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February 10, 2016 / 1 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Oslo Accords’

U.S. ‘Re-Issues Old Labeling Requirement’ But Ignores its Original, Now Invalid, Basis

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Things continue to go downhill in the diplomatic world of U.S.-Israel relations. This week the U.S. State Department re-issued a nearly 20 year old regulation – written at a very different time, under very different circumstances – and insists it will “strictly enforce” this ancient rule which requires any goods produced in the disputed territories be designated as place of origin other than “Israel.”

This old-new restriction came up in one of the most unlikely of places, the Cargo Systems Messaging Service, which is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The very short introduction explains that the message was issued in order to “provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufacture in the West Bank.”

This latest message from the Cargo Messaging Service was issued literally in the dead of night – 12:53 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23. Hmmm.

And the “requirements” to which that message is referring, are ones that require labeling of goods produced in the disputed territories, or as the U.S. likes to call them – despite chastising Israel constantly for “creating facts on the ground” – the West Bank and Gaza but not Israel.

Although the labeling requirements are the very same ones recently at issue when the European Union forbade goods produced in the disputed territories to have Israel as an option and only permit labels such as “Gaza,” “Gaza/West Bank” or “West Bank,” the reason for the 20 year old U.S. regulation has a very different origin.

The U.S. requirements were imposed in the wake of the infamous Oslo Accords – those withered on the vine principles recently rejected in a public statement to the United Nations by acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Accords are referred to in the U.S. Regulations by its formal name, the “Israel-PLO-Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements.” Yeah, that long-dead horse.

And the original, and therefore controlling reason why the U.S. source labeling rule came into play had nothing to do with promoting a boycott of Israel, or even, as some now claim, a “truth in advertising” initiative.

The situation that was understood to need correction back in the 1990’s had to do with fair trade agreements. The U.S. and Israel had such an agreement, but the U.S. could not have an FTA with Gaza or with the now-Palestinian Authority controlled area in the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria).

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, when peace was threatening to break out all over, the U.S. decided it also made sense to create an FTA between the U.S. and the Palestinian Arab government. And that was an additional impetus for creating new labels for items produced by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza or in the “West Bank.”

In an additional and unintentional point of irony, the Palestinian Authority, back in the 1990’s, urged the State Department, and the State Department acquiesced, to the joint labels of Gaza and West Bank “so as to reaffirm the territorial unity of the two areas.”

What a joke.

During Thursday’s daily press briefing, Deputy State Department Spokeperson Mark C. Toner assured journalists the matter was “simply a restatement of previous requirements” which “in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations, nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”

Toner emphasized, with respect to the resistance of the old requirements: “there’s nothing new. This is simply a reissuance of guidance.”

The basis for the original regulation – the one everyone insists is all that is in play – was the Oslo Accords and the creation of a new state – one that remains stillborn – and the wrongly anticipated unification of Gaza and the Palestinian Arab governing force in the “West Bank.” Those bases were weak back in 1997, but they are now long-decayed legs upon which to place this labeling requirement.

And that’s the reason the regulations have not been enforced until now. There is no viable Palestinian State. There is no enforceable Oslo Accords. There is no unity Palestinian Arab government.

If that is all true, the new-old regulations should remain null and void.

Netanyahu: ‘Not Even One Meter’ of Area C to Palestinian Authority

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to Likud ministers in a meeting on Sunday that Israel would not transfer “even one meter” of territory to the Palestinian Authority.

But it was not really clear whether the prime minister was talking about territory in Area C with mutual swaps, or Area C “unilaterally,” or Area C in negotiations, or elsewise.

In fact, nothing was clear at all, except that he was adamant that there would be no unilateral transfer of territory, which is not the same thing as a properly negotiated transfer in a mutually worked out agreement, which may still be on the table.

“There won’t be any transfer of territory of the Palestinians, not 40,000 [dunam], not 10,000 [dunam] and not even one meter,” Netanyahu was quoted as by Ynet as saying in a meeting with Likud ministers. In that gathering he was referring to a report about handing over portions of Area C to the Palestinian Authority – something that was never an issue under the Oslo Accords in any case.

But the issue was indeed raised after Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, accused the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the IDF Civil Administration of working on a plan to do exactly that: to transfer 10,000 dunam of territory in Area C to the Palestinian Authority. It’s a plan that former U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk had also discussed in the past, and raised again recently while on a visit to Tel Aviv.

