Posted tagged ‘Settlements’

Kaf Tet beNovember: 70 years since UN Resolution 181

November 29, 2017

Kaf Tet beNovember: 70 years since UN Resolution 181 | Anne’s Opinions, 29th November 2017

Today 29th November, or as it is quirkily called in Hebrew “kaf tet beNovember”, is the 70th anniversary of the fateful UN Resolution 181 which aimed to partition Palestine and created a Jewish area and an Arab area. As we all know, the resolution was rejected by the Arabs who never fulfilled any of its provisions or conditions, while it was accepted in full by the Jews. No sooner had the vote passed in the UN than 5 Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state with the overt intent of destroying it before it was born. They lost the war and the rest is history.

It would serve us well to recall the events of that historic day. The Israel-advocacy organization Legal Grounds, which promotes Israel’s legal rights to all the Land of Israel, sent out this important backgrounder with vital facts that are either unknown, misunderstood or ignored:

INFORMATION ALERT: 70 YEARS SINCE RESOLUTION 181

In June, Attorney Karen Stahl-Don made a presentation in The Hague, on behalf of the Legal Grounds Campaign, on the subject of UNGA Resolution 181 of 1947:

The Resolution, which is often misunderstood, was merely a recommendation and carried no weight in international law.

Palestinian Arabs refer to it as “The Partition Plan,” claiming, after all this time, that it gives them rights to a state. This is blatantly false, as they rejected this plan 70 years ago. According to international law, a party that rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that agreement.

What is more, the recommendation was not simply that two states, one Jewish and one Arab, be established. It proposed that two states be joined by an economic union, with a myriad of requirements. The states were to share currency, transportation, postal systems, and a great deal more; both were to be democratic, provide civil rights and prohibit discrimination.

Israel accepted this partition. However, acceptance was premised on what was described in the Resolution: economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Israel never agreed to disregard the nature of the Arab state recommended for creation at its border.

In the end, Resolution 181 was abandoned and never came to fruition. The UN Palestine Commission charged with facilitating the Resolution never even met, and the Security Council would not lend support. The Commission was officially relieved of its duties.

Israel, the sole party to accept Resolution 181, is not responsible for its failure, and is certainly not in violation of international law by not complying with it now.

Keep this last paragraph in mind as we now read of the UN’s efforts to delegitimize Israel on a daily basis.

In order to “celebrate” this auspicious day, the UN – as it has done every year for 70 years – makes it its business hold an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Not the International Day of Solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians mind you. Just those most pampered self-made “refugees” in the world, the Palestinians, who only arrived at this glorified status because of their constant rejection of any Jewish State, of any size, anywhere in the Middle East at all.

Isn’t it pathetic that the UN (Useless Nations) cannot find it within themselves to celebrate a National Day for the Inalienable Rights of the Jewish People to their own Homeland in the State of Israel.

Surely after 70 years it is about time that the UN gave up this charade? Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor demanded of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the UN repudiate its ingrained anti-Israel hatred:

The seventieth anniversary of the passage of UN Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on November 29 will be marked by UN offices around the world as the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” The global organization first designated the date as a day of Palestinian solidarity in 1977, with a General Assembly resolution authorizing the practice as an “annual observance.”

In a letter to Guterres, Prof. Gerald Steinberg – president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor – argued that the Day of Solidarity, along with the numerous UN bodies that promote an anti-Israel agenda through various pro-Palestinian committees and agencies, undermine the UN’s stated desire for peace based on a “two-state” solution.

“Too often, UN officials are willing and active players in this dynamic, applying double standards and singling out Israel for attack,” Steinberg wrote. “Next week, as occurs every year, the UN will hold a special meeting in Geneva on the occasion of ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’ featuring anti-Israel demagogues and highlighting agendas that undermine the spirit of UNGA 181.” Among the events planned is a photographic exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York entitled “The Palestinian People: Everlasting Roots, Infinite Horizons.” The exhibition, according to the UN’s web page devoted to the “Question of Palestine,” “…celebrates the lives and careers of Palestinians who have contributed to humanity in different walks of life, in the face of extraordinary challenges. The UN General Assembly will also hold its annual debate on the question of Palestine on this day.”

Steinberg highlighted a number of UN bodies – such as its dedicated Division for Palestinian Rights and its annual condemnation of Israel through the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item 7 – as contributing decisively to the anti-Israel environment at the UN. The Division for Palestinian Rights in turn services the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (CEIRPP), created on November 10, 1975 – in the same session of the General Assembly that passed the infamous Resolution 3379 denouncing Zionism as a “form of racism.”

