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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mahmoud Abbas’

International Criminal Court at The Hague Has No Jurisdiction in Gaza

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been threatening for weeks to charge Israel with war crimes at the International Criminal Court at the The Hague.

But this week, suddenly, PA delegates are saying they “might” be willing to “delay” the PA’s application to international agencies – including the ICC – if they are able to close a deal with Israel within the next four months.

Why?

It turns out the answer is to be found in a clear, elegant and blunt article published in the UK-based newspaper ‘The Guardian,’ penned by Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the ICC.

Bensouda explains that the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, mandates that the prosecutor investigate and prosecute crimes “committed on the territory or by the nationals of states that have joined the ICC statute or which have otherwise accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC through an ad hoc declaration to that effect pursuant to article 12-3 of the statute.”

In plain language, the ICC has no jurisdiction over ‘Palestine,’ over the Palestinian Authority, over PA-controlled territory in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. Nor does Israel consider itself under the jurisdiction of the Court for various legal reasons.

“In November 2012, Palestine’s status was upgraded by the UN General Assembly to “non-member observer state” through the adoption of resolution 67/19. My office examined the legal implications of this development and concluded that while this change did not retroactively validate the previously invalid 2009 declaration, Palestine could now join the Rome Statute,” Bensouda wrote.

However, the PA has not yet done so, probably in part because if it does, the PA leadership will be just as liable to prosecution as will anyone else.

That’s pretty scary.

“In both practice and words, I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favour, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those – irrespective of status or affiliation – who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity,” Bensouda wrote. “My office’s approach to Palestine will be no different if the court’s jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation.

“It is my firm belief that recourse to justice should never be compromised by political expediency. The failure to uphold this sacrosanct requirement will not only pervert the cause of justice and weaken public confidence in it, but also exacerbate the immense suffering of the victims of mass atrocities. This, we will never allow.”

The question of course is how the International Criminal Court at The Hague would view the unbelievable number of incidents of use of human shields in Gaza documented by the IDF. Not to mention the exploitation of the “neutral” United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) by Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza during wartime. That is use of human shields also – several of those facilities were filled with civilians displaced due to combat – not to mention use of UN cover.

Add to that the mass executions of local civilians Hamas suspected of collaboration with Israel – and for that matter, the executions they continue to carry out in service of that fear. Hamas, after all, is a member of the PA unity government now; what Hamas does, everyone is liable for.

All of which the PA would be inviting the ICC to fully investigate. And which Israel has substantiated with documented evidence in objective detail. Not eyewitnesses, who can be manipulated, intimidated and forced into distorted testimony, but satellite imagery, photograph stills and video footage.

Does Abbas want to risk that? Is the United States recommending he risk that? For that matter, the European Union and US might even have a part to play as well; both fund the Palestinian Authority quite liberally, and the PA government in Ramallah continues to pay the monthly salaries of terrorists imprisoned in Israel. More than a few were released due to diplomatic pressure from the US, and have since returned to their old ways. What part did they play in the war in Gaza? Probably the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) knows.

Arab Sources: State Dept Again Pressuring Israel to Restart Talks

Monday, September 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State of John Kerry has again begun to ‘remind’ Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it’s time to restart the final status talks with Palestinian Authority leaders.

Kerry allegedly phoned Netanyahu over the matter, adding a suggestion that Israel consider releasing that fourth group of terrorist prisoners that were held back from the final tranche that was canceled when the previous set of talks crashed and burned.

But Israel’s prime minister didn’t see things the same way, according to a report in the London-based Al Quds al-Araby – prompting Kerry to cancel his scheduled visit to Israel next week.

It is worth mentioning at this point that such reports are often best viewed with at least a large tablespoon of salt.

A source quoted in the Palestinian Authority also told the newspaper that a PA delegation to include chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence head Majid Faraj said they would travel to Washington tomorrow (Tuesday) to meet instead with Kerry there, and present a new initiative.

Another PA delegation headed by PLO official Mustafa Barghouti is set to arrive today (Monday, Sept. 1) in Cairo as well. There, too, discussions will include – in addition to the follow-up to cease-fire arrangements with Gaza – the issue of restarting talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It’s the same PA officials who plan to charge Israel with war crimes and violations of international human rights laws.

(Allegedly the PA has said they are planning to “delay” their applications to the UN Security Council and other international commission, IF an agreement is reached within four months.)

