Archive for November 8, 2017

The horrifying scale of antisemitism in the British Labour Party

November 8, 2017

The horrifying scale of antisemitism in the British Labour Party | Anne’s Opinions, 7th November 2017

Although this isn’t news any more, (I have written about it on this blog several times) it still bears repeating and stressing: antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party is rising to unprecedented levels, to a stage where Jews do not feel welcome any more in what was once their natural political home.

The Daily Mail writes about the alarming scale of antisemitism within the Labour Party:

The scale of anti-semitism within Labour has prompted training sessions for 1,200 party members in a drive to stamp out the vile online abuse.

Labour’s Jewish wing is holding the events that use a slide show of hate-filled messages posted on the internet by the party’s own activists.

The Daily Mail has chosen to reproduce the comments despite their shocking content in order to highlight the enormity of the problem.

The abuse includes one Labour member describing Jews as a ‘corrupt master race’ controlling sex-trafficking, pornography and wars worldwide.

Another wrote: ‘Every f****** Jew that died in the Holocaust was a blessing.’

One councillor suggested there was a worldwide Jewish conspiracy and that Israel wanted to commit atrocities across the whole world.

Last night MP John Cryer, who is chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, said that the tweets were ‘stomach-churning’ and ‘awful’.

I have no idea why people who hold these views would want to be a member of the Labour Party,’ he said.

‘The Labour Party has been at the forefront of confronting Nazism right from the 1930s – so what possesses these people to become members I don’t understand. I have seen tweets like this at our disciplinary body and what I know is these people are quickly suspended and expelled.’

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) held a training session at September’s Labour conference – itself blighted by accusations of anti-semitism – in a doomed attempt to nip the problem in the bud. Some 1,200 members have attended the official Labour Party sessions, which are carried out by the JLM, in the past 14 months.

The event said that among elected Labour representatives ‘denial of anti-semitism is particularly common’, as was the idea that ‘Jewish people are wealthy or interested in wealth or finance’.

Another message from an unknown Labour councillor contained ‘echoes of the blood libel’, the JLM events are told.

The tweet showed an Israeli flag dripping with blood along with the words: ‘The genocidal murderers of innocent women and children: Moses must be proud of you.’ The message was headlined: ‘Israel is evil, long live Palestine.’

A councillor shared a picture saying: ‘The modern state of Israel was created by the Rothschilds, not God – and what they are doing to the Palestinian people now is exactly what they intend for the whole world.’ Alongside a picture of a child in a hospital bed, it said: ‘Today it’s a Palestinian child: soon it will be your child.’

One member wrote: ‘I see the corrupt “master race” side-stepped into this graphic,’ to which another replied: ‘Lol [laugh out loud] be careful you might get accused of being anti-semitic.’

This led to a discussion about ‘paid disinfo agents’ and Blairites ‘running to the MSM [mainstream media]’ with mention of the Zionism ‘problem’. ‘Just look at who owns what,’ one said.

The notes also said that ‘denial of anti-semitism is known as the Livingstone formulation’ in a reference to comments by former London mayor Ken Livingstone in which he said that anyone critical of Israel was accused of anti-semitism.

A JLM spokesman said: ‘The training programme is starting to have an impact across the country. The examples used are actual samples of anti-semitism, and are regularly updated.

‘They are anonymised in order not to prejudice ongoing disciplinary cases.’

The issue of anti-semitism overshadowed the Labour conference after activists at an anti-Zionist fringe event demanded the JLM be expelled.

Jeremy Corbyn was forced to deny he was leading the new ‘nasty party’, and the Labour leader of Brighton council threatened to ban the party from holding its conference in the town unless it cracked down on racism amongst activists.



Jeremy Corbyn can deny his own or his party’s antisemitism and anti-Westernism till he is blue in the face but it will be to no avail since the proof is there for all to see.

Journalist Tom Gross found this little item in the satirical magazine Private Eye which highlights Corbyn’s hypocrisy with two opposing statements:

In this vein, the political blogger Guido Fawkes has done a thorough research job and found 100 times that Jeremy Corbyn has sided with terrorists: – not only Palestinian but Irish and others. Below is just a partial list:

  • Invited two IRA members to parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing.
  • Attended Bloody Sunday commemoration with bomber Brendan McKenna.
  • Attended meeting with Provisional IRA member Raymond McCartney.
  • Hosted IRA linked Mitchell McLaughlin in parliament.
  • Spoke alongside IRA terrorist Martina Anderson.
  • Attended Sinn Fein dinner with IRA bomber Gerry Kelly.

Jeremy Corbyn standing with the Hezbollah flag some years ago

  • Put up £20,000 bail money for IRA terror suspect Roisin McAliskey.
  • Didn’t support IRA ceasefire.
  • Said Hamas and Hezbollah are his “friends“.
  • Called for Hamas to be removed from terror banned list.
  • Called Hamas “serious and hard-working“.
  • Attended wreath-laying at grave of Munich massacre terrorist.
  • Attended conference with Hamas and PFLP.
  • Photographed smiling with Hezbollah flag.

There is much more in this revolting litany of cosying up to terrorists.

The rise in antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism in the Labour Party has alarmed even such liberal Jewish stalwarts as Howard Jacobson, Simon Schama and Simon Sebag-Montefiore. Here is their letter to the editor of the Times in which they decry such bigotry:

Letter to the Times protesting antisemitism in the Labour Party (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately these three eminent personalities concede the validity of the Palestinian “narrative” which dilutes their entire argument. The Elder of Ziyon takes issue, correctly, with the writers’ ceding the validity of Palestinian claims to any history in the Land of Israel, whether they did so out of genuine belief or because they feel their message will be more palatable to the British public if they dilute it with support for the Palestinian narrative:

Even if you give these writers the benefit of the doubt and say that they are only making this claim to allow their message about antisemitism to be easier to swallow by British anti-Zionists – doesn’t that mean that they don’t really believe that anti-Zionism is a modern form of antisemitism? It dilutes their argument, instead of strengthening it.

No self-respecting Zionist can accept any part of the Palestinian Arab claims – because the very acceptance of those claims negates Jewish claims. That is the entire point of Palestinian nationalism since the 1910s – to delegitimize Zionism and Jewish peoplehood altogether. If there was no Zionism, there would have never been Palestinian nationalism which exists to combat Zionism. (Where were the Palestinian nationalists demanding self-determination in the territories between 1948 amd 1967?)

