This film was shot on location in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) facilities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, by a TV crew hired by the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research.
Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’
The biggest victims of the peace talks, it turns out, are not the Israelis, not even those hardier, more spirited Israelis living east of the green line. Without a doubt, the ones who stand to lose the most from the creation of a Palestinian state are the Arabs who live there.
I wrote in the past about the sharp decline in the quality of life in the Arab parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, after the signing of the Oslo accords, back in 1993.
The Oslo Accords were a terrible idea. They were not at all an honest attempt to establish long-lasting peace between Arabs and Jews. Instead, they schemed to keep the Arabs under the control of a team of outside gangsters, paid by Israel.
In Oslo, Israel inflicted on the Arabs a permanent policy of Divide and Conquer, sentencing them to a slow and debilitating decline. So far, unfortunately, the Israeli plan has been working. One half of the Palestinians have been reduced to poverty. All of them are living in constant fear of violence, without the most elementary rights which you and I take for granted.
On Thursday, a group of Arab journalists joined a sit-in strike near Ramallah protesting a decision by the Hamas government in Gaza to close media offices of Ma’an Network, Al Arabiya and others.
Earlier this year and last year, those same journalists protested the heavy handed manner in which the Palestinian Authority was dealing with unflattering reports on Facebook – interrogating and throwing the authors to jail. A Human Rights Watch report issued in 2011 said Palestinian journalists are being subjected to detention and abuse at the hands of Palestinian security agencies, “a pattern that has led many to self-censor and produced a chilling effect on the free exchange of information and ideas.”
In the seven “West Bank” cases examined in some depth in the report, HRW said the “harassment and abuse of journalists reflected attempts to prevent free speech and inquiry into matters of public importance, and to punish writers solely because of their statements critical of the Palestinian Authority or their perceived support of its political rivals.”
But this time around it was all about Hamas, and the protesters included Palestinian politicians and dignitaries–who, no doubt will some day intimidate and brutalize those very protesters. For now, though, they urged the Hamas government to reopen all the media offices it closed, and to end a ban on the entry of three major Palestinian newspapers into Gaza.
The protest was organized and called by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the main press union in Palestine.
Back in 2004, the Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS) announced a ban on journalists who dared to report on disputes between Palestinians. On July 20, 2004, the PJS threatened that journalists would face “penalties” if they “dealt with or carried statements or publications dealing with internal events and inclined to slander, libel or harm others.”
Not in Gaza, mind you, in Ramallah, and not Hamas – back then the PLO still ruled in Gaza.
Obviously, there’s only one place where those frisky reporters are permitted to roam around freely and report whatever they wish, with cordial and professional assistance from the authorities. You guessed it – in Israel, that apartheid state they so love to revile.
Head of the journalists syndicate Abdul-Nasser Najjar addressed the protesters and expressed astonishment over the ongoing assaults against journalists in Gaza.
“We were surprised as Hamas continued with assaults against Palestinian media organizations, shutting down offices of Ma’an News Network and some other media offices. This is part of an ongoing practice,” Najjar said. He highlighted that “since Hamas staged its coup in Gaza, the main three Palestinian daily newspapers were banned in the Gaza Strip.”
But, you know, only a year ago, in July 2012, Abdel Nasser Najjar called for boycotting a meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Arab journalists. Najjar, an old PLO hand, warned that punitive measures would be taken against journalists who attended the meeting in Jerusalem.
It must be embarrassing, if not outright infuriating, for a journalist who spends half his day working like a serious professional in a Western democracy, vilifying Jews and whatnot, and then, at night, crossing over to the Heart of Darkness that is the Palestinian-run areas.
The Israeli clothing chain Fox is only a few months away from opening a local franchise in Ramallah.
Many local Arabs are outraged that an Israeli chain is opening in territories under their control, as it increases normalization between Jews and Arabs. Furthermore, it goes against the boycott that Abbas has called against all Israeli products.
On the other hand, the Arabs apparently would have no problem with Bar Rafaeli being the local Ramallah branch spokes-model, as she has not served in the IDF.
