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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Gaza – A Port is No Panacea for Poverty

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Attributed to Albert Einstein

 Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the  conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong—and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you  mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility.

 

Harebrained and hazardous

Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.

This is the idea of providing Gaza with what, in effect, will be a detachable civilian port under Israeli supervision , built on an off-shore artificial island, connected to the mainland by a bridge over 4 kilometers long, which can, according to its proponents, easily be disconnected should the Gazans “misbehave”.

Actually, this nonsensical notion has been around for quite some time. Indeed as early as 2011 the British daily, The Guardian, reported that Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister for transport, was pursuing the idea, which he estimated would cost $10 billion and take about a decade to complete.

Lately, however, it has been raised with increasing frequency in the media, and publically endorsed by both government ministers and senior IDF brass.

Thus, earlier this year, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, currently Construction Minister, formerly head of Southern Command expressed his support for the idea in an interview with Bloomberg (March 1).

Just prior to that, Haaretz (February 24) reported that “Senior Israel Defense Forces officers are in favor in principle of a port for the Gaza Strip”, and just last week the Jerusalem Post (May 21) wrote: “High up within the defense establishment, some believe that the time has come for Israel to set up a civilian seaport for the Gaza Strip”.

 

Detachable port? Detached from reality!

Indeed, at a conference held this weekend in New York, Yisrael Katz, who now, in addition to his former transport portfolio, holds the newly created post of intelligence minister, reiterated his previous support for the construction of a port of Gaza on an artificial off-shore island,: “The off-shore project could provide Gaza with an economic and humanitarian gateway to the world without endangering Israeli security.”

This, of course, is demonstrably detached from reality—but more on that a little later.

I confess that the first time I heard of this appallingly absurd idea was in a private conversation several months ago with someone (whom I shall leave nameless) recently designated as a serious contender for the position of head of the Mossad, to replace previous director, Tamir Pardo.

I remember at the time being taken aback by an idea, so clearly ill-conceived and  ill-fated, being promoted by someone so senior – but took (false) comfort in the belief that it was so wildly outlandish that it would never be given serious consideration by those in authority.

As it turns out, I was sadly mistaken—as this perilous proposal continues to enjoy sustained attention in the discourse.

 

Soldiers turned sociologists?

Perhaps most disturbing are the reports of the support the idea received from senior IDF officers – both past and present—and the rationale that this support appears based on.  For typically, it has nothing to do with any military considerations or operational advantage Israel might gain from the provision of such port facilities to the terrorist-controlled enclave—but rather on a (highly questionable) assessment of socio-economic trends in Gaza, the ramifications this may have for the Gazan public, and how a port might allegedly address it.

Thus one well-informed correspondent on military affairs describes reasons that underpin that “rationale” for want of a better word: “Hamas, the argument goes, would be hard pressed to careen down the slope of a new war with Israel, even if it wanted to, if the Gazan economy were to begin to take off, enjoying imports and exports, allowing for jobs and income, and giving the civilian population something to lose. While there is no doubt that Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s dire economic state by insisting on jihad with Israel rather than investing in its people’s welfare, Israeli defense officials still feel that they can and should assist the Gazan people attain a better life.”

While some may find this professed concern for the welfare of enemy civilians both noble and a reflection of “enlightened self-interest”, in truth it portends ominous outcomes for Israel and Israelis.

For it is a position that is so diametrically at odds with past experience, and flies so directly in the face of the facts of recent decades that it is difficult to know what is more disturbing: Whether the supporters of the proposal really believe what they are saying; or whether they are saying it despite the fact that they don’t.

 

Reinforcing the rationale for terror

Of no less concern is that this position echoes the sentiments expressed by both Ministers Katz and Galant  that “The biggest danger to Israel is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza…If Gaza had the ability to bring ships, and goods, without posing a security problem, that is in everybody’s interest.”

For it is a message that strongly reinforces the rationale justifying terror, implying that it is largely economic privation that is the primary cause of the Judeocidal terror emanating from Gaza, and if the residents of that ill-fated strip were afforded greater prosperity, this would operate to stifle the motivation to perpetrate acts of terror.

This is a thesis that is wrong on virtually every level. Firstly, it is risible to believe that Hamas, that has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. After all, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?

Indeed, it is far more likely that if the general economic situation were to improve, Hamas would coercively appropriate much of this new found wealth for its own belligerent needs–with prosperity thus making it more potent–not more pacific.

Perversely, perhaps a more effective, but heretically politically-incorrect, suggestion for removing Hamas would be to allow socio-economic conditions to deteriorate so drastically that the general populace would rise up against it, depose it and ensconce a hopefully more amenable regime, with greater sensitivity for its needs.

But I digress.

To suggest that by alleviating economic hardship, Israel could alleviate terror is, in effect, not only inverting the causal relationship between the two, but it also implies that the victim of terror is to blame for his attackers’ aggression against him. Little could be more counterproductive—and misleading for Israel.

 

Port no panacea for poverty

Of course, as I have demonstrated at length elsewhere, the allegedly dire situation in Gaza is not the cause of the terror that emanates from it. It is the consequence of that terror. The onerous measures that Israel is compelled to undertake to ensure the safety of its citizens is not the reason for, but the result of that terror. If the latter were eliminated, there would be no need for the former—and far more rational solutions than a multi-billion dollar artificial island could be found to facilitate the flow of goods and people to and from Gaza.

Indeed, no great analytical acumen should be required to swiftly bring us to the conclusion that a port in Gaza will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population.

Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

After all, Gaza does have a modern port, under Israeli supervision, at its disposal barely 35 km. north of it, in Ashdod.

Under conditions of peace (or even credible non-belligerency), Ashdod can supply all Gaza’s supervised civilian needs, without squandering billions on a fanciful floating island port.

However, under conditions of on-going belligerency, even under the strictest Israeli supervision, there is no way—short of taking control of Gaza—to ensure that dual purpose material such as cement, fertilizer and steel will not be used for belligerent objectives

.

“Hamas stealing 95% of civilian cement…” The intensity of this problem—and the futility of a Gaza port as a means of solving ,or even alleviating it, was vividly highlighted  by a recent report in the International Business Times (May 26).

It cited the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dr. Dore Gold, who speaking at the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, revealed that Hamas has been siphoning off 95% of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip intended to rebuild homes, so that it can use it for military purposes and tunnel construction. Gold told the conference: “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza strip … only five or six are transferred to civilians.”

So, even if the island port were under tight inspection, how could Israel ensure that the building materials that went to construct the recently discovered tunnels would be used for more benign purposes? How could it ensure that steel was not being used to fabricate missiles and the means to launch them? Or fertilizers being diverted for the manufacture of explosives?

Moreover, one might also ask how, as opposed to the case of Ashdod port,  is Israeli supervision to be maintained, and the safety of the Israeli personnel be ensured in the isolated off-shore port, should they–as is far from implausible–be set upon by a bloodthirsty local mob?

 

Humanitarian solution for humanitarian crisis The grave economic situation that plagues Gaza will not be alleviated by giving Gaza access to port facilities, which it, in principle, already has available to it.

As noted earlier, Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods are not the cause of Arab enmity, but the consequence thereof. The crippling unemployment, reportedly above 40%, will not be alleviated by transferring Israeli supervision from Ashdod and the Gaza border crossings to an off-shore islet.

There is soaring unemployment because any creative energies that might exist, are not channeled by those who rule Gaza toward productive/constructive goals, but into fomenting violence against the hated “Zionist entity.” A port will not change those realities.

Indeed, it is likely to exacerbate them.

The penury of the enclave is not due to lack of resources, but to the preferences and priorities of the brigands who govern it, and as events have shown, the only way Israel can determine who governs Gaza – and who does not – is by governing it itself.

Katz, Galant and IDF senior brass are , of course, right that Israel should defuse the brewing humanitarian crisis in Gaza – which is demonstrably the consequence of the ill-conceived two-state approach and misguided attempts to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.

