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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian statehood’

Supporting Hamas, Al-Jazeera Looking to Pin Arafat’s Murder on the PA

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Even as Mahmoud Abbas’ minions were extracting the bones of Yasser Arafat from his grave, the Palestinian Authority upgraded its status at the United Nations to “Palestine” and was accepted as a non-member observer state by the UN General Assembly. The timing of the request for recognition by the UN and the grisly exhumation of the PA’s “president” were part of the contest between Hamas and the PLO for Palestinian leadership. The contest was won by Hamas.

There are Palestinians who claim that the Palestinian Authority, which was unceremoniously expelled by Hamas from the Gaza Strip in 2007, rules the West Bank only from nine to five — the day shift; the night shift is run by Israeli intelligence. Otherwise, they say, the Palestinian Authority would long since have collapsed.

For quite some time the leadership of the new Islamic world — the one that grew like a weed after the Arab Spring — has been of the opinion that the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas are no longer relevant and should depart.

Before and during Operation Pillar of Defense, Hamas received the support of the Emir of Qatar and was visited by senior officials from Turkey and Tunisia. Hamas received backing from Egypt and became the target of pilgrimages from Arab League representatives as well as a panoply of Islamic luminaries, who were all, like Shakespeare’s Brutus, “honorable men.”

They all gave Hamas a wind at its back, and, at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, supported it as the “victor” in the battle against Israel, despite the fact that Israel had just defeated Hamas in Operation Pillar of Defense — a retaliation by Israel for weeks of being bombarded by missiles and rockets from Gaza.

Meanwhile Al-Jazeera TV, owned by the Emir of Qatar, broadcasts that it suspects that the Palestinian Authority was involved in a plot to poison Arafat. Al-Jazeera TV in Arabic also accuses Israel of poisoning him, but hints that the deed itself was actually done by someone on the inside, one of Arafat’s loyal followers or bodyguards. That is why the Palestinian Authority gravediggers dug up Arafat’s bones with such serious, frozen faces. The skeleton in the closet is the Palestinian Authority, because Al-Jazeera wants to destroy the Palestinian Authority’s reputation by accusing its senior figures of complicity in Arafat’s death, and forcing an investigation into his “poisoning.” Al Jazeera’s objective is to bury the Palestinian Authority, such that gaining UN recognition for “Palestine” is the last act the PA will ever perform.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The European Union: A Palestinian Pawn

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Last week the EU Council of Foreign Affairs issued a statement about recent developments in what it called the “Middle East Peace Process.” The EU stated that all parties must avoid acts which undermine confidence and the viability of a two state solution. The statement showed just how detached the European Union has become from the reality in Israel.

There has been no peace process at all since the Palestinian leadership decided to walk away from bilateral negotiations with Israel in 2009, a move that was the result of a calculated change in strategy in PA politics regarding Israel.

Furthermoreת most EU countries undermined the chances of a negotiated deal on the two-state solution by voting in favor, or by abstaining from voting against, the unilateral UN statehood bid by the Palestinian Authority in November. The EU thereby became an accomplice in abrogating the Oslo accords.

The accords state, at Article 31: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations.”

The Palestinian Authority, however, bypassed permanent status negotiations in order to obtain world recognition of a Palestinian state. It was an attempt to change the status of the Judea and Samaria.

This unilateral act clearly undermined confidence. It also endangered relative quiet and the fragile status quo in the Judea and Samaria. This has been made clear by a series of violent incidents over the last two weeks. Palestinians in Hebron even announced on Saturday that the Third Intifada had begun.

Palestinian propaganda

But there is more.  Reading the ECFA statement carefully brings to light that the EU obviously bases its policy on information from Palestinian sources or from NGOs affiliated with the Palestinians.

For example, when speaking about the ceasefire lines that existed before the Six Day War in 1967 the EU uses the word ‘borders.’ These  ‘borders’ were in fact armistice lines that came into being after Arab aggression against Israel in 1948. The Palestinians speak about borders because their existence would enhance their claim to the Judea and Samaria.

When expressing “deep dismay” and “strong opposition” to Israeli plans to develop the so called E-1 area between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim,  the EU stated that this plan would “jeopardize the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.” The EU even claimed that the plan “could entail the forced transfer of civilian population.”

These claims about E-1 are also based on propaganda used by the Palestinian Authority. The facts about E-1 show that the plan in no way  threatens the contiguity of a viable Palestinian state.