Australia, one of Israel’s staunchest supporters, now has a deputy prime minister who is a founding member of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine group, a sign of shifting political sands that may change the country’s attitudes towards the Jewish state.
Anthony Albanese, a longstanding member of the left faction of the Labor Party, was sworn in by Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce Monday as part of Kevin Rudd’s new cabinet. Albanese describes himself as “a strong advocate of justice for Palestinians” but also has been at the forefront of the fight against those promoting a boycott of Israeli goods, blasting the campaign as “clumsy and counterproductive.”
Rudd was parachuted into power last week for his second stint as prime minister after Julia Gillard called a leadership ballot amid plunging polls and rising support for Rudd. He served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and said the day after he was re-elected that he doubted he would stick to the federal election date selected by Gillard of September 14, which is Yom Kippur, because of the “massive inconvenience” to Australia’s 110,000-plus Jews.
Rudd’s re-election as party leader sparked a bounce in the polls, but Labor still trails the conservative Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott. The election must be held by November 30.
Michael Danby, a pro-Israel Jewish legislator inside the Labor government, said although Albanese “doesn’t have my views on the Middle East,” he does support a two-state solution.
IDF soldiers have uncovered a weapons cache during a special raid Wednesday night in Shechem, located in north-central Samaria and where the Palestinian Authority is supposed to be responsible for security.
The cache included two pistols, parts of an M-16 rifle, more than 100 ammunition clips, ammunition and other military equipment.
The IDF has recovered more than 100 bullets, military equipment, improvised weapons, Molotov cocktails, three pistols, five rifles, and three knives in ten different incidents the past two months.
Six shooting attacks have been executed against Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists during the same period, the last incident having occurred this past Tuesday morning, when Arabs shot at a public bus that was driving in the Samaria. There were no passengers at the time, and the driver was not injured.
Two weeks ago, another bus was also shot in the same area. That bus was carrying passengers, but no one was injured.
A few days later, more than 30 bullets were shot at an armored army ambulance, five of which hit the armored plating.
Yesterday Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party became the latest member of Israel’s cabinet to call for an end to the pretense that a “two-state solution” could be a ‘solution’ in any sense.
The notion of having a two-state solution established in the Land of Israel is now at a dead end; never in Jewish history have so many people talked so much and expended so much energy in something so futile,
he said. Instead,
Bennett reiterated his stance that Israel should annex — “as quickly as possible” — virtually all the areas [Area C] that were not handed over the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo accords, including the Jewish communities and a handful of Palestinian towns. He further advocated that Israel devise “aggressive” new plans to drastically improve the economic well-being of both the Jewish and Arab inhabitants of Judea and Samaria.
Bennett said that Israel must continue its settlement activity in Judea and Samaria “in full force, because only facts on the ground would make everyone understand that it is an unrealistic proposition to have a Palestinian entity in the Land of Israel.”
Naturally this led to a storm of criticism — in some cases, abuse — from the Palestinians, the Israeli Left, Europe and the Obama Administration, just as last week’s remark by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon that the government would not support a “two-state solution” did.
So what is the history of the “two-state solution?”
The original Palestine Mandate conceived of the establishment of a Jewish state in part of the area taken from the collapsed Ottoman Empire after WWI. The victorious Allied Powers also established a Mandate in what was to become the present-day state of Iraq, one for Lebanon and Syria, etc. The British took about 70% of the Palestine Mandate and created the Arab state of Transjordan.
But despite the plethora of new Arab states (and Mandates that would become states), violent opposition to Jewish sovereignty in what was left of Palestine arose among the Arabs, and for various reasons — oil among them — Britain abandoned its responsibility to the Jewish people. When the British were ultimately driven out of the region — in great measure by Jewish resistance — they sided with the Arabs in their attempt to abort the creation of a Jewish state.
