Archive for the ‘Palestinian settlements’ category

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists

June 27, 2017

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, June 27, 2017

(The Israeli deep state? — DM)

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

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How radicalized Israeli generals are furthering the cause of Palestinian terrorists.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Should the United States pay Palestinian terrorists? For the overwhelming majority of Americans and Israelis this is a rhetorical question.

The position of the American people was made clear – yet again – last week when US President Donald Trump’s senior envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and repeated Trump’s demand that the PA cut off the payments.

Not only did Abbas reject their demand, he reportedly accused the presidential envoys of working as Israeli agents.

Abbas’s treatment of Kushner and Greenblatt was in line with his refusal to even meet with US Ambassador David Friedman, reportedly because he doesn’t like Friedman’s views.

The most amazing aspect of Abbas’s contemptuous treatment of the Trump administration is that he abuses Trump and his senior advisers while demanding that Trump continue funding him in excess of half a billion dollars a year, and do so in contravention of the will of the Republican-controlled Congress.

Abbas’s meeting last week took place as the Taylor Force Act makes its way through Congress.

Named for Taylor Force, the West Point graduate and US army veteran who was murdered in March 2016 in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist, the Taylor Force Act will end US funding of the PA until it ends its payments to terrorists and their families – including the family of Force’s murderer Bashar Masalha.

The Taylor Force Act enjoys bipartisan majority support in both the House and the Senate. It is also supported by the Israeli government.

Given the stakes, what could possibly have possessed Abbas to believe he can get away with mistreating Trump and his envoys? Who does he think will save him from Congress and the White House? Enter Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), stage left.

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

If you fail to follow this logic, well, you don’t have what it takes to be an Israeli general.

Moreover, if you fail to follow this logic, and you defy the position of Israel’s retired generals, then you may well endanger Israel.

After all, they know what’s best even better than the Israeli government because they are retired Israeli generals.

The CIS group would be bad enough for Israel on its own. But unfortunately, the radical politics of its members – and their anonymous funders – are all too resonant inside of the IDF itself.

And just as CIS members use the ranks they received in the past to undermine the powers of the government today, so the current crop of serving generals use their positions to advance policies that are contrary to the expressed position of the government.

This is nowhere more evident than in the behavior of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

Until Israel formed the PLO-controlled PA in 1994, the Civil Administration was responsible for governing Judea and Samaria as the governing arm of the military government that Israel set up in the area after the Six Day War.

In 1996, Israel transferred all Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria to the PA. Since then, the Civil Administration has been responsible only for Area C where all Israeli communities are located and where between 100,000 and 200,000 Palestinians also live.

The question of what the ultimate disposition of Area C will be is the top issue on the national agenda today. The majority of government ministers and the majority of the public support applying Israeli law to all or parts of the area.

Yet while the government debates the issue and formulates policies to advance whatever policies it adopts on this issue, the Civil Administration has for the past several years been acting independently to undermine and constrain the government’s ability to make strategic decisions relating to Area C.

Among other things, the Civil Administration has been independently initiating Palestinian settlement projects in Area C that undermine Israel’s ability to govern the areas. By the same token, the Civil Administration has used its powers to scupper, delay and prevent Israeli construction projects in the area.

The story of the Civil Administration’s rogue policymaking was catapulted to the headlines last week when Channel 2 reported that it was advancing a plan to massively expand the Palestinian city of Kalkilya into Area C. Among other things, the plan endangers Israeli communities whose territory abuts the expanded boundaries of Kalkilya advanced by the plan.

Channel 2 reported that the Netanyahu government’s security cabinet had given the Civil Administration a green light to begin construction.

The story caused a political outcry not only from Likud voters but from the security cabinet members themselves. Led by Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the Likud ministers insisted that they had been misled by the Civil Administration which deliberately hid the nature of the plan from them when it brought it to the cabinet for approval.

The ministers’ protests ring true because the Civil Administration has a history of acting in this manner.

In 2008 for instance, the Civil Administration initiated a building scheme in the Jordan Valley that would have taken land from Moshav Tomer to build Palestinian settlements.

