Thursday, September 18, 2014

Qatar paid Martin Indyk $14.8 million ...for what??

From Tablet Magazine, September 17, 2014, by Lee Smith:

The New York Times recently published a long investigative report by Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams, and Nicholas Confessore on how foreign countries buy political influence through Washington think tanks.

...buried deep in the Times’ epic snoozer was a world-class scoop ...

Martin Indyk, the man who ran John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, whose failure in turn set off this summer’s bloody Gaza War, cashed a $14.8 million check from Qatar. 

...In his capacity as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the prestigious Brookings Institution, Martin Indyk took an enormous sum of money from a foreign government that, in addition to its well-documented role as a funder of Sunni terror outfits throughout the Middle East, is the main patron of Hamas—which happens to be the mortal enemy of both the State of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

... It is pretty hard to imagine what the words “independent” and “objective” mean coming from a man who while going from Brookings to public service and back to Brookings again pocketed $14.8 million in Qatari cash.

At least the Times might have asked Indyk a few follow-up questions, like: Did he cash the check from Qatar before signing on to lead the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? Did the check clear while he was in Jerusalem, or Ramallah? Or did the Qatari money land in the Brookings account only after Indyk gave interviews and speeches blaming the Israelis for his failure? We’ll never know now. But whichever way it happened looks pretty awful.

Or maybe the editors decided that it was all on the level, and the money influenced neither Indyk’s government work on the peace process nor Brookings’ analysis of the Middle East. Or maybe journalists just don’t think it’s worth making a big fuss out of obvious conflicts of interest that may affect American foreign policy. Maybe Qatar’s $14.8 million doesn’t affect Brookings’ research projects or what the think tank’s scholars tell the media, including the New York Times, about subjects like Qatar, Hamas, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other related areas in which Qatar has key interests at stake. Maybe the think tank’s vaunted objectivity, and Indyk’s personal integrity and his pride in his career as a public servant, trump the large piles of vulgar Qatari natural gas money that keep the lights on and furnish the offices of Brookings scholars and pay their cell-phone bills and foreign travel.

But people in the Middle East may be a little less blasé about this kind of behavior than we are.

Officials in the Netanyahu government, likely including the prime minister himself, say they’ll never trust Indyk again, in part due to the article by Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea in which an unnamed U.S. official with intimate knowledge of the talks, believed to be Indyk, blamed Israel for the failure of the peace talks. 

Certainly Jerusalem has good reason to be wary of an American diplomat who is also, or intermittently, a highly paid employee of Qatar’s ruling family. Among other things, Qatar hosts Hamas’ political chief Khaled Meshaal, the man calling the shots in Hamas’ war against the Jewish state. Moreover, Doha is currently Hamas’ chief financial backer—which means that while Qatar isn’t itself launching missiles on Israeli towns, Hamas wouldn’t be able to do so without Qatari cash.

Of course, Hamas, which Qatar proudly sponsors, is a problem not just for Israel but also the Palestinian Authority. Which means that both sides in the negotiations that Indyk was supposed to oversee had good reason to distrust an American envoy who worked for the sponsor of their mutual enemy. In retrospect, it’s pretty hard to see how either side could have trusted Indyk at all—or why the administration imagined he would make a good go-between in the first place.

Indeed, the notion that Indyk himself was personally responsible for the failure of peace talks is hardly far-fetched in a Middle East wilderness of conspiracy theories. After all, who benefits with an Israeli-PA stalemate? Why, the Islamist movement funded by the Arab emirate whose name starts with the letter “Q” and, according to the New York Times, is Brookings’ biggest donor.

There are lots of other questions that also seem worth asking, in light of this smelly revelation—like why in the midst of Operation Protective Edge this summer did Kerry seek to broker a Qatari- (and Turkish-) sponsored truce that would necessarily come at the expense of U.S. allies, Israel, and the PA, as well as Egypt, while benefiting Hamas, Qatar, and Turkey? Maybe it was just Kerry looking to stay active. Or maybe Indyk whispered something in his former boss’ ear—from his office at Brookings, which is paid for by Qatar.

It’s not clear why Indyk and Brookings seem to be getting a free pass from journalists—or why Qatar does. Yes, as host of the 2022 World Cup and owner of two famous European soccer teams (Barcelona and Paris St. Germain), Doha projects a fair amount of soft power—in Europe, but not America. Sure, Doha hosts U.S. Central Command at Al Udeid air base, but it also hosts Al Jazeera, the world’s most famous anti-American satellite news network. The Saudis hate Doha, as does Egypt and virtually all of America’s Sunni Arab allies. That’s in part because Qataris back not only Hamas, but other Muslim Brotherhood chapters around the region and Islamist movements that threaten the rule of the U.S.’s traditional partners and pride themselves on vehement anti-Americanism.

Which is why, of course, Qatar wisely chose to go over the heads of the American public and appeal to the policy elite—a strategy that began in 2007, when Qatar and Brookings struck a deal to open a branch of the Washington-based organization in Doha. Since then, the relationship has obviously progressed, to the point where it can appear, to suspicious-minded people, like Qatar actually bought and paid for John Kerry’s point man in the Middle East, the same way they paid for the plane that flew U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon around the region during this summer’s Gaza war.

Indeed, the Doha-Brookings love affair has gotten so hot that it may have pushed aside the previous major benefactor of Brookings’ Middle East program, Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban. The inventor of the Power Rangers will still fund the annual Saban forum, but in the spring Brookings took his name off of what was formerly the Haim Saban Center for Middle East Policy, so that now it’s just Center for Middle East Policy. Maybe the Qatari Center For Middle East Policy didn’t sound objective enough.

Another fact buried deep inside the Times piece is that Israel—the country usually portrayed as the octopus whose tentacles control all foreign policy debate in America—ranks exactly 56th in foreign donations to Washington think tanks. The Israeli government isn’t writing checks or buying dinner because—it doesn’t have to. 

The curious paradox is that a country that has the widespread support of rich and poor Americans alike—from big urban Jewish donors to tens of millions of heartland Christian voters—is accused of somehow improperly influencing American policy. While a country like Qatar, whose behavior is routinely so vile, and so openly anti-American, that it has no choice but to buy influence—and perhaps individual policymakers—gets off scot free among the opinion-shapers.

It turns out that, in a certain light, critics of U.S. foreign policy like Andrew Sullivan, John J. Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt were correct: The national interest is vulnerable to the grubby machinations of D.C. insiders—lobbyists, think tank chiefs, and policymakers who cash in on their past and future government posts. But the culprits aren’t who the curator of “The Dish” and the authors of The Israel Lobby say they are. In fact, they got it backwards. And don’t expect others like Martin Indyk to correct the mistake, for they have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion that the problem with America’s Middle East policy is the pro-Israel lobby. In Indyk’s case, we now know exactly how big that interest is.

Righting a historic wrong: 'Aramean' officially recognized as nationality in Israel

From Israel Hayom, 17 Sept 2013, by Yori Yalon:

"It is a historic decision ... proof that Israel protects its citizens and identity of its minorities, unlike all the Arab nations around us," Aramean-Christian community leader says • Interior minister instructs Population Authority to act accordingly.
Aramean-Christian community leader Shadi Halul
Photo credit: YouTube
Aramean-Christian community leader Shadi Halul
Photo credit: YouTube

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

93-year-old former Auschwitz guard charged

A 93-year-old man has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp, prosecutors said Monday. 

