Saturday, September 17, 2011

Report Documents Hamas Resurgence in West Bank


by IPT News

Israeli security forces have broken up 13 Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank since May, according to a report released this week by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

The cells were in various stages of preparing for terrorist attacks and operated mostly in the cities of Hebron and Jerusalem. As a result of the exposures, dozens of Hamas operatives have been detained.

Israeli security officials arrested dozens of people just last week in connection with the murder of a British tourist and with an attempted suicide bombing.

"Interrogation of the detainees showed that their main objective was to kidnap Israeli citizens for bargaining," the report said. "Also planned were mass murder terrorist attacks, one of which was actually carried out [in March 2011]…Other operations planned by the cells were thwarted and the operatives were detained."

Interrogation of the detainees showed that the cells were directed and logistically supported by Hamas headquarters in Syria and the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia was the location for recruitment meetings and instructions from Hamas members there were transferred to operatives in Hebron.

"The exposure of these terrorist cells shows that Hamas headquarters are engaged in intensive efforts to rebuild the movement's military infrastructure in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] for the purpose of launching terrorist attacks against Israel," according to the report.

In a speech Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to seek full membership for a Palestinian state next week at the United Nations Security Council. U.S. officials have pledged to veto the move.

"It is possible that the motivation to carry out terrorist attacks has even increased (and may increase still) ahead of the PA's application to the UN," the report adds.

IPT News

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3185/report-documents-hamas-resurgence-in-west-bank

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Op-Ed: Judenrein State, Part I: Western Hypocrisy


by Matthew M. Hausman

Nothing illustrates the hypocrisy better than a comparison of their demand that Israel accept an Arab “right of return” with their ambition for a state that would be ethnically cleansed of all Jews.

Part I: Western Hypocrisy

In seeking to impose a Palestinian state on Israel, the Obama Administration, European Union, and western media have displayed a cynical contempt for history that is astounding in its breadth and scope.

Pressure is brought to bear solely on Israel, who is expected to sacrifice sovereignty and security in the name of an ideal that is premised on a repudiation of the Jews’ right to self-determination in their ancient homeland. The Palestinians are expected to concede nothing – not even their oft-stated goal of the phased destruction of Israel.

Nothing illustrates the hypocrisy better than a comparison of their demand that Israel accept an Arab “right of return” with their ambition for a state that would be ethnically cleansed of all Jews. Like the Nazis with whom the Mufti and other Arab leaders were so closely allied during the Second World War, they seek to create a Judenrein state as a springboard for the elimination of a Jewish presence in the Mideast.

Ironically, western "progressives" are enabling the process, even though it entails human rights violations that would certainly be illegal in liberal democracies.

The continuing support for the Palestinian cause by the United States and European Union – and their contribution of billions of dollars that fund anti-Semitic propaganda masquerading as school curriculum, line the pockets of the corrupt Abbas regime or end up in the coffers of Hamas – would indicate an abdication of reason if the true goal were to achieve a lasting, substantive peace.

However, such behavior is not incongruous if the real purpose is political realignment with the Arab-Muslim world at the expense of Israel’s integrity as a democratic, Jewish nation. Although Obama and the EU claim only to support the rights of the Palestinians as an indigenous people, they have adopted the cause by uncritically promoting a revisionist narrative that is built on a denial of Jewish history.

However, the Jews’ rights as an indigenous people were recognized historically and under international law long before the term “Palestinian” was ever used to refer to an Arab population that accreted largely through immigration during the sunset years of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish people originated in ancient Israel; the Palestinians did not.

The Arab-Muslim world’s true intentions regarding peace with Israel should be apparent from its centuries-long oppression and subjugation of Jews in Arab lands and its stated refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation. The two-state solution is proffered as a ruse for the destabilization of Israel, and western apologists are complicit in the charade by their refusal to insist on Arab recognition of Jewish historical rights, and by their failure to condemn the Palestinian goal of state building through ethnic cleansing.