E-1 is a 11,7 sq.km area atop the barren hills adjacent to the eastern fringes of Jerusalem, joining it to Ma’aleh Adumim which is a  suburb of 40.000 residents 4,5 kilometers east of Jerusalem.

The town is within the Israeli consensus. Every Israeli government, including the Rabin government, has stated that Ma’aleh Adumim would be part of Israel in any permanent agreement with the Palestinians and that development of the E-1 area was necessary to avoid Jerusalem becoming an outlying frontier city once again. This had been the case before and after 1948 until 1967 when Jerusalem was divided and under constant attack.

The E-1 area, which is part of Ma’aleh Adumim and within Area C, has been the scene of relentless illegal Palestinian building and  land grabs by Bedouin tribes.  In Area C, according to the Oslo II accord, Israel retained the powers of zoning and planning.

Building in E-1 will not threaten the contiguity of a Palestinian state because east of Ma’aleh Adumim at least 15 kilometers of land remains to connect the north West Bank to the south. Furthermore Israel has developed a plan for a bypass road east of Ma’aleh Adumim that would connect Bethlehem to Ramallah. The new road would actually reduce travelling time for Palestinian travellers.

The map of Israel below shows clearly that the development of the E-1 area would not jeopardize a contiguous Palestinian state and that the corridor which would connect the northern portion of Judea and Samaria to the south is of the same size as the corridor that existed in Israel prior to the Six Day War.

Obsessed

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The more I hear about the world being enraged that we plan to build a small neighborhood on E1 while so much of the world is on fire with violence, the more confused and amazed I am. Egypt has tanks in their streets; Syria is murdering dozens of their own each day and threatening to use chemical weapons on them.

Three were killed in a mall in Oregon when a gunman opened fire, the Greek economy is collapsing or has already collapsed, and so much moreNorth Korea fired a long-range rocket that landed past the Philippines and neither Japan nor the US is particularly pleased.

…and yet, the world is obsessed about E1.

No buildings here…nothing…E1

And, as I can see that mountain from my home, and as I drive past it every day, I am obsessed with capturing it in pictures.

It’s so silly really, and yet, each day, I snap a picture thinking maybe one more picture and the world will be convinced. Today as I drove past, I asked Elie to take some pictures. He hates my BlackBerry camera and complained…and yet, he captured what is there…and what is not.

It’s just a hill, people.

It’s just a bunch of rocks and a road and yes, it’s beautiful because it is part of Israel, but there’s no big issue here.

No Palestinians live there, so none will be hurt.

A highway sign warning trucks they can’t travel
between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and a road
that leads to a police station.

The road on which I travel is called Route 1. It starts in Tel Aviv and continues to the east, climbing through the mountains into Jerusalem.

It crosses the northern points of Jerusalem and then continues down the mountain towards Maale Adumim.

At the bottom, it makes a curved turn and continues down, down, down – below sea level – down, down, to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea.

E1 from Route 1…empty land

Today, I saw about 40 sheep grazing on the edge of the mountain – but honestly, they can graze on the next barren hilltop just as easily as on E1.

I look at E1 and I’m obsessed with taking that one picture that will convince the world that 100 dead in Syria is more pressing than this mountain – yes, even if we build on it.

That rocket from Korea deserves more attention than E1.

By the edge of the road, trees grow…on E1, almost nothing

For God’s sake there are tanks in the streets of Cairo and nine people were wounded there this morning.

Did you know that Mali’s prime minister was arrested and has resigned?

Did you know Iranian warships have docked in Sudan?

That another bomb has exploded in a Somali neighborhood in Kenya?

What, for heaven’s sake, is so important about this silly little mountain across from my home? Why is the world obsessed with what isn’t there and, even if it were, would do no harm.

There is NOTHING there. Palestinians today drive on Route 1. They will be able to drive on Route 1 during any construction period and they will continue to drive there after those apartments are built. There is NO harm done. It is a barren hill that connects Jerusalem to the west with Maale Adumim to the east and I hope, deep in my heart, that perhaps some of my children will settle there, so close to my home. I hope they will build affordable houses for young families.

I know that if they build there, the homes will glisten in the sunlight, covered in Jerusalem stone. I know that there will be fine roads there, perhaps even a school. Some shopping nearby and roads to connect it to Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.

I have little doubt that many of the construction workers will be Palestinians, able to earn money for their families. They won’t object to building there; they’ll be happy for the work.

