Posted tagged ‘UN and Israel’

Hamas’s Fatah and the No-State Solution

January 3, 2017

Hamas’s Fatah and the No-State Solution, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, January 3, 2017

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that 2017 will be the “year of international recognition of the State of Palestine.”

The melee in Gaza exposes as the lie that it is Abbas’s repeated claim of a unified Fatah able to lead the Palestinians towards statehood. Incredibly, Abbas seeks global recognition of a Palestinian state at a time when the flames in his own backyard are set to engulf him and his questionable regime.

More bad news from the poll: if presidential elections were to be held today, Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the terrorist group Hamas, would beat Abbas by 49% to 45%.

Palestinians are now openly talking about two different Fatah factions. After Abbas’s decision to strip the legislators of their parliamentary immunity, six Fatah PLC members participated in a Hamas-sponsored meeting of the PLC in the Gaza Strip. This was the first time since 2007 that such a move had been made.

Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, unlike their colleagues in the West Bank, are de facto recognizing the Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip. This is wonderful news for Hamas, whose leader, Ismail Haniyeh is likely to defeat Abbas in a presidential election.

The Fatah gunmen who marched in the Gaza Strip courtesy of Hamas are not supporters of Abbas. Instead, they represent the “other face” of Fatah — the one that does not believe in any peace process with Israel and shares Hamas’s ambition of destroying Israel.

During a celebration in Ramallah marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of his Fatah faction, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas declared that 2017 will be the “year of international recognition of the State of Palestine.” Hailing the recent anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution 2334, Abbas said he was prepared to work with the new administration of Donald Trump “to achieve peace in the region.”

But while Abbas and his lieutenants were celebrating in Ramallah, at least 11 Palestinians were wounded in a scuffle that erupted between rival Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, the fight broke out between Abbas loyalists and supporters of estranged Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. The confrontation, which was the most violent between the two sides in many years, is yet another sign of increasing schism in Fatah. Moreover, it is an indication of how Abbas’s control over his own faction is slipping through his hands. Hamas policemen who were at the scene did not interfere to break up the fight between the warring Fatah activists.

The melee in Gaza exposes as the lie that is Abbas’s repeated claim of a unified Fatah, able to lead the Palestinians towards statehood. Incredibly, Abbas seeks global recognition of a Palestinian state at a time when the flames in his own backyard are set to engulf him and his questionable regime.

Abbas says he wants to work with the Trump Administration to achieve peace in the Middle East, yet he cannot even achieve peace in his very own faction.

Abbas’s speech coincided with a new public opinion poll that showed that 64% of Palestinians want him to step down. The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, also showed that two-thirds of Palestinians do not believe that the current Fatah leadership can achieve their aspirations.

The poll’s findings show that the percentage of Palestinians who want Abbas to resign has risen over the past three months from 61% to 64%. More bad news from the poll: if presidential elections were to be held today, Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the terrorist group Hamas, would beat Abbas by 49% to 45%.

The results of the poll should not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring Palestinian affairs for the past few years. Judging from the sentiments on the Palestinian street, there is good reason to believe that the 81-year-old Abbas, who is now in his 12th year of his four-year term in office, has long ago lost much of his credibility among his people. The real surprise is that only 64% of Palestinians want to see him gone.

Many Palestinians hold Abbas personally responsible for the continued and rapid deterioration in the Palestinian arena. They see his incompetent and failed leadership as the main reason behind the 2007 violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. As soon as Hamas started shooting, Abbas’s fragile, corrupt and strife-ridden Palestinian Authority security forces collapsed. Critics of Abbas say that lack of leadership and decision-making on his part facilitated the Hamas seizure of the Gaza Strip.

Yet over the years, it has become evident that Abbas has not only lost the Gaza Strip and its two million inhabitants to Hamas, but that he is also losing control over his own Fatah faction there. Abbas has managed to alienate many Fatah leaders and activists in the Gaza Strip (most of whom are not necessarily affiliated with his arch-rival, Dahlan) to a point where Palestinians are now openly talking about two different Fatah factions.

