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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘transition’

U.S. Policy On Israel And The Obama-Trump Transition

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on September 20, President Obama declared that Israel should recognize “it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

If cast here by Obama in starker form than usual, seemingly to stake a legacy position, the statement is yet another rendering of a theme he has returned to on many occasions throughout the eight years of his presidency. But the essence of that theme is a lie: Israel has neither occupied nor settled “Palestinian land.”

In fact, for all the posturing on the subject by the Obama administration, by the EU and European states, by the UN, and by other nations and international bodies, there is no such thing as “Palestinian land” in international law, or at least there was not before the Oslo process, formally initiated in 1993.

To the contrary, international law supports Jewish claims to the so-called occupied territories. The League of Nations, in creating successor entities to portions of what was formally the Ottoman Empire, established the “Palestine Mandate” for the lands between the Jordan and the Mediterranean and the right of Jews to claim and settle in those lands.

Indeed, it called for “close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands.” Article 80 of the United Nations charter subsequently preserved the application of the League of Nations Mandate’s stipulations.

One could argue that the Jews’ governmental body, by accepting the 1947 partition plan for Mandate Palestine, essentially gave up any claim to, including the right of settlement in, areas not allotted to it.

However, the Palestinian side rejected the plan and failed to establish a successor government in the areas that were to fall under its control. Subsequently, Judea and Samaria were occupied (with the killing or expulsion of all their Jewish residents) and annexed by Transjordan, which then renamed itself Jordan.

But only two nations, Britain and Pakistan, recognized Jordanian sovereignty in the territories. In 1967, Jordan – as King Hussein himself acknowledged – launched hostilities against Israel, and Israel, in its response, gained control of Judea and Samaria. In effect, whatever claims and rights Israel was prepared to give up in 1947 became irrelevant when no legitimate alternative government of Judea and Samaria emerged, and so the rights enshrined in the Mandate and in Article 80 of the UN charter remain in force.

Also relevant is UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted unanimously in the wake of the 1967 war. It calls for peace talks between Israel and its neighbors and, rather than Israel’s return to the prewar armistice lines, for the negotiation of new “secure and recognized” boundaries.

Further, the authors of Resolution 242 explicitly stated that the prewar armistice lines made no sense as permanent borders, invited further aggression against Israel, were untenable, and ought to be replaced.

Resolution 242 does not in itself strengthen the already strong legitimacy in international law for Israel’s claim to the territories. But it is relevant in several respects.

First, Resolution 242 underscores the status of Judea and Samaria as disputed territory whose ultimate disposition is to be decided by negotiations between Israel and its neighbors.

In addition, with regard to settlements, most have been established with a view toward reinforcing Israeli claims to key strategic areas in Judea and Samaria – those most germane to providing Israel with defensible borders as envisioned in 242.

* * * * *

In fact, not all of Judea and Samaria are currently disputed territories, as Israel ceded parts of these areas to the Palestinians in the context of the Oslo process. The Oslo accords entailed a division of these territories into Areas A, B, and C. Area A was placed under full Palestinian Authority control; in Area B the Palestinians assumed full civil authority while Israel retained responsibility for security; and Area C remained under Israeli control.

Areas A and B comprise about 40 percent of Judea and Samaria and are home to well over 90 percent of the Palestinian population of the territories.

Some have argued that Israel is not obliged to maintain its relinquishment of these areas as the Palestinian Authority has never fulfilled its obligations under the relevant Oslo accords. In particular, it has never recognized Israel’s right to exist, has never ended incitement promoting the murder of Israelis and delegitimization and destruction of the state, and has never abandoned terror to advance its anti-Israel agenda. But no Israeli government has sought to reverse the ceding of Areas A and B.

Israel, of course, also unilaterally ceded all of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. Since then, particularly since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, Israel has been subjected to recurrent, often incessant rocket bombardment and other assaults from the territory, as well as three wars initiated by Palestinian aggression. Yet Israel has never sought to reverse its ceding of Gaza.

These transfers of land to the Palestinians have reduced the disputed territories to Area C in Samaria and Judea and those parts of Jerusalem beyond the pre-1967 armistice line. As argued above, Israel has the strongest claim to these areas, and certainly nothing in international law justifies characterizing them as “Palestinian land.”

