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Posts Tagged ‘territory’

Annexation Or Fade Away

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The Levy Report on the settlements in Judea and Samaria was like cold water on a parched landscape. The committee members who drafted the report and dared to publicly say what every child in Israel can and should know deserve credit and appreciation. The report factually states that there never was an occupation in Judea and Samaria because no entity there was ever occupied.

In the 1948 War of Independence Jordan forcefully took over Judea and Samaria. After World War I, the Commonwealth of Nations transferred the mandate on the territory to Great Britain so that the Jews could establish a national home in what was slated to become Israel. Later, the Jordanians refuted any claims of sovereignty over the territory. Thus, when the IDF captured Judea and Samaria from King Hussein, who didn’t even pretend to be its owner, it was hardly an occupation.

The local Arabs, who have suddenly invented the Palestinian nation, cannot claim that the territory was captured from them. First, they are the ones who started the War of Independence, dragging the regular Arab armies into the fighting. According to international law, whoever initiates a war cannot claim territory that they lost during the fighting. But what is even more important is that there never was national Palestinian sovereignty – not in Judea and Samaria or in any place on the globe. In the miraculous 1967 Six-Day War, the IDF liberated Judea and Samaria from the Jordanian army – not from the residents of Ramallah.

Those of us who have unfortunately become accustomed to the State toeing the brazen and false, radical leftist line – the Talia Sasson Report, for example – might see the Levy Report as a sign of the Messianic era. However, respect and appreciation for the report’s authors and Prime Minister Netanyahu for requesting it notwithstanding, the logical conclusion is missing from its findings.

It is difficult to know if the Levy Report heralds real change or if it is just part of the zigzag syndrome that we have been witnessing recently. It is very important to stop the damage wrought upon the settlement enterprise by the Sasson Report. But the fact that the Levy Report is not coupled with positive measures means that the strong forces that have been pushing Israel into harmful declarations and deeds for years can continue their activities, undisturbed. The report does say that Israel is not an occupier, but it doesn’t draw the logical conclusion: This is our land. The report does not recommend the vital next step, namely that Israel must immediately annex all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands. The precedent was Israel’s annexation of all the territory captured by the IDF in 1948 – to a lesser extent in Jerusalem and fully in the Golan Heights.

The following is Israeli law: Every part of the Land of Israel under Israeli control at any time automatically becomes part of the territory of the State of Israel.

Since the days of Menachem Begin, the Jewish majority in Israel has received glorious gifts that turned out to be nothing more than fancy wrapping. Begin’s “There will be many more Elon Morehs” turned into the reality of the great retreat from Sinai and the destruction of the Yamit settlements. On one hand, the Likud has built more than any other ruling party. On the other hand, all the destruction and major retreats are also on its resume. Without faith-based leadership for Israel, the Right will necessarily drift leftward – if not in word then in deed.

The Levy Report is another step in the right direction. It is a positive development, along with MK Yariv Levin’s proposed legislation against the High Court dictatorship and MK Miri Regev’s proposals for annexation of Judea and Samaria. While Netanyahu put the brakes on those two proposals, the very fact that they were raised creates a positive cumulative effect.

We must not fool ourselves, though. If tomorrow Mahmoud Abbas turns around and shows willingness for some type of compromise, the entire media will clamor to advance “peace,” full steam ahead. The justice system, security officials and academia will join in to ensure that the new “peace” will get past the public’s healthy skepticism. In this scenario the Levy Report will make no difference, as we march toward another mass destruction.

On Academia, Politics and Survival in the Middle East

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I will begin with a disclosure: I am the head of The Israeli Academic Monitor, an organization whose goal is to expose publicly the political activities of those Israeli academics who engage in activities against the state of Israel and against its ability to stand up to the political and security pressures that it faces. These academicians call on institutions and individuals to boycott Israel, to impose sanctions upon it and to withdraw investments from it, while camouflaging and disguising these activities as if they are done in “the academic spirit.” It must be noted that there are, among Israeli academicians, some “righteous” people who call on states and academic institutions of the world to boycott Israeli academic institutions and to impose punishments on those same institutions in which they themselves are employed, and from where they receive their salaries, the source of which is the government of Israel. We, members of The Israeli Academic Monitor, out of concern for Israeli academia in particular and for the state of Israel in general, act within the boundaries of freedom of speech and expression, and publish widely the despicable deeds of these Israeli academicians.