Oskar Groening is accused of helping operate the death camp in occupied Poland between May and June 1944, when some 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought there and at least 300,000 almost immediately gassed to death.

In his job dealing with the belongings stolen from camp victims, prosecutors said among other things he was charged with helping collect and tally money that was found. 

"He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings," state prosecutors in the city of Hannover said in a statement.
Groening's attorney, Hans Holtermann, declined to comment on the charges. 

Groening himself has openly talked about his time as a guard and said while he witnessed horrific atrocities, he didn't commit any crimes himself. 

In 2005, he told Der Spiegel magazine he recalled one incident on "ramp duty" when he heard a baby crying. "I saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs..." he said. "He smashed the baby's head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent." 
Groening, who lives in the Hannover area, is one of some 30 former Auschwitz guards who federal investigators recommended last year that state prosecutors pursue charges against under a new precedent in German law. 
Groening is the fourth case investigated by Hannover - two have been shelved because the suspects have been deemed unfit for trial, and one was closed when the suspect died. 

Holtermann said, however, his client is in good health. 
Thomas Walther, who represents 20 Auschwitz victims and their families as co-plaintiffs in the case against Groening as allowed under German law, said it's their last chance "to participate in bringing justice to one of the SS men who had a part in the murder of their closest relatives." 
"Many of the co-plaintiffs are among the last survivors of Auschwitz," he told The Associated Press.

Hello, Kurdistan! ...and welcome.

From The Washington TimesSeptember 10, 2014, by Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum:

Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, is flourishing.

Before welcoming the emerging state of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, I confess to having opposed its independence in the past.

In 1991, after the Kuwait War had ended and as Saddam Hussein attacked Iraq's six million Kurds, I made three arguments against American intervention on their behalf, arguments still commonly heard today:

  1. Kurdish independence would spell the end of Iraq as a state, 
  2. it would embolden Kurdish agitation for independence in Syria, Turkey, and Iran, leading to destabilization and border conflicts, and 
  3. it would invite the persecution of non-Kurds, causing "large and bloody exchanges of population."

All three expectations proved flat-out wrong. 

  • Given Iraq's wretched domestic and foreign track record, the end of a unified Iraq promises relief, as do Kurdish stirrings in the neighboring countries. 
  • Syria has fractured into its three ethnic and sectarian components: Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Shi'i Arab, which promises benefits in the long term. 
  • Kurds' departing Turkey usefully impedes the reckless ambitions of now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 
  • Similarly, Kurds decamping Iran helpfully diminishes that arch-aggressive mini-empire. 
  • Far from non-Kurds fleeing Iraqi Kurdistan, as I feared, the opposite has occurred: hundreds of thousands of refugees are pouring in from the rest of Iraq to benefit from Kurdistan's security, tolerance, and opportunities.

I can account for these errors: In 1991, no one knew that autonomous Kurdish rule in Iraq would flourish as it has. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which came into existence the following year, can be called (with only some exaggeration) the Switzerland of the Muslim Middle East. Its armed, commercially-minded mountain people seek to be left alone to prosper.

One could also not have known in 1991 that the Kurdish army, the peshmerga, would establish itself as a competent and disciplined force; that the KRG would reject the terrorist methods then notoriously in use by Kurds in Turkey; that the economy would boom; that the Kurds' two leading political families, the Talabanis and Barzanis, would learn to coexist; that the KRG would engage in responsible diplomacy; that its leadership would sign international trade accords; that ten institutions of higher learning would come into existence; and that Kurdish culture would blossom.

But all this did happen.
As Israeli scholar Ofra Bengio describes it, "autonomous Kurdistan has proved to be the most stable, prosperous, peaceful, and democratic part of Iraq."

Every map of the Kurdish peoples differs from the others. This one offers an estimate of their geographic extent, including a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea.
What's next on the KRG agenda?

The first item, after severe losses to the Islamic State, is for the peshmerga to retrain, re-arm, and tactically ally with such former adversaries as the Iraqi central government and the Turkish Kurds, steps which have positive implications for Kurdistan's future.

Second, the KRG leadership has signaled its intention to hold a referendum on independence, which it rightly presumes will generate a ringing popular endorsement. Diplomacy, however, lags behind. The Iraqi central government, of course, opposes this goal, as do the great powers, reflecting their usual caution and concern for stability. (Recall George H.W. Bush's 1991 "Chicken Kiev speech.")

However, given the KRG's superior record, outside powers should encourage its independence. Pro-government media in Turkey already do. U.S. vice president Joe Biden might build on his 2006 suggestion of "giving each ethno-religious group – Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab – room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests."

Third: What if Iraqi Kurds joined forces across three borders – as they have done on occasion – and form a single Kurdistan with a population of about 30 million and possibly a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea? One of the largest ethnic group in the world without a state (a debatable claim: e.g., the Kannadiga of India), the Kurds missed their chance in the post-World War I settlement because they lacked the requisite intellectuals and politicians.

The emergence now of a Kurdish state would profoundly alter the region by simultaneously adding a sizable new country and partially dismembering its four neighbors. This prospect would be dismaying in most of the world. But the Middle East – still in the grip of the wretched Sykes-Picot deal secretly negotiated by European powers in 1916 – needs a salutary shake-up.

From this perspective, the emergence of a Kurdish state is part of the region-wide destabilization, dangerous but necessary, that began in Tunisia in December 2010. Accordingly, I offer a hearty welcome to its four potential parts joining soon together to form a single united Kurdistan.

Christians and Jews are on the same side

From Spengler, 13 Sept 2014:

I had to read the penultimate paragraph of Ross Douthat’s New York Times piece on “friendless Middle East Christians” before the enormity of it sunk in. Douthat wrote:
If Cruz felt that he couldn’t address an audience of persecuted Arab Christians without including a florid, “no greater ally” preamble about Israel, he could have withdrawn from the event. The fact that he preferred to do it this way says a lot–none of it good–about his priorities and instincts. 
In so many words:
Jew-hatred among Middle Eastern Christians is so rampant that it should be ignored in the interests of saving this oppressed minority. Never mind that it is impossible to conceive of any strategic configuration on the Middle East that might help Middle Eastern Christians without including Israel; never mind that Israel’s supporters in the United States are among the first to urge America to act on their behalf; and, above all, never mind that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can practice their religion in security and safety, and that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population.

... Unlike some of my conservative friends...I can’t blame Syrian Christians for supporting the Assad regime, which protects them from murdering Sunni jihadists. It isn’t about blame, but about the future–if there is one. Israel has a prominent role in any possible state of the world in which Christianity continues to exist in the Middle East (outside of Israel itself).

...the Catholic Church remains in the grip of nostalgia for its past influence in the region, and a great many of its Middle Eastern specialists simply cannot abide the idea that  Israel might be the home to the remnant of Middle Eastern Christianity as well as the protector of Christian minorities elsewhere. But that is how things have worked out. That’s reality, and it’s the job of political leaders like Sen. Cruz to explain reality to their constituents. That’s not “florid.” That’s leadership.

