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The Paris Piece Conference

January 16, 2017

The Paris Piece Conference | Anne’s Opinions, 16th January 2017



A little piece of this, a little piece of that – until there’s no more Israel. Hence my title.– anneinpt)

Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs illustration: International representatives negotiating now among themselves on a text for Sunday’s #ParisConference. They Should instead push Abbas and the Palestinians to negotiate peace directly with Israel.

While the Paris Peace Piece Conference’s aims were ostensibly to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it was quite clear from the start that its only intention was to make Israel give up a piece of this and a piece of that (hence my title) in order to weaken it if not destroy it altogether.

The predictions, the declarations – both for and against – and the outcome, were precisely as expected. Binyamin Netanyahu panned the pointless parley as rigged: while the Palestinians of course welcomed it:

“The conference that is convening today in Paris is a pointless conference,” he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“It was coordinated by the French and the Palestinians and aims to force conditions on Israel that conflict with our national interests,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu has previously claimed the talks were “rigged” against the Jewish state, insisting that direct bilateral talks between Jerusalem and Ramallah was the only way to negotiate a peace agreement.

At the Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his position that the Paris-sponsored initiative makes the prospect of peace more as it “hardens Palestinians conditions and keeps them from direct negotiations.”

“I have to say that this conference is among the last remnants of the world of yesterday,” Netanyahu said. “Tomorrow will look different, and that tomorrow is very close.”

Unlike Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the bid to reaffirm global support for a two-state solution, and will meet French President Francois Hollande in the coming weeks to be briefed on the conference outcome, diplomats said last week.

Paris officials said that Netanyahu declined a similar invitation.

Likud MK and Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara described the conference in a perfectly snarky way:

Translation:

The Paris Conference is an old age home collecting politicians on their way to their retirement from a political career as they step off the stage.

Europe needs to understand that Israel is a strong country that will not tolerate diktats.

Foreign ministers before the meeting in Paris REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu

Foreign ministers before the meeting in Paris REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu

Despite Israeli fears that the conference would lend backing to UNSC Resolution 2334, Israeli officials cheered the weakened declaration that ultimately issued forth:

Israeli officials on Sunday credited the efforts of the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry for a “significant weakening” of the text of the final joint declaration issued by the participants of a peace conference in Paris.

The one-day summit came to a close on Sunday evening with a statement, backed by the 70 countries, calling on Israel and the Palestinians to restate their commitment to a peace settlement and to refrain from unilateral actions.

The statement urged both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and disassociate from voices that reject that goal. It also called for them not to take one-sided actions that could preclude fruitful talks.

The Israeli officials were jubilant that “problematic passages” in a contentious recent UN Security Council resolution on the settlements were not included in the Paris document. Resolution 2334, passed on December 23, harshly condemned the settlement enterprise, declaring that it has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Furthermore, the Israeli officials expressed satisfaction over the fact that no further action against Israeli settlements is planned at the Security Council. US Secretary of State John Kerry had promised as much to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a phone call from Paris earlier Sunday.

The ostensible success, the officials concluded, was the “result of harsh reactions” voiced by Israel against Resolution 2334.

Wrapping up the conference, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters that the purpose of the meet was to convey a sense of urgency about the threat to the two-state solution.

The Elder of Ziyon quibbles with the Israeli jubilation, saying that while the declaration was better than the original draft, it is not much better:

The good part is that the paragraph about the June 1967 lines being sacrosanct is gone, along with the call to essentially boycott any Israeli person or entity beyond the Green Line. That is probably what Israel is happy about.

The bad part is that they took out the language saying that “solutions cannot be imposed” on the parties along with one of the two mentions insisting on direct negotiations. Also the follow-up conference added in the statement will again be more one-sided pressure on Israel.

So it is somewhat better than the draft but not a whole hell of a lot.

Interestingly, in another show of support for Israel, Britain questioned the purpose and the timing of the conference, and sent only a low-level representative to the conference:

Prime Minister Theresa May sent neither her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, nor her envoy to France to the parlay. Britain instead had observer status at the conference.

“We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them– indeed, which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis– and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement,” a Foreign Office statement read.

For some more commentary on the conference, The Elder of Ziyon links to a series of very interesting related articles.

The Jerusalem Post’s editorial “No tango in Paris” states:

Conferences in Paris will not bring peace. That will only come from negotiations. For peace to happen, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to first come to Jerusalem and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is that Abbas is a known rejectionist. He rejected the peace deal offered to him by Ehud Olmert in 2008 and has since remained intransigent in his refusal to even meet Netanyahu.
While France might be sincere in its desire to see peace come to the Middle East, holding a conference is misguided. Unfortunately, the more the international community supports Abbas’s unilateral diplomatic delegitimization campaign, the more stubborn he will become in his refusal to sit down for real and sincere negotiations.
Our suggestion – cancel the meeting in Paris.

Unfortunately, that – they didn’t.

Since the conference participants were so concerned with international law, Brian of London at Israellycool recalled an earlier article that he had written in which he reveals that the conference actually ignores French law:

(Update: I discovered that I too had written, way back in April 2013, about the same French law!).

Quoting here from Israellycool:

Today in France 70 nations will come together in Paris and blindly ignore the legal ruling of a highly significant French court (Court of Appeal of Versailles) just a few years ago. They will most likely issue a statement which creates the impression that Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that there hasn’t been a proper legal case to decide the legality of Jews living in the lands captured back from Jordan in ’67, specifically Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. I was wrong! There was exactly such a case and, even though I’ve written about it, it has received almost no attention and been buried.

As we first reported here on Israellycool last week, a French court has confirmed some aspects of the legal situation regarding Israel and the hills of Judea and Samaria, especially around Jerusalem.

Now the larger news outlets have had time to think about this and get the opinion of greater legal minds than this humble blogger.

And the answer seems to be, it is a victory, but only if you didn’t know anything about international law and the specifics of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Well I’d say that’s just about everyone on earth and doubly so for everyone who is deluded by BDS campaign lies!

Exactly as I noted then, the legacy media completely ignored this ruling or downplayed it because it didn’t fit their lethal narrative: Jews are illegal settlers in what was once their own land. Nobody in the hostile legacy media has referred to it since (try to google for it).

Jean-Patrick Grumberg (the original reporter I linked to back in 2013 on the story) has now re-published a more detailed account of the technicalities of the case which related to the building, in Jerusalem, of the light rail system which connects both predominantly Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods to the centre of Jerusalem.

This is how Jean-Patrick concludes his post (which also includes the entire court decision in French).

The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO (and Association France Palestine Solidarité AFPS who was co-appellant) to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport.

Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, therefore the judgment has become final.

This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.

But don’t bother trying to confuse the “experts” with facts. Their minds are closed to any arguments that contradict their received wisdom.

In a similar fashion NGO Monitor exposes how the French are funding NGOs that sponsor BDS campaigns and which have ties to terror groups

An international peace summit, spearheaded by the French government, will be held on January 15, 2017, in Paris. In this report, NGO Monitor documents French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups. This type of financial support casts doubts on the ability of France to serve as an impartial host of a summit dedicated to peace.

The best part of the whole shindig? The support that Israel received outside of the conference. Col. Richard Kemp was at a rally of support, and you can watch him being interviewed on Israeli i24TV:

The demonstration of support for Israel itself, held outside the conference venue drew hundreds of people:

PARIS – Hundreds of people rallied in support of Israel outside of the Jewish state’s embassy in Paris on Sunday as foreign ministers from dozens of nations gathered for a Middle East peace parley in the French capital.