It’s also the same PA unity government that includes the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped three Israeli teens and murdered them in Gush Etzion on June 12.

The same PA government that is led by the Fatah faction, which includes the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist wing – which participated in the firing of rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel from Gaza.

The same PA government that has reneged on every agreement and backed out of every negotiation deal it has ever made with Israel.

The same PA government that has never managed to meet even the most basic obligations about working towards a ‘language of peace’ it agreed to under the Oslo Accords that established its existence as an entity in the first place.

The countless publications of the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization, which monitors PA media publications and broadcasts make it clear there have been no changes whatsoever in the glorification of terror at the government level from Ramallah. So how does Mahmoud Abbas differ from Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal?

Simple. He wages war with words, encourages terror at the diplomatic and educational level.

It’s the most dangerous terrorism of all, and the United States and Europe both fund his efforts, full throttle.

Obama White House Condemns Designation of Gush Etzion Lot as ‘State Land’

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

The decision came as a direct result of the kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of three teenage yeshiva students on the site in early June.

The U.S. claimed the move would damage future final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a Statement Department spokesman said. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians. We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

In general, the U.S. has opposed Israeli development in Judea and Samaria, although most past administrations have ameliorated their concerns, depending on circumstance.

The 4,000-dunam lot is located adjacent to the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shevut, not far from bus stop and hitchhiking post where Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar were abducted by Hamas terrorists and then murdered on June 12. Their bodies were found three weeks later in Judea after a massive manhunt by thousands of IDF soldiers and security personnel, in a field owned by the Hebron-based Qawasme clan along Highway 60 between Hebron and Gush Etzion in the PA town of Halhul.

Prior to the designation, the Judea and Samaria civil administration had designated the status of the area — known as Geva’ot — as ‘survey land’ as ordered by the political establishment after the bodies of the three teens were recovered. The move froze the status of the area and prevented construction plans from moving through the system until a determination could be made about its future, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Geva’ot is not new. In 1982, an Israeli cabinet decision laid the groundwork for development of the area as an IDF Nahal community, which started in 1984 and then closed two years later. For the next 10 years the site became the home of the Shevut Yisrael Yeshiva, with small pre-fab homes. In 1998, The Gush Etzion Regional Council reached out to the government, requesting construction of a full-scale city on the site similar to Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Modi’il Illite and Beitar Illit. Plans began but two years later were dropped due to international diplomatic pressure. In 2008, once again the plans were picked up and moved forward in 2009, especially after the Annapolis Summit came to naught. By 2012, initial authorization for 523 homes was secured from the Defense Ministry — and there the project was frozen.

Gush Etzion is well within the area Israel is likely to retain in any final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The PA immediately responded that the site belongs to districts of two separate PA-controlled cities: Bethlehem and Hebron. Bethlehem is located across the road and is more than five and a half miles north. Hebron is the same distance, to the south.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, declared Sunday evening, “The settlement enterprise is illegal,” in a sweeping condemnation of every Jewish city, town and village built in Judea and Samaria, including any that might be built on the newly-designated state land. Nearly 400,000 Jews now live in Judea and Samaria.

He, too, said the move would “bring about a further deterioration” in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which at this point includes Hamas in its unity government.

The PA has had to be repeatedly dragged to the negotiations table over the years, each time with ‘enticements’ and ‘good will gestures’ forced on Israel by the United States.

Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Crushing Hamas instead of accepting a cease-fire might have turned Gaza into another Fallujah, with Israel paying an exorbitant price in terms of the lives of soldiers as well as risking security on the Syrian front, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in interviews this weekend.

He noted that the United States in 2004 fought against Islamists in the Iraqi city, one-tenth the size of Gaza, killed thousands of Iraqis and destroyed thousands of homes only to hand over control to the Iraqi government, which last year lost control of the city to Al Qaeda.

The Prime Minister went on a media blitz with three television interviews over the weekend after his popularity sank dramatically in the past week. He was the target of barbs from left and right for accepting a cease-fire with Hamas instead of going for the kill and for not fulfilling his promise that a cease-fire would be conditioned on dis-arming Hamas. Instead, the issue of weapons in Gaza was put off for “negotiations” in 30 days while Hamas insists it never will give up its rockets.

He tried repair the political damage by emphasizing that the “big picture” is more important than destroying Hamas, which can always be done later, if need be.

