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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

The Sound of A Hollow Trumpet

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Sara Hirschhorn’s op-ed in the New York Times on Jewish American terrorists rampant in Judea and Samaria is disturbing in that it assumes guilt, collective guilt and shame, when all her geshrai [wail] stems from an extreme liberal weltanschauung.  She contradicts her principled humanist foundations to make a dubious point. Before some observations of the piece, I want to deal with her one central element that jumped out which is a charge of guilt as to how the local Jewish population relates to acts of terror committed by Jews, such as the ‘Jewish Underground’ of three decades ago and the more recent ‘price taggers:

“Settler rabbis and the leaders of American immigrant communities in the West Bank have either played down their crime or offered muted criticism.”

That assertion is either a lie or a sign of ignorance. Or a dubious misrepresentation of the reality. Ms. Hirschhorn has chosen to be both an op-ed columnist (she has had several at Haaretz) and an academic at Oxford, at this stage of her life.  That can be problematic, especially if her opinions expressed are based less on facts than on desires, wishes and outlook.  I have criticized her two years ago.

For example, as the readers of this web site know well, more than three dozen Rabbis, leading Rabbis from within the Gush Emunim/Yesha camp, Rabbis of communities, signed a proclamation entitled “Thou Shall Not Murder” and more joined later.  Here:

Thou Shalt not Murder

Thou Shalt not Murder

Leading spokespersons of the Yesha Council denounced the act as they have done for the past years, notably by Dani Dayan and others. Here is Dani in 2012:

 “It’s terrible, terrible, terrible, it’s a terrible thing,” he exclaims. “First off, from the moral point of view, it’s really terrible, a shame,” he says with visible annoyance, as if it is a line he has had to repeat numerous times over the past few months. “And it’s the greatest damage that I can see today to our cause, and so the people that do these things, if they think that they help our cause, they are both criminals and stupid.”

Educators like Rabbi Eli Sadan, the head of the most prestigious pre-Army mechina expressed oppo‎sition. Rabbi Haim Druckman issued a strong statement. Tzohar Rabbis, too. There is also this story and even I upped the poster at my FB account.  There was an interfaith event in Gush Etzion. Well, sort of interfaith. If she was looking for a serious moral problem she should have pointed the finger at the Palestinian Authority and its attitude towards the killing of Jews, including an American passport holder.  The few Rabbis that were equivocal in their pronouncements are either part of the ‘price tag’ thinking or known for their out-of-camp views and very few follow them.  Maybe she relied on this claptrap.  Of course, for some people, there is never enough evidence that some people are not doing the wrong thing.

Pillorying is easier than praising.

I know Sara, even well, and here we are in the hills back of Shiloh.


I assisted her in her research.  No regrets.

I am aware that Sara doesn’t think these denunciations enough.  Condemnations should be louder and stronger in her opinion.

She assumes that ‘price tag’ activities are being tolerated like this person publishing in the Jewish Press. Our fundamental respect for life, she assumes, has been lost.

However, we Shilonians turned in a ‘price-tagger’, who did not live in Yesha, who had broken windows of the cars of Arab laborers in Shiloh parked outside our entrance gate.  A recent inflammatory poster on churches didn’t last the night on our billboards. We need no patronising lecturing.

Government Decides not to Abandon Gush Etzion Memorial Park

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will not expel people deployed at the Oz VeGaon Memorial Park in Gush Etzion, contrary to fears expressed by Women in Green earlier this week.

The nationalist organization turned to Gush Etzion Regional Council leader Davidi Perl, who spoke with Ya’alon, leading to a deciding not only to keep the park intact but also to authorize it.

It was dedicated last year in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Sha’ar, the three victims of Hamas kidnap-murderers from the Hebron area.

The park is located immediately east of the Gush Etzion junction and is populated by a family who protect it from Arab vandals.

There are no intentions of turning it into a full-fledged outpost, which the Defense Minister may have incorrectly assumed was the plan of nationalists. Buildings at the park are used for displays and hands-on activities for children.

“The minister of defense has once again proven that he is a friend of the settlement enterprise,” Perl said after Ya’alon’s decision.

Oz VeGaon announced on Wednesday that Selichot prayers will be held at the park Thursday at 12:30 a.m.

Sephardi Jews have been saying Selichot prayers since the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting Selichot this Saturday night. The prayers are concluded the eve of Yom Kippur.

US Says It Doesn’t Even Know How Many Americans Live in West Bank

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

President Barack Obama’s State Dept. experts on the Middle East have once again proven how much they don’t know.
One would think that the experts at Foggy Bottom are aware of how many Americans live in Judea and Samaria, or what the administration likes to call the “occupied territories.”

As reported here earlier this week, a British professor disclosed in a new book, to be published later this year, what almost every American in Israel knows – that there are disproportional number of Americans living in Judea and Samaria.

There are approximately 60,000 former American “settlers,” according to Oxford University Prof. Sara Yael Hirschhorn.

On Monday, Palestinian Authority propagandist Sayeed Erikat, who covers the State Dept. for the Al-Quds newspaper, asked deputy spokesman Mark Toner if he was aware that “there are 60,000 American Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”

Toner replied:

Sixty thousand? I don’t.

