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February 21, 2017 / 25 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Unity, Palestinian style

19 Iyyar 5774 – May 18, 2014

So much for Palestinian “unity.”

As expected, the recent Palestinian Authority “unity” deal has done little to curb internecine fighting amongst Palestinian Authority Arabs: A Palestinian website reported Sunday that political arrests continue unabated in both Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

According to PA-run Ma’an News Service, Fatah-linked security forces have continued detaining Hamas suspects around Judea and Samaria, while Hamas forces in Gaza have done the same to local residents there suspected of membership in Abu Mazen’s faction.

The website said that although the pace of detentions has slowed, there are few signs of political freedom in either jurisdiction: Since the agreement was signed, the Palestinian Authority leadership has taken some small steps to allow Hamas to come out of hiding in Judea and Samaria: After the agreement was signed, Fatah unbanned a Hamas newspaper, Falesteen, for the first time since 2007. And Hamas banners and protesters have openly taken part in some demonstrations, mainly in Qalqilia.

In addition, Fatah has refused to serve the consular needs of Gaza residents since the Hamas takeover in 2007. For example, current regulations call for Gaza residents to apply for passports via the government in Ramallah. But P.A. officials have refused to fulfil those requests. There is no indication that that policy has changed over the past month.

In general, Palestinian Authority forces continue to fear a Gaza-style Hamas take over in Judea and Samaria. Some Israeli security officials brushed off Palestinian threats to break security ties in response to the deaths of two Palestinian rioters on “nakba” day, the Palestinians’ annual commemoration of the “disaster” of Israel’s founding. The security officials say there is little chance that Abu Mazen would order the Palestinian Authority security apparatus to stop cooperating with IDF and Shabak security officials, for a simple reason: Israel’s presence in Palestinian-majority areas of Judea and Samaria are the only reason Hamas hasn’t routed Fatah there.

To prevent this, security forces loyal to Abu Mazen have continued arresting Hamas operatives on a near-daily basis, particularly in Hebron and Tulkarem.

In Gaza, too, Hamas forces have slowed their detentions of Fatah activists, and have moved to make life easier for Fatah loyalists. But Khalil Abu Shamala, secretary of the Freedoms Committee in the Gaza Strip, told Ma’an that Hamas continues to “summons” Fatah members on a regular basis, albeit less frequently than before the reconciliation agreement was signed.

The Freedoms Committee was set up to help implement the political reunification process. The Committee has made several recommendations, including streamlining passport applications for Gaza residents by opening a  branch of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of the Interior in Gaza.

Currently, Gaza residents must apply for passports through the mail to Ramallah, a process which causes substantial burden. Few Gaza residents have received passports since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip seven years ago.

Khalil Assaf, a member of the Freedoms Committee in the West Bank, warned Ma’an that the campaigns of arrests “strained the reconciliation atmosphere” in the Fatah-led region.

As of this writing, however, there is no indication that political freedom is on the agenda for either of the major Palestinian factions.

Danny Danon Threatens to Quit Over Upcoming Terrorist Release (+Terrorist List)

17 Adar II 5774 – March 19, 2014

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon has written an unprecedented letter to PM Netanyahu, threatening to quit the government if more terrorists are released in the planned “4th round” set to take place on March 28, 2014.

Below is Danon’s letter, followed by a translation, and the list of terrorists set to be released.

Danny Danon Letter

To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

The government of Israel has agreed to release terrorists who have brutally murdered the sons and daughters of our state in order to advance negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. I, as you recall, have been among those that have expressed opposition to these steps. Those who have been supporting the release of terrorists claimed that this is a worthwhile price to pay for the hope of advancing peace with the Palestinians. Meantime, its become clear, as expected, the Palestinians took advantage, and not for the first time, our desire for peace and naiveté, to fool us. They pretended to negotiate and we released abominable terrorists.

But now this has reach a new peak: senior officials in the Palestinian Authority are openly admitting that this is a con job for the sole purpose of releasing prisoners, and the Palestinians have absolutely no desire to advance the peace process. More so – the president of the Palestinian Authority himself is not prepared to affirm that he will recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state. Therefore, I expect from the government of Israel to tell the Palestinians and the whole world, “no more” and immediately announce that the release of terrorists stops this instant.

I have made a decision: I will not be part of the executive branch – the government – if it approves and carries through with the release of additional prisoners as part of the “4th round” that is supposed to take place on the 28th of this month. On the day the first terrorist is released from jail to freedom – I will present my resignation letter as Deputy Minister of Defense in the State of Israel.

I believe that you are aware of the difficult feelings of the public on this matter, and the significance that the release of terrorist-murderers will have on the strength of the State of Israel.

Danny Danon Deputy Minister of Defense

The following is the proposed list of terrorists, originally published by YNET, that are likely to be released in the upcoming round of terrorist releases on March 28, and their victim:

Anti-Israel Hackers Plan Mass Attack for April 7 (Video)

9 Adar II 5774 – March 10, 2014

Hackers attacked an out-of-date Israel credit card website Monday and are planning a massive attack on websites and mobile phones on April 7, according to experts of the Aman group, ClearSky and Terrogence.

Next month is “Hacktivists month.” In this day and age of suicidal liberalism, when will there be a National Terrorists’ Month?

Until then, we will have to settle for a month of intensified attempts to bring the Israeli economy and government to its knees.

“As the dates of the attacks approach we identify more and more cyber-attacks against Israeli sites and leaks of databases,” said Chaim Levy, director of cyber sales in Aman Group, quoted by Israel Defense. “We have already identified claims of hackers for attacks against routers and modems in Israel and for stealing thousands of email addresses which will be leaked, according to the attackers, on April 7th.

“At the same time, we should pay attention to the growing use and interest in Amplification attacks including NTP attacks. We have already located a person seeking to obtain guidance on the use of this method towards the coming operation.”

A cyber-attack on Monday hit an old site of the Visa credit card company in Israel. “Free Palestine” appeared on the site along with the names, e-mail address, identity card numbers, home addresses and telephones of approximately 1,000 credit card holders. However, no credit card numbers were published.

Visa explained that the site that was attacked is an old site that is not part of its active credit card system, which is highly protected against cyber-attacks.

Levy said that the hackers behind Monday’s attack and the assault planned in April are from groups organized in the Muslim world, including Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Jordan and North Africa.

The campaign was officially launched on February 9th, under the name OpIsrael 3.0, with the opening of an official Twitter page (not active for over two weeks) and distribution of a list of 1,300 Israeli internet sites, including those of the government, banks, defense industries, academic institutions and, the media.

They also plan to send spam messages on mobile phones.

The attack on April is planned to follow last year’s invasions and therefore is being called OpIsraelBirthday.

Organizers have released an anti-Israel YouTube, which concludes with threats of cyber-attacks. The video announces to Israel, with grammatical mistakes, “We are AnonGhost Team!! We are always here to punish you, as we did in the last operation on the 7th of April.

“And we are back again to celebrate it, Because we are the voice of Palestine and we will not remain silent.

“Muslims are Everywhere.

“Israel Doesn’t exist its only Palestine…The 7th of April every year will be a Victory celebration. We are proud of what we did before and after 1 year we are capable to take this to another level.

“We won’t forgive your Crime against our brothers in Palestine.

“You better watch. and Expect us.”

The video can be seen below for your viewing displeasure.

Lieberman: Israel Won’t Agree to ‘Further Conditions’ for Talks

4 Adar II 5774 – March 6, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman blamed the Palestinians for lack of progress in peace negotiations, and said Israel would not agree to additional conditions for the continuation of the talks.

“The Palestinians are the ones torpedoing the talks by setting conditions,” Lieberman told Israel Radio Thursday, according to the Times of Israel. “Israel would not agree to any further conditions for the continuation of talks.”

The statement comes in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement expansion in order for talks to continue.

The negotiations, which began last July, are nearing the nine-month deadline that Secretary of State John Kerry set at their start. Kerry hopes to persuade both sides to agree to a framework for ongoing negotiations that would extend beyond the original deadline. Recent reports indicate that significant gaps remain between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Lieberman is set to meet Kerry in Rome later in the day Thursday.

Canadian Cabinet Resolution Recognizes Jewish Refugees

4 Adar II 5774 – March 5, 2014

Canada has formally recognized the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

On Monday, Ottawa accepted a report tabled last year that called on the federal government to “officially recognize the experience of Jewish refugees who were displaced from states in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948.”

The federal cabinet approved the report March 3, according to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Submitted to Parliament last November by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development , the 17-page report noted that during the course of its hearings the previous spring, members “learned of the discrimination and hardship faced by Jewish people living in the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century [which] surged over the years in tandem with the crisis moments of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular the 1948–49 and 1967 wars.”

The committee heard that since 1948, roughly 850,000 Jews fled persecution and violence in the Middle East and North Africa, and that about 650,000 immigrated to Israel, while the rest settled in other countries, including Canada.

The countries in question had a collective Jewish population of just 4,315 in 2012, the report noted. It stressed that “recognition of the experiences of Jewish refugees does not diminish or compete with the situation of Palestinian refugees.” A campaign for recognition of Jewish refugee claims has gained steam in recent years in part as a response to demands of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. Israel has said it will not grant Palestinian refugees citizenship.

“This is not only a matter of ensuring historical accuracy,” said CIJA chair David Koschitzky. “Once implemented, it will correct a fundamental imbalance in a Canadian policy that acknowledges Arab refugees but makes no mention of Jewish refugees resulting from the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

A CIJA spokesman said the organization is “looking forward to details on how this will be integrated into Canada’s standing policy on the Middle East.”

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

2 Adar II 5774 – March 3, 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

30 Adar I 5774 – March 2, 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

28 Adar I 5774 – February 28, 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

20 Adar I 5774 – February 20, 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

16 Adar I 5774 – February 16, 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

6 Adar I 5774 – February 5, 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

28 Shevat 5774 – January 29, 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.

Gas from the Sky

25 Shevat 5774 – January 26, 2014

The caption to this picture, presumably written by the Palestinian photographer, goes:

Palestinians watch as exploding tear gas canisters fall from the sky during clashes at a protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah on January 24, 2014. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90

We’re learning the Book of Joshua in my shul, between Mincha and Maariv on Mondays, and so I quickly grasped the historical significance of the phrase: Palestinians watch as exploding tear gas canisters fall from the sky.

A mysterious hand threw gas canisters on these Arabs from the sky, on Shabbat, as they were trying to thwart Jewish life in the Jewish promised land – I say it’s a sign.

Regional Pact Backed by Riyadh May Render Palestinians Irrelevant

13 Shevat 5774 – January 14, 2014

For many decades, Israel has been committed to direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians, and herein lies the formula for failure. At the same time, while demanding face to face negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel has also insisted that there was no one to talk to, no partner for peace; a catch 22 if ever there was one.

The U.S. continues to maintain some 90 U.S. military facilities including major military bases throughout mainland Japan and Okinawa, over 7000 miles away form U.S. mainland. It does so 73 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and despite 70 years of peaceful alliance with Japan. Indeed, it does not stand the test of logic that the U.S. does not support Israel’s right to military presence in the Jordan Rift Valley, and to patrol an area that is 62 miles long, 6 to 9 miles wide, and is situated only 40 miles away from Israel’s main population centers, despite a perpetual ongoing war.

As recently as January 10, 2014, a U.S. State Department spokesperson expressed concern about the release of scores of prisoners whom Washington considers a security risk, “We’ve seen reports that [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai has approved the release of 72 out of the 88 detainees under review. As you may also know, these 72 detainees are dangerous criminals against whom there is strong evidence linking them to terror-related crimes, including the U.S.e of improvised explosive devices, the largest killer of Afghan citizens.” Yet the U.S. demands that Israel release hundreds of Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands, and unfortunately Israel complies time and again.

Given the above positions by it’s strongest ally the United States, it is no wonder that Israel, fearing a lopsided deal favoring the Palestinians, has always rejected an International panel approach to the conflict with the Palestinians. Herein lie the paradox and the irony of the situation. Over time, while the Palestinians refuse to budge or compromise, bit by bit Israel has conceded more and more in each new round of talks. The Palestinians then U.S.e each new concession by Israel as a springboard for new demands. Cumulatively speaking, Israel has conceded more to the Palestinians than it would have to any international panel. At this rate Jaffa may soon be on the negotiation table.

Secretary John Kerry has been flying back and forth from the U.S. to the middle east and from one hot spot to another. While direct negations have not yielded results (even Kerry appears frustrated with the Palestinians), and an international panel is not an option, connecting the dots reveals a picture of an emerging regional solution.

During his most recent travel to the area, Kerry added two new dots to the picture, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and he spent several hours with each. The picture that is slowly emerging is of four regional players and one superpower. A peace deal is being negotiated between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the U.S., but with the glaring absence of the Palestinians.

Peace will offer the Palestinians a sense of independence and freedom, but it forever will be a city state; never militarily viable; never economically viable without outside support. He who controls the purse strings will forever control Palestine, and that is why the Saudis and the U.S. (and the EU to a lesser extent) will call the shots and will make the plays.

The Palestinians have been gambling with somebody else’s money and they running out of chips. When the Saudis say so the Jordan Rift Valley will cease being a matter of sovereignty and will become a simple economic issue of loss of fertile agricultural land for which Palestinians will be generously compensated. A single word from Mecca will go further towards securing Palestinian cooperation and keeping the Sunni streets of the West Bank calm than tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority policemen.

The five major players, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United States all have much to gain from a regional pact. Such a deal would serve the unique and combined needs and interests of each.

Since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has sided with and supported the wrong players in the Middle East ( the Ayatollah Humeini, Yasser Arafat, and the Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to name but a few). Such a regional agreement would put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, put the U.S. back on the right track, and would U.S.her in a new era of strong regional coalition that is backed up by a grateful America. The Saudis’ chief concern is the growing power of Shia axis of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah. A nuclear Iran will threaten the Saudi Sunni lead hegemony in the Muslim world. A regional agreement brokered by the Saudis would bring U.S. back to the Saudi fold, and would constitute the only American success in the past few decades (consider Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Egypt, Iran, and Syria to name a few). Such an agreement would also counter the regional push by the Muslim Brotherhood (in Egypt and Jordan), and Ottoman aspirations of present day Turkey. It would stabilize the rule of King Abdullah II of Jordan which is under constant pressure from the Palestinians (who still remember Black September when the father king massacred thousand Palestinians), and would provide Jordan, Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi protection in the event of Iraqi or Syrian invasion. Such a Middle Eastern coalition and the U.S., an ME4 + 1, would go a long way to counter act Russian influence in the region and regaining a foot hold in places such as Egypt. In addition it would go a long way towards rehabilitating the regional economy, most importantly in Egypt and Jordan.

As for Israel, the benefits are many. First and for-most it would answer Israel’s security concerns, and they would be backed by Riyadh, Amman, and Cairo, and not merely by American promises (remember U.S. promises about freedom of navigation in the Suez, the red Sea, the 1967 war, promises regarding nucs in Iran, Red Lines regarding the Syrian U.S.e of chemical weapons), and Palestinian empty words. It would provide the means to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon without the subsequent admonition by the U.S.. It would put an end to European and international pressures, boycott and delegitimization campaigns. It would also open new commerce routes and markets. The upside economic potential is endless.

On January 10, 2014 Reuters reported that “Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal under which Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.” This would effectively render the remaining sanctions on Iran meaningless and allow Iran to rehabilitate their economy while pursuing nuclear weapons. What is needed now, more than ever, is a courageous Israeli leader who would fly to Saudi Arabia for face to face negotiations with the Saudis and not with the Palestinians (their wishes and desires are irrelevant to the process), and for President Barak Obama to stay out of the way.

Why These Negotiations Will Always Fail

2 Shevat 5774 – January 3, 2014

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.

Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.

Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.

The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.

These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.

The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.

I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.

Perpetual War with Israel the Glue Holding Palestinians Together

28 Tevet 5774 – December 30, 2013

There is another bad agreement in the making under the patronage of the Obama Hope and Change Campaign in the Middle East. History has shown that failed hopes and high expectations can lead to dire consequences (Angola and Rwanda are each a case in point). The Madrid Conference of 1991 was followed by the 1993 Oslo Accords, which were heralded by the New York Times as “a triumph of hope over history,” but resulted in a lethal Intifada. More people died after the failed Oslo Accords than had done during the conflicts that preceded them.

Furthermore, negotiating a second peace agreement after a failed one is often more difficult and costly. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there have been multiple previous failed agreements. Between 1993 and 2001, Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have signed six different agreements aimed at bringing a lasting peace. The Palestinians failed to respond positively to the window of opportunity presented by the 1979 Camp David Accords which brought peace between Israel and Egypt. After that came the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord, which was followed by the Taba Agreement (known as Oslo II), the 1997 Hebron Agreement, 1998 Wye River Memorandum, 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, August 2000 Camp David “Final Status” Summit, and the 2001 Taba Conference.

Israel and the Palestinians have mutually opposing national goals that cannot be reconciled. On both sides, these national goals enjoy a wide popular consensus. The Palestinian side is centered on an independent state from which it can launch and pursue a strategy aimed at eliminating Israel, the recapture of East Jerusalem and the removal of all the settlements. On the Israeli side, the consensus was always solidly against the return of the refugees and division of Jerusalem. The Palestinians insist on the Right of Return which effectively means the destruction of the Jewish State, and the Israelis, who agree to a two state solution, want to assure maximum security by controlling the land and the destinies of the Palestinians. Despite all good intentions it is almost impossible to overcome those contradictions, especially in an atmosphere of high mutual distrust and distrust of the go-between, the Obama administration.

To make matters even more complex, one must wonder why after 65 years of deplorable living conditions, poverty, and decades of existence under a so called “occupation”, a peace seeking moderate Palestinian leadership that does not deny the Holocaust (Mahmoud Abbas) and that rejects calls by Iran and Hamas to destroy Israel, has failed to emerge. It is clear to all that by now, 20 years since the Oslo agreement, the very last Israeli soldier posted in the Jordan Valley under whatever security arrangement, would have been long withdrawn. After all, Israel has proposed creating an international regime in an area of Jerusalem that included the Old City, and agreed to give the Palestinian Arabs 97 percent of the land area of the West Bank, but both were rejected as insufficient by the Palestinian. The Palestinians continued objection to Israeli security conditions must be reexamined therefore, as they may only be a cover up of a more sinister truth; the Palestinian leadership sees a better future in a continued state of war and continued “occupation.”

One must consider the possibility, as upsetting to some as it may be, that the Palestinian leadership considers a state of perpetual war with Israel a safer bet than a state of peace. Not ever having been a cohesive people, or having had a state, a continued state of war is the glue that holds the Palestinians together and may be considered by them as the safer choice. Paradoxically, a state of war and “occupation” provides the Palestinian leadership with the safety net necessary to hold on to and perpetuate the dictatorship, and the iron fist approach with which they govern their own people. A state of war is, after all, a familiar pattern with set in place mechanisms that impose a military-like rule and order, condone summary executions, and stifle dissent. It also generates profits, provides employment, and generates international support and sympathy. A continuous state of war against the Jews is a religious and moral imperative that is rooted in Islam and provides for a ready made propaganda machine.

