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The Jewish Press
If we were to describe the following scene as having taken place anywhere else on the planet, the report would have been followed by several news cycles involving angry Jewish organizations, rabbis, Israeli rightwing politicians and, undoubtedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu, condemning the blatant act of anti-Semitic repression on the part of police, carrying out the anti-Semitic policies of the national government. (See American Jew Arrested for Murmuring Prayers, 2nd Warned to Close Prayer App)
On Sunday morning, a Jewish American tourist wearing a yarmulke stood with a group of fellow Jewish tourists and spoke about the meaning of a biblical verse. A group of black-uniformed police converged on him and accused him of engaging in Jewish prayer, which is against the law in that country. The Jewish man tried to defend himself, arguing that he was merely explaining a biblical verse, “Please, God, save [us], Please God, give [us] success” (Psalms 118:25).
The cops rushed to the man and his group as soon as they heard the words “Please, God” pronounced in Hebrew. The rest of the lecture was in English. The man insisted, in English, that he was merely explaining the verse and not praying. The cops had no patience for lengthy arguments with a Jew and arrested him.
Several other Jewish tourists tried to intervene, explaining that it was a misunderstanding, they wouldn’t have even dreamed of praying there, in a country that punishes Jews who engage in public prayer, it was merely a mention of a verse in the context of a talk. At which point the arresting officer declared:
“On the Temple Mount I decide what’s prayer.”
Yes, the entire scene took place in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish State, where black uniformed police decide what’s prayer and what’s not. On Temple Mount, as part of decades of government policy, state police violate the human right to free worship Jews are entitled to like all the other humans on the planet.
The legal aid society Honenu said in a statement: “The conduct of the State of Israel and Police regarding the suspicion of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is, first of all, ridiculous, and in addition it is discriminatory and predatory. It is inconceivable that a law-abiding man would be arrested like the lowest criminal for explaining a verse from Psalms. In any other country such an arrest would have been called anti-Semitic.”
We now begin waiting for the angry condemnations from Jewish as well as from human-rights organizations demanding an apology and a quick mending of the gross violation against Jews by the local government.
From the moment Israel declared its independence, one of the main Arab tactics has been to exploit the Jews’ Achilles heel – their highly developed culture, which respects and values life, and their support for human rights.
Of Arab origin, I have long known about the Arab stereotype of the West and Israel — that they are weak because they care about the lives of their own people and they are eager to respect the human rights of their enemies. Golda Meir is reported to have said, “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”
Until now, Israel has conformed to that Arab stereotype — such as with “knocks on the roof” in Gaza to warn residents to leave buildings being used for military purposes before they are targeted — but in conversations with Zionists, it seems that this attitude is changing. While Jews will always value life, their determination to minimize enemy casualties and to respect their human rights at almost all costs might be unraveling, and it is the Palestinians who are likely to pay the price.
During the War of Independence, the Arab side ensured that not a single Jew was left on the Arab side of the 1949 armistice lines, but a large number of Arabs were allowed by Jews to remain on the Israeli side. Today those Arabs constitute 20% of the Israeli population.
Israel’s respect for the human rights of Arabs living in Israel has been used by Arabs against Israel. The idea of any Jews on the Arab side is demonized and any “normalization” with Jews is aggressively discouraged
By contrast, Arabs living in Israel have consistently elected Arab parliamentarians, even anti-Zionist ones who openly support Palestinian terrorists. If Israel expels those politicians from the Knesset — as there is a proposed law to do — it is accused by the West of being undemocratic, but if it does not expel them it is seen by Arabs as weak.
During the Six-Day War of June 1967 — a defensive war in which Israel repelled attacking Arab armies that included Jordan and Egypt — Israel moved into large swaths of Arab land, including the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and Gaza. Israel immediately offered to give land back in exchange for recognition and peace. Less than three months later, on September 1, 1967, the answer came back in the form of the famous “Three Nos” of the Khartoum Conference: No peace with Israel, no recognition no negotiations.
Israel could have played by Arab rules and deported all Arabs in the land it occupied, but it did not. Precisely because Israel respected the human rights of Arabs, and despite its own self-interest, Israel gave the Palestinians a platform from which to seek the destruction of Israel.
Today’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement continues to apply the same hypocritical double standards in a transparent effort to make Israel extinct. Its leaders have stated in no uncertain terms that they are not interested in a two-state solution. They want a single Arab state to replace Israel. They are counting on the assumption that sooner or later, Israel will be forced to annex the West Bank and give Israeli citizenship to all its residents. After this, the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state would be just a matter of time.