The head of the local council complained to the government only to discover that the ministers had no idea what he was talking about. The Civil Administration had undertaken the plan, which undermined Israel’s control over a strategically vital area, without government knowledge or approval.

In contrast, and again against the wishes of the government, the Civil Administration has repeatedly acted to block Israeli construction in Area C. For instance, the IDF insists that no land deal between Israel and Palestinians is final until the IDF approves it. The policy harms Israeli construction in two ways.

First, it gives the Civil Administration the power – which it uses – to delay Israeli construction indefinitely.

Second, by forcing parties to land deals to come forward publicly, the Civil Administration intimidates Palestinian land sellers. They know that if their land deals with Israelis become public they will face execution by the PA.

Returning to Abbas for a moment, the PLO chief may have overplayed his hand by insulting Trump and his senior envoys. All the politicized retired and currently serving Israeli generals together cannot convince Trump to send US tax dollars to a terrorism supporting leader who trashes him and his senior officials. Consequently, there is every reason to believe that the Taylor Force Act will soon be signed into law and the US will end its financing of Palestinian terrorism.

But even if Washington cuts off funding to the PA, Israel is still left to deal with its radicalized generals who exploit their rank to undermine the government.

The best way to end this situation is for the government to shut down the Civil Administration and get the IDF out of the governing business in Judea and Samaria. So long as the government continues to empower unaccountable generals to administer civilian areas instead of its accountable, civilian bureaucracy, we will continue to be confronted with the surreal spectacle of Israeli generals lobbying for Palestinian terrorists.

If the government applies Israeli law to Area C, it can still negotiate with the PLO, just as it has negotiated about the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. But in the meantime, it will remove one of the most corrupting and corrosive forces preying on our generals and our democracy for the benefit of the Israeli and Palestinian residents of Area C alike and indeed for Israel as a whole.

Housing Units and Double Standards

December 30, 2016

Housing Units and Double Standards, Front Page MagazineJoseph Puder, December 30, 2016

abbs

Arab-Palestinian construction is not only illegal but unsafe as well.  While the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria has long been carried out with proper licenses, and within the framework of the law, the Arab-Palestinian construction does not begin to meet even the minimum standards required by engineers, architects, and housing planners.  The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground.  Moreover, half the apartments built remain empty, in spite of the ludicrous price tag of $25,000 – $50,000 per unit, when comparable Jewish housing is $250,000 and up.  The answer is, of course, the EU funding.  These homes have been built without permits, corroborated by the fact that unauthorized or illegal building by Palestinians is an ongoing problem in Area C, solely under Israeli control.

The UN, Britain and the Obama administration expressed outrage last October at Israel’s plan to construct 300 new homes in Judea and Samaria, but no such outrage at the genocide in Syria, or the building of 15,000 illegal Palestinian housing units in areas surrounding Jerusalem as part of a plan to encircle the city. 

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The Obama Administrations unprecedented vote to abstain rather than cast the traditional veto on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334, was, in the words of Professor Alan Dershowitz, “nasty” and referring to Obama as pulling a “bait and switch.” In a Fox-News interview, Dershowitz related that President Obama called him to ask for his support. Obama, Dershowitz recalled, said, “I will always have Israel’s back.” Dershowitz added, he indeed “stabbed” Israel in the back.  The Obama administration rejection of the traditional U.S. policy toward Israel has to do with a personal vendetta against Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, and anger over the election of Donald Trump as president.  There is moreover, a double-standard vis-à-vis housing in the territories.

UNSC Resolution 2334 is a non-binding document and deals with Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”  The resolution states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes “flagrant violation” of International law that has “no legal validity,” and demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligation as an “occupying power” under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The December 23, 2016 UNSC resolution obfuscates history and reality. It is reminiscent of the notorious 1975 UN Resolution that equated Zionism (Israel national liberation movement) with racism, this time with the Obama administration’s collusion, albeit, without naming it Zionism.  The very term “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” is outrageously false.  Israel did not take “Palestinian territory in 1967, it took Jordanian territory, which the Jordanian Arab Legion illegally occupied in 1948. Israel won Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in a defensive war, after being attacked by Jordan. There was never a state of Palestine, nor Palestinian territories.  What might have been “Palestinian territories” was rejected by Arab-Palestinians in 1947 during the UN vote on the Partition of (British) Mandatory Palestine. The Palestinian-Arabs, unlike Jewish-Palestinians, rejected the partition, choosing instead to annihilate the nascent Jewish state.

