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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘borders’

‘U.S. Should Recognize Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital’: An Interview with Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) is a candidate in New York’s 8th Congressional District in the June 26 Democratic primary.

In general, should the U.S. “tilt” towards Israel in disputes with its neighbors? What is the basis for your position?

Israel’s status as our most robust ally in the world, and the important Middle

Eastern region, is grounded in over 60 years of shared struggle and mutual interest. Our presumptive and strongly supportive posture toward Israel in its disputes with its neighbors should remain an important part of American foreign policy.

Is Israel treated fairly in the UN and its affiliated agencies? Generally, Should the United States support Israel when it is attacked in the UN and other international organizations?

I agree with the current U.S. diplomatic position to support Israel in the United Nations and other international forums. Israel has been subjected to unfair attacks in the UN and I strongly support efforts by the United States to continue to come to Israel’s defense within that body. The United States should continue to exercise its veto in the UN Security Council whenever doing so would protect the safety and security of Israel.

Do you believe, as does President Obama, that the 1967 borders, with “swaps,” should be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on final borders? Why?

A consistent United States position that both sides must make compromises with which they are uncomfortable in order to bring about a meaningful and lasting peace is appropriate. However, the Administration must also make sure to balance its position regarding the starting points for negotiations with realities of Israel’s security situation and the tough neighborhood in which it resides. The discussion concerning borders must be addressed in concert with other matters related to Israel’s relations with its neighbors and the Palestinians. With the turmoil in Syria being just the most recent of the unstable situations in the region, the safety of the Israeli people must be paramount in determining the starting point for any negotiations.

Hakeem Jeffries looking at rockets fired on Sderot, Israel.

For these reasons, I disagree with the use of the 1967 borders as a rigid starting point for negotiations.

Should Israel commit, in advance of negotiations, to the release of Palestinians whom it has jailed for violence committed against Israelis?

First, it is essential that Palestinian authorities recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, a fact that the United Nations formally acknowledged in 1948 and the United States has reaffirmed on many occasions. Indeed, good faith negotiations can only occur if each party recognizes the other’s legitimacy and right to exist.

The release of prisoners is a matter best reserved for negotiations rather than serving as a precondition to starting those negotiations.

Should American policy favor Israel’s retaining the major Jewish population centers in settlements in the West Bank? Why?

Yes. Any dismantling of what in many cases have essentially become small cities is neither practical nor desirable.

Do you believe American policy should be to support Israel retaining all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital? Why?

I believe that American policy should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

However, we should also help bring about a resolution that deeply respects the ethnic, religious and geographic divisions that have existed for thousands of years within a city that is so holy to adherents of three different religions. Do you believe that parochial school students and their parents are entitled to the same assistance for the secular portion of their education as public school students and their parents?

Secular education in parochial schools can be supported through the creative use of tax code, as stated below.

What is your position on tuition vouchers generally? Tuition Tax credits?

I strongly support the use of tuition tax credits to help ease a significant financial burden on parents who choose a religious education as most appropriate for their children. As a lifetime member of the Cornerstone Baptist Church, the importance of a religious education is something that I understand based on deep, personal experience. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment as consistently interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court should permit use of the tax code in the area of religious education.

Jewish Press Staff

Air Flytilla: Crash and Burn

Monday, April 16th, 2012

On April 15, 2012, Pro-Palestinian activists attempted to enter Israel en masse. In doing this, the organizers of the event – which is known by a few names, most notably “Welcome to Palestine” and “Airflotilla 2”– hoped to take fifteen hundred to two thousand activists from Europe and have them collectively fly to Ben Gurion airport to challenge Israel’s ‘isolation” of the Palestinians.  Assuming the activists would not be denied entry, the organizers prepared a complete plan of action for the week after their arrival involving numerous tours and activities that promise to provide participants with plenty of opportunity to be educated in the Palestinian narrative.