The dominant sentiment on the Zionist side today is that the solution most Jews since the 1940s have accepted as ethical — the two-state solution — is simply not working. The vast majority of Zionists blame this on the unrelenting Arab refusal to accept such a solution and on the fact that when, in what negotiations have taken place, the Palestinians never suggested so much as a reasonable counter-offer. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, supposedly the most moderate leader of the Palestinians, has never accepted a two-state solution unless it included a Palestinian “right of return,” which would result in a fully Arab state next to a majority Arab state — yet another way of making the Jewish state extinct.
With Israel’s back to the wall, it will sooner or later have to choose between giving up the Jewish state and lowering its human rights standards for the Palestinians. It seems increasingly clear that Israelis will not choose the first. In their place, I wouldn’t either. One sign is a proposed law that would deport the families of terrorists. Another is a proposed law that would expel Knesset members who openly support terrorists.
American human rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz has repeatedly warned that the BDS movement is destroying the prospect for a negotiated two-state solution, by making Palestinian leaders believe that they do not need to make any compromises. Dershowitz has not ventured what would happen if the BDS movement continues on its current track. He has just made the general and obvious prediction that it would lead to “more wars, more death and more suffering.”
If this Arab-BDS tactic continues, Israel may well move to the right of its current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and elect a government for which respect of Palestinian human rights is a lower priority. Such a government would be far less reluctant than Netanyahu in expanding settlements across the West Bank and in responding with overwhelming force to terrorist attacks, thereby making the lives of Palestinians much more difficult and seriously harming dreams of Palestinian statehood.
The advocates of BDS seem to rely on the belief that Israel would never do that, but they are wrong for several reasons:
The Jews of Israel will not willingly commit suicide. So far, every time they refused to adopt anti-human-rights approaches, those decisions were not fatal to Israel. A one-state solution with equal rights for all would however be fatal to Israel, and most Jews of Israel will not go along with it.
Israel can see how the rest of the Middle East has engaged with impunity in ethnic cleansing, from the ethnic cleansing of Jews to the ethnic cleansing of the Christians, and all the other groups in between. They also see that the West takes no serious action against it.
Israelis know that the Arabs have been mistreating the Palestinians for almost 70 years, so Arab states will not risk losing further wars against Israel for the sake of Palestinians, whom they anyway despise (assuming that the divided Arabs could even manage to form a viable coalition against Israel).
One of the factors currently holding back Israel’s right wing is the risk of losing Western support. However, with the growing BDS movement, Israel may well feel that it has lost the support of the West anyway and that there is nothing left to lose.
For almost 70 years, the Arabs have played a very dangerous game, counting on Jewish scruples to turn every defeat into a partial victory. Whereas throughout history those who lose wars — especially wars they themselves started — are forced to live by the rules of the winner, the Arabs have refused to live by Israel’s rules and they even consistently rejected middle-of-the-road two-state solutions that would have been reasonable for both sides. One can only hope that they, like Egypt and Jordan, will soon decide to live in peace with a neighbor which turned out to be far better in the way it treats Palestinians than the Palestinians’ own “Arab brothers” — not all that bad, after all. One can only hope that Palestinian leaders will start promoting a culture of peace rather than a culture of hate.
State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby’s daily press briefing on Thursday touched on the ominous possibility that the Obama Administration will wait until after the November election, so as not to steer Jewish votes away from the Democratic candidate, and then, in a final splash of power, just before going down from the world’s stage, blow up a landmine in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and support or fail to veto a UN Security Council resolution creating a Palestinian State and ordering the hasty removal of all Jewish presence on the “wrong” side of the 1967 border.
We redacted and edited the exchange to make it a tad more entertaining. But one can smell the danger hidden in the spokesman’s evasions. Barring divine intervention, the Obama gang is planning to install a Palestinian State and create facts on the ground so that the next Democrat in the White House will have to start from that point, rather than with today’s murky uncertainty.
We join the conversation that’s already in progress…
Reporter: On Security Council resolutions – will you consider either supporting or failing to veto a resolution on settlement activity in the West Bank?
Kirby: …We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution. We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I’m not going to comment on a draft Security Council resolution. Okay?
Reporter: What does that mean, we do have a sense of urgency for a two-state solution?
Kirby: It means exactly what it says and what I’ve been saying from the podium here for months and months and months.
Reporter: So you see a sense of urgency to get to a two-state solution?
Kirby: Sure we do. We very much would like to see a two-state solution realized, yes.
Reporter: I don’t understand.
Kirby: I don’t know what’s not to understand about “we have a sense of urgency.”
Reporter: Well, because there’s only, like, eight months left of the Administration. … You had a sense of urgency back in 2009; you had a sense of urgency when Secretary Kerry took over in 2012.
Kirby: So as time gets shorter, we shouldn’t have a sense of urgency?
Reporter: But if you had a real sense of urgency, you would’ve done something already, right?
