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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘West Bank’

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

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Victim of Palestinian Authority Shooting Attack Dies

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

 

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld died late Tuesday afternoon from gunshot wounds inflicted by two Palestinian Authority terrorists Monday night.

There others were wounded in the attack that has not been condemned by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The IDF believes that the murder, unlike several “lone wolf” attacks, was carried out by a terrorist cell that is responsible for previous attempts to kill Jews.

Rosenfeld and his friends were returning from a basketball game in a vehicle when the terrorist opened fire in a “drive-by” attack near the community of Shiloh. He was evacuated by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save his life.

The attackers pumped more than a dozen bullets into the car and continued firing until the driver turned off the road towards the community of Migdalim and the passengers called for help.

The IDF still is looking for the terrorists, who arable to travel freely on the highway with no checkpoints except at the security fence, part of “good will measures” instituted by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and continued in the Netanyahu administration to bolster Abbas’ position.

Palestinian Authority Terrorist Fires on Jewish Ambulance in Samaria

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

A Palestinian Authority terrorist fired on a Magen David Adom ambulance near Beit El in Samaria Saturday night.

The ambulance sustained damage, but no one was injured.

The IDF is searching for the terrorist.

Last week, Druze in the Golan Heights ambushed an IDF ambulance that was carrying victims that were wounded in the civil war in Syria.

Attacking an ambulance is a war crime, but the United Nations is unlikely to pay any attention since it was not an Israeli Jew who attacked the vehicle.

US Policy: Passports of Americans Born on Israeli Golan Heights List ‘Syria’

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The U.S. passport of an Americans born on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights must state the birthplace as Syria, according to U.S. State Department. policy.

The JewishPress.com raised several questions with the U.S. Embassy following the recent Supreme Court ruling that ruled against Congress being able to overturn Executive Branch policy concerning the stated birthplace of an American born in Jerusalem.

The policy was and continues to be that the birthplace on the passport is “Jerusalem,” without a country, regardless of whether he was born in “West” Jerusalem or in the rest of the city that was reunited in the war.

But what would happen if there were a hospital on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and an American birth were registered there?

It may not even be a theoretical question in the near future. The NRG website reported last week that Druze in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights want to establish and maintain a hospital to treat their brethren wounded on the Syrian side of the border.

Regardless, this is American policy, updated in 2008 and stated under the bureaucratic section “M 1360 APPENDIX D  BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS

(CT:CON-254)”:

  1. Background. As a result of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Government of Israel currently occupies and administers the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory [bold-face added} and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.

  1. Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA [capital letters appear in the original text].

Perhaps the State Department is not aware of it, but there are questions whether Syria even exists today. There is a “Syrian government” that controls a shrinking part of the country.

The Islamic State (ISIS) controls a good portion of Syria. Rebels control a healthy (or unhealthy) part. Al Qaeda also has claims.

But for now, Syria is Syria, including the Golan Heights, even if Israel annexed the strategic area 34 years ago, and even if half the population of the Golan Heights is Jewish.

Policy is policy, and if an American wants to test the unreal reality, it is only a matter of time before there really will be a need for a hospital there. By that time, perhaps Syria not longer will exist.  Since Foggy Bottom cannot possibly come up with the conclusion that the Golan Heights is in Israel, it would have to accept facts on the ground across the border. Perhaps an American born will see his passport stating, “Golan Heights, Islamic State.”

Who knows? Anything is possible with the State Department, anything except Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights being considered part of the Jewish country.

The State Department regulations offer some other fascinating tidbits.

What if you were an American born before 1948, before Israel became an independent country, but in parts of Jerusalem that were only reunited in 1967? For example, let’s say you were an American born in 1947 in the Old City, which at that time was the home of Misgav Ladach Hospital.

Guess what would be written on the passport?

The policy states:

For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation.

“Palestine” was what all of the British Mandate was called, but the Palestinian Authority has adopted the name, which is on many of its official documents and which its schools teach means all of the Land of Israel. “All” means “all,” including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat.

There is a lesson here about the formulation of American policy. Once it is established, it is written in stone, and even a Congressional act cannot change it. This is what was learned from the Supreme Court decision that said that the Congressional Act in 1998 recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not mean that the State Department has to agree to it.

