Thursday, August 05, 2010

Obama kicks Israel over the Ban Ki-Moon

From August 02, 2010, by Anne Bayefsky*:

President Obama has now blackmailed the government of Israel into submitting its defense forces to the toxic oversight of the United Nations.

Today U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created, with Israel’s approval, a UN investigation of last June’s flotilla incident in which Turkish-backed extremists sought to shatter Israel’s lawful naval blockade of Hamas-run Gaza.

Despite the fact that Israel has already launched an inquiry with international participants, the Obama administration insists that the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israeli legal and political establishment governing their actions, must be subject to UN supervision.

...Even Ban Ki-moon today called the development “unprecedented”. The U.N. team will be second-guessing the actions taken in self-defense by a democratic state, governed by the rule of law and at war with a terrorist entity committed to its destruction -- on account of an undisputed figure of nine deaths.

In the course of war, hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have been killed by American and coalition forces, while undemocratic regimes regularly and deliberately murder thousands, without a peep from the U.N.

If the president tried the same stunt in America, ordering U.S. generals to report to Ban Ki-moon and company and to seek their seal of approval, the uproar would be deafening. But this president has evidently embraced the defining attribute of the U.N. approach to Israel -- double-standards.

Obama’s support for the U.N. investigation is part of a major realignment of U.S. foreign policy to synchronize it with an organization dominated by Islamic interests. Within 24 hours of the flotilla incident, the U.S. agreed to a hasty Security Council presidential statement on May 31 that called for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials let it be known that “credible” to this administration meant credible in the eyes of the U.N. In the Israeli case, the United States is prepared to make the requisites of self-defense subservient to the U.N. mob.

In today’s U.N. announcement, Ban Ki-moon named former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer to head his inquiry. Palmer is closely associated with one of the U.N.’s top officials, Helen Clark, ...[who] was Palmer’s deputy during his time in office and, after becoming prime minister herself, named him to a number of important posts. U.N. officials clearly believe that Palmer shares, or will be influenced by, the biases of those who appointed him. In the midst of the Gaza war in January 2009, Clark blamed Israel for the conflict saying the impact of Hamas rocket attacks “has been but a tiny fraction of that of the Israeli strikes on Gaza.” In August 2006 during the Lebanon war, Clark said she found it “hard to believe” that the accidental Israeli bombing of a U.N. observation post in Lebanon was anything but deliberate.

...The details of the Ban investigation, including its mandate, have yet to be ironed out. But Ban’s announcement sets a mid-September deadline for an interim report ...
... Removing the fundamentals of self-defense from Israeli hands is at odds with the very raison d’etre of the Jewish state. This was one demand of a hostile American administration too many.

*Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

Lebanese Attack was a Planned Ambush

From Ynet News, 4 August 2010, by Smadar Peri:

Journalists and photographers were briefed in advance of the intention to ambush IDF troops and were therefore present at the site of Tuesday's deadly clash between Israeli and Lebanese forces...

The lethal skirmish ensued after IDF forces performing routine operations in a border-area enclave came under Lebanese fire. The Israeli troops fired back, killing three Lebanese soldiers and a local journalist ...Assaf Abu Rahal, worked for Hezbollah-affiliated Beirut daily al-Akhbar. Another journalist, Ali Shuaib from Hezbollah's al-Manar station, was wounded in the incident and was taken to hospital for treatment.

...the presence of journalists and even broadcast trucks at the scene even before the clash ensued ...reinforces suspicions that the incident was a well-planned Lebanese ambush...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Lebanese Armed Forces fire at Israel defence Forces

From The IDF Spokesperson, August 3, 2010...15:38 (Israel time):

Aerial photo from IDF indicates that incident occured within Israeli territory.

LAF Opens Fire at IDF Force on Northern Border, 3 Aug 2010

Earlier today during the mid-day hours, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) fired at an IDF position along the Lebanese border in northern Israel. The force was in Israeli territory, carrying out routine maintenance and was pre-coordinated with UNIFIL. The incident occurred [east]* of the internationally recognized “Blue Line” (the border between Israel and Lebanon) and east of the security fence, thus lying in Israeli territory.