None other than U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry provided him with an escape hatch by calling for ”global coalition” to fight radical Islamists who are “perilously close to Israel.”

“The Islamic State is galloping toward us [and] al-Qaeda is on the Golan borders,” said Netanyahu, who explained he did want to “not to invest all my assets in this one arena” of Gaza.

“I am preparing for a reality in the Middle East that is very problematic,” Netanyahu said, but Bloomberg News quoted Ben Gurion University political science Prof. Yoram Meital as saying that ISIS and Al Qaeda “have yet to form large enough armies to “significantly pose an existential threat to Israel.” He added, “There is a tendency to exaggerate the power of these groups for political aims.”

Netanyahu said that beheading Hamas, figuratively speaking, still is an option and that there might be a situation in which Israel has to occupy Gaza

He asserted that while he will not tolerate even a drizzle of rockets, invading Gaza at this time would have come at a possibly intolerable loss of soldiers.

Netanyahu did not state, nor has the IDF commented, that a massive invasion of Gaza was not a real option ever since the military pulled out most of its tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) from the Gaza front almost immediately after the last temporary cease-fire before the current truce was announced last week. The IDF apparently knew it had won as much as it could at the least possible price.

Buried amid the praise for the military’s dealing Hamas a severe blow from the air and from the ground are well-sourced reports that the army was not prepared for the massive and lethal Hamas defense in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza.

Entering all of Gaza to topple Hamas would have meant facing a well-organized terrorist army in every city in the Gaza, despite the elimination of top Hamas commanders by the Israeli Air Force.

However, there is no doubt, as Netanyahu said, that Hamas did not expect the force with which Israel retaliated following rocket attacks on most of Israel.

The Prime Minister also emphasized in the interviews that Hamas agreed to the same Egyptian cease-fire proposal that it originally rejected.

He did not relate to the difficulty that awaits Israel with diplomatic maneuvering by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to use the “peace process” to allow his security forces to patrol Gaza borders.

Israel Ambassador to UN Demands Action Against Hamas

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, has demanded the world body take action against Hamas for the terror group’s clear violations against international humanitarian law.

“Despite the fact that the UN has recognized the war crimes committed by Hamas during the fighting, nothing has been done about the matter,” he said in a letter sent to the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The letter included a detailed report of terrorist artillery and missile fire that emanated from civilian population centers in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

“I expect the Security Council to condemn with a clear voice the tactics of Hamas,” he wrote, according to the Hebrew-language NRG news site. “The Council cannot be silent in light of the use by Hamas of Gaza civilians as human shields.”

The Palestinian Authority unity government led by Ramallah-based PLO Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, which includes Hamas, has demanded the UN Security Council set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all territory won in the 1967 Six Day War, including parts of its capital restored to the nation during that defensive conflict. Failing that, Abbas has vowed to charge Israel with war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a miserable sales pitch to the Israeli people Wednesday night in a weak effort to turn around public opinion that is unhappy, if not disgusted, with his agreeing to the cease-fire announced by Hamas and its new war partner, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

The Prime Minister, followed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantzת repeated over and over Israel’s achievements in the war

Netanyahu claimed that Israel achieved the goals it set from the beginning, mainly to restore quiet to Israel and to destroy terror tunnels.

He also rewrote his promise earlier this month that there will no cease-fire without disarming Hamas. Magically, that now has become a “long-term” goal.

He buried that promise among the insistence that “Hamas did not get one demand” that it made before the cease-fire.

Netanyahu listed Hamas’ demands as a deep-sea port, an airport, freeing terrorists who were released in the delay of the return of Gilad Shalit and then were re-arrested for returning to terror, mediation of Turkey and Qatar in cease-fire talks.

And what happened to his position that Israel would not negotiate under fire?

Technically, Netanyahu kept its word. Israel negotiators were recalled from Cairo every time Hamas broke a cease-fire and resume rocket fire on Israel.

But negotiations do not require face-to face discussions. Does Netanyahu want everyone to believe that Israel was not updated on the Egyptian-brokered plan and Hamas’s reactions?

Does he really want everyone to believe that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority announced the cease-fire without knowing that Israel would accept it?

And if indeed that is what happened and the cease-fire simply fell on Israel out of the blue, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s acceptance only shows how destructively passive he was, failing to seize the last days of the war to make demands.

More likely, the United States was involved. U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday that Kerry and his point man in the Middle East, Frank Lowenstein, were in constant contact with Netanyahu.