Erikat said, for Toner’s information, there are indeed so many Americans running around there, and he used his podium to ask how the United States government, which considers all settlers to be illegal and even illegitimate, can tolerate Americans living in what they call Judea and Samaria..

“Do you have any leverage with these American citizens?” Erikat asked.

Toner answered:

We, through our embassy, offer support for American citizens throughout the world. But what – we’re very clear on our policy on this issue.

Erikat suggested what could be the next hammer hold the Obama administration can exercise on Israel. If the United States opposes settlements, why should it offer services to Americans whom they consider to be illegal?

He asked:

Should the United States or would the United States have some sort of a program – an incentive program – to sort of encourage settlers to perhaps dismantle these settlements?

Toner didn’t answer directly, and Erikat let him get away with stating “that’s really a question for the Israeli Government to look at.”

Hirschhorn’s study pointed out that the Americans in Judea and Samaria by and large educated academics. She did not describe them as Wild West cowboys.

But Erikat gave Toner an “education” about the “true” identity of many of those Americans, to wit:

Many elements among these settlers are extremists. They carry guns, they enforce their own sort of rules and regulations on roads and hamlets and so on – Palestinian hamlets. Do you have any kind of program, perhaps, to rehabilitate these settlers, bring them back somehow, as opposed to the settlements?

Toner, reflecting State Dept. knowledge, so to speak, actually patronized Erikat instead of contradicting him outright, which he couldn’t do because his experts only know what they want to imagine.
Toner said:

We’ve also spoken about the uptick in violence, in extremist violence in Israel. And in fact, the government and the prime minister have also spoken about some of the recent attacks that we view as abhorrent. And we call on, frankly, all sides to stop this kind of violence.

There is no indication that the attacks were carried out by Americans, In fact, it still is open to question whether Jews or an Arab gang carried out the most infamous attack – the firebombing of an Arab home in which an 18-month-old baby and his father were killed.

So far, the Obama administration has not suggested how to “rehabilitate” settlers, of whom I am one.

I didn’t know I need rehabilitation.

By the way, I do not carry a gun. I might get arrested for defending myself.

Netanyahu Promises 804 Homes for “Settlers’ – 3 Years after Previous Pledge

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Question: How can 300+300=300?

Answer: When the numbers refer to homes promised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for Jews in Beit El, located in Samaria and north of Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister came out with a new math book by giving his approval for the “immediate” construction of 300 new homes for Jews in Beit El and 504 units in Jerusalem neighborhoods that the Obama administration and the United Nations considered illegal “occupied” by Israel.

These are the same residential unties that the Prime Minister three years ago promised would be built.

Next math question: How can 300+0=600?

Answer: When foreign media report that Israel has given the second approval for the same 300 homes.

Given the bureaucracy involved before the bulldozers get to work, come back in another three years and we’ll see how many times they have been approved, giving the impression that we are talking about 1,200 or even 2,400 homes and apartments for Beit El.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement on the same day the High Court ordered the demolition of a housing project under construction in Beit El is far from coincidental.

The right-wing is up in arms over the decision  that nullifies government approval, based on the argument that it was granted after the project began without permits.

There are plenty of precedents for approving  construction “after the fact,” but they usually don’t apply in Judea and Samaria, unless the homes are being built by Arabs.

The Palestinian Authority, as expected, condemned Netanyahu’s’ announcement, and the U.S. State Dept. will do the same, in more diplomatic terms, when it will be asked about the “new” project by reporters.

Israel never will get a fair shake in foreign media when it comes to building for Jews.

The French AFP news agency wrote as “facts” on Wednesday:

They [settlements] are seen as further complicating peace negotiations aimed at leading to an independent Palestinian state. Talks have been stalled since last year.

The two buildings being demolished in Beit El were reportedly on private Palestinian land that was seized by the army in the 1970s…

Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War and nearly 400,000 Jewish settlers currently live there.

The news agency should have just as “factually” reported that Palestinian Authority refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state further complicates peace negotiations.

AFP also should have written that there is no proof that the two buildings that now have been demolished are on “private Palestinian land.”

And its statement that “Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War” is totally warped.

The Jordanian Foreign Legion fled Judea and Samaria like jackrabbits in the war, leaving the land in Israel’s hands.\

News agencies also could add in their reports Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria for 19 years, and  “occupation” is the correct word since there was no U.N. mandate for Jordan to take control of the entire region.

They could note that Jordan denied  Jews and Christians to holy sites in “East Jerusalem.”

They also could tell their readers that after 19 years of benign neglect by Jordan – and even worse neglect of Gaza by Egypt – the Arab economy and society flourished under the Israeli “occupation,” until the intifada wrecked everything.

But they won’t report any of that. They simply cannot do so because most foreign journalists work under the assumption that Israel is wrong, if for no other reason than the United States and the European Union say it is wrong.

