Thursday, December 23, 2010

Envoy demands UN speak out against attacks

From JERUSALEM POST, 22 December 2010, by JORDANA HORN:

NEW YORK – The recent escalation in rocket attacks, culminating in the wounding of a young girl, should be met “with utmost seriousness” and a response from the UN, Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben wrote in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Kimoon and the Security Council on Tuesday.

“The incidents of the past several days are part of an escalation of terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza that target Israeli civilians, towns and military personnel..."
“[Hamas] holds the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip completely responsible for all of these incidents, which are carried out in clear violation of international law. In response to such attacks, Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self defense."

“With the intention of preventing the continued escalation of conflict, the security council, the secretary-general and the international community must send a clear and resolute message that these attacks are unacceptable..."

...Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, on Wednesday condemned the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

“These attacks are in clear violation of international humanitarian law and endanger civilians in Israel,” Serry said, adding that Israel has “a right to self-defense consistent with international humanitarian law..."...

Yad Vashem: 4 million Shoah victims identified

From Ynet News, 22 December 2010, by Olga Goretzki:

Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority announced Tuesday it has collected the names of 4 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust – some two-thirds of the total number of Jewish victims estimated to have been murdered by the Nazis.

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said that during the last decade the museum's staff had tracked some 1.5 million names and added them to the databases.

New Effort
Shalev said. "One of Yad Vashem's central aims is to give a face and a name to each Holocaust victim, and give them back their identities. We have managed to use technology in the service of memory, and thus accelerated the collection of names and the accessibility of the information for people around the world."
"The Germans not only wanted to annihilate the Jews, but also to wipe them from memory,"
Six years ago Yad Vashem launched a central database on the internet. At the time, the database included the names of some 3 million Holocaust victims. The center's staff then began a concerted operation to collect the missing names.

In addition, the digitalization process was accelerated for names from archived documents. Yad Vashem says some 55% of the 4 million names known at present are from testimonies of family members, while the rest are from archive documents and various remembrance initiatives of communities and survivors.

The names hardest to track are of those murdered in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In these regions, in contrast to Western Europe, Jews were murdered near their places of residence, and the Nazis made no deportation lists.

During the last five years, there has been significant improvement in this field. According to Alexander Avraham, director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names, there has been a huge increase in the known and documented names of victims in the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary and Greece.

Torah scrolls and synagogues
"After the Holocaust there was less awareness among survivors and relatives," Avraham explains. "During the last three years, there has been a special project for Russian-speakers in Israel, the former USSR, the US and Germany. We approach them with the help of volunteers and Jewish organizations to encourage them to submit documents, photos and anything connected with the identity of victims, but there is still a lot of work to be done."

Last year, he says, Yad Vashem staff managed to obtain a list of 38 people who were deported from Salonika (Thessaloniki) to Auschwitz, and a new project is now being launched to collect names from Poland. "Many names from there are still missing," Avaraham says.

Another project concentrates on collecting names among haredi communities. "The haredi population has developed various ways of remembering the victims," he says. "Haredim haven't really filled out testimony forms. They dedicated Torah scrolls to the memory of victims, and put up remembrance plaques at synagogues, and the names are detailed there."

Yad Vashem staff does not rest, and continues in its work identifying the 2 million victims who remain without a name and without a face.

"Every name we succeed in rescuing from oblivion is another victory over the Nazis who tried to destroy and annihilate the memory of these people,"
Avraham says.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No "1967 Borders" Ever Existed

From JCPA, Briefs Vol. 10, No. 17 21 December 2010, by Alan Baker, former Legal Adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada: The Palestinian leadership is fixated on attempting to press foreign governments and the UN to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within the "1967 borders." Indeed, this campaign appeared to have some initial successes in December 2010 when both Argentina and Brazil decided to recognize a Palestinian state within what they described as the "1967 borders." 

  • But such borders do not exist and have no basis in history, law, or fact. The only line that ever existed was the 1949 armistice demarcation line, based on the ceasefire lines of the Israeli and Arab armies pending agreement on permanent peace. The 1949 armistice agreements specifically stated that such lines have no political or legal significance and do not prejudice future negotiations on boundaries.
  • UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 acknowledged the need for negotiation of secure and recognized boundaries. Prominent jurists and UN delegates, including from Brazil and Jordan, acknowledged that the previous lines cannot be considered as international boundaries. 
  • The series of agreements between the PLO and Israel (1993-1999) reaffirm the intention and commitment of the parties to negotiate permanent borders. During all phases of negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, there was never any determination as to a border based on the 1967 lines. 
  • The PLO leadership solemnly undertook that all issues of permanent status would be resolved only through negotiations between the parties. The 2003 "Road Map" further reiterated the need for negotiations on final borders. 
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Iran is the issue, not "Palestine"

From The Australia/Israel review, January 2011 edition, by Dr. Uzi Rabi, Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University:

American diplomatic accounts of conversations with various Arab leaders, released this past month by WikiLeaks...[show that]regional and international leaders...are not focused primarily on Israel’s traditional struggle with the Arab states and the Palestinians. Rather...with the prospect of a nuclear Iran...

...Gulf leaders are quoted as urging the United States to attack Iran as quickly as possible. Saudi King Abdullah was particularly graphic, calling on Washington to “cut the head off of the snake.” Economic sanctions were preferable, he said, but “the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out.” Two years ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal went as far as proposing an Arab-led military force to destroy Hezbollah in order to prevent an “Iranian takeover of Lebanon.” In December 2005, United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid told US CENTCOM head, Gen. John Abizaid, that the Iranians had to be “dealt with before they do something tragic.” UAE military leaders were quoted as agreeing with the Americans that “President Ahmadinejad seemed unbalanced, crazy even.” Crown Prince bin Zayid called Ahmadinejad “Hitler” and pressed for an Israeli attack against Iran.

Earlier this year international media sources revealed that Israel and Saudi Arabia had engaged in secret talks, in which Saudi Arabia implied that it would turn a blind eye if Israel were to use the Saudi desert as a fly-over corridor to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Barring such an attack, nuclear Iran would become a regional superpower able to pressure Gulf states to line up behind it; it could serve as a source of inspiration and support for radical groups in the Gulf states and beyond; and a regional nuclear arms race would likely ensue.

...The WikiLeaks disclosures have widened the deep-rooted divisions between the Arab Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain (the Upper Gulf states), and Iran...

The WikiLeaks documents also shed light on the ongoing military and diplomatic cooperation between Iran and Turkey, suggesting the beginnings of a new axis in the region. ...the strains between Ankara and Washington reverberate throughout the documents and beyond. For example, one document states that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds eight private bank accounts in Switzerland...

While Israel has possessed a nuclear capability for over 40 years, WikiLeaks documents show that it is Iran’s nuclear ambitions that currently worry Arab states...

...There are relatively few references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the documents, and the issue has taken a back seat to nuclear Iran in recent Arab-American diplomatic discussions. The Arab states’ deep fear of Iran’s regional ambitions, which are a source of inspiration to its clients, Hamas and Hezbollah, outweighs their concern with the intractable, but not immediately threatening Israel-Palestinian issue.

...Arab leaders seem to view the Obama Administration’s insistent focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as coming at the expense of blocking Iran’s rising power. Together with what they view as administration impotence in affecting a change in Israeli policies, Arab states essentially confer a grade of “Poor” on Washington’s overall performance in the Middle East...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yoel Zilberman, from the heart of the heartland

From Youtube:
Yoel Zilberman - The Founder of "HaShomer HaHadash" (The New Guardian) talks at a Jerusalem Conference about the organization's activities, in response to Bedouin attacks on Jewish-owned farms in the Galil and the Negev, and Jewish farmers who are abondoning their lands in fear ...

"return of the narrative, Israeli sovereignty and dignity"

...young guys who join the farmers and work with them day by day...

Last week we did historical revolution preparatory programs ...a service year, a year before the army, when guys finish high school ...will start next year King David every 8,10 guys will be on a lookout in the fields with a herd of sheep learning Torah in the morning, learning Zionism in the evening, learning Arabic...we're in the Middle East.

And these guys, togther with the cattle herds with practice, running and full-contact training, ...they're going to retore the courage of the Jew in Israel, the Jew who guards ...

The fortified walls of Jerusalem are those same farmers and cowboys, the same lands ...the 4 million dunams of state land, that's what protects our country.

...we foresee that in the year 2015, we'll have more than 2,000 guards, no less than 6,000 volunteers...and no less than 30 groups...of 8-10 guys before the army, out with the sheep in the fields, literally going back to the roots, and these guys relearn their own story and don't let anyone confuse them and their are no cracks and no confusion, 

and then the whole world will be clear on whose this is ...I ...include the Arabs... they're just waiting for us to tell them it's ours. They haven't yet understood that, they're just waiting and ... b"h will happen.