Friday, December 05, 2014

Iran seeks post on key U.N. committee, Israel deems it "absurd"

From Reuters, 2 Dec 2014:

Iran is seeking a senior post on a United Nations committee that decides accreditation of non-governmental organizations, a move that Israel on Tuesday compared to gangster Al Capone running the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Iran was elected to the 19-member committee in April for a four-year term from 2015. The United States and Israel are also members of the committee, which acts as a kind of gatekeeper for rights groups and other NGOs seeking access to U.N. headquarters to lobby and participate in meetings and other events.

When Iran was first elected to the committee, the United States sharply criticized it as a "troubling outcome" because of what it said was Tehran's poor human rights record. The U.S. mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on Iran's bid to become vice chair of the committee.

In a letter obtained by Reuters, Iran presented its candidacy for vice-chair of the committee, which will begin meeting in late January.

Israel, which views Iran and its nuclear program as an existential threat, was clearly displeased by the idea.

"Imagine if Iran ran this committee in the same way it runs its country - human rights activists would be detained, journalists would be tortured, and anyone with a social media account would find himself arrested on fabricated charges,"
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told Reuters.

Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment on Prosor's remarks.

...Late last month a U.N. General Assembly committee adopted a resolution condemning Iran's human rights record and urging the government to make good on promises of reform.

US Congress passes Israel strategic partnership bill

From Yahoo News, 3 Dec 2014, by AFP:

Washington (AFP) - US lawmakers voted unanimously Wednesday to pass legislation making Israel a "major strategic partner" of the United States, deepening a bilateral bond that has recently shown signs of strain.

In a voice vote, the House approved the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which expands cooperation in defense and security, energy, research and development, business, agriculture, water management and academics.

The measure reflects "the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States," and declares Washington's "unwavering support" for Israel as a Jewish state.

The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in September, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The legislation would expand the US weapons stockpile in Israel by some $200 million in value, to a total of $1.8 billion, so that the Pentagon can be better prepared to conduct military operations in the volatile Middle East.

It also crucially allows Israel to use the weapons in the event of an emergency, as it did this summer during its operation "Protective Edge" in Gaza.

Earlier this year Congress dramatically increased US funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, to $351 million for fiscal year 2015 from $235 million the previous year.

"Israel is a bright light in a very, very dark region," veteran Democrat Eliot Engel said on the House floor shortly before the vote.

He noted how the bill was aimed in part at helping Israel maintain a "qualitative military edge" over its adversaries.

"We must always be working to ensure that our support for Israel keeps pace with the threats proliferating against the country -- from Iran to Hamas," House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce added in a statement.

The legislation also requires the Obama administration to move toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain US technologies and products, and it places Israel on the US list of countries that participate in the visa waiver program.

Abbas Shuts the Door to Negotiations with Israel

From the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Vol. 14, 39,   December 4, 2014, by Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi:

Abbas - prefers terrorism to negotiations

On Nov. 29, the Arab League approved a political action plan by PA President Mahmoud Abbas aimed at imposing the establishment of a Palestinian state without any political compromise on the Palestinians’ part. Jordan, currently the only Arab member of the UN Security Council, will submit a resolution to the Council along the lines of Abbas’ plan in the coming days.

The plan involves internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by having the Security Council fix a date for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas, who claimed there was no longer an Israeli partner for a political settlement, said his plan includes having the “state of Palestine” join international conventions and organizations, particularly the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and requesting the UN to provide protection to the Palestinian people.

Abbas’ political plan shuts the door to any possibility of reaching a political settlement through negotiations with Israel. The conditions he has presented for resuming negotiations impose terms on Israel with no reciprocity from the Palestinians in the context of a political compromise.

Abbas is trying to exert pressure on the U.S., the international community, and Israel simultaneously. Abbas hopes to goad the international community into forcing Israel to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines without a peace agreement being signed.

The Palestinian Authority is determined, even at the price of a run-in with the U.S. and Israel, to advance a unilateral political process that is aimed against Israel. The rioting and terror in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which are being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, serve as a form of pressure on Israel and are also aimed at spurring the international community’s intervention.

On November 29, 2014, the Arab Peace Initiative Committee of the Arab League Council approved a political-action plan submitted by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen)...A diplomatic official told the Al Arabiya network that Jordan, currently the only Arab member of the UN Security Council, will submit in the coming days a proposal for a resolution along the lines of Abbas’ plan.

