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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘East Jerusalem’

New York Family Rescued From Arab Lynch Mob in Jerusalem

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

On Wednesday, the Arfons family, visiting Israel from New York, were rescued from an Arab mob who tried to lynch them – in Jerusalem.

The family was on their way to visit the grave of their grandfather, located on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, going back an estimated 3000 years, and holds approximately 150,000 graves.

According to the father, Yoel, when they reached the area near Augusta Victoria, two Arab-owned cars suddenly blocked them, one in the front, and one from behind.

The Arabs in the the cars then got out and began stoning the car, smashing it, and attempting to physically pull the family out of the vehicle.

One of the passengers, a cousin (40), suffered a hand broken and internal injuries as he protected two children who were in the car, ages 14 and 17. The cousin was taken to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus for treatment. The rest of the family suffered injuries and bruises, but were treated on site.

The police spokesperson said they are searching for the attackers.

Mount of Olives Lynch 2

 

Mount of Olives Lynch 3

 

On Thursday, there were over a dozen stoning attacks against Jewish-owned cars and buses in Judea and Samaria.

Sen. Leahy: Obama Secretly Suspended Egypt Military Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?

After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.

I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.

I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.

“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.

In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.

The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.

Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):

“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”

By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.

Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.

But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.

Bennett’s Folly: Territory Giveback Referendum Passes First Reading

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

The Knesset bill mandating a national referendum before the government gives away areas of sovereign Israel passed its first reading in the Knesset in a vote of 66 to 45. The bill will now go to committee for deliberations and amendments and is expected to be presented to the Knesset plenum during its fall session.

The vote on the referendum was taken on the last day of the 19th Knesset’s first session, ushering in the much needed summer break.

According to the national referendum bill, should Israel be forced to give back territories within the 1948 green line—in case of land exchanges—as well as the annexed territories of East Jerusalem and the Golan heights, the voter will have to decide for or against the move in a special referendum.

The bill, which has already been approved by the 18th Knesset, is up for adoption as a “Basic Law,” which is as close as Israeli law gets to a constitutional amendment. The upgrade would mean that it would require a majority of 61 MKs to change it.

The law distinctly avoids any reference to Judea and Samaria, which to date have not been annexed and therefore are not governed under Israeli law. This fact is likely to be forgotten as the “peace negotiations” are proceeding without a hitch. In other words, the government should be able to evict Israelis from anywhere east of the 1967 border without the voters’ input via the referendum, and such an eviction—quite like the Gush Katif expulsion—can still be undertaken with a simple majority: 20 MKs in favor, 19 against, could finish off Jewish life in Judea and Samaria as we know it.

The new, upgraded law was promoted most heavily by Jewish Home and its leader, Naftali Bennett, who boasted like week that his party has proven “why the Jewish nation needs the Jewish Home in the government… We said openly that we would not remain in a government that would deal on the basis of the ’67 borders – and this will no longer happen. It shows that when we insist we get results.”

Not quite. The fact is that, as far as the half million Israelis living in Judea and Samaria—most of whom are Jewish Home voters—the parameters of the national referendum bill certainly are on the basis of the ’67 borders. From the point of view of any Jew living in Ariel, Karney Shomron, or Efrat, the new bill constitutes their betrayal by Bennett et al.

The bill is a huge loss to Jewish Home, whose leader is just not astute enough, apparently, to realize how his lunch money was taken a second time by smarter politicians. Netanyahu is the huge winner of last night’s vote, because he will get a year of industrial peace out of it. Despite the subtle point regarding Judea and Samaria, Israelis would be convinced that, come givebacks time, they would be able to influence the process with their referendum votes – but they won’t.

Should the Palestinians be smart enough not to attack Israel with rockets or start an intifada while negotiations are in session (a Yid can always hope), Tzipi Livni and the gang could forge a peace agreement that would satisfy a majority of Israelis. For one thing, the Palestinians could easily avoid any discussion of the Golan Heights – it’s not their territory. As to East Jerusalem – the two sides could decide to co-own it. There have been similar proposals in the past, which died only because the Arabs rejected them (thank God). This time around they might agree that East Jerusalem would be governed by both Israel and the PA, and local residents would be asked to decide which ID card they prefer (two bits they’d all opt for the “blue card”).

Most Israelis would embrace such a deal, which, on its face, does not take away East Jerusalem and maintains their free access to the holy sites (except Temple Mount). Having achieved majority support this way, Netanyahu and Livni can basically give back all of Judea and Samaria and it won’t affect the results of the referendum.

Of course, Jewish Home would then leave the coalition government in a huff, fallen heroes and whatnot, to be replaced swiftly by Labor, or Shas, or both.

In the immortal words of the president of Freedonia Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup): “Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot.”

Incidentally, last night Prime Minister Netanyahu came across positively Churchillian with his retort to Arab MK Jamal Zahalka. The latter cried from the podium at Minister Yuval Steinitz: “You are the enemy of peace, we were here before you – and we’ll be here after you.” Netanyahu asked to be allowed to speak, took the podium and said directly to Zahalka: “The first part of your statement is incorrect, and the second part will not happen.”