An analogy might be useful:
Evangelical Christians are among Israel’s strongest supporters in America, yet some Jews–including liberals as well as Christianophobic ultra-Orthodox–reject this support. That is hysteria. 

Israel’s supporters in America are among the strongest defenders of Middle Eastern Christians, yet some Middle Eastern Christians reject this support. That is also hysteria. 

Jews who reject Christian support are crazy, and Middle Eastern Christians who reject Jewish support are crazy. 
It’s the job of leaders to tell them so.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine Under International Law

From ACPR Policy Paper No. 147, 2003, by Howard Grief (and now expanded to a 700-page book available on Amazon):

The objective of this paper is to set down in a brief, yet clear and precise manner the legal rights and title of sovereignty of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and Palestine under international law. These rights originated in the global political and legal settlement, conceived during World War I and carried into execution in the post-war years between 1919 and 1923. Insofar as the Ottoman Turkish Empire was concerned, the settlement embraced the claims of the Zionist Organization, the Arab National movement, the Kurds, the Assyrians and the Armenians. 

As part of the settlement in which the Arabs received most of the lands formerly under Turkish sovereignty in the Middle East, the whole of Palestine, on both sides of the Jordan, was reserved exclusively for the Jewish people as their national home and future independent state. 

Under the terms of the settlement that were made by the Principal Allied Powers consisting of Britain, France, Italy and Japan, there would be no annexation of the conquered Turkish territories by any of the Powers, as had been planned in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 9 and 16, 1916. Instead, these territories, including the peoples for whom they were designated, would be placed under the Mandates System and administered by an advanced nation until they were ready to stand by themselves. The Mandates System was established and governed by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, contained in the Treaty of Versailles and all the other peace treaties made with the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The Covenant was the idea of US President Woodrow Wilson and contained in it his program of Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918, while Article 22 which established the Mandates System, was largely the work of Jan Christiaan Smuts who formulated the details in a memorandum that became known as the Smuts Resolution, officially endorsed by the Council of Ten on January 30, 1919, in which Palestine as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration was named as one of the mandated states to be created.

The official creation of the country took place at the San Remo Peace Conference where the Balfour Declaration was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers as the basis for the future administration of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home.

The moment of birth of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty thus took place at the same time Palestine was created a mandated state, since it was created for no other reason than to reconstitute the ancient Jewish state of Judea in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and the general provisions of Article 22 of the League Covenant. 

This meant that Palestine from the start was legally a Jewish state in theory, which was to be guided towards independence by a Mandatory or Trustee, also acting as Tutor, who would take the necessary political, administrative and economic measures to establish the Jewish National Home. The chief means for accomplishing this was by encouraging large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would eventually result in making Palestine an independent Jewish state, not only legally but also in the demographic and cultural senses. 

The details for the planned independent Jewish state were set forth in three basic documents, which may be termed the founding documents of mandated Palestine and the modern Jewish state of Israel that arose from it. These were 

  • the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, 
  • the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Britain by the Principal Allied Powers and confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and 
  • the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920
These founding documents were supplemented by the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924 respecting the Mandate for Palestine.

It is of supreme importance to remember always that these documents were the source or well-spring of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over Palestine and the Land of Israel under international law, because of the near-universal but completely false belief that it was the United Nations General Assembly Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 that brought the State of Israel into existence.

In fact, the UN resolution [of November 29, 1947] was an illegal abrogation of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty to the whole of Palestine and the Land of Israel, rather than an affirmation of such rights or progenitor of them.

...The San Remo Resolution on Palestine became Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres which was
intended to end the war with Turkey, but though this treaty was never ratified by the Turkish National Government of Kemal Ataturk, the Resolution retained its validity as an independent act of international law when it was inserted into the Preamble of the Mandate for Palestine and confirmed by 52 states. The San Remo Resolution is the base document upon which the Mandate was constructed and to which it had to conform. It is therefore the pre-eminent foundation document of the State of Israel and the crowning achievement of pre-state Zionism. It has been accurately described as the Magna Carta of the Jewish people. It is the best proof that the whole country of Palestine and the Land of Israel belong exclusively to the Jewish people under international law.

...It was originally intended that the Mandate Charter would delineate the boundaries of Palestine, but that proved to be a lengthy process involving negotiations with France over the northern and northeastern borders of Palestine with Syria. It was therefore decided to fix these boundaries in a separate treaty, which was done in the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. The borders were based on a formula first put forth by the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George when he met his French counterpart, Georges Clemenceau in London on December 1, 1918 and defined Palestine as extending from the ancient towns of Dan to Beersheba.

This definition was immediately accepted by Clemenceau, which meant that Palestine would have the borders that included all areas of the country settled by the Twelve Tribes of Israel during the First Temple Period, embracing historic Palestine both east and west of the Jordan River. 

The very words “from Dan to Beersheba” implied that the whole of Jewish Palestine would be reconstituted as a Jewish state. Though the San Remo Resolution did not specifically delineate the borders of Palestine, it was understood by the Principal Allied Powers that this formula would be the criterion to be used in delineating them. 

However, when the actual boundary negotiations began after the San Remo Peace Conference, the French illegally and stubbornly insisted on following the defunct Sykes-Picot line for the northern border of Palestine, accompanied by Gallic outbursts of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments, though they agreed to extend this border to include the Galilee but not any of the water sources from the Litani valley and the land adjoining it. As a result, some parts of historic Palestine in the north and north-east were illegally excluded from the Jewish National Home.

The 1920 Boundary Convention was amended by another British-French Agreement respecting the boundary line between Syria and Palestine dated February 3, 1922, which took effect on March 10, 1923. It illegally removed the portion of the Golan that had previously been included in Palestine in the 1920 Convention, in exchange for placing the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) wholly within the bounds of the Jewish National Home, and made other small territorial adjustments. The British and French negotiators had no legal right to remove or exclude any “Palestine territory” from the limits of Palestine, but could only ensure that all such territory was included. The exchange of “Palestine territory” for other “Palestine territory” between Britain and France was therefore prohibited as a violation of the Lloyd George formula accepted at the San Remo Peace Conference.

The decisive moment of change came on May 14, 1948 when the representatives of the Jewish people in Palestine and of the Zionist Organization proclaimed the independence of a Jewish state whose military forces held only a small portion of the territory originally allocated for the Jewish National Home. 

The rest of the country was in the illegal possession of neighboring Arab states who had no sovereign rights over the areas they illegally occupied, that were historically a part of Palestine and the Land of Israel and were not meant for Arab independence or the creation of another Arab state.

It is for this reason that Israel, which inherited the sovereign rights of the Jewish people over Palestine, has the legal right to keep all the lands it liberated in the Six Day War, that were either included in the Jewish National Home during the time of the Mandate or formed integral parts of the Land of Israel that were illegally detached from the Jewish National Home when the boundaries of Palestine were fixed in 1920 and 1923. For the same reason, Israel cannot be accused by anyone of “occupying” lands under international law that were clearly part of the Jewish National Home or the Land of Israel. Thus the whole debate today that centers on the question of whether Israel must return “occupied territories” to their alleged Arab owners in order to obtain peace is one of the greatest falsehoods of international law and diplomacy.