Instead of devoting his energies to freeing the Gaza Strip from the iron grip of Hamas, Abbas has spent the past few years waging war against anyone in Fatah who dares to challenge his policies or criticize him. In this regard, he has resorted to a number of punitive measures that have further escalated tensions among Fatah cadres.

These measures include cutting off salaries and pensions to Fatah employees whose loyalty to Abbas is in question or who are suspected of being affiliated with Dahlan. As far as Abbas is concerned, affiliation with Hamas is less of a crime than being affiliated with Dahlan or any of his rivals in Fatah. Another measure that Abbas has taken to punish his rivals in Fatah: stripping them of their parliamentary immunity. The latest victims of this punishment: Mohamed Dahlan, Nasser Juma’ah, Shami Al-Shami, Najat Abu Baker and Jamal Al-Tirawi. Abbas took the decision without seeking the approval of the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), or any other judicial or decision-making institution. His detractors point out that the removal of the parliamentary immunity is in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law, because the PLC is the only party authorized to take such a decision.

When Fatah legislators protested against Abbas’s arbitrary measure by holding a sit-in strike inside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ramallah, Abbas ordered his security forces to raid the compound and evict them by force. “This is a grave violation of the legislators’ rights and it is completely unjustified,” said a spokeswoman for Fatah in the Gaza Strip.

“It is also an indication of the repressive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority security forces. The legislators were holding a peaceful protest inside the offices of the Red Cross after President Abbas’s decision to remove their parliamentary immunity. We hold the president, the prime minister and the security forces responsible for the violations against human rights and public freedoms. We also condemn the silence of the Red Cross towards this despicable assault against the legislators inside the (Red Cross) offices.”

Abbas’s crackdown on his Fatah critics has driven them into the open arms of Hamas. After Abbas’s decision to strip the legislators of their parliamentary immunity, six Fatah PLC members participated in a Hamas-sponsored meeting of the PLC in the Gaza Strip. This was the first time since 2007 that such a move had been made.

The PLC has been effectively paralyzed since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. However, this has not prevented Hamas from continuing to convene sessions of the parliament in the Gaza Strip during the past few years. Until recently, Fatah legislators have boycotted these meetings because they do not recognize Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip. Abbas’s punitive and vengeful measures, however, have pushed Fatah legislators to change this status quo. This means that Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, unlike their colleagues in the West Bank, are de facto recognizing the Hamas rule over the Gaza Strip. This is wonderful news for Hamas, whose leader, Ismail Haniyeh (according to the latest poll) is likely to defeat Abbas in a presidential election.

Emboldened by the growing divisions in Fatah, Hamas leaders are also beginning to flirt with disgruntled Abbas critics who have been hurt by Abbas’s measures. For the first time in many years, the Hamas government permitted thousands of Fatah gunmen to hold a military parade in the Gaza Strip this week, marking the faction’s 52nd anniversary.

2180Pictured: For the first time in many years, Hamas permitted thousands of Fatah gunmen to hold a military parade in the Gaza Strip this week. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

The Fatah gunmen who marched in the Gaza Strip courtesy of Hamas are not supporters of Abbas, the overall commander of Fatah. Instead, they represent the “other face” of Fatah — the one that does not believe in any peace process with Israel and shares Hamas’s ambition of destroying Israel. The message that the Gaza Strip branch of Fatah wished to send to Abbas: Unlike you and your West Bank Fatah, we will not give up the “armed struggle” against Israel. “This parade sends a message to Abbas that Fatah has not relinquished the armed struggle,” explained Palestinian political scientist Ibrahim Abrash.

Meanwhile, Abbas appears to be living on a different planet. His ego prevents him from grasping the news that the polls reveal: most of his people are done with him. He refuses to wake up to the truth that his Fatah faction is falling into pieces, his erstwhile loyalists getting into bed with Hamas. He asks the world to recognize a Palestinian state when his own private residence in the Gaza Strip is forbidden to him. Indeed, it seems that the Palestinians are moving toward a “no-state solution” — a Gaza Strip run by Hamas and dissident Fatah members and a West Bank controlled by another Fatah that is still loyal to Abbas, largely because he is paying them salaries.