If Schama and Montefiore disagree, please, I would love to hear their arguments. I have looked for years for any evidence of a “Palestinian” nation and culture and people that predate Zionism, without luck.

I have no doubt that these three writers love Israel, but they seem very unaware of how much damage they can unwittingly cause to the nation they love by embracing the narrative of those who want to destroy Israel.

The Elder is correct that in order to counteract this constant delegitimization, we must stay on-message and speak with one voice, at least in public.

But to return to the Labour Party, some of them have even turned on their own members if they are viewed as too pro-Israel, or not anti-Israel enough. The British Jewish grass-roots organization Campaign Against Antisemitism reveals that a Labour councillor who took action against antisemitism was the victim of a social media attack that was endorsed by a Shadow Minister:

Shadow Minister Chris Williamson has tweeted a blog article entitled “Revealed: The Labour Party activists behind the ‘antisemitism’ smears”, which he commended as “really interesting”. Despite its grand use of terms such as “raw data” and “the power of weak links”, the article does little more than to insinuate – on the flimsiest of evidence – that a small number of social media users constitute a “network of hate” and to accuse Councillor Warren Morgan – the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council whose brave stand against antisemitism we applauded in September – of lying, bringing the Labour Party into disrepute, and “regurgitating second-hand fabrications about alleged antisemitism”. It was written by internet millionaire and former Daily Mail journalist Greg Hadfield, whose membership of the Labour Party is currently suspended.

The article notes how extraordinary it is for a Shadow Minister to turn on one of his own party’s members so publicly, and continues:

In the UK, it is accepted that an incident perceived as racist should be investigated as such. The idea that one particular ethnic group — and one particular ethnic group alone — cannot be trusted to recognise racism when directed against itself is incompatible with the Macpherson principle that underpins the British approach to racism. It would be regrettable indeed if the endorsement of Mr Hadfield’s article by such a senior politician as Mr Williamson were to have the effect of intimidating party members from coming forward with or responding to complaints about antisemitism. The Labour Party’s new rules on hate speech, adopted by near-unanimous vote after a highly controversial conference debate, cannot begin to have an impact on the Party’s undeniable antisemitism problem unless whistleblowers are able to speak out without fear of reprisals.

In the light of all this bigotry and racism, we are all wondering what is the root of the deep antisemitism now prevailing in its ranks. Melanie Phillips posits a theory as to the roots of Labour’s antisemitism:

… the Labour party is still in denial about the deep roots of this scourge within its own ideology. It still wrongly believes that the examples which have publicly surfaced over the past few months are some kind of aberration. John Cryer MP, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party who described these tweets as “stomach-churning” and “awful”, demonstrated the problem when he said: “I have no idea why people who hold these views would want to be a member of the Labour Party”.

But they hold them precisely because they are members of the Labour party – because they are committed to the thinking that has become an article of faith on the left, which has turned the “Palestinians” into the signature cause for progressive people on the utterly false grounds that aggressive, brutal, colonialist Israel has deprived them of their historic right to a Palestine state.

This thinking uses precisely the same uniquely deranged and obsessional charges – diabolical cosmic power, covert conspiracy against the world, crimes of which the accused is not only innocent but is in fact the victim, expectations of standards of behaviour applied to no other people and overall demonisation based on systematic falsehoods – which have characterised hatred against the Jews as people and now identically characterise hatred against the collective Jew in Israel.

Antisemitism goes far beyond the left. Tragically, it is the prejudice that never dies. But what the left has done is provide the means of sanitising it through support of Palestinianism which provides plausible deniability by couching the venom as being anti-Israel instead of being overtly anti-Jew.

Sadly, none of this analysis provides us with a method for combatting this irrational hatred. All that we can do is keep on pounding away with the truth and facts. We pro-Israel activists must also be much more pro-active on the social and mainstream media in order to counteract the floods of hatred that swamp the media.

Jared Kushner, Mohammed bin Salman, and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Up to Something

November 8, 2017

Jared Kushner, Mohammed bin Salman, and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Up to Something, Foreign Policy, November 7, 2017

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 21: (ISRAEL OUT) In this handout photo provided by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO), Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jared Kushner on June 21, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)

Mohammed bin Salman may or may not have recently visited Tel Aviv, where Israel’s Defense Ministry is located. But even if he never set foot in the HaKirya complex, there is little doubt that he has authorized ever closer relations with the Israelis, who view the Iranian threat exactly as he does. And the crown prince is not the only one Jared Kushner has been speaking to: Trump has given his son-in-law overall leadership on the peace process between Israel and the Arabs, and he is reportedly a welcome guest in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Given Kushner’s role, did Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signal his plans when Kushner last met with him — and did Kushner then inform his father-in-law? And if so, how far will Washington, or more precisely, the White House, go to back up the Saudis if their confrontation with Iran gets hot? Or will Israel serve as Trump’s proxy? With this president, this crown prince, and the current prime minister of Israel, anything is possible.

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There seems to be a general consensus in Washington that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ongoing purge of princes and businessmen — including the wealthiest of them all, the business mogul and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal — is motivated by his determination to consolidate his power, well before his father, King Salman, passes from the scene. He is in this regard a latter-day Adonijah, who had himself crowned king while his father King David was alive. And, like Adonijah, Mohammed bin Salman has made some very powerful enemies in the process. Unlike that Biblical figure, however, he has his father’s support and has taken care to arrest anyone who might threaten his drive to preeminence.

Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, was in Riyadh again only recently. It was his third trip to Saudi Arabia since Trump took office. He again met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with whom he appears to have established a close personal relationship. It should therefore come as no surprise that Trump, who shares the young crown prince’s antipathy toward Iran, has commented favorably on the recent developments in Riyadh.

It is said of Donald Trump that he has undermined America’s credibility with its allies. That may be the case in Europe, and perhaps in parts of Asia, though not in Japan or India. But it is certainly not the case in the Middle East. Tensions with Turkey and Egypt emanate primarily from the U.S. Congress, not from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Relations with Israel are better than they have been since the day former President Barack Obama took office. The same can be said of U.S. relations with both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates or, for that matter, Bahrain and Morocco. The force that unites them all is Iran, whose support for instability throughout the region received a financial fillip from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — that is, the Iran nuclear deal.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may or may not be a true reformer. His record on that score is not unequivocal. But he is determined to halt the expansion of Iranian influence, which now really does manifest itself as the Shiite crescent about which Jordan’s King Abdullah II forewarned over a decade ago. The crown prince recognizes that his country’s worst nightmare is slowly materializing: Iran is supplying the Houthi rebels to its south and dominates neighboring Iraq to its north. 

It foments instability in Bahrain and could well do the same in Saudi Arabia’s Shiite-majority Eastern Province. And if that were not enough, Iran’s influence is entrenched in Damascus and Beirut. It is particularly for that reason the Saudis forced their ally Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, to resign his office while on a visit to the Kingdom.

Mohammed bin Salman may or may not have recently visited Tel Aviv, where Israel’s Defense Ministry is located. But even if he never set foot in the HaKirya complex, there is little doubt that he has authorized ever closer relations with the Israelis, who view the Iranian threat exactly as he does. And the crown prince is not the only one Jared Kushner has been speaking to: Trump has given his son-in-law overall leadership on the peace process between Israel and the Arabs, and he is reportedly a welcome guest in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Given Kushner’s role, did Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signal his plans when Kushner last met with him — and did Kushner then inform his father-in-law? And if so, how far will Washington, or more precisely, the White House, go to back up the Saudis if their confrontation with Iran gets hot? Or will Israel serve as Trump’s proxy? With this president, this crown prince, and the current prime minister of Israel, anything is possible.

Saudi Purges and Duty to Act

November 8, 2017

Saudi Purges and Duty to Act, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, November 8, 2017

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

While many of the officials arrested over the weekend threaten Mohammed’s power, they aren’t the only ones that he has purged. In September Mohammed arrested some 30 senior Wahhabist clerics and intellectuals. And Saturday’s arrest of the princes, cabinet ministers and business leaders was followed up by further arrests of senior Wahhabist clerics.

At the same time, Mohammed has been promoting clerics who espouse tolerance for other religions, including Judaism and Christianity. He has removed the Saudi religious police’s power to conduct arrests and he has taken seemingly credible steps to finally lift the kingdom-wide prohibition on women driving.

Given Saudi Arabia’s record, and the kingdom’s 70-year alliance with Wahhabist clerics, it is hard to know whether Mohammed’s move signals an irrevocable breach between the House of Saud and the Wahhabists.

But the direction is clear. With Hariri’s removal from Lebanon, the lines between the forces of jihad and terrorism led by Iran, and the forces that oppose them are clearer than ever before. And the necessity of acting against the former and helping the latter has similarly never been more obvious.

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For 70 years, Saudi Arabia served as the largest and most significant incubator of Sunni jihad. Its Wahhabist Islamic establishment funded radical mosques throughout the world. Saudi princes have supported radical Islamic clerics who have indoctrinated their followers to pursue jihad against the non-Islamic world. Saudi money stands behind most of the radical Islamic groups in the non-Islamic world that have in turn financed terrorist groups like Hamas and al-Qaida and have insulated radical Islam from scrutiny by Western governments and academics. Indeed, Saudi money stands behind the silence of critics of jihadist Islam in universities throughout the Western world.

As Mitchell Bard documented in his 2011 book, The Arab Lobby, any power pro-Israel forces in Washington, DC, have developed pales in comparison to the power of Arab forces, led by the Saudi government. Saudi government spending on lobbyists in Washington far outstrips that of any other nation. According to Justice Department disclosures from earlier this year, since 2015, Saudi Arabia vastly increased its spending on influence peddling. According to a report by The Intercept, “Since 2015, the Kingdom has expanded the number of foreign agents on retainer to 145, up from 25 registered agents during the previous two-year period.”

Saudi lobbyists shielded the kingdom from serious criticism after 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were shown to be Saudi nationals. They blocked a reconsideration of the US’s strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia after the attacks and in subsequent years, even as it was revealed that Princess Haifa, wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to Washington at the time the September 11 attacks occurred, had financially supported two of the hijackers in the months that preceded the attacks.

The US position on Saudi Arabia cooled demonstrably during the Obama administration. This cooling was not due to a newfound concern over Saudi financial support for radical Islam in the US. To the contrary, the Obama administration was friendlier to Islamists than any previous administration. Consider the Obama administration’s placement of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in key positions in the federal government. For instance, in 2010, then secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano appointed Mohamed Elibiary to the department’s Homeland Security Advisory Board. Elibiary had a long, open record of support both for the Muslim Brotherhood and for the Iranian regime. In his position he was instrumental in purging discussion of Islam and Jihad from instruction materials used by the US military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Obama administration’s cold relations with the Saudi regime owed to its pronounced desire to ditch the US’s traditional alliance with the Saudis, the Egyptians and the US’s other traditional Sunni allies in favor of an alliance with the Iranian regime.

During the same period, the Muslim Brotherhood’s close ties to the Iranian regime became increasingly obvious. Among other indicators, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi hosted Iranian leaders in Cairo and was poised to renew Egypt’s diplomatic ties with Iran before he was overthrown by the military in July 2013. Morsi permitted Iranian warships to traverse the Suez Canal for the first time in decades.

Saudi Arabia joined Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in 2014.

It was also during this period that the Saudis began warming their attitude toward Israel. Through Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leading role in opposing Iran’s nuclear program and its rising power in the Middle East, the Saudis began changing their positions on Israel.

Netanyahu’s long-time foreign policy adviser, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs president Dr. Dore Gold, who authored the 2003 bestseller Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism which exposed Saudi Arabia’s role in promoting jihadist Islam, spearheaded a process of developing Israel’s security and diplomatic ties with Riyadh. Those ties, which are based on shared opposition to Iran’s regional empowerment, led to the surprising emergence of a working alliance between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE with Israel during Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas – the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is in the context of Saudi Arabia’s reassessment of its interests and realignment of strategic posture in recent years that the dramatic events of the past few days in the kingdom must be seen.

Saturday’s sudden announcement that a new anti-corruption panel headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the near simultaneous announcement of the arrest of more than two dozen royal family members, cabinet ministers and prominent businessmen is predominantly being presented as a power seizure by the crown prince. Amid widespread rumors that King Salman will soon abdicate the throne to his son, it is reasonable for the 32-year-old crown prince to work to neutralize all power centers that could threaten his ascension to the throne.

But there is clearly also something strategically more significant going on. While many of the officials arrested over the weekend threaten Mohammed’s power, they aren’t the only ones that he has purged. In September Mohammed arrested some 30 senior Wahhabist clerics and intellectuals. And Saturday’s arrest of the princes, cabinet ministers and business leaders was followed up by further arrests of senior Wahhabist clerics.

At the same time, Mohammed has been promoting clerics who espouse tolerance for other religions, including Judaism and Christianity. He has removed the Saudi religious police’s power to conduct arrests and he has taken seemingly credible steps to finally lift the kingdom-wide prohibition on women driving.

At the same time, Mohammed has escalated the kingdom’s operations against Iran’s proxies in Yemen.

And of course, on Saturday, he staged the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri amid Hariri’s allegations that Hezbollah and Iran were plotting his murder, much as they stood behind the 2005 assassination of his father, prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

There can be little doubt that there was coordination between the Saudi regime and the Trump administration regarding Saturday’s actions. The timing of the administration’s release last week of most of the files US special forces seized during their 2011 raid of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was likely not a coincidence.

The files, which the Obama administration refused to release, make clear that Obama’s two chief pretensions – that al-Qaida was a spent force by the time US forces killed bin Laden, and that Iran was interested in moderating its behavior were both untrue. The documents showed that al-Qaida’s operations remained a significant worldwide threat to US interests.

And perhaps more significantly, they showed that Iran was al-Qaida’s chief state sponsor. Much of al-Qaida’s leadership, including bin Laden’s sons, operated from Iran. The notion – touted by Obama and his administration – that Shi’ite Iranians and Sunni terrorists from al-Qaida and other groups were incapable of cooperating was demonstrated to be an utter fiction by the documents.

Their publication now, as Saudi Arabia takes more determined steps to slash its support for radical Islamists, and separate itself from Wahhabist Islam, draws a clear distinction between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Given Saudi Arabia’s record, and the kingdom’s 70-year alliance with Wahhabist clerics, it is hard to know whether Mohammed’s move signals an irrevocable breach between the House of Saud and the Wahhabists.

But the direction is clear. With Hariri’s removal from Lebanon, the lines between the forces of jihad and terrorism led by Iran, and the forces that oppose them are clearer than ever before. And the necessity of acting against the former and helping the latter has similarly never been more obvious.

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis

November 8, 2017

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis, DEBKAfile, November 8, 2017

Our sources also report that Iranian experts have managed of late to lengthen the range of the ballistic missiles shipped to Yemen. The Burkan 2H, which Yemeni Houthis aimed at Riyadh airport last Saturday, Nov. 4 – and was intercepted – had a range of 1,000km.  The latest model of this missile has an extended range of between 1,500 and 1,600km. But it remains to be seen if Tehran is also providing the Houthis with the high-precision missiles delivered to the Lebanese Hizballah.

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Military tensions rise in the Gulf region amid Iranian threats and supplies of extended-range missiles to the Yemeni insurgents.

Tehran has warned Riyadh that unless the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is lifted, Revolutionary Guards missiles supplied to the Yemeni Houthi insurgents will be loosed against the seaports and airfields of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The warning was forwarded to their governments through the Omani back channel.

The Iranians informed Riyadh that by cutting off Yemen’s lifeline, the oil kingdom exposed itself and its allies to retaliation in kind.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources add that, to give their warning sharp teeth, the Revolutionary Guards have been pumping fresh supplies of new surface missiles to Yemen by sea. Although the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintain fleets in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea routes of access around Yemen, none ran interference to the missile shipments. Such action would entail halting the Iranian freighters and confronting the missile-armed Iranian warships and submarines escorting them.

Our sources also report that Iranian experts have managed of late to lengthen the range of the ballistic missiles shipped to Yemen. The Burkan 2H, which Yemeni Houthis aimed at Riyadh airport last Saturday, Nov. 4 – and was intercepted – had a range of 1,000km.  The latest model of this missile has an extended range of between 1,500 and 1,600km. But it remains to be seen if Tehran is also providing the Houthis with the high-precision missiles delivered to the Lebanese Hizballah.

In an interview on Sunday, Nov. 6, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir charged that Hizballah officers posted to Yemen had actually fired the Burkan missile at Riyadh airport from northern Yemen. The Saudis have not disclosed details on how and at what point it was intercepted.

Within range of the extended-range missiles are the UAE’s Khalifa Port, Zayed Port and Mirfa Port, the backbone of the emirate’s free trade zone and the main source of its prosperous economy. With the rising military tension in the Gulf region in the last few days, air defense missile batteries have been deployed at those ports and the UAE air force, one of the largest in the Gulf, placed on high alert.

Canadian Judge in Marital Sexual Assault Case Places Cultural Practices Above the Law

November 8, 2017

Canadian Judge in Marital Sexual Assault Case Places Cultural Practices Above the Law, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Scott Newark, November 8, 2017

The question that now needs to be asked is whether the Provincial Crown (which has jurisdiction) will appeal this decision to confirm that Canadian secular law, which prohibits sexual contact without consent, including for married women, prevails over a cultural or religious practice that mandates a woman’s consent to sex as a condition of marriage.

And will our self-described feminist federal government urge its provincial counterpart to launch this important appeal with the full support of the federal Crown as an intervenor in the case?

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Thanks to excellent reporting by Andrew Duffy of the Ottawa Citizen, Canadians recently learned of a disturbing decision from Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith that acquitted a man of sexual assault against his former wife because the man and his then-wife believed that their religion and culture entitled him to have sex with her whether she consented or not.

The decision is especially alarming as it is based on a presumption that Canada’s clear criminal law that requires actual consent to sexual contact is somehow superseded by a cultural or religious belief. Further, the ruling undermines specific protections enacted in Canadian law that protect women, including those who are married, from non-consensual sexual contact.

The ruling also ignores the long standing Canadian legal principle that ignorance of the law is not a criminal defense. In summary, the ruling appears to place religious and cultural beliefs above the laws of Canada.

The identities of the people involved are withheld under Canadian law, ironically to protect the victims, but the rationale for the decision is discernible and can be commented on which is what Andrew Duffy’s column carefully did. In essence, the judge concluded that although the sexual contact was done without the wife’s actual consent, the Crown had failed to prove that the accused had the required criminal intent (mens rea) because of the religious cultural belief he possessed.

His wife was a Palestinian Muslim who came to Canada in 1989 with her parents at age 19. Three years later, she entered into an arranged, but not forced, marriage in Gaza with a man who was also a Palestinian Muslim. The newlyweds returned to Canada and started a family.

Justice Smith concluded that both the accused and victim believed that under their religion and culture, the wife was obliged to have sex with her husband when he wanted, regardless of whether she agreed.

“I find that the accused probably had sex with his wife on many occasions without her specific consent,” Smith said, “as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so.”

The incident that was the basis of the charge occurred in 2002. The wife said that her husband grabbed her by the wrist, pulled her onto the couch, pulled down her pants and had sex with her even though she asked him three separate times to stop. She testified that she only learned that this was a crime in Canada in 2013 after the marriage ended and she spoke with police about child access issues when she revealed details of their past marriage. Based on that information, the police laid the sexual assault charge and the Crown Prosecutor’s office agreed it should proceed to trial.

The husband denied the allegations, but the judge expressly said he disbelieved his evidence, while he believed the wife’s evidence who he found credible as a witness who gave straightforward answers. Conversely, he found the accused to be argumentative and evasive as a witness, and he rejected his account as not believable.

The decision is remarkably brief, and it fails to address existing Canadian criminal law which expressly requires consent for sexual contact (s.273.1) and defines circumstances where consent does not exist including:

(c) the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;

(d) the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity;

Further, the ruling does not address s. 278 of the Criminal Code which specifically requires sexual consent from a spouse.

The judge does not address or even mention the s.19 ignorance of the law is no excuse issue and simply concluded that the Crown had failed to prove the husband’s criminal intent. So even though he believed the wife, he dismissed the charge against the ex-husband.

The judge seems to have concluded that ignorance of applicable Canadian law, or a belief that a religious or cultural practice supersedes secular criminal law, is a defense to what is the clear crime of sexual assault.

His failure to consider existing relevant Criminal Code provisions is further grounds for an appeal, as ignoring the law is also not acceptable judicial conduct.

The question that now needs to be asked is whether the Provincial Crown (which has jurisdiction) will appeal this decision to confirm that Canadian secular law, which prohibits sexual contact without consent, including for married women, prevails over a cultural or religious practice that mandates a woman’s consent to sex as a condition of marriage.

And will our self-described feminist federal government urge its provincial counterpart to launch this important appeal with the full support of the federal Crown as an intervenor in the case?

Justice Smith made his ruling Oct. 17. That means the attorney general has about a week to lift the cone of silence on this important ruling and announce the filing of an appeal on behalf of the people of Ontario, and indeed Canada, to confirm that the secular law of Canada still applies to all residents of our country.

Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor who has also served as Executive Officer of the Canadian Police Association, Vice Chair of the Ontario Office for Victims of Crime, Director of Operations for Investigative Project on Terrorism and as a Security Policy Advisor to the governments of Ontario and Canada. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the TRSS Program in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection

November 8, 2017

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, November 8, 2017

Hamas has already stated repeatedly that it has absolutely no intention of laying down its weapons as promised for the “reconciliation” agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

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Now that the Iranians have sole control over Lebanon, their eyes are set on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, for its part, is thirsting for Iranian resources. Hamas knows that it will have to pay a price.

Iran and Hezbollah are working with Hamas to establish a “joint front” against Israel.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, has had enough. Last week, Iran finalized its takeover of Lebanon when Hariri resigned, and reportedly fled to Saudi Arabia.

Hariri, denouncing Hezbollah and its Iranian backers, said he feared for his life. Hariri has good reason to be afraid of Hezbollah, the powerful Shia terror group and Iranian proxy that effectively controls Lebanon.

Indications show that Iran and Hezbollah are also planning to extend their control to the Gaza Strip. Iran already provides Hamas with financial and military aid. It is precisely the support of Iran that has enabled Hamas to hold in power in the Gaza Strip for the past 10 years. It is also thanks to Iran that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another major terror group in the Gaza Strip, are in possession of thousands of missiles and rockets. It is Iranian money that allows Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to continue digging terror tunnels under the border with Israel.

Relations between Iran and Hamas have grown stronger in the past few weeks. Last month, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to attend the funeral of the father of the senior Iranian security official, Qasem Soleimani. A few weeks earlier, another senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to brief Iranian leaders on the latest developments surrounding the “reconciliation” agreement reached between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA).

It was the first time senior Hamas officials visited Iran since relations between the two sides became strained in 2011. That year, Iran suspended its ties with Hamas over the latter’s refusal to support Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, against his opponents in its civil war. The sudden rapprochement between Hamas and Iran has raised concerns among Abbas and his Palestinian Authority officials regarding Hamas’s sincerity in implementing the “reconciliation” agreement. President Abbas and his officials wonder why Hamas rushed into arms of Iran immediately after reaching the “reconciliation” accord under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities.

Iran and Hezbollah are no fans of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is terrified that Hamas is trying to bring Iran and its Hezbollah proxy into the Gaza Strip.

Abbas and his PA are eager to return to the Gaza Strip, but the presence of Iran there creates a serious problem. Like Hariri, Abbas would have good reason to fear for his life if Hamas brings the Iranians and Hezbollah into the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s fear is also not unjustified. Earlier this week, a senior Hamas official, Musa Abu Marzouk, disclosed that his movement and Hezbollah were working towards strengthening their relations. “Relations between Hamas and Hezbollah were never cut off,” Abu Marzouk stated.

“We have ongoing contacts and understandings. But we preferred to keep them away from the spotlight. Hamas and Hezbollah are in one line in the fight against Israel, and we coordinate our positions regarding the Palestinian cause. Hamas will continue to cooperate with resistance groups that support the Palestinian resistance.”