Whereas any perceived attempt by Israel to transfer Arab populations would certainly inspire international condemnation, the Palestinians’ open and notorious aim of expelling Jews from historically Jewish lands – lands that were never part of any sovereign Arab nation – is met with conspicuous silence or tacit approval. Indeed,

President Obama’s demand last year for a building freeze in Jerusalem was a blatant attempt to coerce Israel to implement apartheid-like measures against her own citizens in order to limit the Jewish population of her capital.

Jewish habitation in Judea, Samaria, and Israel proper, including Jerusalem, was a fact from antiquity into modern times – until Jordan conquered the territories and dispossessed their Jewish inhabitants during Israel’s War of Independence.

When Jordan (then known as Transjordan) conquered Judea and Samaria in 1948, it expelled the Jews living there, collectively dubbed these territories the “West Bank,” and annexed them in violation of international law.

Israel’s subsequent acquisition of these lands in 1967 in truth effectuated their liberation from foreign occupation; and renewed Jewish habitation thereafter constituted nothing more than repatriation.

Israel’s liberation and administration of Judea and Samaria were perfectly legitimate under prevailing standards of international law, despite Palestinian claims to the contrary. In fact, it is Palestinian land-claims that are dubious, based as they are on Jordan’s transfer of its negotiating “rights” over these territories to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo process. Because Jordan seized these lands illegally, however, it never possessed lawful title in the first place, and accordingly had no legitimate rights to convey to the PA.

In consideration of these facts, it is reasonable to question why Israel should even entertain the notion of a two-state solution, particularly as it requires her to discount the indigenous heritage of her own people and surrender ancestral lands to those who unapologetically call for her destruction.

One must also question the wisdom of negotiating with the PA, which could easily be displaced by Hamas through open revolt or by an Islamist-influenced election such as occurred in Gaza.

This is a particular concern in view of the political upheavals currently sweeping across the Arab world, where popular unrest has reinforced the legitimacy of military juntas and strengthened the political profile of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Matthew M. Hausman is a trial attorney and writer who lives and works in Connecticut. A former journalist, Mr. Hausman continues to write on a variety of topics, including science, health and medicine, Jewish issues and foreign affairs, and has been a legal affairs columnist for a number of publications.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/10615#.TnPFfeyX7Fw

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Video: To Whom Do The 'Territories' Belong?


by Gavriel Queenann

The Yesha Council representing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has produced a short video making Israel's case for keeping the Jewish nation's 'disputed' ancestral heartland.





The video, just six minutes long, is nevertheless packed with clear, concise information on the history and legal realities pertaining to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.
Employing a live, personable presenter with illustrative, humorous animations, the film, despite its sublte, tongue-in-cheek tone effectively makes Israel's deadly-serious case.

Gavriel Queenann

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/145010#.TnNrneyX7Fw

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Al-Qaida in Iraq: Jihadists in Decline


by IPT News

Today, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) finds itself in a very difficult position. U.S. and Iraqi government forces have killed many of the group's top leaders. The American troop surge and the change in counterinsurgency strategy that began in early 2007 have made it more difficult for AQI to carry out attacks.

The terror group "took a big hit after the surge. Violence fell 90 percent," said Long War Journal Editor Bill Roggio. AQI controlled substantial amounts of Iraqi territory before the surge, but is no longer able to do so, he said. Today, the group is forced to operate through covert cells in Iraqi cities.

Though weakened, the group retains substantial capability to target Iraqi civilians. On August 15, insurgents launched a devastating series of attacks covering nearly every region of the country, killing 86 people and wounding more than 300.

"In all there were 37 attacks, more than double the daily average this year, nearing the level of violence at the height of the sectarian violence here in 2006 and 2007," the New York Times reported after the carnage. The terror spree included two suicide bombers, 11 car bombs, and 19 improvised explosive devices.

A few days later, an AQI affiliate called the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) vowed more terrorist attacks to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden and two previous ISI leaders.

On Aug. 28, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people and wounded at least 41 others in an attack on a Sunni mosque in Baghdad.

But, Roggio said, the bombings don't change a fundamental reality: AQI is "a shell" of its former self, a point reflected in plummeting levels of violence since the surge began in early 2007.