Abbas maintains that he is eager to work with the Trump Administration to achieve peace in the region. But will he have the courage to tell the new US administration some uncomfortable truths — namely that he has become a political liability to the majority of his people, and that the Palestinians have never been as divided as they are at this moment? In short, will Abbas dare to share the truth of the splintered Fatah’s no-state solution?

SATIRE | Obama Blames Russia For Exposing Anti-Israel Move

December 31, 2016

Obama Blames Russia For Exposing Anti-Israel Move, Arizona Conservative, John Semmens, December 31, 2016

With a rash of news stories popping up contradicting the Obama Administration’s denial that the recent UN vote against Israeli settlements was, in fact, organized and led by Administration officials, President Obama charged the Russians with “once again exposing communications that were intended to remain private.”

One of these “private communications” entailed Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with senior Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat to coordinate strategy for advancing the UN censure of Israel. Another was Vice President Joe Biden’s phone call pressuring Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to vote for the censure.

“The revelation of official matters intended to remain confidential is precisely the same MO of the Russian hackers who tipped the recent US presidential election toward Moscow’s puppet—Donald Trump,” Obama contended. “This further provocation is an act so hostile that it qualifies as an act of war. Clearly, the retaliatory measures we have implemented thus far have been insufficient to deter our country’s greatest enemy.”

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the International Committee of the Russian Upper House of Parliament, called Obama’s actions “the agony of not only a lame duck, but of a political corpse.”

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s refusal to retaliate in response to the Obama Administration’s expulsion of Russian diplomats was labeled “yet another diabolical and sinister effort to mislead the American public,” Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest charged. “Imitating a reasonable demeanor in order to make President Obama appear hysterical and unhinged is meant to drive a wedge between him the people who have loved and admired him during his term in office. It won’t work. Americans will rally behind their President just as Americans rallied behind FDR after Pearl Harbor.”

Earnest’s prediction seemed to be born out when Republican Sens. John McCain (Az) and Lindsey Graham (SC), demanded an even stronger retaliatory response toward Russia. “I didn’t spend seven years in a Communist POW camp in Vietnam only to sit idly and let the Soviet Union mock our President,” McCain blustered. Graham called for “an internationally enforced ‘no fly zone’ that would shoot down any Russian military aircraft operating outside the borders of their country.”

President-Elect Donald Trump’s attempt to assert a plea for everyone “to remain calm until adults are in charge after the inauguration,” was labeled “another example of his lack of fitness,” by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). “At a time when patriots ought to be backing our President, Trump is showing he has more in common with our enemy.”

In related news, Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and two-time contributor to Obama’s successful election campaigns, denounced the Administration’s anti-Israel stance as “an appalling betrayal by a man I was twice duped into trusting.”

John Kerry with popcorn

December 31, 2016

John Kerry with popcorn, Israeli National News, Jack Engelhard, December 31, 2016

I suppose Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” will have to be re-spooled. So will a hundred more Bible-themed films.

With a simple abstention on the part of Samantha Power at the UN, the history of the world has been rewritten.

Jewish and Christian cultures have been cleansed out of existence…and will remain so until Donald Trump fixes this and brings the United States back to its senses.

Apparently the Bible got it all wrong and so did Hollywood, according to Barack Obama, John Kerry and Security Council Resolution 2334, which denies Jewish rights to Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem and instead hands all of it over to the Palestinian Arabs (who were invented in 1964, by the way).

So as of Friday, December 23, when that maneuver was passed by the UN, no Jews fit the picture. Only Arabs may answer the casting call as stars and extras.

DeMille made two versions of the Biblical Exodus, the first in 1923 and then again in 1956. Both times, using Jewish and Christian theologians as technical advisers, he used the Hebrew Bible as a blueprint – and both times those were Hebrews emerging from slavery in Egypt onward toward the Promised Land that was first Canaan and finally Judea/Israel.

The heroes were Jews. No Palestinian Arabs in sight.

So what’s to be done when we watch those films again – by which I also mean Otto Preminger’s 1960s “Exodus” and Melville Shavelson’s 1966 “Cast A Giant Shadow” where this time it’s about modern Israel being re-captured and still the heroes are Jews – as principally played by Paul Newman and Kirk Douglas.

Can we still cheer? Can we still be entertained? Can we still learn? How – when everything has been turned upside down?