The State Department formulated its policy long ago that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria. No negotiations, No compromise. No nothing. It is Syria, period, and if tomorrow it is the Islamic State, we’ll see.

The other side of the policy is that Judea, Gaza, Samaria and “eastern, southern and northern” Jerusalem “are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”

The folks at the State Department cannot be that stupid to realize that there will be no negotiations. It must know there is no one with whom to negotiate. It must know that in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, there is nothing to negotiate except what color ink Israel uses to sign over the store, while the Palestinian Authority uses invisible ink.

Now we know why the Obama administration is so stubbornly fixed on the “peace process.’ It knows it has no chance, but policy is policy.

The State Department stated ages ago that the final status of the “territories” will be decided by negotiations, and that’s that. The world may change, but policy is a different story, especially if a change might help Israel.

The State Department decided way back when that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria, and that is why an American born there would have a passport stating “Golan Heights, Syria.”

And what if an American were born in the State Department? Is that part of the United States or is it territory occupied by policy-makers who cannot see past yesterday?

UN Releases The Schabes Report: Israeli Self-Defense a ‘War Crime’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

A wave of disapproval, and perhaps resigned expectation rolled across most of Jewish Israel on Monday afternoon with the release of The Schabes Report (183 pages) by the “Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Professor William Schabes led the Commission, which included Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène.

(The complete 34-page advance executive summary of the report can be viewed by clicking here.)

A Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law, Schabes has been called “the world expert on the law of genocide and international law.” But Schabes was forced to resign in February 2015 after Israel publicly revealed that he had once been a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization – a clear conflict of interest. Justice Davis took up the mantle of leadership for the time remaining to the Commission.

Everywhere Israeli soldiers fought in the summer of 2014 was Occupied Palestinian Territory according to the United Nations. But even the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was forced to admit in The Schabes Report that Hamas controls the Gaza region.

As such, even the UN Commission was inspired to refer to the region’s terrorist rulers as a separate governing entity (see item five, page three of the 34-page advance executive summary of the report.) However, the Commission failed to note that it was the population of Gaza who in 2006 democratically elected Hamas* – a terror group whose charter still documents its vow to annihilate the State of Israel — to rule the enclave.

Instead, according to The Schabes Report, anything the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza to conduct their counter terror military campaign against “Palestinian armed groups” was considered illegal.

There was no mention of the term “human shields,” nor was there any reference to the military activities by Hamas that had provoked the war. Oddly, the Commission blamed the “Occupation” by Israel on page five in item 14: “The hostilities of 2014 erupted in the context of the protracted occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and of the increasing number of rocket attacks on Israel.”

The Commission continued its rant against Israel in a similar vein on page seven, in item six:

“The most important characteristics of the hostilities of 2014 … [were those] that reflect new patterns, notably attacks by Israel on residential buildings resulting in the death of entire families; Israel’s ground operations, which leveled urban neighborhoods; and violations by Palestinian armed groups and authorities in Gaza, including their reliance on attack tunnels.”

The Commission flatly implied that Israel had deliberately set out to murder Gaza civilians and destroy as many civilian residential structures as possible; thereby swallowing terrorist propaganda hook, line and sinker if not in fact actually helping to write the script.

This, despite numerous, concrete satellite imagery and other photographic evidence to the contrary made public during the war by the IDF – all disregarded.

Here’s a snippet from page 12, items 50-52, from the executive summary of the report:

1. The extensive use by the Israel Defense Forces of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, and their probable indiscriminate effects in the built-up neighborhoods of Gaza, are highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Such use may, depending on the circumstances, qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime. 2. In addition, the fact that the Israel Defense Forces did not modify the manner in which they conducted their operations after initial episodes of shelling resulted in a large number of civilian deaths indicates that their policies governing the use of artillery in densely populated areas may not be in conformity with international humanitarian law. 3. The commission examined several additional incidents, including attacks on shelters, hospitals and critical infrastructure, in which artillery was used. The use of weapons with wide-area effects against targets in the vicinity of specifically protected objects (such as medical facilities and shelters) is highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Depending on the circumstances, indiscriminate attacks may qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime.