But Obama’s doing so is part of a broader agenda. Throughout his presidency, he and others in his administration have put the onus on Israel for breakdowns in negotiations and for the absence of any progress toward a resolution of the conflict, when it is patently obvious to any honest observer that it has been Abbas and the Palestinian Authority that have consistently scuttled talks.

Netanyahu has repeatedly offered to resume talks without preconditions; Abbas has invariably insisted on preconditions Israel must fulfill before he will agree to meet. Obama, though, has ignored Abbas’s intransigence throughout his time in office.

Obama and those around him have, more specifically, spoken most about Israel’s expanding settlements and establishing new settlements as the obstacle to progress and as potentially rendering an agreement impossible. But Israel has established no new settlements for decades, and construction in existing settlements has taken place on a far smaller scale under Netanyahu than under his predecessors, including Rabin during the Oslo years.

In the course of Obama’s presidency, Netanyahu agreed to a ten-month settlement freeze to help jump-start talks; no predecessor had ever imposed such a freeze. Abbas waited until a month before its expiration before engaging in a meeting, then insisted on extension of the freeze as a condition for continuing to meet. Yet Obama persisted in primarily blaming Israel for the lack of progress.

Another element in all this has been the administration’s ignoring or downplaying Abbas’s declarations that he will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders; his insistence that the Jews have no historic roots in the land and are merely alien usurpers whose state must be extirpated; his incitement of his people to violence and murder; his praise of terrorists and financing of them; and his enlisting the schools, mosques, and media under his control to propagate the same history-distorting, defamatory, murderous messages.

Occasionally, when Abbas’s incitement would reach a particularly high pitch and unleash an increase in deadly attacks on Israelis, Obama would offer some low-key, anodyne criticism, most often without naming Abbas.

Kenneth Levin

Trump Team Warns Obama Not to Push Foreign Policies During Transition Period

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

An unidentified Trump national security advisor said, “The machinery of government is going to have to keep grinding as best it can,” but warned that Obama and his aides shouldn’t go seeking new adventures or pushing through policies that clearly don’t match Trump’s positions, according to a report in Politico on Thursday.

The advisor pointed out that in Israel there are worries that Obama may make a move against Israel in the UN Security Council. One possible move is recognizing a Palestinian State.

Obama may also try to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress, which Trump opposes.

The advisor told Politico, “I don’t think it’s in keeping with the spirit of the transition … to try to push through agenda items that are contrary to the president-elect’s positions.”

Obama said that he wants to make sure the transition process is successful.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Syria’s Chemical Weapons May Not Be in Safe Hands

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The bloodbath in Syria continues unabated. The manner in which it is being addressed by the nations of the world has something instructive to say to us Israelis who believe – rightly or not – that wholesale deaths in the Syrian style are what might await us, Heaven forbid, if our collective guard were to be let down from keeping an array of vicious enemies at bay.

Unabated might not actually be the best way to describe the Syrian slaughter, since the lust for blood on both (all?) sides is absolutely no less intense than it was when the chaos and barbarism erupted nearly two years ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which reports on such matters from London puts out rather laconic-sounding updates via its Facebook page every few days. On Monday, it gave us Sunday’s numbers:

Preliminary Death toll for Sunday 9/12/2012: About 60 Syrians killed so far, today. The dead include: 24 unarmed civilians, 13 rebel fighters, 5 unidentified fighters, and not less than 10 regime forces. 24 unarmed civilians.

Earlier this week, its tally for killings to date stood at something over 40,000.

But all is not lost. The friends of Syria – or to be more precise about this, the Friends of Syria, including the United States once Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recovers from an illness – are meeting this Wednesday in Moroccoto find ways of backing the political transition in the event of President Al-Assad’s fall, and mobilising vital humanitarian aid as winter sets in” [source].