In the lead-up to the 1948 war, there were various partition proposals to reduce even further the area allocated to a Jewish home, all of which were acceptable to the Jews. There was the Peel Commission report of 1937, which proposed a small Jewish state, a larger Arab state and a chunk including Jerusalem to remain under British administration. And of course there was the UN Partition Resolution of 1947. Both of these were rejected by the Arabs, who did not — as they do not today — accept the idea of any Jewish sovereignty in Palestine.
Note what the various “two-state solutions” were supposed to solve — Arab opposition to Jewish sovereignty. Of course only total elimination of the Jewish state could do that.
After the 1967 war, Israel accepted UNSC resolution 242, under which Israel would give back lands it had occupied to its neighbors in return for peace treaties that would guarantee “secure and recognized boundaries.” The clear intent of the resolution was that Israel would give back some of the land, but not necessarily all of it, particularly because the pre-war boundaries were not ‘secure’.
Israel signed a peace agreement with Egypt and evacuated the Sinai (unfortunately Sadat would not take Gaza as well). But in 1988, Jordan ceded its claims on Judea and Samaria to the PLO. Any peace treaty in the framework of 242, then, would have to be with the PLO.
The Oslo agreements of 1993 were intended to lead to such a peace agreement. As everyone knows, the PLO was not prepared to accept the terms offered at Camp David and Taba in 2000-1, and chose to make war instead — a war in which more than a thousand Israelis (mostly civilians) and possibly 3,000 Arabs (mostly combatants) were killed.
The PLO rejection of the offers was not a matter of technical details, but of fundamental ideological beliefs. This is shown by the refusal of the PLO to change its charter despite a massive effort by US President Clinton to get them to do so, by the persistence of both terrorism and incitement throughout the Oslo period, and by the ultimate recourse to war against Israel’s population.
Nevertheless, another offer was made, this time by PM Olmert in 2008. This offer was even more generous than that made in 2000-1. When its contents were revealed recently, many Israelis were shocked. But that offer was rejected as well.
Israel evacuated every last Jew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. They even dug up bodies from cemeteries and removed them. For reasons that I have never understood, the PLO was furious that the withdrawal wasn’t ‘coordinated’ with them. Israel got absolutely no credit for giving the Palestinians what they had been saying they wanted for years! Of course, two years later, Hamas came along and viciously took over Gaza, murdering numerous PLO functionaries. But that wasn’t because the withdrawal wasn’t ‘coordinated’. In any event, it showed that evacuating territory near Israeli populations was a bad idea when Hamas ramped up its rocket attacks.
It has always fascinated me that those calling for a “two-state solution” seem to believe that once an agreement is signed and the IDF leaves the territories, then there will be peace. Is there any precedent that the Arabs might not honor an agreement? Could a regime change on the Arab side cause the abrogation of the agreement? Just to ask these questions shows the idiocy of the “two-state solution!”
As Abraham Katsman argues here, the security consequences of a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria are unacceptable:
…history indicates that withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, absent major changes, is arguably the single most counterproductive act imaginable for long-lasting peace. There is no greater obstacle to peace than the perpetual temptation to launch another war against Israel from such lopsided lines.
What is so sacred about the pre-1967 lines, anyway? In 1967, there was neither peace nor an independent Palestinian entity. Similar lines were part of the 1947 Partition Plan, and were overrun by invading Arab armies. The pre-1967 lines were never an internationally recognized border — thanks to Arab insistence that they not be. They were merely the armistice lines of 1949, an armistice honored mostly in the breach. In 1967, Arab armies finally shredded the armistice by attacking across those lines, in spite of Israeli pleas to Jordan’s King Hussein not to do so. With new ceasefire lines in 1967 and 1973, the pre-1967 lines were rendered meaningless, having lasted all of 18 years, 1949-1967. R.I.P.
Even putting aside Israel’s own legitimate legal, cultural, and historical claims to disputed territories, Israeli withdrawal to those lines won’t happen now due to Israeli aversion to existential vulnerability.
The bottom line for Israel is a sovereign Jewish state with defensible borders. The PLO’s reason for being is to end the Jewish state. What’s surprising is that John Kerry and others continue to think that there’s room for an agreement that could be consistent with both.
