web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘disputed territories’

2 Arab Palestinians Failed High School Final Exams, Commit Suicide

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Here is a twist on the tragic stories Westerners have become familiar hearing about: two Arab Palestinians who had just completed high school committed suicide on Thursday, July 25.  And here’s what is differently tragic about this story: these teenagers killed themselves not to seek martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible, thereby bringing honor and glory to their families.  No, the reason these young people killed themselves is something to which far more Westerners can relate, or, at least, understand.

These students committed suicide because they failed their final high school exams.

The exams are known as “Tawjihi,” and a passing score is virtually required for entrance to university.

According to Ma’an News Agency, 18-year-old Nisrin Jumaa of Tulkaram hanged herself in her family home after learning that she had failed the Tawjih, and in Jabaliya in Gaza, Muhammad Zaqut committed suicide by shooting himself after learning that he had failed the exams.

A third student attempted to take her life by throwing herself from the second floor of a building in Beit Hanoun, in Gaza, after learning she had not passed the exam.  This student suffered pelvic and foot fractures and was transferred to a hospital in Gaza.

Are these exams that important?  Indeed they are.

Every student in Gaza and the territories is required to take the dreaded exams upon completion of high school, and according to experts, an entire year is spent preparing for the exam.  The test itself goes on for two weeks, and once completed, the results take another two to three weeks to be tabulated.

There is not that much written publicly about Tawjihi, but a blog written by an American of Arab Palestinian descent makes it clear how similar some things are for anxious teenagers, no matter how very different life is in so very many other ways.  This blogger writes about the intensive preparatory courses for the exam, and the disparity in results due to economic differences.  There are even Instagram and Tumblr sites just for Tawjihi.

The results, including the scores, of the Tawjihi are posted publicly. For the lucky few who perform at the highest levels, it is a matter of great honor for the families.  For the families of the high scorers, halls are rented and enormous parties are held, and fireworks are shot off in celebration. For those who don’t fare well, the pain can be, literally, unbearable.

Applicants are permitted to take the tests as many as five times, although the test is only given once per year.

Nearly 86,000 students took the Tawjihi this June, and almost 60 percent passed.

The Tawjihi is also required of Jordanian students, and in Jordan it was the jubilation of some who passed that resulted in injuries. On February 14 of this year, in less than 24 hours, there were more than 380 Tawjihi-related accidents reported, mostly from “festive firing and reckless driving,” the Jordan times reported.

IRS: We Targeted Supporters of Israel’s Disputed Territories

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Ever since the beginning of the scandal concerning the United States Internal Revenue Service and the claims that it had a policy of treating differently – as in worse – organizations seeking tax exemptions if those organizations held positions in conflict with this US administration, there have been doubters.

And, of course, the way the story has been spun fans the flames of doubt – yes, the IRS finally admitted, after years of denial, that it had targeted certain groups and subject some groups to extra scrutiny, but there was no political impetus for the inappropriate action, there was just poor oversight of overworked civil service employees who were just trying to streamline their jobs.  Heck, the claim went, that was wrong, but what we now recognize as inappropriate actions weren’t taken for political purposes. That was the claim.

The IRS is trying desperately to make glib admissions, have some heads roll, even parade some of those heads around to show how seriously the IRS takes its need to be punished.  But now, it’s time to move on.  The IRS is even providing a kind of amnesty for many of the politically conservative groups that complained – they are getting hand-delivered approval letters, and future applicants will be assured of an easier time going forward.

So, maybe it is time to move on?

Well, one little organization (the one this reporter founded and of which she is the president) refuses to go flying no matter how hard the IRS is shaking its leg to free itself.

Z STREET claimed when it filed its lawsuit for viewpoint discrimination against the IRS in August, 2010, that the IRS treated Z STREET differently subjecting it to additional scrutiny, because of its ideological views.

Two things happened on Monday, June 24, that proved, finally, that Z STREET – and others similarly situated – was correct.

First, the IRS released its 83 page document, “Charting a Path Forward at the IRS,” in response to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General who found that the IRS had engaged in inappropriate targeting of certain groups which had sought tax exempt status from the IRS.

The IRS Path Report begins:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.