Today I dedicate my article to a matter that has been with us for years, which is the status of the academic institution that was established 30 years ago in the city of Ariel, in Samaria; whether to have it remain as a college or “University Center” (a concept which is not clear to me), or perhaps to raise it to the level of a university. Those who are faithful to the land of Israel support promoting it to become a university, while those who object to Israeli rule in Judea and Samaria – they call it “occupation” – oppose it. Each side of the argument brings economic, budgetary and academic justifications to support its view, but it is clear that the basis for one’s position is primarily political, and that this position dictates which of the justifications are emphasized.

The fact that there is a political argument engenders the perception among the Israeli public that all of the other seven universities are “not political,” and only the institution in Ariel is “political” because it is “in the territories” and therefore its establishment in Ariel has a “political” meaning. My claim is that all of the universities in Israel are political, and moreover, all of the colleges, schools, yeshivas, hospitals, prisons, factories, places of residence, roads, trees – everything that we have established, built, and planted in Israel – everything, but everything, is political. The whole Zionist enterprise is a political project because it is the political and nationalistic manifestation of the desire of the Jewish people to return to its land and to renew within it its national life, its independence and its sovereignty. Everything that we have done here since the students of the Gaon of Vilna arrived in Israel two hundred years ago until today, everything is aimed at renewing our political life as of old, indeed, the whole Zionist enterprise – including universities – has a political, as well as national connotation, and there are also those who see a religious component in this matter, connected in some way to the final redemption.

Jews the world over have joined this great political enterprise of the Jewish people, whether with their bodies or with their wealth. Those who joined bodily came, fought, built, paved, planted, seeded, reaped, learned, taught and did research, all in order to establish the political enterprise of the Jewish people – the State of Israel. Those who joined with their wealth remained in the Diaspora and donated their money to the establishment of schools, hospitals, yeshivas for men, yeshivas for women, colleges and universities, all in order to take part in the political, national and collective endeavor of the people of Israel.

The cornerstone of the first academic institution in Israel was laid exactly 100 years ago. This was the Technion in Haifa. Dr. Paul Natan, was behind the idea to establish “the Technikum” (the original name), enlisted the aid of David Wissotzky (the Tea producer) to donate the required funds, and they established the institution specifically in Israel, and not in the Diaspora, for the same nationalistic and political reason that influenced others to establish other institutions in Israel. Their motivation was to promote the “return to Zion” and the fact that the government of the land was then in the hands of the Muslim Ottoman Empire didn’t bother them. When they founded the first academic institution, their connection was to the Land, not the state, and to establish the life of the people in its land was their top priority.

NY Times: Stupid and Biased Again

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/07/ny-times-stupid-and-biased-again/

The decision by a commission of legal scholars, led by retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, that Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria is legal, created a storm of protest from the usual quarters.

Today I’m going to dissect one paragraph that epitomizes the misconceptions surrounding Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria. It happens to appear in a New York Times editorial, but that’s really not important (unless you are still awed by the ignorance or malice of the editors of that newspaper).