The IDF force immediately returned fire with light arms at a force of the LAF, and the IDF also made use of artillery fire. Several minutes later an Israel Air Force (IAF) helicopter fired at the LAF Battalion Command Center in Al-Taybeh, damaging several LAF armored combat vehicles.

The IDF holds the LAF responsible for the incident that disrupted the calm in the region, and its consequences.

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi arrived at the Israeli-Lebanese border, is following the events closely as they unfold, and is constantly holding situation assessment reports with the OC Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, as well as the Galilee Regional Division commander and additional commanders.

The Israeli civilians in the Galilee region are carrying on with their routine way of life.

From IDF Spokesperson, August 3, 2010...17:38 (Israel time):

An IDF officer was killed today by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) fire in the Israel- Lebanon border. The officer is Lt. Col. Dov Harari (45) from Netanya. Harari served as a battalion commander.

*...Location of Incident: The border area is West of the Israeli town Misgav Am. The incident occurred east of the internationally recognized “Blue Line” (the border between Israel and Lebanon) and west of the security fence, thus lying in Israeli territory.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Truth About the Flotilla

From JINSACOMM, July 14, 2010:

In late June in Tel Aviv, senior Israeli Defense Forces officials briefed JINSA members on the security situation confronting Israel. They provided the group with the following video about the "Flotilla" incident that took place on the morning of May 31, 2010.

The most disturbing part of this video comes at around the 2:32 mark when the Israeli Navy attempts to contact the ships in the flotilla by radio. It is not clear which flotilla vessel the disturbing responses came from. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that that videos like this one that reveal the true nature of the flotilla incident are buried and overlooked by the media and public alike.

"Occupation" and "Settlements" are merely an excuse for Palestinian violence

From JINSA, 3 August 2010, by Martin Sherman*:

The Context: Restoring Memory
Israel is continuously accused by its detractors of "occupying" Palestinian territory and "usurping" Palestinian land by means of an "expansionary settlement policy."
"Occupation" and "Settlements" have thus become the buzzwords by which to denote, to decry and defame Israel's control of the territories across the 1967 armistices lines. This prevailing custom is wildly at odds with the realities that forced Israel to seize these territories in an unequivocal act of self defense against threats of annihilation, in classic preemptive exercise of the right of "anticipatory self defense."
A 2003 article "Jus ad Bellum: Law Regulating Resort to Force", published by the American Bar Association, sets out the rather stringent conditions for the legitimate exercise of "anticipatory self defense." It stipulates that the necessity for action must be "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." It goes on to quote a "recent edition of a leading treatise [which] states that [anticipatory] self-defense may justify use of force under the following conditions: an attack is immediately threatened; there is an urgent necessity for defensive action; there is no practicable alternative, particularly when another state or authority that legally could stop or prevent the infringement does not or cannot do so..."
There is clearly not doubt that these conditions were met in June 1967.
The declarations of Arab leaders, before Israel held a square inch of territory now claimed to be "occupied," show irrefutably that "an attack was immediately threatened" and that there was indeed "an urgent necessity for defensive action." Furthermore, there was clearly no practicable alternative, particularly when another state or authority that legally could stop or prevent the infringement did not do so..." (since the UN had, at Cairo's behest, removed its troops from the Israeli-Egyptian border; and the United States and other maritime powers refused to remove Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran, and to honor their commitments to allow Israel the right of navigation in the Red Sea.)
On March 8th 1965, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaimed:
"We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand. We shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood."
On May 18, 1967 the Cairo-based radio station Voice of the Arabs blared stridently:
"As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. .... The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence."
Two days later, on May 20, 1967, Gen. Hafez al-Assad, Syria's Minister of Defense, and later President, boasted: "Our forces are now entirely initiate the act of liberation itself and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland....the time has come to enter a battle of annihilation."
On May 27, Nasser declared:
"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."
And four days before the outbreak of war, on June 1, 1967, Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Ali (later killed by Saddam Hussein) threatened:
"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map."
Therefore, it was not Israeli aggression but unequivocal Arab aggression that led to the events which precipitated Israel's takeover of territories across the 1967 frontiers, an act of clearly legitimate anticipatory preemption of that aggression.