What might we expect to come out of their discussions? The track record until now is depressing. The customary mechanisms for resolving catastrophic wars like the one that has Syria in its grip have been a complete failure. The Russian and Chinese governments have vetoed three separate UN Security Council resolutions that sought to get the al-Assad regime in Damascus to reduce the violence of the war it is waging against other Syrian groups. The Russians see themselves as Very Good Friends of Syria and prove it by accusing [source] the US and other states of wanting to achieve the deplorable goal of destabilizing Syria’s family-owned government.

An LA Times article this week says Moscow:

“will not seek the ouster of Assad, as international negotiators again fail to reach a breakthrough on the crisis in Syria… Russia downplayed White House fears that a desperate Assad could deploy chemical weapons and said the greatest danger was that part of Syria’s chemical arsenal could fall into the hands of rebels. Both U.S. and Israeli officials have also voiced concern that chemical armaments could end up in the hands of insurgents, who have overrun a number of military bases. Syria’s fragmented rebel legions includes hard-core Islamist brigades hostile to the West and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

So the killing continues. But it appears we may be heading for some moments of truth.

This past Sunday, Israel’s man in Washington used the term “game changer” when referring [see this Wall Street Journal article] to reports that the Syrians are handing parts of their huge chemical warfare arsenal off to Hezbollah and other militant groups. Being a diplomat, he chose diplomatic language. But when Ambassador Michael Oren said he could not confirm reports that Bashar al-Assad’s forces had prepared sarin gas for use, he was understood by most people as saying that the government of Israel is indeed able to confirm those reports. (And an article today called “Israeli spies track Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon stocks” based on a report in the Times of London gives that some credence).

“We are watching the situation very carefully,” Oren said. “Syria has a very varied, deep chemical weapons program. It is geographically dispersed as well. Were those weapons to pass in to the wrong hands, Hezbollah’s hands, for example, that would be a game changer for us… Can you imagine Hezbollah, with its 70,000 rockets, could get its hands on chemical weapons? That could kill thousands of people.”

The Americans use different terminology. President Obama said four days ago that if the al-Assad regime used chemical weapons against their own people (as they did in 1982) that would amount to the crossing of “a red line.” It’s the same term he used many thousands of dead Syrians ago, back in August [“Obama warns Syria not to cross ‘red line’‘].

Frimet and Arnold Roth

New US Poll: Strong Favorable View of Israel

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Seventy percent of Americans view Israel favorably, according to a survey conducted by the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Moreover, when asked their view of Israel, nearly 81 percent of political conservatives share that view while the number is at 68.5 percent for moderates and roughly 63 percent of liberals.

The survey, called Foreign Policy Matters in 2012, was conducted from Sept. 15-17 by Basswood Research for the Foreign Policy Initiative. It’s margin of error is 3.1 percent. Roughly 40 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, 40 percent as Democrats and 20 percent as either Independents or with no party affiliation.

When asked the open-ended question who was “America’s  best ally in the world?” Israel came in at 15.9 percent, second only to the United Kingdom, which had 54 percent.

On Syria, nearly 66 percent of Americans support Washington working “with our allies to establish no-fly zones in Syria to protect civilians and help ensure a transition to a more pro-Western government instead of the terrorist-supporting regime of Bashar al-Assad.

JTA

Back To School Made Easy

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The new school year is just around the corner, and as the summer days wind down the air is filled with the anticipation of the approaching back-to-school season. During this time, students and their parents often feel the apprehension and worry of preparing for school. Of course, we’d rather take advantage of these final warm vacation days and really enjoy ourselves, but the nervousness of the new school year is palpable. The best cure for this anxiety is to help ease the fear of the unknown by preparing for school. Set your children up for success by helping them prepare for this transition smoothly. Here are some tips to help you and your children experience this season bump-free.

* Display interest and excitement as the school year approaches. If you are enthusiastic and confident about the new experiences your children will have, they will be too. It’s contagious.

* Feelings of nervousness and worry about the new school year are common and expected. Take the time to discuss which areas your child is concerned about. Listen to his/her worries and talk about what to expect on that first school day.