The alliance between Hamas and Hezbollah is a direct result of the renewed relations between Iran and Hamas. With the help of Hezbollah, Iran has managed to take control of large parts of Syria. With the help of Hezbollah, Iran already controls Lebanon. Now that the Iranians have sole control over Lebanon, their eyes are set on the Gaza Strip. They know that the only way to access the Gaza Strip is through the Hamas door. Iran wants to see Hezbollah inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, is thirsting for Iranian resources. Hamas knows that it will have to pay a price: allowing Iran and Hezbollah to set foot in the Gaza Strip. Judging from the remarks of Abu Marzouk, Hamas appears to be happy to pay the price.

Hariri, Abbas and many Sunni Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, felt betrayed by the Obama Administration’s policy of détente towards Iran — a policy that emboldened the Iranians and gave them a green light to meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries to try to establish, as they seem to have done, a “Shiite Crescent” from Persia through Yemen and now Lebanon, clear to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Sunni Arabs are apparently particularly worried about the nuclear deal signed between the Obama Administration and Iran. They feel that the Obama Administration’s attempt to appease the Iranians has emboldened the country that is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Iran has since taken advantage of the nuclear deal to threaten and try to terrorize America, its friends and its Arab allies.

Abbas has multiple reasons to be worried about the Hamas-Hezbollah alliance. Here is another one: a recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas leader Saleh Arouri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was yet another sign of Hamas’s effort to pave the way for Iran and Hezbollah to infiltrate the Gaza Strip and meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.

A recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas leader Saleh Arouri (left) and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah (right) was another sign of Hamas’s effort to pave the way for Iran and Hezbollah to infiltrate the Gaza Strip. (Image source: Hezbollah via Al Manar)

Hamas has already stated repeatedly that it has absolutely no intention of laying down its weapons as promised for the “reconciliation” agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is prepared to cede to PA President Mahmoud Abbas limited civilian control of the Gaza Strip, but has been clear that it will never dismantle its security apparatus or military wing. Hamas wants to bring the Iranians and Hezbollah into the Gaza Strip to counterbalance pressure from Abbas and Egypt and other countries to disarm and hand control over to Abbas. If Abbas ever returns to the Gaza Strip, he will find himself sitting not only with Hamas, but also with Iran and Hezbollah, who consider him a traitor and puppet in the hands of Israel and the US.

Alarmed by the rapprochement between Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran, Saudi Arabia earlier this week summoned Abbas for urgent talks in Riyadh. The Saudis have been following with concern the visits by Hamas leaders to Iran and Hezbollah, and are worried that Abbas may face the same fate as Hariri.

Abbas may well wish to steer clear of the Gaza Strip: Iran and Hezbollah are working with Hamas to establish a “joint front” against Israel. Hamas’s decision to tilt towards Iran and Hezbollah discloses the truth: it is not headed towards moderation and pragmatism, but the very opposite. This does not bode well for the current Trump Administration’s efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Without stopping Iran and Hezbollah from spreading their influence and control to the Gaza Strip and Arab countries, the prospects of peace seem rather dim. In fact, the prospects of war seem pretty close, as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad meet in the middle to discuss their plans for war against Israel. Failing to stop Iran and Hezbollah would mean that Abbas may soon find themselves hiding with Hariri in Saudi Arabia.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

In Article On Occasion Of Balfour Declaration Centenary, Palestinian Authority President ‘Abbas Says Any Final Resolution Of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Must Include Implementation Of UN Resolution 194 ‘To Restore Palestine Refugees To Their Homes’

November 8, 2017

In Article On Occasion Of Balfour Declaration Centenary, Palestinian Authority President ‘Abbas Says Any Final Resolution Of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Must Include Implementation Of UN Resolution 194 ‘To Restore Palestine Refugees To Their Homes’, MEMRI, November 8, 2017

In an English article published November 2, 2017 in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs,[1] Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‘Abbas set out the PLO’s credo and vision for peace, and called on Britain to apologize for the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. He said that this declaration, anchored in “white supremacist” views, “disregarded the wishes, aspirations, and the very rights of the indigenous population of Palestine” and ultimately led to the catastrophe and exodus of the Palestinian people in 1948. He also stated that, after supporting the Zionist movement in establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, Britain and the international community failed to implement the UN Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan of 1947), and later also “failed to implement Resolution 194 (III) to restore Palestine refugees to their homes.” Stressing that any final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict must include the realization of Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative, namely “a just solution for the seven million Palestinian refugees based on the choice of every refugee,” he urged Britain and the international community to make amends for the Balfour declaration by “recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital,” and by taking steps to realize the political rights of the Palestinian people, the very rights that were denied by Balfour a century ago.”

The following is the article:[2]

PA President Mahmoud ‘Abbas (image: thecairoreview.com, Nov 2, 2017)

“This year, our nation marks one hundred years of the Balfour Declaration. Lord Arthur Balfour was a British foreign secretary who decided to change the identity and fate of Palestine, a land that he did not own, by promising it to the Zionist movement, and dramatically altering the history of the Palestinian people. On this somber anniversary, it is important to recall some key historic facts, which remain relevant toward achieving a just, lasting, and peaceful resolution to a century of injustice.

“To this day, the United Kingdom evades its historic responsibility by refusing to apologize to a nation still living in exile and under occupation as the result of their politicians’ unethical undertaking. In 1917, Palestine had a robust population of over 700,000 inhabitants living on almost 28,000 square kilometers. Palestine had a well-established society, proud of its history and cultural heritage, and the centuries-long tradition of coexistence and tolerance among its inhabitants. The city of Jerusalem—built by the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe—the ancient ports of Jaffa and Haifa, the biblical cities of Gaza, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron and Nablus, as well as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Jericho, alongside the Dead Sea and the fertile Jordan Valley, all stood witness to this rich civilization. Palestinehad several educational and cultural institutions, newspapers, and an economy that included the export of citrus and a thriving service industry such as tourism. It was a country inhabited mainly by Arabs, mostly Muslims and Christians, but also with a small Jewish minority.