To moviegoers, is Moses still a hero? Is King David still a hero, as depicted in the 1951 film “David and Bathsheba,” starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward.

Again, no Palestinians in sight, and no demands for a two state solution from either the Bible or Hollywood.

Or are we to root for Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas when that movie comes out?

Arab terrorists  — who last month tried to burn Israel to the ground — are the world’s heroes.

That’s where we are today, as Sci-Fi writer Richard Matheson imagined a world taken over by mutants.

There were no Palestinians anywhere near Jerusalem for King Vidor’s 1959 epic “Solomon and Sheba,” starring Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida. Solomon builds a Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, to fulfill the oath from his father David and according to the measurements provided by Hebrew Scriptures.

Well, that will have to be revised and rewritten, won’t it, to please Obama, Kerry, Article 2334, and the 14 nations that voted to expunge Jerusalem from Jewish sovereignty going back to the Bible. Hollywood often goes back to the Bible and now Christianity has likewise been expunged.

In movies such as “Ben-Hur and “The Robe” and “King of Kings” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – still no Palestinians.

All the action takes place in and around Jerusalem, which was ruled by the Romans but populated by the Jews.

But there were no Jews in Jerusalem, if you ask John Kerry…or even if you ask the entire United Nations.

Our story as told through Hollywood for Christians and Jews, must now be told from a far different point of view.

Plus the old reliable classics, if they are ever to be shown again, will never be seen with the same eyes.

So buy your popcorn and watch Yasser Arafat deliver the Sermon on the Mount, and behold Mahmoud Abbas divide the Red Sea.

The victors, as we know, write the history. The victors also write the screenplay.

But there are many more pages to go and do not bet on them having the final word.

The first and last Tycoon will not be found at MGM or Paramount Pictures or at the UN. He is keeping score and He has other plans.

Divine Islamic Revelation Now International Law

December 31, 2016

Divine Islamic Revelation Now International Law, American ThinkerJonathan F. Keiler, December 31, 2016

Who is the real winner in the passing of U.N. Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli “settlements” in so-called Palestinian land? It is not the Arabs who live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, nor the leftist BDS movement, nor the world community which acted in usual blind lock-step in condemning Israel, or even the Obama administration which sacrificed American stature and credibility to express personal pique, though all appear to be gleefully rubbing grubby hands. The real winner is radical Islam, which the aforementioned parties claim to oppose.

For all the talk of preserving a “two-state” solution between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, and its attendant equivocating between Arab violence and incitement and the peaceful building of Jewish homes, the real heart 2334 is the first paragraph, which states that the Resolution

Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law…

That “international law” is the creation of U.N. Security Council, which invents such law with the passage of resolutions, regardless of whether standard principles of law-making, such as precedent, judicial or statutory authority are present. If the U.N.S.C. passed a resolution declaring Mars and its “inhabitants” a country, that would be international law. Its resolutions on Israel are almost pure exercises in self-referential circular reasoning. But that does not mean that they are without legal or practical impact, especially when endorsed by the United States, still — if barely — the world’s preeminent power.

With Resolution 2334 the U.N.S.C. and the United States (thanks to President Obama) have endorsed and enshrined in international law the idea that Jerusalem is a historically Arab city, a bit of myth-making that could have come directly from an ISIS spokesman. For while it is a fact that Jerusalem (East and West) is and mostly has been a Jewish city, about which there can be no reasonable historical cavil, it has been the mission of Islam to convince otherwise.

That Islamic mission is part and parcel of the broader Muslim conception which sees Islam as the true and culminating expression of the god of Abraham. By extension Jews and Christians are, at best, deluded inauthentic monotheists, who may pay to be tolerated by Muslims, but nothing more. Denying Jerusalem’s Jewish identity denies its Christian identity as well. Thus, this resolution is as much an attack on Christians and Christianity as it is on “Israeli settlement activity.”

A couple days before the passage of the Resolution 2334, historian Bat Ye’or carefully delineated the U.N.’s continuing attack not only on Israel but on the West and Christianity in criticizing last April’s Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO which ignores historical Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and declares the entire area Muslim.  Unlike U.N.S.C. resolutions, the decisions of UNESCO’s executive council are not considered binding international law, but taken in conjunction with Resolution 2334 that is now the practical effect.