He received great applause, proving to anyone who cared to watch that he had been there before one Naftali Bennett got elected MK, and he would be there long after Mr. Bennett is asked by his party members to return to his promising career in hi tech.

State Dept. Program Awards East Jerusalem to Arabs

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Like all good things, this article started with an innocent press release from the U.S. State Department:

“The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, announced on Wednesday the selection of 11 new projects as part of the Museums Connect program. Museums Connect links U.S. communities with communities around the world through innovative, museum-based exchanges that foster mutual understanding while focusing on important topics like climate change, women’s empowerment, disability awareness, and civic engagement.”

So far, so good.

The projects, according to the note from my government, pair cultural institutions in the United States with partners from 11 international locales and involve community members, particularly youth, to reach beyond institutional walls.

Also good. Who wouldn’t want youth to reach beyond those institutional walls (especially if they’re well medicated).

The awardees of special attention from our Sate Dept. include a program called “Citizenship Unbound: Flag Stories,” uniting the Islamic Art Museum of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, a kind of community-centered museum.

The program “Common Ground: Connecting Communities through Gardens,” unites this summer the Egyptian Agricultural Museum, Giza, Egypt, with Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, King City, CA. Sounds a little lopsided – farming in California together with ancient pyramids, but, hey, whatever fuels your tractor.

There are more, similarly “unique” programs in that press release, and then it becomes even more interesting.

A program called “Design Diaries International” puts together the Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, MN—a fine institution, established in 1849 to tell the story of Minnesota’s past, using the power of history to transform lives—with this other fine institution: the Palestinian Heritage Museum, East Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories.

You see? There goes Secretary of State John Kerry, schlepping around the Near-East trying to promote some compromise over the future of East Jerusalem, with both sides in the conflict holding fast to their demands that it’s a deal breaker – Jews cannot live without the City of David, site of two holy temples, the focus of Jewish aspirations for thousands of years, and Muslims must have that area where Mohammed’s horse possibly flew into heaven – when back at home the good people in his employ have already resolved the problem.

According to our State Dept., East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Palestinian Territories. End of discussion. Somebody should tell Bibi, I suppose, but, otherwise, we’re done here.

The Palestinian Heritage Museum resides in the girls’ orphanage Dar al-Tifel al-Arabi, on Abu Obeidah Bin Jarrah Steet in Jerusalem. A May 17, 2012 WAFA story announced that the Palestinian Heritage Museum at Dar al-Tifel al-Arabi in East Jerusalem reopened in ceremonies attended by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Assessor for Cooperation at the Italian Province of Pisa, Silvia Pagnin.

With an overall budget of 400,000 euros, the museum “intends to preserve and empower the Palestinian cultural and identity heritage and to train and retrain the museum’s staff.”

According to the Palestinian Visitor Information Center, the museum “displays traditional Palestinian clothing and jewelry previously unseen by the public and will provide courses on the conservation and restoration of antique textiles, jewelry and manuscripts.”

The museum’s other official name is “Empowering Dar al-Tifel Museum and Dar Isaaf al-Nashashibi” project.

In other words, they’re renting space from the girls’ orphanage, they put together a staff and they’re paying them to “train and retrain” with the Italian taxpayer’s hard earned money. Otherwise, it looks like nothing more than an address on which to pin the provocative address “East Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories.”

An EU press release dated July 3, 2013, announced that “The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed on Tuesday a €2.4 million agreement with Al-Quds University aimed at the preservation of Palestinian cultural heritage in Jerusalem’s Old City.”

Among other things, “The program will contribute to the development and protection of Palestinian cultural heritage in the old city of Jerusalem, in addition to the improvement of socioeconomic conditions of its citizens through quality housing and tourism services,” the press release said.

So, the EU and the UN drum up this cockamamie plan, at around two and a half million bucks, to develop and protect Palestinian heritage (like it’s under attack), and our own State Dept. bolsters the same effort by pairing this theoretical museum with a very real one, in Minnesota.

Israel Bows to PA and EU Threat, Stops Building in ‘East’ Jerusalem

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The European Union, which is one of the Palestinian Authority’s biggest benefactors, has succeeded in forcing Israel from building even one new home of Jews in areas of Jerusalem claimed by the PA, although the number of new housing starts in Judea and Samaria has tripled.

No official building freeze has been announced, but reports of a defacto freeze surfaced at the beginning of the year and were confirmed Monday by Army Radio and by sources at the Israel Land Authority. Plans for Jewish construction projects have been suspended in eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, all of which the Palestinian Authority says will be part of a new PA country.

In stark contrast, housing starts in Judea and Samaria tripled in the first three months of this year.

The Palestinian Authority threatened last month it would sue Israel if dared to build even one more home for Jews in what is popularly termed eastern Jerusalem.

The European Union then went to bat PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and vowed it would back a suit against Israel in The Hague, as reported here.