“Disgracefully, the text of the Balfour Declaration referred to the vast majority of the population as the ‘non-Jewish communities,’ in a deliberate attempt at setting the foundation and basis of denying them any future political rights. Balfour was fully entrenched in colonial ideology with no respect for the deeply-rooted presence of Palestinians, Christians, and Muslims. In 1922, he wrote: ‘Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs and future hopes of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.’ It was a glaring dismissal of the presence, history, and rights of the population that had inhabited the land for centuries. Examined against the backdrop of the current debates in international politics, Balfour could have easily been referred to as a ‘white supremacist.’

“The Balfour Declaration of 1917 symbolizes the international role in the Palestinian catastrophe and exodus, the Nakba of 1948. A century after this infamous declaration was drafted, it is long overdue for the international community to assume its legal, political, and moral responsibility to fulfill the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. This prolonged injustice continues to test the credibility of our international system and to undermine the laws and human rights frameworks that are fundamental to its longevity and to peace and stability within and among nations.

“Balfour’s Bitter Legacy

“The Balfour Declaration, despite its great impact on our destiny as a nation, was never a matter of consensus among British politicians. The declaration continued with a British Mandate of Palestine that soon proved to be entrapped between Lord Balfour’s folly and the reality on the ground. In the following years, British colonial rule grappled with the contradictions of its promises to the Jewish and Arab peoples. Several British commissions wrote back to London in efforts to make their government realize and understand that there was already a well-rooted people in Palestine. In 1922, the British Parliament rejected the British Mandate of Palestine precisely because it included the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration as part of its goals. In fact, it was the only Jewish member of the British Cabinet, Sir Edwin Montagu, who expressed his rejection in these strong terms: ‘I would not deny the Jews in Palestine equal rights to colonization with those who profess other religions, but a religious test of citizenship seems to me to be the only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled.’

“Balfour’s perfidy anticipated the international community’s disrespect for the rights of Palestinians after Israel’s founding. Thirty years later, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 181 (II) calling for the partition of Palestine into two states. Again, this decision disregarded the wishes, aspirations, and the very rights of the indigenous population of Palestine. The Palestinian leaders spared no effort in communicating the voice of the people, visiting London countless times, as well as several other world capitals, asking for the rights of the Arab-Palestinian people to be respected and calling for the fate of Palestine to be decided through democratic free elections that would reflect the will of the Palestinian people. This was totally ignored by the British government, guided by the Balfour agenda of denying our nation political rights.

“The world voted for the partition of Palestine, but its people did not. The international community was willing to support the Zionist desire to build a state in Palestine, but did not have the determination to supervise the implementation of their resolutions, leading to the Nakba (catastrophe), which led to over two-thirds of the Palestinian people becoming refugees, including myself. My hometown of Safad was totally ethnically cleansed of its Arab Muslim and Christian populations. Just like Safad, at least 418 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed, forcibly depopulated, and destroyed.

“The international community failed to fulfill the implementation of the UN Partition Resolution 181, a resolution that unquestionably did not allow or call for the forcible displacement of the Palestinian population. It also failed to implement Resolution 194 (III) to restore Palestine refugees to their homes. In fact, the United Nations’ recognition of Israel was conditioned on Israel’s implementation of this resolution. Similarly, disappointingly, the international community has failed to implement the countless UN resolutions that call on Israel to end its military occupation that began in 1967, including its colonial-settlement project. This failure has emboldened Israeli impunity, prolonging the conflict and the suffering and injustice being borne by the Palestinian people.

“From Balfour to 2017: One Hundred Years of Impunity

“The Israeli occupation that began in 1967—occupying the remaining 22 percent of Palestine, comprising the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem—initiated a systematic, multidimensional policy of colonization of occupied territory that has not ceased for over five decades, seriously impairing the prospects for a political solution. Even though the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in a historic and painful compromise, recognized Israel in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and declared the State of Palestine only over 22 percent of historic Palestine, Israel continues to deny the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to freedom and self-determination.

“The presence of illegal settlements all over the occupied territory of Palestine has threatened to make the two-state solution impossible to realize. This is clearly the goal of the current rightwing Israeli government that does not shy away from hiding such intentions. It has become widely acknowledged that Israel’s prolonged occupation and its colonial-settlement project has virtually destroyed the prospects of the internationally endorsed two-state solution on the 1967 borders, thereby solidifying the reality of one state, Israel, controlling all the land of historic Palestine, while imposing two different systems: one for Israeli-Jews and another for Palestinians.

“As far back as 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist and agreed to participate in several rounds of negotiations in the Middle East peace process aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace agreement. After more than twenty years of negotiations, it is clear that the Israeli government is not interested in peace. For Palestine, the peace process is a means for the implementation of international law and realization of justice; the process is not an end in itself, but the Israeli government has constantly used it as such and exploited the ‘negotiations’ as a smokescreen for further colonization of the Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, aimed at entrenching its control of the entire territory.

“The internationally endorsed two-state solution is not accepted by any of the political parties that compose today’s Israeli government coalitions. Their leaders continue to incite and spew hate speech against the Palestinian people and inflammatory rhetoric against Palestinian national rights and aspirations. This has included the dangerous use of religion to justify war crimes and human rights violations, which is something that we believe is of paramount gravity and consequence to regional and international peace and security, and have thus consistently warned against Israeli attempts to turn a solvable political, territorial conflict into a religious war.

“Just as Likud, the party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reaffirmed its political program that negates any possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state, on the ground Israeli settlers and occupation forces continue to act with hatred and aggression toward the Palestinian people, further diminishing the prospect of peaceful coexistence. Attacks continue against Palestinian civilians and properties, in Christian and Muslim holy sites, and homes continue to be demolished, forcibly displacing our people to pave the way for more colonial-settlement expansion.

“The one-state reality imposed by the Israeli government could not be possible without the impunity it has received from the international community. The Israeli colonial-settlement enterprise in Occupied Palestine could not succeed without international markets being opened to illegal Israeli settlement products, without free trade agreements welcoming these products, without international companies and the Israeli economy mutually profiting from this systematic denial of Palestinian rights, and without the commitments of several governments that no matter the violations and crimes, Israel will continue to enjoy full impunity.