The most amazing development concerning the question of sovereignty over Palestine is that the State of Israel, when it finally had an opportunity to exercise its sovereignty over all of the country west of the Jordan, after being victorious in the Six Day War of June 5-10, 1967, did not do so – except in the case of Jerusalem. The Knesset did, however, pass an amendment to the Law and Administration Ordinance of 1948, adding Section 11B, which allowed for that possibility and was premised on the idea that Israel possessed such sovereignty. Israel did not even enforce the existing law on sovereignty passed by the Ben Gurion Government in September 1948, known as the Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance, which required it to incorporate immediately any area of the Land of Israel which the Minister of Defense had defined by proclamation as being held by the Defense Army of Israel. 

Israel’s legal rights and title of sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel – specifically in regard to Judea, Samaria and Gaza – suffered a severe setback when the Government of Prime Minister Menahem Begin approved the Camp David Framework Agreement for Peace in the Middle East, under which it was proposed that negotiations would take place to determine the “final status” of those territories. The phrase “final status” was a synonym for the word “sovereignty”. 

It was inexcusable that neither Begin nor his legal advisers, including Aharon Barak, the future President of the Israel Supreme Court, knew that sovereignty had already been vested in the Jewish people and hence the State of Israel many years before, at the San Remo Peace Conference. The situation became much worse, reaching the level of treason when the Government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Declaration of Principles (DOP) with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and agreed to give it about 90% or more of Judea and Samaria and most of Gaza over a five-year transitional period in order to “achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process” with the Arabs of Palestine. 

The illegal surrender of territory to the “Palestinian Authority” originally called the “Council” in Article IV of the DOP was hidden by the use of the word “jurisdiction” instead of “sovereignty” in that article. 

Further dissimulation was shown by the sanitized reference to “redeployment of Israeli military forces in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip” to disguise the illegal act of transferring parts of the Jewish National Home to the PLO. A spade was not called a spade. 

To understand why even the State of Israel does not believe in its own title of sovereignty 
over what are wrongfully termed “occupied territories” even by leading politicians and jurists 
in Israel, it is necessary to locate the causes in the Mandate period....

...The end result of British sabotage, misinterpretation, distortion and outright denial of what the Mandate stood for was that Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over the whole of Palestine as originally envisaged in the San Remo Resolution and the Mandate became so blurred, obfuscated and confused by the time the Mandate ended, it was no longer understood or held to be true. Not even the legal experts of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Zionist Organization asserted Jewish sovereignty over the whole country in any official paper or memorandum submitted to the British Government or to the League of Nations. 

The mutilation of the Mandate Charter was continued by the United Nations when this new world organization considered the question of Palestine. 

On August 31, 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposed an illegal partition plan which recognized Arab national rights in western Palestine, specifically in the areas of western Galilee, Judea, Samaria, the southern coastal plain from Ashdod to the Egyptian frontier and a portion of the western Negev including Beersheba and what became Eilat. It apparently did not occur to the members of the Committee representing eleven states headed by Swedish Chief Justice Emil Sandstrom, that the UN did not have the legal authority to partition the country in favor of the Arabs of Palestine who were not the national beneficiary of the Mandate entitled to self-determination. 

The trampling of the legal rights of the Jewish people to the whole of Palestine by the United Nations was in clear violation of the Mandate which forbade partition and also Article 80 of the UN Charter which, in effect, prevented the alteration of Jewish rights granted under the Mandate whether or not a trusteeship was set up to replace it, which could only be done by a prior agreement made by the states directly concerned. 

The illegal partition plan, with some territorial modifications made in the original majority plan presented by UNSCOP, was then approved by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947 as Resolution 181 (II). 

The Jewish Agency for Palestine, recoiling from the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust and trying to salvage something from British misrule of Palestine, accepted this illegal Resolution. By doing so, it lent credence to the false idea that Palestine belonged to both Arabs and Jews, which was an idea foreign to the San Remo Resolution, the Mandate and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. 

The Jewish Agency should have relied on these three documents exclusively in declaring the Jewish state over all of Palestine, even if it was unable to control all areas of the country, following the example of what was done in Syria and Lebanon during World War II. 

...The gravest threat to Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over the Land of Israel still comes from the same source that has always fought the return of the Jews to their homeland, namely, the medley of Arabic-speaking Gentiles who inhabit the land alongside the Jews. They no longer call themselves Arabs or Syrians, but “Palestinians”. This has resulted in a switch of national identity. The Palestinians used to be the Jews during the Mandate Period, but the Arabs adopted the name after the Jews of Palestine established the State of Israel and began to be called Israelis. 

The use of the name “Palestinians” for Arabs did not take general hold until 1969 when the United Nations recognized the existence of this supposed new nation, and began passing resolutions thereafter affirming its legitimate and inalienable rights to Palestine. The whole idea that such a nation exists is the greatest hoax of the 20th century and continues unabated into the 21st century. This hoax is easily exposed by the fact that the “Palestinians” possess no distinctive history, language or culture, and are not essentially different in the ethnological sense from the Arabs living in the neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The very name of the supposed nation is non-Arabic in origin and derives from Hebrew root letters. The Arabs of Palestine have no connection or relationship to the ancient Philistines from whom they have taken their new name. 

It is a matter of the greatest irony and astonishment that the so-called Palestinian nation has received its greatest boost from Israel itself when it allowed a “Palestinian” administration to be set up in the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. 

The situation in which the Arabs of Palestine and the Land of Israel claim the same legal rights as the Jewish people violates the authentic international law that was created by the San Remo Resolution, the Mandate and the 1920 Franco-British Convention. 

It is part of the worldwide folly that has occurred since 1969 when the “Palestinian people” were first accorded international recognition, that authentic international law has been replaced by an ersatz international law composed of illegal UN Resolutions. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907 are acts of genuine international law, but they have no direct application or relevance to the legal status of Judea, Samaria and Gaza which are integral territories of the Jewish National Home and the Land of Israel under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. These acts would apply only to the Arab occupation of Jewish territories, as occurred between 1948 and 1967 and not to the case of Israeli rule over the Jewish homeland. The hoax of the Palestinian people and their alleged rights to the Land of Israel as well as the farce that results from citing pseudo-international law to support their fabricated case must be exposed and brought to an end. 

The Arabs of the Land of Israel have ignited a terrorist war against Israel to recover what they consider to be their occupied homeland. Their aim is a fantasy based on a gross myth and lie that can never be satisfied, since that would mean the conversion of the Land of Israel into an Arab country. It is up to the Government of Israel to take the necessary steps to remedy what has become an intolerable situation, which threatens the Jewish people with the loss of their immutable rights to their one and only homeland. 

PA finance minister paid thousands to Hamas while working at Arab Bank

From JPost, 14 Sept 2014, by FRANK G. RUNYEON, YONAH JEREMY BOB:

Bishara admits paying terrorist Osama Hamdan knowing he was on the US blacklist

Shukri Bishara, finance minister for the Palestinian Authority and former chief executive at the Arab Bank, admitted before a New York federal court on Thursday that he had cut a check for thousands of dollars to a senior Hamas leader while working for the bank.

Bishara had originally testified that the bank would not have anything to gain by funding terrorists. Many terrorist operations cost far less than the $8,000 check paid to the Hamas operative.