Here is the paragraph:

“Most of the world views the West Bank, which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004. The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

Most of the world

This can’t mean most of the world’s 6.9 billion people, most of whom don’t give a rat’s posterior about Israel. It probably refers to most of the members of the UN General Assembly, where there has been an automatic majority against Israel on every imaginable subject since the 1970s. Is this supposed to add authority to their argument?

view the West Bank

“West Bank” is a term applied to what had previously been called by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria, by Jordan in 1950. Using this expression obscures the historical Jewish connection and suggests that Jordanian control of the area, which lasted only 19 years, was somehow ‘normal.’

which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war

This continues the theme that the normal situation was usurped by Israel in 1967. But when Jordanian troops marched into the area in 1948, killing and driving out the Jewish population, they violated the provision of the Mandate that set aside the area of ‘Palestine’ for “close Jewish settlement,” and the one that called for the civil rights of all existing residents — Jewish or Arab — to be respected. It also violated the UN charter which forbids the acquisition of territory by force. Only Pakistan and the UK recognized the annexation of the area (even the Arab League opposed it).

The Jordanian invasion and annexation of Judea and Samaria was, in fact, illegal under international law. Israel’s conquest in 1967, on the other hand, can be seen as a realization of the terms of the Mandate.

as occupied territory

As I wrote yesterday, the concept of a ‘belligerent occupation’ does not apply here. What country owned the territory that Israel ‘occupied’? Not Jordan, which was there illegally, nor Britain, whose Mandate had ended, nor the Ottoman Empire, which no longer existed. The nation with the best claim was Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who were the intended beneficiaries of the Mandate. Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, and the Jewish people have a prima facie claim based on the Mandate.

and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004.

This refers to the advisory opinion against the security fence issued by the International Court of Justice. The opinion refers to Israel as an “occupying power” and says that the fence is built on “occupied Palestinian land,” despite the fact that there is no legally delimited border between Israeli and ‘Palestinian’ land.

The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

Since the land is not ‘occupied’, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply. And even if it were occupied, legal scholars (including the Levy commission) have made excellent arguments that the Convention was not intended to apply to voluntary ‘transfers’ of population like settlements, but to forced deportations like the Nazi transfer of German Jews into occupied Poland.

US Agrees, Settlements are “Not Illegal”

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

http://www.israpundit.com/archives/47484

The  legal tsunami gathering strength in Israel will soon engulf the world. A report is soon to be released that says, the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) does not apply to Judea and Samaria aka West Bank and that Israel has every right to build settlements there.

In January of this year,  PM Netanyahu set up the Levy Committee to investigate the legal status of unauthorized  West Bank  Jewish building. The Committee was headed by Supreme Court Justice (ret) Edmund Levy. It included Tel Aviv District Court Judge (Ret.) Tehiya Shapira and Dr. Alan Baker an international law expert, who was part of the team that devised the Oslo Accords.

The Committee reviewed legal briefs from right of center groups but also from far left  groups such as Peace Now, Yesh Din and Btselem. Its 89 page Report was submitted to PM Netanyahu a few weeks ago and is now under review by his Ministerial Committee on Settlements. Though the Report has yet to be formerly published, the contents are already well known.

It found that the settlements are not illegal. To reach this conclusion it first found that the Fourth Geneva Convention which applies “to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party” does not apply to Judea and Samaria because “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” … as  “no other legal entity has ever had its sovereignty over the area cemented under international law.”

Furthermore it found that there was no provision in international law which prohibited Jews settling in the area.

The UN and the EU have for decades repeated the mantra that the land is occupied and the settlements are illegal, both pursuant to the FGC but there has never been a binding legal decision on which they based their assertions. The US has been more cautious and considers the settlements “an obstacle to peace” or “illegitimate.” Nevertheless, it leads the chorus in demanding an end to Israel’s settlement construction.

In 2010, Nicholas Rostow  wrote in the American Interest regarding the legality of the settlements:

      “On February 2, 1981, President Reagan stated that the settlements were “not illegal,” although he criticized them as “ill-advised” and “unnecessarily provocative.” Throughout the Reagan Administration the U.S. government did not question the legality of the settlements; rather, it criticized the settlements on policy grounds as an obstacle to the peace process. In the United Nations, the United States voted against resolutions describing Israeli settlements as illegal.”

President George Bush followed suit and so did President Obama.