In his letter to Guterres, Steinberg pointed out that the UN spends millions of dollars on pro-Palestinian activities every year. “In October 2017, 24 separate UN agencies contracted with the Palestinian Authority to spend more than $18 million on campaigns aimed at isolating Israel through coordinated political, economic, and legal attacks,” he noted, emphasizing the need for the UN as a whole to “accept the obligation to end the rampant and systematic discrimination against Israel that currently plagues the UN.

“A good place to start will be in your remarks to be read on November 29 in Geneva at the forthcoming ‘Special Meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’” Steinberg told Guterres. “Your repudiation of anti-Israel hate and rejectionism on this occasion would send a strong message that the vision and principles expressed in the 1947 Partition Plan remain guiding principles in the UN.”

The amount of money spent pampering the Palestinians is mind-boggling. Imagine how many genuine refugees and other minorities could be assisted with this money.

Gutteres is actually relatively sympathetic to Israel, but whether he will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and condemn his own institution’s racism is another matter. And if he does, will his words be heeded? I doubt it somehow.

Meanwhile, over in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Wrongs Council, the 29th November – in fact any day at all – is a day to be marked by condemning Israel for .. well…. anything it can think of. The most popular crime du jour is the settlements of course, and the HRC last year put together a list of companies “profiting” from the settlements – and that includes neighbourhoods of Jerusalem and other major cities – so that their products should be boycotted. Doesn’t this have echoes of a much darker time in our history? 1933 anyone? And then in September the UN began sending out warning letters to these companies that they will be added to this blacklist:

The UN’s Human Rights Commissioner began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz.

The Israeli official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters, sent by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said these firms were doing business in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.” The letters, copies of which also reached the Israeli government, request that these firms send the commission clarifications about their business activities in settlements.

The Washington Post reported in August that among the American companies that received letters were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. According to the same report, the Trump administration is trying to work with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prevent the list’s publication. Israel’s Channel 2 reported two weeks ago that the list includes some of the biggest companies in Israel, such as Teva, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bezeq, Elbit, Coca-Cola Israel, Africa-Israel, IDB, Egged, Mekorot and Netafim.

Senior Israeli officials said the Israeli fear of divestment or scaled-down business due to the blacklist is already becoming a reality. They said that the Economy Ministry’s Office of Strategic Affairs has already received information that a number of companies who received the letters have responded to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew contracts or sign new ones in Israel.

“These companies just can’t make the distinction between Israel and the settlements and are ending their operations all together,” the senior Israeli official said. “Foreign companies will not invest in something that reeks of political problems – this could snowball.”

Countering this vicious boycott attempt, fighting fire with fire, a pro-Israel law group, The Lawfare Project, has announced that companies targeted by the UN HRC for working in the settlements will have legal recourse:

International firms targeted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for doing business with Israeli settlements will have legal recourse, a US-based pro-Israel nonprofit law group noted this week.

It is expected that a “blacklist” of such companies will be published by the UNHRC by the end of this year — a move which both the US and Israel oppose and are lobbying against.

According to the Washington Post, the list could include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com and Airbnb.

On Monday, the Lawfare Project issued a statement saying the purpose of the UNHRC’s potential action was “clear” — “to coerce the blacklisted companies into reducing or ceasing their Israeli operations, and/or to prompt other business entities (and consumers) to boycott or refuse to deal with the named companies.”

However, the Lawfare Project continued, “what the UNHRC seems to ignore, perhaps purposefully, is that compliance by business enterprises with the boycott of Israel can violate a slew of US federal and state laws.”

“It comes as no surprise that the proponents of the Israeli boycott — the Human Rights Council, NGOs, Arab League member states, and others — do not acknowledge the serious legal implications of actually carrying out the discriminatory conduct for which they advocate,” Benjamin Ryberg — the Lawfare Project’s chief operating officer and director of research — said.

… “When corporations are faced with such proposals or consider implementing boycotts based on the HRC’s database, it is imperative that they are well-versed in the relevant laws so that they can act in their own self-interest, which is to firmly reject the boycott,” he went on to say. “To this end, the Lawfare Project drafted a comprehensive analysis of US and foreign law relating to the boycott of Israel, which we have disseminated to a number of Fortune 500 companies that have been or may be targeted. Our aim is not to threaten legal action, but to prepare these entities to protect themselves from liability that could ensue should they succumb to pressure from the boycott campaign.”