* Another great idea is to specifically discuss with your children the various aspects and schedule of the school day. Some scenarios to discuss include the morning bus ride, what davening will be like, different subjects you anticipate they will learn, and the change of teachers during different subject times. You can make the discussion very detailed and really paint the picture of that first day of school. For example, chat about which familiar faces they will see walking into the classroom, who they will sit with on the bus and at lunch, what they will eat during lunch and recess, what activities will they opt for during recess time, and most importantly what to expect at the end of the day. Will they be picked up from school or take the bus home, what will your children find when they walk through the door – you waiting with a smile, a snack and a note on the table from you or a sibling or neighbor to play with. Remember, knowledge and familiarity is the sure way to extinguish the jitteriness of a new school year.

* Help your children acclimate to the school year routine and schedule. Have your children go to bed at “school-night bedtime” for a few nights prior to the first day of school and get up at the time they will need to on school days. This process will ease the adjustment and transition from summertime to school year schedule.

* Create a predictable routine during the first week of school that you will stick with throughout the school year. You and your children should prepare school clothes, book-bags, lunch, and snacks each night for the following school day. Also, have a set routine for after school hours. For example, decide how much time will be allotted to play and unwind after school; when dinner will be served; when homework will get done and a consistent bedtime and routine.

* Find out what materials will be needed for school and make sure your children are prepared with it on the first day. This may seem like common knowledge, but often in the rush to get everything done for school vital materials are forgotten until well into the school year. Having your children prepared with the necessary materials will help prevent anxiety, and empower them on the first day of school to succeed. Moreover, shopping for school supplies can be a fun experience if done with enough preparation (and without the stress that comes with last-minute tasks). These excursions are a great way to turn your children’s nervousness into the similar feeling of excitement for the renewal of the school year.

* If this is your child’s first time attending school, have him/her explore the classroom and school grounds before the first day. This will familiarize your child with the school setting and help reduce his/her nervousness.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.

Shulamis C. Mayerfeld

Clinton Meets Morsi, Urges Egyptian Control over Hamas

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, marking the latter’s highest level meeting to date with a U.S. government official.

Clinton restated Washington’s support for Egypt, which has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 1978. She said the U.S. favors democratic rule in Egypt and urged the return of Egypt’s military to its defense role

Al Ahram on Saturday quoted an anonymous U.S. official who said that, in addition to stable relations with Israel, “the U.S. is expecting Egypt to use the good ties that link the Muslim Brotherhood with the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip to curtail any plans that Hamas might have towards escalation with Israel.”

The U.S. is also expecting President Morsi’s Egypt to remain committed to its traditional policy of limited engagement with Iran, according to Al Ahram.

Also on the list of U.S. expectations is a clear cut commitment from the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president on ensuring respect for the rights of women, Copts, and other minorities in Egypt.

On Sunday Clinton will meet with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the council of generals supervising the transition from the old regime.

“The United States supports the full transition to civilian rule with all that entails,” Clinton said at a news conference after her meeting with Morsi. “But there is more work ahead. And I think the issues around the parliament, the constitution, have to be resolved between and among Egyptians. I will look forward to discussing these issues tomorrow with Field Marshall Tantawi and in working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”

Jewish Press Staff

Rubin Reports: Extra! Extra! World Agrees on How to Solve Syrian Civil War!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/
“The early bird might catch the worm but the early cat catches the bird.”
–Me
Here it is at last. The perfect case study of the “international community’s” diplomacy on the Middle East, as quoted from a Wall Street Journal article describing efforts to resolve the Syria conflict. And the article has the perfect headline, too!
World Powers Reach Syria Compromise
So the problem is solved, right?
“‎An international meeting in Geneva on Saturday on Syria’s crisis agreed, with support from Russia, to support a political transition. However, officials at the meeting said any chance for a political transition to succeed rests on the willingness of the Syrian regime to cooperate.”

That’s right! The powers have agreed to a transition to a new government which will go into effect as soon as the current dictatorship agrees to be overthrown and its rulers flee for their lives and watch their supporters probably be massacred. Perhaps the world will then install a new Islamist government in Syria, forcing it down the throats of the real democratic opposition, which will be dedicated to spreading revolution and striking against Western interests.

Isn’t diplomacy wonderful?

Next week: The world solves the Israel-Palestinian conflict!

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-extra-extra-world-agrees-on-how-to-solve-syrian-civil-war/2012/07/04/

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