But it is a humanitarian crisis that requires a genuine humanitarian solution: Generously funded humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population elsewhere, out of harm’s way, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.

 

“Perhaps now would be a good time…

Indeed, there is no other approach –whether with a port or without it — that can:

• Provide a durable solution to the problem of Gaza;

• Eliminate the threat to Israel continually issuing from Gaza; and

• Preclude the need for Israel to “rule over another people.”

Indeed, as one appraisal of the port proposal in the Jewish Press (March 24)  concluded its critique “Perhaps now would be a good time to put into action one of those programs that advocate paying local Arabs to [e]migrate to better places..”

Indeed, perhaps it is.

Dr. Martin Sherman

Lebanese News Outlet Confirms Hezbollah Digging Tunnels on Israel’s Northern Border

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

The Hezbollah-linked Al-Safir news daily has confirmed the Iranian proxy group is digging tunnels along Israel’s northern border.

A front-page article without a byline that was published May 25 to mark the 16th anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon highlighted the issue.

Translated by the MEMRI Arab media watchdog, the article said in part: “It is right to say that the men of resistance on the eastern border complement the mission of the first men of resistance [who operate against Israel], who work day and night [along the border, from] the last border point in Al-Naquora to [the one in] Kfar Shouba, conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep.”

Last week residents in northern Israel expressed deep concern over numerous new observation towers that were built last month along the border with Lebanon.

Israeli military officials said in response they have been monitoring the security situation and that everything is “under control.” Moreover, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that the watchtowers, built by the Lebanese Army, are there only to “spy on Israel” and will not fall into the hands of Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy group.

Meanwhile, the article dedicated to the anniversary of Israel’s pullout emphasized that the celebration of ‘Liberation Day’ was mixed with “heartbreak” for Hezbollah supporters due to the many casualties suffered in the Syrian civil war, which it called “a necessary tax that must be paid.”

It spoke with obvious frustration, some awe and perhaps fear as well, of the horrific battles being waged by Hezbollah (“the resistance”) against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria.

“The resistance …. never experienced [war] against groups that imitate its methods and ways of warfare, but [who] instead of blowing themselves up against an Israeli convoy terrorize innocent people in the cities and villages, without batting an eyelash, as happened in the southern Dahiya or yesterday in Tartus and Jableh.

“The resistance never experienced war against groups fighting in caves and in the hills, mountains, wadis and even deserts, as happened at Tadmor and in the rural areas of Homs and Aleppo… Before [the war with Syria], the resistance did not storm cities and did not fight armies deep in the mountains.

“Before this, no one lay in wait for it in tunnels like the ones that only it used to excavate, and [the doctrine of which] it spread to the rest of the men of the resistance, particularly to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the unnamed Lebanese writer observed.

The comments publicly confirmed that it was Hezbollah who taught Hamas how to dig the cross-border terror tunnels it has been using for more than a decade in its war against Israel.

The writer concluded predicted that Hezbollah will become a “regional power” that “formulates new equations in the region. And yet the article also made it clear that the task will remain unfinished, at least in the eyes of Hezbollah, unless “the terrorists” (read: Da’esh) are annihilated.

“All these have been the unique characteristics of the resistance throughout the 16 years since May 25, 2000. All these [characteristics] and others will cause Hassan Nasrallah to declare that defending the achievement of liberation will end only with the defeat of the terrorists…”

Hana Levi Julian

Foreign Ministry Dir.Gen. Dore Gold Inaugurates Israeli Pavilion at World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

For the first time in five years, an Israeli delegation of senior officials, headed by MFA Director General Dr. Dore Gold, is in Turkey, to present Israeli humanitarian aid throughout the world.

The first World Humanitarian Summit convened on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul, under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The summit, attended by heads of state, aims to raise world consciousness, contribution and commitment to humanitarian activity during natural disasters and man-made conflicts, which take a heavy human toll.

Dr. Gold inaugurated the Israeli pavilion in the exhibition fair on Monday. The pavilion represents the activities of the government, the IDF, the National Emergency Authority, and Israeli civil society organizations.