There were also reports last week that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected a proposal by Netanyahu to allow Arabs to build in some parts of Area C in exchange for ending the current wave of terror – and for the U.S. to acknowledge Israel’s right to build in the primary “settlement blocs” in which its Jewish communities are located in Judea and Samaria.

It has long been believed that those areas will likely remain part of Israel in any final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

To sweeten the deal, there were reports that Netanyahu had also offered to transfer some of the territory in Area C to the PA – but none of the reports were confirmed.

Dagan, however, insisted that he knew COGAT was advancing a plan to offer one part of Area C to the PA and reclassify it as Area B instead.

Under the Oslo Accords, Area C is totally under Israeli civil administrative and security control; Area B is under the security control of Israel, but Areas B and A are under the civil and administrative control of the Palestinian Authority. Area A is totally under the Palestinian Authority control, including security.

Outraged, Dagan asked Likud ministers to raise the issue at their Sunday morning meeting with Netanyahu, warning that to grant such a deal in the middle of a wave of terror would be tantamount to rewarding the attacks.

He also demanded that Netanyahu order COGAT and the IDF Civil Administration which administers the territories to stop working on such plans.

With increased numbers of IDF units carrying out security missions in all sectors of Judea and Samaria literally every night, however, it is more likely such a plan would be sabotaged long before it got off the ground, even if it were to be raised.

The IDF has shut down three separate PA radio stations for incitement, including one that was shut down just this weekend, early Sunday.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a radio interview on Israel Radio on Sunday that Israel’s conflict “did not start today and won’t end [tomorrow].

In Wake of New Intifada Netanyahu Cabinet Reevaluating Letting the Palestinian Authority Collapse

Friday, November 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Palestinian Authority’s security forces have foiled more than a hundred attacks since October 1, Walla reported on Thursday. Those attacks were at various levels of planning and execution, and in most cases it amounted to teenagers posting on the social networks they were going out to kill Jews, only to be arrested between their home and the nearest IDF checkpoint. It didn’t require great sleuth work, but the PA preventive action spared lives, including the lives of the young perpetrators.

Of course, the same Palestinian Authority generated the heated incitement to violence in its delusional “save Al-Aqsa” campaign, which began and egged on those sporadic outbursts in the first place. It’s the same Authority which has been defying almost every part of the Oslo peace accords, organizing terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians (most recently at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem), seeking statehood via the UN, fueling boycott drives against Israel, and now taking Israel to the International Criminal Court.

When it meets their own interests, the PA security apparatus occasionally works to locate and transfer illegal weapons to the Israeli authorities, and in particular, arresting Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, in part to keep them safe from the IDF, in part to keep Hamas from taking over the PA. On Thursday, the Hamas website reported that the Palestinian General Intelligence and Preventive Security forces arrested four Arabs because of their “political affiliation.”

It means the PA is only selectively delivering a service it was intended to deliver in full in the original peace accords—becoming a buffer between Israel and Arab terrorism. There’s a lot else that’s wrong with the PA—it could be democratic, it could work to improve the lives of its residents, it could encourage Israeli-Arab business enterprises, it could educate against anti-Semitic incitement instead of initiating and spreading it, but in the end the PA performs only some of its security mission some of the time.

Which is why, according to Ha’aretz, the Netanyahu cabinet spent the better part of Wednesday, following Secretary of State Kerry’s failed “stop the violence” visit, discussing the possibility of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, and whether or not Israel should stand in the way of such a collapse. A few ministers, most likely from the Bayit Yehudi coalition partner, argued that not having the PA is better than having it, advocating a laisez faire approach to the already self-destructing Authority.

Netanyahu convened his Cabinet based on information that the Palestinians are on the warpath against Israel in the international arena following Kerry’s failed efforts to squeeze some gestures out of Israel to calm the situation. Israel learned that the Palestinians are working on a UN resolution, either in the Security Council or the General Assembly, calling for international protection for the people of “the occupied Palestinian state.” Other intelligence suggests the PLO will rescind its 1993 recognition of the State of Israel, the very foundation of the Oslo Accords.

As mentioned above, the ministers also examined a scenario of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. The theme was not a willful dismantling of the PA by its chairman Mahmoud Abbas—a move he has threatened but no one takes seriously. The real possibility on the cabinet’s table was a combination of IDF pressure to curb terrorism, including curfews, limits on Arab transportation, and frequent checkpoints, coupled with an already weak economy, ushering in the PA’s collapse.