Pro-Israel rally outside the Paris Peace Conference

Pro-Israel rally outside the Paris Peace Conference

Among those present at the demonstration were Israeli and Jewish leaders, including Israel’s ambassador to France and the president of the French-Jewish umbrella organization CRIF.

CRIF President Francis Kalifat told The Jerusalem Post that upon learning of the scheduling of the Paris summit, “we scheduled our own rally, in support of Israel and in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“More than that, we are here today to express our objection to the Paris Middle East Conference, which we consider an anti-Israeli tribunal, similar to the negative decisions adopted by UNESCO and the UNSC [United Nations Security Council],” he said.

Rally attendee Jean B., 25, said that “we are here today to tell our own president that Israel has already reached out to the Palestinians in peace. The Palestinians are trying to internationalize the conflict, instead of accepting Israel’s hand and begin unconditional talks.”

Another participant at the demonstration, identified as Elisabeth, a student at the Sorbonne, told the Post that “we are hoping that our leaders will hear an outcry and listen to it. I know that France wants to advance peace, but they are going about it the wrong way.”

Kol hakavod to all the attendees and supporters of Israel.

But seriously, as the British noted, what was the point of the whole exercise? I’ll give the last word to Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor:

How should Israel respond to Obama’s betrayal and Resolution 2334?

January 3, 2017

How should Israel respond to Obama’s betrayal and Resolution 2334? | Anne’s Opinions, 3rd January 2017

Party like it's 1949 By AF Branco at Legal Insurrection

Party like it’s 1949 By AF Branco at Legal Insurrection

The implications, immediate and far-reaching, have been discussed almost ad nauseum in the political world, in the media, even on this little blog. But the question remains: what ought Israel do in light of the resolution’s adoption, and how should we respond (if at all) to Obama’s betrayal?

Isi Leibler, in his column at the Jerusalem Post, asks this very question. In answer he recommends Jewish unity, bi-partisan Jewish support of President-elect Trump, and a plea to Israeli politicians to stop antagonising the nations with their loose-lipped talk and shoot-from-the-hip political suggestions:

We are more powerful today than ever before and in the course of our history we have successfully overcome far greater threats to our existence than the United Nations. Now is a time for us to display unity and strength.

In this context, if the proclaimed decision to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem is implemented it will send the world a powerful message. To his credit, Trump used all his weight as an incoming president in efforts to ward off the UN resolution, albeit unsuccessfully.

In light of these developments most of the mainstream Jewish leadership who were in denial for over eight years should share a deep sense of guilt and shame.

They remained silent as Obama treated Israel diplomatically as a rogue state whilst he groveled to the Ayatollah. They continued voting for him and we now see how he repaid them. The only consistent critic was indefatigable Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America who has now been more than vindicated.

Individual American Jews are free to express their personal political opinions in any manner they deem fit, but mainstream Jewish organizations are obliged to avoid activity which reflects political bias.

But now is the time for us to look forward and unite. This U.N. resolution was not just about settlements. It was to undermine the security of the state and pave the way for anti-Semitic boycotts and sanctions by those seeking Israel’s demise.

The resolution employing Obama’s malevolent views made no distinction between isolated outposts and settlements in outlying regions and Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem including the Western Wall.

Looking down onto the thousands of people crowding the Kotel plaza, Sukkot 2016

Looking down onto the thousands of people crowding the Kotel plaza, Sukkot 2016

Any Jew who endorses the view that Judaism’s most sacred site – formerly occupied by the Jordanians who denied Jews access to worship – is occupied territory is reminiscent of medieval “mosers” (informers), who were ostracized from the religious and social life of the community. Those in J Street, The New Israel Fund and other far left Jewish groups who consider Jewish districts of Jerusalem and Judaism’s holiest site to be “occupied territories” should be regarded as renegades and treated as such.

The immediate challenge is to encourage the incoming Trump administration to salvage what it can from Obama’s betrayal of Israel.

Most important to note is that the moderate Sunni countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will be desperate to ally themselves with Trump and are hardly likely to do more than express formal protests if and when the US treats Israel as a genuine ally.

But for this to be effective, Israel must tread cautiously and not provoke the incoming administration by seeking to impose arrangements without prior consultation.

Naftali Bennett and other right-wing elements should be silenced and Prime Minister Netanyahu must be enabled to determine the attitude of the new administration. They should also realize that whilst there is close to a consensus for ultimately annexing the settlement blocs and creating defensible borders, most Israelis do not seek to incorporate Judea and Samaria in their entirety because this would effectively lead to the demise of a Jewish state and its substitution by a binational state which would be swallowed up by the Arab world.

The recent statements and settlement policies certainly provided Obama with additional ammunition to justify his perfidious initiative. But it is almost certain that he would have acted no differently had the government not been engaged in any public discussion because his prime intent, since the day of his inauguration, has consistently been to impose such a settlement on Israel.

The reality is that all political parties – other than the Joint Arab list and Meretz – are no less opposed to this resolution than the government. This is surely a time for all political parties to set aside parochial squabbles and act in the national interest by displaying strength and unity.

Jewish unity is always an excellent idea, particularly in times of trouble. Whether American Jews or Israel’s politicians will pay any heed to Leibler’s suggestions is another matter altogether.

In contrast to Leibler’s plea for caution on the subject of settlements, Evelyn Gordon urges “Build baby, Build” – settlements of course:

There’s really only one suitable Zionist response to last week’s UN Security Council resolution on the settlements: massive settlement construction. That’s the appropriate response for more than one reason, but I’ll focus here on the most obvious one: The resolution proves conclusively that Israel gets no credit for showing restraint on this issue, so there’s no earthly reason why it should continue suffering the costs of restraint.

As I’ve written repeatedly in the past, data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows that there has been less settlement construction under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than under any of his predecessors. Nor is this a matter of partisan dispute: The left-wing daily Haaretz, a virulent opponent of both Netanyahu and the settlements, used the same data to reach the same conclusion last year.

For Netanyahu, this restraint has come at a real price. First, it caused him political damage, because it infuriated his voter base. The result, as I’ve noted before, is that by last month, he was facing an open revolt in his own party over the issue.

Second, it caused Israel strategic damage, because it kept the country from strengthening its hold over areas that most Israeli governments have considered essential for security under any future agreement. To take just one example, all Israeli premiers have deemed the E1 corridor, which links Jerusalem with the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement bloc, critical for Israel’s security – even Yitzhak Rabin, the patron saint of the peace process. Moreover, E1 in no way prevents the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state, and has actually been assigned to Israel by every serious international peace plan ever proposed. Yet for years, Israel has refrained from building there out of deference to international public opinion, even as illegal Palestinian construction has mushroomed in this formerly empty area. The result is that it now has no “facts on the ground” to act as a counterweight to Palestinian claims. And since Palestinian claims always enjoy the international community’s automatic support, facts on the ground, in the form of large numbers of Israelis whom it’s simply too difficult to evacuate, are Israel’s best guarantee of retaining areas it deems essential to its security.