The Levy Report confirms the opinions of a large list of experts who have long claimed the same, including:

  • Stephen M. Schwebel, Professor of International Law at the School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University (Washington), former Deputy Legal Advisor of the U.S. State Department and President of the International Court of Justice from 1997 to 2000:“Where the prior holder of territory [Jordan] had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense [Israel] has, against that prior holder, better title.”
  • Eugene W. Rostow, Former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Institute for Peace:“The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created… The Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated…”
  • Julius Stone, one of the 20th century leading authorities on the Law of Nations, Doctor of Juridical Science from Harvard and Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at universities in Australia and California:“The terms of Article 49(6) [of the Fourth Geneva Convention] however they are interpreted, are submitted to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever ‘judenrein’.”
  • David Matas, world-renowned human rights lawyer and honorary counsel to B’nai Brith Canada:“For there to be an occupation at international law, there has to be an occupying and occupied power both of which are members of the community of nations. The only conceivable occupied power for the West Bank is Jordan. Yet Jordan has renounced all claims over the West Bank.”
  • David M. Phillips, Professor at Northeastern University School of Law:Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion – as some have done – this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself…The ultimate end of the illicit effort to use international law to delegitimize the settlements is clear – it is the same argument used by Israel’s enemies to delegitimize the Jewish state entirely.”
  • Jeffrey S. Helmreich, author and writer for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:“The settlements are not located in ‘occupied territory.’ The last binding international legal instrument which divided the territory in the region of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza was the League of Nations Mandate, which explicitly recognized the right of Jewish settlement in all territory allocated to the Jewish national home in the context of the British Mandate. These rights under the British Mandate were preserved by the successor organization to the League of Nations, the United Nations, under Article 80 of the UN Charter.”

The question of the applicability of the FGC was considered by the International Court of Justice (IJC), an arm of the UN, in its advisory opinion on the legality of the fence.

The IJC held that “the Convention applies, in particular, in any territory occupied in the course of the conflict by one of the contracting parties.”  In other words it ignored that the lands occupied must be the lands of “another High Contracting Party.”  This is not considered sound law and in any event, is not a binding decision.

The Supreme Court of Israel in its decision approving the fence as legal,  said  that “the question of the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention is not before us now since the parties agree that the humanitarian rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention apply to the issue under review.”  Thus it didn’t decide on the applicability.

The Left in Israel are screaming blue murder and referring to the Report as “born in sin” and a “political manifesto.”

On Monday, while speaking to reporters, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said:

    “The US position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.”

What is interesting about this statement is that Ventrell did not comment on the finding that the FGC did not apply or that the settlements were not illegal.  He merely reiterated the US government position without substantiating it. Furthermore, the settlement outposts that the State Department doesn’t want “legalized” are legal, save for having not received their final approval from the Government of Israel. If they were really illegal by international law, Israel wouldn’t be able to “legalize” them. Put another way, the US position is that Israel shouldn’t exercise her rights because such exercise would be an obstacle to peace. It prefers to recognize the non-existing Arab rights rather than the real rights of the Jews/Israel.

Accordingly, the legal conclusions of the Report are sound.  What will the fallout be?

Well for starters, the UN may ask for another advisory opinion from the ICJ on the validity of this report but why bother, it already has one on the applicability of the FGC. It probably will choose to ignore it as just another opinion. Meanwhile the existence of the report will take the wind out of the sails of the US and the EU as they try to damn the settlements and Israeli actions. The US will have to acknowledge that since President Reagan, it has considered the settlements to be “not illegal” but only, ”ill-advised.”

PM Netanyahu will have to decide whether he will embrace the Report and act accordingly or whether he will wait for the issue to be adjudicated by Israel’s High Court. It is highly unlikely that this Court will fly in the face of the named experts, the US Government and the Levy Report. The Court has previously held that the settlements were legal.

