Sunday, December 31, 2017

Twilight over the "Palestinian Cause"

From Gatestone Institute, by 

  • Reports from the West Bank after the Six Day War show that the Arabs interviewed defined themselves as "Arabs" or "Jordanians", and evidently did not yet know that they were "the Palestinian people". Since then, they were taught it. They were also taught that it is their duty is to "liberate Palestine" by killing Jews. The Palestinians are the first people invented to serve as a weapon of mass destruction of another people.
  • "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese." — PLO leader Zuheir Mohsen, interview in the Dutch newspaper Trouw, March 1977.
  • Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European Union has become the main financier of the "Palestinian cause", including its terrorism. They are also contributing to war.
  • Iran, strengthened enormously by the agreement passed in July 2015 and the massive US funding that accompanied it, has been showing its desire to become a hegemonic power in the Middle East.
  • The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, recently issued a fatwa saying that "fighting the Jews" is "against the will" of Allah and that Hamas is a terrorist organization.
For many years, "Palestine" has not stopped aspiring to new heights in the so called "international community". "Palestine" has been present at the Olympic Games since 1996, and, later, became a permanent observer to UNESCO and the United Nations. The vast majority of the 95 "embassies" of "Palestine" are in the Muslim world; many others are in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. In 2014, the Spanish Parliament voted in favor of full recognition of "Palestine." A few weeks later, the French Parliament did the same. 
There is no other instance in the history of the world where a state that does not exist can have missions and embassies presumed to function as if that state did exist.
Now the time has probably come for the "Palestinians" to realize that they have lost and fall back to earth, as noted by the scholar Daniel Pipes.

Have "Palestinian" leaders been showing by their speeches and actions that they are ready to rule a state living in peace with their neighbors and with the rest of the world? All "Palestinian" leaders have incessantly incited terrorism, and do not hide their wish to wipe Israel off the map.
Is there a long-standing aspiration by the "Palestinian people" to have a state and to live peacefully within that state? The answer is actually no. The "Palestinian people" were invented in the late 1960s by the Arab and Soviet propaganda services. As PLO leader Zuheir Mohsen told the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977:
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese."
Reports from the West Bank after the Six Day War show that the Arabs defined themselves in interviews as "Arabs" or "Jordanians"; they evidently did not know that they were the "Palestinian people". Since then, they were taught it. They were also taught that it is their duty to "liberate Palestine" by killing Jews. The Palestinians are the first people invented to serve as a weapon of mass destruction of another people.
Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, at the Arab League summit in Rabat, Morocco, 1974. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Is there at least a historic past that gives legitimacy to the aspiration to create a "Palestinian state"? The answer again is actually no. There is no Palestinian culture distinct from the cultures of the Muslim Arab world, no monument that can be defined as a "Palestinian" historic monument, except by falsifying history.
More basically, would a hypothetical "Palestinian state" be economically viable? Again, the answer is actually no. Territories occupied by the Palestinian movements survive only thanks to international financial assistance from the West.
How then could so many countries wish for so long to create a state whose rulers would likely be regressive, corrupt "Palestinian" leaders; whose inhabitants would be used as killing machines, whose history is non-existent-to-falsified and whose economic potential seems zero?
The answer is simple.
Behind their support for the creation of a "Palestinian state", those countries have been pursuing other goals. For decades, countries of the Muslim world obsessively wanted one thing: the destruction of Israel.
They tried to reach their goal through conventional warfare, then terrorism, then diplomacy, then propaganda. They blamed only Israel for all the evils of the Middle East.
All the while, they know who the "Palestinian" leaders are and what they do. They know that the "Palestinian people" were invented. They know why the "Palestinian" people were invented. They know that a "Palestinian state" will not have a viable economy. Yet they have been committed to a strategy of destabilizing and demonizing a non-Muslim nation, Israel.
They call the "Palestinians" "victims"; terrorism, "militancy"; and incitement to kill, "resisting occupation". They have been trampling rightful history and replacing it with myth.
They press "Palestinian" leaders to "negotiate", knowing perfectly well that no agreement will ever be signed and that negotiations will end in bloodshed.
They propose only "peace plans" they know Israel must reject – those which include the "'49 'Auschwitz' armistice lines" or the "right of return" for "Palestinian refugees", who numbered half a million in 1949, but near five million today.
They recognize a "Palestinian state" while knowing that the "state" they recognize is not a state, but rather a terrorist entity without defined borders or territory, and imbued with a will to spill more blood and create more mayhem.
They have relied on turmoil, blackmail and lies to encourage the rest of the world to think the situation requires drastic international intervention.
They have been saying they want a "Palestinian state", but never that they want this state to renounce terrorism and end the conflict.
Instead, they have been waging a vicious war they have long hoped to win.
For more than thirty years, they benefited from the support of the Soviet Union. It financed wars (19671973), terrorism, diplomacy and propaganda. The Soviet Union made the "Palestinian" enterprise an "anti-imperialist" cause -- a means of strengthening Soviet positions and galvanizing the enemies of the West. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but the effects of its support for the "Palestinian cause" for a time remained. Many countries hostile to the West still support and recognize the "Palestinians" while pretending to ignore that they are recognizing a terrorist entity. They are contributing to war.
Countries of the Western world, subjected to the pressures of the Muslim world and the Soviet Union for many years, have gradually given way, some even before any pressure was applied.
France chose its camp in 1967, when General Charles de Gaulle launched what he called an "Arab policy" after its defeat in Algeria. French foreign policy become resolutely "pro-Palestinian" -– in an apparent effort to deflect terrorism, obtain inexpensive oil and compete with the US -- and has remained so to this day. Western European countries have gradually adopted positions close to those of France. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European Union has become the main financier of the "Palestinian cause", including its terrorism. Western European leaders know what the real goals are, yet they repeat without respite that creating a "Palestinian state" is "essential". They are also contributing to war.
Although a long-time ally of Israel, the United States changed its Middle East policy in the beginning of the 1990s to positions closer to those of the Muslim world. American politicians and diplomats pressured Israelis to negotiate with "Palestinian" leaders and seemed to have lost sight of what the "Palestinian cause" was secretly about. Wishful Israeli leaders agreed to negotiate. The tragic result was the Oslo Accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA). It quickly became a new base of anti-Israeli terrorism. A wave of lethal, anti-Israel attacks started immediately, with a stepped-up anti-Israel diplomatic and propaganda offensive right after. A "two-state solution" was invoked. American leaders, as if they had slept through several years, started to say that a "Palestinian state" had to exist. Three American Presidents proposed "peace plans", also contributing to war.
An additional "peace plan" is expected soon, but the parameters will be profoundly different. President Donald Trump appears to wish to break with the past.
He recently told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that "Palestinian" leaders were liars. None of the American negotiators he chose seems to have the slightest illusion about the "Palestinian" leadership or the "Palestinian cause".
The Taylor Force Act, passed on December 5 by the US House of Representatives, plans to condition US aid to the "West Bank and Gaza" on "the actions taken by the Palestinian Authority to end violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens"; the Act could be adopted soon by the Senate. The PA rejected all the requirements in the Act.
The Muslim world is also undergoing change. Iran, strengthened enormously by the agreement passed in July 2015 and the massive US funding that accompanied it, has been showing its desire to become a hegemonic power in the Middle East. The mullahs' regime now holds three capital cities in addition to Teheran: Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut. Iran attacks Saudi Arabia and supports the war led by the Houthi militia in Yemen; it intends to seize Sanaa and take control of Bab El Mandeb, the gateway to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. Qatar and Turkey have established close ties with Iran.
Saudi leaders appear aware of the danger. King Salman chose his son, Mohamed bin Salman, as heir to the throne, and gave him broad powers. "MBS", as he is known, seems intent on leading a real revolution. Militarily, he is head of the 40-member Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, and has declared his desire to "end terrorism". Economically, he is in charge of an ambitious reform project aimed at making his country less dependent on oil: Saudi Vision 2030. All Saudi leaders in disagreement with the new orientations of the country were placed under arrest and their assets confiscated. Mohamed bin Salman has identified Iran as the main enemy, and recently described its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, as a "new Hitler." Qatar and Turkey have been subjected to intense Saudi pressure to distance themselves from the Iranian regime. The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, recently issued a fatwa saying that "fighting the Jews" is "against the will" of Allah and that Hamas is a terrorist organization.
Mohamed bin Salman has the support of the Trump administration; Vladimir Putin who, while being allied to Iran, may want a balance of power in the Middle East, and Xi Jinping, who is facing the risk of a Sunni Islamic upheaval in China's autonomous territory, Xinjiang.
"Palestinian" leader, Mahmoud Abbas was reportedly summoned to Riyadh, where King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman told him that he had to accept the plan proposed by the Trump administration or resign, and that it would "risky" for him to consider launching an uprising – which he has anyway, although being careful to keep it lukewarm.
During the month of October, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a close ally of Mohamed bin Salman, invited the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to come to Cairo for a "reconciliation". He apparently demanded control of the Gaza Strip to be handed to the Palestinian Authority. It also seems that the Trump administration and President Sisi told Hamas leaders that they had to approve the terms of the "reconciliation" agreement, and that if they carried out any attacks against Israel, they risked complete destruction.
The "peace plan" evidently to be presented by the Trump administration is provoking the extreme anger of "Palestinian" leaders. The goal of the "plan" seems to be to revive an open ended "peace process", allowing Saudi Arabia and the members of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition to move closer to Israel and push the "Palestinian cause" toward the back burner.
On November 19, an Arab League emergency meeting held in Cairo strongly condemned Hezbollah and Iran. Moreover, for the first time in fifty years, a meeting of the Arab League did not even mention the "Palestinian" question.
President Trump's recognition on December 6 of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has led to restlessness and acrimony both in the Muslim world and among Western European leaders. Sunni leaders allied to Saudi Arabia, however, as well as Saudi Arabia itself, seem too concerned about the Iranian threat to quarrel with Israel, the United States or really anyone. Western Europe has almost no weight in what is taking shape; all it has shown is cowardice, fear, and continued contempt for a fellow Western democracy: Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four year term -- and apparently seeing that he is getting little support -- appeared to seek divine intervention: he asked the Pope for help. There would be "no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital," Abbas said. He sounded as if he had begun to understand that the "Palestinian cause" could be fading, and, with other "Palestinian" leaders, called for "three days of rage". A few protesters burned tires and American flags – the usual.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to convene in Istanbul on December 13, and urged leaders of Muslim countries to recognize Jerusalem as the "occupied capital of the Palestinian state". Saudi King Salman stayed well away as did almost all other Sunni leaders. He only sent a message saying that he calls for "a political solution to resolve regional crises". He added that "Palestinians have right to East Jerusalem" – the least he could do; he did no more. Erdogan is mainly supported by Iran, today's foremost enemy of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries.
"It will not be the end of the war against Israel," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "but it could be the beginning of the end of the "Palestinian cause".
It now seems a good time for Western European leaders who still blindly support the "Palestinian cause" to cut their losses, both politically and economically. Taking the side of Erdogan and the mullahs in order to support a terrorist entity that will never be a "state" will do nothing to help them fight either terrorism or the increasing Islamization of Europe.

Behind Iranian Lines

From JPost, 15 December 2017, by Jonathan Spyer:

Qais al-Khazali

...[Recently], a recording emerged of an Iraqi Shi’a militia leader called Qais al-Khazali visiting the Lebanon-Israel border area. The short video shows him in the company of two other uniformed men. They are in the village of Kafr Kila, which is adjacent to Metulla.

...Khazali is the leader of an Iran-supported force called Asaib Ahl al-Haq [AAH] (the League of the Righteous). In the manner preferred by the Iranians, the organization doubles as an armed militia and a political party. It was prominent in the Shi’a insurgency against the US and its allies just over a decade ago. Today, AAH is a key component in the Hashd al-Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Units), the gathering of Shi’a militias raised up in the summer of 2014 to fight Islamic State when the Sunni jihadists were gunning for Baghdad. AAH has also played an important role in the Assad regime’s war in Syria.

...Khazali’s appearance at the border is the latest and most graphic demonstration that Israel can no longer consider its long standoff with Hezbollah as a closed conflict system between a state and a small, albeit well-armed militia. Iran has now breached the boundaries of this system.

On November 19, pro-Iranian Syrian and Iraqi forces completed the capture of Abu Kamal, a dusty town on the Syria-Iraq border 640 km. east of Quneitra. In so doing, Iran secured its land route from Iran through Iraq and Syria, to a few kilometers from the Quneitra crossing. It also secured a road for the supply of Hezbollah.

Iran is taking orders neither from Russia, nor from the nominal Syrian government of Bashar Assad in its activities in Syria. Rather, with thousands of militiamen on the ground in the country, it is building its own independent infrastructure. This includes the facility at al-Kiswa, 13 km. south of Damascus, bombed by Israeli aircraft on December 2. Iranian personnel are also present closer to the Israeli border.

In Iraq, as the war against Islamic State winds down, the Popular Mobilization Units is establishing itself as a permanent armed force. Already a year ago, its continued mobilization was confirmed by law. Now, components of the PMU are securing their status as political forces, ahead of the Iraqi elections scheduled for May. The Badr Organization was licensed to take part in the elections 10 months ago. On November 6, AAH also received its license from the Iraqi Higher Elections Committee to participate in the elections.

Using the kudos gained by their role in the war against Islamic State, and while maintaining their military capacity, these parties are set to perform well. And in cooperation with former prime minister Maliki, they may well emerge as the dominant force in Iraq after the elections.

All this has the slight flavor of déjà vu about it. On a smaller scale in Lebanon, similar Iranian clients who knew how to combine military and political activity are now in a position of unchallenged dominance of the country.

So put all this together – the achievement of the Iranian land corridor through Syria to Lebanon and the Israeli border, the burgeoning political and military strength of Iran’s proxies in Iraq, the Iranian efforts to push their presence and infrastructure to the border with the Golan Heights – and the potential scope and look of a future conflict between Israel and the Iran-led regional bloc becomes clear.

All this is taking place, by the way, at a time when the West is busy practicing politics in Iraq and Lebanon, backing supposedly moderate and certainly toothless figures such as prime ministers Saad Hariri and Haider al-Abadi.

Seen against this background, Khazali’s tour of the area north of Metulla is the latest item of evidence confirming the growing boldness, broadening dimensions and advancing agenda of the Iranians in Iraq and the Levant.

A Palestinian State? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

From Algemeiner, 15 December 2017, by Martin Sherman:


...any prospective Palestinian state is almost certainly likely to embody the very antithesis of the values invoked for its inception by the liberal-Left Establishment.

Corrupt kleptocracy or tyrannical theocracy
...there is little reason to believe that any such state would be anything other than a misogynistic, homophobic Muslim majority tyranny and a bastion for Islamist terror groups — whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against woman/girls; persecution of homosexuals, prosecution of political dissidents, and suppression of non-Muslim faiths. Indeed, its liberal-Left devotees have certainly never provided any remotely compelling argument why it would not be. Neither has the empirical precedent set since the ill-considered 1993 Oslo Accords began the ill-fated process of prodding the unprepared Palestinian-Arabs towards self-government.

After all, since Yasser Arafat’s triumphant return to Gaza in July 1994, despite massive financial aid, almost unanimous international endorsement, and a series of Israeli governments, whose pliant leniency towards repeated Palestinian malfeasance exceeded the bounds of reason and common sense, the Palestinian-Arabs have failed to create anything remotely resembling a sustainable, productive society. Indeed, all they have managed to produce is a corrupt kleptocracy under Fatah and a tyrannical theocracy under Hamas.

Thus, after a quarter-century, notwithstanding the huge advantages it enjoyed — that, arguably far outstrip those that any other national liberation movement has had at its disposal — the Palestinian-Arab leadership has little to show for its efforts. All it has brought its people is an untenable and divided entity, with a dysfunctional polity, barely capable of holding even municipal elections; and an emaciated economy, crippled by corruption and cronyism, with a minuscule private sector and bloated public one, patently unsustainable without the largesse of its alleged “oppressor,” Israel.

Gaza: The gravest indictment of two-statism
Gaza, where the misguided experiment in two-statsim was first initiated back in 1994, sparking a surge of deluded optimism, has now become its gravest indictment — for both Jews and Arab alike.

For Arabs in Gaza, the specter of “humanitarian disaster” hovers over the general population, awash in untreated sewage flows, with well over 90% of the water supply unfit for drinking, electrical power available for only a few hours a day, and unemployment rates soaring to anything between 40-60%. Accordingly, there should be no surprise that a recent Palestinian poll found that only 6% of Gazans had a positive perception of prevailing conditions in the enclave, while almost 80% considered them bad or very bad.

For Jews in Israel, ever since governance of Gaza has been transferred to the Palestinian-Arabs, it has been a hotbed of terror from which numerous deadly attacks have emanated.

Israel’s unilateral 2005 evacuation of the entire area, with the demolition of over a score of thriving Jewish settlements and the erasure of every vestige of prior Jewish existence — including the exhuming of graves and the removal of graveyards for fear of desecration by Palestinian-Arab hordes — did little to temper the Judeophobic fervor of the Gazans.  Significantly, the only remnant of Jewish presence left by Israel were two dozen synagogues, which were all immediately razed to the ground by frenzied Arab mobs.

Huge enhancement of terrorist capabilities
Moreover, if there were any hopes that Israel’s departure from Gaza would spur the Palestinian-Arab leadership to divert the focus of its efforts from terror-related activity to constructive nation-building, they were soon to be dispelled.

Indeed, quite the opposite occurred. Exploiting the absence of the IDF, the Palestinian-Arab terror groups in Gaza embarked on a feverish drive to enhance their capabilities to inflict harm on Israel and Israelis. To illustrate the point, when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the rockets which the Palestinian terror groups had at their disposal, had a range of barely five kilometers and a carried an explosive charge of around five kilograms. Today, they have missiles with ranges over 100 kilometers and warheads of 100 kilograms — i.e. they have enhanced these capabilities by a factor of 10.

Moreover, they have developed additional abilities that were barely conceivable back in 2005 — such as a naval strike force to attack Israel from the sea. But arguably the most menacing development is the excavation of an extensive array of tunnels underneath much of Gaza — including attack tunnels reaching into Israel to facilitate raids to murder or abduct Israeli citizens and soldiers.

Incessant terror attacks from Gaza forced Israel into three large-scale military operations (in 2008, 2012 and 2014) to restore some semblance of calm on its southern border — and a fourth round seems increasingly unavoidable as rockets continue to be fired at Israeli civilian centers.

Costly campaigns; considerable casualties
These campaigns inflicted considerable Israeli casualties — almost a hundred fatalities and well over a thousand wounded. The Palestinians suffered far higher losses — among other things, because of the tactics employed by Hamas of using civilians to shield their armed combatants.

Moreover, these campaigns cost the Israeli economy many billions of dollars — in direct military and civilian outlays, as well as lost production — as millions of Israelis remained huddled in shelters for weeks, with the country’s cities, towns and villages under repeated bombardment — see  here, here and here.”

To this must be added the massive expense of protecting the civilian population from continual interbellum terror attacks — such as the need to build numerous fortified structures in homes, public buildings, educational centers and kindergartens.

Israel has, of course, also been forced to invest huge sums in a quest to find an effective response to the overhead threat of rockets/missiles and the underground menace of tunnels.

The former has resulted in the largely effective “Iron Dome” which has generally kept the Israeli civilian population safe from overhead attack — by intercepting generally very cheap, primitive projectiles with very expensive and sophisticated ones.

The underground tunnels have proved a more challenging problem, and Israel has diverted enormous resources in search of a solution to the threat they pose. Recent successes in discovering and destroying some of such tunnels suggest that good progress has been made in regard.

In addition to these technological efforts, Israel has undertaken the construction of a physical anti-tunnel barrier along the entire fifty-plus km border with Gaza, dubbed by the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, “the largest project” ever carried out in Israel’s military history. Reportedly planned to extend into the sea, this giant barrier will comprise a six meter wall above ground and an underground concrete barrier, replete with advanced sensors, reportedly reaching depths of 40 meters.

Now imagine a giant Gaza overlooking Tel Aviv
Accordingly given the resounding failure of the endeavor to confer self-determination on the Palestinian-Arabs — and the enormous cost incurred in contending with that failure — it seems utterly incomprehensible that not only do demands to persist with it continue — but also to greatly expand it.

For despite the Palestinian-Arabs proven inability to successfully meet the challenges of self-determination — even on a minuscule scale in Gaza — pressures still endure, in defiance of common sense and intellectual integrity, to extend the experiment to the territory of Judea-Samaria.

The scale of this predestined folly is perhaps best illustrated by the size, cost and complexity of the previously mentioned anti-tunnel barrier under construction.

After all, if the IDF were to evacuate Judea-Samaria, there is little reason to believe that it would not follow the same path as Gaza and descend into tyrannical Islamist theocracy. Indeed, the proponents of such evacuation have not — and cannot — provide any persuasive assurance that it will not. Certainly, such an outcome cannot be discounted as totally implausible — and hence must be factored into Israel’s strategic planning as a possibility, with which it may well have to contend.

Accordingly, if Israel’s evacuation of Gaza gave rise to the need to build a multi-billion shekel barrier to protect the sparsely populated, largely rural south, surely the evacuation of Judea-Samaria is likely to give rise to a need to construct a similar barrier to protect the heavily populated, largely urban areas, which would border the evacuated territories.

There would, however, be several significant differences.

For, unlike Gaza, which has a 50-kilometer border with Israel, any prospective Palestinian-Arab entity in Judea-Samaria would have a frontier of anything up to 500 km (and possibly more, depending on the exact parameters of the evacuated areas).

Moreover, unlike Gaza, which has no topographical superiority over its surrounding environs, the limestone hills of Judea-Samaria dominate virtually all of Israel’s major airfields (civilian and military); main seaports and naval bases; vital infrastructure installations (power generation and transmission, water, communications and transportation systems); centers of civilian government and military command; and 80 percent of the civilian population and commercial activity.

Under these conditions, demilitarization is virtually irrelevant — as illustrated by the allegedly “demilitarized” Gaza. For even in the absence of a conventional air-force, navy, and armor, lightly armed renegades with improvised weapons could totally disrupt the socioeconomic routine of the nation at will, with or without the complicity of the incumbent regime, which given its despotic nature, would have little commitment to the welfare of the average citizen.

Faced with this grim prospect, any Israeli government would either have to resign itself to recurring paralysis of the economy, mounting civilian casualties and the disruption of life in the country, or respond repeatedly with massive retaliation, with the attendant collateral damage among the non-belligerent Palestinian-Arab population and international condemnation of its use of allegedly “disproportionate force.”

What could possible go wrong?
But it is not only demilitarization that is largely irrelevant. So too is the alleged sincerity of any prospective Palestinian “peace partner.” For whatever the deal struck, its durability cannot be assured.

Even in the unlikely event of some Palestinian, with the requisite authority and sincerity to conclude a binding deal with Israel, did emerge, he clearly could be removed from power — by ballot or bullet — as the Gaza precedent clearly demonstrates. All the perilous concessions made to him, on the assumption of his sincerity, would then accrue to a far more inimical successor, whose political credo is likely to be based on reneging on commitments made to the “heinous Zionist entity.”

Accordingly, based on both past precedent and sober political analysis, there is every reason to believe — and precious little not to — that any Palestinian state established in any area evacuated by Israel would swiftly degenerate into a mega-Gaza, overlooking greater Tel Aviv — with all the attendant perils such an outcome would entail.

So, in response to the question “What could possibly go wrong?,” the answer must be, “Pretty much everything.”

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Rising Threat From Iran After ISIS

Like Islamic State, Iran and Hezbollah call for Israel’s destruction—but they have greater military capability

A Hezbollah fighter stood near antitank artillery at the border of Syria and Lebanon in July.
A Hezbollah fighter stood near antitank artillery at the border of Syria and Lebanon in July. 

JERUSALEM—While much of the world celebrates the impending defeat of Islamic State, Israeli officials look at Syria and see little reason for joy. To them, a lesser enemy is being supplanted by a far more dangerous one—Iran and its allies.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is consolidating control, and his forces—aided by Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah—are eliminating Islamic State’s final pockets in the country while inching closer to the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

“Every place we see ISIS evacuating, we see Iran taking hold,” warned Sharren Haskel, an Israeli lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. “We have been dealing with this threat of Iran through Hezbollah on our northern border [with Lebanon], and we would not want to see the same setup on our Syrian border.”

Source: Institute for the Study of War (Islamic State Control)

Like Islamic State, Iran and Hezbollah call for Israel’s destruction. But unlike Islamic State, they have the military capability to pursue that goal.

With the Israeli-Lebanese border largely quiet since the devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, Iran and its allies don’t disguise their desire to open a second front in Syria.

“Iran’s goal is clear: to establish regional hegemony in the Middle East and to surround Israel from all directions,” said Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister, who heads a right-wing religious party allied with Likud and sits in the country’s security cabinet. “We’ve made it clear this is unacceptable and indeed, we will act to prevent it.”

To Israel, that’s a strategic challenge much more severe than anything Islamic State could do.

“ISIS, unlike Iran, doesn’t have an air force, missiles, sophistication and they are not supported by anyone, not by a superpower like Russia,” said Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Amos Gilead, the head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy, an Israeli think tank, who served until earlier this year as director of policy and political-military affairs at the Israeli defense ministry.

In fact, Islamic State militants who for years have controlled a small patch of land in an area where the Golan Heights meet Syria and Jordan have never troubled Israeli settlements just across the border fence.

Recognizing Israeli concerns about the Iranian threat, the U.S., Russia and Jordan have been negotiating de-escalation agreements between rebels and the regime in southern Syria that would prevent Iran and its militias from coming too close to Israeli positions on the Golan. It isn’t clear, however, to what extent Russia will be able to enforce those deals.

Israel, meanwhile, is threatening to act unilaterally if its so-called “red lines” are violated. It has already done so many times with airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Syria—many of them targeting weapons shipments bound for the group in Lebanon.

Those “red lines” include the creation of permanent Iranian bases, airfields or naval facilities in Syria, the transfer of long-range precision missiles to Hezbollah or the establishment of plants to produce such missiles in Syria or Lebanon.

Israeli officials aren’t just worried about Syria.

The endgame of Syria’s war has also prompted the Palestinian Sunni Muslim movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, to renew links with Shiite Iran. Those ties had been weakened by Sunni-Shiite sectarian tensions.

The way Israeli officials see it, the defeat of Islamic State has left their country essentially surrounded, with Iranian proxies or allies active on three of its five borders.
“One of the great tragedies of the international coalition against ISIS was to bring Iran de facto, Russia, Assad and the United States on the same side in a situation which ultimately benefited Assad and the Iranians,” said Michael Oren, deputy minister in the Israeli prime minister’s office and a former ambassador to Washington. “We have to grapple with the consequences of this, unintentional or not.”
These new challenges emerge at what seems like a golden period in Israel’s history. The civil wars and insurgencies that ravaged Israel’s foes after the Arab Spring in 2011 proved a major boon for the country’s security and drew international attention away from Israel’s own conflict with the Palestinians.

The Syrian war, by destroying the Syrian army and eliminating most of its chemical-weapons capability, removed the main conventional military threat on Israel’s borders. The spike of sectarian rivalry between Iran and the Saudi-led Sunni camp, meanwhile, brought Israel closer than ever to Saudi Arabia and some of its allied Gulf monarchies.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi summed it up like this: “The Arab Spring was supposed to be a democratic movement. But it ended up to have a spring for Israel and chaos in the Arab region.”

Indeed, while the rest of the Middle East is reeling, Israel’s economy is booming and its cities are safer from attacks than they have been in decades.
“Israel’s position in the world is better than at any time in our national existence,” Mr. Oren said. However, he cautioned, this doesn’t mean the country can lull itself into complacency.
“Hezbollah has at least 130,000 rockets and is capable of hitting every city in Israel, including Eilat. We have to operate on the assumption that Hezbollah and Iran are building up these capabilities not just to have them, but someday to use them. They are saving them all for us.”

The Arab World Has Nothing to Offer Israel

From BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 677, December 7, 2017, by Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel should not do the bidding of the divided and bankrupt Arab world and strive to contain Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions at an exorbitant human and material cost. Nor should it trust its Arab neighbors to offer genuine peace once the Iranian threat is eliminated.

Behavioral science recognizes two types of response to tense or threatening situations facing loosely connected groups. The first is characterized by the group’s uniting under a charismatic leader who radiates power, wisdom, organizational acumen, and the ability to protect his followers. Provided such a leader is available, this kind of group forms a united front and prepares for the struggle against the looming threat. The opposite occurs when there is no such leader to be found. In the resulting mayhem, members betray one another and try to escape to the other side in order to save themselves. In that second scenario, the individuals in the group couldn’t care less if the rest of the group goes to hell.

The second scenario is an exact description of the current situation in the Arab world, in which Iran has become a major threat. After years of trying to extend its control over the Arab nations, Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions grew by leaps and bounds when the two major world powers joined forces to empower it. Under President Obama, US actions strengthened Iran, allowed it to develop nuclear weapons (the real meaning of the 2015 agreement), ignored its ballistic missile development program, handed it vast sums of money, and allowed it to sign lucrative contracts – all while ignoring Tehran’s  involvement in local wars and support for world terror.

Moscow has been Tehran’s partner for years through a complex array of agreements and joint initiatives. It supplied nuclear power stations for electricity production, thereby granting the Iranians the ability to acquire knowledge and experience in nuclear science; handed over its missile technology; worked with Iran to regulate the world natural gas market (Russia, Iran, and Qatar are the world’s three largest gas suppliers); and joined forces with Tehran in the Syrian civil war in an attempt to save the Assad regime.

The EU followed the US and Russia in their promotion of Iranian interests, encouraging its members to join the lucrative Iranian contract-signing queue. (In truth, a good number of European states already had a history of ignoring economic sanctions imposed on Tehran by the West.) US Intelligence knew exactly what was going on but said nothing – or, to be more accurate, was silenced by the Obama administration.

Other economic giants took part in the Iran festival. China never quite understood why it should limit is economic ties to Tehran; nor did India find it a problem to maintain wide-ranging business interests in the country.

The Arab world, from Iraq in the east to Morocco in the west, from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south, has been noting the growing Shiite advance with undisguised apprehension. Sunni Muslim states such as Turkey and Pakistan (in fact, most Sunni Muslims) are anxious, but are reacting to the situation by collapsing instead of unifying and working together.

This collapse is both internal and external in every country, resulting in endless arguments about how each nation should react to the state of emergency. The question is whether it is better to act against Iran in some way – economically, politically, militarily – or end the problem by yielding to Tehran and saving lives.

Qatar threw in the towel years ago. The emirate shares a gigantic gas field with Iran, where they produce gas in partnership and share the huge profits. Qatar’s behavior infuriates the Saudis because the emirate is Arab, Sunni, and Wahhabi, as is the Saudi royal family, but has nevertheless stabbed the Saudis in the back. Saudi furor at Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and for the shenanigans of Al Jazeera are nothing compared to its anger over Qatari cooperation with Iran.

The Sunni minority in Iraq, once the country was freed in 2003 by the US-led international coalition from Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship, saw the government handed over to the Shiite majority on a silver platter (made in the West and covered in the blood of American and Western soldiers) before being caught in the Iranian net. Tehran now controls politicians, parties, army officers, militias, and industries in Iraq. It has thus reestablished the hegemony it had in eastern Mesopotamia before the Arabs defeated the Sassanian Persian Empire’s forces in Qadisiya, a city in southern Iraq, in November 636 – 1,381 years ago.

The Persians never forgave the Arabs for this defeat. The ayatollahs see Iran’s takeover of Iraq as an act of historic justice and long overdue revenge on the Arabs, whom they continue to consider primitive illiterates.

Syria, another Arab state, became an Iranian stooge after being totally destroyed by a blood-soaked civil war that led to the deaths of over half a million people, most of whom were Sunni. They died so Shiite Islam could annex their land as well. The Iranians owe a debt of gratitude to the Russian and Christian unbelievers who did the dirty work of eliminating the opposition, right down to its women and children.

Lebanon, another Arab state with a large Shiite population (possibly the majority by now due to its own demographics and the flight of Sunni Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Alawites from its borders) has an armed-to-the-teeth, Iranian-created and -controlled militia, Hezbollah, the fighting strength of which is greater than that of the Lebanese army. Iran has effectively controlled Lebanon for 35 years. The world knew, watched, and remained silent.

Yemen, another Arab state with a large Shiite population, was never really united. It was always divided by the different tribal, ethnic, and ideological loyalties of its population. That allowed Tehran to establish a state within a state with a well-equipped army that took over the capital and exiled the country’s president and government to Saudi Arabia. Iran now threatens international navigation in the Red Sea and the Mandeb Straits, essential passages connecting Europe, the Persian Gulf (with its oil and gas), and eastern Asia, with its merchandise and raw products.

Iran has even infiltrated the Palestinian Authority by supporting the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror organizations. Erdoğan’s Turkey, too, has joined the list of states that do Tehran’s bidding and try to find favor in its eyes.

Iran has managed to gain control over the entire Muslim east, country by country, despite tough sanctions imposed by the West. In the process, it has caused much tension in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Emirates, Israel, and other Mediterranean states. That tension has a negative effect on the internal workings of these states, and the recent Saudi purges are a corollary of it.

An acrimonious debate is raging within the Saudi royal family on the way the monarchy has responded to the Iranian threat in general and the Iranian takeover of Yemen in particular, a development that poses an immediate threat to the Saudis, who have had rockets launched in their direction. The war in Yemen, like the support for the defeated Syrian rebels, has cost the Saudi treasury billions of dollars so far and if continued, will leave the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

Concurrent with this debate is the controversy over Saudi succession. Crown Prince Muhammad, son of the reigning monarch Salman, is 32 years old and has no administrative, political, or military expertise. There is a slew of much older cousins who have a good deal more experience than he does in the economic, administrative, and political spheres. In a traditional tribal society, age, experience, maturity, and a suitable personality are what make someone a legitimate leader, and Muhammad is not legitimate in the eyes of many of his cousins. It is quite possible that a putsch is in the making. He has, however, won the first round by arresting or eliminating several potential critics.

Tehran’s pressure on Riyadh destabilizes the monarchy. That is what is happening in Lebanon as well, where the airing of the government’s internal problems led Prime Minister Hariri to resign (temporarily). The situation in Iraq is also far from tranquil; angry arguments are raging about continued Iranian interference in the running of the country.

In response to the state of internal and inter-Arab mayhem, the Saudis called an emergency meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers. The Arab League is powerless. This paralytic organization has been unable to save a single Syrian, Iraqi, Yemenite, Libyan, Algerian, or Sudanese Arab in all the years of civil strife that have ravaged those countries.

Many Israelis have been encouraging their government to enter into an accord with the “Moderate Sunni Nations” because “Israel is not the problem, it is the solution.” This is based on a deep lack of understanding of the Arab way of doing things and complete ignorance about what is really going on in the countries surrounding Israel.

The only conclusion Israel should reach from the Middle East’s sad state of affairs is this: There is no one to rely on in the splintered Sunni Arab world, a world that is incapable of uniting against the Iranian threat. The Arabs betray one another, and some of them are tied to Tehran with every fiber of their beings. Are they really going to be loyal to whatever agreement they make with the Jews? They may ask the Israelis to save them from the clutches of the Iranian threat, but after they have done so at a high cost to their own sons and daughters, citizens, infrastructure, and cities, that “Moderate Sunni Axis” will treat the Jewish state exactly as it treated the Iraqi Kurds after they shed the blood of over a thousand male and female fighters to rescue the Arabs from ISIS. They threw them and their aspirations for independence into the dustbin of petty politics, interests, cynicism, and treachery.

Israel’s fate will be just the same once the Iranian threat has been eliminated from whatever is left of the destroyed, bankrupt, and divided Arab world. Israel should not spend a plug nickel in the quest for peace with a world as fragmented as the Arab world. Not one square centimeter of land for a worthless piece of paper containing the word “peace.”

Israel should ask the Arabs a single question: What are you giving us in exchange for our agreeing to make peace with you? The answer is clear. Apart from poverty, hatred, treachery, neglect, cynicism, and hypocrisy, the Arab world has nothing to offer Israel, because these are its only commodities. These are Israel’s neighbors, and when Israelis begin to understand this, they will be capable of dealing with those neighbors as they should.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home became binding international law not in 1947 or 1948, but in 1920

There has been a lot of fuss made of the 70th Anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution 181, of 19 November 1947. However, that resolution did not create the State of Israel.

Let’s remember the following points about the 1947 UN Resolution 181
  • It was simply a recommendation – and It was outright rejected by Israel’s neighbours
  • It included the concept of “internationalizing” sovereignty of Jerusalem under UN control, to protect access to holy sites – but the UN neglected its own recommendation, allowing Jordan to control and desecrate Jewish sites between 1949 and 1967.
In short, it was a failed resolution that no longer has any force or relevance. As Liora Chartouni states in JCPA Vol. 17, No. 33, 26 Nov 2017:
“when Mahmoud Abbas claims that Resolution 181 is a solid proof and basis that “Palestinians” have a right to their state of their own within the frontiers that it delineates, he is misleading the international community”
We should be careful not to give credence to that lie by overstating the significance of that resolution.

A much more significant event in the process of re-establishing Jewish sovereignty in Israel, is the San Remo Agreement, rather than Resolution 181....

… it is astonishing that San Remo and the ensuing Mandate for Palestine have hardly been mentioned.  Is it deliberate? Is it a mere omission?  How could there be peace and reconciliation without acknowledging fundamental historical and legal facts?
…Commemorating the San Remo Conference should be more than a mere remembrance. It enjoins us to consider the legal reach of the binding decisions made in 1920  … unassailable rights enshrined in international law, namely the acquired rights of the Jewish people in their ancestral land.  No wonder the Palestinian Authority -- intent on eliminating the “Zionist entity,” as spelled out in the PLO Charter -- abhors the provisions of the San Remo Resolution…
In reality, the San Remo Resolution and the ensuing clauses of the Mandate for Palestine are akin to a treaty entered into and executed by each and every one of the 52 member states of the League of Nations, in addition to the United States which is bound by a separate treaty with Great Britain, ratified in 1925. 
… you should remember that [the West Bank], as the rest of Israel, was lawfully restored to the Jewish people in 1920 and its legal title has been internationally guaranteed and never revoked ever since.  Any negotiation toward achieving a lasting peace should be based on this premise.

As stated in Israel Forever Blog:

“It is essential that we protect the truth that formal recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home became binding international law not in 1947 or 1948, but in 1920, when the resolutions of the San Remo conference were included as part of the Treaty of Sèvres (August 1920), and were adopted and signed unanimously by all 51 countries of the League Of Nations.”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem

From JCPA, Vol. 17, No. 29, November 9, 2017, by Amb. Dore Gold:

Summary of a presentation by Amb. Dore Gold to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Nov. 8:

  • President Donald Trump has made a commitment to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and I believe he will stand by what he has said. The U.S. will evaluate the timing and circumstances for executing that decision in accordance with its interests.
  • The embassy question is a subset of a much more important issue: the need for Western recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The denial of recognition helps fuel the dangerous fantasy that Israel is impermanent and illegitimate - that the presence of the Jews is an imposition because the land is not their homeland.
  • The main international interest in Jerusalem concerns the protection of the holy sites and assuring complete freedom of access to them. The State of Israel and the people of Israel assumed responsibility for protecting Jerusalem's holy sites in 1967, when Jerusalem was re-united after the Six-Day War.
  • For etched into the collective consciousness of all of us is what happened to Jerusalem when we were absent. It is clear that only a free and democratic Israel will protect the holy sites of all the great faiths in Jerusalem. To the extent that the U.S. reinforces Israel's standing in Jerusalem, it is reinforcing the position of the only international actor that will protect Jerusalem's holy sites.
  • After the PLO launched the Second Intifada in 2000, Palestinian security services assaulted Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. In 2002, armed Palestinians forcibly entered the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - one of the holiest sites for Christianity - seized the Christian clergy as hostages and looted church valuables. Another repeated target for attack was Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, which the Palestinian side undertook to protect in the Oslo II Agreement. The site was repeatedly ransacked and torched. Indeed, aggression against holy sites has become a hallmark of many jihadi groups across the Middle East.
  • The question of the location of the U.S. Embassy is really a question of whether the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's permanent capital - sending a signal to the world that efforts to delegitimize Israel and to rewrite the history of other religions will fail. By recognizing Jerusalem and moving its embassy, the U.S. would help promote peace and security in the region.

 Follow this link to read the full presentation.

Terror Links of Students for Justice in Palestine

From Algemeiner, 13 Nov 2017, by Shiri Moshe:

Members of the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine hold a ‘die-in’ on campus. 
Photo: NYU SJP / Facebook.

The anti-Zionist campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) seeks “to isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy” Israel with the help of terror-linked financial and ideological supporters, according to a new report by a Jerusalem-based think tank.

Authored by Dan Diker and Jamie Berk of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the report cautioned against viewing SJP “as a pro-Palestinian equivalent to pro-Israel student groups,” noting that it rejects cooperation with organizations that support Jewish self-determination, incites against Jewish students and rejects Israel’s existence in any borders.

The report highlighted multiple instances of American Jewish students being targeted for “anti-Semitic vandalism, verbal attacks, and outright violence” by SJP members, and pointed to studies conducted by the Brandeis University and the watchdog group AMCHA Initiative, which “found a correlation between the presence of SJP and a rise in campus anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.”

In one of several examples provided, the report pointed to Professor M. Shahid Alam, Northeastern University’s SJP faculty advisor, who in 2012 told students that they should be proud to be called antisemites. “Wear that as a sign of distinction,” Alam said in filmed remarks. “This proves that I’m working for the right side, for the just cause.”

Jewish students also complained of being “spat on, harassed, and assaulted on campus by SJP protestors” at Stanford, Cornell and Loyola University in Chicago. “In 2014, a man tabling for SJP at Temple University punched a student in the face and called him a ‘kike’ and ‘baby-killer’ for asking to discuss Israel,” the report noted. “In 2010, a Jewish student holding a sign saying ‘Israel Wants Peace’ was rammed with a shopping cart by an SJP activist during University of California, Berkeley’s Israel Apartheid Week.”

SJP’s ultimate goal of “eliminating the Jewish nation-state” is routinely made clear by the organization, according to the report, from its backing of resolutions endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign — whose leaders publicly call for Israel’s destruction — to one of its favored chants, “From the river [Jordan] to the sea [Mediterranean], Palestine will be free.”

SJP members and chapters have expressed support for terrorist organizations that seek to advance this objective, going so far as to invite convicted terrorists to address students on campus. In 2013, SJP at American University organized a Skype conference with Khader Adnan Mohammed Musa — a spokesperson for Palestinian Islamic Jihad who previously called for suicide bombings. “Who among you is the next suicide bomber? Who among you will carry the next explosive belt?” Adnan asked in 2007. “Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?”

SJP chapters “at Bowdoin College, Tufts University, Union Theological Seminary, Ryerson University, and Columbia University have expressed solidarity with Adnan on social media,” the report observed.

Multiple SJP branches have also sympathized with convicted terrorists belonging to the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas. Abdullah al-Barghouti — a Hamas bombmaker who helped murder 66 people and wound 500 others in multiple terrorist attacks — was called an “innocent” Palestinian prisoner by University of Alabama – Birmingham’s SJP chapter in 2012, along with two Islamic Jihad members.

SJP’s reported ties to Palestinian terrorist organizations extend beyond glorifying individual members.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, said in congressional testimony last year that American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) — whose leadership includes individuals who worked for organizations with links to Hamas — was “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer” for SJP.

Schanzer explained that “at least seven individuals who work for or on behalf of AMP have worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas: the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and KindHearts.”

The report — which noted that “AMP leaders and supporters have been implicated for fundraising for Hamas” — emphasized that the group spearheaded efforts to unite SJP campus branches under a national organization in 2010.

The report called on university trustees, donors, alumni and administrators concerned by SJP’s activities to urge university administrations to “demand that their campus communities and state governments unmask, expose, investigate, prosecute, and sanction SJP in order to reign in extremist terror-supporting and anti-Semitic actions on U.S. campuses.”

It also pointed to legislation outlawing state support of entities that back boycotts of Israel, and claimed that the existence of SJP chapters at public universities in these states was illegal.

“Exposing the intensifying activity of Students for Justice in Palestine at over nearly 200 American campuses is necessary to neutralize SJP’s support for terror and political warfare against Israel,” it concluded.

SJP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jewish-Arab demographics in Israel

From  "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative", November 11, 2017, by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger: 

In 2017, Israel is the only advanced economy and Western democracy endowed with a relatively high fertility rate, which facilitates further economic growth with no reliance on migrant labor.  Moreover, Israel's thriving demography provides for bolstered national security (larger classes of recruits) and a more confident foreign policy.

In contrast to conventional demographic wisdom, Israel is not facing a potential Arab demographic time bomb. In fact, the Jewish State benefits from a robust Jewish demographic tailwind.

At the outset of 2017, for the first time - and in defiance of projections made by Israel's demographic establishment since the early 1940s - Israel's Jewish fertility rate (3.16 births per woman) exceeds Israel's Arab rate of fertility (3.11).  Actually, in 2017, Israel's fertility rate is higher than most Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia – 2.1 births per woman, Kuwait – 2.4, Syria – 2.5, Morocco – 2.1, etc.).

The Westernization of the Arab fertility rate has also been in effect in Judea and Samaria: from 5 births per Arab woman in 2000 to about 3 in 2016; from a median age of 17 in 2000 to 21 in 2017.

The substantial, systematic Westernization of Arab fertility – from 9.5 births per woman in 1960 to 3.11 in 2016 – has been a derivative of the accelerated integration of Israeli Arabs into modernity, in general, and the enhanced status of Israel's Arab women, in particular.

For example – as it is among the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, whose fertility rate is similar - almost all Israeli Arab girls complete high school, and are increasingly enrolling in colleges and universities, improving their status within their own communities. This process has expanded their use of contraceptives, delaying wedding-age and reproduction, which used to start at the age of 15-16, to the age of 20 year old and older.

In addition, Arab women are increasingly integrated into Israel's employment market, becoming more career and social-oriented, which terminates their reproductive process at the age of 45, rather than 50-55 as it used to be.  Furthermore, an intensified urbanization process has shifted an increasing number of Israeli Arabs from self-reliant agricultural to urban jobs, and from private rural homes to urban apartments, which has reduced the need for - and the convenience of raising– many children.

At the same time, since 1995, there has been an unprecedented rise in the rate of Jewish fertility - especially in the secular sector - resulting from a relatively-high level optimism, patriotism, attachment to national roots and collective/communal responsibility.

From 80,400 Jewish births in 1995, the number surged to 139,400 in 2016, while the annual number of Arab births remained stable at around 41,000. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the 73% rise in the number of Jewish births took place despite the mild decline of ultra-orthodox fertility (due to expanded integration into the employment market, higher learning and the military) and the stabilized modern-orthodox fertility, but due to the rising fertility of the secular Jewish sector.

The unprecedented tailwind behind Israel's burgeoning Jewish demography is documented by the proportion of Jewish births in the country: 77% of total births in 2016, compared with 69% in 1995. Also, in 2016, there were 3.2 Jewish births per Arab birth, compared to 2.2 births in 1995. 

Moreover, while Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) persists in higher numbers than forecasted by Israel's demographic establishment (26,000 in 2016), it has a dramatically higher potential, which obliges Israel to reintroduce the pro-active Aliyah policy – in France, throughout Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, etc. – as it was prior to the Aliyah of one million Jews from the former USSR during the 1990s.

Simultaneously, an annual Arab net-emigration has been documented, persistently, from Judea and Samaria (about 20,000, annually, in recent years), while the annual net-number of Israeli emigrants (staying abroad for over a year) – total departures minus total returnees – has decreased substantially: from 14,200 in 1990 to 8,200 in 2015.   At the same time, the population of Israel almost doubled from 4.5MN in 1990 to 8.4MN in 2015.

In 2017, the total number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is 1.8MN, not 3MN as claimed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. The latter includes in its count over 400,000 Palestinians who have been away for over a year; over 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are doubly-counted (by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority); and 100,000 Palestinians who married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards, who are also doubly-counted.

Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority claims zero net-migration, ignoring the annual net-emigration (from Judea & Samaria) of 20,000 Arabs in recent years, and the systematic net-emigration since 1950, which has been on the rise since the year 2000. A September 7, 2006 World Bank study documented a 32% inflated number of births claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

In March 1898, the leading Jewish demographer and historian, Simon Dubnov, ridiculed the Zionist vision, claiming that by 1998 there will be no more than 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel….

In October 1944, the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Prof. Roberto Bachi, contended that under the best-case-scenario, in 2001, there will be 2.3MN Jews in the Land of Israel, a 34% minority…. 2017, in defiance of demographic conventional "wisdom," there are 6.8MN Jews in the Land of Israel (including Judea and Samaria), a 66% majority, benefitting from a robust demographic tailwind.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Truth About the New Israel Fund

From MiDA, 23 Oct 2017, by Erez Tadmor (Translated from Hebrew):

In a flattering interview, the CEO of the New Israel Fund attempted to purify the name of the organization. For those who forgot, here’s a reminder of the NIF’s exploits.

The most criticized organization. Miki Gitzin CEO NIF (Wikipedia)

Last Shabbat, the CEO of the New Israel Fund (NIF), Mickey Gitzin, was interviewed by the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper. Four pages of prime location in the weekend supplement were allotted by the paper’s editor to journalist Nevo Ziv in order to try to rehabilitate the public standing of the NIF. The determined writer did not even try to hide or mask his flattery with questions that would make things difficult for Gitzin. Instead, Ziv presented his readers with four pages of flattery and softball questions.

... The nature of the interview was determined by an editorial decision with a clear significance – in the current confrontation between the Israeli public and the NIF, Yediot Ahronot chose the Fund.

The NIF is not just any moderate left wing organization, Zionist and focused on its pet issues. It is not the left of Yesh Atid, the Labor party or even Peace Now which engages in dialogue with Israeli society. They are far more left than that, somewhere in the ideological area code between Meretz and the Joint Arab List. This is not the Zionist left of Ben Gurion, Katzenelson, Rabin, Peres, Herzog or Tzipi Livni. This is the radical left of B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, Yesh Din and Mossawa. Excuses and qualifications regarding a variety of opinions and being sure to include a multitude of voices are irrelevant in this case.

... We begin with the good news that appears at the beginning of the interview. The author writes that when he asks people what the NIF is, the answers range from “I don’t know” to “Terrorist supporters.” I personally prefer a less aggressive description of the Fund besides “terrorist supporters,” but the NIF does heavily fund organizations like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Adalah and has earned the disgust directed at them by a large majority of the Israeli public.

Next, Ziv lobbed this softball to the Fund’s director. “How did they do this to you?” How did they turn the Fund into the most reviled organization in Israel? Gitzin’s answer expresses the lack of ability of the left to engage in a dialogue with Israeli society. He accuses everyone except for the Fund itself.
“The NIF has created the Israeli society that Bibi Netanyahu goes around the world and brags about,” boasted Gitzin while he tried to claim every project or positive process that has occurred in Israel in the last few decades in the name of the Fund.

An overwhelming majority of Israelis who know the NIF see the organization as an enemy and as anti-Israeli, but Gitzin does not even begin to reconsider his position.

The same self admiration with no self awareness came up again when Gitzin described the Fund’s response to an Im Tirtzu campaign that revealed NIF actions. “The Fund was in a vulnerable position. Everyone who works there believes that they get up in the morning to do only good. They were not prepared from a media perspective to deal with the campaign of demonization.” The then president of the NIF, Naomi Chazan, together with the former CEO Rachel Liel apparently thought that they could fund B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence and Israelis would wipe the spit from their face convinced that it was fairy dust and invite the Fund to receive the Israel prize.

The truth is that that you can understand them. If Zev Sternhell, Yeshayahu Leibowitz and Igael Tumarkin won the prize, why deprive Naomi Chazan?

But the days when the heads of the Fund would spit in the well and afterwards divide prizes amongst themselves are finished. Democracy works in two directions, if freedom of expression allows for the NIF’s organizations to produce endless amounts of reports and campaigns that defame Israel; it also allows Im Tirtzu to buy billboards revealing the connection of the Fund’s organizations to the Goldstone Report.

And now for some hard facts. Between the years 2005 and 2016 the NIF transferred 

  • 2.8 million dollars to B’Tselem, 
  • 1.4 million dollars to Breaking the Silence, 
  • almost 3 million dollars to Adalah, 
  • 2.1 million to Mossawa, 
  • 665 thousand dollars to Yesh Din,
  •  854 thousand to Machsom Watch and 
  • almost 600 thousand shekels to the Coalition of Women for Peace.

In the last few years, those organizations published hundreds of articles that revealed their consistent extreme and anti-Israeli agenda. The list of pearls produced by the Fund’s organizations is infinite. 

As an example, here are some from B’Tselem, one of the organizations most supported by the Fund. Exactly a year ago, the head of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad flew to the UN Security Council and “pleaded” in front of the council members to act against Israel. The same Hagai El-Ad, whose organization receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NIF every year, refused to define Hamas as a terror organization during an interview.

Lieutenant Colonel (Res.). Yonatan Dahuh-Halevi revealed a large list of distortions and inaccuracies in B’Tselem’s reports. Among other things, Halevi revealed cases in which B’Tselem classified terrorists as uninvolved civilians who were killed by IDF fire. B’Tselem even struggled to define Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin as a terrorist and he moved again and again between different categories, until in 2011 his definition settled on this innocent wording – “Ahmad Isma’il Yassin – 68 year-old resident of Gaza city, killed on 22.03.2004 in Gaza city, by gunfire, from a helicopter. He was a target for assassination.” According to a document exposed on WikiLeaks, in January 2010, the former director of B’Tselem, Jessica Montell, met with the Assistant Secretary of State and told him that: “Its goal is to bring Israel into a situation that its leadership will consider twice before deciding to embark on another military operation.”

With such a list of achievements, it is no wonder that when people were asked by Yediot’s writer as to their impressions of the NIF, the answer amounted to “terrorist supporters.”

The support given by the NIF to B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and Yesh Din is only the tip of the iceberg of the Fund’s massive support for radical left-wing organizations who work to defame the State of Israel. Similar donations were made to a long list of other radical leftist and left-wing organizations such as

  • Bimkom, 
  • The Center for the Defense of the Individual, 
  • Physicians for Human Rights, 
  • Mada al-Carmel, 
  • Rabbis for Human Rights, 
  • Israel Social TV, as well as 
  • to many organizations that do not deal with the defamation of Israel, but are working to change its character and identity, against the will of the vast majority of Israeli citizens. 
For example, the fund transferred 223,000 dollars to ASSAF (an aid organization for refugees and asylum seekers) and a million dollars to the Hotline for Migrant Workers.

A clear example of the gap between the well known names and positive framing of the NIF’s organizations and their actual actions is the Association for Civil Rights, an organization that received huge grants that added up to no less than 11 million dollars between the years 2005 and 2016. A large majority of Israeli society would be horrified by the Association’s activity. Among other things, the Association is working to prevent Israel from revoking the residency of the terrorists Subhi Abu Khalifa and Shuruk Dweiyat who tried to stab Israeli civilians. The Association is also working to restore the terrorists’ entitlement to academic studies after they were recently cancelled.

The organization called the “Association for Civil Rights in Israel” actually works to protect the privileges of Palestinian security prisoners, who are not citizens, and who wanted to murder Israeli citizens whose rights the Association is supposed to protect according to its name. Replace the word Association with the word Center, the word Civil with word Defense and the word Rights with the word Individual and you have a new radical laundering by the name Center for the Defense of the Individual. According to an Im Tirtzu report, in the last two years, the Center represented 48 terrorists and their families who were responsible for the murder of no fewer than 51 Israelis. From 2005-2016 the NIF transferred 1.1 million dollars to the Center.

Gitzin can continue to boast that the Fund is responsible for all the good things that Netanyahu brags about to the world.

In reality, the organizations that the Fund supports are involved with or are connected to almost every abominable and outrageous action by the extreme left. Here’s an example just from the last few days. Last week we discovered that extreme leftist activist Dror Etkes published a clear aerial photograph of the home of Avichai Shorshan, the founder of ‘My Truth’, to which he added negative accusations against Shorshan in Hebrew and Arabic. Etkes added a close-up picture of the entrance to Shorshan’s home where he lives with his wife and two children. A few hours later, Shorshan began to receive death threats, and the police decided to declare his house a “threatened site” at threat level 6. Etkes, for those who were wondering, is a former activist in Yesh Din and the founder of Kerem Navot, which was founded in 2012 and won a grant from the NIF of $40,000 last year.

If we put aside the large number of manipulations by Gitzin in order to discredit his political opponents or glorify the NIF’s activities, he mainly makes a rather cumbersome attempt to launder the Fund’s support of dozens of radical leftist organizations by taking ownership of social action in the extra-parliamentary arena. It is even possible to expand on Gitzin’s arrogance in allowing himself to erase countless charitable organizations that are not connected to the NIF or to the left and to note the fact that even among those who benefit from the NIF’s welfare activities, there are those who feel disgusted in the face of the anti-Israeli agenda promoted by the NIF’s organizations. But that’s not the point

The attempt to launder the abominations of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence through social projects is reminiscent of drug traffickers who come to court with a big kippa on their heads, proud of the contribution they made to the neighborhood pensioners’ club. Just as that method does not work for those criminals, it will not work for the New Israel Fund. The Israeli public will condemn and despise Hagai Elad, Yuli Novak and Dror Etkes, and rightly so. The Israeli public will see that the financing of this anti-Israeli hate industry is a distorted and sickening phenomenon operated by self-hating Jews.

The realization will not just happen here. The dramatic shift in the standing of the New Israel Fund is also occurring abroad. In 2010, the NIF invested 2.5 million dollars in fundraising from a yearly budget of 37 million dollars. In 2016, the NIF has already been forced to spend 4 million dollars in fundraising from a budget of 26 million dollars. Despite the 60% increase in the fundraising budget, the NIF’s budget decreased by 30%.

The true face of the NIF has been revealed in Israel and among American Jews. The NIF is still a huge organization with a huge budget, but it is much more vulnerable than we thought. If Mickey Gitzin is the best thing that the Fund can enlist in order to try to stop the erosion, than we can be optimistic. We made it through Pharaoh, we’ll make it through the NIF.