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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

International Law and the ‘Right of Return’

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Pro-Palestinian political leaders, media outlets, and activists the world over continuously assert that the Palestinians should be granted a right of return according to international law. However, NONE of these claims hold water if one actually examines international law. For example, the Palestinians rely heavily upon the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “no one should be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his country.” Yet, can one consider Palestinians born in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and other Arab countries to be Israeli citizens and thus deprived of the right to enter their country?

Most of the Palestinians living across the Arab world were never born in Israel and have never lived in Israel. Secondly, even the minority who did live in Israel did so under the British Mandate, not under Israeli rule. They fled before they had a chance to receive citizenship rights and their Israeli blue ID cards, because their leadership was opposed to them coexisting with the Jewish people. Such peoples are about as Israeli as Turks who lived in Ottoman-controlled Greece yet left are Greek. So why should the Palestinians be any different? Based on international precedents, Palestinians are entitled to equal rights within their present countries, yet not Israeli citizenship.

Another document that pro-Palestine activists rely on when stating that there should be a Palestinian right of return is UN resolution 194, which states, “The General Assembly… resolves that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

UN General Assembly resolutions, however are never legally binding. Instead, they can be viewed as mere suggestions, which Israel can either listen to or ignore. But even if this resolution was legally binding, it states “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors.” This means that any Palestinian who doesn’t want to live at peace with their neighbors shouldn’t be given a right of return, thus implying that the decades of terrorism orchestrated by the Palestinian leadership and supported by the majority of the Palestinian population means that the Palestinians lost their “right of return.”

Furthermore, the resolution states at the “earliest practicable date.” This means that so long as this proposal cannot be practically implemented, it doesn’t need to happen yet. Because there have been decades of animosity and hatred between Israelis and Palestinians and since the cultural gap between Israelis and Palestinians is gigantic, the idea of a Palestinian right of return seems impractical and it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.

Given what has happened in Bosnia since the signing of the Dayton Agreements, where ethnic animosity and violence has prevented most refugees from returning to their homes despite the existence of such a right, it seems that a right of return isn’t a good solution for ethnic conflicts. Most Holocaust survivors didn’t want a right of return to Europe, preferring to be resettled in a new country that was free of the traumas that they experienced. Jewish refugees from Arab countries also generally have no desire to return to Arab states, for similar reasons. Given this, is it really in the Palestinians best interest to come to a foreign country whom they have been engaged with in a violent conflict for decades? While the Palestinian refugee crisis needs to be solved, it should be solved in the Arab world, not in Israel.

Visit United with Israel.

The UN: When is Enough Enough?

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

With regard to the U.N., when is enough enough?

The U.N. is supposed to promote peace and human rights. But since the Six-Day War, it has systematically abetted the efforts of the Arab nations to destroy the Jewish state.

Most people have heard of resolution 3379, passed in 1975, which equated Zionism with racism (and which was finally repealed in 1991). But look at resolution 3236 (1974) which asserts that the PLO — a terrorist organization which had not even pretended to renounce violence — is the “representative of the Palestinian people,” and which, among other things,

Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;

Then there is Resolution 3376 (1975) which

2. Expresses its grave concern that no progress has been achieved towards:
(a) The exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in Palestine, including the right to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty;

(b) The exercise by Palestinians of their inalienable right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted;

3. Decides to establish a Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) composed of twenty member States to be appointed by the General Assembly at the current session;

Similar resolutions calling for “return” of “refugees” and Palestinian sovereignty have been passed on an annual basis.

In addition to the CEIRPP, the U.N. has established several other bodies to prosecute its diplomatic war against the Jewish state. In 1968, UNGA resolution 2443 established the “Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People” (SCIIHRP), and In 1977, resolution 32/40 created yet another U.N. body dedicated to the Palestinian cause, the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR).

So what do these agencies do, besides soak up huge amounts of money and scarce parking spaces in New York and Geneva? Here is one explanation (2005):

CEIRPP and SCIIHRP are committees of the General Assembly but it is DPR that does the work. Lodged within the U.N. Department of Political Affairs, which is headed by an Under the Secretary General and two Assistant Secretaries General, the DPR is on the same level as regional bureaus which, in theory, track major developments all over the world. The DPR is equivalent to two regional bureaus for Africa, one for the Americas and Europe, and one for Asia Pacific. One might have difficulty understanding how the DPR merits the same status, staff and budget as the aforementioned regional offices.

The DPR’s website explains its functions: The Division provides support and services to CEIRPP, planning and organizing its programs, including a round-robin of international conferences such as those discussed below. It maintains relations with a network of “more than 1000 NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) from all regions active on the question of Palestine.” It organizes the annual “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” mourning the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947, which called for the Palestinian Mandate to be divided between a Jewish and an Arab state. (At this annual event, Israel is routinely denounced and the Palestinian “right of return” is highlighted as a sacred principle.) The DPR prepares reports and publications “on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People” and, in cooperation with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, promotes their worldwide distribution. The DPR also develops and maintains the Web-based United Nations Information System on “the question of Palestine,” UNISPAL, which, in collaboration with the UN Department of Public Information, sends out anti-Israel press releases, funnels television footage to international broadcasters friendly to the Palestinians and hostile to the Israelis, and circulates news stories favorable to the Palestinians via email to 27,000 subscribers.