This is yet another example of how Islam, including its most radical adherents, is winning the war of ideas with the Judeo-Christian West, a war that has been going on physically and intellectually since Mohammed’s first “revelation” in the early 7th Century.

From the start, Mohammed was acutely aware that to spread the new faith he had to give it legitimacy in the eyes of pre-Islamic pagan Arabs who were already gravitating toward monotheistic beliefs, some tribes having already adopted Christianity or Judaism. Mohammed supplied this legitimacy in large part by tying Allah’s revelations to existing belief systems, pagan and monotheistic alike. Thus, the Quran famously references Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and several other notable New and Old Testament figures. Per Mohammed these men were all Muslim prophets whose words and deeds were misinterpreted by the Christians and Jews who created the Old and New Testaments.

So obviously, Christians and Jews have long presented a problem for Islam. Mohammed believed that they would be eager converts to Islam, since they were already monotheists and Allah’s “revelations” acknowledged those Christian and Jewish prophets. When this did not happen, Mohammed and his successors variously slaughtered, enforced conversions or reduced the status of the “people of the book” and taxed them.

Jerusalem plays an important role in this process as I explained in detail here. While Jerusalem in not mentioned in the Quran, supposedly, early in Mohammed’s time in Medina — possibly to encourage Jewish conversion to Islam — Muslims prayed toward Jerusalem. Mohammed gave this up after a few months and turned toward Mecca.

Islam’s second caliph, the very capable Umar, captured Jerusalem a few years after Mohammed’s death. He deliberately chose the Temple Mount, where the Jewish temple stood and where Jesus walked, as the site of Islam’s first work of monumental architecture, the Dome of the Rock. He claimed the space for Islam not only physically, but spiritually, asserting that the rocky outcrop within the shrine was the very rock upon which Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed, and Muslim scholars began to claim that the “furthest precinct” referenced in the Quran as part of Mohammed’s “night journey” was Jerusalem.

Of course, this was a lot of hooey and still is. Certainly, medieval and later Christians didn’t buy it, nor Jerusalem’s Jews then or now, but evidently President Obama and the U.N.S.C. does. Because between the UNESCO decision and Resolution 2334 it now appears that “international law” (with the concurrence of the sitting U.S. Government) establishes East Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and its ancient Jewish Quarter as historical Arab territory, although it most assuredly is not.

Unlike the New and Old Testaments, the Quran eschews narrative. It is neither a story nor a history. Muslims believe it is the direct revelation of Allah given to Mohammed as Allah saw fit, which is not man’s role to question. In failing to veto Resolution 2334 in the wake of the UNESCO move, the United States along with the rest of the international community, has now officially bought into the Islamic version of Jerusalem’s history, and with that, effectively the Muslim assertion of divine revelation in support of Islamic activity and the implementation of international law. That is a godsend to Islamic terrorists and they will see it that way too.

Obama’s ‘Pro-Israel’ Presidency Is Fake News

December 31, 2016

Obama’s ‘Pro-Israel’ Presidency Is Fake News, CIJ NewsHarry Khachatrian, December 30, 2016

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, for the mainstream news media, it’s practically a business model. The media’s propagation of fake news vis-à-vis the notion that Barack Obama and his administration are remotely pro-Israel dates back to his initial run for office.

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The most asinine, demonstrable falsehoods of the 2016 presidential election is the idea that anti-Semitism is a prevailing concern in the left’s moral universe. Coming in at a close second is the notion that widespread “fake news” is what bludgeoned Hillary Clinton, leading to her electoral demise.

This earnestness to investigate, report on, and speak out against anti-Semitism from the mainstream media is oddly confined to headlines consisting solely of the words “Donald Trump” – or his occasional cabinet nominees.

Take for instance this gem from the Huffington Post. Actual headline: “How It’s ‘Absolutely’ Possible For Steve Bannon To Be Pro-Israel And Anti-Semitic”. Never mind the fact that the Huffington Post has no evidence.

Self-satire news outlet Salon chimed in with, “Jewish Americans are worried about the rise in anti-Semitism after this election cycle.”