In spite of the stated mission, the actual desires of the organizers are suspect due to a variety of reasons. For starters, there is the timing of the “Welcome to Palestine” fly-in. April 15th comes right after the Jewish holiday of Passover, and it was guaranteed to be one of the busiest days of the year for Ben Gurion airport.

What prevents activists from coming at other times during the year? The activities specified in the plan do not need to happen specifically from April 15th-21st. Furthermore, the track record of flotilla/flytilla like attempts to breach Israel’s border is less than impressive when it comes to changing the Palestinians’ political circumstances (results range from the killing in self-defense of the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara to the over-hyped Global March to Jerusalem, a rush on Israel’s borders with an anticlimactic ending). Thus, the decision to have thousands of activists arrive within one extremely busy 24-hour period was intended to publicly promote the organizers’ interpretation of the conflict rather than to offer any real help to the Palestinians who are allegedly suffering. The scheduling of a press conference at 5pm in Bethlehem on the day of the fly-in was the icing on the public relations cake served by the participants.

Never mind that press conferences do not build the infrastructure needed to support a healthy society, the activists motivations are better understood by asking just who are the individuals involved in this epic demonstration of support for Palestinian rights?

A rough sample of endorsements for Air Flotilla 2 yields:

Noam Chomsky, a linguistics professor notorious for his belief in the 1 state solution (the one where 60+ years of Arab anti-Semitism magically disappears and everyone holds hands under a rainbow);

John Pilger, an Australian journalist who thinks Israel should not exist and denies any Jewish connection to the land;

and Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian politician, organizer of the failed Global March to Jerusalem and a boycott activist.

In addition, people like Mazin Qumsiyeh, a political activist opposed to peace negotiations, have gone out of their way to invite people to come to “Palestine” on April 15th and to encourage participation in the event.

A common theme among all these individuals and many of the other participants and endorsers is a hatred and preoccupation with Israel that borders on obsession. Consequently, it is no surprise that what seemed like a plea to support a downtrodden people was more of an opportunity to display a one sided view of the conflict. Increasing tension in a conflict situation is not known to help alleviate suffering.

On the other side, the Israeli response has been threefold:

Firstly, Israel sent a list to numerous European airlines with the names of over three hundred people that would not be allowed entry. In the days leading up to April 15th, airlines such as Lufthansa, Jet2, and Air France heeded Israel’s request and cancelled the reservations of many of the individuals on the list. Jet2 even refused to give the activists a refund. The activists greeted the actions of these airlines with the usual calls to boycott those who allegedly “sided with apartheid” and a new plan to have participants protest their denial of entry into Israel at local airports in numerous European countries.

The second aspect of the Israeli response has been to beef up security at Ben Gurion airport.  An additional six hundred and fifty police officers (with many in plain clothes) were assigned to the airport in order to minimize illegal entry. Terminal 1 in the airport was also made a sterile zone and the activists were diverted there. Lastly, the government of Israel wrote a nice letter to the activists who arrived questioning their focus on Israel while Syria continues to shell dissidents and nations like Iran oppress opposition forces.

In the end,Israel’s preparatory actions paid off. A total of forty three activists await deportation. Despite the protesters attempts to get thousands of fly-in participants to Bethlehem, only three ended up making it. This yields a success rate of 0.2% (1500 estimated activists were supposed to make the trip on the low end) – which was a victory, of course, according to the organizers.

Ben Scholom

Global March Could Bring Thousands Of Arabs To Israel’s borders

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

JERUSALEM – If pro-Palestinian calls for a so-called Global March to Jerusalem are heeded, thousands of Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria could converge on Israel’s borders.

The date of the march, March 30, marks Land Day, which commemorates the deaths of six Arab Israelis killed in 1976 during protests against Israeli government land policies.

While last year’s Land Day commemorations were held without incident, rallies two months later to mark the anniversary of what the Palestinians call the Nakba – the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding in 1948 – brought thousands of Arabs from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza to march on Israel’s borders, and 13 marchers were killed.

A month later, on June 5, hundreds of Syrian protesters stormed the border with Israel on Naksa Day, the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, and there were more casualties.