“Make no mistake: Palestinians have learned the lessons from Balfour’s colonialism. We recently witnessed the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Occupied East Jerusalem in the rejection of Israeli attempts to change the historic status quo of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.  This beautiful demonstration of popular nonviolent resistance echoed in every corner of the world. Just as our youth and elders, women and men, Christians and Muslims, and members of all political factions came together to defend Jerusalem, we cannot but remember those who opposed British policies in the remarkable national strike of 1936, or the Israeli occupation in the First Intifada in 1987. Palestinians have showed the world and many Israelis that the colonial ‘fantasy’ of talking about peace and coexistence while systematically denying the rights of a people under an oppressive military occupation can never succeed and that the right of a people to self-determination and freedom can neither be crushed, nor dismissed, nor negated.

“Our Vision for a Just and Lasting Peace

“The steadfastness and resilience of our people should serve as a message to the entire world, and particularly to Israel, that there will be no peace in our region without the fulfillment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Our vision of peace is one of great compromise and is based simply on what we are entitled to under international law and UN resolutions: a sovereign and independent state that fully ends the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, while ensuring at the same time that Jerusalem could be an open city between its eastern and western parts. We envision our sovereign control over our natural resources, airspace and maritime borders. We envision and will continue to demand the freedom of all our political prisoners, victims of the Israeli occupation and the systematic negation of our national rights. With almost one million prisoners since 1967, the case of our political prisoners painfully reflects the overall situation of our whole nation. We also reiterate that in order to end claims with Israel, there must be a just solution for the seven million Palestinian refugees based on the choice of every refugee. Our nation, the largest refugee group in the world and most protracted refugee plight in contemporary history, has the right to the respect and fulfillment of its rights, including through the implementation of UNGA Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative.

“A  just and lasting peace is possible. It requires the full implementation of the long overdue inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. We envision a new reality where our families are no longer divided by racist laws, such as the Israeli citizenship law; where our young talents will not be forced to leave their country because of a suffocated economy and lack of opportunities. We envision a state that can welcome the innovation and talents developed by our successful diaspora, wherever they have migrated to, whether the United States, Latin America, Europe, Australia, or the Arab World, becoming successful in various fields and positive contributors to their respective communities. We envision a reality of peace where those millions of people, successful doctors, engineers, bankers, sportsmen, artists, clergymen, teachers, students, workers, politicians, and social activists will finally be able to make Palestine their home.

“Recognize Palestinian Rights—With an Apology

“That the Balfour Declaration ever happened is a reminder that Palestinians must have their voices heard and respected within the international community. An important step undertaken for redress in that regard has been the pursuit of international recognition of the State of Palestine, including our new status of ‘non-member state’ at the United Nations, achieved on November 29, 2012. This status has enabled us to  accede to numerous international treaties and conventions and to join several international organizations. These stand at fifty-five as of now, ranging from the Geneva Conventions to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“After decades of Israeli control over our lives, it is important not to fall into desperation and to keep hope alive. We will continue to build on our achievements of state-recognition and accede to international treaties, including our right to seek justice for the Palestinian people at the ICC in the face of this ongoing criminal occupation. This too is a confirmation of our respect for international law and readiness to uphold our obligations and responsibilities in that regard. Concurrently, we will continue our endeavors to achieve a just and lasting peace with Israel on the 1967 border. It is our right to use all diplomatic, political, and legal avenues to protect our nation, achieve justice, and fulfill our long overdue inalienable rights.

“This process must go hand-in-hand with efforts to secure more bilateral recognitions for the State of Palestine. There is no justification not to recognize the State of Palestine. How would recognizing Palestine harm the chances of peace? How would it harm negotiations? Our right to self-determination has been never up for negotiation; the International Court of Justice, in its landmark Advisory Opinion in 2004, explicitly affirmed this to be a right erga omnes, meaning ‘valid for all.’ It is therefore an international responsibility to stand tall for the fulfillment of our right, not a call to dismiss or shy away from. Thus we will continue calling upon those who allegedly support the two-state solution to recognize two states, not only one.

“At the same time, we shall keep the doors open for the possibility of a resumption of negotiations seeking to end the Israeli occupation and fulfill our rights. Just as we supported the French efforts of the Paris Peace Conference, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping and many other world leaders for this objective, we welcome the efforts of the U.S. administration in what President Trump has referred to as the ‘ultimate deal.’ We don’t see any contradiction between negotiations and continuing to seek justice through the legitimate tools and instruments available under international law. It is our right to undertake all peaceful means to end the torment of our people and to fulfill their inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations.

“The Palestinian leadership understands the urgency, as well as the dangers, of the current situation, and we will continue to demand that the international community assumes its responsibilities, including providing protection for our people, as per international humanitarian law, and in working collectively to end Israel’s impunity.

“Our goal remains to achieve a two-state solution on the 1967 border and freedom and justice for our people. However, we understand that the Israeli government is doing everything possible in order to make the achievement of an independent State of Palestine impossible. In addition to that, we must contend with the lack of political will from the international community to take any meaningful steps that will enforce international law and UN resolutions in Palestine.

“As I said last month during the UN General Assembly Debate, we know that freedom is coming and that the occupation will eventually end: if not by achieving the two-state solution on the 1967 border, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security, it will inevitably come through the fulfillment of equal rights for the inhabitants of historic Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, Christians, Muslims, and Jews. No people on earth could ever accept to live as slaves or under an apartheid regime. History has so vividly and painfully taught us that. As we mark one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration, the British government has reiterated how proud they are of this infamous document that translated into the Palestinian catastrophe, with all of its regional and global repercussions. They are even going to celebrate it. Instead of organizing a celebration for one of the darkest episodes of British colonialism, the United Kingdom has the historical and moral responsibility to apologize to the people of Palestine. At the same time, we call upon the British Government to assume without delay reparative actions, by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital and taking concrete steps to contribute to the realization of the political rights of the Palestinian people, the very rights that were denied by Balfour a century ago.

“This will not repair the countless detrimental consequences of foreign colonialism in our region, and particularly in Palestine, but it would serve as an example for the rest of the international community to rise to their responsibilities to do what is necessary for a just and lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace, and for broader peace in the Middle East to become a reality, changing the course of our future, individual and collective, for the better for our coming generations.”

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[1] The Cairo Review of Global Affairs  is a quarterly journal published by the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the AmericanUniversity in Cairo.

[2] Thecairoreview.com, Nov 2, 2017.