A total of 297 plaintiffs are suing the Arab Bank for billions of dollars. They allege that the bank is liable for wrongful death damages, because it helped move money that was used to finance attacks that killed their family members.

Plaintiffs said the bank facilitated massive payments to Hamas leaders and institutions, as well as to the families of imprisoned Hamas members and suicide bombers, via Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah’s al-Shahid Foundation, mostly between 1998 and 2004 (though evidence has focused on 2001-2004.) The Arab Bank, which functions practically as Jordan’s state bank and is one of the largest in the Middle East with branches in 30 countries, said the plaintiffs cannot prove the funds contributed to terrorist attacks and that the bank knew of a terrorist connection.

Because of the bank’s prominence, the Jordanian government has already tried to intervene, implying that a judgment against the bank could wreck anti-terrorism cooperation with the US and undermine the monarchy’s very stability.

While being questioned by his own lawyers as a supporting witness, Bishara presented in much the same manner as Arab Bank chairman Sabih Al-Masri: a charming, Western-educated finance executive with strong ties to the West whose own family was touched by terrorism.

“We were living in complete fear, panic,” Bishara said of his family’s time living in Jerusalem during the second intifada. After a suicide bomber attacked his children’s school, he moved them to Amman, Jordan.

Bishara asserted that banks have a vested interest in peace, not violence. The intifada “was a calamity for the economy” and the banking sector was “very close to having systemic meltdown,” he said.

Under cross examination by counsel for the plaintiffs Mark Werbner, Bishara’s tone changed from gregarious to acrimonious. A heated exchange took place when Werbner asserted that Bishara had released funds from a bank account belonging to senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan.

“You gave this terrorist $8,000, the man who moves weapons and explosives,” Werbner stated. “You had no other choice than to give this terrorist $8,000?” “My concern was to get rid of the account,” Bishara explained, having admitted he knew Hamdan was on the US terrorist blacklist at the time. “There was simply no way” to close the account without a court order or Hamdan being designated a terrorist by Lebanon, he said.

Defense lawyers say the so-called “Beirut account” was first brought to the bank’s attention in 2004 by this lawsuit. After waiting five or six months to find another solution, Bishara said, the Arab Bank ultimately cut a check to Hamdan and closed the account.

This fund transfer has burdened the bank’s main defense, which was that most transfers were made to those who were not on any US watch list at the time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


From PM Netanyahu's Address at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism (on 13th anniversary of terrorist attacks in the US):

...We remember that day thirteen years ago and we mourn with you on this day for the thousands who lost their lives in that horrific attack. All of Israel mourned on September 11th. In Gaza, they were dancing on the roofs. They were handing out candy. That's the moral divide. We mourn; they celebrate the death of thousands of innocents. And then when the US took out Bin-Laden, I speaking for virtually the entire country congratulated President Obama. In Gaza, Hamas condemned the US and called Bin-Laden a "holy warrior", a holy warrior of Islam. That's the moral divide. We celebrate; they mourn the death of an arch-terrorist.

Now that moral divide has never been clearer than it is today because Hamas, like al-Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusra or its new growth ISIS or Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah supported by Iran – all are branches of the same poisonous tree. All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.

I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it's important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are also felt everywhere. If they gain ground, if they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism. I say early medievalism because my father, my late father was a great historian of the Middle Ages and I'd be giving them too much compliment – early medievalism, primitive early medievalism where women are treated as chattel, as property and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they're left alive at all.

And these groups must be fought, they must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That's why Israel fully supports President Obama's call for united actions against ISIS. All civilized countries should stand together in the fight against radical terrorism that sweeps across the Middle East, sweeps across the world. And we are playing our part in this continued effort. Some of the things are known; some things are less known. We have always viewed it as our common battle for our common future.

Now the fight against Islamist terrorism has created new alliances in the Middle East because many Sunni Arab states recognize that the threat of Iran's aggression and its radical Shiite proxies pose a fundamental danger to them, as does fundamentalist Sunni terrorism. And as a result of this, these twin threats of radical Shi'ism using terrorist tactics, radical Sunnism using terrorist tactics – as a result of this, they're reevaluating their relationship with Israel and they understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace.

I think it's crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism. They are two sides of the same coin. We don't have to strengthen one to weaken the other. My policy is: Weaken both. And most importantly, don't allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction. And that's why the arrangement that was achieved in Syria to disband and take out the chemical weapons and chemical materials was so important. And I think President Obama had a very important achievement there. We understand what it would mean that any of these sides would have weapons of mass destruction because all you have to imagine is what would have happened ifon 9/11 al-Qaeda had nuclear weapons. You know they would have used them against New York and against Washington. It's unassailable.

These groups have absolutely no moral or other impediment to their mad desires. Once they have massive power, they will unleash all their violence, all their ideological zeal, all their hatred, with weapons of mass death. And all you have to imagine is what would have happened if al-Qaeda today had access to chemical weapons in Syria. Well then, project that: What would happen if the terrorist regime in Iran will have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons? They control themselves today. They've put up a good front. But they have tremendous, tremendous ambitions. Not for Iran; for Shi'ism from Iran. And those ambitions would be unleashed once they have nuclear weapons in their capacity. They must not have it.

Now the world powers are now negotiating with Iran and I hope they make a good deal because a bad deal should not be made. I'll tell you what a good deal is: The one that was made in Syria, because what that deal said was take the chemical weapons and the materials, the chemicals themselves and the means to make the weapons, out of Syria. They didn't say to Assad, "Keep them, store them and we'll put an inspector. You know, we'll lock it with a padlock and we'll put an inspector next to it", because at any point Assad could kick out the inspector – I'm not saying that's Inspector Clouseau… a good inspector. But the whole idea of breakout is you throw away the inspector and you rush, once you unlock the storehouses, you rush to make the weapons. That's what Iran is seeking. Iran is seeking to keep the enriched nuclear material, to keep the centrifuges, to keep the means to make nuclear weapons in short order – we'll put a padlock on it and we'll put an inspector, inspectors there. And then at a certain point when there are international crises that consume our attention, and you know these never happen these days, right? Kick out the inspectors, break the lock, you break out. Within weeks, a few months, they have nuclear weapons. That's a bad deal.

And if Iran has nuclear weapons, you will see a tremendous pivot in the world. No, not in the Middle East – in the world. You will see things you never imagined could be possible, horrors that you couldn't even contemplate, come to fruition. The ultimate terror: A terrorist regime with the weapons of the greatest terror of them all. We must not let that happen.

So we have no shortage of threats and they have come about as a result of the collapse of the old order. It collapsed about a hundred years ago. It collapsed rather in a way that has not happened in the last hundred years, the so-called Arab Spring, which has not materialized as some people had thought. I think it's now clear that the forces of democracy have not come to the fore and if anything, what we've seen is old regimes collapse and Islamist forces come to the surface, old hatreds – Shiite against Shiite, but primarily Shiite against Sunni, Sunni against Sunni – all come bursting from subterranean layers of history and frustration. And they all have one common goal. The goal is we establish a new Islamist dominion, first in the Middle East and in their warped thinking, throughout the world. They all agree on that. They are not limited in their scope to a territory. They're not limited to borders. They are basically… they may be pivoted in a state, they may be anchored in a particular place, but their goal is to take the entire world, to cleanse it of infidels – first their own people, Muslims, and then everyone else. Madness.

