web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘withdrawal’

Jabberwocky

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The UN General Assembly’s resolution granting nonmember-state observer status to “Palestine” – a document drafted by the Palestinian Authority – and the worldwide negative response to Israel’s reaction to it is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s classic 1871 poem “Jabberwocky,” which depicts a world filled with illogic and nonsensical speech.

For not only did the General Assembly’s action plainly violate the UN Charter – even the Security Council cannot create a state, it can only admit an existing one to membership – it also adopted the Palestinians’ narrative concerning their entitlement to all West Bank land won by Israel in 1967. The move compromises the very notion that such entitlement must be subject to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yet Israel was promptly condemned for allegedly creating roadblocks to a resumption of negotiations with its announcement that it will build new housing on a particular stretch of West Bank land it claims.

Typically, The New York Times captured the anti-Israel moment in an editorial four days after the General Assembly action:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel seems determined to escalate a crisis by retaliating against the Palestinians after the United Nations General Assembly voted to elevate Palestine to observer state status.

Instead of looking for ways to halt a downward spiral, Mr. Netanyahu…defiantly dug in on his plans to build 3000 more housing units in contested areas east of Jerusalem and in the West Bank, and to continue planning a development in the most contentious area known as E1.

Israel also announced that it was withholding $100 million in tax revenues that it has collected from the Palestinian Authority, which is financially strapped….

Mr. Netanyahu’s punitive, shortsighted moves threaten to crush the Palestinian Authority, and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has recognized Israel’s right to exist and represents the only credible peace negotiator.

Expanding West Bank settlements makes it nearly impossible to restart peace negotiations….

To be sure, Mr. Abbas continues to maintain that General Assembly recognition can only enhance the possibilities for negotiations by adding pressure on Israel to negotiate. But this is deception. For given the resolution’s blanket acceptance of the legitimacy of Palestinian claims to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, one wonders what there is left to negotiate. In fact, while there is language in the resolution supporting a return to negotiations, it’s not quite what it seems.

Thus the resolution

Expresses the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Quartet Roadmap, for the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides that resolves all outstanding core issues, namely the Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security and water.

Sounds reasonable, until one notes another part of the resolution calling for “the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.” This is actually a paraphrase of the language in the post-Six-Day War UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the “withdrawal of Israel Armed Forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

Significantly, the word “the” does not appear in the 1967 document. And this was not happenstance. Whether to include or omit that word was the subject of fierce negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. The underlying issue was that the word “the” would require a withdrawal from all land seized in the war while its omission would require withdrawal from only some land. The omission of “the” in the final wording reflected the consensus that a negotiated settlement would require only partial withdrawal.

So the seemingly innocuous reference in the current resolution is really a calculated statement that there must be an Israeli withdrawal from all of the captured territory, obviously something fraught with significance. Plainly, in terms of the disputed territories, the only negotiations Mr. Abbas has in mind are those that would culminate in an orderly Israeli withdrawal from the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Nor is the issue of Israeli settlements generally a one-dimensional matter. That is, Israel is being faulted for building on land that Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have generally signaled Israel would retain in any peace agreement. This was the underlying principle of the Wye formulae, the Bush statement that any peace agreement would have to acknowledge Israel’s right to Jewish population centers beyond the Green Line and President Obama’s “1967 lines with land swaps” approach.

While we recognize that President Obama, like presidents before him, has had serious objections to Israel’s settlement construction policies, we hope he will recognize that things are very different now. Operation Pillar of Defense showed that negotiating with Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority is a fool’s errand. Not only is Mr. Abbas not interested in negotiated borders, he controls just half of the Palestinian population centers, and should there ever be an agreement with Israel leading to Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, he would soon be eclipsed by Hamas in similar fashion to what occurred in Gaza. The emergence of another center of terror and danger for Israel is surely in no one’s interests.

Moreover, while President Obama demonstrated during Operation Pillar of Defense that, militarily, he did have Israel’s back as he said he would, the General Assembly vote and its aftermath has demonstrated that Israel is largely alone in the diplomatic arena and needs Mr. Obama’s support there as well. Times have changed, and U.S. policy should reflect that change.

Report: Netanyahu Agreed to Return Entire Golan to Syria

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in principle in 2010 to give back the Golan Heights to Syria, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported.

The paper quotes unnamed American sources as saying that in 2010 “Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan, to the shores of Lake Kinneret, in exchange for a peace agreement with Syria.” The initiative reportedly collapsed amid the outbreak of Syria’s civil war.

In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said the talk of withdrawal was “an American initiative, one of many discussed with Israel, which was not adopted at any stage,” the newspaper said.

According to the account in Yediot, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, was supportive of the initiative. The Israelis “expected” a deal would mean the severing of ties between Iran and Syria, though this was not stated as an explicit demand, the report said.

The Americans quoted in the report said the talks about the proposed deal were at an advanced stage and that the American side was “surprised by the willingness shown by Netanyahu, who offered the Syrians more than his predecessors.”