Iraqi military and civilian fatalities in the war dropped from more than 3,000 per month during February 2007 to 184 during July 2011. Coalition military deaths fell from 85 to zero during the same period.

AQI has between 500 and 1,000 members, Roggio said, down substantially from an estimated 11,000 to 12,000 when the surge began. One-hundred fifty to 200 jihadists per month crossed into Iraq (nearly all of them from Syria) before the surge; today, the number is down to 20 to 30 per month, he told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

While AQI is "still dangerous," the group has become "an afterthought" when it comes to carrying out terrorist attacks, Roggio said, adding that Iranian-backed Shiite terror groups have eclipsed al-Qaida as the main jihadist threat to Iraq.

Abu Musab Zarqawi and AQI

Abu Musab Zarqawi, a native of Jordan, played a key role in establishing AQI in Iraq. In 2000, Zarqawi met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and established his own terror network: al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Monotheism and Holy War). After 9/11, Zarqawi crossed into Iran, but was forced to relocate to Iraq in 2002 after German authorities arrested eight Tawhid members for plotting terror attacks against Jewish targets. He spent much of his time in Iraq with Ansar al-Islam, a jihadist group based in the northern part of the country.

According to the Jordanian government, Zarqawi was behind the October 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley, who was fatally shot outside his home in Amman. Jordanian agents said three men confessed that they had been armed, recruited and paid by Zarqawi, who was sentenced to death in absentia.

Zarqawi returned to Iran around the time of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, where he met with Osama bin Laden's military chief, who asked him to help coordinate the entry of al-Qaida operatives into Iraq. Zarqawi agreed, and by the fall of 2003 a steady stream of jihadists was crossing the border from Syria into Iraq to fight coalition forces.

U.S. officials have said Zarqawi's network was involved in a number of large-scale car-bomb attacks in late 2003. Those included the Aug. 19 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 23 people including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN envoy in Iraq. Ten days later, at least 85 people died in a bombing outside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites. Among the dead was Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, one of Iraq's top Shiite leaders. A November 2003 attack on Italy's paramilitary police in Nasiriya killed 30 people.

In 2004, the group carried out and videotaped the beheading murders of three Americans: Nicholas Berg (killed on May 11); Jack Hensley (Sept. 21); and Jack Armstrong (Sept. 22). In October 2004, Zarqawi's organization pledged allegiance to bin Laden and joined al-Qaida. Since then, it has carried out its attacks in the name of AQI. Zarqawi was given the title "Emir of al-Qa'ida in the Country of Two Rivers."

The group was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department, and the U.S. government put a $25 million bounty on Zarqawi's head.

Zarqawi and AQI targeted Jordan as well. In November 2005, they bombed three Amman hotels, killing at least 54 people. Zarqawi was also linked to a failed 2004 plot to attack the U.S. embassy and other targets in Jordan with chemical weapons.

In January 2006, AQI created the Mujahideen Shura Council - an umbrella group that was intended to encompass all of the Sunni terror organizations in Iraq.

Zarqawi adopted a strategy of carrying out mass-casualty attacks targeting Shiites and their religious shrines. A three-day series of suicide bombings across Iraq in July 2005 killed 150 people and wounded 260 more. The most high-profile attack was the Feb. 22, 2006 bombing of the Askariya mosque 65 miles north of Baghdad. Within 24 hours, more than 20 Sunni mosques across Iraq were shot up, set afire or bombed killing at least 18 people.

Zarqawi was killed in June 2006 when two U.S. F-16 jets dropped several 500-pound bombs on a safe house located five miles west of Baquba. He was replaced by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian jihadist who was a protégé of al-Qaida's then-second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri.

AQI claimed its attacks in the name of the council until November 2006, when jihadists declared the establishment of the "Islamic State of Iraq" – the first step towards al-Qaida's goal of establishing a caliphate over the region.

AQI's brutal tactics triggered a backlash from tribesman in Anbar province in western Iraq. Incensed over its encroachment into their territory, Sunni Muslim forces formed militias and in the summer of 2006 began a campaign of killing al-Qaida operatives and collaborators utilizing the same brutal intimidation tactics as AQI. Their movement soon became known as the Anbar Awakening.