“The IDF is prepared for any eventuality and will do whatever is necessary to protect Israeli borders and residents,” the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesman said this week when asked how the IDF is preparing for Land Day.

Citing senior defense officials, Haaretz reported that the IDF is prepared for “relatively serious events.” The Israeli daily added that the most current intelligence assessments believe that the demonstrations Friday will be “limited.”

Marwan Barghouti

Preparations for Land Day security have used last year’s Nakba and Naksa day rallies as models, according to reports. Security forces have updated their knowledge of non-lethal crowd dispersal methods, while border troops have gone on higher alert and additional IDF troops have been moved to the borders.

Israeli officials reportedly were most concerned about the Lebanese border and asked the Lebanese government to rein in protesters. The main Lebanese demonstration is planned for the Beaufort Castle, which is several miles north of the Israeli city of Metullah, rather than the border with Israel, the Lebanese branch of the Global March to Jerusalem announced last week.

The number of demonstrators at Beaufort will be limited to 5,000, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, citing organizers of the march.

March general coordinator Ribhi Halloum told reporters earlier in the week that the march would be peaceful.

“The aim of the Al Quds march is to express a message of protest and condemnation against the policy of Israeli occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories,” he said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

“We will under no circumstances agree to violence or a violation of the borders. We will maintain the policy of nonviolent protest we have agreed to uphold.”

Land Day events also will be held inside Israel’s borders under the auspices of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee with the banner “Save the lands and prevent the Judaization of Jerusalem.”

Israeli police have been cautioned to keep out of Arab villages in Israel in order to maintain calm.

Meanwhile, jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in five murders during the second intifada, called on Palestinians to launch a popular resistance campaign against Israel.

His statement, issued in advance of Land Day, called on the Palestinian Authority to stop all coordination with Israel in the economic and security realms and to stop peace negotiations.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority currently are not engaged in negotiations.

(JTA)

Marcy Oster

‘Global March to Jerusalem’: An Attempt to “unravel the Zionist edifice”

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) on March 30 (a date which commemorates what’s known as Palestinian Land Day), is a high-profile provocation involving groups of international “activists” who intend to set out from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and converge upon Israel’s borders demanding the “right” to reach Jerusalem.

Concurrently, they also plan to “besiege Israeli embassies over the world”

The broader aims of GMJ, according to the project’s official website, are as follows:

 “[To] end the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and [racist]…Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem… [which] is a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity”

The site further claims that their efforts “will ward off Israel’s threat to world peace through the ‘Judaization’ of the holy City”.

The organizers are a conglomerate of individuals and groups representing the ‘red-green alliance.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the government of IranHezbollah, Islamic JihadWestern Islamists, the extreme left, and radical NGOs have united with the aim of engineering a PR disaster for Israel and advancing their long-term assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

However, the broader goal of GMJ needs to be understood, and certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who understand the malevolence of those involved in such delegitimization campaigns.

One of the organizers of the march wrote the following in an email to a fellow activist about their intentions:

 “The point is that how do we build a movement that compels the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon & Syria to let us in (which is easy) & then let us march across the borders into Palestine, challenging the Israeli army…Imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & Israel fails to stop the human tide. Once we have broken this mental barrier, then it’s all over. Next time we will have 5 million who will be marching in & it will only grow from there. This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel.  Thus [we] will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveling as we speak, will soon fall. It’s a matter of time now, as we well know.”

Unlike other such campaigns in the past, such as the “Nakba Day” protests on Israel’s borders last May, GMJ doesn’t even attempt to maintain the veneer of fighting for Palestinian rights

Obviously Israel, like any other sovereign country, can’t permit mass infiltration of its borders, especially by terrorists and other enemies committed to its destruction. The results are therefore likely to be even graver than the violent consequences of the organized Syrian attempt to infiltrate Israel’s northern borders in June 2011 – an event which marked the 44th anniversary of the Arab “downfall” in the Six Day War, known as “Naksa Day”.