Livni Echoing Oslo – Negotiations to Continue Despite Terror Attack

20 Tevet 5774 – December 23, 2013

For those who remember the macabre slogan from the Oslo years, 1994-5, “Sacrifices for Peace,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s latest remarks don’t sound very different, following yesterday’s bus bombing attempt, and the escalation in terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria.

“Sacrifices for Peace” was a phrase coined at the time by the Left to describe what they thought of the thousands of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror. and, despite their denial, the terror attacks were guided by the same exact people Israel was negotiating with at the time.

The Israeli officials involved in the Oslo negotiations at the time insisted that Arafat and his crew were not involved in the terror attacks, and for good measure added that the terror attacks Israel suffered were the “price of peace” (another macabre slogan coined at the time) that Israel had to pay in order to reach a lasting agreement with the Palestinians.

It was only years later when irrefutable evidence was exposed, showing the direct connection between the Arabs Israel had been negotiating with and the terrorists they were sending out to kill Jews. Except, perhaps, for Shimon Peres, most of the “peace” supporters could no longer support this lie.

Livni is enthusiastically leading the current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Following yesterday’s attack, at a conference on Quality in Government, Livni said:

“We [Israel] are not negotiating with those trying to hurt us.

Against [the bad Arabs] we need to act decisively. They won’t tell us what to do.

We will continue to negotiate with those that want to reach an agreement with us, and aren’t using violence.

Israel will continue to provide security for its residents.”

Like the French House of Bourbon, Tzipi Livni has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

 

Dutch Water Company Cuts Israel Ties over Territories

8 Tevet 5774 – December 11, 2013

The largest public water company in the Netherlands has severed ties with Israel’s national water company over its operation in Israeli settlements.

Vitens in ceasing cooperation with Merkorot said in a statement Tuesday on its website that it “attaches great importance to integrity and adheres to international law and regulations. After discussions with stakeholders, the company came to the realization that it is extremely difficult to work together on future projects since they cannot be separated from their political context.”

The Dutch company reportedly also consulted with the Dutch Foreign Ministry. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, canceled a visit this week to Mekorot, the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported, according to Haaretz.

Last month, Vitens signed a cooperation agreement with Merkorot to develop several joint projects.

Vitens provides water to 5.4 million people in the Netherlands.

Despite Mekorot also providing water to the Palestinian Authority, it has been slammed in the Dutch media and by the government for drilling for water in the Israeli territories and for what they say is discrimination against the Palestinian Authority in its water supply.

PA Not Part of International Olive Council this Year

29 Kislev 5774 – December 2, 2013

Opposition by Germany and Britain to the Palestinian Authority bid to join the International Olive Council has forced the Palestinian Authority to freeze their application in applying to become a member state of the intergovernmental Madrid-based organization.

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry in Ramallah prepared the application this past summer in order to be voted upon at the annual olive council meeting held in Madrid last week.

According to European diplomatic sources, cited in Haaretz, British and German representatives claimed that letting the Palestinians join the council could sabotage current Israeli-Palestinian talks led by the United States.

Resuming peace talks were made on the condition that Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners would be done in exchange for the Palestinian Authority’s promise not to join various UN organizations and not to address The Hague’s International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has committed to continue talks for a nine-month period, during which time the Palestinian Authority has pledged to avoid any diplomatic actions against Israel. Thus far, Israel has released 52 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted of murdering Israelis, out of the 104 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed as talks progress.

Germany and Britain are the member states of the European Union’s joint delegation to the International Olive Council, which is made up of 16 states in addition to the EU that produce olives and olive oil. If the states within the EU delegation are unable to reach a consensus, then the EU delegation must abstain from voting.

In any case, the Palestinians realized that the European Union would not vote in their favor for the olive council membership and preferred not to suffer diplomatic failure. Palestinian officials told Haaretz that the PA had instead decided to postpone their application to a more “opportune moment.” The next International Olive Council annual session will be held in November 2014.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/palestinian-authority-wont-be-part-of-international-olive-council-this-year/2013/12/02/

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