From a political point of view, he cannot ignore the Report.  A political storm is raging. Likud MK Tzippi Hotovely is preparing a Bill that will “endorse the principles of the Levy Report and will require the establishment of a judicial tribunal in Judea and Samaria which will be given the responsibility of discussing matters related to land ownership, the establishment of an Israeli land registry in Judea and Samaria and applying Israeli building and planning laws on Judea and Samaria.”

Where does that leave the international community?  The foundation of their attacks on Israel will have been destroyed. It will be hard to ignore the Report and harder still to ignore a confirming decision by Israel’s High Court. It will no longer be able to claim with a straight face that the lands are “occupied Palestinian lands” or that the settlements are illegal.

Congress will no doubt strongly endorse the Report with or without a decision of the Supreme Court of Israel.

The upshot of all this will be that Israel will end the de facto building freeze and start construction of settlements in earnest. It will also signal the end of the pursuit by Israel of the two-state solution. The Israeli center will no longer believe that Israel is an occupier and instead will believe that the land is theirs, which it is.

Presently there is a significant movement in Israel advocating Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, even if that means making citizenship available to qualifying Arabs.

Israel must decide between two risky alternatives; either accept the two-state solution based on ’67 lines with swaps or annex the land and contend with an extra 1.5 million Arabs within its borders. With the latter alternative, the Jews would be left with a stable 2:1 majority. Israelis are already trending to the latter and this Report will accelerate that trend.

The Arabs in Judea and Samaria will not accept such a two state solution because it will preclude the “right of return” and will require them to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. Furthermore it will require them to sign an end-of-conflict agreement which they will never do. If Israel chooses to claim sovereignty, the Arabs will have to decide whether to push for citizenship or to accept autonomy.

This tsunami will change the political landscape for the better and forever.

Decision Time

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

It is impossible not to notice the similarity between the Ulpana situation and the Sharon-led Expulsion from Gush Katif. In both cases a prime minister elected by the Right, whose ideology certainly does not endorse destruction in Israel’s heartland, veers sharply left and compels his ministers and coalition to support a Peace Now move – a move completely against their will.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, when we were miraculously forced to liberate Israel’s heartland and Jerusalem, we have insisted on rejecting the gift of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Instead, we have created a time bomb, which has rolled on from generation to generation. We cannot expect the current Likud leaders to demonstrate more fortitude and determination than the leaders at the peak of Israel’s legitimacy, immediately after the amazing 1967 victory. Since 1967, when an Israeli leader (whoever he is) is faced with a strategic decision that entails choosing between maintaining the status quo or annexing Judea and Samaria, the outcome is a given.

In truth, we cannot maintain civilian life on a legal foundation of military occupation forever. Peace Now is doing us a great favor by forcing us to decide once and for all whether the Land of Israel belongs to us.

When Israel was established in 1948, the Temporary State Council passed the Legal Jurisdiction and Authority Act. According to this act, Israeli law applies to all the territory in our hands. In the War of Independence, Israel conquered quite a bit of territory beyond what the UN had designated for the fledgling state in the Partition Plan. At the war’s end, Israel applied its law until the very last centimeter, extending its sovereignty over all the territory in its hands. All of those places became part and parcel of the State of Israel: Nahariya, Eilat, Nazareth, Beersheba, and much more.

After the liberation of Judea and Samaria in 1967, Israel did not need to pass a new law. All that was necessary was to repeat what it had done in 1948. Nobody forced Moshe Dayan to block the Arab refugees trying to escape from Israel at the Jordan River and to send them back to Shechem and Qalqilyah with bouquets of flowers. And nobody forced him to give the Arab wakf the keys to the Temple Mount.

But why should we denigrate Dayan? The consciousness of the entire Israeli leadership – including the religious leadership – was not prepared to deal with the identity challenge that suddenly burst into its reality, the land of the forefathers that fell into its lap.

The chance for peace with the Arabs vanished as soon as they realized that they really hadn’t lost the war at all and that Israel saw the territory that it had conquered as nothing more than a bargaining chip. Three months after the war, the Khartoum Council gathered and the Arab countries announced three decisions: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

Israel could not swallow the territories it had liberated, but it also couldn’t purge itself of them. On one hand, there was no one to give them to because nobody was willing to take them. On the other hand, the Zionist spirit that still coursed through the veins of the Labor Party preferred to apply the 1948 rules to 1967. The orphans of Gush Etzion and the Jewish community of Hebron wanted to return home. Their demands were very much a part of the Israeli discourse.

This is the basic outline that explains how the settlements in Judea and Samaria were created. For all practical purposes, Israel declared to the world that this is not our land but rather it is occupied territory. It explained settlements as security needs. That type of legal foundation can hold up for 3-4 years – not 40. The best PR professionals in the world cannot explain the justice of our settlements in Judea and Samaria when our conduct shows that we see ourselves as foreign conquerors settling our citizens in a land that is not ours.

Whoever fantasizes about an Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria, with or without a partner, already has the precedent of the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the subsequent missiles raining on Beersheba and Ashkelon. It seems that we will not be able to change the Creator’s decision since the miraculous Six-Day War that this land will remain ours – despite ourselves.

Hamastan is the Palestinian state

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/05/hamastan-is-the-palestinian-state/

It should be Hamastan. Why not? We are not corrupt. We are serving the poorer classes. We are defending our land. It should be Hamastan! — Mahmoud al-Zahar, 2005

There already is a sovereign Palestinian state.

A sovereign state (or simply state) is classically defined as a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state …

In political science, sovereignty is usually defined as the most essential attribute of the state in the form of its complete self-sufficiency in the frames of a certain territory, that is its supremacy in the domestic policy and independence in the foreign one. — Wikipedia

No, it is not the “Palestinian Authority,” which has “supremacy in domestic policy” only in part of the territory it claims (areas A and B), and does not have independence in foreign policy anywhere.

Rather, Palestine exists in the Gaza Strip, sometimes called Hamastan. It is a well-developed Islamist state, with an army, a court system and a real economy. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the implosion of the Syrian regime, the Gaza-based Hamas leaders have now taken full control of their state. Jonathan Spyer tells us:

First, the Gaza leaders possess power, a key element that their rivals lack. They hold real political and administrative power and control over the lives of the 1.7 million inhabitants of Gaza and of the 365 square kilometers in which they live. Second: the upheavals in the Arab world — and specifically the civil war in Syria — have served to severely weaken the formerly Damascus-based external leadership, depleting the value of the assets they held in the competition with the internal Gaza leaders.

The nature of the regime created by Hamas in Gaza, and its strength and durability, has received insufficient attention in the West. This may have a political root: Western governments feel the need to keep alive the fiction of the long-dead peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. One of the necessary components of this is pretending that the historic split between nationalists and Islamists among the Palestinians has not really happened, or that it is a temporary glitch that will soon be reconciled. This fiction is necessary for peace process believers, because it enables them to continue to treat the West Bank Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

But fiction it is. An Islamist one-party quasi-state has been built in Gaza over the last half-decade. The prospects for this enclave and its importance in the period ahead have been immeasurably strengthened by the advances made by Hamas’ fellow Muslim Brotherhood branches in Egypt and elsewhere in the region.

Hamas has created a unique, Sunni Islamist form of authoritarian government in the Gaza Strip. It has successfully crushed all political opposition. It has created a security system in which a movement militia, the Qassam Brigades, exists alongside supposedly non-political security forces which are themselves answerable to Hamas-controlled ministries. It has imposed the will of the Hamas government on the formerly PA-controlled judiciary, and has simultaneously created a parallel system of Islamic courts. [my emphasis]

There will not likely be a unification of the Gaza Strip with the Arabs of Judea/Samaria under the control of the PLO, which is weak, corrupt and generally hated. ‘Unity’, if it happens, will be a Hamas takeover.

So what should Israeli policy be?

First, to treat Hamastan as a hostile neighbor state, not a part of the Oslo-defined Palestinian Authority. It’s probably well past the time that Israel should continue to supply water and electricity to an enemy that almost daily fires rockets into its territory. Israel must not take any form of responsibility for Gaza.