Ambassador Alan Baker, an Israeli expert on International law, former Israeli ambassador to Canada, and director of The Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, pointed out that the Palestinian claim that “settlements are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians (1949) is false. But both the text of that convention, and the post-World War II circumstances under which it was drafted, clearly indicate that it was never intended to refer to situations like Israel’s settlements. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Article 49 relates to situations where populations are coerced into being transferred. There is nothing to link such circumstances to Israel’s settlement policy.

During the negotiations on the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Arab states initiated an addition to the text in order to render it applicable to Israel’s settlement policy. This was indicative of the international community’s acknowledgment that the original 1949 Geneva Convention language was simply not relevant to Israel’s settlements.

The continued reliance by the international community on the Geneva Convention as the basis for determining the illegality of Israel’s settlements fails to take into account the unique nature of the history, legal framework, and negotiating circumstances regarding the West Bank.

A special regime between Israel and the Palestinians is set out in a series of agreements negotiated between 1993 and 1999 that are still valid – that govern all issues between them, settlements included. In this framework there is no specific provision restricting planning, zoning, and continued construction by either party. The Palestinians cannot now invoke the Geneva Convention regime in order to bypass previous internationally acknowledged agreements.”

Naturally, nothing has been said by the Obama administration about the illegal Arab-Palestinian construction of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.  Bassam Tawil, a Gatestone Institute scholar based in the Middle East pointed out that, “Apparently, settlements are only a ‘major obstacle to peace’ when they are constructed by Jews. The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank. The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.”

Tawil rhetorically asked “Who is behind the unprecedented wave of illegal construction? According to Arab residents of Jerusalem, many of the ‘contractors’ are actually land-thieves and thugs who lay their hands on private Palestinian-owned land or on lands whose owners are living abroad. But they also point out that the EU, the PLO and some Arab and Islamic governments are funding the project.  ‘They spot an empty plot of land and quickly move in to seize control over it,’ said a resident whose land was confiscated by the illegal contractors.”

Arab-Palestinian construction is not only illegal but unsafe as well.  While the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria has long been carried out with proper licenses, and within the framework of the law, the Arab-Palestinian construction does not begin to meet even the minimum standards required by engineers, architects, and housing planners.  The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground.  Moreover, half the apartments built remain empty, in spite of the ludicrous price tag of $25,000 – $50,000 per unit, when comparable Jewish housing is $250,000 and up.  The answer is, of course, the EU funding.  These homes have been built without permits, corroborated by the fact that unauthorized or illegal building by Palestinians is an ongoing problem in Area C, solely under Israeli control.

It is the same EU countries who voted to declare the Western Wall of Solomon’s Temple , and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem as “Palestinian territory” at last Friday’s vote (December 23, 2016), funded Palestinian housing, while repeatedly condemning Israeli construction due to family enlargement.  Yet, in the Oslo Accords framework there is no specific provision restricting planning, zoning, and continued construction by either party in Judea and Samaria.  The difference is that Jewish construction is done lawfully, legally, and safe, while the Palestinian construction is unlawful, unsafe, and serves one purpose only – to avoid negotiating with Israel a peaceful disposition of the territories called Judea and Samaria.

The UN, Britain and the Obama administration expressed outrage last October at Israel’s plan to construct 300 new homes in Judea and Samaria, but no such outrage at the genocide in Syria, or the building of 15,000 illegal Palestinian housing units in areas surrounding Jerusalem as part of a plan to encircle the city.  The Obama administrations deliberate abstention in last Friday’s vote, which was akin to voting “yes” for this notoriously anti-Israel biased resolution, is inimical to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and will serve to further encourage the PA to incite against the Jewish state, while avoiding a negotiated settlement with Israel.  It also exposes the double-standard used by the Obama administration in dealing with Israel.