Washington began courting these Sunni tribesmen, many of whom had joined al-Qaida in fighting the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. The Sunnis eventually concluded that al-Qaida was a greater threat than the U.S. military and joined the fight against the jihadists. By the spring of 2009, 100,000 former insurgents were on the United States' payroll and fighting AQI.

In tandem with its efforts to court Awakening members, President Bush ordered an additional 20,000 soldiers to Iraq during the first six months of 2007. This "troop surge" – part of a new counterinsurgency strategy to protect Iraqi civilians from terrorists – to a heavy toll on AQI. By early 2008, al-Qaida, which had been estimated to have between 12,000 and 15,000 members, saw more than 11,000 of its members killed or captured. The reward for capturing AQI's leader had dropped from $5 million to $100,000.

Even with the reduction in the bounty, U.S. and Iraqi security forces successfully have targeted a number of Zarqawi's successors in the jihadist leadership. On April 18, 2010, for example, a U.S. airstrike killed Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq.

AQI has been hard hit by its inability to occupy territory following the surge, Roggio said. When the group held territory, it could extort substantial sums of money from oil-company truck drivers as they passed through. Now that it is operating out of covert cells, the group no longer has the ability to set up the checkpoints necessary to carry out effective shakedowns.

"Extortion plays much less of a role" in financing AQI operations compared to five years ago, he said.

In the wake of AQI's decline, Iranian-backed jihadist organizations have supplanted it as the number one terrorist threat to Iraqi security, Roggio said.

Yet AQI remains dangerous, particularly when it comes to attacks against "soft" civilian targets. On Oct. 31, 2010, it attacked a Baghdad church, triggering a hostage siege in which more than 50 people were killed. Several days later, the group launched coordinated attack in Baghdad, detonating more than 15 car bombs and killing more than 90 people. AQI's media production house, al-Furqan Media, continues to produce jihadist videos.

There are also reports that hundreds of Awakening members, driven by frustration with their treatment by the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, have rejoined al-Qaida, which has embarked on a campaign to persuade disaffected Sunnis to rejoin the jihad.

Roggio, who has made numerous trips to Iraq, expressed skepticism that AQI would achieve much success. Iraqis have seen the jihadists "for what they were, a violent, nihilistic group interested only in slaughter."

In recent interviews with al-Shorfa.com, a website operated by the U.S. military, Iraqis explained why they want nothing from jihadist elements like AQI.

"They are nothing but filthy groups who sold out their homeland and their conscience for a fistful of dinars," said Nawful Ali, 29, who works at a transportation firm in Baghdad.

A 31-year-old factory worker in Baghdad said Iraqis have decided to reject terrorists and could best serve their country by turning them over to security forces.

In the coming years, Roggio predicted, al-Qaida in Iraq will continue much as it is today: Watching its lethal power decline, but continuing to carry out large-scale attacks against soft civilian targets.

IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3180/al-qaida-in-iraq-jihadists-in-decline

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Little Bin Ladens


by Daniel Greenfield

When Iran put out a hit list for everyone involved with the Satanic Verses, the Mullahs had to do the hard work themselves. But now drawing up the hit lists has gotten a lot easier thanks to left-wing collaborators who do it for them.

Take the Jewel of Medina, a novel romanticizing Mohammed’s sexual abuse of a nine year old girl, canceled after Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Middle-Eastern studies sent an email to Random House calling the book a “declaration of war” and warning them that publishing it would expose its employees to terrorist attacks. Random House complied out of concern for “the safety and security of the Random House building and employees.”

Denise Spellberg’s book Jihad was an example of the outsourcing of terrorist threats and hit lists to the Western enablers of Islamic terrorism. Who needs Osama bin Laden or one of his successors to film a video six months too late, when a University of Texas professor can fire off an email easing the workload of busy terrorists.

Ward Churchill called those who were murdered on September 11, “little Eichmanns”, a term later picked up by radical leftist, Chris Hedges. But Denise Spellberg and her ilk are “little Bin Ladens.” And there are plenty of “little Bin Ladens” hard at work.