They all agree that they have to establish a caliphate. They all disagree who should be the caliph. That's the nature of their disagreements. And they all use essentially the same tactic and that's unbridled violence, fear – fear – terror. And the terror is first of all imposed on their own peoples. That's the number one target before anyone else. If your people want to rise up against you as they did in Iran five years ago, you kill them. You send out your troopers to the streets, besiege and just shoot them on the sidewalks. You steal millions of votes, people protest – you shoot them. But it's not enough to shoot them one time. You constantly shoot them or to be more precise, in Iran you hang them.

Anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people are annually executed, executed in Iran. I'm not talking about criminals; I'm not talking about people who have broken the law – people who have the temerity to have a different view, question the regime. And they're hung in public squares and sometimes they're hung from cranes. They don't have enough scaffolds. And you see the same thing, the same thing – it doesn't receive the same prominence – from ISIS, same technique. You take over a population. The first thing is, yes, you lop heads off in this tragic barbarism that we witness, but you also take people to the burial pits and you shoot them by the hundreds and thousands.

And we've just seen the same in Gaza. During the fighting, there was a lull. Gazans went out to look at their surroundings, started protesting at what Hamas did to them and Hamas had a very simple thing in response – they shot them. These aren't the executions you heard about. These are the executions you didn't hear about. And then towards the end of the fighting, just to make sure that everybody gets the message, as in Iran, as in Iraq today, so in Gaza – they take out 25 people from the jails, Fatah people who have been there for years, and they accuse them – listen to this – they accuse them that they are the ones who gave Israel real-time intelligence for our military actions. Kind of hard to do. I don't know. Maybe we dug a tunnel underneath, came to their jail cells, received… That's not funny. They take them out into the public squares and they put a bullet in their heads for everyone to see.

So the tactics are uniform. Terror first of all against your own people. There's a larger imperative. We know this. We've seen this before. There's a master race; now there's a master faith. And that allows you to do anything to anyone, but first of all to your own people and then to everyone else. And what do you do to everyone else? For that you use new techniques. And the new techniques involve first of all taking over civilian populations, putting yourself inside civilian areas contravening the laws of war and the Geneva Convention; using your people as human shields, the same people you execute; and then firing indiscriminately at civilians. You hide behind civilians, you fire on civilians. And you fire rockets and missiles. And this creates a whole new set of problems. And these problems are born of the fact that it's much harder to fight this kind of terror – much harder. It's much easier to fight an army: tanks, artillery, command centers, open spaces. You destroy that, you destroy the army. End of war.

But these people, because they're forcing you to face up to the moral limits that democracies obey, are basically forcing you to fight a new war and that new war requires two things. It's requires the ability to have precision-guided munitions to be able to target the terrorists who are targeting you from inside civilians areas, but to try to limit the damage – what is called collateral damage or the incidental civilians casualties that accompany any war. Here they're placed right in there, deliberately, by the terrorists. So you need precision weapons. You also need very precise intelligence. But the second thing – and that's very, very expensive. I'm going to say that in Hebrew in a second. We have defense budget discussions. That's very expensive. It's much more expensive than dealing with tanks or artillery or regular armies.

And the second thing you have to do is defend yourself against the missiles that they pour on your own population, what we call the rear but in this case it's the front because your cities are targeted. Well, we figured out, with the help of the United States for which we're deeply grateful, we developed a system to protect ourselves against this terror, these terror attacks from the sky. And that too is very, very expensive.

So dealing with this new type of war actually is more difficult than dealing with the old type of war. But that's the war that we're facing. That's the terror war that we now face. We face Islamist terrorists who take entire communities, cities, populations, hostage; who execute dissenters; who hide among civilians; and fire on civilians. That's the new war. We have to make sure that they don't have weapons of mass destruction because they have no inhibitions. But we also have to make sure that we have the capability to attack them and to defend against their attacks. And that requires weapons, defensive and offensive, but above all it requires, I believe, clarity and courage – clarity to understand they're wrong, we're right; they're evil, we're good. No moral relativism there at all. These people who lop off heads, trample human rights into the dust – are evil and they have to be resisted. Evil has to be resisted. And the second, it requires courage and responsibility. It requires courage because all the other qualities that we could bring to bear in the battle against terrorism are meaningless if you don't have courage.

I think we have reservoirs of both, but I think that we have to also recognize that we are in a great historic juncture. I may surprise you when I tell you that I think militant Islam will be defeated. I think it will be, I think it will ultimately disappear from the stage of history because I think it's a grand failure – it doesn't know how to manage economies, it cannot offer the young people to which it appeals any kind of future. It can control their minds for now but ultimately the spread of information technology will obviate that, will give people choices. But this may take a long time. And we've been able to predict in the past that radical ideologies – which inflame the minds of millions – set their sights on minorities, usually starts with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews. They ultimately fail too. That happened in the last century. But before they failed, they took down tens of millions with them and a third of our own people. That will never happen again.

Clarity and courage, alliances as broad as we can make them with those who understand that we're in a common battle, and courage to see this through, to roll back an ultimate victory. I'm confident that militant Islam will perish, but we must not allow anyone to perish with it before it goes down. That's our task.

....I think there's a potential for a regional and international alliance against the forces of tyranny and terror that threaten all of us, but our experience, the experience of the Jewish people, has said that you always seek alliances because every nation needs alliances. A super-power like the United States of America needs alliances and certainly a small country like Israel needs alliances. But ultimately the only guarantor of our existence and the ability to form alliances depends on our internal strength. Nobody seeks your alliance if you are weak. You have to be able to protect yourself and if there's one change that has been brought about in the history of the Jewish people since the establishment of the Jewish state, it's our ability to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against any foe. That was and remains the basis of our policy....


Friday, September 12, 2014

A World Where Fictional Creations and Old Antipathies Die Hard

From Love of the Land, September 11, 2014, by Sarah Honig:

 ... the dysfunctional family of nations decrees that for the sake of world peace the Etzion Bloc must forever revert to its brief erstwhile judenfrei status. Why? Because old antipathies die hard...

Feisal I, arbitrarily declared
King of Syria and later
King of Iraq [1919 portrait
by renowned British
painter Augustus John]

Why are the White House, Whitehall and hubs of diplomacy in all the capitals of the EU so irascibly indignant over Israel’s decision to declare 400 hectares in Gush Etzion state lands?

Under whichever conceivable future compromise (if any) this minuscule area is sure to remain Israeli, as it was even before Israeli independence.

The Etzion Bloc fell to Arab besiegers in 1948 and its Jewish defenders were cold-bloodedly massacred after they had already surrendered. Destroyed and desolate, it languished under Jordanian occupation for merely 19 years. Nonetheless, the dysfunctional family of nations decrees that for the sake of world peace the Etzion Bloc must forever revert to its brief erstwhile judenfrei status.

Why? Because old antipathies die hard. In some cases they just never die at all, the staggering volatility around us notwithstanding. Otherwise sterling democracies still hold fast to their archaic prejudices despite the dizzying flux and scary savagery of our times – especially in the logic-defying Middle East.

