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May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

In Time for Obama Meeting, CBS Shows 123% Rise in Settlement Housing

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Hours before a scheduled meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama in Washington Monday, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released the figures on Jewish housing starts in Judea and Samaria for 2013 and they show a stunning, 123% rise compared to the year before.

According to the CBS, work began on 2,534 new Judea and Samaria homes and apartments in 2013, compared to 1,133 in 2012. Of these, some 1,710 units were in apartment buildings in the larger Judea and Samaria settlements, and 824 were single-family homes in smaller settlements.

The same data shows a 19 percent drop in housing starts in the Tel Aviv area.

The total number of housing starts throughout Israel rose 3.4 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, according to the CBS.

Housing starts in Judea and Samaria have been lower since a 10-month freeze in building in Judea and Samaria settlements that began in November 2009, as part of the Netanyahu government’s capitulation to American pressure.

It took until 2013 for many new housing tenders to be issued for Judea and Samaria settlements, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Housing starts in Judea and Samaria comprise 5.7% of all the starts in Israel. In the south of Israel there was a 12% rise, in the Haifa region 8.1%, in Jerusalem 2.9%, and up north 1%.

The 19% drop in housing starts in Tel Aviv appears dramatic when juxtaposed with the rest of the country.

And now for a word from our friend at Peace Now Yariv Oppenheimer who issued a statement saying that at this rate of growth there’ll be no room left for a Palestinian State.

The other friendly NGO, the “Geneva Initiative,” faulted Netanyahu for creating a one-state solution through his action, and warned that in such a state the Jews would be in the minority.

No they won’t, just check birth rate figures for Jews (on the rise) and for Judea and Samaria Arabs (on the decline since 2005).

Some JTA content was used in this report, but we had to replace all the “west bank” references with the proper “Judea and Samaria.”

A Very Athletic Religion

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

I’m looking at this picture of Muslim worshipers on their hands and knees in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma’ale ha-Zeitim (Ras al Amud) last Friday. In order to prevent riots on Temple Mount, police limited entry to Muslim men over 50, so everyone you see here must be younger. But still, I find the notion of falling down on my hands and knees five times a day both physically demanding and socially awkward.

I can’t stand it when the guy sitting next to me in shul leans too close to my area during davening. In fact, our tradition requires maintaining a bit of open space in front of each person during the Amida—STANDING prayer. I can’t imagine being down on the floor, tight with the guy and the whole shul – what is this Swedish gymnastics?

We do it a few times on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur every year, and it’s very special and inspiring, and I get that this is the way they used to do it in the Temple—once a year, when the High Priest called out the full name of God. But every day? Not happening.

When we do the holy bending on the Days of Awe, I get the submission thing. And I know that Mohammed or someone like him borrowed the falling on the knees thing from the Jews. Nevertheless, if this ever becomes the way we daven all the time, I’ll be davening at home.

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Inside Source: Netanyahu to Uproot Thousands of Jews

Friday, February 28th, 2014

According to information acquired by Makor Rishon from sources connected to the Kerry-led “peace negotiations,” Israel is set to uproot Jews if an agreement is signed.

The source claims that settlements in Judea and Samaria will be divided into three types: those that will remain under Israeli sovereignty; those who will be place under Palestinian Authority rule under a special arrangement; and those that will be uprooted.

The source claims there are still big gaps between the positions on both sides, and Netanyahu is against uprooting Jews, which is why the prime minister working to minimize the number of Jews that would be expelled under any agreement. Nevertheless, should an agreement be signed, a few thousands Jews will certainly be forcibly expelled from their Judea and Samaria homes.

The Prime Minister’s office responded to the report saying it was a lie, and that the Prime Minister has no intention of uprooting any Israeli or any Jewish town.

On Wednesday this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters “his” Middle East peace deal will not be achieved by the April deadline. And at least one high level Palestinian official has told AFP a week ago that Kerry’s ideas could not be the basis of any acceptable framework. And so, it’s possible the Makor Rishon story was a plant from a right wing source, to fan the flames of resistance to a deal in Israel.

Back in 2005, Netanyahu voted with the Sharon government to deport some 10,000 Jews from their Gaza and northern Samarian homes.

 

The Question the Palestinians Aren’t Being Asked

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Almost all the focus in the mainstream media on the Middle East peace process tends to be on the decision taken by only one of the parties involved in the negotiations.

The perennial question from pundits and even veteran kibitzers like The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman is whether Israelis are ready to take risks in order to achieve peace. That was the conceit of a column he wrote last week titled “Israel’s Big Question,” and if it seemed familiar to readers, it was no accident. Friedman has been writing the same column for decades in which he asks Israelis whether they will leave the West Bank in order to retain both the Jewish and democratic identities of their nation. If they don’t, and Secretary of State Kerry’s initiative fails, Israel’s doom is, he says, sealed.

But of course Israel has already tried to trade land for the promise of peace and failed. The Palestinians turned down three offers of statehood and there is every indication they will turn down a fourth offer of up to 90 percent of the West Bank that is being mulled by the Netanyahu government.

Friedman’s assumption – as well as that of many of Israel’s critics – is that if the Israelis are sufficiently forthcoming those problems will disappear. They should instead be asking what it is about the political culture of the Palestinians that makes their intransigence not merely possible but inevitable. The answer comes in two separate stories that touch on what it is that both the PA’s negotiators and Hamas believe.

In Gaza, the Hamas government has apparently rejected the textbooks provided for schools by UNRWA, the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees and their descendants. UNRWA has hired Hamas terrorists as staffers and has been rightly accused of helping to perpetuate the conflict by not seeking to resettle refugees so as to keep them in camps as props in the long Arab war against Israel. But while the textbooks UNRWA has published for Gaza schools apparently accept the Palestinian narrative of victimization and the illegitimacy of Israel, they also encourage non-violence. The Hamas education ministry is particularly angry since the books emphasize the examples of peaceful protests.

Education Minister Mu’tasim Al-Minawi had the following objections: “The vast majority of examples [in the books] refer to [Mahatma] Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Helen Suzman, the Soweto Uprising, the Magna Carta and Apartheid, even though Islamic-Arab-Palestinian alternatives exist. There are many models which could be used which are closer to the students’ understanding.”

This tells us Hamas is educating the children of Gaza not just to hate Israel and Jews but also to reject the Western frame of reference about human rights, even in the context of support for anti-Israel activism, which was clearly the intention of the UNRWA curriculum.

Also instructive is the mini-controversy inspired by Saeb Erekat, the man who represents the Palestinians in peace talks. Earlier this month at the Munich Security Conference, Erekat told his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni that asking him to recognize the Jewish state was impossible since it would force the Palestinians “to change their narrative” about their history. He also claimed his family – as well as the rest of the Palestinians – has a claim to the land prior to that of the Jews since they are descended from the biblical Canaanites and were there when Joshua Bin Nun “burned my hometown Jericho.”

Suffice it to say that there is no evidence that Palestinian Arabs have any connection with the inhabitants of the country prior to the Arab conquest that occurred in the seventh century CE.

But if even Erekat – whom we are told by the media and the U.S. government is a man of peace – is determined to cling to a historical narrative that is based in rejection of Jewish rights to any part of the country, then what hope is there for peace?

Both Fatah and Hamas continue to educate their peoples in a culture that is not only steeped in hatred of Jews and Israel but in a worldview in which the rejection of Zionism is integral to Palestinian identity. The question Kerry, Friedman, and others who continue to hound Israel should be asking is this: When will the Palestinians give up their culture of hate and embrace one that would give peace a chance?

Hamas Isolated as Egypt Razes Homes to Clear 500-Yard Wide Buffer

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

It has been going on for several months, but now it’s official, as reported by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 smuggling tunnels and seven homes in the Sinai on Saturday as part of their new campaign to create a 500 yard wide buffer zone (5 football fields) along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The campaign began with a military operation in the border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip were targeted in border neighborhoods, an Egyptian security source told Ma’an.

The source added that the tunnels were destroyed and the homes they were located in were blown up. The move was part of a wider campaign to set up a buffer zone along the border with Gaza in Rafah that would extend 300 meters in populated areas and 500 meters in open areas.

If anyone was wondering what motivated the Egyptians to act so emphatically to separate themselves from the Hams governed Gaza Strip, the same source also told Ma’an that Egyptian army forces on Saturday successfully foiled three explosive devices placed in military vehicles and armored cars in Sheikh Zuwaid, including two that were placed near the Sheikh Zuweid Hospital and a third on the road to a nearby village south of Sheikh Zuewid.

They’ve had enough of the pesky Palestinian terrorists spreading death wherever they turn, so they cut them off. Let Turkey help them.

The source added that Egyptian army forces raided “militant strongholds” in the village of al-Kharuba south of Sheikh Zuweid and destroyed three homes and five “hideouts.” Oh, and this is rich: they also destroyed an olive grove that was reportedly used to hide terrorists following attacks taking place on the nearby road to Rafah International crossing.

Ma’an reminded readers that until July 2013 tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory which was facing a “crippling Israeli blockade” since 2006. But since the coup against Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi in July, Egypt has strictly enforced a blockade of its own and caved in the tunnels.

Egyptian Maj. Gen. Ahmad Ibrahim said last October that nearly 800 tunnels had been destroyed since the Morsi toppling, an estimated 95 percent of previously existing tunnels. Last night 10 more went under.

A day before the Egyptian action, during a rally in Rafah, Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior spokesman for Hamas, rebuked Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from negotiations with the U.S. and Israel, as the talks only serve to “terminate the question of Palestine and what is left of Palestinian rights and principles.”

In other words, by ostensibly reaching a resolution for the Palestinian’s plight the imagined peace deal would effectively end the struggle for a resolution to the Palestinian plight. Must be a chicken and egg thing.

“Nobody has authorized you (Abbas) to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, or on behalf of Hamas or any other faction,” Abu Zuhri said. “Why don’t you tell the truth about what is going on in the secret negotiations? If you are honest, go out to your people and tell the truth and give them details.”

Back in 2006, Sami Abu Zuhri was trying to cross from Egypt into Gaza in Rafah, when he dropped a money belt with 900,000 euros in it. The law is one must declare any sum above $2,000. Abu Zuhri said it was all private donations. For the orphans.

Anyway, the Hamas spokesman also declared his movement would regard any international military presence within a future Palestinian state as “occupation” forces. So American and NATO troops are as bad as the IDF as far as Hamas is concerned.

Four Jerusalem Arabs Indicted for Plot for Wedding Massacre

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Four Jerusalem Arabs plotted to carry out a grisly massacre at a wedding hall near Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and Har Herzl in the capital, according to indictments filed in a Jerusalem court Wednesday, lifting a gag order that had been in effect.

All four Arabs, between 18 and 21 years old, are from the Jabal Muchabar neighborhood, adjacent to the Jewish neighborhood of Armon HaNatziv that is next to Talpiot on the southern edge of Jerusalem.

The terrorists planned to wear Haredi clothes to crash a wedding at the Nof wedding hall in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood, located well within the old boundaries of the capital before the Six-Day War in 1967. They were to be armed with an Uzi sub-machine gun, with which they would the spray at anyone in sight and carry out one of the bloodiest massacres since the Netanya Park Hotel slaughter on Passover in 2002.

The Arabs lived in a neighborhood that was restored to Israel during the war and officially annexed to Jerusalem in 1980.

The indictments stated that Anas Ouisat and Basel Abidat planned last December to work with terrorist organizations to kill Jews.