The Center for American Progress’ “Fear Inc.” report had its “little Bin Ladens” who assembled a list of terrorism researchers and critics of Islam, with the aid of at least one author affiliated with a Muslim Brotherhood front group– and then passed the buck to the Muslim world.

Iran’s PressTV picked up the report focusing on the individual names. Frank Gaffney, David Horowitz, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson and many others are given their own paragraph by the press agency of a regime where blaspheming against Islam is a crime that leads to imprisonment or even death.

What followed was predictable.

“We know exactely who they are,” wrote ‘Muslim Waffen SS’. “Still is a blessing until some one eliminate them,” wrote another commenter.

“I’m sure these people would not be given any sort of punishment for spreading hate and lies to people. I think something should be done about this,” Salma wrote.

Will someone “do something” about this? It’s quite possible. The Muslim world has a long history of doing things about people who offend them in any way. From Salman Rushdie to Molly Norris, once the hit list is assembled, it’s only a matter of time until the target has to go into hiding.

The publisher of the Jewel of Medina had his home firebombed and the author received numerous death threats, and the man who helped set off the furor was connected to the most radical of the authors of the “Fear Inc.” report.

Wajahat Ali’s hateful rhetoric often appeared at AltMuslim.com, a site created by Shahed Amanullah, who distributed a report to Muslims on Denise Spellberg’s book Jihad. His report was picked up by a Shiite site that dubbed it: “A new attempt to slander the Prophet of Islam.”

The attempted murder and the death threats couldn’t be blamed on the “little Bin Ladens” of the book jihad; just like the death threats received by terrorism researchers like Robert Spencer can’t be blamed on the “little Bin Ladens” busily toiling away at the Center for American Progress.

But if Iran gets its ideas from the Center for American Progress, where does the Center gets its ideas from? Curiously enough the answer may be Iran.

Iran’s PressTV is an arm of IRIB, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which had attributed all tensions between Muslims and Westerners to a Zionist conspiracy. During the Rushdie affair, the Iranian official statement breaking diplomatic ties with the UK blamed the publication of the book on the “Agents of International Zionism.”

The Center for American Progress report follows the same line, blaming the negative view that Americans have of Islam on a handful of Jews, and the Iranian coverage of the report has highlighted the Jewish aspect of it, even beyond the already troubling notes in the CAP report.

This idea is so appealing because it allows Muslims to shift the blame for the anger caused by their own actions to a convenient scapegoat– the Jews. And for those who accept the CAP and IRIB view that the negative view of Islam is caused by a handful of Jews, then it naturally follows from there that getting rid of those Jews will improve relations with America.

That is how the Center for American Progress list so very easily becomes a hit list. Its seductive reasoning selects a group of people for Muslims to blame, and if some of the readers of the report or the Iranian coverage of it decide that “something needs to be done about this”, then there will be plausible deniability on the part of the little Bin Ladens.

The CAP report began by blaming Breivik’s actions on the “Islamophobes”, but if they really believe that then what do its authors think they are doing by supplying bigoted propaganda to a regime whose scapegoating and calls for genocide have become too loud for even most on the left to ignore?

Ahmadinejad could hardly ask for better propaganda than a report from a major American think-tank that supports what he and the Mullahs have been claiming all along– that all their problems with the West are caused by a Jewish conspiracy.

Breivik was only one man, but Iran sits at a global nexus of terrorist organizations whose reach stretches from Asia to South America and across the Middle East. Its nuclear weapons program means that it will soon have the ability to kill millions at the push of a button. What then do the “little Bin Ladens” think they are doing?

There are two possible answers. One, they don’t actually believe anything they said about what motivated Breivik. Two, they do believe it and the little Bin Ladens are making sure that the billion Breiviks of Islam pick the right target.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/09/15/the-little-bin-ladens/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

A Paradigm Shift on the Palestinian Question



by Mordechai Nisan

The Palestinian initiative to declare an independent state through United Nations authorization is a prescription for crisis, and opportunity. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, having set in motion a political campaign whose fate is hazardous, decided that diplomatic confrontation with Israel is a more effective method than political negotiations to advance Palestinian interests.