The only thing standing in the way is an obsession born of ignorance and exaggeration. Please, look at the pictures. There is NOTHING there to protest against. Nothing to be bothered. Nothing to be damaged.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

The Same Old Tired Nonsense

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Because of my business, which involves synagogues, I have accidentally been placed on many synagogue mailing lists. So I get to read about simchas and deaths, holiday parties, trips to Israel, building campaigns, etc. Most of this is uninteresting, relating to people I don’t know in places I haven’t been, but sometimes it’s revealing.

For example, I recently received a copy of a message from a Reform rabbi whom I won’t identify, but whose remarks can be paraphrased as follows:

The recent fighting between Israel and Hamas was terrible. Many innocent people on both sides were hurt. Why do we keep repeating this irrational behavior? Bellicose leaders on both sides are at fault. The only way to end the conflict is a two-state solution, to talk rather than fight.

I’ve left out a great deal, some of which I found so ‘evenhanded’ as to be offensive, as though the rabbi felt that if he criticized Hamas it would only be fair to criticize Israel harshly as well.

I’m sure the rabbi’s congregants expect him to be knowledgeable about Israel and the conflict that has always informed its existence. But he is representative of many Jewish leaders in that, to be as polite as possible, he seems to be talking about the Middle East located in the Upsilon Andromedae system rather than the one on earth.

He must be unaware of the recent Hamas ‘victory’ celebration where tens of thousands of Gazans cheered Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who said,

Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land … We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take…

We will not rest until we liberate the prisoners. The way we freed some of the prisoners in the past is the way we will use to free the remaining prisoners…

[The right of return to Israel for Arab 'refugees'] is sacred to us and we will not forfeit it…

And apparently he does not understand that Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO declared the Oslo ‘peace process’ null and void by unilaterally turning to the UN for statehood (and he doesn’t grasp that the General Assembly affirmed this denial of the only cooperative road to a two-state solution).

He seems to ignore the multiple times that the PLO rejected Israeli offers of almost the entire area of the 1948-1967 Jordanian conquest. The fact that no Arab leadership has ever given up the so-called ‘right of return’ of the descendents of Arab refugees to Israel — a ‘right’ for which there is no legal or historical precedent — does not dampen his enthusiasm for “two states.”

He doesn’t appear to ask if the hundred-year history of pogroms and terrorism by Arabs against Jews in the land of Israel, along with the vicious anti-Jewish hatred spewed by the Hamas and PLO media and educational systems, their maps that show ‘Palestine’ as including all of Israel, etc. — if all of this might imply that the Palestinians wouldn’t be satisfied even if they obtained pre-1967 boundaries?

Gazan child re-enacts bloody 2000 lynch of Israeli reservists

He doesn’t bring up the fact that the Middle East has become an even more dangerous place than ever before, with a radical Islamist regime rising in Egypt, total chaos possible in Syria and a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. Is this the time for Israel to invite new security threats?

Although the rabbi doesn’t discuss the security issues that would be raised by an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, doesn’t the recent experience of withdrawal from Gaza make him think? Even if an agreement were made with a non-hostile Palestinian entity — although the idea that the PLO is non-hostile in anything other than its English statements is questionable — what would happen if (when) Hamas or hardline PLO factions take over, placing Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion airport, Jerusalem and more in the position of Sderot?

Keep in mind that if it doesn’t work out — if the Palestinians don’t keep their agreement (and they have broken numerous prior agreements) then getting the land back isn’t easy. Israel is expected to make real, concrete concessions in return for promises.

The Real ‘Obstacle to Peace’

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Iran is building nuclear weapons, Syria is slaughtering its citizens, Libya is being taken over by al-Qaeda, Egypt is threatened with another Pharaoh, Turkey is working toward rebuilding the Ottoman Empire, and Christians are being massacred in Egypt, Nigeria and Mali (among other countries). But last Thursday, the European Commission summoned the Israeli Ambassador to the European Union (EU) over Israel’s plan to build 3,000 new homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

The Israeli plans were a response to the United Nations’ decision on 29 November to grant the Palestinian Authority the status of a UN non-member observer state, in direct violation of the UN’s own Resolutions 242, 338, and 1850 — an overruling the UN Charter specifically forbids.

The Palestinian move was also in direct violation of its bilateral September 28, 1995, Oslo II agreements, in which the both the Palestinians and the Israelis, in Article 31, consented that “nether side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations.”

Why should any country sign an agreement if it will just be invalidated a few years later?