Until lately hardly any statesmen, observers or scholars dared question the region’s national divisions or the borders delineating them. The sole exception, not unexpectedly, was their inimical perception of the Jewish state’s legitimacy. To all and sundry it seemed that Iraq, Syria or Libya were ancient nations with distinct characters and cohesive identities all their own.

Casting doubt on this was not only politically incorrect but it was castigated as heresy of the most profane and preposterous kind. Most unwelcome were reminders about the imperialist post-World War I deals between Britain and France which blatantly invented nationalities, defined their jurisdictions and even assigned them rulers. Highlighting any of this was judged to be arcane nitpicking, irrelevant and even subversive.

What was imposed by the superpowers of a hundred years ago on the Fertile Crescent, for example, was accepted as irrevocable. Opinion-molders inculcated in the masses worldwide the notion that yesteryear’s capricious concoctions are for keeps.

Doubters – few and far between – were derided and denounced.

Who, for example, cared that His Majesty’s government once sucked up to the Hashemite clan that ruled Islam’s holiest sites in what was known as Hejaz? In return for (not very valuable) Hashemite support during the Great War, Sharif Hussein bin-Ali, Mecca’s Hashemite emir (also self-proclaimed Caliph of all Muslims) was assured that his sons Abdullah and Faisal would be handsomely rewarded.

Hussein, by the way was the one who in 1924 lost control of Islam’s sacred city and surrounding provinces to a rival clan, the Saudis. Had he won, we’d be speaking today of Hashemite Arabia instead of Saudi Arabia (which is also no long-established monarchy in situ from time immemorial).

Abdullah, the older Hejazi princeling, was to get as his gift/payoff nearly 80% of the British Mandate over Palestine, which originally extended over both banks of the Jordan. It was all land designated by the League of Nations as the National Home for the Jewish people.

To be sure, Hashemite appetites weren’t quite sated by the freebee. Abdullah sought the title of Emir of Palestine – a country to which he had no previous connection whatsoever. Britain made him settle for Transjordan – on the east bank of the mini-river.

No Transjordanian nation appears in human annals and neither does Jordan, as the kingdom is now known. What today parades under the Jordanian moniker was conceived on Palestinian soil by Perfidious Albion.

That was the first division of Palestine. Betrayed, the Jews were left with only one-fifth of what was initially promised them and this puny remainder too has been violently disputed ever since.

If it’s any consolation, though, Palestine is as remarkably absent from history as is Transjordan/Jordan. In 135 CE, after the Bar Kokhba uprising, the Romans renamed Eretz Yisrael. They dubbed it Palaestina, with the expressed purpose of humiliating defeated Jews. Europe inherited the epithet and its latter-day English variant became what the British chose to call the land they mandated.

Local Arabs, who first deeply resented the name as an imposed alien import, later adopted it as their imaginary nation’s 9,000-year-old (!) appellation. They, however, cannot to this day so much as pronounce it correctly. In their diction Palestine has been warped into the Johnny-come-lately Filastin, a wholly fictional entity.

Palestine/Filastin never had any existence, self-determination, cultural uniqueness, linguistic distinctiveness or religious idiosyncrasy to differentiate it from the surrounding Arab milieu.

But then neither did Iraq or Syria, both of which feature prominently in the 1920s Hashemite saga. Out to recompense their Hashemite lackeys, the Brits enthroned Abdullah’s younger brother Faisal as King of Greater Syria on March 7, 1920.

It was as simple as that. Nations were invented, named arbitrarily according to the cultural precepts of the new European powers-that-be, and then cynically served these powers’ interests.

Conflicting interests inevitably kindled quarrels among the imperialist overlords. Paris, which claimed sway over Syria and Lebanon (another satellite of its manufacture), owed the Hashemites nothing. It had no use for Faisal and considered it colossally galling of London to have crowned him king in Damascus. Therefore – on July 24, 1920 – the French disdainfully chucked out Britain’s protégé.

In response, Britain earmarked its follow-up fabrication, Iraq, for Faisal’s subsequent make-believe realm. His next coronation took place in Baghdad on August 23, 1921.

The Iraqi Hashemite dynasty was deposed in 1958 when its third-in-line, Faisal II, was assassinated and his corpse dragged through Baghdad’s streets. Even so, England’s unnatural Iraqi fusion continues to disturb the world.

That’s because artificial Iraq, like synthetic Syria, doesn’t mirror any ethnic reality. Both are hopeless hodgepodges of tribes, clans and incompatible religions. In no way, shape or form do any of these assemblages remotely resemble what in western terms constitutes a nation.

Moreover, the very last thing components of the mismatched mishmashes want is to cozily coexist with each other beneath one national banner. They only did so involuntarily, when under a tyrant’s thumb. Despots like Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad and Muammar Gaddafi kept a tight lid on their respective non-nations until the West arrogantly-cum-ignorantly sought to democratize those who didn’t quite yearn to be free (leastways not as we conceive of freedom).

The upshot of the misnamed “Arab Spring” – as many uncool Israelis had the temerity to warn from the outset – is that the counterfeit nationalities of the Arab sphere disintegrate chaotically before our eyes.

As things stand, the global jihad spawned five relatively recent Islamist mini-theocracies.

There is a much overlooked Islamic dominion in Libya and in Nigeria Boko Haram controls sizable swathes. Al-Qaida’s breakaway outfit ISIS does likewise in parts of Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra runs its own separate Syrian bailiwick. Finally, and chronologically the first of the five, is the Hamas hegemony in Gaza.

The world prefers to avert its gaze from Hamastan despite its irrefutable aggression, rigid radicalism and homicidal fanaticism. Worst of all, Hamas, every bit as barbaric as ISIS, is significantly stronger – both in terms of manpower and military hardware.

The fact that Hamas executes by firing squad rather than by beheadings is incidental. It’s as immaterial as is Hamas’s predilection is for public execution in the streets versus ISIS’s fondness for parched desert backdrops.

There are other minor disparities. ISIS decapitates its victims without blindfolding them while Hamas wraps sackcloth around the heads of the unfortunates selected for summary capital punishment.

The differences perhaps arise from whom the particular executioners seek to horrify. When severing foreign heads, ISIS aims to shock the West. Hamas intends to instill fear in the hearts of fellow Gazans which makes the shooting of the regime’s alleged enemies a must-see communal spectacle.

These superficial differences apart, Hamas executions are no less draconian than the headline-grabbing ISIS variety and as deficient of even the faintest shadow of a hint of the façade of legal due process.

So why does the international community not view Hamas with the same repugnance and dread it reserves for ISIS? Pardon us for suspecting that this has everything to do with whom ISIS opposes and whom Hamas attacks.

ISIS’s primary enemies were Iraq’s Shiite government and Assad’s Alawite-led regime. The world could countenance this. Barack Obama never stomached Iraq’s elected leadership and his cold-shoulder is considerably more than an anecdotal factor.

No one fetes Assad anymore, though Obama’s America once lauded him as a “reformer” and pressured Israel to cede the Golan to him. Israel’s own cognitively-challenged leftwing also hoarsely clamored for handing the Golan to Assad’s celebrated stewardship. Our homegrown “peaceniks” now prefer we forget their ill-counsel, even as they advise us to turn Judea and Samaria to Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah cohorts.