Visit Fresno Zionism.
The disarray, ritual violence, rancor, intermittent anarchy, and seemingly endless cycle of replacing one tyranny with another that have characterized the Arab Spring is also the predictable future for “Palestine.”
In the Islamic Middle East, the recurrent myth of “democracy” has conveniently taken on its own twisted grammar and syntax. For the most part, in this tormented and tormenting region, irony has already been upstaged by oxymoron.
Even after being awarded elevated status last year by the UN General Assembly – “Palestine” is now officially a nonmember observer state – feuding Arab authorities in the West Bank and Gaza will continue to vie viciously for consolidated national power. Here, unsurprisingly, Hamas and Fatah killers will obligingly murder and torture one another as best they can. This is what they know best. Significantly, other known or still-unknown jihadist groups will also enter the frenzied struggle for individual and group primacy.
Nonetheless, the warring factions are apt to come together intermittently on the one point of “higher philosophy” that can still bind them together. This utterly consuming worldview, of course, is a ritualized and irremediably primal hatred of Israel. This prospectively genocidal antipathy has its conceptual and historic origins in an antecedent hatred of Jews.
How little is understood in the West. Palestinian opposition to Israel has never really been about land. It has always been about religion and about corollary assurances of immortality.
What, exactly, then, can we expect from “Palestine”? One could argue, it seems, that this new Arab state will inevitably share a sort of mutual vulnerability with Israel, and that it would therefore be well advised to adhere strictly to responsible policies of protracted peace and coexistence.
In reality, however, here is what we can expect. After early episodes of intra-Arab conflict and related war crimes, periods during which time the competing Palestinian factions will fashion crisscross alignments with willing elements in other parts of the Islamic world, the crushing war against Israel will resume. Newly endowed with unprecedented geopolitical advantages against a now diminished Israeli min-state, this newest Arab state will launch substantially advanced rockets against the Jewish state. More than likely, there will be renewed attacks on Israeli schools, buses, and hospitals. After all, there will be an expectedly mad scramble to join the next blood-soaked wave of Islamic martyrs.
To respond effectively, Israel will need to rely more heavily on its capable active defenses. As long as the incoming rockets from Gaza, the West Bank, and possibly Lebanon remain entirely conventional, the inevitable “leakage” from Iron Dome and (possibly) David’s Sling (aka Magic Wand), could still be judged “acceptable.” But once these rockets are fitted with chemical and/or biological materials, such leakage could prove unacceptable.
A particularly serious security problem posed to Israel by any new state of Palestine would be one involving collaboration with Iran. Nowhere is it written that the developing Iranian nuclear threat must somehow remain strategically and tactically unrelated to a seemingly discrete Palestinian threat. Should Iran be permitted to go fully nuclear, which now seems pretty much certain, it could plan, in the future, to fire advanced ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads against Israeli cities. Operationally, this could be undertaken in managed coordination with certain non-nuclear rocket attacks, launched simultaneously from Gaza, West Bank, and/or southern Lebanon.
To meet indispensable protective objectives, Israel’s primary ballistic missile defense system, the Arrow, would require a 100 percent reliability of interception against incoming Iranian missiles.
Achieving such a level of perfect reliability, however, is technically impossible.
The core strategic problem facing Israel, therefore, is one of critical “synergies” or “force multipliers.” Working together against the Jewish state, Palestine, Iran, and assorted other enemies could quickly pose a cumulative hazard that is tangibly greater than the arithmetic sum of its component parts. Perhaps in anticipating this dire prospect, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to speak hopefully of a Palestinian state that would be “demilitarized.”
This expectation is naive and unsupportable. Whatever else it may have agreed to in its pre-state incarnation, any presumptively new sovereign state is entitled to “self-defense.” Under authoritative international law, this right is fundamental, immutable, and (per Art. 51 of the United Nations Charter), “inherent.” Further, to use proper terminology from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, it is also “peremptory.”