Well, there you have it.  The IRS admitted that it made decisions based on policy positions, rather than on prohibited activity.  That is exactly what Z STREET claimed – that it had been discriminated against because it holds positions that “contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

The second revelation was one made by Bloomberg News.  That media agency obtained IRS documents revealing that, in addition to the terms Tea Party and 9/12, other terms were used in flagging organizations seeking tax exempt status for additional scrutiny.  While the headline of the article, and what was the object of most media attention, was that terms that suggested not just conservative groups, but also liberal or progressive groups were given the IRS evil eye – words such as “occupy” and “progressive” were allegedly triggers, as was the word “Israel.”

But far down in a long article the Bloomberg reporter explains that, “Disputed Territories” was considered problematic.  To wit:

‘Disputed Territories”

The November, 2010 [BOLO - Be On the Look Out] list also has terms that could be related to Israel, looking for applications that ‘deal with disputed territories in the Middle East’ and ‘may be inflammatory.’

Well, golly!  What kind of a group calls a particular area of land “disputed territories,” which the vast majority of people, either for ideological or simply conformity refer to as the “West Bank?”  Yes, that would be strong Zionist groups such as Z STREET.

That the IRS chose to handle Z STREET’s application in a particular way on the basis of our organization’s position on this issue, and the fact that someone within the IRS even took the time to think such a position might ‘be inflammatory,’ is about as close as can be to a smoking gun revealing the IRS engaged in naked viewpoint discrimination.

That foul activity cannot be waved away.  Its stench is one that will only dissipate after there is a thorough investigation into how the  decision was made to use this particular criterion for evaluating an application.  Who approved that decision?  How many people knew about it?  How many organizations were subjected to it?

Europeans Bring Back ‘Kauf Nicht bei Juden!’

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Benjamin Weinthal writes (subscription):

The left-liberal German Green party finally forced the hand of the conservative Merkel administration to explicitly declare—what before had been an open secret—its support for product labels covering export goods from the occupied territories in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Germany’s Green Party unleashed a firestorm of criticism in May over its parliamentary initiative to label Israeli exports to Europe and the Federal Republic. Critics in Germany and the United Kingdom argued that the Green Party push was an eerie reminder of the Hitler movement’s “Kauf nicht bei Juden!” [Do not buy from Jews!] boycott action and a modernized form of the yellow star.

Dr. Emily Haber, a state secretary in the German Foreign Ministry, conveyed the new position of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a letter to the Green Party: “The label ‘Made in Israel’ is, according to the opinion of the federal government, only allowed for products from within the borders of Israeli state territory before 1967.”

The measure is an unashamedly provocative anti-Israel move by the largely pro-Israel Merkel administration. It will blur the lines between an all-encompassing boycott of Israeli merchandise and demarcation of settlement products. In short, the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will push the punitive label action down the slippery slope of blocking access to all Israeli goods.

canned-food1

Apparently, a decision about how to label products made beyond the Green Line hasn’t been made yet. The yellow star is probably not in the running, but it should be. It is impossible any longer to hide the ugly hate-based double standard applied to the world’s only Jewish state by the international Left, of which Greens are representative:

In 1983, the Green Party put out a “Green Calendar” with the headline “Israel, the gang of murderers” and called for a “boycott of goods from Israel.” In an article last month in the German daily Die Welt entitled ‘The long tradition of Green Anti-Zionism,” the Green Party’s history of blaming Israel for the Middle East’s problems was highlighted. A year after the notorious “Green Calendar” was published, Green party politicians launched a fact-finding mission in the Middle East with visits to Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied West Bank. The delegation prepared a final document ahead of the trip declaring Israel “totally responsible for the emerging blood bath in the Middle East, when Israel does not decisively change its policies.”

A mere seven years later, a leading Green deputy, Hans-Christian Ströbele, who still serves in the Bundestag, justified the later Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s rocket attacks on the Jewish state during the First Gulf War in 1991 as a “logical, almost compelling consequence of Israel’s politics.”

Another telling example of the Greens’ disparate treatment toward Israel is that they have shown no comprehensive and systematic effort to push Germany’s government to similarly label products from Turkish occupied North Cyprus. In fact, the E.U. has showed no appetite for product labeling from territorial conflicts spanning the globe: Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, the Russian-held regions of Georgia, Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan, North Cyprus, and Kosovo. Israeli products remain the notable exception subject to EU consumer protection.

The EU continues to hide its official Jew-hatred behind logically indefensible statements that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is illegal, but its double standard betrays its true motivation.

Visit Fresno Zionism

Palestinian Journalists Declare War on Israeli Colleagues

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Palestinian journalists have declared an intifada against their Israeli colleagues.

In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters. On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories “without permission.”

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has complied, issuing instructions requiring Israeli journalists to obtain permission from its Ministry of Information before entering Palestinian cities.

Palestinian Authority officials and journalists later explained that the ban does not apply to some journalists working for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and who report on “Palestinian suffering.”

The Palestinian journalists campaigning against their Israeli colleagues have justified their action by saying that Israeli authorities do not allow them to work freely inside Israel. They also accuse the Israeli authorities of refusing to issue them with [Israeli] government press cards.

If anything, these claims represent a hypocritical approach.

In recent years, Palestinian journalists have strongly opposed to “normalization” with Israelis, including meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who violated the ban and met with Israeli counterparts were denounced as traitors and expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.

So while Palestinian journalists are opposed to “normalization” with Israel, they are at the same time demanding that Israeli authorities grant them permission to work inside Israel.

Even more, the Palestinian journalists are demanding that Israel provide them with press cards issued by none other than the Israeli government.

Won’t the Palestinian journalists be violating their own rules and ideology once they accept press cards issued by the Israeli government? And if they enter Israel and meet with Israelis, won’t they also be acting against their own boycott campaign?

What is disturbing is that foreign journalists based in Israel have not come out against the campaign of intimidation against their Israeli colleagues. Could it be because these foreign journalists have also been facing threats and want to stay on good terms with Palestinian reporters, and will also agree to report only on “Palestinian suffering”?

Gone are the days when Israeli and Palestinian journalists used to work together and exchange information on a daily basis, in the days before the peace process started.

Today, there is a new generation of Palestinian journalists who have evidently been radicalized to a point where any meeting with an Israeli is being viewed as a “crime.” This is the result of anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, especially over the past two decades.

Aware of the growing radicalism of Palestinian journalists, the Palestinian Authority, together with the American security detail, banned a large number of Palestinian journalists from covering the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ramallah last month.

The biggest fear was that a Palestinian journalist would either throw a shoe at Obama or engage in a rhetorical attack against him and U.S. policies.

If Palestinian journalists have been so radicalized that some are even willing to resort to threats and violence against colleagues, what must one say about the rest of the Palestinians who, for the past two decades, have also been exposed to messages of hate by their leaders?

How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Murder by Rock Throwing is Still Murder

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

News item:

In a groundbreaking decision, a military court found a Palestinian man guilty of murder for throwing a rock at an Israeli car, causing it to crash and killing the driver and his infant son.

The court at Ofer military prison on Tuesday found Wa’al al-Araji, 25, from Halhul, to be directly responsible for the deaths in 2011 of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan.

Palmer was driving from his home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba towards Jerusalem when Araji and accomplices drove towards them in the opposite direction in another vehicle. As the two cars passed each other, Araji hurled a rock that smashed through the windshield, knocking Palmer unconscious. The car swerved off the road, killing its occupants.

The decision was unusual in that the Military Advocate generally does not seek a murder charge against stone-throwing Palestinians, even when their actions cause fatalities. However, the panel of three judges said that, in this particular case, there can be no doubt that the accused intended to kill and had practiced perpetrating similar — although less deadly — attacks in the past.

As I pointed out at the time of the murder,

Every single day, hundreds of rocks, blocks, stones, etc. are thrown at Jewish vehicles in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Arab towns or neighborhoods inside the Green Line. Sometimes photographers are informed in advance that there will be exciting opportunities to view the heroic resistance to occupation. Throwing ‘stones’ (sometimes as big as a person’s head) is what Palestinian Arab adolescents do for entertainment. Even the great Columbia University ‘scholar’ Edward Said symbolically threw a stone across the Lebanese border at Israeli soldiers.

Stone-throwers are rarely caught. In this case, it was several days before the police even admitted that a crime had been committed. And just a few weeks ago, there was a similar incident in which a three-year old girl was critically injured.

Sentence hasn’t been pronounced yet, but al-Araji faces the possibility of a life sentence. Unfortunately Israel does not apply the death penalty to terrorists, who are sent to prison where they are permitted to take correspondence courses and enjoy other benefits until they are released in exchange for hostages taken by other terrorists.