ISIS only started to trouble the smug democracies when Western volunteers became increasingly visible among the renegade ranks and starred as the decapitators of prominent Western hostages. The specter of transplanted terror now haunts Europe.

Hamas, in contrast, only lobbed thousands of rockets at Jews, the abiding dislike for whom (to resort to understatement) is the one reliably unchanging theme in two millennia of European history. That’s why four-square-kilometers of inherently Jewish land generate such unanimous acrimony abroad.

Much as we might resist unpalatable conclusions, we regrettably cannot but infer that deep inside Europe’s heart (as well as in some US settings) there still reverberates hostility to the national revival of the Jewish people, i.e. to Zionism.

Since it’s a decided faux-pas to own up to what incontrovertibly smacks of anti-Semitism, the alternative is to censure the Jewish state over any and all pretexts.

This is the ongoing betrayal against the region’s one unquestionably bona fide and distinct nation – a betrayal that continues unabated since Abdullah was ensconced in Amman and Faisal in Damascus.

Feisal, by the way, conferred with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, on January 1919 and they produced the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish Cooperation. Thereupon Faisal issued the following statement, which appears quite fantastic in view of all that ensued:
“We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement… We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilized peoples of the world.”

Monday, September 08, 2014

Israel vindicated by UN damage assessment in Gaza

A summary of findings from IsraellyCool Blog, August 24, 2014, by Dan Smith:

An analysis of the Gaza War damage assessment by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (which has never been biased in Israel's favor), confirms that Israel attacked Hamas targets in a restrained manner:

  • Israel did not retaliate by rote against Hamas' systematic attacks on civilian targets; Israel bombed areas which harbored Hamas missile launching grounds and facilities, command posts, terrorists homes and hideouts, operational bases, weapon inventory and tunnels.
  • Most of the damage concentrated in very limited areas of 25 square meters or less, while most of Gaza was not damaged at all or in a very limited manner.  Less than 5% of Gaza was hit by The Israel Defense Forces.
  • The most populated areas of Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunes, Rafah and Deir el-Balah were  disproportionally-undamages: damaged in a very limited way or not damaged at all.
  • The areas highlighted by the UN damage assessment report are compatible with the Israel Defense Forces briefings on the location of Hamas facilities, especially in the Shuja'iya area, which was the arena of the most intense battles.
  • While Hamas concentrated its terror facilities - systetmatically and deliberately targetting Israeli civilians - in densely populated urban areas in Gaza, the vast majority of these urban areas were undamaged.
  • Israel demonstrated exceptional efforts to minimize collateral damage - by urging civilians to evacuate ahead of bombings, thus forefeiting the surprise effect - guided by security requirements and not by retaliatory or political expediency.
  • Israel followed surgical bombing tactic and not carpet bombing.  The attacks were not random nor indiscriminate. 
  • Most of the Israeli bombing hit areas which housed multiple tunnel entrances and shafts, as well as launching sites for mortars and missiles and other terror-related infrastructures.
  • 15% of Hamas rockets and mortars were short, hitting civilian targets inside Gaza.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The PA is little better than Hamas

From Fox News, 4 Sept 2014, by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles:

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.AP Photo

Key supporters of a two-state solution, including the Obama administration, see a potential silver lining in Hamas’ Gaza debacle. Hamas’ defeat could pave the way for a quick deal between Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Their argument is twofold:
First: Hamas’ gambit has brought nothing but suffering and devastation for the residents of Gaza. People there must surely have buyers’ remorse for voting the terrorist group into power in the first place, paving the way for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reassert its control.
Second: Israel needs a deal. With the Jewish state’s borders from the Golan Heights to the Sinai increasingly threatened by ISIS and other Al Qaeda-types, Israelis should rush to tie the knot with moderate Abbas now, since no one knows what kind of leader tomorrow will bring.

Frankly, this may be little more than wishful thinking. For starters, most Palestinians no longer trust the corruption-riddled PA to deliver. However much they may be angry with Khaled Mashaal for using their families as human shields, Gazans are not rushing to risk the wrath of Hamas unless the PA will actually help rebuild 5,000 destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, the latest polls indicate that Hamas has actually gained support, at least in the short term, for “standing up to the enemy.”

But even assuming Abbas has a mandate, he has a strange way of signaling to Israelis that he wants peace.

-- Despite the murders of three Israeli teens, despite thousands of rockets and missiles hurled at Israeli cities, despite the superhighway of terror tunnels, Hamas remains a partner in Abbas’ unity government. The U.S. continues to back this partnership. No Israeli leader can make a deal with Hamas as a co-signer.

-- Abbas has signaled to the Israelis that they must agree at the start of talks to withdraw to the indefensible 1967 border, or he will go to the International Criminal Court to seek indictments for war crimes against Israeli leaders and soldiers.

-- While Abbas did not support Hamas’ actions, a study by the respected Palestinian Media Watch details a barrage of hate unleashed by the PA and its affiliate, Fatah.

In criticizing Israel’s Gaza operations, op-eds and speeches declared their Jewish neighbors were worse than Nazis. The memory of the Shoah is desecrated, its imagery co-opted to demonize the offspring of 6 million Holocaust victims.

Here are a few examples:
“[Israel] did more evil and more horrifying things than what happened in the Nazi crematoria
-- Former PA Minister of Prisoners Issa Karake , Ma’an, July 25, 2014
“The insane Israeli war… is reenacting the Holocaust against the Arab Palestinian people.
-- Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, former adviser, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 21, 2014
Children have become the fuel for Israel’s Holocaust and war against Gaza.”
-- Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 15, 2014
"[Israel is committing a] mass extermination as the Nazis did in Europe in the 1940s.”
-- Fatah Deputy General, Central Committee Jibril Rajoub Awdah, independent Palestinian TV channel, July 14, 2014
“[Gazans are] undergoing the Holocaust of the 21st century by the barbaric occupation, which takes pride in murdering children.”
--District Governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam, Ma’an, July 31, 2014
Israel has murdered over two million Palestinian children …
Jewish children murdered in the Nazi Holocaust …did not exceed a million and a quarter.”
-- Former PA Minister of Prisoners Issa Karake, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 23, 2014
The official PA daily even used Holocaust imagery to deny Israel’s right to exist:
"This war has proved once again that Israel is a completely artificial state without historic or moral roots, a myth produced by the settlement wave – a fact that prevents it from living normally. As long as it exists, it will only produce things that are against humanity… Binyamin Netanyahu is a descendant of the Nazis [who] worships Hitler’s ways and imitates him in all the Holocausts he has perpetrated.”
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2014

The PA’s Israeli-Nazi propaganda onslaught, coupled with Hamas-led genocidal anti-Jew cries, supercharged a level of anti-Semitism across Europe so virulent that leading human rights icon Natan Sharansky declared we are witnessing the end of European Jewish history.

Against this backdrop and the implosion of so much of the region, it is hard to imagine that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is just around the corner. Before setting itself up for another Mideast diplomatic disappointment, the U.S. would do well to demand accountability from Abbas for the billions of dollars given to the PA that have done little to build the infrastructure for a future Palestinian state. 

Secondly, the U.S. should demand that the PA stop demonizing its neighbor. 

Unless the Obama administration and other “peacemakers” force the PA to talk peace to its own constituents, the toxic yield from its harvest of hate will poison hopes for peace for years to come.