In the past three years, the DPR has arranged and staffed 10 international conferences – officially sponsored by CEIRPP – at which “information” about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is disseminated to an audience of diplomats, NGO’s and representatives of other U.N. agencies. These conferences are sponsored and paid for by the U.N. The most recent meeting, held at UNESCO in Paris on July 11-12, 2005, called for a campaign of divestment, boycotts and sanctions against Israel, consciously modeled on the effort to end the system of apartheid in South Africa. The previous session in Geneva on March 8-9, 2005, was devoted to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice denouncing Israel’s security barrier. As might be expected, no one on the program questioned the legality of the ICJ opinion or provided information about revisions in the fence’s route ordered by Israel’s High Court.

It is almost impossible to determine the amount of money that goes into these activities. Ami Isseroff wrote this in 2005:

Together, [DPR, CEIRPP and SCIIHRP] receive an annual budget of about $5.5 Million. In addition, over half a million dollars are spent on “Information Activities on the Question of Palestine,” which has been in the budget of the UN Department of Public Information since 1977, separate from the budget of the DPR. There is also a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. That function was created in 1993, apparently to torpedo the Oslo accords signed in the same year.  The special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The post was renewed even after the U.N.  Human Rights Council was reorganized because of absurdities such as election of Libya as chairperson. However,  it is impossible to trace all the money spent on anti-Israel propaganda, because the funding is hidden in bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council [today called 'commission'], which spends an inordinate effort on “Palestine” and in UNRWA, which diverts funds that are supposed to be spent on supporting Palestinian refugees.

I presume the amount is much greater today. And what about UNRWA itself, the agency set up to provide “emergency” aid for refugees, which has since morphed into a huge enterprise with a budget of $1.2 billion (2011), and whose function is to pay “Palestinian refugees” to have children and to prevent their resettlement anywhere except Israel?

Report: Jordan Opens Skies to Israeli Drones to Attack Syria

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Jordan’s King Abdullah has given up on negotiations with Syria and has allowed Israel to use its air space to mount drone attacks on Syria, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported.

“Known only to a handful of Western intelligence services, the decision was taken by the Hashemite King during the visit by President Barack Obama” last month, according to the newspaper.

The situation at the border with the Golan Heights has deteriorated in the past several weeks, with occasional mortar shells and artillery directed into Israel. Israel’s drones are armed and can fly at night to avoid detection, an expert told Le Figaro.

It said that Jordan has opened up for Israel two air corridors, one from the Negev and via southern Jordan and the other to the north of Amman, allowing Israeli aircraft to take off from a base near Tel Aviv and quickly reach Syria.

Opening an air corridor in Jordan decreases the necessity to carry out surveillance flights in Syria via Lebanon.

King Abdullah tried to avoid taking the step of cooperating with Israel against Syrian President Bashar Assad, but he reported failed to gain headway with the head of the struggling regime during a secret trip to Damascus in March.

The report also may explain why Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a short and unannounced secret visit to Jordan earlier this year.

Satmar Sets up ‘Draft Refugee’ Panel to Send Yeshiva Youth to US

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The anti-Zionist Satmar community in Israel and the United States has set up an emergency “Draft Refugee Committee to save Satmar teenagers from the calamity of having to serve the State of Israel, which Satmar denies, or serve time in a Zionist jail.

A possible draft of Haredi religious youth probably won’t begin for several years, but Satmar is not taking any chances, according to the Hebrew-language website B’Chadrei Haderim.

The Ministerial Committee for Equalizing the Draft met Sunday and is expected to come up with recommendations in less than two months to tackle the problem of hundreds of thousands Haredi  and Arab youth who do not serve in the army or do national service.

There also is another group, almost never mentioned, of upscale spoiled leftist urban dwellers who  do not serve, but they do not have the support system that Satmar provides.

The Draft Refugees Committee, which sounds like something out of World War II, has already published a U.S. phone number for Israeli Satmar youth to phone and receive free advice and help. Confidentiality assured.

So call 718-302-6720 right away, press number 7, and be the first on your Satmar block to really  be independent and flee Israel before it is too late and the gates of Zionism trap you.

One question: What happens is the flight of Satmar youth hastens the Messiah, the condition for Satmar to recognize the State of Israel?

Maybe they should buy a round-trip ticket.

Egypt’s Sinai Problem and Ours

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

A striking photo essay [here] from EgyptSource focuses on the stark realities of Sinai and the multiple challenges it poses to the Egyptians. EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, 

follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era…

Needless to say, given its physical proximity to Israel, Sinai is not only an Egyptian challenge. That it gets such a small degree of media attention is a puzzle.

