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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’

Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations

Friday, May 29th, 2015

On the eve of New York’s annual Israel Day Parade, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he hopes to broaden cooperation between Israel and her Arab neighbors in the region.

Although he was forced into a razor-thin margin when he created his coalition government this time around, the four-term prime minister is clearly working towards a broader vision: region-wide cooperation between Israel and as many of its moderate Arab neighbors as possible.

Speaking in a conversation with political correspondents Thursday at his office, Netanyahu said, “Both from the standpoint of regional security and also to try to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians… this idea of drawing from the Arab states following the changes in the Middle East is a positive concept, one I contemplate constantly.”

Although the “Arab Peace Initiative” of 2002 as presented without any changes was unrealistic – “for example, demanding that Israel return the Golan Heights… the [peace] plan was advanced 13 years ago and since then much has changed in the Middle East'”– the general idea of trying to achieve an understanding with the leading nations of the Arab world is “still a good idea.”

Netanyahu made it clear that both Israel and the Arab countries in the region are feeling threatened by Iran’s nuclear development activities, as well as its support for terror. But he said that he knew Israel’s Arab neighbors also have an interest in the Palestinian issue.

“It is in our interest to resolve this problem and there are certain barriers whose removal we are taking under consideration,” he said.

The prime minister added that he has “no interest in a bi-national state.” He reiterated, however, “The main problem is not the settlements. People have tried to make that the root of the problem, but when Israel pulled out of Gaza, we proved this is wrong. After all was said and done, and the incredibly painful things that took place in the Disengagement from Gaza, did anything stop?”

As far as Netanyahu is concerned, he said, any future agreement on statehood with the Palestinians must be a “long-term agreement that leaves full and practical control over security in the hands of Israel. I really mean it. It’s no whim or trick.”

The main problem for the citizens of Israel, the prime minister said, is the question of “what” will be the authority, “who will be the source for security in the territories that Israel is asked to evacuate…

“This was the ultimate test in Gaza. And today in Gaza, although there is no significant weapons smuggling anymore, how do you prevent domestic weapons manufacturing? What do you do in order to prevent this from happening in Judea and Samaria? I will continue to raise this issue again and again. I believe this is much more significant that people realize.”

The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as proposed by Saudi Arabia calls for the return to their homes of origin within the State of Israel for all Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 and all of their subsequent generations and millions of descendants. It also calls for the establishment of a sovereign state of Palestine – after which all Arab states would establish full normal diplomatic relations with Israel.

It is important to note, however, that in the wake of Israel’s peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt – both of which have already established “full normal diplomatic ties” – it is still extremely dangerous for the average Israeli citizen and certainly for any visibly religious Jewish Israeli tourist to visit either country. In Egypt, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was utterly destroyed and its employees nearly murdered just two years ago; the embassy has yet to be re-established as anything other than the highly secured private home of the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.

Vatican Officially Recognizes PA as New Arab Country

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday as a new Arab country. This, despite its lack of any borders, and the fact that it is, in essence, comprised of two complete entities ruled by two completely different governments.

In a new treaty finalized Wednesday but not yet signed, the Vatican welcomed the 2012 decision by the United Nations General Assembly to grant the entity non-member observer state status.

As the first legal document to be negotiated between the Palestinian Authority and the Vatican, the treaty as such constitutes an official recognition of “the state of Palestine.”

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas – who has remained in his position more than four years past the expiration of his legal term in office – is slated to meet with Pope Francis on Saturday.

Since the PA has not seen fit to meet its obligations under the internationally- recognized Oslo Accords, this treaty further exacerbates tensions over the entity’s violations of the agreement.

The PA has sought UN membership as a means of evading its responsibilities under the Accords, which include stopping terror and reaching a final status agreement with Israel through direct negotiations between the parties.

Cops Shot in Ferguson, Missouri: Racism Heating Up America

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The vicious racism that has simmered so long under America’s polite society is again beginning to rise to the surface. And it’s not confined to one social group by a long shot. But it may – and in fact already has – affected the Jews, as most social issues usually do.

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, just hours after the city’s police chief resigned, two police officers were shot in Ferguson, Missouri, a city of 21,000.

Protests – riots, violence, looting, marches, demonstrations and everything else in between – have continued for 200 days. The unrest began when a grand jury cleared Darren Wilson, a white police officer for shooting Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who attacked the officer after stealing cigars from a store and attacking the store’s clerk. Wilson has since resigned.

Thursday’s attack came during a demonstration – the largest yet — in front of the Ferguson police department. Protesters were chanting, “Racist cops have got to go.”

But the shooter was not among the mob, claimed protesters who spoke with CNN, and is still at large.

Meanwhile, demonstrators are now demanding the disbanding of the entire police force and the resignation of the city’s mayor. The judge who oversaw the court system in the city has resigned, the city’s court clerk was fired last week and two police officers have resigned. The city manager is resigning as well.

No Ferguson police officers were involved in covering the protest: Police from surrounding communities were assigned to the Ferguson demonstration when the shooting occurred.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told CNN that neither officer was from the Ferguson Police Department: one, shot in the shoulder, was a 14-year veteran of the county police force. The second – shot in the face – was a 7-year veteran of the Webster Groves force. Both are listed in serious condition.

“I have said all along that we cannot sustain this forever without problems,” Belmar told media.

“That’s not an indictment on everybody that’s out there, certainly ‘expressing their First Amendment rights.’ But we have seen, in law enforcement, that this is a very, very, very dangerous environment for the officers to work in.”

Just a few days ago, a fraternity house at Oklahoma University was shut down after a video of its members singing an anti-black racist chant went viral on the Internet. The students who led the chant – which implied lynching black people – were expelled.

The University of Texas said this week in a statement that it, too, is now investigating claims that its SAE chapter at Austin had also used the same chant. A number of other chapters nationwide are being investigated as well.

Tensions are rising, as Twitter comments that the chant is not new are being pulled off the Internet, and graffiti is being spray-painted on to the offending former frat house.

For days, the scandal rocked America and each detail was scrupulously televised and massaged by the media.

What has not been reported nationwide, nor has received the same government scolding and concern, is the long-standing issue of rising anti-Semitism on American campuses.

Posters that proclaim the banner “STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE” (SJP) show a photo of what appears to be two muscular male college students in black tees and cargo pants, both holding assault rifles and wearing black ski masks, standing with a kneeling younger unidentified student in jeans and a tee shirt between them, hands tied behind his back with a bag over his head. Below the photo is the hashtag, #JewHaters .

A second poster with the same slogans showed a photo of two terrorists riding a motorcycle dragging a victim on his back through the streets, tied to the back of the bike by his feet.

Americans Split Over Palestinian Statehood, Gallup Poll Shows

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Americans are deeply conflicted over whether the United Nations should give birth to a new Arab country in the heart of Israel’s geographic borders, and call it “Palestine.”

The Gallup polling organization surveyed the U.S. population this month to determine how America feels about this issue. Pollsters conducted telephone interviews Feb. 8-11, 2015 with a random sample of 837 adults ages 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

(The margin of sampling error was plus-minus four percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.)

The organization uncovered a conflict that splits the country almost right down the middle.

A majority of Americans still does not support the idea, however, even though they elected to vote passively: only 42 percent of those polled favored the establishment of an independent Palestinian state comprised of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a drop from the 46 percent of one year ago, and a full 20 percent would not express an opinion at all.

Just 38 percent were opposed to the idea, however. The numbers grow higher the older the sample.

Older Americans aged 55 and up were opposed (43 percent) to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Those younger (41 percent) were in favor – and 16 percent had no opinion.

Those with higher levels of education were more likely to favor PA statehood; however, 48 percent of Republicans opposed it, and just 33 percent of GOP members supported it. In the Democratic Party the majority supported PA statehood.

That last point in particular may have some bearing when it comes to U.S. national elections in 2016, and the run for the White House.

UNESCO Director Rejects Palestine Entry to ‘Memory of the World’ Program

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

In a surprising turn of events, the director-general of UNESCO herself, Irina Bokova has blocked the approval of a collection of posters entered to the agency’s Memory of the World program.

The 1,700-poster collection passed its initial review by an advisory board, despite inclusion of numerous posters extolling the virtues of terrorism, suicide bombings and even one praising the 1978 coastal road massacre – known as the bloodiest terror attack in the history of the reborn State of Israel.

The International Memory of the World Register was created to preserve archival holdings of “world significance and outstanding universal value.”

An international advisory board reviews nominations, which then are sent to the director-general.

For the first time, however, Irina Bokova said she would reject the collection sent by “Palestine.”

“In my capacity of Director General of UNESCO, I will oppose any such proposal for inscription,” she wrote on December 23, 2014, to Helena Asamoah-Hassan, chair of the advisory board.

She explained that a number of the posters were “totally unacceptable and run counter to the values of UNESCO and its aspirations to build peace in the minds of men and women.”

A similar response was sent to the Palestinian Authority representative to UNESCO, Elias Sanbar. Inclusion of the collection in UNESCO’s Memory of the World, said Bokova, could promote “hate and anti-Semitism.”

The World Jewish Congress had also protested the nomination, and to its CEO, Robert Singer, Bokova replied, “Some of these posters are offensive. It is my conviction that UNESCO should not associate itself with such documents whose inscription could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions.”

Some of the posters featured the universal themes of struggling for liberation and peace; there were motifs with white doves and barbed wire, for instance.

But not all of the collection is about art and not all of it was generated by Palestinians, for that matter, despite a claim of “the Palestinian poster” by Dan Walsh, owner and curator of the Palestine Poster Project Archives.