“Israeli humanitarian involvement in the international arena reflects the ancient Jewish tradition of ‘Tikun Olam’, the inspiration for Israeli teams to dispatch quickly to disaster zones from Turkey to Haiti,” Gold said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the exhibit.

“We have a special interest today in fulfilling the vision of the prime minster also in Africa and to help many states there.”

In addition to the director general, Ambassador Gil Haskel, Head of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) also spoke. MASHAV extends a helping hand to developing countries dealing with disasters, provides medical assistance and aids in building national strength.

Every country in the world came here with the common goal of increasing global commitment to dealing with humanitarian disasters,” the ambassador said.

“Israel is proud to play a central role and to stand at the forefront of international aid to developing countries and disaster-stricken areas.

“MASHAV has trauma rooms, leads projects for empowering women, trains educators and takes care of special-needs youth in Africa. MASHAV responds to every humanitarian challenge that arrives on Israel’s doorstep.”

Hana Levi Julian

Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Apologizes to Ambassador Danny Danon

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Rafael Ramirez expressed his apology to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon following his comments last week at the UN Security Council where he asked if “Israel wants a final solution to the Palestinians?”

On Wednesday, Ramirez met with Edmund Mulet, the UN Secretary General’s chief of staff, and said he regretted his language and apologized to Danny Danon personally.

Rafael Ramirez compared Israel to the Nazis.

“What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” asked Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians similar to that which was perpetrated against them?”when he asked “Israel wants a final solution to the Palestinians?”

Shalom Bear

Terror Victim’s Widower to UN Secretary General: You Did Not Reach Out To Us

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Natan Meir, widower of terror victim Dafna Meir who was killed in January by a terrorist inside her home, accused the UN of ignoring his plight and that of his children in a letter written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Meir reflected in the letter, upon his visit to the UN headquarters in New York over two weeks ago under the auspices of Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and the One Family non-profit organization.

“Not a single ambassador of the nations of the world bothered to come and comfort my 17-year-old daughter,” wrote Meir. “Not one came up to shake our hands. No one called or met with us before or after. No one wrote a letter.”

Apparently, the UN Secretary General did not approach Meir or his daughter, either.

“Even you, Mr. Secretary General, while sitting at the head of that meeting, did not reach out to us and or take notice of our anguished faces,” continued Meir.

Referring to himself as a “citizen of the world,” Meir also addressed the controversy involving his place of residence in the town of Otniel, located in southern Judea. Israeli construction in the Judean and Samarian regions, which were captured by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967, is viewed by many in the international community as illegal.

“Indeed, I know my place of residence is not acceptable to you, and so I ask you not to consent, but to understand,” Meir said. “You should know that many of my neighbors who are considered Palestinian Arabs have sent condolences, looked me in the eye, and come to my house.”

“They know and I know that true peace will be achieved by us, the common people,” Meir contended.

Meir also took the opportunity to object to current efforts within UN circles to impose a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He described such a plan, which would almost certainly result in the evacuation of thousands of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, as racist and a violation of democratic principles and norms.

“The United Nations demands that Israel implement the vision of political separation by fences and borders,” noted Meir. “In this solution, there are no human rights and no democracy. It is based on a shocking element of racism.”

Meir suggested to the UN secretary general that efforts should instead be concentrated on mutual peace building initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians on the ground.

“Peace is the result of building a life together, recognition and appreciation of shared beliefs, mutual acquaintance, endless patience, and endless love,” wrote Meir. “All these things require time, dozens, or even hundreds of years.”

“Patience of generations enables mutual forgiveness and building a life together despite the pain,” asserted Meir. “This is the way real equality comes from shared inner desire.”

In that vein, Meir called for the secretary general to adopt such an outlook and to participate in the implementation of such a plan.

“Make it possible for us to patiently advance our shared lives for posterity,” requested Meir. “Please help us to build bridges and connections between people, rather than borders and fences.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Compares Israel to Nazis

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Israel was accused in the United Nations on Friday by Venezuela of preparing a ‘final solution’ for Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.’

“What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” asked Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians similar to that which was perpetrated against them?”