The Jordanian Factor and the Palestinian Element
On November 18, 1965, Nasser asserted:
"Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel."
It should be recalled that at this time the entire "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza, the territories that are now claimed for the establishment of a Palestinian state, were under full Arab control. Nasser himself ruled over Gaza and King Hussein of Jordan over the "West Bank." Yet neither undertook any initiative to set up any kind of Palestinian entity in these territories. (Indeed, as we shall see, at that time the Palestinians themselves eschewed any aspirations of sovereignty over 'West Bank' and Gaza, which seem to have been totally irrelevant for "full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people," both in the eyes of the Palestinians and in the eyes of the wider Arab world.)
So, as the Arab armies massed against it, Israel began to brace itself for the coming war, preparing mass graves in Tel Aviv and other cities in anticipation of large civilian causalities. On May 27, 1967, the then-chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Ahmed Shukairy, gloated, "D-Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation."
The use of the word "liberation" is both interesting and revealing for, at the time, the notions of "occupation" and "settlements" had neither conceptual significance nor practical relevance. Consequently, they could not in any way account for this ferocious hostility towards the Jewish nation-state by the Arabs who clearly were not seeking "liberation" in Arab-ruled Gaza and the "West Bank." Apparently impressed by this boastful bluster and bravado, and despite the bitter acrimony between Nasser and himself, King Hussein signed a military pact with Egypt on May 30, 1967, declaring:
"All of the Arab armies now surround Israel. The UAR (the United Arab Republic, the name by which Egypt called itself from 1958 to 1971), Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, and Kuwait. .... There is no difference between one Arab people and another, no difference between one Arab army and another"
In a premature flush of triumph, on June 1, 1967, PLO leader Shukairy crowed:
"This is a fight for the homeland. It is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive....We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors - if there are any - the boats are ready to deport them."
Here again Shukairy's terminology is of interest. For quite apart from the explicit articulation of his bloodcurdling intentions, the use of "homeland" is instructive and illuminating. For it clearly did not refer to "West Bank" or to Gaza which, as previously mentioned, were under Arab rule and were certainly in no way targeted for "liberation."
Cleary then, "the liberation of the homeland" must be construed as "the elimination of the Jewish state." Indeed, how else could be construed? (That this was the Arab intention is made even more explicit a little later.)
This view is strongly endorsed by the text of the original formulation of the Palestinian Coventant adopted in 1964, before any "occupation" or "settlements" were ever part of the discourse, much less facts on the ground.
Thus, in Article 16, the covenant states:
"The liberation of Palestine, from an international viewpoint, is a defensive act necessitated by the demands of self-defense restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine, ... and enabling its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom."
But, in Article 24, it specifically eschews claims to:
"any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan [sic] and Gaza."
What more authoritative source could be imagined for exposing the Palestinian claims to the West Bank and Gaza as bogus than the Palestinian themselves? The source being their own "National Covenant" no less.

The Palestinian - Then and Now

So what, if anything, has changed since then in the motivations and objectives of the Palestinians? Very little, it would appear.

***[please allow me to repeat that - SL]***

So what, if anything, has changed since then in the motivations and objectives of the Palestinians? Very little, it would appear.

For when one looks at the founding documents of the major Palestinian organizations today, the same abiding animosity persists.