Ouisat previously worked at the wedding hall and knew that an attack there could kill and wound several hundred wedding guests. Ahmed Sarur carried out surveillance for the planned attack but eventually left the gang and Amru Abado took his place.

All four are between 18 and 21 years old.

Palestinians’ New Enemy: Tzipi Livni

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The Palestinians have now turned against Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who also heads the Israeli team to the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority [PA].

Livni is probably the most dovish member of the Israeli cabinet. Yet her moderate views and support for the two-state solution have not made her immune to a new campaign against her by the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority leadership is now saying that Livni is no longer fit to negotiate with the Palestinians and must be replaced. In other words, any Israeli negotiator who does not accept all Palestinian demands should be excluded from the US-sponsored peace talks.

The reason why the Palestinians are furious with Livni is a statement she made during an interview last Saturday, where she announced that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s positions are “not only unacceptable to us, but to the whole world, and if he continues to stick to them, then the Palestinians will be the ones to pay the price.”

Livni’s statement has been misinterpreted by Palestinians as a personal “threat” against Abbas. Of course, Livni never made such a threat in her statement and was merely warning against the repercussions of Abbas’s positions on the peace process and his people.

But the PA leadership often interprets Israeli criticism of Abbas as a threat to eliminate him. This is a way of telling the Palestinians that Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, is facing threats from Israel for refusing to make concessions on Palestinian rights.

The Palestinian Authority is preparing Palestinians for the possibility that the talks with Israel could end in failure, and that Abbas may be face the same fate as Arafat — isolated and boycotted by Israel and the international community. The goal is to make Abbas appear in the eyes of his people as a “martyr” who paid a heavy price for standing up to Israel and the US.

Less than 24 hours after Livni made her statement, several PA officials and organizations responded by accusing her of “incitement.”

Mahmoud al-Aloul, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said in response to Livni’s remark: “If the Israelis think that threats and pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas would drive him to make concessions on Palestinian rights they are deluding themselves. The threats made by the officials of the occupation government are directed against Abbas’s life, but they won’t affect his positions.”

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki condemned Livni’s “threat” against Abbas and said he would bring them to the attention of the international community. “We are studying the threats and their implication,” Malki told reporters. “We will distribute Livni’s statements to all foreign ministers and the international community. We can’t remain silent towards these threats. This is a clear threat to Abbas in person and it must be taken seriously.”

Abbas Zaki, another senior Fatah official, claimed that Livni’s “threats” are designed to distract attention from Israel’s refusal to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. “The threats show that the Israelis are not mature for peace,” he added.

The radical Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one of the PLO groups, accused Livni of “political audacity.” The group said that Livni’s demand that Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state was completely unacceptable and reflected “despicable arrogance.”

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, announced that “Livni’s statements make her unacceptable for negotiations…. She has joined those voices in the Israeli government that are trying to destroy prospects for peace. This is a very dangerous statement.”

The attacks on Livni correspond with a campaign that is already being waged by Palestinians against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Over the past few weeks, many Palestinians representing various Palestinian groups have been waging protests against Kerry’s ongoing efforts to reach a deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Kerry is being accused of endorsing the Israeli point of view, especially on security, settlements, Jerusalem and the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to their former homes inside Israel.

This Palestinian escalation of rhetoric does not bode well for the future of the peace talks. The Palestinians were first unhappy with Kerry, whom they accused of being biased in favor of Israel. Now they are angry with Livni for daring to criticize Abbas. In the end, Israel and the U.S. will be blamed for the failure of the peace process. This is exactly what happened after the botched Camp David summit in 2000, when Arafat held Israel and the U.S. fully responsible for the failure of the peace process. A few weeks later, the Second Intifada erupted. The same scenario is likely to repeat itself unless the Palestinian Authority leadership stops putting all the blame on others.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/palestinians-new-enemy-tzipi-livni/2014/01/29/

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