Good for them! Kol hakavod to the activists in the Lawfare Project for throwing the boycott back in the UN’s face, and equally as important, for involving Congress in this anti-boycott legislation:

Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein stated, “For years, the Human Rights Council has focused obsessively and disproportionately on Israel, while turning a blind eye to the most egregious and rampant human rights violators in the Middle East and around the world. With this blacklist, the HRC continues to unabashedly devote disproportionate resources to foment discrimination based on national origin. It continues to make a mockery of its mission to the detriment of human rights worldwide.”

Lawrence Hill — the chairman of the Lawfare Project’s board — said the UNHRC’s “farcical conduct” demonstrated the necessity of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act — which is currently making its way through Congress.

The six Nos of the Arabs besides the 3 Nos of Khartoum

As a reminder of the complete irrelevance of the settlements to the Palestinian’s self-made predicament, it is worthwhile looking back at the article written by John B McCormick, (chairman of Hawke’s Bay Friends of Israel Association and a member of Hawke’s Bay Branch of NZ Institute of International Affairs) which was published in Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper back in January 2017, which I quoted from in this blog at the time. Here is a relevant excerpt:

The focal point for peace efforts was (and many say should still be) UNSC Resolution 242 of November 1967 – the way the UN dealt with the outcome of the 1967 Six Day War. This requires an understanding of its wording. It calls for:
Clause 1 (I) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

It is very precise wording. The words “all” or “all the” are not used. The UK’s UN Ambassador Lord Caradon who helped write 242 said in 1978: “We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the 67 line, we did not put the ‘THE’ in, we did not say ‘all the’ territories deliberately… we all knew – that the boundaries of 67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a ceasefire line of a couple of decades earlier…. We did not say that the 67 boundaries must be forever.”

President Johnson said in 1968 relating to UNSC242 that “We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear however that a return to the situation of June 4 1967 will not bring peace.”

In 2005 Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip without any kind of peace agreement. At the same time they also withdrew from the West bank city of Jenin and four nearby settlements, again without any agreement. The Palestinian response was indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.

The British were granted the mandate for Palestine at the San Remo Conference in 1920.
In 1921 Britain separated what we now know as Jordan from the rest of the mandate, making Transjordan the Arab Palestinian State on 78 per cent of the mandate area, and banned Jewish settlement east of the River Jordan. In 1923 Britain ceded the Golan Heights to the French mandate of Syria. The remaining mandate area, 22 per cent of the original total, was to be the Jewish homeland. Read it for yourself! Do the UN and the Arabs want to go there?

So where to now? On January 3 on Palestinian TV Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, said: “We have refused and still refuse to say that Israel is a Jewish state.” The PLO was formed in 1964 when there was no Israeli occupied territory.

So until there is a Palestinian leadership that accepts Israel as the Jewish State nothing much will happen.

And I will leave it to the redoubtable Melanie Phillips who succinctly sums up the entire argument about the irrelevance of settlements to the Arab-Israeli conflict in her article: The signature cause of Western progressives is purging every Jew from Israel:

MEMRI has translated a report in the the Urdu daily Roznama Urdu Times in wihich al Habbash said: “Every Palestinian will continue the struggle till the complete freedom of Palestine. Those who started the movement for the freedom of Palestine took a pledge, while leaving this world, from the next generation that it will continue this struggle until the land of the first qibla [direction of prayer, i.e. Palestine] is purified of the impious existence of Jews.”

As is clear from the rest of his remarks, he was not talking merely about the “West Bank” and Gaza. He meant the whole of Israel would be “purified” of Jews. This man does not speak for Hamas. He is part of the Palestinian Authority, regarded by the west as “moderate”, and religious adviser to Abbas, regarded by the west as a statesman-in-waiting.

Western “progressives” support the Palestinian Authority and support the Palestinan cause. What do they imagine Mahmoud al Habbash means by the world “purified”? How do they think he intends to put that word into practice in Israel? I’ll give them a clue. It will involve, at the very least, a war of annihilation, racist ethnic cleansing and mass murder.

Only when the West finally admit to themselves that what they are working for is ethnic cleansing of the worst sort against the Jews, and when they apply the force of law and morals to the Palestinians, to all the Arab states and their international supporters, only then will we have a chance for peace.

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.