While in prison, he will be paid a salary by the Palestinian Authority, which, when he gets out, will treat him like a hero, a ‘political prisoner’ like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi or Mahatma Gandhi. Don’t be surprised — consider the treatment received by mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, responsible for the Sbarro’s Pizza bombing in which 15 lives were snuffed out (including 8 children).

The release of prisoners has been an important demand made by the PLO, and at times has even been given by Mahmoud Abbas as a precondition for negotiations with Israel. It is an integral part of the Arab narrative that what they do — what we call ‘terrorism’ — is justified, akin to self-defense, a legitimate ‘resistance to occupation’.

At least, that’s the Western translation of their narrative, often dressed up in neo-colonial theory in which the ‘colonized’ are justified in resisting the ‘colonizers’ by any means (academics particularly eat this nonsense up).

Probably in Arab minds it is more like “they took our land and our honor, and we will get it back by killing them, especially the children they value so much.” That might be a little raw for Western sensibilities.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

The Ultimate ‘Settlements are not the Problem’ Article

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

It must be a new year. The Washington Post had an editorial last week explaining that Israeli settlements are not the main problem in the Middle East.

The Post editorial is amazing since such sanity is so rare. It begins:

“Two mistaken but widely held notions regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace are that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible.”

And then it continues by laying down a detailed, factual case that’s worth repeating:

–“Following the 1993 Oslo accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, like several before it, has limited building almost entirely to areas that both sides expect Israel to annex through territorial swaps in an eventual settlement….”

–Almost all of the Jewish settlers live on only four percent of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.], the sector that Israel has been seeking to annex as part of a peace plan that was first presented twelve years ago.

–Israel’s latest construction, which will connect Maale Adumim—a short walk from Jerusalem—with the rest of the city is hardly the destruction of any chance for peace which has been portrayed in much of the Western media and by some Western governments. The worst-case scenario would be that if this corridor determined the ultimate border between two states, Palestinian motorists might have to take a detour of about ten minutes.

–Those who “are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood…will press [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud] Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for intransigence – and cool their own overheated rhetoric.”

One of the questions I’m most often asked is about Israeli settlements. It is ridiculously easy to prove they are not the factor preventing Israel-Palestinian peace. I favor the eventual dismantlement of almost all of them–but only if and when there is a comprehensive peace which results in the annexation of some–that would be in Palestine’s territory. That is a long way off.

The problem with demonstrating that settlements are not the problem is that it is so hard to get those arguments to a big audience in the West. Many people also have a pre-1993 image of the situation in their minds.

Briefly, here are two points that make the case. The first shows that the claims about settlements are contrary to the facts; the second that they are contrary with logic.

First, the day after the Israel-PLO agreement was signed in 1993, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made it clear that Israel’s interpretation was that it permitted continued construction on existing settlements. The Palestinian Authority did not object and that policy did not prevent it from negotiating over the next seven years. (Deliberate?) misrepresentations often make people think that Israel is establishing new settlements or expanding the size of existing ones. Both claims are untrue.

Second, if the Palestinian side wants an end to settlements that should be an incentive for reaching a peace agreement faster and thus getting rid of all settlements on the territory of the new state of Palestine. Notice that Israel—under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon no less—demolished all of the settlements in the Gaza Strip as, among other things, a sign of what could be gained by a peace deal.

Yet the Palestinian side has been in no hurry to make a deal. In theory, when it complains about settlements the response should be: So why don’t you compromise for peace and get rid of them rather than having them become “larger?”

But you don’t have to think this is a new idea. That was exactly what King Hussein of Jordan told the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s “legislative” body, on November 22, 1984. He explained:

“The years go by….The holy and cherished land is being swallowed up every day….How long shall we heed those among us who say: Leave it for future generations….? What makes them believe that the circumstances of future generations will be more conducive [when postponement is merely] giving the enemy more time….?

In other words, your refusal to make peace makes things worse.

“We thus enabled the enemy to exploit time in order to change reality on the land of Palestine in its favor….Brothers and sisters, because we will be harmed the most as a result of the continuation of the present state of affairs….experience taught us to renounce immobility…..”

Or, to put it bluntly, stop quarreling and using violence, and demanding too much and expecting to gain total victory that will wipe Israel off the map and just make a compromise two-state solution.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-ultimate-settlements-are-not-the-problem-article/2013/01/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: