On April 10, we commented on a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood, titled “John Kerry: talks with Netanyahu and Abbas very constructive,” about efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Sherwood’s report included several passages about concessions demanded of Israel by Mahmoud Abbas before he’ll agree to resume negotiations, including the following:
[Abbas] also wants the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [emphasis added]
As we attempted to demonstrate at the time, using merely open source information, the Palestinians she was alluding to were all convicted for their involvement in murder, or attempted murder, and that the characterization of them as “political prisoners” – suggesting that they were imprisoned merely for their beliefs – seemed to be flatly untrue.
Additionally, some time after our post CiF Watch was able to obtain detailed information on the pre-Oslo prisoners from Emi Palmor, the Director of Pardons at the Israeli Justice Ministry, which included the crimes, dates of conviction and other relevant facts on every Palestinian prisoner in question. Palmor’s information proved conclusively that all of the prisoners consisted of common criminals convicted of murder and (mostly) terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder Israeli civilians, soldiers, or foreign tourists.
Some time after providing the Guardian with proof that the Palestinians in question can not fairly be referred to “political prisoners” they agreed to revise the passage, which now modifies the claim to note that the pre-Oslo prisoners are merely described as “political prisoners” by the Palestinians:
The Palestinians also want the release of 123 prisoners, viewed as political prisoners by the Palestinians, who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders.
As we noted at the time of our original post, many Palestinians regard even compatriots convicted of deadly terrorist acts euphemistically as “political prisoners,” and thatSherwood’s text, intentionally or otherwise, served to legitimize the Palestinian narrative which glorifies even terrorists convicted of the most gruesome crimes as ‘victims’ of Israeli oppression.
Our efforts to secure the definition of the term “political prisoner” – which is clearly understood to mean “those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs” - represents an attempt to fight back against the manipulation of language, in the service of an egregiously pro-Palestinian agenda, which is routinely advanced by the Guardian and their fellow political travelers.
This Guardian revision represents one victory within the larger cognitive war.
Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money?
Way back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said that people in the West didn’t understand revolutionary Islamism. “They think,” he explained, “the revolution is all about the price of watermelons. It isn’t.” In other words, this is an ideological cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.
1. The Palestinian Case
On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.
Actually, this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That’s $4 billion to buy a negotiations’ process that will meet a few times and break down in deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international institutions as an independent state.
What should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West Bank (they certainly aren’t going to go to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where the rockets’ red glare has a different meaning).
Notice incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.
The supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result would be to:
“Increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.”
Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this?
Tony Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been the negotiator for the quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem? Answer: 87. And basically he’s accomplished zero. Here is the short list of achievements that he even dares claim after 11 years, 87 trips, and vast amounts of money.
Experts believe that we can increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years. Their most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds – to 8%, down from 21% today – and to increase the median annual wage along with it, by as much as 40%….
How about their more pessimistic estimates or even their realistic ones? Kerry has chosen the worst possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to political unrest.
Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on?
What will Hamas think about the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists?
The sale of alcohol?
Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?
What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists?
Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?
And while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank?
Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?
The economics will never work properly or fully without the political process….President Abbas, the economic approach is not a substitute for the political approach. The political approach is essential and it is our top priority. In fact, none of this vision…will happen without the context of the two-state solution.
Question: If billions of dollars have not bought P.A. support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?
In recent years there have been too many reports of Arab terror attacks and riots instigated/directed/inspired by journalists. They get paid to show action, and the Arabs love to cooperate. Having an audience well equipped with cameras to record Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers injured and cowering is great encouragement for them.
You can easily see how the journalists are well-dressed/equipped for the occasion with flak jackets, helmets etc.
This reminds me of a BBC Radio report I heard over twenty years ago, when the Intifada was a new Arab term for attacking Jews. I don’t number them since I’ve never heard of an official end. It comes and goes in waves but never totally stops. In that report, the radio journalist made it clear that he was crouched together with the attacking Arabs as they threw rocks and bricks at Israelis. You could hear the noises and his uncontrolled excitement. The IDF began responding with teargas, and the journalist told us how the Arabs had come equipped with cloths and remedies to protect their eyes and lungs from it. He very emotionally described how parents comforted their children and covered their eyes to protect them. It was 100 precent clear that the journalist was totally identified with the Arab attackers and considered this a great adventure for himself.
Unfortunately, not only foreign journalists identify with the Arabs who attack Israel, so do Israeli journalists, politicians and academics. They consider themselves “post-Zionists.” But to tell you the truth, there has always been Zionist, mostly Left-Labor who considered it important to give the Arabs their own country next to the State of Israel, even before the establishment of the state. It’s not enough that the British imported the Hashemites and gave them Transjordan to rule, but the United Nations Partition Plan, approved by David Ben-Gurion’s followers, allocated most of what was left of the British Mandate of Palestine to the Arabs.
The World expected the Arabs to defeat us in 1948 and at best we’d be governed by a continuation of the Mandate. Luckily God had other plans.
There’s nothing new in journalists trying to make news; they just can’t make facts out of lies.
When we think of warfare, most of us think of tanks roaring across the desert, dogfights in the air, infantry battles, or even guerrilla war, in which shadowy figures strike and then melt away. But when enemy populations are closely intermingled, then warfare can also comprise what we normally think of as crime. So when one population deliberately targets another in order to damage morale, to increase insecurity and even to drive them out, and when they do it for nationalistic motives, it can be more than a nuisance — it can be war.
This kind of warfare is traditional in the Middle East, where simple banditry is often more than that. I’ve written about how thefts and vandalism in the Galilee and the Negev have given rise to vigilante groups to protect farmers from wholesale loss of animals, machinery and crops to Bedouin and Palestinian thieves.
But today a far worse situation has arisen in Judea and Samaria where attempted murder — and sometimes the attempts are successful — is a daily occurrence. Although one often hears that terrorism in Israel has become far less frequent recently, this is simply not true. It is just much less likely to make the news if it occurs in Judea and Samaria, or if it happens to that less-than-human being, a ‘settler’.
There are multiple reasons for this. Palestinian Arab ideology encourages them to see themselves as oppressed, so anything they do is “justified.” Parents often encourage their children to act out their feelings of victimization, or at least accept their behavior, even when it’s violent. Official Palestinian media and schools continually glorify all forms of ‘resistance’, even murder.
The Israeli police are in general ineffective and outnumbered. The IDF operates with strict rules of engagement, and anyway is the not the best tool — after all, armies are, or should be, designed to kill people — to deal with theft, arson, vandalism and harassment (which, nevertheless, often turns into murder).
And then there is most of the Israeli and international media, which seem to believe that if a ‘settler’ gets hurt, it’s his or her own fault for living in a place where, “Palestinians want the land for their future state.” According to them, the solution to the problem is “peace” and a “two-state solution.”
Anyone with sense enough to listen to what the Palestinian Arabs themselves say knows that they consider Haifa, Acco, Yafo, Lod, etc. Arab land too. I suspect that if the Jews abandoned everything but downtown Tel Aviv, the violence would follow them there.
These reports are translated and publicized by Yehudit Tayar for Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron with the clearance and confirmation of the IDF. Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron is a voluntary emergency medical organization with over 500 volunteer doctors, paramedics, medics who are on call 24/7 and work along with the IDF, 669 IAF Airborne Rescue, the security officers and personal throughout Yesha and the Jordan Valley, and with MDA [Magen David Adom]. …
From the reports which we received here is a partial summary of the hundreds of attempts to murder innocent Jews during the past week;
3 IDF soldiers, 9 civilians, and 3 policemen were injured:
• Civilian injured from rocks a Sinjal, child injured moderately from bottle thrown on bus at the Mt. of Olives, young civilian injured from rocks near Ofra, 5 children moderately from rocks between El Hadar and Efat,
• IDF soldier moderately [injured] from rocks near the Tunnel Road, IDF soldier moderately in his head from rocks near T Junction in Etzion, IDF soldier moderately at El Fuar, Border policeman moderately from rocks at Abu Dis, 2 policemen moderately at the Temple Mt., Fireman moderately injured from rocks at Issawiya during attempt to extinguish a fire at Opharin Base.
We received reports of at least 143 Molotov Cocktail attacks:
100 at Azoria, 6 Abu Dis, 9 Shuafat Refugee Camp, 1 at bus at El Arub, 5 at car and 1 at security vehicle near Ofra, 4 Kever Rachel, 3 at security force at Tunnel Road checkpost, 4 at security force El Fuar, 3 at security force at Parsa Junction,1 thrown by rioters at Shuafat which caused a fire to break out near Pisgat Ze’ev, 1 at Ophrit Base, 2 at the security fence near Ja’ama. [Molotov cocktails, of course, are gasoline bombs that can and have burned people to death or scarred them for life -- ed]
10 explosive devices at Azaria
5 Arab rioters attacked a yeshiva student on his way to the Kotel (Western Wall)
3 PA policemen were apprehended who were involved in the murder of Ben Zion Livnat HY”D, after they had beenreleased from prison by the PA after serving short sentences.