For example, the constitution of the allegedly moderate/pragmatic Fatah, adopted in 1964 and purposefully left un-amended in its 2009 Convention in Bethlehem, states as its "Goal" (in Article 12):
"Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence."
In the (still un-amended) Article 19, it details how this "eradication" is to be accomplished:
Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
This parallels closely the sentiments expressed in the currently valid (and accessible via the UN website) Palestinian National Covenant adopted in 1968. This document, despite promises to U.S. President Bill Clinton, still includes clauses calling for the destruction of Israel.
In this regard, Article 22 is quite specific stating that the "... liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence ..." Article 19 of the 1968 version declares that: The partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time..." This echoes, almost verbatim, the language of Article 17 of the previous 1964 version of the covenant, and irrefutably underscores the unbroken, obdurate persistence of the Palestinians enmity towards Israel, and whose origins clearly pre-date any "occupation" or "settlements."
Furthermore, should anyone opine that the vigor of the Palestinians' genocidal - or rather "Judeocidal" - aspirations has receded, the Hamas Charter will quickly dispel such illusions. For the founding document of the largest Palestinian political faction, which sets outs its raison d'etre, proclaims:
Israel ... will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors ...Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam ... The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, ... there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. (From the Preamble, Article 28 and Article 7)
Clearly then, Arab Palestinian enmity towards the Jews is not about borders but about being; not about Israel's "occupation" but about Israel's existence; not about what the Jewish people do but about what the Jewish people are; not about the Jewish state's policy but about the Jewish state per se.

Indeed, should further evidence be required that "Occupation" and "Settlements" are merely an excuse and not a reason for Palestinian violence, the situation in Gaza provides the ultimate proof. For after Israel razed all of its settlements to the ground, evacuated all the settlers, removed any vestige of "occupation," violence against Israel surged rather than subsided. And any suggestion that the continuing Palestinian attacks are due to the "blockade" should be swiftly dismissed since the blockade post-dated these attacks and is thus demonstrably a result of them not a reason for them, it is a consequence - not a cause - of Palestinian violence.

So, in the final analysis, in accounting for the enduring bloodshed in the Middle East, the claims that Israeli "occupation" and the Israeli settlements are to blame must be assertively repudiated.

*Professor Martin Sherman is
  • 2009-2010 Hebrew Union College/University of Southern California,
  • Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor of Security Studies and International Policy,
  • academic director of the Jerusalem Summit,
  • a research fellow in the Security Studies Program at Tel Aviv University,
  • a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT),
  • was an academic advisor to the Herzliya Conference,
  • served for several years in operational capacities in the Israeli intelligence community,
  • has held the post of ministerial advisor to the Israeli government,
  • author of two books: The Politics of Water in the Middle East, (1999) and Despots, Democrats and the Determinants of International Conflict, (1998),
  • published widely in journals,
  • has edited books and policy papers on a range of strategic and foreign policy issues
  • currently working on Israel's developing ties with India
  • a frequent television and radio commentator on foreign and security policy topics in Hebrew and English.

PA incitement of "young leaders" at summer camp

From PMW Bulletins, July 29, 2010, by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook:

A summer camp in Bethlehem is the latest institution in the Palestinian Authority [that's the "moderate" PA]  to be named after the leader of the worst terror attack in Israel's history.

According to the official PA daily newspaper, the new camp is named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led a 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 civilians, 12 of them children, were killed. The newspaper reports that the camp "aims at training young leaders" in the Bethlehem area:

"The Ministry of Social Affairs in Ramallah opened yesterday in El Bireh the fourth integration camp for people with special needs, and in Bethlehem the second Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi camp [opened]... The second Dalal Mughrabi summer camp was opened in the headquarters of Light of Generations' youth association in Bethlehem, with support from the National Committee for Summer Camps and the One Voice Palestine organization in Ramallah. It aims at training young leaders in the eastern countryside of Bethlehem District. Present [at the opening] were... the Secretary of Fatah's Bethlehem branch, Yusuf Al-Aref, ..., Chairman of the [Light of Generations' youth] association, Ibrahim Mubarak, Muhammad Khalil - camp director... 70 young girls from the Dar Salah village and neighboring villages participated."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 29, 2010]

As PMW has documented, the PA has turned Mughrabi into a celebrated hero and role model. Schools, summer camps, landmarks and centers for youth and education have been named after her.