The essay that accompanies the images, by Mosaab Elshamy and published yesterday, starts this way:

Army checkpoints on the road to Sinai are almost an indication of a region at war. The vast peninsula bordering Egypt with Gaza and Israel rose to the forefront of the new Egyptian government’s troubles after an army checkpoint was attacked by unknown militants last Ramadan, killing 16 soldiers. This was not the first attack of its kind in Sinai – the region has been a hotbed of militants long before the revolution, but even more so after the fall of Mubarak. This was, however, the deadliest attack seen in Sinai, and the first under President Morsi’s rule. Backed by public anger, the military launched Operation Eagle to hunt down those behind the attack. Different claims have been made regarding the outcome, but what is evident from my visit to the region is that little has changed.

All that Sinai has become notorious for – smuggling of weapons, torturing Africans and rise of militancy – remains unchanged. The army had also declared its intention to close down the tunnels connecting Sinai to the besieged Gaza strip, but in Rafah economic activity is booming with trucks full of goods coming in and out of the town almost every hour of the day.

The same lack of security along with rise of Islamist extremists led to yet another sectarian attack on the Coptic minority in Rafah, causing many to flee for their lives, almost 2 years after their church was burnt by armed militants. [More]

Sunday produced two disturbing illustrations of today’s Sinai realities – again, almost no media coverage.

Gunmen attack buildings in Sinai’s Dahab Maan News | Published yesterday (updated) 29/10/2012 21:34

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Gunmen attacked government buildings on Sunday in the Egyptian city of Dahab in the Sinai peninsula, security officials said. Bedouin gunmen attacked a checkpoint at the entrance to the popular Sinai tourist destination and also attacked local government headquarters and a hospital, Egyptian security officials told Ma’an. Disorder has spread in Sinai since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising last year, with Islamist militants stepping up attacks on security forces and the Israeli border. Egypt’s president, Muhammad Mursi, has vowed to restore order.

6 hurt in shooting on children’s park in south Sinai Maan News | Published Sunday 28/10/2012 (updated) 28/10/2012 23:09

SHARM AL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Gunmen opened fire in a children’s park in south Sinai on Saturday night, wounding six, officials said. The al-Fayrouz park in al-Tur city was packed with families celebrating the Eid al-Adha holiday when a group of Bedouin men opened fire, witnesses said. Four children, a man and woman suffered injuries, some serious, medics said. One child lost the fingers on her left hand, they said.

Then there’s this additional aspect of the Sinai challenge; the op ed below from Al Arabiya provides a small window into the conflicted states of mind that characterize the Egyptian – and other Arab sub-groups’ – views of the Palestinian Arabs and the multidimensional challenges they have posed for three generations.

A Palestinian state in Sinai? By AHMAD NAGUIB ROUSHDY Al Arabiya

Rumour has it, and some articles in Egyptian newspapers have stated that the increasing crossings of Palestinians to the Egyptian Sinai through the illegal tunnels between Egypt and Gaza have been taking place in accordance with a plan by the Islamist-led government of Hamas in Gaza, which has ties with the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of President Mohamed Mursiin Egypt. The aim is to settle the Palestinians in Sinai, not as refugees but as a permanent homeland for them and to declare a Palestinian state there, substituting it for the West Bank… Every Egyptian sympathizes with the Palestinian cause, and much Egyptian blood has been shed in defense of it. But if these rumors are true, the Palestinians have shown themselves to be ungrateful and could be considered to be Egypt’s enemies. The Egyptian government should force any Palestinians now in Sinai to return to where they came from, since they cannot be considered refugees. The Mursi government’s ties with Hamas should not compromise Egypt’s security and sovereignty. When President Mursi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September called for the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state, he meant in Palestine and not in Egypt. Any Egyptian who helps the Palestinians or others to plunder our land must be considered a traitor. [More here]

Good to keep in mind when simple solutions are next offered up for the complex challenges in this part of the world.

IDF Prepares to Absorb Syrian Refugees

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

IBA News reports that the IDF, in coordination with the UN, has prepared territories on the Golan along the Syrian border to absorb potential Syrian refugees.

While the goal of the IDF is to prevent any Syrians from crossing the border, they recognize that some refugees might still spill over as internecine fighting expands near the border.

It’s A ‘Deir Yassin’ in Syria

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Assad is really in trouble now:

At least 10 Palestinian refugees were killed Wednesday in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, activists posting to a Facebook account for the camp reported.

According to media from the camp, 15-year-old Jalal Yousif Salih was shot dead by a Syrian government sniper near the Palestine Hospital in the camp. Photos of the victim were published before he was identified.  Another victim identified as 10-year-old Fadi Alaa al-Masri was shot dead in the al-Zein neighborhood.  Earlier, a body was found in the Black Stone neighborhood. The victim was later identified as Muhammad Shaaban.

An elderly man was also shot dead in the Deir Yasin neighborhood, according to activists. They identified him as 70-year-old Ahmad Abbas.

Visit Yisrael Medad’s Blog, My Right Word.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/my-right-word/its-a-deir-yassin-in-syria/2012/09/20/

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