Canada, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s illegal behavior, immediately recalled its diplomats assigned to the West Bank; however, the same illegal behavior was lavishly rewarded shortly thereafter by several European countries who summoned Israel’s ambassadors — a precedent that can only be understood to signal that, as so often at the UN, illegal behavior — as in oil for food, or sex for food — will be rewarded — or at least not reprimanded — in the future.

Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, emphasized that it is very exceptional for the Commission, the executive body of the EU, to summon an ambassador.

The Israeli ambassador met Ashton’s deputy Pierre Vimont, who expressed the EU’s concern about the Israeli building plans. The EU wants the project annulled: it is said to be “an obstacle to peace.” Not the PLO or Hamas Charters, which call for Israel’s destruction, or the hundreds of rockets fired into at Israel over the last month, or Iran’s continual and illegal — under both the UN’s own Charter and the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide — calls for genocide in “wiping Israel…”

No, no, no these are not threats to peace worth mentioning or bothering about. The Czech Republic was the only one of the 27 EU member states to join the US, Canada, Israel, Panama and four Micronesian island states in voting against the UN resolution to upgrade the status of the PA within the UN. Twelve EU members, including Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and all the EU states from Eastern Europe, were among the 41 UN members who abstained. The remaining fourteen EU members, consisting of the entire Latin and Mediterranean bloc and the Scandinavians, were among the 138 nations that voted in favor of the Palestinian Authority.

There is also some good news, however. In Italy, one of the countries which backed the recognition of the PA as a UN non-member observer state, one hundred members of the Italian Parliament protested the decision of the government to do so. The parliamentarians belong to the PdL party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which withdrew its support of the Italian government last week. In Belgium, another country which supported the enhanced status of the PA within the UN, the decision led to a rift within the governing center-right MR party. Half the MR senators oppose the government’s pro-Palestinian line.

Nevertheless, it is striking to see that within the EU there is but one country courageous enough to stand with Israel: the Czech Republic. Most EU members backed the Palestinian claims. The governments that took a neutral position by abstaining can only be found in the countries that suffered under Communist dictatorship, in Germany (previously, partly under Communist rule), Britain and the Netherlands.

The Scandinavians and the Irish traditionally pursue leftist international policies which are by definition critical of Israel; the Mediterranean rim together with Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria, have since the 1970s and 80s conducted a foreign policy that aims to appease North Africa and the Arab world.

The dependency on Arab oil and the fact that millions of immigrants from North Africa have settled within the borders of these EU states explain this appeasement policy.

Apart from the European Commission, several EU governments bilaterally expressed their dissatisfaction with the Israeli building plans. As 14 of the 27 EU members took a pro-Palestinian position in the UN while thirteen did not, it is unlikely that the EU will impose trade sanctions over the construction plans. A vocal critical stance will, however, be taken, also by the twelve EU members that abstained in the UN.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her dissatisfaction in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The United Kingdom followed the French, Spanish, Danish and Swedish example of summoning the Israeli ambassador over the housing projects. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that, although there did not appear to be any “enthusiasm” in the EU for a move to impose economic sanctions on Israel, “if there is no reversal [of the Israeli decision] we will want to consider what further steps European countries should take.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans told the Dutch media that the Netherlands will raise pressure on Israel to stop its building projects. It is unlikely that Timmermans will follow the example of his predecessor Uri Rosenthal, who last year vetoed a critical EU report on the Israeli settlements. The Dutch ambassador to Tel Aviv urged the Israeli government to stop the building project.

Meanwhile, the civil servants of the European Commission are pursuing their anti-Israeli policies. The Commission recently sponsored a workshop to investigate how to label goods made in the Israeli “settlements” and prevent them from being sold in Europe. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for Human Rights, and Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland and Nobel peace prize winner, are patrons of a movement to boycott such Israeli products. EU officials want the products labeled so that they can be differentiated from other Israeli products. As the EU does not recognize that Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem are part of Israel, products from these areas would be subject to EU import duties.