Click here to see the section of PMW's website about Mughrabi's elevation from terrorist to hero.

The camp has received support from the National Committee for Summer Camps, which is under the supervision of the PA's Ministry of Youth and Sports, according to the ministry's website. The general coordinator of the camps committee, Mousa Abu Zaid, is also the PA's Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports.

In a recent article, Zaid wrote that Palestinian summer camps teach children "through precept and example about the importance of dialogue and tolerance in life."

The other supporter cited in the article about the Mughrabi camp is One Voice Palestine. According to its website, the members of this international movement are "fed up with the ongoing conflict" and "ready and eager to support a serious process" leading to a peace agreement.

In March this year, the PA and Fatah named a square near Ramallah after Mughrabi, and her attack has been celebrated by a spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction as "the most glorified sacrifice action in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle" [Al-Ayyam, July 13, 2008]. The PA celebrated the 31st anniversary of her killings with an hour-long TV special that opened with the narrator glorifying the attack.

Click here to see PMW's report From Terrorists to Role Models on the PA's policy of glorifying terrorists.

Terrorists kill in Jordan to thwart peace

From JPOST.COM, 2 August 2010, by YAAKOV KATZ:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on the telephone with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah on Monday about the rocket attacks which struck Jordan and Israel earlier in the day.

"The attacks perpetrated on innocent citizens of Jordan and Israel were carried out by terrorists that want to thwart the peace process," said Netanyahu in a statement released Monday. "All of the countries in the region who want peace need to fight against these forces in order to expel terror and bring peace closer," he added.

Jordan condemned Monday the firing of a rocket that struck near the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba in which a Jordanian man was killed and four others were injured. The rocket was one of six which struck the area, including a second rocket in Jordan, one near Eilat, two in the Red Sea and one in the Sinai Peninsula.

In a statement released by the Jordanian Information Ministry the rocket attack was called a "terror attack." Jordan promised to continue in its war against terror. A Jordanian taxi driver injured in the attack died of his wounds Monday.

...The rockets were suspected to have been launched from the Sinai Peninsula by Islamic Jihad...
...Eilat Police sappers said that the Grad-type Katyushas were Iranian-made, with a range of some 20 kilometers. The rockets reportedly weighed 6 kilograms each.

...The US condemned the attacks on Monday, calling the actions "deplorable," AFP reported. US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the attacks seemed to be an attempt to sabotage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. ...He added that the US has "strong suspicions" about who is responsible for the attacks, but gave no further elaboration.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Demonizing Israel helps Arab dictators and is bad for the Palestinians

From JPost, 1 August 2010, by MUDAR ZAHRAN, a Jordanian of Palestinian heritage, is a researcher at the University of Bedfordshire:

The negative focus on Israel by the global media has harmed the Palestinians’ interests for decades

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the international media have been unhesitant in criticizing the Jewish state on almost everything.  ...[they] pay very little attention to the conditions of the Palestinians living in Arab countries, despite the extreme oppression they have been enduring for decades in most Arab countries.

...This tendency to blame Israel for everything has lead to the development of numerous myths about the situation of the Palestinian there that have provided an excuse to purposely ignore and compromise the human rights of the Palestinian in many Arab countries.

THE EXAMPLES for that are plentiful and sometimes cross the line into tragic comedy. While the world is crying over the Israel-imposed blockade on Gaza, the media, for some unknown reason, choose to deliberately ignore the conditions of the Palestinians living in camps in Lebanon.