The IDF and Shin Bet representatives at the meeting were adamant against allowing such events to happen and warned against their civil and military implications.

However, according to a senior official who participated in the meeting and then informed Ha’aretz, some cabinet ministers, whose names he refused to mention, argued that the collapse of the PA may actually serve Israeli interests rather than harm them, and therefore Israel should not act to prevent such a scenario from materializing. Those same ministers argued that perhaps what the Palestinians are doing internationally and domestically against Israel today is more harmful than whatever awaits the Jewish State once there is no more Palestinian Authority.

Arabs Set Fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, Pushed Back by PA Police

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Several hundred Palestinian Authority Arabs Thursday night set fire to parts of the Joseph’s Tomb compound in the site of biblical Shechem, using firebombs. Palestinian police removed the rioters and put out the fire.

The IDF is planning to renovate the compound to facilitate the entry of Jewish worshipers again.

A military spokesperson said the IDF strongly condemns any violation of holy sites, views the incident as extremely serious and is determined to locate and arrest the perpetrators. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said in a statement:

As a Jew, I must express deep shock at this terrible act. I believe that everyone in the free world will condemn this barbaric and criminal act, igniting one of the holiest places for the Jewish people, which is a historical relic for the entire world.

This is the barbarism of the Palestinian Authority and its leader, yet another act that proves we can’t trust this ‘partner.’ I call on the prime minister to immediately return the IDF forces to Joseph’s Tomb, since it’s obvious that otherwise there is no one to take care of this important relic for us. It is Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas’s responsibility, and he should be held accountable.

Joseph’s tomb has been venerated throughout the ages by Jews, Christians, and Samaritans. After Judea and Samaria were restored to Israel in 1967, the shrine was gradually turned into a Jewish prayer room. Friction and conflict from competing Jewish and Muslim claims over the tomb became frequent, and, eventually, the site fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Accords that specifically stated that Jews would have free access to the holy site.

In 2000, just after being handed over to the PA, Joseph’s Tomb was looted and razed by an Arab mob. Starting in 2002, Jewish groups returned to the site intermittently. Between 2009 and 2010 the structure was refurbished, including a new cupola, and regular visits by Jews have resumed.

On April 24, 2011, PA police opened fire on three cars of Israeli worshipers after they finished praying at Joseph’s Tomb, killing as Israeli citizen and wounding three others.

An IDF investigation concluded that the Palestinian Authority police officers had acted “maliciously” and with the intent to harm the Jewish worshipers. Then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz declared that the Arab policemen fired “without justification and with no immediate threat to their lives.”

On July 7, 2014, Arabs tried to burn down Joseph’s Tomb during a riot, but Palestinian Authority security forces were able to stop the rioters before they could level it.

On December 22, 2014, Jews who were visiting the tomb to light Chanukah candles discovered that the site had been vandalized. Lights were broken and electrical wiring had been cut.

NY Times Says Abbas Has Given Up on Establishing PA State

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

The New York Times’ editorial Thursday uncharacteristically criticized Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and informed readers, “He has effectively given up on ever achieving a negotiated Palestinian state.”

The fact that The New York Times no longer is cheerleading Abbas is extremely significant because the newspaper and President Barack Obama often seem to be one and the same when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The editorial did not “balance” its disappointment with Abbas by dumping on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

It called Abbas a “bitter man,” and added:

[He is] increasingly unpopular among the Palestinians, and the Palestinian Authority he leads effectively controls only the West Bank since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. His chief preoccupation lately has been on a series of gestures, largely futile, to gain international recognition of a Palestinian state, like the official raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations on Wednesday.

The newspaper’s comments on Abbas’ declaration that effectively invalidated the Oslo Accords were equally condemning. It noted “that there was so little left to disown,” an implicit admission that the Accords have been eroded over the years.

The editorial did not point out the Palestinian Authority’s abrogation of clause after clause of the Oslo Accords. The most egregious violation was Abbas’ officially ditching negotiations and turning to the United Nations to recognize the Palestinian Authority as an independent country based on its own territorial and political terms.

The New York Times also wrote that it would be “foolhardy” for Abbas to cut security and economic arrangements with Israel.