Rise in house prices in Israel because of a housing shortage

Rise in house prices in Israel because of a housing shortage

Third, settlement restraint has caused major financial damage by exacerbating Israel’s massive housing crisis. As of last year, the price of an average apartment had soared to 146 average monthly salaries, more than double the ratio in most other countries, and up from just 43 in 2008; rents have risen correspondingly. In short, housing in Israel has simply become unaffordable for most people, and that’s a major threat to Israel’s future:…

The settlement blocs are all within commuting distance of the center of the country, which is where the jobs are, and thus where people want to live; inside the Green Line, in contrast, there are few empty areas left in the country’s narrow waist. And in Jerusalem, the housing shortage is the main reason why the capital loses some 18,000 Jews every year.

Commuting distances from Kedumim in the Shomron (Samaria) to other Israeli cities

Commuting distances from Kedumim in the Shomron (Samaria) to other Israeli cities

Netanyahu was willing to absorb all this damage in the belief that international leaders, regardless of what they said publicly, would know the truth about the brakes he has put on settlement construction and support him when it mattered. But to most of the world, the facts have never mattered where Israel is concerned, and it turns out the same is true of the post-truth Obama Administration.

So if Israel is going to be accused of “accelerated settlement activity” and slapped with potentially serious consequences no matter how much restraint it shows, there’s no justification whatsoever for it to incur the very real costs of this restraint. Hence there’s only one sensible response to this resolution: Build, baby, build.

And once again, in case anyone had the slightest doubt about the invalidity of the “Israeli occupation” myth, law blogger Elliott Hamilton lays to rest the myth of the “illegal Israeli occupation” in a scholarly article in The Daily Wire.

From the perspective of someone who does not understand international law or the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this resolution tells the story that Israelis have trampled over Palestinian lands illegally and decided to build houses on them in a fit of colonial aggression. Unfortunately for them, that is nonsensical and false.

I recommend you read the entire article which has detailed quotes from the laws of treaties from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

His concluding paragraph chimes with the Quora comment by Gail Ellis which I quoted in my earlier piece on “what’s wrong with Resolution 2334“. Hamilton writes:

Since there has never been a sovereign state of “Palestine” prior to 1948 or 1967 and since there is still no legitimate state of “Palestine” today, there cannot legally be an “occupation of Palestinian lands” by Israel according to the Hague Convention of 1907. Since there was no legitimate Palestinian state and Israel already has legal claim to Judea, Samaria, and Eastern Jerusalem, Israel has the right to build Jewish communities in disputed territory in Area C until a final peace agreement is signed with the Palestinian Authority, if that is still possible at this point…

We must keep hammering this point home until the world gets it.

John Kerry’s speech on Israel: delusional and disgraceful

December 29, 2016

John Kerry’s speech on Israel: delusional and disgraceful | Anne’s Opinions, 29th December 2016

 

John Kerry delivers his speech on Israel and the peace process at the State Dept. on 28 Dec. 2016

John Kerry delivers his speech on Israel and the peace process at the State Dept. on 28 Dec. 2016

The Obama Administration’s “January surprise” took its next steps today with John Kerry’s absurd and outrageous speech on Israel, in which he claimed to lay out his vision of Middle East peace but which in practice was simply a screed attacking the settlements as he accused the Israeli government of being led by the most extreme elements:

US secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday laid out his “comprehensive vision” for the future of Middle East peacemaking, saying that a two-state solution was the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” but promising that the US would not seek further UN action on the conflict.

Can we trust him and his boss on that promise that they won’t seek further UN action? I’m not willing to bet on it.

In a speech that lasted well over an hour, Kerry described settlements as a central obstacle to achieving an agreement between the sides and declared that Israeli actions in the West Bank were putting the two-state solution, which he said was the sole path to peace, “in serious jeopardy.”

Kerry argued that settlement construction in the West Bank was being “strategically placed in locations that make two states impossible” and said the “the status quo is leading toward one state, or perpetual occupation.”

Settlement expansion, he declared, “has nothing to do with Israel’s security.”

Castigating the coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said it was “the most right-wing in Israel history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described as more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history, are leading … towards one state. In fact,” he added, “Israel has increasingly consolidated control over much of the West Bank for its own purposes.

With less than a month as secretary of state, Kerry sought to champion the two-state outcome he worked to achieve throughout the last four years, saying it was the only path forward. Incoming president Donald Trump has signaled he may not be committed to the two-state framework.

He rambled on in this vein for the rest of his speech. You can read more at the link, and the entire text is here.

What is much more worthwhile is to watch and listen to Netanyahu’s blistering counter-attack:

David Horovitz of the Times of Israel blasted Kerry, saying that he did everything but call Israel apartheid.

About half an hour into John Kerry’s valedictory lecture from the State Department on Wednesday evening, Israel’s most popular television station, Channel 2, stopped broadcasting it live and switched to other programming. The country’s two other main TV stations, Channels 1 and 10, had already electronically left the building. Given that Kerry’s anti-settlement and anti-occupation address was primarily directed at the Israeli public, the ratings-conscious schedulers’ impatient transition to other material rather encapsulates the climate in which the secretary’s extensive remarks were being received here.

Many in the Israel of 2016 would share some of the arguments they largely didn’t hear Kerry deliver on Wednesday evening. Many recognize the dangers of being permanently intertwined with millions of hostile Palestinians, and fear that the expansion especially of those settlements and outposts that lie to the east of the security barrier increases that risk, and thus puts a two-state solution in danger, threatening Israel’s Jewish character, or its democracy, or both. Kerry’s was a fiery critique, indeed, marked by the allegation that the settlement movement is driving the agenda of the Israeli government, and that Netanyahu has been allowing some of the most extreme voices to draw Israel closer to the Zionist nightmare of a single bi-national state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Just about the only charge Kerry didn’t lob, this time, was apartheid.

But the secretary and his president long ago lost much of the Israeli public, even many of the settlement critics, by underestimating the depth of Palestinian opposition to the very fact of the Jewish state’s existence. The president and his secretary have underestimated, too, the consequent scarring — physical and psychological — that the Israeli public has accumulated over decades of war, terrorism, and demonization as the Palestinians and those who championed their cause have sought Israel’s obliteration.

… He mentioned terrorism and incitement. But the Obama administration never truly internalized the impact of these endless decades fighting off attempted destruction. And Kerry has self-evidently never been willing to internalize that in the vicious Middle East of the past few years, talking up the possibility of relinquishing control over adjacent West Bank history — with its recent history of suicide bomb factories, with Hamas angling to take control, with a hostile Iran emboldened to the east by the Obama Administration’s own nuclear deal — is just that for most Israelis: talk.

We left south Lebanon. Hezbollah took over. We left Gaza. Now it’s ruled by Hamas. When the secretary expresses his “total confidence” that Israel’s security requirements in the West Bank can be met via sophisticated multi-layered border defenses and such, he quite simply loses Israel.

We left south Lebanon. Hezbollah took over. We left Gaza. Now it’s ruled by Hamas. When the secretary expresses his “total confidence” that Israel’s security requirements in the West Bank can be met via sophisticated multi-layered border defenses and such, he quite simply loses Israel.

He would have had more chance of success — or at least of creating a climate in which prospects of progress would be brighter — had he focused more of his attentions on the toxic climate among Palestinians. They are relentlessly educated on the illegitimacy of Israel, with that narrative hammered home over social media, by their political and spiritual leadership, sometimes in their schools. He never strategically attempted to tackle that process of indoctrination.

Easier to place overwhelming blame on the settlers rather than the Palestinians. Or, heaven forbid, on yourself.