Morsi and the NY Times Mislead Americans

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The New York Times published an interview with Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi yesterday.

Morsi made some interesting statements, like this:

If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment … When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.

I suppose this means that if they want to murder Christians we oughtn’t to judge them, while they reserve the right to attack our embassy whenever someone in the U.S. makes a video that insults them. Unfair? What else could it mean?

He said several times that the U.S. favors Israel over the Palestinians, and that this is a problem in relations between Egypt and the US. I would say two things in response: first, Egypt has never been a friend to Palestinian nationalism, except insofar as it could be used as a weapon against Israel. In 1948, Egypt established a harsh military occupation of the Gaza strip. Arab refugees were forced into refugee camps at gunpoint — by Egyptian soldiers.

Historian Efraim Karsh tells us,

[In 1948] the Egyptian government showed no desire to annex the Gaza Strip but had instead ruled the newly acquired area as an occupied military zone. This did not imply support of Palestinian nationalism, however, or of any sort of collective political awareness among the Palestinians. The local population was kept under tight control, was denied Egyptian citizenship, and was subjected to severe restrictions on travel.

In economic and humanitarian terms, the ‘plight’ of the Palestinians was far worse under Arab occupation before 1967 than after Israel took control of the territories. Karsh writes,

Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.

No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians’ standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars.

This is not to say that the Palestinians are happy being ruled by Jews, which of course is devastating for their sense of honor and Muslim sensibilities. But it does make one wonder how much Egyptians have historically cared for their Palestinian Arab ‘brothers.’

Second, it is simply untrue that the U.S. has favored Israel over the Palestinians, unless you understand this to mean that the U.S. has not (yet) supported maximalist Arab demands for the replacement of Israel by an Arab state. The U.S. has certainly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, and it is only the Palestinian desire to ‘have it all’ that has prevented a U.S.-brokered Palestinian state from coming into being.

And here is something else that is untrue:

[H]e also argued that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza to make way for full Palestinian self-rule (my emphasis).

“As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.

The sentence in bold is not presented as a quotation from Morsi. It is a simple statement of ‘fact’ by the Times’ writers, David D. Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger. Regardless of who said it, it is quite false. The Camp David agreement called for Israel to end its military government and withdraw troops from areas of the territories where a self-governing authority is elected by the Palestinians. These conditions have been more than met with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. Elder of Ziyon comments on the text of the agreement thus:

Camp David does not say that there will necessarily be a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza. It most certainly says nothing about a full Israeli withdrawal from the territories, only that its final status (and, by implication, its borders) will be up for negotiation after a transition period. And it explicitly says that there will be a redeployment of Israeli security forces – in order to ensure security for Israel – into locations that can only mean in parts of the territories, or else it would have just said “withdrawal of remaining Israeli forces,” period.

Indeed, the agreement also talks about joint Jordanian-Israeli patrols in Judea/Samaria!

Do Netanyahu’s Opponents in Iran Debate Have an Agenda?

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The Israeli media portrays Israeli brass and ex-brass who oppose Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the Iran issue as a group whose assessment is based solely on a cold hard analysis of the situation. This with a strong hint that the Netanyahu-Barak team may be driven by considerations and interests that are not directly related to the Iranian challenge.

Unfortunately, there is a reasonable possibility that the Israeli brass and ex-brass themselves have piggy-backed their agenda to the Iranian debate.

First a quick explanation for readers not familiar with the Israeli scene.

There is a group of Israelis who religiously believe that if Israel were to withdraw to the ’67 lines that this would result in utopian peace.

I term it “religiously believe” in the sense that as a religious belief rather than policy conclusion it is embraced by its followers as a “given” rather than something that merits serious study and possible revision in the face of reality.

For many years adherents of this belief have made herculean efforts to try and bring about withdrawal to the ’67 lines. At this stage it is abundantly clear that such a withdrawal will never be carried out via the Israeli democratic process.

With utopian peace only a withdrawal away, these Israeli patriots are not going to let the voting preferences of the unwashed masses get in their way.

Simply put: what cannot be achieved at the ballot box can be achieved by foreign pressure.

Which brings us to the Iranian question.

The Iranian threat is seen as an ideal platform for creating a scenario in which Israel is forced to agree to withdraw to the ’67 lines in exchange for American military action against Iran.

In point of fact, a review of remarks by many of the brass and ex-brass opposing Netanyahu-Barak finds that they explicitly and openly link Israel’s ability to draft America’s support to Israel’s accepting the Arab League-Saudi initiative that called for Israel to withdraw to the ’67 lines and accept resolution of the rights of the refugees.

How can this agenda skew their analysis and policy recommendations?

Israel is apparently today still within a “window of opportunity” in which an operation against Iran does not rely on the direct participation and involvement of American forces. Once this window closes, the only way to possibly address the Iranian threat is with the direct involvement and participation of the United States.