Abbas Wins a Flag but Backs Off from ‘Bomb’ at Half-Empty United Nations

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Mahmoud Abbas informed the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday that he has submitted a request to the Security Council for recognizing the Palestinian Authority as an independent country based on its territorial demands with its capital in Jerusalem.

He also conditioned the Palestinian Authority’s abiding by agreements on Israel’s doing the same, which in his view means agreeing to all demands for a new state based on the Arab world’s terms.

However, the fact that the General Assembly was half-empty symbolizes the decreasing interest in the “Israeli-Palestinian” struggle and is a follow-up to President Barack Obama’s speech earlier this week in which he totally ignored the issue.

Abbas did not drop his threatened “bombshell,” perhaps a direct cancellation of all agreements, after a warning from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to keep his cool. Instead, he spun the yarn that the Palestinian Authority honors all agreements but that Israel does not..

His favorite point was “illegal settlements.” There is no agreement with the Palestinian Authority that Israel will not retain a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, unless negotiations conclude otherwise. But Abbas is relying on U.N. resolutions as “agreements.”

Since he has the support of most of the United Nations and foreign media, he can get away with the semantic trickery.

Abbas referred to Israel as an “occupying power” five times in his 40-minute speech, and he played on theme of the “Holy Land” six times, alleging that the “occupying power” prevents Muslims from worshipping at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the General Assembly in his speech that the Palestinian Authority is behind vicious incitement on the Temple Mount in an effort to change the status quo and prohibit Jews from the holy site.

Abbas’ speech was filled to the brim with accusations against Israel, which afterwards called the address one of “incitement,” while he acted as the eternal peacemaker.

He rewrote history for a receptive audience and media, stating in part:

We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch…..

Sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.

Unsurprisingly, Abbas weighed into “settlements.” an issue on which he has the full backing of the Obama administration. He told the United Nations:

Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial discrimination against our people that this policy entails.

This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region.

He repeated what has become an Arab mantra, totally unsubstantiated by facts, that Israel is conducting “excavations that threaten our holy places, and its military checkpoints prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques and churches.”

Abbas managed to bring Israeli Arabs under his umbrella, warning that the Israeli government is imposing “new conditions…that will transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of Israel.”

His speech exposed the Palestinian Authority strategy of using the original peace agreement with Israel as a basis to demand that all its conditions be met under “negotiations,” which in essence have left nothing to be negotiated.

Abbas recalled that in 1988, “We agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine – on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.”

Decrying ‘Dirty Jews‘, Mahmoud Abbas Promises ‘Bombshell’ at UN Speech

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

(JNi.media) PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promised to “drop a bombshell at the end of my UN speech,” adding, “But I’m not going to reveal the nature of this bombshell,” according to a Wednesday night tweet by journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.

Senior Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath told Ma’an on Monday Abbas would use his speech before the UN General Assembly to cancel of some fundamental clauses of the Oslo agreement.

“Israel implements only that which serves her and her interests [in the Oslo Accords], So we, too, will act similarly,” Shaath said, promising that “Abbas will state things clearly — After 22 years, we have not achieved anything out of the Oslo Accords.”

Meanwhile, in a speech at the Muqataa compound in Ramallah, during a welcoming ceremony for a delegation from east Jerusalem, Abbas praised the protesters against the Israeli presence at Temple Mount, and declared that “no Palestinian state will be established without Jerusalem” as its capital.

Abbas stressed that he would not allow Israel to continue in its steps, which are intended, he said, to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He said that

“Al-Aqsa is ours, the Holy Sepulcher is also ours. They have no right to dirty the mosque with their filthy feet, we won’t let them do it.”

The past three days have seen violent clashes on the Temple Mount between Israeli security forces and stone throwing Arabs, enraged over Israeli plans to examine the possibility of sharing the area with Jewish visitors. On Wednesday morning, security forces broke into the Al-Aqsa mosque following intelligence information on masked young Arabs who had barricaded themselves there overnight in order to throw stones at Jewish visitors in the morning.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at dozens of barricaded youths, injuring 16, according to Al Jazeera. The Temple Mount riots led to a wave of violent acts by Arabs in Jerusalem, with masked Arabs throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police and attacking Jewish passersby.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/calling-jews-dirty-mahmoud-abbas-promises-bombshell-at-un-speech/2015/09/17/

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