Herb Keinon at the Jerusalem Post had similar harsh criticisms of Kerry’s viewpoint:

Long, and without many new elements in it. What a tired-looking, hoarse Kerry did for more than an hour was pretty much compile the “greatest hits” from numerous speeches he and US President Barack Obama have given over the last number of years on the Mideast.

Nevertheless, two elements of the speech were striking.

The first was the insistence that the only solution to the conflict is either two-states, or one. This is the mantra that has been repeated for so long, that it has become axiomatic. But it also drowns out any possibility of creatively looking at other options, a different way.

If the efforts to negotiate two states has failed for so long, perhaps it is time to consider whether there may be other options that might bring Egypt and Jordan into the equation. Perhaps what is needed is a reassessment of all the the assumptions over the last 23 years that have ended in the current stalemate — first and foremost that the only option is two states from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

For instance, in 2010 former National Security Council Giora Eiland spelled out a plan for a Jordanian-Palestinian federation, in which the West Bank and Gaza would be states in an expanded Jordanian kingdom.

Another idea would see the establishment of a Palestinian state, but it would be based on land swaps between Egypt, Israel and a future Palestinian entity that would significantly expand the size of Gaza, allow Israel to retain a good percentage of the the West Bank, and provide Egypt with a land link to Jordan.

These ideas are too often dismissed as unrealistic, something that the Palestinians would never accept. Kerry reinforces that way of thinking with his stating as truth that it is either two states or one state.

The Kerry speech was also telling in that it included a call for Israel to withdraw from the territories and uproot settlements. This is a demand for Israel to make huge compromises. There was, however, no comparable demand for compromise on the Palestinian side.

Kerry called, and says that the US has done so on innumerable occasions, for the Palestinians to stop the terrorism and the incitement, and to build up good governing institutions. But those are not compromises.

A Palestinian compromise would be to recognize that — given everything going on in the Middle East — Israel must retain security control of the Jordan Valley. A compromise would be for the Palestinians to state that they are giving up on the “right of return,” and that they recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish state.

Keinon’s conclusion was absolutely spot-on:

Throughout his career, both in the senate and as secretary of state, Kerry’s speeches on Israel give the listener a sense that he knows what is better for Israel, its future, and security than the Israelis themselves. His speech Wednesday night was true to that rather patronizing form.

The reactions to Kerry’s speech in the United States were similarly scathing. First we have the heart-warming supportive statement from President-elect Donald Trump:

But it’s not only the Republicans who have rejected the Obama regime’s direction. Below is the statement by the House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:

Steny Hoyer's reaction

Steny Hoyer’s reaction

 

Thank you for your support, Mr. Hoyer. You are on the right path towards restoring Israelis’ and Jews’ trust in the Democratic Party.

Here is a selection of other reactions via Twitter:

And one final tweet which includes a map that encapsulates the entire Middle East problem, and at the same time clearly demonstrates Kerry’s (and his boss’s) blindness when it comes to Israel:

 

Who will rid me of this troublesome Kerry?

December 6, 2016

Who will rid me of this troublesome Kerry? | Anne’s Opinions, 6th December 2016

The answer to my rhetorical question in the title is President-elect Donald Trump.

John Kerry wagging his finger at

John Kerry wagging his finger at “naughty” Israel for the last time

In a parting shot at his nemesis, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry takes aim at Binyamin Netanyahu, the settlements, and Israel. His Jeremiad sounds awfully familiar, and – yes – he has spouted off the same nonsense time and time again.

Let’s have a look at his latest – and last, thank goodness! – complaints about an Israel that will not heed his warnings:

First the mildly good news:

It seems increasingly unlikely, though not impossible, that the Obama administration will lend its hand to a resolution that might discomfit the Israeli government at the UN, or otherwise seek to bequeath a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

But then comes the rest:

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry did a great deal more than discomfit the prime minister and his coalition on Sunday, however. In remarks at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, Kerry unloaded almost four years of bitter frustration at Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues, warned that Israel is heading toward “a place of danger,” and cited the settlement enterprise as the central catalyst for that potential disaster.

A different, brighter future, he indicated, was attainable for Israel. But the settlers were destroying it, he said. And his unfortunate role, he made sadly clear, had been to serve these past four years as the prophet who can see the tragedy approaching, but whose warnings go unheeded.

No, said the secretary, ceding a point to Netanyahu, who had spoken by satellite just before him, the settlements “are not the cause of the conflict.” But, Kerry repeated several times, they most certainly constitute a core “obstacle” to its solution. “Let’s not kid each other here,” he advised. “You can’t just wipe it away by saying it doesn’t have an impact. It does have an impact.”

Oh, bla bla bla. The core obstacle to the solution of the crisis is the Arabs’ refusal to recognize a Jewish state in ANY of the land of Israel. The settlements are a convenient tool, a perfect excuse for a politically correct world where history has been turned on its head and indigenous rights have been reversed, making the occupiers (the Arabs) the “indigenous natives” and turning the Jews into imperialist colonialist invaders.

He didn’t blame Netanyahu personally for utilizing settlements with the deliberate goal of ensuring that there can be no two-state solution. But the Israeli right, Kerry said, was strategically bringing more and more Jews into the West Bank, and locating them in very specific locations, with precisely that goal — to ensure that there could be no viable Palestinian state. And Netanyahu was presiding over the process.

The vast majority of “settlers” (I apologize for the term but I use it as shorthand) are living in greater Jerusalem or the large settlement blocs, which under any peace plan ever proposed are going to remain under Israeli sovereignty. In which case, why is it a problem for Jews to live there?

Next we come to Kerry’s hubris as “Israel’s saviour”:

The way he told it, his has been a thankless task — essentially trying to save Israel from itself,

Sorry not sorry Mr. Kerry. We Israelis know how to look after ourselves a lot better than you can, or than you think you can (small difference).

The ongoing building is backed by the right “because they don’t want peace,” he said flatly. “They want to block peace,” said Kerry. “That’s the history of the settler movement, my friends.”

That is such a disgusting slur and slander against the Israeli right, the settlers, and all of Israel in fact since the government represents the entire country, that really our Foreign Ministry should look into suing Kerry for libel.

Is Kerry implying that Israelis want war?? That we prefer to live by the sword? Does he reference Palestinian terrorism at all? Does he make mention of the violence that descended upon us when we DID cede territory in Gaza?

Or is it simply that what he calls “peace” does not mean what he thinks it means?

“Peace” does not mean surrendering to your enemies, or even simply ceding up front any demands they make of you just to have a quiet life and to bring them to the negotiating table.

“Peace’ means the absence of war, normalization of relations, trade, tourism, cooperation, and the prevention of violence from terrorists and other hostile elements. None of this should be contingent on giving up strategically priceless territory.

Vouchsafing new details of his 2013-2104 deal-making efforts, now that he’s so close to the end of his term, Kerry detailed some of the security provisions that, he argued, could enable a substantial Israeli withdrawal, and facilitate a small, demilitarized Palestinian “city state” in the West Bank. The Jordanians were ready to build a sophisticated security fence on their side of the Jordan Valley, and the Palestinians on their side. Israeli troops would have been able to helicopter to trouble spots in minutes. There were “all kinds of ways” for Israel to deploy its soldiers in times of crisis, he said, referring to the proposals memorably castigated by then defense minister Moshe Ya’alon in 2014 as “not worth the paper they’re printed on.”