The political plan Abbas presented ...involves internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by submitting a proposal for a resolution to the Security Council, whereby the Security Council would fix a date for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.

In his speech Abbas, who claimed there was no longer an Israeli partner for a political settlement, set forth the other components of his plan. They include: the “state of Palestine” joining international conventions and organizations, particularly the International Criminal Court in The Hague and a conference of states parties to the Geneva conventions, where one of the resolutions would be to declare the conventions applicable to the state of Palestine;” requesting the United Nations to provide protection to the Palestinian people; and a diplomatic effort to convince additional states to recognize the “state of Palestine.”

Abbas’ political plan shuts the door to any possibility of reaching a political settlement through negotiations with Israel. Whereas Abbas conveys to the world at large that he remains committed to the path of negotiations, the conditions he has presented for resuming them entail imposing terms on Israel with no reciprocity from the Palestinians in the context of a political compromise.

Abbas says Palestinian conditions for renewing the talks include: ending construction in the settlements, freeing the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners (terrorists who are Israeli citizens and are serving prison sentences), withdrawing IDF forces from parts of Area A in the West Bank that are supposed to be under the Palestinian Authority’s full security control, and Israeli agreement to negotiate with the Palestinians on making the 1967 lines the border between the state of Israel and the state of Palestine.

Abbas’ Pressure Tactics Include Violence
Abbas is trying to exert pressure on the United States, the international community, and Israel simultaneously. He told the Arab League Council that he sees no need to wait for the results of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to bridge the Israeli and Palestinian positions, and that, if the United States vetoes the resolution in the Security Council, he would then reassess relations with Israel, end security cooperation with it (which is aimed at preventing terror), and transfer control of the “state of Palestine” to Israel, which he called “the occupying state.” By means of that scenario – which could foster political and security chaos leading to an Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (a third intifada) that would have a regional and international impact – Abbas hopes to goad the international community into forcing Israel to fulfill the Palestinian condition of recognizing a sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, without a peace agreement being signed.

Thus the Palestinian Authority is determined, even at the price of a run-in with the United States and Israel, to advance a unilateral political process that is aimed against Israel and has the full support of the Arab League. The rioting and terror in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which are being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, serve this political process as a form of pressure on Israel and also are aimed at spurring the international community’s intervention. Abbas not only has not condemned the wave of Palestinian anti-Israeli terror but, in traditional fashion, his speeches have reiterated the formula of “praise to the pure martyrs, freedom to the heroic prisoners, and rapid recovery to the heroic wounded.” What this adds up to is backing for every Palestinian who takes part in the struggle against Israel, including terrorist murderers.

The unilateral Palestinian political process marks the launching of an all-out political campaign against Israel accompanied by terror that could develop into an armed intifada

In relation to the international community Abbas has a supreme interest in maintaining the tenuous unity agreement with Hamas, since it indicates that the Palestinian Authority exercises rule (actually only apparent) over Gaza as well. Hamas, the real and unquestioned ruler of Gaza, is extending a rope to Abbas because it sees him as a means, in the international sphere, of attaining the “liberation” of the West Bank, which Hamas wants to take over in a similar way that it drove Fatah from Gaza in the summer of 2007. Hence, for the time being, Hamas is not likely to initiate hostilities with Israel from Gaza, and most of the terror effort will be directed at the West Bank and, from it, at Israel, while continuing to rehabilitate and build up terror infrastructures and military capabilities in Gaza.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

What about the Jewish Nakba?

From Ynet Nws, 28 Nov 2014, by Dror ben Yemini:

Op-ed: For decades, the Palestinians have nurtured the ethos of the Nakba while Israel chose to downplay the persecutions and expulsion of the Arab Jews. It is time to set the record straight.

"If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea." 
This statement was made by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, about a month and a half after the declaration of the independence, and with the Egyptian Army already having invaded the territory allotted to the Jewish state.

The Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, explained in his memoirs:
"Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world."
And the Arab League at the time also adopted two decisions, which materialized into a bill designed to seize the bank accounts of Jews and strip them of their possessions – a bill that was subsequently put into practice among well-established and wealthy Jewish communities in places such as Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Entire communities were destroyed.

For decades, the Palestinians have nurtured the ethos of the Nakba. It has become the defining experience of Palestinian identity. Israel, on the other hand, chose to downplay the persecutions, expulsion and dispossession of the Jews of the Arab states.

Palestinians mark Nakba Day in Gaza Strip (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinians mark Nakba Day in Gaza Strip 
(Photo: Reuters)

The Knesset decided only this year to set aside a special day, November 30, to mark the Jewish Nakba. Most school children in Israel know about what was done to the Jews of Kishinev and also about what was done to the Arabs in Deir Yassin.

But most Israeli students don't know about Jewish Nakba. They don't know about a long series of pogroms and massacres perpetrated against Jews in most Arab countries. The Kishinev pogroms in 1906 claimed the lives of 29 Jews. A year later, in pogroms in Morocco, 50 Jews were murdered in the city of Settat, and another 30 were killed in Casablanca.

How many high school students know about them? And how many know about the pogrom in Aden in 1948 in which 82 Jews were murdered? And how many know about the hundreds more who were killed during that period in Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Libya only because they were Jews?

The "narratives" have taken control of the university campuses and school system. On their behalf, Israeli students are told "the other side's version of the story." Not that one should belittle the pain of the Palestinians. God forbid. The thing is that there is nothing unique about the Palestinian story in particular. People fled. Some were deported too. But where were things any different?

And yet, the Jewish Nakba vanished into thin air, despite the fact that it was far more severe. After all, the Jews of the Arab states didn't declare war on the Arab countries; they didn't have a leader like the Mufti who was planning and plotting to eradicate all the Arabs – every last one. On the contrary, they were peaceful citizens wherever they were.

* * *
Let's set the record straight. The disintegration of the empires, beginning with the Ottoman, through to the Austro-Hungarian, and on to the British, intensified the demand on the part of various peoples for self-determination – no more multi-ethnic states under imperial rule, but nations with a sense of independent identity instead. Some would call it an imaginary heritage, but that's not important.

The result was huge waves of population transfers, beginning in 1912 and through to the years following World War II. Around 52 million people underwent the experience, including tens of millions in the period after the war.

Millions of Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, Turks, Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians, Indians, Pakistanis and more and more were forced to leave their birthplaces to make way for national entities, old and new. One would be hard pressed to find a single conflict during the period in question that did not end without a population exchange.

Remains of shop attacked on Kristallnacht (Photo: Gettyimages)
Remains of shop attacked on Kristallnacht 
(Photo: Gettyimages)

And the same happened in the Jewish-Arab conflict too. When the Peel Commission decided in 1937 on a population exchange, one of the reasons it offered to support its decision was the fact that the Iraqis had carried out against the Assyrian minority, despite earlier assurances to safeguard their rights.

The population exchanges between Greece and Turkey also served as a backdrop for the commission's decision. At the time, this was the position held by statesmen, scholars and intellectuals. Furthermore, in 1930, the Permanent Court of International Justice, the highest international judicial instance at the time, approved population transfers by force when it ruled that the purpose of mass population transfers was to "more effectively aid the process of pacification of the Near East."

* * *
That's the background. The Arabs of Palestine paid a price for two reasons – firstly, because of the recalcitrant and reckless actions of their leaders; and secondly, as mentioned, because that's the way things worked during that period.

It wouldn't have happened without the big Arab invasion, which was accompanied by declarations of destruction from Arab leaders, like the Arab League secretary-general at the time, who declared: "This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacre or the Crusader wars."

The war against the fledgling Jewish state ended in resounding defeat. But among those who paid the price were the hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Arab countries. Take note, not all were expelled; but those who weren't knew, too, that their time was up. 

There've been attempts here and there to gauge the value of the Jewish property left behind in Arab states. According to estimates offered by economist Sidney Zabludoff, assets abandoned by Arab refugees amount to $3.9 billion, as opposed to the $6 billion in assets abandoned by Jewish refugees (in 2007 terms). There are other assessments too.

What is clear is the fact that those tens of millions who underwent the experience of population exchanges didn't receive a single penny, and certainly not the "right of return." Just a few years ago, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a property restitution claim filed by Greek refugees from Cyprus.

The Jews of European received compensation because their story is a different one. They were dispossessed through no fault of their own, and not in the framework of population exchanges. Not only that, they are believed to have received just 20 percent of the value of the assets they once possessed. When viewed in the light of the real situation, and not "narratives," the right of the Jews to compensation is far greater than that of the Arabs.

* * *
A ceremony to mark the Jewish Nakba will take place on Sunday at the President's Residence, following the recent enactment of a law designating November 30 as a day to mark the departure and expulsion of Jews from the Arab states and Iran. And the ceremony, in essence, is an expression of our need to recognize the broad picture. We need to know there were huge population exchanges.

Counter-protest against Nakba rally at Tel Aviv University (Photo: Shahar Hay)
Counter-protest against Nakba rally at Tel Aviv University 
(Photo: Shahar Hay)

We need to know these huge population exchanges also saw hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled and dispossessed. We need to know that overplaying the Palestinian Nakba – like in the form of the Nakba film festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque – has actually become a factor that is holding back the chance for an agreement and understanding, and that recognizing the broad picture will make it clear to all that there's no turning back the clock.

Millions of Indians are not going to go back to Pakistan. Millions of Germans are not going to go back to parts of Poland that were once Germany. Millions of Poles and Ukrainians won't return to Ukraine or Poland. Millions of Palestinians aren't coming back to Israel, and millions of Jews are not going to return to Arab states.

Today, ignoring the broad picture is detrimental to peace. The ceremony that will take place on Sunday at the President's Residence won't change the misguided perceptions, not of the Palestinians and not of parts of the Israeli left.

This can only be achieved through massive investment in the school system – not to teach the Zionist or Palestinian narrative, but to teach instead the truth. Perhaps we've forgotten, but there is such a thing.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It’s Our Fault

From The Jewish PressNovember 27th:

The following are remarks Moshe Feiglin made at a Knesset deliberation on Sweden’s recognition of a Palestinian state:

I have no complaints against the Swedish government. From their point of view, they reached a logical conclusion.

After all, since the Oslo Accords, every Israeli government – including the current one – has promoted the two-state solution. When Israel does not speak the truth, and declares that the very heart of our land belongs to a different nation...The world, in turn, says, “If that is the case, let us recognize the ‘Palestinians.’”

Sweden’s position is a direct result of the stand Israel has decided to adopt for itself. Israel’s policies prompted Sweden’s declaration and we have no reason to complain. Recently, Google also recognized the “Palestinian state.” Of course it did. We recognize the “Palestinian state,” so what do we want from Google?

We recognize the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; we recognize the great lie, that this land belongs to the fabricated nation. So what do we want from the Swedes?

But a Palestinian state will not arise. Not because Israel opposes its establishment. Not for lack of effort on the part of the nations of the world. A Palestinian state will not arise because the last thing the “Palestinians” want is a state.

In the entire history of nation states – approximately the past 200 years – there has never been an ethnic group that has received so much aid and assistance to establish its state and yet did not succeed in doing so. The reason for this failure is because the last thing the “Palestinians” want is a state. They do not want their own state: they – including their representatives in the Knesset – want to destroy our state. That is their main drive.

When Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian sovereignty and when Gaza was under Egyptian sovereignty – Arab sovereignty, not Jewish sovereignty – nobody made any demands to establish a Palestinian state. The “Palestinians”’ entire focus will always be on the last centimeter of land under Jewish sovereignty. On the day that the state of Israel is G-d forbid destroyed, the Palestinian nation and all its aspirations will disappear.

And so, I have no complaints against the Swedes. My complaint is against ourselves. Let us tell the truth: There is only one nation here that is sovereign over the entire land. That is the Jewish nation.

Palestine is Israel

From Atlas Shrugs, 15 Nov 2014, by Pamella Geller:

The fact is that Palestine is Israel – the Jewish homeland.

After the Romans conquered the Jews in the Jewish-Roman wars, the Romans renamed Israel after the Jews’ worst enemies — the Philistines — in order to further humiliate them.

The term was first used to denote an official province in c.135 CE, when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the [Jewish] Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined Iudaea Province with Galilee and the Paralia to form “Syria Palaestina”. 

It was a Roman Emperor who first coined the name.

In AD 135, the Emperor Hadrian blotted out the name “Provincia Judea” and renamed it “Provincia Syria Palaestina”. This was the Latin version of the Greek name and soon became a name to be used as an administrative unit. This name was shortened to Palaestina and the name “Palestine” was derived from it as a modern and anglicized version. (more here) 

In other words, it was always Jewish.

Leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians. It was not until years after Israeli independence that the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were called Palestinians. In fact, Arabs cannot even correctly pronounce the word Palestine in their native tongue, referring to area rather as“Filastin.”...
1939 Palestinian Flag. What does it look like?...


This a Larousse French dictionary from 1939. In the appendix it lists all the then current flags of the world in alphabetical order. You’ll notice that for Germany at that time the flag was the Nazi one replete with Zwastika which proves that this was pre-1945 ( before 1945).

Now, alphabetically, look for the Palestinian Flag. YES , there is one. What does it look like? Surprised? Oh, but you thought (Mandate Jewish) Palestine was an Islamic Arab-,Turkish-, Circassian Sovereign State that the bad Jews took over, right?



From 1920-1948 a ( class ‘A’ Mandate) State of Palestine existed as per international law but it was, as all of its major institutions, Jewish. Until the 1960s, name “Palestine” resonated as something Jewish to European ears; the Muslims rejecting the name saying it didn’t belong. The 4,000 year old Jewish homeland or “Land of Israel” or the “Holy Land” were all synonymous!!

The British as legal Mandatory over the Mandate managed or mismanaged the state partially with Jewish Auxilary until Jews regained official sovereignty in 1948, by declaring independence.

The U.N. did not recreate Israel as some people claim.

There are a lot of cultural and historic relics, artifacts and icons that validate the Jewish identity of Palestine.

Take, for example, the leading newspaper of “Palestine,” the Palestine Post (or as it is now known, the Jerusalem Post).

palestine post 
16 May 1948 edition of The Palestine Post

The Jerusalem Post is a broadsheet newspaper based in Israel, publishing only English and French editions. Its predecessor the Palestine Post was founded in 1932 by Gershon Agron. The name change occurred in 1950.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 2.06.20 PM

...The Origins of the term “Palestinian Arabs”: 

No “Palestinian Arab people” existed at the start of 1920, but, by December, it took shape in a form recognizably similar to today’s.

Until the late nineteenth century, residents living in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean identified themselves primarily in terms of religion: Moslems felt far stronger bonds with remote co-religionists than with nearby Christians and Jews. Living in that area did not imply any sense of common political purpose.

Then came the ideology of nationalism from Europe; its ideal of a government that embodies the spirit of its people was alien but appealing to Middle Easterners. How to apply this ideal, though? Who constitutes a nation and where must the boundaries be? These questions stimulated huge debates.

Some said the residents of the Levant are a nation; others said Eastern Arabic speakers; or all Arabic speakers; or all Moslems.

But no one suggested “Palestinians,” and for good reason. Palestine, then a secular way of saying Eretz Yisra’el or Terra Sancta, embodied a purely Jewish and Christian concept, one utterly foreign to Moslems, even repugnant to them.

This distaste was confirmed in April 1920, when the British occupying force carved out a “Palestine.” Moslems reacted very suspiciously, rightly seeing this designation as a victory for Zionism. Less accurately, they worried about it signaling a revival in the Crusader impulse. No prominent Moslem voices endorsed the delineation of Palestine in 1920; all protested it.

Instead, Moslems west of the Jordan directed their allegiance to Damascus, where the great-great-uncle of Jordan’s King Abdullah II was then ruling; they identified themselves as Southern Syrians.

Interestingly, no one advocated this affiliation more emphatically than a young man named Amin Husseini. In July 1920, however, the French overthrew this Hashemite king, in the process killing the notion of a Southern Syria.

Isolated by the events of April and July, the Moslems of Palestine made the best of a bad situation. One prominent Jerusalemite commented, just days following the fall of the Hashemite kingdom: “after the recent events in Damascus, we have to effect a complete change in our plans here. Southern Syria no longer exists. We must defend Palestine.”

Following this advice, the leadership in December 1920 adopted the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state. Within a few years, this effort was led by Husseini.

Other identities – Syrian, Arab, and Moslem – continued to compete for decades afterward with the Palestinian one, but the latter has by now mostly swept the others aside and reigns nearly supreme.