Venezuela holds one of the ten rotating seats on the UN Security Council.

Ramirez was present at a meeting of the council where Michael Sfard, a member of the far-left Yesh Din organization, described ‘price tag’ attacks by Israelis against Arab targets and the response by law enforcement.

Sfard suggested that price tag attacks are an attempt by Jews to drive Arabs out of the country. Ramirez asked during his presentation whether the State of Israel had a similar agenda.

The comparison, drawing a link between Israel and Nazi Germany, drew immediate outrage from Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.

“This statement by the Venezuelan ambassador is straightforward anti-Semitism against the Jewish state,” said Danon,” according to a statement by the Israeli mission to the UN. “His remarks are a direct continuation to the Palestinian representative’s statement a few days ago comparing Israel to the Nazis,” Danon said, adding the remarks were “unequivocally condemned” by the U.S., the UK and France.

Ramirez subsequently apologized to the “Jewish People if they were offended by the remarks,” according to the statement.

“The Palestinians are bringing anti-Semitism into the halls of the UN and are legitimizing racists and crass language in the parliament of nations,” Danon noted.

Last month Palestinian Authority representative to the UN Riyad Mansour drew a parallel between the Jewish resistance fighters during the Holocaust and the Arab attackers in the current wave of terror.

The attempt to compare the two was roundly condemned at the time by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as “offensive, hateful anti-Semitism.”

Hana Levi Julian

France Snubbed Israeli Offer of Advanced Counter Terror Technology

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Nearly a year before Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists tore apart a beautiful Paris night, an Israeli company offered terrorist tracking software to France.

It was just after the January 2015 slaughter by a dual Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda terrorist cells at the Paris offices of the satiric Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, and the Jewish Hyper Cacher kosher market, just before the start of the Sabbath, where four people died.

Nearly a year prior, four people died at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in a similar attack, also by a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist with French citizenship.

The advanced technology could have allowed French security officials pick up the signals that would have red-flagged the terrorists who murdered 130 people and wounded 368 more on November 13, 2015.  It was only last month that the mastermind of that attack was finally tracked down and caught.

According to a report this week on the U.S.-based Fox News network, the data-mining technology would have helped French authorities “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community, because it works by analyzing and matching up fragmented intelligence reports from several different national and international databases. The software then provides the most up-to-date information available on potential terrorists for its clients, such as counter terrorism agents.

The offer was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) of France, the country’s main intelligence agency, in accordance with a pledge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work closely with Europe on enhancing security following attacks in France and Brussels. In Israel, that was seen as a call to share intelligence and technology.

“In Paris or Brussels or San Bernardino or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, terror must be condemned equally and it must be fought equally,” Netanyahu warned at the time.

But Israel’s offer was rejected.

An Israeli counter terror specialist familiar with the technology and the company told FoxNews.com, “French authorities liked it but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.

“The discussion just stopped.”

Instead, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists carried out a series of eight attacks terror attacks, including several suicide bombings, on November 13, 2015, in central Paris. President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” by ISIS. They were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out with help from citizens of France. All of the known attackers were EU citizens who had fought with Da’esh in Syria.

The European Union is now paying the price for its unswerving commitment to uphold the “rights” of the Palestinian Authority, right or wrong, against Israel even at the cost of its own security. The EU has been directly involved in the funding and construction of infrastructure, homes and schools by Palestinian Authority Arabs on Israeli-controlled land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, despite its illegality. The EU has also been supportive of a boycott against Israeli-produced goods, even going so far as to issue guidelines urging its member states to label products manufactured in post-1967 Jewish communities as non-Israeli, regardless of the citizenship of the producers.

The European Union has just barely avoided an outright stance supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

France complied – it obviously agreed with the stance, nor is President Hollande’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu any national secret – and the bill has now come due for French hatred at the top.

The British Labour Party is similarly afflicted with rampant anti-Semitism. What price will the UK end up paying for its love of Arab hatred?

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/france-snubbed-israeli-offer-of-advanced-counter-terror-technology/2016/04/26/

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