Not only were his proposals worthless, even if they had been of value at the time, later developments, such as the “Arab Spring” and the rise of ISIS would have rendered them useless, and worse, would have placed Israel in an untenable position militarily and diplomatically.

… Stability and tranquility were not out of reach for Israel, Kerry suggested, but wouldn’t be attained if “all the time you are building up your presence” in what the Palestinians see as their state.

But does Kerry have anything to say about the illegal Arab construction in Israel? Not to mention the ongoing destruction by the Waqf on the Temple Mount. Is building illegal only for Jews? If so, there’s a word for that: antisemitism.

And as for that idea beloved by Netanyahu of a regional Arab peace first, and accommodation with the Palestinians somewhere down the line, forget about it. “There will be no separate peace with the Arab world,” he insisted.

Again, events have overtaken Mr. Kerry. Israel is on speaking terms at the very least with many of her most obdurate enemies, including Saudi Arabia, besides “cold peace partners” like Jordan and Egypt.

I was gratified to see that others are of the same opinion as me regarding Kerry’s outrageous statements.

Ruthie Blum in Israel Hayom says Good Riddance Mr. Kerry:

But let’s face it: Even Bozo the Clown would be better than Secretary of State John Kerry.

To be fair to Kerry, he was following the foreign policy spelled out by Obama four years earlier: that America was about to embark on a new path, reaching out to enemies who would suddenly transform into friends when faced with a more gentle and multicultural America — one that “leads from behind.”

Nevertheless, it was Kerry who did most of the shuttling, predominantly to the Middle East, alternating between his many trips to Europe to grovel before his Iranian counterpart, and visits to Israel, where he expressed severe displeasure with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not behaving similarly with the Palestinian Authority.

“I come to you as somebody who is concerned for the safety and the security of the State of Israel — for the long-term ability of the State of Israel to be able to be what it has dreamt of being, and what the people of Israel, I believe, want it to be,” he said, implying that it has not lived up to that dream.

Again that patronizing arrogance.

He then professed his concern for the Jewish state, claiming to “want to see this thing develop into the full-blossomed beacon that Israel has the potential of being.” Indeed, he went on, “Israel has all these skills,” in so many realms “that it could be sharing with Egypt, with Jordan, with the Emirates, with Saudi Arabia, with all of these countries. … But the issue is, how do get from here to there?”

Netanyahu could have pointed out that attempting to get “from here to there” has been his guiding principle — one that he has been putting into practice with every Arab and African country that is open to it. This year alone, he has forged friendly relations and cooperation with Cairo. He has even made enormous strides with the Saudis, who consider Israel an ally in preventing Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons that Kerry and his boss handed the mullahs on a silver platter.

Ouch.

He continued by lambasting settlements, while claiming he understands that they are not the root cause of the conflict, saying that he “cannot accept the notion that they do not affect the peace process — that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.”

And here was the clincher. He said he knows this, because “the Left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace and the Right supports it, openly supports it, because they don’t want peace.”

And there you have it. Kerry’s utter gall. His accusation that most Israelis oppose peace. Not that we long to live without fear of being stabbed, car-rammed, torched, blown up by bombs and hit by rocket fire by hate-filled terrorists bent on our annihilation. Not that we have relinquished most of the West Bank and all of Gaza to those killers. Not that every territorial withdrawal has been accompanied by an escalation in violence against us.

Meanwhile the indefatigable Elder of Ziyon has done his homework and notes that Kerry outright lied about the basic facts of the Oslo Accords in his Saban Forum speech:

John Kerry, speaking at the Saban Forum this past weekend, said:

When Oslo was signed in 1993, the vision was that with the signing of Oslo, Area C – everybody knows there’s Area A, B, C – Area A is Palestinian security and administrative control, Area B is a split between administrative and security control, and Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank, is just Israel security and administrative still. But the deal of Oslo in 1993 was over the next year and a half Area C would be transferred to the Palestinian control administratively. Well, it didn’t happen for a number of different reasons. We won’t go into that now.

Kerry had good reason not to go into it – because it is a complete fiction.

The original 1993 Oslo Accords did not divide the territories into Areas A, B and C. That was Oslo II, in 1995, not 1993.

Oslo II mentioned very little about redeploying Israeli control.

The Wye River Agreement of 1998 did say Israel was to withdraw from a percentage of Area C, but the bulk was going to remain under Israeli control. It was never implemented after Netanyahu, who opposed it, lost a vote of no-confidence. But there were a whole lot of terror attacks in the md-90s that would seem to be a violation of Oslo.

Kerry didn’t mention Hamas or suicide bombings or terror.

He didn’t mention those inconvenient facts because they do not fit his politically correct world-view where the “poor brown people” can do no wrong and the “white people” (played by the Israeli Jews) can do no right.

For some more interesting reading on Kerry and his malicious ignorance on Israel and the Middle East, read this excellent article about him on the Winds of Jihad blog: “Ignorant Of Islam, Frustrated And Confused About the Middle East, Incapable Of Grasping Reality, Quick To Blame Israel”. It’s from 2013 but still as relevant as ever.

In short, Kerry is a puffed-up arrogant blowhard with a one-eyed view of the world, particularly the Middle East, and the time can’t come quickly enough when we shall see the back of him.

All About Amona

November 24, 2016

All About Amona | Anne’s Opinions, 24th November 2016

(Human rights work only in one direction apparently, not only outside of Israel, but even within its own judicial system. Why is it that the word of Palestinians is automatically taken at face value, whereas the words of Jewish settlers are immediately suspect? The injustice eats away at me. –anneinpt).

 

A very menacing caravan in Amona

A very menacing caravan in Amona

The community of Amona in the title has been the subject of much controversy over the past couple of years, reaching a head in the last couple of months.

The background to the story is a familiar one in the Israeli domestic landscape. (One caveat – I am writing from memory because I’m having a problem finding links in English. If I have facts wrong, please correct me in the comments and I will edit the post accordingly).

A small settlement, consisting of only about 40 families, was established with government permission or at least without official rejection. The land was purchased by the Jewish settlers (there, I said the bogey-word!) and all was quiet for 20 years (!) until an Arab “owner” was found by Israeli leftists who can’t bear the idea of Jews returning to their ancestral homes. This ostensible Arab owner suddenly “remembered” that part of the land is his and laid a claim to it.

The case went to court, which is where it has been bouncing around ever since. Israel’s hyperactivist High Court ruled in favour of the Arab (of course – it is very rare for the High Court to ever rule in the Jews’ favour). The Israeli government was duly horrified and has tried various tricks of the political trade to try and mitigate the High Court’s ruling.

These tricks have included legislation to retroactively legalize all settlement outposts, (which Sweden expressed deep concern over, as if they have nothing better to be concerned about in their refugee-infused crime-infested cities), setting up a “Cyprus commission” to examine competing land claims in a manner similar to the commission set up in Cyprus to arbitrate between Greek and Turkish claims, and assorted other delaying tactics.

The High Court ordered that compensation be paid to the Arab owner, in which case there is no reason to destroy the community.

Nevertheless it now looks like Amona is going to be destroyed because after all, you cannot have actual Jews living on Jewish land in the Jewish State can you? The world would never be the same!