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, for the mainstream news media, it’s practically a business model. The media’s propagation of fake news vis-à-vis the notion that Barack Obama and his administration are remotely pro-Israel dates back to his initial run for office.

Obama’s close ties to former Jimmy Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski – who in an interview with Salon, accused Israeli Jews of “buying Congress’s influence” – were effectively ignored. Obama is on record (in 2007) praising Brzezinski as “someone I have learned an immense amount from.”

The Los Angeles Times to this day refuses to release a 2003 tape of Barack Obama praising Rashid Khalidi – whom the LA Times referred to as “a harsh critic of Israel”, and the New York Times dubs, “a passionate defender of Palestinian rights.” In a speech given to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Khalidi justified the Palestinian “resistance”: “[k]illing civilians is a war crime. It’s a violation of international law. They are not soldiers. They’re civilians, they’re unarmed. The ones who are armed, the ones who are soldiers, the ones who are in occupation, that’s different. That’s resistance.”

When Jeremiah Wright – whose church Obama attended for two decades – said in an interview, “them Jews ain’t going to let him [Obama] talk to me,” CNN’s Jake Tapper simply tweeted, “Rev Wright clarifies – meant to say ZIONISTS are keeping him fr talking to POTUS, not ‘Jews.’”

In the summer of 2014, when Palestinian terrorists kidnapped three Israeli teenagers, the State Department issued a statement calling “on all sides to exercise restraint.” Nowhere to be found was the mainstream media probing the Obama Administration’s unspeakable gall to treat genocidal zealots and a free society as moral equals.

More recently, Barack Obama and John Kerry unveiled their diplomatic climax, the Iran Deal. When it was revealed that the terror-sponsoring regime of Tehran would receive 150 billion dollars a year in sanctions relief, lifting of arms and missile embargoes (and more) all while the Mullah’s chanted “death to Israel,” the media was again on the job, acting as Obama’s personal PR firm. Abnegating any responsibility to report on the deal’s bleak implications, CNN instead focused their ire on Republican reaction to Obama’s diplomatic debacle with headlines like: “Huckabee Invokes Holocaust when Talking Iran Deal.”

Most recently, New York Times’ Thomas Friedman wrote a column in response to John Kerry’s late-December speech on his proposed plan for peace between Israelis and Arabs.

Friedman opens by “simplifying” for readers, the current tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the soon-to-be Former-President of the United States.

Barack Obama and John Kerry admire and want to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the Land of Israel.”

If you’ve read this far, you understand why if there ever was one exemplar of fake news being propagated by the media, this is it.

He continues,

“…He [Benjamin Netanyahu] is unwilling to make any big, hard decision to advance or preserve a two-state solution if that decision in any way risks his leadership of Israel’s right-wing coalition or forces him to confront the Jewish settlers, who relentlessly push Israel deeper and deeper into the West Bank.”

This is the biggest falsehood about the Israeli/Arab conflict perpetuated by the left, ad nauseum. For all their preening over fake news, the left does an admirable job of spreading it themselves. Friedman suggests that Netanyahu’s steadfast persistence to put up condos in Israel’s capital, East Jerusalem, or claim to ownership of the Western Wall – which Barack Obama himself visited, shamefully wearing a yarmulke – is a greater roadblock in the peace process to the waves of rocket fire, stabbings, shootings and terror both incited and carried out by the Palestinian Arabs.

Recall that in 2009, after persistent pressures from the Obama administration, Netanyahu complied, announcing a settlement freeze. After Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas still refused to enter negotiations with Israel, Obama actually scolded Israel! Friedman somehow fails to acknowledge any of this.

Moreover, Friedman makes no mention of the fact that Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas has explicitly stated, “We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.”

Earlier this December, Friedman wrote, “The standing ovation he [Benjamin Netanyahu] got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

If any Republican – let alone Donald Trump – had suggested Congress is controlled by the “Israel lobby,” CNN would’ve shoved aside their “Canonizing Obama’s Flawless Legacy of Flawlessness” programming in a heartbeat for the chyron, “Donald Trump: The Jews Run America.”