Kirby: We have consistently had a sense of urgency.
Reporter: Does that mean, when you say you have a sense or urgency about this, that you’re going to try to cram something in that results in a two-state solution by the end of this Administration?
Kirby: I’m not going to hypothesize on future actions, whatever we continue to do or continue to consider, I don’t know that I would say it’s about cramming. It is about trying to move forward in a productive way towards a two-state solution. And as I’ve said before, we also look to the sides to enact the right kind of leadership to get us there, because ultimately it has to be done by them.
Reporter: But you’re not automatically opposed to a UN Security Council resolution that would call for a two-state solution?
Kirby: We’re not going to comment on this informal draft resolution.
Reporter: I’m not asking you to comment on this informal one. I’m saying that if a resolution presented itself that was evenhanded, in your view – not one-sided or biased against Israel – that called for an end of settlements, called for an end of incitement, and also called for the creation of two states, would you automatically oppose?
Kirby: Well, without getting into those provisions that you listed out there and making a judgment about that, I’d go back to what I said before, and that’s we will consider all of our options for advancing a shared objective, a two-state solution.
Reporter: And that would include a resolution?
Kirby: We’ll consider all options to advance a two-state solution.
Reporter: When you spoke of urgency, did you mean that the urgency comes from the possibility that the two states [solution will go] beyond reach?
Kirby: A sense of urgency about the importance of getting to a two-state solution, which has been a consistent point that we’ve made.
Reporter: But there’s a difference between consistency and urgency.
Kirby: What’s the difference?
Reporter: Well, if it’s always urgent, then it’s never more urgent than before.
Kirby: Well, I don’t know that I’d agree with that. Sometimes something can be always urgent and consistently urgent —
Reporter: You sound like a Foreigner song. (Laughter.) … There’s a song called Urgent. Maybe you’re too young to remember —
Kirby: No, I remember that. (Laughter). I know – I remember the song. I didn’t like it.
For the record, here’s the refrain from Foreigner’s memorable ending to Urgent:
“It gets so urgent / So urgent / You know it’s urgent / I wanna tell you it’s the same for me / So oh oh urgent / Just you wait and see / How urgent our love can be / It’s urgent.
“You say it’s urgent / Make it fast, make it urgent / Do it quick, do it urgent / Gotta rush, make it urgent / Want it quick / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / So urgent, emergency / Emer… emer… emer… / It’s urgent.”
Reporter: There are those within the President’s party, certainly the former Secretary of State, that say that simply the venue itself is not the place to impose a solution from without. I just want to be clear that you think that, because you’re considering all of your options, you may consider the UN Security Council to be the venue to impose —
Kirby: I don’t – I’m not going to elaborate on my answer to you. I think I’d point you back to what I said before.
Reporter: Let me just follow up on this just for a second, okay? I mean, seeing how time after time you call on the Israelis to refrain from settlement activities, to cease settlement activities, you call them illegal and so on, but in fact they don’t really listen much to what you have to say. So in that case, in that situation, why not have a forum in the United Nations where the world can collectively come up with some sort of a resolution that they all agree on, which is the cessation of settlement activities? Why would you be opposed to that? Why can’t you say that you would support this at the United Nations?
Kirby: Again, I’m going to point you back to my original answer, which made it clear we’re not going to comment on a draft resolution that’s only been informally presented in New York, and that, as I said, we’ll consider all of our options to try to get to a two-state solution. So I think I’m just not going to go any further than that, Said. I know that’s not satisfying for you, but that’s really where we are right now.
(The conversation we refer to starts around min. 43:50)
The Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday as a new Arab country. This, despite its lack of any borders, and the fact that it is, in essence, comprised of two complete entities ruled by two completely different governments.
In a new treaty finalized Wednesday but not yet signed, the Vatican welcomed the 2012 decision by the United Nations General Assembly to grant the entity non-member observer state status.
As the first legal document to be negotiated between the Palestinian Authority and the Vatican, the treaty as such constitutes an official recognition of “the state of Palestine.”
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas – who has remained in his position more than four years past the expiration of his legal term in office – is slated to meet with Pope Francis on Saturday.
Since the PA has not seen fit to meet its obligations under the internationally- recognized Oslo Accords, this treaty further exacerbates tensions over the entity’s violations of the agreement.
The PA has sought UN membership as a means of evading its responsibilities under the Accords, which include stopping terror and reaching a final status agreement with Israel through direct negotiations between the parties.
The teenage son of Father Gabriel Nadaf of Nazareth, who was soon to be drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, suffered a brutal beating on Friday evening. He is being treated at the English Hospital in Nazareth.
A 21-year-old affiliated with the anti-Israel Hadash party was arrested in connection with the attack, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported.
Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest known for encouraging participation in military and national service among local Christians, said in the TV interview that his wife and other son fear leaving their home.
“As I call for integration in Israeli society, extremists are trying to divide and tear and incite against me,” Nadaf said. “The incitement of verbal threats has passed yesterday into physical violence as their goal is to intimidate me and my family.”
His family has been threatened not only physically; Israeli politicians have interfered to prevent the Jerusalem Patriarchate from firing Nadaf and destroying his livelihood.
Matan Peleg, director of operations for Im Tirtzu (“If you will it”), an Israeli organization promoting Zionist values, told United with Israel that last year, when a number of Christians in Nazareth had decided to promote enlistment in the IDF and join the Israeli mainstream, “we helped them immediately. They were placing their destiny with the State of Israel.”
Nadaf is “a good friend,” Peleg said, adding that only last week his group had warned that “something like this would happen.”
In July, a new Christian party, Brit HaHadasha (meaning “Sons of the New Testament”), was created, calling for service in the IDF among other forms of integration
By mid-summer, the number of IDF recruits from Israel’s Arab-Christian community more than tripled since last year – from 35 to 100 – and 500 had volunteered for national service. They identify themselves as “Arab-speaking Israeli Christians.”
“At a time when Christian communities across the Islamic world are facing vicious persecution in the form of arrests, mob violence and bombings of churches, it’s no coincidence that this assertive form of Christian identity has manifested in democratic Israel,” noted JNS journalist Ben Cohen. “Increasingly, Christians in the Middle East understand that if their faith is to have a future in the region, the states in which they live need to be governed by the values of democracy and tolerance. A state that is Jewish in terms of its identity but which gives the same rights and demands the same duties of all of its citizens is truly a revolutionary development for the Middle East – and a key reason why so many of its neighbors dream of its destruction.”
“Our goal is to guard the Holy Land and the State of Israel,” Nadaf declared at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the summer. “We have broken the barrier of fear – the state deserves that we do our part in defending it. Those who oppose the integration of the Christian community in the institutions of state do not walk in the path of Christianity.”
“Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the IDF,” Netanyahu asserted. “You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state and I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you. I will not tolerate attempts to crumble the state from within. The State of Israel and the Prime Minister stand alongside you.”
Following the attack, Netanyahu vowed that Israel will not tolerate continued violence against Christian supporters of Israel.
The Americans, the Europeans and the international community in general are constantly demanding the implementation of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. For example, when French President Francois Hollande spoke at the Knesset recently, he stated, “We need a compromise through a two-state solution.” He emphasized that Jerusalem should be a shared capital city of both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples and stressed that settlement construction should come to an end. Statements by US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron are very similar to Hollande’s.
However, any political analysis of the current situation on the ground in the Holy Land would suggest that such models are an obsolete way of thinking. For starters, the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority are not controlled by the same political entity. The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, who to date refuses to reconcile with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. By refusing to sign a reconciliation agreement with Fatah, Hamas has essentially ensured that there can be no united Palestinian leadership. If there is no united Palestinian leadership, there can’t be a unified Palestinian state.
History is full of examples of entities that broke up because they were separated by geographic distance and cultural differences. Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan. However, the culture in Bangladesh is very different from the Pakistani mentality. In Pakistan, they primarily speak Urdu, while the language in Bangladesh is Bangla. The Bangladeshi people felt oppressed by Pakistan. Some Bangladeshis accuse them of committing genocide against them. Furthermore, Pakistan was geographically disconnected from them and so they decided to break off to become a separate country.
The situation is quite similar in regards to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip feel oppressed by Hamas and Hamas supporters within the Palestinian Authority view the Fatah leadership with disdain. Furthermore, the populations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria are very different from each other culturally speaking. The Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are more liberal and cosmopolitan than the ones living in the Gaza Strip. To add insult to injury, the two territories are geographically disconnected from each other and the two populations rarely intermarry with each other.
The Fatah-Hamas divide in itself should have killed the idea of a two-state for two peoples’ paradigm. This should be the case especially given the fact that Hamas refuses to recognize the existence of the Jewish state as well and states specifically in their charter that they are opposed to all peace negotiations. They support waging a violent jihad until Israel ceases to exist. For them, it is war until either Israel vanishes or they cease to exist.
Even if Fatah recognizes Israel’s right to exist, in the absence of a military defeat of Hamas, two-states for two peoples living in peace is a fairy tale for children. Yet interestingly enough, even Fatah remains committed to destroying Israel in phases, refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and views the two-states for two-people’s paradigm merely as the first phase towards liberating all of Palestine. Given this reality, it is time for the international community to consider other models for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the absence of paradigms that have been proven to be unworkable.