

Q. What happened to the moderate Palestinian center?
A. Palestinians have been so radicalized that you will find very few Palestinians who will openly talk about making any significant compromise with Israel. No P.A. leader would dare to sign any agreement with Israel for fear of being condemned as a traitor. Israel has been delegitimized in the eyes of most Palestinians and this is the result of decades of indoctrination and incitement against Israel. This is true throughout the entire Arab world.
Ironically, this incitement intensified after the peace process began. The Palestine Liberation Organization leadership used the media, the mosques and every available podium to delegitimize and discredit Israel in the eyes of the Palestinians. By doing so, the P.L.O. has actually shot itself in the foot. P.A. leaders know that they have radicalized their people to the point where there are people who don’t want to hear about peace with Israel at all. I believe this is why [Mahmoud] Abbas will not sign any agreement with Israel. He simply doesn’t want to go down in history as a traitor.

Q. Is there anything Israel should be doing differently?
A. Israel is facing two camps in the Palestinian community. One is the radical camp that doesn’t believe in Israel’s right to exist and seeks its destruction. With that camp, there’s nothing that can be done. The second, less radical, camp is represented by some P.L.O. leaders in the West Bank who are unable to deliver [change or peace]. This is a camp that lacks grass-roots support. It has further been discredited due to its close relations with the U.S., Europeans and even Israel. So Israel is facing one camp that doesn’t want to deliver and another that cannot practically do so.

Q. United States Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to revive the peace process with multiple visits and public declarations. Can this break the logjam?
A. It’s a waste of time. You might be able to reach some sort of interim agreements with Abbas over certain areas that he’s actually in control of in the West Bank, but I doubt he’ll go even for that. Many in the international community see Abbas as a peace partner and this might be partially true, but so what? The question we need to ask is ‘Can this man deliver?’ What’s a peace agreement worth with Abbas when he can’t even visit his house in Ramallah that has been taken over by Hamas? The international community should go to the Palestinians and ask them to get their act together and start speaking in one voice and stop the indoctrination and glorification of suicide bombers. They must start preparing their people for possible compromise with Israel.

Q. What are Israel’s Arab citizens saying about Israel?
A. Arab citizens of Israel can act as a bridge between Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli Arab dilemma is that their State of Israel is in conflict with their people, the Palestinians. While most Israeli Arabs would like to see a Palestinian state and a better life for the Palestinians, they would nevertheless prefer to stay inside Israel for two reasons: First, this has always been their home. Second, they have always been comfortable in Israel despite all the challenges facing them.
I am worried about the process of radicalization that is taking place among the Arab community inside Israel. I blame some of the domestic Arab community leaders for inciting their fellow citizens against Israel. I’m talking about some of the Arab Knesset members. And the Israeli establishment’s failure to address very serious problems within Arab society is no less problematic: unemployment, unequal allocation of public funds and investment in physical infrastructure.

Q. Does the composition of Israel’s government or the country’s political landscape matter to the Palestinians? 
A. Most Arab Israelis don’t see a difference between Labor and Likud. Sometimes, ironically, right-wing governments do more than the left wing. In this regard, I’ve never understood the P.A. leadership. When there’s a left-wing government in Israel, they reject it, and because of that Israeli left-wing governments fall. And when the right-wing government comes to power, they complain that they can’t make peace with them.

Q. Why is there such a pronounced Palestinian denial of Jewish history—from the Holocaust to the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall?
A. It’s part of the campaign to delegitimize Israel: [The message is that] the Jews have no historical attachment to this land. We are told...even by moderates that there is no such thing as the Western Wall; it is the southern wall of the Al Aqsa mosque. We are told that there is no such thing as Rachel’s Tomb. We are told that there’s no such thing as Joseph’s Tomb; it’s just the tomb of a Muslim sheik. And all the archaeological discoveries are fake. That Jews come at night and plant items at excavation sites and in the morning call a press conference to present these items as something that demonstrates a connection.

There are different views about the Holocaust. There are those who might admit it happened but challenge the numbers; there are those who completely deny it. Finally, there are some who recognize it happened on the full scale. But the first categories are prevalent and they contend that Israel is using the Holocaust to extort money. The common sentiment says: Why should we talk about Jewish suffering? We have enough suffering of our own.