In fact, CNN’s Brian Stetler did just that amid the election. Taking comments from Donald Trump in which he accused Hillary Clinton of placing the interests of herself and her donors ahead of the country’s (which she does), he reported it as having “echoes of anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Is Stetler’s show named “Reliable Sources” purely out of irony?

There is a reason that liberal news media’s deep concerns for anti-Semitism are scarcer than Rabbis in the Gaza Strip when it comes to covering Barrack Obama and other Democrats. The left doesn’t actually care about anti-Semitism. They care about attacking conservatives. To the left, Jews are a privileged class of colonialists oppressing Palestinians. Israeli Jews don’t have the luxury of victim-status in the left’s worldview. Their safe spaces are bomb shelters in Haifa; not the pages of the New York Times.

Britain’s Little Lies

December 31, 2016

Britain’s Little Lies, Gatestone Institute, Douglas Murray, December 31, 2016

This is a serious category error for a Prime Minister to make. It puts critics of a religion on the same plane as people wanted for terrorism. It blurs the line between speech and action, and mixes people who call for violence with those who do not.

Only now, a fortnight later, has the true duplicity of Theresa May’s speech been exposed. For now the world has learned what diplomacy the British government was engaged in even as May was making her speech. At the same time as the Prime Minister was talking about “true friendship” in front of friends of Israel, her government was conspiring with the outgoing Obama administration to kick that friend in the back. The British government was exposed as being one of the key players intent on pushing through the anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334. British diplomats were revealed to have been behind the wording and rallying of allies for the resolution.

The British government, whilst saying that it remains committed to a peace deal that comes as a result of direct negotiations between the two sides, has its own preconditions for peace: a freeze on the building of what it calls “settlements.” They maintain this line despite the fact that settlements have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Before the June 1967 Six Day War, there were no such things as “settlements.” Palestinians were trying to destroy and displace Israel anyhow. The core problem is not, and never was, “settlements,” but the right of Israel (or any non-Muslim nation) to exist inside any borders in that part of the world.

If you take a stand that is based on a lie, then that stand cannot succeed. If you try to oppose anti-Semitism but pretend it is the same thing as “Islamophobia,” then the structure on which you have made your stand will totter and all your aspirations will fail. If you try to make a stand based on the idea that settlement construction rather than the intransigence of the Palestinians to the existence of a Jewish state is what is holding up a peace deal, then facts will keep on intruding.

On December 12, the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, gave a fulsome speech to the annual Conservative Friends of Israel lunch. Before a roomful of 800 pro-Israel Conservative MPs and party supporters, she lavished praise on the Jewish state. She praised Israel’s achievements and castigated its enemies. She said that Britain would be marking the centenary of the Balfour declaration “with pride.” She also stressed that cooperation and friendship between Britain and Israel was not just for the good of those two countries, but “for the good of the world.”

For many of the people listening in the room, there were just two discordant notes. The first was related to the focus on anti-Semitism in May’s speech. As she used the opportunity rightly to lambaste the Labour party for its anti-Semitism problem, she extended the reach of her own claims for herself. While boasting of her success as Home Secretary in keeping out the prominent French anti-Semite Dieudonné and finally deporting the Salafist cleric Abu Qatada al-Filistini back to his native Jordan, she also used the opportunity to congratulate herself for banning Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Pastor Terry Jones from coming to the UK. “Islamophobia comes from the same wellspring of hatred” as anti-Semitism, she explained.

This is a serious category error for a Prime Minister to make. It puts critics of a religion, such as Geller and Spencer, on the same plane as people wanted for terrorism (Qatada). It blurs the line between speech and action, and mixes people who call for violence with those who do not. The comparison also fails to follow the consequences of its logic to its own illogical conclusion. The comparison fails to recognise that anyone who objects to Islamic anti-Semitism is immediately known as an “Islamophobe.” Therefore, someone hoping to come to Britain would have to accept being attacked by Muslim extremists for fear of being banned from entering the UK. These are serious and basic misunderstandings for a Prime Minister to propagate.