For the record, according to international law, residential buildings become legitimate military targets when used for military purposes.

Abbas Silent on Palestinian Authority Terrorist’s Murder of Soldier

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been dead silent on the Arab terrorist’s murder of soldier-hiker Daniel Gonen and the wounding of his friend Friday afternoon.

The United States express its condolences, while the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov simply condemned the murder and stated:

On this second day of Ramadan and at the start of the Shabbat, I call on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, to maintain calm and promptly bring the perpetrators to justice.

When State Dept. spokesman John Kirby was asked about the murder at the daily press briefing on Friday, he answered:

We have scant information. First of all, our condolences go out to the family of what we understand to be at least one of those individuals who was killed in this deadly shooting. Certainly, our thoughts and prayers go out to them. And the second thing I’d say is, as always, we condemn any violence against civilians there, completely unacceptable.

And on the Palestinian Authority side?

No regrets. No condolences. No renouncement of terror.

Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the murder nor did he comment on it, and the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website referred to it only in a posting under the headline:

Newspaper Review: Fatal Shooting of Israeli near West Bank Settlement, Quarter Million Worshippers Praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque as Focus of Dailies

Abbas has a handy excuse. He can always say. “They did it.”

Who is ‘they?” Hamas, of course.

The terrorist organization took responsibility for the attack, as WAFA noted. Hamas stated: “One of the fighters ambushed a settler vehicle and shot at them from point-blank range after having observed the area continuously.”

Hamas then explained that the attack was a continuation of “a series of operations…in retaliation to occupation crimes” against “Palestinian martyrs who have recently been killed by Israeli forces including Izz Addin Abu Gharra from Jenin and Abdullah Ghanayim Gneimat from Kafr Malik near Ramallah.”

The statement identified the “Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha Brigade” as the affiliated group directly behind Friday’s shooting, adding that “the operation was carried out days before the first anniversary of the martyrs Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha,” who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli yeshiva students last June and were killed in a shoot-out with the IDF.

WAFA, Abbas’ official mouthpiece, whitewashed the terrorist attack and stated:

Palestinian factions and groups released statements following Friday’s attack deeming the incident as a natural response to ongoing Israeli occupation.

Israel’s Latest ‘War Crime’ and Human Rights Violation: Uprooting Trees

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Israel uprooted approximately 1,000 almond and olive trees that were planted illegally in a land grab on the western edge of Gush Etzion on Thursday, an action that Arabs are calling a “war crime” and even a human rights violation.”

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stated:

[We] carried out the eviction of an illegal invasion of around 1,000 olive trees planted illegally without permits on state land in Wadi Fukin.

The area is located between the security fence and the Hareidi city of Beitar Illit, west of Efrat.

The Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website claimed that the land is owned by Arabs.

The London Independent reported:

Palestinians have accused Israel of a war crime after military tractors destroyed around a thousand olive and almond trees belonging to local farmers on the grounds that they were illegally planted on state land….. Three years ago, Israeli authorities posted signs saying that the land belongs to the state, farmers said.

Wasel Abu Yusuf, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told the newspaper: This is occupied territory and international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention apply. This is the land of the Palestinian state and any colonialist settler building or expropriation of land or cutting trees is a war crime against the Palestinian people.

If they are going to claim it is a “war came,” why not go even farther and charge Israel with violating human rights?

That may sound absurd, but read what an unidentified journalist, whom we can assume to be Al Quds correspondent Sayid Erikat, told the State Dept. at yesterday’s daily briefing:

Yesterday the Israelis pulled out something like 1,800 trees in the West Bank; they uprooted trees and so on. I mean, we talked about the commission of inquiry and human rights abuses and so on. Is that something that you would like to see the Israelis stop doing?

State Dept. spokesman John Kirby answered, “I haven’t seen the report on the trees being uprooted. You’re going to have to let me go back and look at that. I just don’t have anything on that.

What is amazing is that there was no laughter from Kirby or fellow journalists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-latest-war-crime-and-human-rights-violation-uprooting-trees/2015/06/19/

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