For the withdrawal advocates, delaying action beyond the Israeli “window of opportunity” kills two birds with one stone: the mighty arm of the United States will prevent a nuclear Iran while Israel is essentially blackmailed into implementing the withdrawal program that they fervently believe will herald utopian peace for the Jewish state.

To be clear: their motives are anything but evil.

You can fault them for their hubris and their lack of respect for the democratic process but they genuinely believe that they are acting in Israel’s best interests.

What does all of this mean for “non-believers” following the policy debate?

Just a warning that many of the brass and ex-brass lined up against Netanyahu-Barak have an agenda. An agenda based on a belief that to those not part of the “withdrawal to ’67 lines brings utopian peace” group is considered at best hopelessly naïve.

Originally published at http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=57879

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.

The Problem was Oslo – not the Occupation

Monday, May 28th, 2012

“The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”

So claimed Haaretz Correspondent Ari Shavit on 17 December 2009.

I would suggest that, in retrospect, much of the activity surrounding Oslo – rather than the “occupation” – has been “undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”

#1 Respect for Human Life

Oslo corrupted our respect for human life. Soldiers and civilians alike became no more than pawns in a game of peacemaking under the gun. And today, after sinking up to our noses in the mire of Oslo, with politicians often ultimately treating brutal murders as temporary insignificant inconveniences, we find a dramatic increase in murder, violent crime, even violence in the schoolyard.

#2 Israel’s intelligence system

Oslo corrupted the very top of Israel’s intelligence system. Some allowed their ideology to seriously cloud their judgment as they naively thought they could sub-contract Israel’s security to their Palestinian pals who they wined and dined on open expense accounts. Others, with an eye on their career track, opted to present reports and analysis that supported the “process” rather than what they really thought. And it didn’t stop there. Some of these top Israelis entered into a web of business relations with their Palestinian counterparts. Money – the ultimate corrupter.

#3. Political system

Oslo corrupted the political system, with it becoming acceptable to make bare-faced lies to the Knesset, as was the case when Shimon Peres denied the existence of his “Jerusalem Letter”, and later when time and again the explicit policy choices made by the citizens was ignored after election day. But it wasn’t just the lies and the vote buying. Oslo introduced brazen and open foreign interference in the Israeli democratic process with money from the European Union and other nations financing various leftist groups in Israel and even some politicians.

Oslo so corrupted respect for the democratic process that the ruling government even went so far as to use the services of the State’s intelligence apparatus to undermine the standing of their political rivals and silence them rather than engage them in serious debate. To this day serious public debate is marred by the efforts to silence voices with charges of incitement and the “extremist” label.

Oslo corrupted the news media as reporters abandoned their critical “watchdog” role, opting to either distort or ignore the truth as their contribution to the “peace process”.

Oslo corrupted our society. Oslo corrupted our democratic system. Oslo corrupted our security.

#4. Security

Yes. And it undermined our security.

Defenders of the retreat from Gaza cite the security conditions faced by Israelis in the Gaza Strip just before the retreat. They either forgot – or hope their audience has forgotten – that before Oslo the security situation was so favorable that places like Netzarim were “defended” by a single bored soldier sitting at the main entrance to the community.

The “terror” that the Labor Party blamed the Shamir Government for in the election campaign before Oslo’s birth was a series of knifing incidents.

Thanks to Oslo, instead of knives, guns, and an occasional homemade bomb we find ourselves facing trained armies in our backyard and even living room. And under the “quiet for quiet” policy our enemies can do pretty much anything they want to to upgrade the weapons they have as long as they don’t use them. Yet. [We try to comfort ourselves by claiming that the quiet is thanks to Israeli deterrence when it could just as easily be described as our enemies opting to pick the time and place – and that time and place hasn’t yet arrived.].

#5. Flood of foreign workers

Thanks to Oslo our country is swamped with the foreign workers who were brought in to replace the masses of Palestinian workers who, thanks to the Oslo security fiasco, could no longer be trusted.

#6. Diplomatic standing

And Oslo – not the occupation – served to undermine Israel’s diplomatic foundations.

Oslo took Yasser Arafat and his PLO off the dung heap of history (wallowing in Tunis after being thrown out of Lebanon) when only radicals in the West were talking about anything beyond a Palestinian autonomy and lead ultimately to the diplomatic challenge we face today – with the critical message of UNSC 242 (no requirement of full withdrawal) being ignored.

El Baradei Bows Out of Egyptian Presidential Race

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Mohamed ElBaradei, citing a lack of democratic mechanisms in his country, has withdrawn from Egypt’s presidential race.

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that “the previous regime” was still running the country, and that the lack of a real democratic system was the reason for his withdrawal. Some political commentators have speculated that the withdrawal had more to do with a lack of real popular support. Either way, ElBaradei’s decision is sure to shake up the political scene in Egypt.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/el-baradei-bows-out-of-egyptian-presidential-race/2012/01/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: