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Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Arabs’

Peter Beinart’s Cocoon

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

In the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart is upset that the organized American Jewish community doesn’t invite Palestinian Arabs to speak at their events. He believes that American Jews don’t give enough empathy to Palestinian Arabs.

For the most part, Palestinians do not speak in American synagogues or write in the Jewish press. The organization Birthright, which since 1999 has taken almost 350,000 young Diaspora Jews—mostly Americans—to visit Israel, does not venture to Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank. Of the more than two hundred advertised speakers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2013 Policy Conference, two were Palestinians. By American Jewish standards, that’s high. The American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum earlier this year, which advertised sixty-four speakers, did not include a single Palestinian.

…Guidelines like Hillel’s—which codify the de facto restrictions that exist in many establishment American Jewish groups—make the organized American Jewish community a closed intellectual space, isolated from the experiences and perspectives of roughly half the people under Israeli control. And the result is that American Jewish leaders, even those who harbor no animosity toward Palestinians, know little about the reality of their lives.

Beinart grudgingly admits:

This lack of familiarity with Palestinian life also inclines many in the organized American Jewish world to assume that Palestinian anger toward Israel must be a product solely of Palestinian pathology. Rare is the American Jewish discussion of Israel that does not include some reference to the textbooks and television programs that “teach Palestinians to hate.” These charges have some merit. Palestinian schools and media do traffic in anti-Semitism and promote violence.

But:

Still, what’s often glaringly absent from the American Jewish discussion of Palestinian hatred is any recognition that some of it might stem not from what Palestinians read or hear about the Jewish state, but from the way they interact with it in their daily lives.

Beinart is at least as guilty of willful blindness as the American Jewish establishment he is insulting. His “Open Zion” site all but ignores the Palestinian Arab hate and antisemitism, just as he attempts to minimize it and contextualize it here as a natural result of things Israelis did. He says that most terror attacks are the result of anger at Israeli actions from the first intifada, without mentioning who started the first intifada. No doubt Israel’s initial reaction was more severe than would be acceptable today, but at the time Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza would travel freely to pre-1967 Israel and Israelis would visit freely to Arab areas, without fear.

The restrictions that Beinart is so upset about today came because of Palestinian Arab terror, not the other way around.

Moreover, while Beinart talks about checkpoints that exist today, what does he think would happen if a two-state solution that he so passionately supports would occur? They wouldn’t be checkpoints – there would be national borders. Try commuting to another country every day, let alone an enemy country, and see how painless it is.

American Jewish leaders have access to The New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian and, yes, Open Zion. Jewish Americans read Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen. The idea that they somehow live in a pro-Likud bubble is ridiculous. They know far more about Palestinian Arab claims and grievances than readers of Open Zion know about the day to day incitement against Israel and Jews in Palestinian Arab lives – not just “textbooks and television programs” but virtually every newspaper, every school, every media.

This is the stuff I expose along with MEMRI, Palestinian Media Watch and others.

Beinart would like to pretend that we cherry pick the worst examples. To an extent that is true. That’s how the media works – to show the worst in order to illuminate the facts – something Beinart is doing in this very essay.

However, as someone who reads quite a bit of Arabic media daily, I can assure Beinart and my readers that the hate isn’t an anomaly, while people like Salam Fayyad are the silent majority. No – within the “cocoon” of Palestinian Arab life, there is zero tolerance for any viewpoint that is the least bit conciliatory to real coexistence and peace. The hate is pervasive, not anomalous. Anyone who would speak to an American Jewish organization would, by that very fact, lose all legitimacy from their own people.

Why I am important

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

On Friday, I signed a contract to buy an apartment in Israel. I will be returning to live here again after 25 years. I am very happy about it for various reasons, including the fact that as an Israeli Jew I will be a member of a tiny minority of huge importance to the rest of the world.

We flew to Israel from Los Angeles. At the gate we were met by several buses which took us to a remote terminal where we boarded the plane. The buses were escorted by two airport police cars and an El Al security car, which also followed the plane as it taxied from the terminal to the runway from which it took off.

As far as I know, no other airline gets this special treatment. In a way, it is flattering to know that I am so important that many people want to kill me.

Israel is special at the UN, too, where the Human Rights Commission and the General Assembly devote so much time, effort and (mostly Western) cash to condemning it and pretending that the ‘Palestinians’ are a nation in any sense other than as a negation of the Jewish nation. They pretend that the Palestinian Arabs are important, but everybody knows that it’s all about us, especially the Palestinians themselves (this is one of the reasons that they are so angry and frustrated all the time).

There is also the special treatment we get from Europe. Did you know that one thousand legal scholars and jurists recently delivered a petition to EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton explaining that contrary to the EU position, Jewish settlements across the Green Line are legal under international law?  The EU doesn’t boycott, for example, Turkish ‘settlers’ in northern Cyprus, but we are more important, so a special policy is implemented for us.

Then there is the clever US State Department which prefers ‘illegitimate’ to ‘illegal’. Somehow this is supposed to be a meaningful distinction in this context, but all I can think of is that someone’s parents were unmarried. They include Israel’s capital, which has been the seat of its government since the founding of the state in the illegitimate part. No other nation is so honored!

I am even more proud of the fact that the great United States finds it necessary to spit on us by forcing Israel’s government to release more than a hundred terrorists, all of whom were either convicted of murder (sometimes multiple murders) or of crimes related to murders. Some of these murders were remarkably evil and gruesome, and it’s unimaginable that the US would do something similar in its own homeland. But we are really important and special, so we are required to accept this.

I understand also that the US and EU were ‘furious’ that Israel’s Prime Minister recently announced that perhaps a thousand new homes for Jews would be built someday in places that they consider illegal or illegitimate. The argument is that this construction would create facts on the ground that would prejudice a future peace agreement. Of course, not a peep was heard a few months ago when Israel announced that it would build housing for Arabs in the same area. What else does this prove except that Jews are more important than Arabs?

Speaking of Arabs, Israel’s neighbors Egypt and Syria are presently displaying their truly shocking barbarism by engaging in vicious religious/ethnic civil wars, bombing, gassing, shooting and raping each other with abandon. The status quo in Israel is peaceful, and the economy — both of Israel and the Palestinian Authority — is excellent. So you would think that the focus would be elsewhere rather than Israel.

Nope — our importance is illustrated by the fact that the ‘international community’, led by President Obama, thinks it’s worthwhile to destabilize us also!

Visit Fresno Zionism.

The Idiocy of the ‘Two-State Solution’

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

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.

Church of Scotland Thinks Twice, Grants Israel the Right to Exist

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

The Church of Scotland has called last week’s publication of a Church and Society Council report that denies Israel’s right to exist a “misunderstanding” and now says the Jewish state can remain as part of the world.

The Jewish communities of Scotland were shocked by the report, and the local Council of Christians and Jews helped arrange a meeting between officials of the Church and the Jewish community.

A statement after the meeting explained that the Church has not changed its “long held position of the rights of Israel to exist.”

It added, “The Church condemns all violence and acts of terrorism where they happen around the world. The Church condemns all things that create a culture of anti-Semitism.”

The statement added that the Church of Scotland is concerned over what it calls injustices of Palestinian Authority Arabs that “should not be misunderstood as questioning the right of the State of Israel to exist”.

The 10-page report published last week was entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham” and rejected “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.”

It also suggested that some Jews believe they have a right to the land of Israel “as compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust.”

Egypt Says It Busted Israeli Spy Ring

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Egyptian authorities have smashed a suspected Israeli spy ring consisting of Egyptian and Palestinian Authority Arabs operating in the Sinai Peninsula, official state media reported Sunday.

The only alleged spy who has been arrested is an Egyptian national who is said to have been the ringleader and who confessed that he handed over secret military information to the Mossad.

State media said authorities are trying to track down the other members of the alleged ring.

Hacked: Anonymous Falsely Outed Thousands of Arabs as ‘Collaborators’

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Riad Yasmina, who writes for the Dubai-based website ITP, announced, back on April 7, that the group ‘Anonymous’ had managed to get a list containing the names of 37 thousand Mossad agents deployed around the world, and has disseminated the same list to many like-minded Internet websites for publication.

You may recall that Anonymous announced the day before that it started its major campaign to wipe Israel off the internet and has hit a large number of Websites belonging to the Israeli government. The whole thing lasted a few hours, causing some discomfort to users, but Israel’s Internet providers were able to block the attack handily and the websites were back online within minutes, give or take a half hour.

Yasmina celebrated this, announcing that the Anonymous group also “gained access to credit cards belonging to Israelis, and disabled many of the major sites of Israeli companies and banks.”

Why she would be so delighted that the credit card information of innocent civilians be hacked I’m not so sure, but in reality none of that took place in any significant measure, according to many news sources.

But the best part of this entire article, comes at the end:

“Correction of the news: Unfortunately, after we published this news, we recently received numerous complaints from our brothers the Palestinian Arabs inside the 1948 borders, including from individuals who are most hostile to the Zionist entity, saying that their names were mentioned in the list (of collaborators). After checking to make sure with several sources regarding the list and its credibility, we discovered that it is false and has nothing to do with Mossad agents. The names may have been collected for other reasons, and perhaps leaked from any of the branches of the Israeli security.

“We are sorry if we caused any harm with this misleading information, it was because all of us took pleasure in the victory when we published the list, and we promise not to do it again.”

Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, sworn ally to any Jew hater in the cosmos, related the following tale of horror:

M. arrived at work last Friday morning in a city in the north of present-day Israel. As she walked in, one of her colleagues approached her with a look of concern and asked her to step outside. “Your name is on a list of Mossad agents,” M. recalls the colleague saying.

“‘Then congratulate me,’ I said, thinking this was all a strange joke,” M. recalls responding.

But then M. found that many other people at her workplace were talking about a list, a file obtained by hackers and circulated on social media purporting to contain the names of agents of Israel’s notorious spy and assassination agency Mossad.

The vast majority of names on the list are Hebrew names of Israelis.

“I looked at the list, it had my name on it, my ID number and other details. By the end of the day everyone knew about it and was talking about it.”

M., however, is a Palestinian, a citizen of Israel, with an Arabic name – although like all the other names on the list her name was written in the Hebrew alphabet. She was stunned.

The false accusation or suspicion of being an Israeli agent can be absolutely devastating for any Palestinian.

The Electronic Intifada was able to independently verify the identity of M. Because of the serious implications for her and her family, M. agreed to speak to The Electronic Intifada on condition that we not use her real name or initials or identify the city where she lives.

“After work I went home and started to google this list and I was horrified by what I found,” M. said. “It was everywhere.”

M. doesn’t know how she got on the list but looking at it she thinks that the information could come from the database of a store’s loyalty card program or an online commerce site that was hacked into. “I saw the names of many companies as well as individuals on the list, including shoe stores and baby clothing stores.”

M. is not the only one affected in the Palestinian community. “My dad’s cousin is on the list as well, among many other people I know,” she said.

Panet, a website for Israeli Arabs, warned its readers that the list was fake, adding its own tale of horror:

The Arab resident of one of the villages in the Upper Galilee, clicked to news site Panorama, to discover his name in the list of Mossad agents. Sparking surprise and dismay, he said in an interview: “I was shocked after I noticed that my name and my details appear in the list of Mossad agents, and to my even greater surprise and dismay, some people I have dealt with were listed, too. This is pure fabrication and extremely dangerous.”

Sure it’s dangerous, because Arabs understand that in their society folks regularly reverse the order of asking questions and shooting.

According to Ali Abunimah, On Friday, March 22, the English-language account for The Red Hack, a group of Turkish activist hackers, announced that it would be releasing “a large file regarding Israel.”

Meanwhile, another the group Sector 404 was launching a denial of service attack on the Mossad’s public website (lots of exciting job opportunities there, by the way, including for all of you language majors).

The Red Hack announced that the list it had acquired included the personal information of 35,000 Israeli officials — and then anti-Israel bloggers and The Red Hack themselves were goading each other to make more ambitious claims, “until finally they were 35,000 Mossad agents,” writes Abunimah.

Abuminah traced the list (on a PDF file) to GaZa HaCHeR, who published it in late November, 2012. It turns out to be a list of 35,000 names, phone numbers, addresses and emails of Israeli customers of imported goods.

“All the names are in Hebrew, but are accompanied by email addresses and phone numbers in Latin characters giving it all an air of authenticity,” explains Abunimah, adding: “People who don’t speak Hebrew – almost certainly the vast majority of people circulating the list – would not have noticed that many of the names were those of businesses or Palestinians or that there was other information that points to this being a list of customers and not a list of government personnel.”

 

Politicians Promise to Help Israel: Will It Be Too Little, Too Late?

Monday, November 5th, 2012

“If Israel is attacked” is a phrase heard often by mostly well-meaning politicians from both American parties when they are out on the campaign trail, or even while holding office, to express their intent to come to the aid of the Jewish state.

But as anyone who both follows current events and has any semblance of logic knows, not only is the phrase trite, but it reveals a certain unfamiliarity with the Middle East today and is even dangerous as pertains to Iran.

First: “If Israel is attacked” implies a future scenario.  But those who keep abreast of the goings-on in Israel know that Israel is and has been under attack all year (and earlier) by Palestinian-Arabs residing in the Gaza Strip.  Thus far this year, the Palestinian-Arabs have fired more than 800 rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli civilian areas.

On October 24, 80 projectiles were fired at Israelis.  In those attacks, two guest workers were injured, while five houses took direct hits.  Last year, a rocket attack from Gaza killed an Israeli, and there have been numerous fatalities and injuries due to Palestinian-Arab rocket attacks over the past ten years.  There has also been great property damage, and the trauma — especially to young children who have to flee to bomb shelters within fifteen seconds of the alerts — is immeasurable.  More than one million Israelis live within range of rockets from Gaza.

If this is not a current state of being under attack, what is?

While those seeking office can do nothing to stop this rocket fire, they can strongly condemn the Palestinian-Arabs, yet we don’t seem to have examples of any.  Those in office seeking re-election can take action, though there seems to be silence.

The U.S. government has taken no discernible action to compel the Palestinian-Arabs to stop firing rockets at Israel.  If America — the largest funder of the Palestinian-Arabs and trainer of their “security” forces — cannot get them to stop firing rockets at Israel, who can?  There is a clear lack of response by the administration.  It is no way to treat an ally.

Yes, the U.S. has funded Israel’s novel “Iron Dome” anti-missile (short-range, low-trajectory) system, which has been quite effective — though hardly 100 percent.  In fact, according to reports, it eliminated only seven of the incoming rockets during the Oct. 24 barrage.  Each Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs $40,000 (plus the millions it cost to develop and deploy the system itself).  Meanwhile, a Palestinian-Arab rocket costs less than $1,000, and a mortar is far cheaper.

In reality, the “Iron Dome” may provide only the security of an umbrella in a hailstorm.

Imagine a scenario where your neighborhood is plagued with gun-toting gangs who frequently fire at civilians.  But rather than go after the criminals, the police hand out bulletproof vests to the victims.  Helpful perhaps if they aim at your chest, but it would be far better to eliminate the criminals and stop the gunfire in the first place.

But America lets the Palestinian-Arabs fire at will, and when Israel goes after the Palestinian-Arab terrorists, there is a chorus of accusations of a “disproportionate response” from the world and the media — including in America.  A New York Times headline online on Oct. 24 blared that “Israel — Airstrikes Kill Two Hamas Gunmen” with no mention in the headline as to why Israel struck.

As for Iran, the phrase “If Israel is attacked” is even more problematic.  It implies that America will step forward to help Israel only after Israel is attacked by Iran.  This is not good enough.  If an Iranian attack involves a nuclear missile or bomb, the casualties would be devastating to a country as tiny as Israel.

According to a 2007 estimate by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for International and Strategic Studies, if Tel Aviv were the target of an Iranian nuclear attack, 200,000 to 800,000 Israelis would die from the primary impact.  Others have noted there would be many more Israeli casualties as a result of nuclear radiation.

Who would want to live in such a place, visit Israel, or invest there in the aftermath of a nuclear attack?  It would likely mean the destruction of the Jewish State.  The mere fact that Iran possessed nuclear weapons and could use them at any time would make businesses skittish about investing in Israel and inspire many Jews to desert their homeland.

Allies protect one another before tragedies and attacks occur.  Little good would come for Israel were the U.S. to react after such an attack.

When Iranian officials hear “If Israel is attacked,” perhaps it means to them that America will allow them to get in the opening salvo — a free shot to kill as many Israelis as they can before facing American retribution.

Iranian leaders have said they would be willing to sacrifice millions of their own people to an Israeli or American counter-strike in order to attain the goal of destroying Israel.  This is a regime that sacrificed thousands of boys whom they sent into minefields to detonate those devices rather than risk casualties to soldiers during their war against Iraq.

Defending Israel after the fact is simply no defense at all.  Policy must be to pre-empt Israel’s enemies and, beyond that, remove the threat to Israel in its entirety.

If politicians and other officials are careless in their choice of words and mean to say they will prevent Israel from a nuclear attack in the first place, they need to be clearer in their formulation.  But if their statements are meant to be taken literally — that is, that America will only respond to an attack, but not pre-empt one — it is yet another sign that the Israelis can truly only rely on their own courage and judgment.

Originally published at the American Thinker.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/politicians-promise-to-help-israel-will-it-be-too-little-too-late/2012/11/05/

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