Now that Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry know that Israel can be successful threatened on the diplomatic front, it remains to be seen if Kerry can succeed in satisfying Abbas’ demand for a total freeze as a condition to direct talks with the Netanyahu government.

Kerry was supposed to fly to Israel in Tuesday but has postponed his fifth trip to Israel this year until next week.

Two totally unrelated reasons for the postponement have been cited by different news sources.

Kerry presumably put off the trip due to urgent meetings on the question of whether the Obama administration will begin arming rebels in Syria, according to the Christian Broadcast Network. It also noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to visit Poland for two days this week.

The Israel HaYom newspaper said the reason is simply that Kerry wants to give Abbas more time to think twice and removed his pre-conditions for direct talks with Israel.

The Palestinian Excuse Machine

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to revive the Middle East peace process hasn’t accomplished much so far and isn’t likely to do better in the future. But it has posed an interesting challenge to the Palestinians.

Given that they don’t wish to further offend the United States or disrupt the flow of Western aid that keeps the corrupt Palestinian Authority afloat, and also don’t wish to return to negotiating with Israel under virtually any circumstances, how do they justify continuing their four-and-half-year-old boycott of peace talks?

Their answer to that dilemma is clear: continue to pile on the calumnies against the Jewish state and hope it will be seen to justify their ongoing refusal to even talk with Israel.

Their reasoning for sticking to this tried and true formula for avoiding peace talks is sound. Given that both Washington and much of the Western media have always been ready to buy into their abuse of Israel and to stick to the idea that the Palestinians are innocent victims rather than the principle authors of their own misery, why shouldn’t they continue to pretend that Israeli building in Jerusalem is an obstacle to peace that prevents them from returning to the table?

Anyone who is familiar with the parameters of past peace talks that they claim to wish to build on understands that their complaints about Jews in Jerusalem or canards about ethnic cleansing are not only false but simply excuses manufactured to justify their unwillingness to play ball with Kerry.

The Palestinian complaints about Israeli building in East Jerusalem dooming peace talks are patently absurd. The plans, which consist of tenders for the construction of 300 apartments in the Ramot neighborhood and 800 in the Gilo area, would in no way affect the Palestinian position or their hopes for an independent state that might include part of the city.

Ramot and Gilo are located in parts of Jerusalem that were illegally occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967 and thus are over the “green line” that once divided the city. But these are 40-year-old neighborhoods that are long established, not some remote hilltop settlements in parts of the West Bank that are assumed to be part of a future Palestinian state.

In every peace plan put forward by peace groups as well as the Israeli government’s offers of statehood to the Palestinians, the Jewish areas of East Jerusalem remain part of Israel. The Palestinians know that even in the most generous distribution of territory – including the one put forward by former prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 that called for the abandonment of the Old City by Israel – Ramot and Gilo and other such neighborhoods are not going to be handed over to them and emptied of their Jewish inhabitants.

In other words, if the Palestinian goal is truly to have a state alongside Israel that includes the Arab sections of East Jerusalem, it doesn’t matter how many Jews are in Ramot and Gilo.

But of course the PA isn’t really as interested in a partition of Jerusalem or the 1967 lines as it is in finding a reason to avoid talking to Israel. That’s why PA leaders are forced to try to blow up the issue of Jews in East Jerusalem as a provocation that prevents them from negotiating.

To be fair to the Palestinians, they are in some ways merely following the lead of the Obama administration, which made an issue of building in Jerusalem during the president’s first term. Fortunately, though, Obama and Kerry have abandoned past attempts to get Israel to agree to a building freeze in its own capital and instead urged the Palestinians to negotiate without preconditions.

But that is something PA leader Mahmoud Abbas knows he cannot do. Abbas fled from Olmert’s offer that would have given him virtually everything he says he wants because he knows he would not survive after signing a deal that recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn.

Despite Kerry’s naïve optimism that he can succeed where all his predecessors have failed, the intervening years have not altered Abbas’s position. With his Hamas rivals ensconced in Gaza and his own political position still precarious as he serves the ninth year of his four-year term as president, Abbas has no leeway to agree to a peace that would conclude the conflict.

Palestinian politics remains mired in the rejectionism that has characterized its relationship toward Zionism since its inception. Nor is Abbas strong enough to resist the demands of the descendants of the 1948 refugees for Israel’s destruction even if he really were willing to make peace.

But faced with Kerry’s pleas for talks, all Abbas can do is to stall and pretend that Jews building in areas the Palestinians will never get even in a division of Jerusalem is reason to avoid talking. Both Washington and the Western press shouldn’t fall for the latest version of the PA’s excuses.

Wisdom From Tom Friedman

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Here is Tom Friedman’s latest wisdom:

…the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Well, I do not know about the “world” but the Pals. would certainly not agree.

That was dumb of Tom, no?

P.S.  Are there “Jewish neighborhoods” of “East Jerusalem”?

Can we retain those?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/my-right-word/wisdom-from-tom-friedman/2013/06/06/

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