Last August, the European Commission issued a ruling ordering EU customs authorities to check the origin of Israeli products in order to exclude “settlement goods from preferential treatment.” The Commission made a list of so-called “non-eligible locations” – Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria – which are to be targeted. “Operators are advised to consult the list before lodging a customs declaration for releasing goods for free circulation,” the EU document states. The communities on the EU blacklist are non-eligible for duty-free status under the EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

The EU blacklist is a violation of international free trade; it is also reminiscent of the 1933 Nazi boycott of Jewish products.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Can the Likud Survive without the ‘Feinschmeckers’?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

This is the second entry in an in depth series about the composition of the Likud’s list of candidates for the Knesset. Yesterday’s entry discussed the fact that the Israeli media were quick to condemn the Likud’s rightward shift, but in fact of the first 25 of the Likud’s list (the candidates who are likely to be in the Knesset), 20 are members of the current Likud Knesset faction, three were required to be new faces,and the two other new candidates, Moshe Feiglin and Tzachi HaNegbi, who are both familiar faces to the Likud, balance each other out ideologically. So the Likud faction in the upcoming Knesset and the last are pretty much the same.

The big shock, to the media at least, was the fact that Benny Begin, Mickey Eitan and Dan Meridor – whom Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Liberman once labeled the Likud’s ‘Feinschmeckers’ – did not achieve realistic spots. But can it be claimed the Likud won’t be the Likud without them?

Well for one thing, the Likud was the Likud without Meridor and Begin for about a decade. Both of them left the party, each for different reasons (Meridor was finance minister and left over a disagreement about the Shekel exchange rate in 1997 while Begin left to found the Herut party in protest of Netanyahu’s executing the Hevron withdrawal and continuing with the Oslo process).

It should also be noted that Begin didn’t do that poorly in the primaries, he ranked 22nd on the national part of the list, but was bumped back to number 38 on the list because of all the spots reserved for geographic districts and certain demographics. What was surprising about Begin was that he had been number five in 2008 and now dropped so many spaces.

But this was a different election than in 2008, where every Knesset Member feared for his political future, new candidates from Kadima and Moshe Feiglin, who was expected to win a spot in the top 20, were introduced into the mix.

That Begin did as well as he did is surprising given that he has been completely inactive politically. He has no aides. He does not do political events. He does not register Likud members. Nor has he been very active or vocal publicly for the last few years (though in fairness to him, he had health problems). In any political system, even a ‘Likud prince’ like Benny Begin needs to campaign and he didn’t.

Begin also came out against “Hok Hasdarah” saying he was against “bypassing” the High Court of Justice, adopting the Leftist position about the supremacy of the Supreme Court, despite the lack of a constitution and the principle of “parliamentary supremacy” (according to which parliament is the supreme lawmaking body).

This earned him a bad reputation among the Likud’s ideological membership, but that didn’t seal his fate. He could have received sufficient support elsewhere, but he didn’t campaign. And again, despite that, he still managed to score 21, 600 votes – more than twice what was needed to win in 2008 – and rank 22nd among the national candidates. The difference between him and Carmel Shama HaCohen, the last ‘national’ candidate to get a secure spot, was a mere 230 votes.

Nevertheless, the loss of Begin would be a blow to the Likud. Begin is a powerful and respected voice against Palestinian statehood, so if he were again offered to be a minister-without-portfolio that would be good for the Likud and the country.

But remember, it was that opposition to Palestinian statehood that led people to say in 2008 that his rejoining of the Likud had made the Likud too extreme. For example, here is an Arutz Sheva interview with Dan Meridor, where Meridor is asked if he would be able to work with Begin despite their sharp disagreement regarding Palestinian statehood. Meridor tries to smooth over those disagreements, but acknowledges that they exist.

It is therefore quite disingenuous now for pundits to claim that Likud without Begin is an extremist Likud, when they claimed that the Likud with Begin was an extremist Likud.

Like Begin, Meridor was not politically active. I met his chief of staff once. The meeting did not go well. He made insulting comments, stating that only an “abel” (apparently Arabic pejorative for mentally disabled) “doesn’t believe we’re giving them [the Palestinians] something [a state],” that was not long after my associate and I had politely informed him that we represented a more nationalist group. Going into the meeting, we knew Meridor’s politics, but we thought we might find common ground on other issues. The way Meridor’s Chief of Staff handled it was just bad politics. If that was an example of Meridor’s political strategy, it’s no surprise that he lost.

Jews Moving Around Eretz Yisrael and Statehood Bid at the UN

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by alternative peace activist and thinker Baruch Widen.  Together, they discuss recent reports of Jews moving Jabul Mukaber, a neighborhood in Jerusalem that is predominately Arab and Yishai’s own experience with a reporter looking to report on this situation. They move on to talk about the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood in the UN and end the segment by further discussing Palestinian identity and how it contrasts to Israel’s identity.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/jews-moving-around-eretz-yisrael-and-statehood-bid-at-the-un/2012/12/06/

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