Women in Green Charge Gov’t with Discriminating against Jews

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The Women in Green organization reacted furiously to Tuesday morning’s violent expulsion of hundreds of people who encamped in two Beit El buildings slated for demolition and charged the government with a anti-Jew and pro-Arab policy.

The group stated:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal Arab buildings are erected throughout the Land of Israel. The Israel Police does not come near them, fearing that this would ‘ignite the entire Middle East,’ but against the wonderful Jewish youth, who are about to enlist into all of the elite units in the IDF they use clubs, pepper spray, kicks and arrests.

Why are the Arab women on the Temple Mount still wailing and screaming freely? Why does the law work only in favor of the Arabs?

The answer is that our leaders have still not resolved in their own minds the basic question of to whom the Land of Israel belongs.

The Women in Green called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “to show the same strength that you displayed against the expansion of Iran in Judea and Samaria and then your work will be complete.”

Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

This week the United States officially put on notice its trade partners that it will not countenance boycotts or other economic warfare against Israel.

After signing the relevant trade legislation into law, however, the White House signaled to all its trade partners that they are still free to boycott goods made in the disputed territories, despite the clear language of the legislation the president signed.

This week the Trade Promotion Authority bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The TPA is primarily focused on international trade between the U.S. and Europe. It also included a section which addresses trade between the U.S. and Israel.

That part of the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, bans boycotts and other means of economic warfare against Israel or the “Israeli-controlled territories.” This amendment, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill-6) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship, was unanimously adopted into the PTA in April.

The passage of the TPA, including the anti-BDS section, should sound a death knell for the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. It should.

However, as pro-Israel Americans and Israelis learned only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem passport case (Zivotofsky v. Kerry), there are certain spheres of international decision making over which the president has exclusive, or at least primary and controlling, control. Obama claims that international trade is one of those areas, even though Article 1, Section 8, clause 3, expressly gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce.

So even though the TPA is intended to act as a strong deterrent to European and other countries to pass and enforce boycotts of Israeli products, the White House has already signaled that it will not extend its protection to any goods produced in the disputed territories.

The anti boycott of Israel language in the TPA is: “actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” [emphasis added.]

In a statement which Matt Lee of the Associated Press attributed to State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby, the administration made clear that despite signing the TPA, the position of the White House remains, as it has been, that the U.S. opposes boycotts of the State of Israel, but it also opposes the presence of Jews in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

In the statement the administration argues that by “conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” and says that every U.S. administration has opposed “settlement activity.”

It goes on to point out that the “U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”

The U.S. administration announced that it will not jeopardize the holy grail of the two-state solution by enforcing the U.S. law as written and which its leader signed. In the statement it claims that “both parties have long recognized that settlement activity and efforts to change facts on the ground undermine the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict and only make it harder to negotiate a sustainable and equitable peace deal in good faith.” It is on this basis, ostensibly to promote a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that this administration

Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Northwestern University School of Law analyzes several other provisions of the U.S-Israel trade aspect of the TPA which have been largely overlooked. In particular, Kontorovich points out, U.S. courts cannot recognize or enforce the judgment of any foreign court “that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law or particular European rules.”


Pre-Occupied UN Human Rights Council Debates One Issue – Israel

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Iran and Syria headlined the wolf pack verbal assault on Israel at today’s 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s pre-occupation with the “occupation.”

This is the first time I ever have watched this much-talked about about circus, but none of the previous reports of the Council’s Israel bashing could have prepared anyone for what must be described as a humanitarian disaster.

Country after country attacked Israel for apartheid, occupation, violation of human rights and freedom, searches on the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, crimes and the violations of human rights. Morocco claimed that Israel is harming the “Islamic identity” of Jerusalem.

Qatar’s representative stated that Israel is not serious about peace, and charged that Israeli forces “have taken control of the third flotilla that was going to Gaza.”

Syria alleged that Israel is supporting terrorists in the Golan Heights, with the backing of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s official noted that Israel ignores “any human rights norms” but that “many countries” do not condemn Israel, making the Council powerless to “give rights back to Palestinians under occupation.”

And the Palestinian Authority? It said that Israel is the biggest violator in the world of human rights.

China said the “Palestinian issue” is the “heart” of problems in the Middle East.

And in other news this week, Iran has passed a bill that allows men to marry their adopted children to protect their daughters from being married off.

According to Amnesty, Iran also made a retrogressive amendment in Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedures, limiting the right to access an independent lawyer of one’s choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases.

In Syria, Assad’s forces killed 13 civilians and wounded dozens of others in a barrel bomb attack.

Christian Today reported Monday:

Things have taken a turn for the worse for Asia Bibi, 50, the falsely accused Christian woman who has been languishing in Pakistani prison for six years now despite her declining health.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan for sharing her faith in God to other women, according to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International. She was then sentenced to death, although an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court with no news yet on when her case will be heard.

And in Saudi Arabia, the ministry said it support internationally recognized human rights but not those that are specific to homosexuals.

As noted above, today is the first time I ever watched the live video of the United Nations so-called Human Rights Council.

God willing, this will be the last time, also.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pre-occupied-un-human-rights-council-debates-one-issue-israel/2015/06/29/

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