Arab with improvised weapon caught in his car at Bene Naim
This week also there were scores of attempted murder of innocent men, women and children by Arabs attacking with rocks thrown on the roads at the cars as they drove in their vehicles:
A partial list of the places where the attacks occurred:
160 turn – Hevron, Policeman checkpost – Hevron, Adoriam Junction Southern Hevron Hills, El Fuar, near the Tunnel Road checkpost, Har Homa-Tekoa Highway, near the Spring by Hevron, El Arub, H Junction, T Junction by Tekoa, Arab Tekoa, between Efrat and El Hadar, Halhul, luben A-Shrakia, Postmans Junction Benjamin Region, Ras Karkar, Wadi Haramia, Sin’jil, Dir Abu Mishal, Nebe Zalah, near Ofra, Abud bypass, near Na’alin, Betliu, El Moyar, near Ba’al Hazor, Shokba, Abu Dis, Azaria, the Temple Mt., A’Zaim checkpost, Ras hamis, Issowiya, at the almond grove in Yitzhar, between Ariel and Nofei Nechemia, a rock barricade between Tapuah and Migdalim, Pundok, Gat Junction, this week also Beduin damaged property near Retamim. [This is the kind of attack that killed Asher Palmer and his son in 2011 andcritically inured a young girl this March -- ed].
Here is a short video to give you a taste of what “stoning” is like:
Tensions have been mounting in recent months in Jerusalem over visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, or al-Haram al-Sharif [the Noble Sanctuary].
There is nothing new about Jews visiting the holy site: this has been taking place since 1967.
The visits, which are being held in coordination with the Israeli authorities, have triggered many confrontations between the Israeli police and Palestinian protesters.
Palestinians claim that the mere presence of Jewish visitors is a “desecration” of the holy site.
That is why some Palestinians have been resorting to violence to stop Jews from visiting the holy site.
The Palestinians say they are only trying to prevent Jews from destroying the mosques and rebuilding the Third Holy Temple.
But the truth is that the vast majority of Jews visiting the holy site are no different from other non-Muslim tourists who come to the area every day.
The Israeli authorities, in fact, require all visitors to the holy site to respect the feelings of Muslims by appearing in modest dress and without weapons.
Moreover, Jews visiting the compound are not allowed to bring sacred Jewish objects [prayer shawls, prayer books, etc].
Some Palestinians, however, are now exploiting these visits to incite the Arabs and Muslims against Israel.
Throwing stones, empty bottles, shoes and petrol bombs at the Jewish visitors and the policemen accompanying them has become almost a daily practice.
This, in addition to regular demonstrations that are staged at the holy site, where protesters chant slogans against Israel, Jews, the US and even some “moderate” Muslims.
The protests are primarily aimed at dragging Arabs and Muslims into war with Israel under the pretext that the Jews are plotting to destroy the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The ultimate goal is to turn the conflict into a religious war between Jews and Muslims.
Some Palestinians are hoping that the current protests against visits by Jews will spark another intifada [supposedly spontaneous uprising], like the one that erupted after former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s tour of the holy site in September 2000.
Then, the Palestinian Authority depicted Sharon’s visit as part of a Jewish conspiracy to destroy the mosques.
Those who are now using the visits by Jews to initiate violence and incite violence against Israel and others are hoping that Arab and Islamic armies will launch a war against Israel over its “desecration” of the holy site.
If anyone is desecrating the holy site, it is those who smuggle petrol bombs and stones into the compound to use them against visitors.
The Peres Center for Peace is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1996 with the goal of promoting peace between Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level, through people to people interactions. According to project manager Sivan Hendel,
The center is working through all sorts of aspects to bring Jews and Arabs together, in order to break down barriers and build a sustainable future.
One of the ways that the Peres Center for Peace is doing this is through having Palestinian and Israeli children regularly play sports together.
Hendel explained that the Peres Center for Peace twins one Israeli school or group with a Palestinian one through the “Twined Peace and Sports School Program,” which is taking place for its tenth year. Usually, both the Israeli and Palestinian children hail from underprivileged communities, where the children potentially may not have had the chance to partake on a sports team otherwise. The Israeli and Palestinian children train with a local coach within their community twice per week, and then the Israeli and Palestinian children come together once per month for a joint activity. She claims that the children don’t only play sports with one another, but also engage in cultural events and activities that promote peace education.
THE 2013 MINI-MONDIAL
Photo credit: Efrat Saar, Peres Center for Peace
Once per year both Israeli and Palestinian children look forward to Mini-Mondial event, a soccer tournament for children in the program. It includes one mini-mondial for boys and one for girls, with each group consisting of 250 Israeli and Palestinian children. During the mini-mondial, Palestinian and Israeli children are mixed together on the same team and then play against another group of Palestinian and Israeli children that are also part of the same team. However, Hendel explained that the children are not only judged on how well they play soccer. In fact, the largest trophy goes to the children that treat the other children in the group the most respectfully.
Hendel reported that this years’ 2013 Mini-Mondial was a success. Even though language barriers and cultural differences can make things challenging at times, the main thing is that the children enjoyed playing soccer together. Hendel explained, “Once they have one identity and flag they are cheering for, they are proud of this group.” In fact, friendships are forming among the Israeli and Palestinian children as a result of joint events like the 2013 Mini-Mondial.
PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI REACTIONS
According to Hendel, although the situation varies from child to child, family to family, location to location, and based on the present political situation,
“From the evaluating process inside our department, there is a change in the kids mind and their opinions about the other side. The most important result is the fear diminishing and they start to see the other side as human. That is really felt, even in our day to day activities. The biggest problem in our conflict is that people don’t know each other and they demonize the other side.”
Photo Credit: Efrat Saar. Peres Center for Peace.
The parents are also usually very supportive of the program. According to Hendel,
Usually there is no problem at all. Usually the parents want to see their kids play. It’s very nice for them to have a football framework for their kids, so most of them not only approve it, but really support it.
Additionally, the Peres Center for Peace set up a parents group and the parents of the children met together, independent from their children playing sports together.
When asked how sports can be utilized to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis, Hendel responded,
Sports is an international language. You don’t have to understand them verbally. The moment they go out to pitch; all of the differences disappear. It is very nice to see and feel how through sports they are able to communicate.
The number of Palestinian Arabs whose residence was within the boundaries of historic Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost their homes as a result of Israel’s War of Independence, was, in 1949, estimatedat 711,000.
However, UNRWA, an agency with an annual budget exceeding $650 million, tasked with caring for Palestinian “refugees”and only Palestinian “refugees,” counts descendants of those original 711,000 as “refugees”, and so puts the figure at over 5 million – a number which includes millions of Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of other Arab countries.
UNRWA’s strange logic is what inspired a component of the following headline, and accompanying text, in a Guardian story by Harriet Sherwood about a Palestinian who is poised to win Arab Idol.
The golden voice of a young man from a Gaza refugee camp [Khan Younis] has enchanted viewers of Arab Idol, broadcast weekly to huge audiences across the Middle East, making him a favourite to win the final of the television singing contest.
Mohammed Assaf, 22, has won massive support from viewers enthralled by his rendition of traditional love songs and laments for the Palestinian cause. He has also succeeded in uniting Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora behind his efforts to win.
Assaf, who often performs wearing a traditional black-and-white chequered keffiyeh, is one of 12 finalists in the competition, broadcast by the Saudi-owned MBC1. Last year’s winner secured a lucrative recording contract and was presented with a car.
The Palestinian “refugee” swindle is but one of the many political derivatives from the ideologically inspired uncritical embrace of the Palestinian narrative which so often passes for serious journalism at the Guardian.
Mohammed Assaf - a Palestinian (born 42 years after the 1949 war) who lives in the Palestinian run territory of Gaza, in Khan Younis – is not, by any reasonable definition of the word, a refugee. And,the fact that Palestinians continue to hold the key to this immutable victim status illustrates a greater truth about the egregious abuse of ordinary language within the cognitive battlefields of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
The E.U. has refrained from condemning the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in wake of a report that pointed to an increase in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
This is the same E.U. that regularly condemns Israel for building in the settlements or seizing funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority.
More recently, the E.U. condemned Israel for demolishing 22 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
But when it comes to human rights violations committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the E.U. is prepared to do its utmost to avoid angering the two Palestinian governments.
In response to the report, which was released by the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights, the E.U. missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in an apologetic tone, only expressed “concern” over recurrent cases of torture and ill treatment of detainees in Palestinian prisons.
And instead of criticizing or condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for human rights violations perpetrated by his security forces, the E.U. missions chose to “welcome” his instruction to respect the prohibition of torture in his detention centers and prisons.
It is worth noting that the E.U. and some Abbas loyalists, including Fatah propagandists and media outlets, were the only ones to “welcome” his decision to ban torture.
So not only is Abbas not condemned for the death of two detainees in his prisons and the crackdown on freedoms of speech and the media, he is in fact being praised by the E.U. for ordering his security and intelligence officers to stop torturing Palestinians.
One would have expected the E.U. to take a tougher stance toward the Palestinian Authority and Hamas human rights violations, as indicated by the report.
But the E.U. missions to Ramallah and Jerusalem are apparently reluctant to take such a position because of their direct and indirect involvement in funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The E.U. also seems to be afraid of criticizing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas out of concern for the safety of its representatives, especially those who operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As the human rights group’s report shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.
More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.
Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.
Still, the E.U. did not see any need to refer to these cases. Nor did the E.U. comment on the report’s accusations that Abbas’s security forces are continuing to crack down on journalists and academics and ignore court rulings.
Expressing “concern” over serious human rights violations will not deter the Palestinian Authority or Hamas from pursuing their anti-democratic practices against their own people.
Praising Abbas for instructing his security forces to stop torturing Palestinian detainees is like welcoming a convicted armed robber’s promise to retire.