The GMJ event also needs to be seen in the context of the recent International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Qatar (Feb 26-27), where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, addressing attendees during the first day of the conference, called on Muslims to go to Jerusalem and confront Israel’s accelerated efforts to “Judaize the city”. Abbas reportedly even claimed that Israel intended to destroy the Aksa Mosque.

As with the 2nd Palestinian Intifada, which claimed over 1000 Israeli lives between 2000 and 2004, and which was largely precipitated by calls from Palestinian leaders to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque (which they claimed was under Israeli attack), the cynical exploitation of issues relating to Jerusalem always has the capacity to incite Palestinians, and provoke riots, violence and bloodshed.

Such potentially dangerous conflagrations clearly represent scenarios the march’s organizers are counting on.


Adam Levick

Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel Named Next IAF Chief

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Major-General Amir Eshel, head of strategic planning for the IDF, was named the next chief of the Israel Air Force on Sunday.

Eshel was appointed by IDF chief Benny Gantz, over Binyamin Netanyahu’s choice Brigadier General Yohanan Locker. Eshel succeeds Major-General Ido Nehushtan.

Last month Eshel voiced concern that a nuclear-armed Iran could deter Israel from confronting Iranian-backed enemies Hezbollah and Hamas on its borders.

 

Jewish Press Staff

Time For A Presidential Clarification

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s statement last Saturday that “Israeli intransigence” was behind the collapse of the recently convened Israel-Palestinian talks in Jordan may provide a moment of truth for President Obama.

According to The New York Times’s Ethan Bronner, citing senior officials from both sides, Israeli negotiators told their Palestinian counterparts that their guiding principle for future borders in a two state solution would include existing settlement blocs as part of Israel. The Palestinians summarily rejected this. Significantly, a Palestinian spokesman said that “Our starting point is the 1967 borders with minor swaps and theirs is the wall and settlements.” (The wall refers to the separation barrier Israel has been building for a number of years.)

President Obama famously said last spring that he favored final borders based on the 1967 lines with mutual swaps – by which he said he meant to include the major Jewish population centers in the West Bank. Mr. Obama’s formulation, which he claims to have been initially misunderstood, caused a very public confrontation with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The Palestinian position now pushes things beyond the debate over what President Obama really meant. In the here and now, the Palestinian focus on the 1967 lines with “minor changes” is plainly inconsistent with the notion that “swaps” would include tradeoffs for large population centers.

The question is thus whether President Obama is prepared to take the next step and tell the Palestinians that America stands for Israel’s retaining the major settlement blocs. At the very least, he should declare who he thinks is at fault for the breakdown in the talks.

Editorial Board

Peace Talks Over, Abbas Says

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared peace talks with Israel over on Wednesday, ending a series of low-level meetings that brought no tangible results despite pressure from the United States, the European Union and the talks’ Jordanian hosts.

The final meeting of five held in Amman between PA representative Saeb Erekat and Israeli representative Yitzhak Molcho broke down over the issue of borders, with the PA insisting on exchanging solid proposals and Israel presenting only maps of areas to be negotiated over in higher-level talks. Palestinians have demanded that the 1967 cease-fire line be considered the border between Israel and a Palestinian state, while Israel has insisted on deviations from that line.

Even before the meeting on Wednesday, PA and Israeli officials declared the talks fruitless, with each side trying to portray the other as the recalcitrant one.

American and European leaders had urged both sides to find common ground on borders, security arrangements and other issues that could set the stage for higher-level negotiations. EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton, currently visiting Israel and the PA, stressed European hopes for progress.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II even intimated that failure in the Amman talks would mean worse relations between his kingdom and Israel – possibly including freezing diplomatic ties – in an attempt to pressure Jerusalem.

An official in Jerusalem was quoted as saying that Israel hoped to continue talks with the Palestinians, while Abbas said he would consult with the Arab League on further steps. “We hope that the Palestinians aren’t looking for an excuse to walk away from the table,” the official said.

Sam Ser

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