Second, to assume that any independent entity in Judea/Samaria is likely to come under Hamas influence and to insist on maintaining control of at least those parts of the areas that are critical to security, such as the Jordan Valley, the high ground overlooking Israel’s coastal plain, etc.

Second Thoughts About The Mosque Fire In Tuba-Zangariya

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Another chapter has been added to the evolving saga of the torching of a mosque in Tuba Zangariya. On January 14, Basam Sawayed, an Arab resident of Tuba Zangariya, gave an interview in which he stated that it wasn’t a Jew who set fire to the mosque in their village. Sawayed claimed that those responsible for the torching were actually local residents. He said he was sure about his claim; no one would come from outside to commit such an act. A few hours later, his house was sprayed with automatic gunfire. No one was injured.

This latest incident is the most recent in a succession of peculiar events. Three months ago, on October 3, 2011, the residents of Tuba Zangariya awoke to discover their mosque on fire. Officials believe that arson was committed by Jews as an act of retaliation, one of the so called ‘price tag’ operations. Jewish suspects were arrested, all were immediately released, and none were subsequently charged. The torching generated much outcry and condemnation, and was used as political leverage by various parties.

The entire incident is shrouded in mystery, presenting a long list of questions and inconsistencies, while the answers actually support Sawayed’s claim.

The village of Tuba Zangariya is in the Galilee, far from Judea and Samaria, and several miles off the main highway. Why would someone make such an effort to go so far out of his way to get to this mosque, when he has many others on the way? Why was this one targeted specifically?

The burnt mosque is itself very close to the nearby homes. It is odd that no one smelled the smoke, heard the crackle of fire, saw the flames or was otherwise alerted to the fact that an adjacent building was on fire. The fire was so intense that the floor tiles exploded. Yet no one heard or saw anything?

Graffiti was written on the wall, which allegedly implies an act of vindictive vandalism. Upon closer inspection, one can discern the graffiti was written with coal, not paint. It seems a little bizarre that the vandals would wait around for coal to be created by the fire, and then use it to deface the walls. Furthermore, the graffiti was written on a part of the wall that was not covered by soot, but rather below it. One would have expected to find it covered by smoke generated by the ensuing flames after the vandals had fled the scene.

Furthermore, how is it possible that no one noticed a suspicious unidentified vehicle approaching the scene in the dead of night? When this question was presented to local residents, they responded that they do usually notice unidentified vehicles, and so the alleged terrorists must have come from the surrounding fields by foot. The mosque itself sits on the crest of a steep hill. Approaching the mosque by foot would require a two hundred meter climb through boulders and thorns. That would not be easy to execute while carrying flammable materials. It is made more difficult if you have no knowledge of the landscape. It’s impossible to do so at night.

All these points may lead a keen observer to the conclusion that the mosque torching was in fact an inside job, perhaps the result of local tribal infighting. The alternative is to accept the official story, which depicts quite a ludicrous chain of events – Jewish terrorists traveling for hours to target this specific mosque, marching up a steep hill in the dead of night, through territory they are not acquainted with, setting a massive fire to a mosque, creating a roaring blaze which no else notices, and then hanging around waiting for the fire to produce writing material.

One must note that the town is known for its violence, smuggling, drug trafficking and tribal infighting. According to police data, over 330 indictments have been submitted recently against residents of Tuba Zangariya.

Tzvika Fogel, acting mayor of Tuba Zangariya, has stated several times that the residents of Tuba Zangariya have accumulated a dangerous amount of weapons that present a genuine threat. He believes the arson was committed by locals, and that we will never know who did it.

Until recently, none of the above questions were raised by the media. As of this writing, no politician or public figure has raised these questions, nor have there been any apologies for attacking an entire segment of the public with no real basis for the accusations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/second-thoughts-about-the-mosque-fire-in-tuba-zangariya/2012/02/02/

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