A very menacing Amona resident with her 2 very dangerous children

An Amona resident with her 2 children

Adding insult to injury, when the government came up with a plan to move the Amona houses a few hundred yards up the road, the US State Department objected to that too! There is no pleasing those Jew-hating politicians.

Meanwhile, the demolition of an illegal Bedouin village in southern Israel has been delayed (via Reality) because of the objections of human rights activists. I wonder if those activists will turn up at Amona on demolition day. Or do human rights only apply to Arabs, and not to Jews?

For more reading on this very painful subject (which I admit I have been avoiding precisely because the outrage at the injustice of the decisions so upsets me), here are some illuminating articles:

Here are eight crucial things you need to know about Amona: (via MP):

1. Jordan had no right to parcel out lands
When the Amona case first reached the Supreme Court, a representative of the land registrar for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) argued that despite the fact that the location was a bald and abandoned mountaintop, there existed documented parcels of land which had been registered by the Jordanian government as belonging to area sheiks and clans. However, as an invading and occupying power, Jordan had no right to award these lands. Jordan’s rule over the “West Bank” was not recognized by the vast majority of UN member states save for the UK and Pakistan, and so this local Arab “ownership” is based on a lie.

2. Only 0.5% of the Amona land is registered to private Arab owners
… in Jerusalem Magistrate Court it was discovered that out of the nine Arab petitioners, seven own land that is entirely outside the Amona perimeter, and have had no problem working their land had they been so inclined. The remaining two owned only a sliver – about half an acre altogether, out of the 125 acres of the Amona territory – less than .5%. The remaining land is registered to names of non-existent people who do not appear in the 1967 census.

3. COGAT didn’t differentiate between the parcels with known and unknown ownership
Despite the above facts, the COGAT prosecution related to the parcels whose owners are unknown as being privately owned, declaring that some 15 acres in the southern part of the settlement belonged to real private owners. They then told the court that, in fact, there was no difference between the various parts of the community and that the half-acre that became 15 acres was, in effect, indistinguishable from the rest, and the entire community had to come down.

4. The Settlement Arrangements Act does not violate international law
Regarding the Settlement Arrangements Act, which the left, as well as senior Netanyahu cabinet officials, are saying violates international law, former Tel Aviv University president and international law expert Prof. Yoram Dinstein has argued that “when an occupier appropriates the power to legislate in an occupied territory, said power belongs to the occupying state and not to one of its organs (COGAT).” […]

5. International law compels Israel to care for the rights of Jewish and Arab resident
Another popular argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it violates international law because it sanctions the impounding of Arab owned land for the sake of a Jewish community. However, it has been noted that international law compels the occupier to care for the needs of all the civilians under its rule, Jews and Arabs alike, and the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with proper payment of compensation (eminent domain) is inherent in exerting such care.

6. The Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the pre-67 law in Judea and Samaria
… the Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the legal systems that were in use in Judea and Samaria before 1967. Both Ottoman law and Jordanian law determine that in a case where a man built and planted in good faith land belonging to another, should the value of the construction exceed the value of the land, the land owner is compelled to receive compensation.

7. Israel legislates retroactively when needed
Another argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it retroactively alters a court ruling. But the state of Israel regularly legislates retroactively, as in the amendment that reversed many hundreds of court sentences of Arab terrorists, to facilitate the Gilad Shalit deal with Hamas.

8. The Settlement Arrangements Act is not unconstitutional
Finally, the most crucial argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it is unconstitutional – the constitution in this case being Israel’s Basic Laws. Setting aside the paradox whereby one Knesset law is inapplicable in the territories while the same Knesset’s basic laws are applicable – does Israel’s basic law really dictate that 40 families with their 200 children who have lived in Amona for 20 years be evicted to satisfy the alleged rights of two claimants who own less than .5% of the land and have never lived there? Has the court become so immoral as to be the enemy of its constituents without any foundation?

Caroline Glick, always a very worthwhile read, writes about Amona and the rule of law: She succinctly summarizes the issue and points out the naked bias in the court’s ruling: (emphases are added):

Yehuda Yifrach reported Friday in Makor Rishon that once the suit was filed, the Jerusalem District Court acted to ascertain the actual scope of the ownership rights under question. It was determined that a mere half-acre of Amona was built on lands to which the Palestinians made claim. The rest of their claims pertained to land outside of the community altogether.

In other words, once the actual claims of ownership were examined it worked out that a mere fraction of the community was built on privately owned land. It further worked out that the precise areas that were owned by claimants are non-contiguous and indiscernible, but all were generally located on smidgens of plots on the southern side of the community.

Others have disputed Yifrach’s findings. But that is part of the problem of ascertaining the validity of ownership claims.

At any rate, as Yifrach noted, rather than say that the owners would be compensated for the half acre, whose specific locations were unclear, the Attorney General’s office decided that all the plots that included privately owned land had to be destroyed. Thus the Attorney General’s lawyers magically transformed a half acre into 15 acres, covering the entire southern part of Amona.

The government then decided it would raze only the homes located on those 15 acres and move the families to new homes in Amona on undisputed plots in the northern half of the community.

The Supreme Court would have none of that, however.

The justices insisted that their initial decision that all 60 acres be razed to the ground still stands.

Glick next addresses the Arrangements Law, which was intended to legalize or regulate “illegal” outposts:

Given the specious nature of Mandelblit’s legal reasoning, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in writing his opinion he was not acting as a lawyer, but as a political activist. Mandelbilt’s purpose was not to protect the rule of law – which his opinion ignores and distorts. Rather his goal was to protect the rule of lawyers who use their positions as officers of the court to advance their political agenda.

Faced with the specter of Mandelblit’s legally unsupported “legal” opinion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first tried to get the court to delay the deadline for destroying Amona for several months.

Unsurprisingly, the court, which is fighting not for justice but to prove that it is more powerful than the government, rejected his request.

Caroline Glick’s conclusion is one that we should all pay attnetion to – but unfortunately I am pretty sure our government won’t and certainly our judicial system will studiously ignore:

The timing of this showdown between the rule of law and the rule of lawyers couldn’t be worse. It comes in the twilight of the Obama administration which has shown consistently that the actual legal basis for Israel’s actions in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem is irrelevant.

President Barack Obama and his advisers condemn every action Israel takes because they oppose Israel’s presence in the areas for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with law.

Unfortunately, we can’t always pick the timing of our great battles.

Mandelblit and his comrades have left our lawmakers no choice. They must pass the Arrangements Law, and override Mandelblit. This is the only way to ensure the Knesset’s position as Israel’s lawmaking body is respected.

This is the only way to secure Israel’s position as a nation governed by the rule of law, rather than the rule of unelected, unaccountable lawyers.

It is as much the empowering of our enemies (including our enemies within) as the judicial outrage which infuriates me. “צדק צדק תרדוף”, “Justice, Justice shall you pursue” we are enjoined by the Torah. But the Torah did not mean that we should pursue justice right out of our system.

Justice should be meted out to Israeli Jews as well as to Palestinians. Someone should remind our holier-than-thou activist courts of this point.

UNESCO Shmunesco: denying history one fact at a time

October 13, 2016

UNESCO Shmunesco: denying history one fact at a time | Anne’s Opinions, 13th October 2016

(In UNESCO-World, black is white, up is down and Jerusalem has no connection to Judaism or Christianity. The mind boggles.– anneinpt)

The Kotel - to be renamed as the Muslim site Al Buraq according to UNESCO

The Kotel – to be renamed as the Muslim site Al Buraq according to UNESCO

It looks like Yom Kippur came a day too early for the UN, who have yet more apologizing and atoning to do. UNESCO voted today to deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Yes, you read that right.