There was, however, a clear political sense to them. A Prime Minister in a country such as 21stCentury Britain might believe that he or she has to be exceptionally careful not to appear to be criticising any one group of people or praising another too highly. So for the time being in Britain, a moral relativism continues to stagnate. If the Jewish community complains of anti-Semitism, then you must criticise anti-Semitism. If the Muslim community complains of “Islamophobia,” then you must criticise “Islamophobia.” To make value judgements might be to commit an act of political folly. Wise leaders in increasingly “diverse” societies must therefore position themselves midway between all communities, neither castigating nor over-praising, in order to keep as many people onside as possible.

2172UK Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the annual Conservative Friends of Israel lunch, December 12, 2016. (Image source: Conservative Friends of Israel)

The same tactic brought the other discordant moment at the Prime Minister’s lunch — the same tactic brought to the discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. For the other discordant note in May’s speech came when she mentioned Israeli settlement building. It was carefully placed in the speech, after a passage in which May congratulated her own Department for International Development (DfID) Minister, Priti Patel. In the days before the lunch, Patel had announced that DfID would carry out an investigation to determine whether British taxpayer money being sent to what May called “the Occupied Palestinian Territories” was being used to fund salaries for Palestinians convicted of terrorism offences against Israelis. Following this May said:

“When talking about global obligations, we must be honest with our friends, like Israel, because that is what true friendship is about. That is why we have been clear about building new, illegal settlements: it is wrong; it is not conducive to peace; and it must stop.”

The comment was received in silence and May moved on.

But this comment fitted in closely with the strategy of her other comment. For having lavished praise on Israel, a castigation apparently seemed necessary. It is wrong, but hardly possible for a British Prime Minister currently to do otherwise. If there are terrorists receiving funds from British taxpayers thanks to the largesse of the UK government, then this may — after many years of campaigning by anti-terrorism organisations — finally be “investigated.” However, throughout any such investigation, the British government, whilst saying that it remains committed to a peace deal that comes as a result of direct negotiations between the two sides, has for years announced its own preconditions for peace: a freeze on the building of what it calls “settlements.” They maintain this line despite the fact that settlements have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Before the June 1967 Six Day War, there were no such things as “settlements.” Palestinians were trying to destroy and displace Israel anyhow — in 1948, 1956, and 1967. The core problem is not, and never was, “settlements,” but the right of Israel (or any non-Muslim nation) to exist inside any borders in that part of the world.

At the time of May’s speech, these two issues seemed like minor cavils to some and gained little notice. Only now, a fortnight later, has the true duplicity of the speech been exposed. For now the world has learned what diplomacy the British government was engaged in even as May was making her speech.

At the same time as the Prime Minister was talking about “true friendship” in front of friends of Israel, her government was conspiring with the outgoing Obama administration to kick that friend in the back. In the wake of the collapse of the Egyptian-sponsored initiative at the UN, the British government was exposed as being one of the key players intent on pushing through the anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334. British diplomats were revealed to have been behind the wording and rallying of allies for the resolution.

The most obvious interpretation of this fact is simply a reflection that friends do not kick friends in the back. Especially not in the world’s foremost international forum for kicking that particular friend. But some people are putting a kinder interpretation on the facts. The kindest to date is that the May government believes that a sterner line on the issue of Israeli settlements would give the British government more leverage with the Palestinians.

If that is so, then it seems that the May government will have to learn abroad the same lesson that they must learn at home. Both will come about because of the same strategic mistake: a reliance on the short-term convenience of what must seem at first to be only convenient little lies. The problem is that such little lies, when tested on the great seas of domestic and international affairs, have a tendency to come to grief with exceptional rapidity and ease.

Politicians are keen on taking stands. But if you take a stand that is based on a lie, then that stand cannot succeed. If you try to oppose anti-Semitism but pretend it is the same thing as “Islamophobia,” then the structure on which you have made your stand will totter and all your aspirations will fail. If you try to make a stand for Israel while simultaneously conniving at the UN to undermine Israel, then your duplicity will be exposed and admiration for this and other stands will falter. If you try to make a stand based on the idea that settlement construction rather than the intransigence of the Palestinians to the existence of a Jewish state is what is holding up a peace deal, then facts will keep on intruding. They have before — at home and abroad — and they will again.

Housing Units and Double Standards

December 30, 2016

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

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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.