Lebanon, a country with some of the most hostile forces to Israel, has been holing up Palestinians inside camps for almost 30 years. Those camps do not have any foundations of livelihood or even sanitation and the Palestinians living there are not allowed access to basics such as buying cement to enlarge or repair homes for their growing families. Furthermore, it is difficult for them to work legally, and are even restricted from going out of their camps at certain hours. Compare this to the fact that Palestinian laborers were still able to go to work every day in Israel while Hamas was carrying out an average of one suicide bombing per week a few years ago, and until recently launching missiles daily on southern Israel. Not to mention the fact that Israel allows food items and medications into Gaza if handled through the Palestinian Authority.

The Lebanese atrocities toward the Palestinians have been tolerated by the international community, not only by the media. Today, while some Israeli military commanders have to think twice, in fear of legal consequences, before they visit London or Brussels, well-known Lebanese leaders who had directly participated in mass killings of Palestinian civilians, during and after the Lebanese civil war, are becoming world-respected political figures – Nabih Berri, for example, the leader of Amal Shi’ite militia who enforced a multi-year siege on Palestinian camps, cutting water access and food supplies to them. The Palestinians under Berri’s siege were reported to be consuming rats and dogs to survive. Nonetheless, he has been the undisputed speaker of the Lebanese parliament for a long time. He travels frequently to Europe and criticizes Israel for its “crimes against the Palestinians” on every occasion.

MANY OTHER Arab countries are no different than Lebanon in their ill-treatment and discrimination against the Palestinians. Why do the media choose to ignore those and focus only on Israel? While the security wall being built by Israel has become a symbol of “apartheid” in the global media, they almost never address the actual walls and separation barriers that have been isolating Palestinian refugee camps in Arab countries for decades.

...The demonization of Israel by the global media has greatly harmed the Palestinians’ interests for decades and covered up Arab atrocities against them. Furthermore, demonizing Israel has been well-exploited by several Arab dictatorships to direct citizens’ rage against Israel instead of their regimes and also to justify any atrocities they commit in the name of protecting their nations from “the evil Zionists.”

This game has served some of the most notorious Arab dictatorships, and still does today, as any opposition is immediately labelled “a Zionist plot.”

This model had served Gamal Abdel Nasser in ruling Egypt with an iron fist until he died, and was the main line for Saddam Hussein, who was promoting that “Iraq and Palestine are one identical case” in his last years in power.

The global media must be fair in addressing the Palestinians’ suffering in Arab countries and must stop demonizing Israel. It should start focusing on the broader conditions of the Palestinians in the Middle East region....

The Palestinians are the problem behind the failure to achieve peace.

From Rubin Repots, July 30, 2010, by Barry Rubin:

...The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the United States and others have telephoned Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and begged him, pleaded with him:----negotiate with Israel so we can give you a state as soon as possible. We will give you a lot of gifts if you do it, so we can then bestow even more goodies on you! And Abbas says "No!"

Why? Why if Palestinians are so eager for a two-state solution, for a country of their own, for ending the "horrible" "occupation" (which mostly ended in 1994-1996), putting a stop to the "suffering" of their people, putting a stop to violence, enabling their children to go to school, raising living standards, and all the other benefits of putting an end to this long-standing conflict?

...the PA, and Hamas of course, that is sustaining the conflict. It refuses to make peace because:
  • It still hopes for total victory.
  • It believes that if it can sabotage a negotiated agreement there will be an imposed one giving the PA everything it wants without compromise or concession on its part.
  • It doesn't want to end the conflict forever, accept less than 100 percent of British mandatory Palestine, and give up the demand that Palestinians can go live in Israel in order to subvert that country.
  • It fears that any compromise will ensure that the PA, or the individual leaders who make a deal, is branded as a traitor.
... When [Abbas ] first came to Washington, about 15 months ago, Obama urged him to negotiate with Israel. Abbas refused.

Last September, almost 11 months ago, Obama announced there would soon be direct talks. Abbas refused.

...Moreover, the Arab League meeting generally being reported as giving the green light for Abbas to negotiate with Israel. On the contrary, it is the exact opposite: it sets preconditions. This is a defeat for U.S. policy and may be the deathknell for direct negotiations this year. After all the flattery, distancing from Israel, and going easy on Arab regimes, the Obama Administration has failed to get them to deliver what his three predecessors obtained easily without such measures: direct Israel-Palestinian talks.

[It is obvious, daily, observable reality that] ...the Palestinians are the problem behind the failure to achieve peace...

Gaza flotillas reek of hypocrisy

From WSJ, 29 July 2010, by DANNY AYALON, Israel's deputy minister of foreign affairs:

A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements.

...the events described above took place Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the "prison camps" in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights.
  • The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering.
  • Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns.
  • Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system.
... the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from "discrimination and marginalization" and are treated like "second class citizens" and "denied their full range of human rights." ... most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.

In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli [in Lebanon] in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are "united by a feeling of stark injustice."

This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy.

There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded "humanitarian activists" are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.

Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and "human rights activist," was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the "situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

No one claims that the situation in Gaza is perfect. Since the bloody coup and occupation by Hamas of Gaza in 2007, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed, Israel has had no choice but to ensure that Hamas is not able to build up an Iranian port on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Until Hamas meets the three standards laid out by the international community, namely
  • renouncing violence,
  • recognizing Israel's right to exist and
  • abiding by previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,
Hamas will continue to be shunned by the international community.

While Israel's policy is to continue to see that all civilian needs are addressed, it can not allow Hamas to rearm and use Gaza as a base to attack Israel and beyond. For this reason, Israel initiated a blockade, fully legal under international law, to ensure that no items can be appropriated by Hamas to attack innocent civilians.

Organizations that wish to join the U.N. and the Red Cross to deliver goods or aid to Gaza are welcome to do so through the Kerem Shalom crossing or even through Egyptian ports. Those that refuse and seek to break the legal blockade to boost Hamas are interested in provocation.

If Israel allows these confrontational flotillas to successfully open up a shipping lane for arms smuggling for an Iranian proxy, then the region will suffer from continuous conflict. Actions that embolden the extremists will be at the cost of the moderates and this will pose a grave danger to moving the peace process forward.

The latest flotilla preparing to leave from Lebanon fully exposes not only the hypocrisy but the danger of these provocative vigilante flotillas. The Lebanese flotilla, whose organizers claim injustice while ignoring the dire human rights situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, amply demonstrate that these flotillas have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel.

Senior Hamas terrorist eliminated in Gaza strike

From Ynet News, 31 July 2010, by Roee Nahmias:

...The Hamas operative killed in the IDF strike in Gaza Friday was a senior [Hamas thug, 40-year-old Issa al-Batran] who survived five assassination attempts by Israel, an announcement by Hamas' ...Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades stated on Saturday.

Twelve other Palestinians were also injured in the strike, and some of them sustained serious wounds.

On Friday ...the Salah al-Din Brigades claimed responsibility for the Grad rocket that was fired at Ashkelon.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed that Israel Air Force jets struck three targets in the Gaza Strip, including a terror hub in the north, a weapons factory in the central Strip, and a smuggling tunnel in the south. All jets returned safely to their bases.

The IDF said the attack came in response to the rocket fired at Ashkelon Friday morning, and stressed that the military would continue to operate against any element threatening the citizens of Israel and its soldiers.

"The IDF holds the Hamas terror organization solely responsible for the occurrences in the Strip and for maintaining calm there," the IDF statement said.

Update published by Ynet 31  July at 22:29 by Shmulik Hadad:

...A Qassam rocket fired from northern Gaza Saturday night hit the roof of a building in an educational institution located in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, outside of Sderot. There were no reports of injury.

Security forces and firefighters were alerted to the scene. On firefighter reported seeing smoke billowing from the building. "I have no doubt that had there been people in the building – it would have been a major disaster. It's a miracle," he said, adding that "serious" damage was caused to three rooms.

The "Color Red" siren warned residents of the incoming projectile...