The UN passed a resolution Thursday denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall

The resolution was supported by 24 states, including Russia and China. 6 countries opposed and 26 abstained.

The resolution maintains that the Western Wall and Temple Mount will be referred to by their Arabic names and the Hebrew terms for the sites will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.

Earlier Israel had tried to prevent the decision, even asking the Vatican to help prevent the resolution. The Vatican enjoys observer status in UNESCO.

This vote differs only marginally, and more egregiously, from a previous vote taken in April: From the first link:

In a recent UNESCO meeting, Arab states and the Palestinian Authority have pushed a new resolution, explicitly describing the Temple Mount as an exclusively Muslim holy site, referring to the site of both ancient Jewish temples by its Arabic name: Haram a-Sharif.

This time, however, the proposed UNESCO resolution also touches upon the Western Wall that surrounds the Temple Mount. Like the Temple Mount, the Western Wall is also referred to by the Arabic name, with the Hebrew name included in brackets.

Israeli diplomats called the move an attempt to discredit the ancient Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the eyes of the international community.

The resolution does recognize the importance of Jerusalem in general to the three major Abrahamic faiths, but observers noted that this was likely an attempt to make an otherwise transparently anti-Israel measure appear more balanced. The order of faiths mentioned in connection to Jerusalem is Islam, Christianity, and Judaism last.

It seems that UNESCO just can’t get enough of denying Judaism’s connection to its holiest site and capital city.

If you want to get a glimpse of the insanity, take a look at Israellycool who posts the draft resolution – which in my anger I read as “daft resolution” which is surely a better descriptor. Some of the highlights:

Deeply deplores the failure of Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City, and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;

Excuse me? Who is illegally excavating and destroying priceless artefacts from the First and Second Temple period? The Waqf, on the Temple Mount, that’s who! If Israel is responsible for any failure, it is of failing to stop the Waqf and throw them out for destroying our heritage and that of Christianity.

Calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo that prevailed until September 2000, under which the Jordanian Awqaf (Religious Foundation) Department exercised exclusive authority on Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, and its mandate extended to all affairs relating to the unimpeded administration of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, including maintenance, restoration and regulating access;

I was not aware that the status quo had been changed. In fact the only people changing the status quo are the Waqf themselves who refuse to allow the slightest sign of Jewish prayer, and hardly a Jewish presence at all, on the Temple Mount. Again the Israeli police and government are complicit in this Waqf denial of religious rights, but since it is anti-Jewish denial I am surprised that UNESCO are objecting! (I am being sarcastic here in case anyone misses my British sense of humour).

Firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif;

Let’s have a look at those storming Jews:

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2015/07/gangs-of-jewish-settlers-resumed.html

“Storming” Jews on the Temple Mount. Some storm!

I do not think “storming” means what you think it means.

Deprecates the continuing Israeli unilateral measures and decisions regarding the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate, including the latest works conducted at the Mughrabi Gate entrance in February 2015, the instalment of an umbrella at that entrance as well as the enforced creation of a new Jewish prayer platform south of the Mughrabi Ascent in Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza”, and the removal of the Islamic remains at the site, and reaffirms that no Israeli unilateral measures, shall be taken in conformity with its status and obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;

OK, as soon as I saw the words “Al Buraq” I stopped reading. Anyone who believes in a flying horse but not in the retaining wall of Solomon’s Temple needs their head examined.

Israellycool remarks:

For our part, Israel’s Mission to UNESCO in Paris has given board members and international diplomats a brochure detailing the deep historical connections Judaism has to those sites. You can see the brochure here.

“These facts and evidence will leave no doubt, and without undermining other connection of other religions to the holy places in Jerusalem, of the deepest and longest Jewish presence in Jerusalem since ancient times,” Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen wrote.

It has come to this, Israel having to send out brochures to somehow prove our connection to sites Jews have been praying, crying and mourning at for thousands of years? I doubt a glossy brochure will convince anyone who does not already see the truth.

I think it is pathetic that Israel has to give out brochures to explain the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Since this connection forms the core basis of Judaeo-Christian Western civilization, anyone who does not know is not interested in knowing, and no amount of propaganda or educational leaflets will change their minds.

In my opinion Israel should make a dignified withdrawal from UNESCO and cut off all contact with that corrupt, absurd, ridiculous and shameful organization. When they come to their senses, maybe we can consider returning. I can see absolutely no upside to belonging to an institution that not only denies history, but denies current events that are taking place in full view of the international media in real time.

As I type these words I can hear the banging and clanging of Sukkot being built in our parking lot, as well as in neighbours’ gardens. On Sunday night the festival of Sukkot will begin, one of the three pilgrimage festivals when the ancient Jews made their way to – gasp – Jerusalem! To – gasp! – The Temple! Not to Haram al Sharif. Not to Al Aqsa. The Temple.

Their they brought offerings from their harvest to give thanks to G-d for His bounty. The offerings were presented, not to Sheikhs and Imams at the al Aqsa Mosque but to the Priests, the Cohanim, in the Temple, there on that very same Temple Mount, the Har Habayit.

No amount of renaming sites and rewriting history will change those facts.

Shame on the UN, shame on UNESCO and shame on every one of those countries who voted yes and even those who abstained. (What? They couldn’t make up their minds? My mind boggles).

My mother had a good suggestion: Let us present a draft resolution that Mecca is a holiday spa in Arabia. Let’s see how they like that!

Here is a selection of Twitter reactions:

I’ll let the final word go to the Board of Deputies of British Jews:

The only ethnic cleansing that the world accepts is that of the Jews

September 12, 2016

The only ethnic cleansing that the world accepts is that of the Jews | Anne’s Opinions, 12th September 2016

Binyamin Netanyahu brought down the opprobrium of the world onto his head on Friday when he stated two categorical truths: the first: the Palestinians want to ethnically cleanse Jews off their land. The second: that it is absurd that such ethnic cleansing is a pre-condition to “peace”.

Here is Bibi’s statement:

The United with Israel article reports on the video which has gone viral:

Israel’s prime minister rejected international criticism of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria on Friday, equating it to “ethnic cleansing” of Jews and insisting the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are not an obstacle to peace, in a video that drew a rare rebuke from the United States.

Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video posted online that he has “always been perplexed” by claims that Israeli building in Judea and Samaria is “an obstacle to peace.”

He pointed to Israel’s Arab minority, which enjoys citizenship and voting rights.

“No one would seriously claim that the nearly 2 million Arabs living inside Israel, that they’re an obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu said. “Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing.”

“It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous,” he added. “Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?”

Of course such simple, clear truths are unacceptable to the liberal, progressive, enlightened, oh-so-politically correct State Department which never met a terrorist it couldn’t love. They condemned Netanyahu’s video as “inappropriate”:

Washington on Friday fumed at comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video released online in which he accused the Palestinians of advocating ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in the West Bank.

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters the administration is “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government” about the video.

“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” Trudeau said.

She said Israel expansion of settlements raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

I would like to throw the State Departments words back in their face and ask them why the Palestinians’ demands for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria do not raise real questions about the Palestinian Authority’s long-term intentions in the West Bank”.