She said the United States was not an active participant in the talks but was part of the action, in one way or the other.

Netanyahu hammered away at all of the achievements that are well-known – the destruction of terror tunnels, the relentless attacks on hundreds of Hamas command centers, rocket launchers and weapons factories and storerooms.

Approximately 1,000 terrorists were killed in the war.

Israel’s successes in the war cannot be pooh-poohed. Hamas indeed was dealt a crippling blow. Hamas knows very well that the days are over when it can lob mortar shells and launching rockets at the Gaza Belt without a fierce retaliation.

However, the Israeli public, including the influential center and center-left in Tel Aviv, no longer trusts agreements with Arabs and does not trust the Israeli government, no matter who is charge, to walk out of diplomatic negotiations without opened up the chicken barn for the foxes.

“Hamas is isolated politically, and we received legitimacy in the international community,” Netanyahu insisted. He said that Israel won solid backing in the international community, and that is true – today. And maybe tomorrow.

By next week, it will have evaporated into thin air, and once again there will be international demands that Israel make peace by diplomatic suicide.

One of the most disturbing statements at the press conference was made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who boasted that it will take Hamas 10 years to re-build.

So what do we have? A 10-year respite before the next war?

Netanyahu noted that Israel has allegedly enjoyed peace and quiet in the north since the cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Netanyahu’s Cease-Fire Agreement Leads the Country into Confusion

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu led the country into confusion Tuesday night by agreeing to a cease-fire that leaves Hamas armed and paved the way for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose new peace partner is Hamas, to guard the terrorists.

Netanyahu was so sure that his Security Cabinet would balk at agreeing to the ceasefire that he did not even bother to consult with the ministers, approximately half of whom are upset with his decision.

The Prime Minister’s spin was that since the Cabinet has accepted previous cease-fires, there was no need to ask the ministers again.

He also has the  Brooklyn Bridge for sale.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister and Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch publicly stated they are opposed to Netanyahu’s decision, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan would have been a doubtful supporter.

Israel lost the opportunity the past week to carry out a quick, penetrating and dangerous ground invasion of Hamas strongholds in Gaza cities. Orders for such a counter-terror motive were ready to be signed, but that is far as they got.

Whether it was the fear of the “day after” anarchy that would follow a ground incursion, the fear of a high number of Israel casualties, the fear of international criticism, the fear of interrupting President Barack Obama’s golf game or the fear of some bogeyman that does not exist, the government and the IDF opted for continuing aerial bombing raids that definitely hurt Hamas but left it strong enough to dictate certain terms of the  cease-fire.

Some security sources bragged to Israeli media how the IDF decimated Hamas and forced it into submission, but while Hamas did not get everything it wanted, Israel got nothing but a halt of rocket fire for the 12th time, or maybe it is the 13th time.

Hamas wildly celebrated the cease-fire, but no one in Israel, except for the small and inconsequential far left, was jumping for joy.

Few people expect the  cease-fire to last, but the problem is that it as long as it does, Israel may be forced into concessions that, like the Oslo Accords, become irreversible when the enemy figures it has conned for all it can get and then goes on to the next round of blackmail.

Israel will open the borders, but Hamas did not receive its demand for a deep-sea port and airport, issues that are up for negotiations in another month, along with the Israeli demand that Hamas dis-arm.

Can you picture Hamas agreeing to dis-arm in return for an airport and seaport unless the facilities will not be supervised so that it can bring in even more advanced weapons?

Israel’s stated goal in the war was to dis-arm Hamas. Netanyahu said there would be no cease-fire without that goal being achieved. He also insisted as late as today that there would be no negotiations under fire.

Those goals and promises clearly were empty.

It is true that Israeli negotiators were not in Cairo, but it is inconceivable that the Office of the Prime Minister simply sat back while Hamas and Egypt, with the help of Hamas’s patron Qatar, tied up the loose ends for a  cease-fire without consulting with Israel.

Moreover, the U.S. State Dept.’s ”man on the ground in the Middle East,” Frank Lowenstein, has been actively involved.

There is no way that the United States was participating in the secret talks without being in touch with Netanyahu, who pulled the wool over the country.

The Prime Minister might not have noticed, but opinion polls that his popularity sunk dramatically the past week, after broad support during the war.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahus-cease-fire-agreement-leads-the-country-into-confusion/2014/08/26/

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