US takes tougher tone on Israeli settlements in new report

May 7, 2016

US takes tougher tone on Israeli settlements in new report, Times of IsraelMatthew Lee and Bradley Klapper

settlementIllustrative photo of a security fence around a Jewish settlement in the West Bank (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will endorse a tougher tone with Israel in an upcoming international report that takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state, diplomats told The Associated Press.

The US and its fellow Mideast mediators also will chastise Palestinian leaders for failing to rein in anti-Israeli violence. But the diplomats involved in drafting the document said its primary focus will be a surge of construction in Jewish housing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The US approval of the harsh language marks a subtle shift. Washington has traditionally tempered statements by the so-called “Quartet” of mediators with careful diplomatic language, but the diplomats said the US in this case will align itself closer to the positions of the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, who emphasize Israel’s role in the Mideast impasse.

The report’s release is sure to infuriate Israel, where officials are already bracing for expected criticism. And on the other side, although the mediators will endorse some long-standing Palestinian complaints, the Palestinians are likely to complain the report does not go far enough.

Diplomats acknowledge the report, which could come out in late May or June, will be largely symbolic, requiring no action. It could be unveiled at the UN and possibly sent to the Security Council for an endorsement, according to the diplomats, who included three US officials. They all demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the unfinished work publicly.

The diplomats said the report is intended to highlight obstacles to a two-state peace agreement — the stated goal of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders — and offer recommendations for restarting negotiations in a process that is stalled.

The Palestinians don’t want talks as long as settlement construction continues; the Israelis say they’re open to negotiations, but have shown little interest in making any meaningful concessions.

One diplomat said the report would be “balanced” because it would criticize the Palestinians for incitement and violence against Israeli citizens. Near-daily attacks in recent months by Palestinians, mostly stabbings, have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. Some 193 Palestinians have been killed, most of them were attackers and the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.

Pal terrorismIsraeli security forces at the scene where three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a vehicular attack near Dolev, in the West Bank, May 3, 2015 .(Flash90)

But the diplomat added that those involved in writing the report understand the focus on Israel will be its most contentious aspect.

Another diplomat said Israel will be put “on notice” that its appropriation of land isn’t going unnoticed.

The document won’t look only at East Jerusalem activity and West Bank settlement construction, but also at a “problematic trend” of legalizing smaller so-called outposts, the officials said. In addition, it will criticize Israel for a growing backlog of housing block approvals.

In 1972, there were just over 10,000 Israeli settlers, with 1,500 living in the West Bank and the rest in East Jerusalem. Two decades later, by the time of the Oslo peace accords, there were 231,200 Israelis living in the territories. That number rose to 365,000 by 2000, when the second Palestinian uprising began, and 474,000 by the time Benjamin Netanyahu became Israel’s prime minister again in 2008.

The settlements are now home to more than 570,000 Israelis, according to the Israeli anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now — 370,000 in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Settlements range from small wildcat outposts on West Bank hilltops to developed towns with shopping malls, schools and suburban homes.

Some 2.2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, with another 300,000 in East Jerusalem. Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Six Day War and It annexed East Jerusalem after the conflict.

Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Eyad Omar Sajdia, 22, who was killed during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Qalandya Refugee camp on March 1, 2016 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Two Israeli soldiers said to be using a traffic app mistakenly entered the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank overnight, sparking clashes that killed one Palestinian and wounded 15 people, officials said. / AFP / ABBAS MOMANI

Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Eyad Omar Sajdia, 22, who was killed during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Qalandya Refugee camp on March 1, 2016 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Two Israeli soldiers said to be using a traffic app mistakenly entered the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank overnight, sparking clashes that killed one Palestinian and wounded 15 people, officials said.
/ AFP / ABBAS MOMANI

The Quartet, which is supposed to guide the two parties to peace, has been largely irrelevant for the past several years. It was created in 2002 at a low point in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and in the years since has held sporadic meetings. Most have ended with bland statements condemning violence, criticizing settlements and calling for both sides to improve security and the atmosphere for peace talks.

The new report will repeat those calls, but the diplomats said they hoped the new criticism of Israel, in particular, would jolt the parties into action.

The Palestinians recently put off their push for a new UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, in part because of the coming report, the diplomats said. And with anti-Israel sentiment growing in Europe, France may delay a planned May 30 meeting of foreign ministers on the situation.

The French also are talking about hosting a Mideast peace conference this summer. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to discuss the French initiative with Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault while on a trip to Paris next week.