As expected, beyond Washington’s seething, Netanyahu’s words also aroused condemnation from the usual suspects, as the JPost reports:

The Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni responded to the video, saying that the US is now saying that all the settlements are obstacles to peace, including those inside the large settlement blocs, while in the past Israel received recognition for those blocs.

“I worked to get diplomatic benefit while paying a political price, while Netanyahu is trying to get political benefit while paying a diplomatic price,” she said.

Tzipi Livni might wave her diplomatic credentials around, but the truth is that she achieved nothing during her vaunted peace-processing career. The highlight of her career was the lopsided UN Resolution 1701 after the Second Lebanon War which handed a political victory to Hezbollah.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, slammed Netanyahu for comparing Israeli Arabs to “settlers.”

Netanyahu, he said, “is comparing a minority born here, who has lived in the place for generations, which Israel came and foisted itself upon, to settlers that were transferred against international law to occupied territory, all the while trampling the human rights of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza.”

But reality, he said, “never bothered Netanyahu.”

I don’t expect anything different from Odeh, but he really must be called out for the bunch of lies that he spouts. Calling the Palestinians “a minority born here who has lived in the place for generations” is a verifiable untruth. The land was empty and desolate, and the Arabs were uninterested in it until the Jews returned to their homeland and made it flourish. It is the Jews who are indigenous to Israel – which includes our Biblical and historical heartland, Judea and Samaria – not the Arabs, and the only time the land was Judenfrei was for a mere 19 years, a blink in the eye of history, from 1948-1967.

With every other nation, the world applauds as indigenous peoples return to their homelands. But as always, when it comes to the Jews, when they are ethnically cleansed, they’d better stay ethnically cleansed! The hypocrisy and absurdity, as Netanyahu points out, are breathtaking.

As for the video itself, people are scratching their heads wondering what prompted Netanyahu to publish this provocative statement davka now. The JPost gives a bit of background:

The brief video is the eighth that Netanyahu has made since David Keyes took over from Mark Regev as Netanyahu’s English spokesman in March. The Prime Minister’s Office views these videos as a very effective way to get the premier’s unfiltered message out to millions of people. Some 750,000 people have seen this video since it was uploaded Friday, and the number of those who have seen the others – which have dealt with issues varying from Israeli Arabs to gay rights – have been seen by tens of millions of people.

Raphael Ahren in the ToI further explains Netanyahu’s intentions. He notes that this is not the first time Netanyahu has made decried Palestinian ethnic-cleansing of the Jews in videos, speeches and interviews:

“Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did,” Netanyahu said at the end of the two-minute clip. But Netanyahu did not invent this controversial comparison on Friday afternoon, when the clip appeared on his social media accounts. He has made the argument, in various mutations, throughout his political career. In the 2000 edition of his book “A Durable Peace,” written before his watershed Bar-Ilan speech conditionally accepting the two-state solution, he flatly rejected the notion of a “hostile, Judenrein Palestinian state.” Even if the entire world supports it, the campaign for a West Bank free of Jews is based “not on justice but on injustice,” he argued at the time.

Amid the widespread criticism Netanyahu’s latest video elicited, many are wondering about his motives. Ethnic cleansing is widely considered a crime against humanity; the clip can thus be seen as a premeditated slap in the face of the Americans and indeed the entire international community for demanding that Israel agree to such a practice, some pundits said.

Others blamed the polls. Over the weekend, a second survey within a week showed Netanyahu’s Likud trailing the centrist Yesh Atid, indicating that for the first time since 2012, Likud would no longer be the country’s biggest party if elections were held today. Several analysts argued that Netanyahu provoked the ethnic cleansing drama to deflect criticism over his handling of last week’s train crisis and galvanize his right-wing supporters, relations with the US and the rest of the world be damned.

But the fact that Netanyahu and his aides have made the “ethnic cleansing” talking point before appears to discredit this theory. It is more likely that Netanyahu and Keyes — who, before he entered the Prime Minister’s Office, was known for his unorthodox style of political activism — released the clip as just one more of their ongoing series of hasbara (pro-Israel advocacy) videos, not expecting it would lead to such outrage.

The point of these videos, … is to make Israel’s case directly to the masses via social media, thus circumventing the ostensibly biased mainstream media.

Ahren then embarks on a Talmudic pilpul dissection of what constitutes “ethnic cleansing” – as if Bibi’s words are devoid of anything but political showboating:

Notwithstanding the emotions Netanyahu’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” evoked this weekend, and the fact that Palestinian activists often use it to describe Israel’s actions in 1948, is the description factually sound?

Golden Oldie from 1994: Ethnic cleansing of the Jews

Golden Oldie from 1994: Ethnic cleansing of the Jews

There is no clear legal definition of “ethnic cleansing.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “the organized, often violent attempt by a particular cultural or racial group to completely remove from a country or area all members of a different group.”

A commission of experts examining the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s — when the term was invented — established ethnic cleansing as a “purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”

On the face of it, the forced evacuation of Jewish settlers from the West Bank for the benefit of Palestinian Arabs appears to fit the bill. Palestinian leaders have been adamant that “not a single Israeli” will be accepted in their future state.

On the other hand, proponents of an Israeli withdrawal are not calling for the violent removal of settlers by Palestinians, but rather for a coordinated evacuation of settlements in the framework of a peace agreement.

As previous Israeli withdrawals from Sinai and Gaza have shown, a proportion of ideologically and religiously motivated activists would likely have to be evacuated by force — though hardly by “terror-inspiring means.”

That is absolutely not the point. See the Dry Bones cartoon from above, still accurate after over 20 years. The point remains that the Palestinians refuse to have one single Israeli in their midst, as Palestinian “President-for-Life” Mahmoud Abbas himself declared. Keeping a territory “pure” for one ethnicity only, and demanding the expulsion of other nationalities, in however peaceful a manner, remains ethnic cleansing. This “word-washing” of the Palestinians’ rejectionism has to stop if we are ever to arrive at any kind of non-violent accommodation with each other.

As an aside, Abbas even rejects Syrian Palestinians, fleeing for their lives from the civil war, heartlessly telling them to “go to Israel or die in Syria”. So much for brotherly love.

Dennis Ross

Former US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross

In a further reminder, if any were necessary, of the dangers of the US Adminsitration’s exacerbating the problems in the conflict, here comes Dennis Ross asserting that if Hilary Clinton is elected she should seek more Israeli concessions.

If Hillary Clinton is elected US president, she should launch a behind the scenes initiative to bring about changes in Israel’s policies, according to former Clinton adviser and US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.

Ross’s remarks came during a panel discussion at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service on Thursday.

Ross said that “even though negotiations with the Palestinian Authority won’t work now,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take steps of his own. “He should, at a minimum, announce an official policy that there will be no further Israeli construction east of the security barrier,” Ross said.

Numerous Israeli settlements would be affected by such a policy, including the communities in the Jordan Valley. Ross said such unilateral concessions would be consistent with “the traditional Zionist way of shaping your own destiny.”

No Mr. Ross! That is NOT the Zionist way. The Zionist way is to take our own destiny in our own hands, to settle our own land any way we wish, and not to kow-tow to foreign meddlers who most definitely do not have our own interests at heart.

The Zionist way is to reject the Exile, to reject the ghetto way of living where we had to be afraid of the powers that be. The Zionist way is to reclaim our own narrative, our own history, our own land and our own destiny.