“The significance for the genre is that it’s been recognized by an international body,” Walsh said last fall, while UNESCO’s advisory board was reviewing the collection. “Up until now, the Palestine poster has sort of existed in the shadows, it hasn’t really been legitmated. The artwork – the art of the Palestinian revolution, of the Palestinian liberation struggle – has not been legitimated in the West. It’s been considered anti-Semitic, or anti-Israeli, or patently unacceptable for mainstream consumption. I think this nomination has the potential to change that.”

The collection nominated for the program was described as having been created by Palestinian and international artists “in solidarity with the quest for Palestinian self-determination,” according to the UNESCO website.

The Liberation Graphics Collection of Palestine Posters that was submitted for inclusion to the program can be viewed here.

The vast majority of the collection is comprised of posters relating to hatred of Israel and Jews, and which glorify terrorism, murder and violence. Many include pictures of weapons and some depict scenes of Israel or Jews having been destroyed.

One interesting poster was that from an ad campaign rejected by the New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA) in 2011, which was not created by a Palestinian at all. Nor was it specific to “Palestine.”

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (Atlas Shrugged), the poster reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The MTA said at the time that its standards required it to reject ads that contained language that demean individuals or groups of individuals, citing Section 5.05(B)(11) of the MTA’s advertising standards handbook.

Turkey’s Erdogan Attacks Netanyahu for ‘Daring’ to Show Up at Paris Unity Rally

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

One day after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appeared arm in arm with world leaders in Paris at Sunday’s unity rally against radical Islamist terror, he joined Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in slamming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for doing the exact same thing.

Turkey’s new presidential palace in Ankara was given the opportunity to witness a “dress show” during Erdogan’s welcoming ceremony for Abbas as a visiting head of state for the first time on Monday. The two shook hands flanked by a costumed retinue before moving on to a meeting room for bilateral talks. Erdogan also took the opportunity to meet with members of the media together with Abbas, where the pair lashed out at Israel’s prime minister for showing up to the event in Paris.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu joined Netanyahu, Abbas and other world leaders who gathered to honor the memory of the 17 people murdered last week in terror attacks by Islamist extremists. The Turkish president said, however, that Netanyahu had no right to participate due to the civilian casualties in Gaza resulting from Israel’s war with the ruling Hamas terror organization last summer.

“I also hardly understand how he dared to go there,” Erdogan told reporters. For one, you give an account for the children and women you massacred,” he said, according to AFP.

“How can you see this individual who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza waving his hand? He is waving his hand as if people are very enthusiastically waiting for him,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

The Turkish president went on to say that historically, Muslims were never on the side of terror, nor did they perpetrate massacres. Last week’s slaughter in Paris resulted from racism, hate messages and Islamaphobia, Erdogan contended.

“We hope that those attacking nations cease their assault on our mosques,” he said. “Take note that the acts of terror are not carried out in a vacuum. The acts follow a predetermined script and we should be alive to a plot against the Islamic world.”

Erdogan accused Israel of ‘escalating tensions in the region by violating holy sites along with its recent increasingly aggressive behavior,’ according to a report published in Turkey’s Todays Zaman newspaper. He added that protecting the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the “Noble Sanctuary” and the third holiest place in Islam, ‘is not only the duty of Palestine, but also the entire Islamic world,’ according to the report – implying that the site is in danger. The Turkish president also vowed to continue fighting against Israel’s ‘reckless behavior that recognizes no rules’ with other Muslim countries and the international community, the newspaper reported.

With regard to the Paris terror attacks, Erdogan asked European authorities to ‘take preventive measures against those who attack mosques and Muslims,’ saying ‘these are all provocations’ and adding ‘these things are not being done for nothing… These are all a result of a scenario. There are also games being played over the Islamic world. We need to be aware of this too.’

Erdogan said it was ‘meaningful’ that Muslims were being blamed for a massacre that was committed by ‘French citizens.’

Swedish Official ‘Postpones’ Trip to Israel, Palestinian Authority

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

A top Swedish official has indefinitely “postponed” her trip to Israel and “Palestine” in response to a curt snub by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Eriki Boman, a spokesperson for Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, said in a statement Wednesday his boss “has decided to postpone her visit to Israel and Palestine. Instead of next week it will take place later. No date is yet decided.”

Wallstrom was to meet this month with Liberman and also with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But following Sweden’s official recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign independent country, Liberman announced he would not meet with her. His ministry also recalled Israel’s ambassador from Stockholm for three weeks of “consultations.” The prime minister’s office also notified Wallstrom that Netanyahu would also be unavailable to meet.

“The behavior of countries such as Sweden and Ireland – it is simply the same behavior and abandonment that occurred in Europe in 1938 during the Munich Agreement,” Liberman told a conference for European ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry recently. “The Europeans abandoned their biggest ally, Czechoslovakia.

“Their whole policy towards Israel is abandonment. Even though Israel is the only country that represents Western values in the entire Middle East, they abandon us.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/swedish-official-postpones-trip-to-israel-palestinian-authority/2015/01/07/

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