Q. What should Israel’s approach to peace be at this time?
A. Israel’s policy should be to talk to anyone who wants to talk and shoot back at anyone who shoots. I don’t see anything that Israel can do under the current circumstances. Some would say, ‘Why doesn’t Israel just get up and leave, unilaterally go to pre-1967 lines?’ I think that would be a recipe for another war. Any land you give to the P.L.O. will undoubtedly end up in the hands of Hamas and other extremists. We’ve been to this movie before and I’m not even sure the P.L.O. wants Israel to pull out of the West Bank, although they demand that in public. The P.L.O. knows that its survival in the West Bank depends on Israel’s security presence.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Funds from European governments support an ‘erase Israel conference’

By Yitzhak Santis 30 Sept. 2013

When "peacemakers" incite to conflict they make murder respectable.

It has become axiomatic in some circles that the sole cause of the Arab- Israeli conflict is Israel, by which is really meant Israel’s existence. For many holding this view the “solution” is a single “binational” state as opposed to the two-state solution favored by the international community. These “one state” proponents also insist on a “right of return” for 1948 Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, amounting to a call for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

A conference promoting this vision, funded mostly by Protestant and Catholic groups, is being held this week in Tel Aviv. These Christian groups are themselves largely funded by European governments that officially support the two-state solution. The conference, then, undermines these governments’ own policies.

The event, “From Truth to Redress: Realizing the Return of Palestinian Refugees,” is organized by Zochrot, a tiny Israeli fringe group.

Israeli one-state advocates are so few that they have neither a constituency nor influence in Israel. For Zochrot, foreign funding is their lifeline; the conference was “made possible thanks to the generous support of: Misereor, Christian Aid, HEKS-EPER, CCFD, Finn Church Aid, Broederlijk Delen, AFSC, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Mennonite Central Committee, TrĂ³caire, St. Het Solidariteitsfonds, Oxfam GB and private donors.”

NGO Monitor wrote each of the sponsors, and we received several replies.

France’s CCFD and Germany’s Misereor (both Catholic) wrote identical messages – including the same grammatical mistakes. They affirmed they are a “funding partner of Zochrot” and declared “refugee issues and refugee rights all over the world are of utmost importance to us.” But regarding funding they opted for fogginess: “Our privacy policies do not allow to disclose (sic) the amounts given to recipients.”

Belgium’s Broederlijk Delen, also Catholic, wrote a similar response: “We support the work of Zochrot as we believe refugee rights are important in any context and should be openly discussed.”

But regarding funding, they also chose murkiness: “With regard to details on funding, we wish to respect our partners’ privacy.”

What seems to be lost on these Christian groups is they are supported by public funds.

In 2012 Misereor received 114 million euros from the German government, CCFD received 1.1 million euros from the EU and another 368,000 euros from France, the Swiss government gave $12.7 million to HEKS and Broederlijk Delen received 6,891,347 euros from Belgium taxpayers.

As for the one-state formula itself, the onus for proving that this “solution” is workable is on the shoulders of its advocates. In Europe binational states have an unhappy history.

Czechoslovakia was one state, now it is two. Yugoslavia’s multi-national experiment ended in a horrific war that gave the world the term “ethnic cleansing.” Belgium, Spain and the UK each have strong national separatist movements (Flemish, Basque and Scottish respectively).

IN THE Middle East, the region most relevant to this discussion, concrete models of binational entities do not exist. The rights of non-Arab and non- Muslim minorities in Arab states are severely repressed, sectarianism is rending Syria, Iraq and Lebanon asunder, and the upsurge of violence against the region’s Christians should serve as a warning. Israel is the only Middle East country where democratic institutions are strong and minorities enjoy by right the full protection of the law.

Yet, these Christian funders are targeting Israel, and appear to be utterly unaware of the plight of their Middle Eastern coreligionists. What makes them think that Jews would fare better as a minority once Israel is forced to be a Muslim-majority state than do Christians today in Egypt, Syria or Iraq? This point is all the more pertinent considering the ethnic cleansing by Arab governments of 99 percent of their Jewish citizens after 1948. After Arab governments stripped them of their citizenship and property most Jewish refugees fled to Israel.

That two refugee populations resulted from the Arab-Israeli conflict, one Jewish, one Arab, is ignored by this conference’s organizers and funders. With all their moralistic rhetoric of refugee rights being “of utmost importance” “in any context,” these Christian groups are mute about the rights of nearly a million Jewish refugees from Arab states, and millions of their descendants.

Peacemakers, which is how these Christian aid groups view themselves, do not support efforts to erase one side of a conflict, which is what support for this conference means. The one-state formula is a recipe for war, and its proponents are exposed as uncompromising supporters of permanent conflict.

By dressing up as “peacemakers” the Christian aid societies supporting Israel’s demise bear truth to George Orwell who wrote, “Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Is that how public funds ought to be spent? 

For the full script of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN, click on this link   http://tinyurl.com/q397d3r