The Palestinians never really understood, and could never agree, why they should have to engage in protracted talks in order to get what they believe to be theirs by national right. That Israel should withdraw from all of the post-1967 territories was always an absolute tenet of conviction, and not just a policy demand. It was humiliating for the Palestinians to banter and barter for liberation and statehood, which Israel tenaciously blocked by military force and political resolve.

The present political course pursued by the Palestinian Authority leadership is symptomatic of an ingrained attitude of avoiding reality, while preferring drama and pathos in the global theatre. Arafat is gone but his artful legacy lives on. Those who thought Abbas and Fayyad had chosen institutional development and a responsible repertoire of politics will be disabused by the upcoming post-Arafatian antics at the UN General Assembly.

It is not the Israeli reality in Judea and Samaria which will come crashing down in late September, but rather the Palestinian myth. This is not because America will not favor or finance the statehood ‘leap of faith’, but essentially because Israeli withdrawal is not in the political cards. Withdraw to where?

It behooves those with map in hand to appreciate the claustrophobic pre-67 Israeli borders, the proximity of Kfar Saba to Kalkilya, the short distances from Shuafat to Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem, and the spread of Jewish settlements that entrench Israel’s presence in most of Judea and Samaria, and East Jerusalem.

***

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis of September will exacerbate the political deadlock and cause the situation on the ground to rapidly deteriorate into clashes and violence. The Oslo process since 1993, exuding enthusiasm and fanfare, Noble [sic] prizes and grand summitry, has been a failure. There is little trust on the popular level and even less political maneuverability for a resolution on the official level. Unbridgeable policy gaps have confounded agreement on the outstanding, unresolved, and permanent status issues – Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and borders – without which peace cannot be consummated.

It is high-time to draw conclusions and change political course. Oslo is dead and the Palestinians are intent on burying it.

***

A paradigm shift requires an intellectual release from the mental tyranny of Oslo, in order to think ‘out of the box’. Israel will be the only state west of the river, the Jewish national entity the sole collective ideological enterprise, and the Israeli Army the singular military force assuring order and stability for all. There is no room for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, beyond the fact that one virtually was installed in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The years since 1993 have demonstrated, what logic posited as common sense, that Israel’s safety demands a permanent military presence in the territories, to combat and contend with terrorism and assure that weapons’ smuggling and other pernicious security ills do not evolve from an Israeli pullback from the river. In our precarious political environment, with players ranging from Hizbullah and Iran to Al-Qaeda and Hamas, Israel’s military alertness and security preparedness are intertwined with maintaining the geographic resources in her possession today.

The new political paradigm of ‘only Israel west of the river’ offers Palestinian inhabitants in the territories liberty and autonomy, prosperity and stability – but not independence. Would they achieve independence/statehood in the West Bank, this would whet the Palestinian appetite to launch attacks by slipping across the Green Line, joining with the Arabs in the Galilee, already in high spirits of nationalist extremism and Islamic fundamentalism, while rejecting Israel as a Jewish state. A Palestinian state in the West Bank is to invite the irredentist drive toward Nazareth, Akko, and Taibe – and Israel’s demise. This scenario rings with the authenticity of Middle Eastern turbulence, Palestinian militancy, and Islamic jihad.

***

Across the river in Hashemite Jordan, the Palestinians should turn their demographic majority, along with their talents and energies, into political rule and statehood. In the spirit of the ‘Arab Spring’, this would be an expression and fulfillment of democracy and self-determination.

The artificial political entity created by the British in Transjordan in 1920 was initially consigned to be a home for the Arabs of Palestine, while west of the river Zionism built a Jewish national home. No longer should the alien Hashemite family dynasty in Jordan, whose origins are from Arabia, block Palestinian aspirations. It is Jordan, in differentiating itself from ‘Palestine’, which stands in the way of an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation and settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Now more than ever, under King Abdullah II, does Jordan feel the political rumblings threatening to overthrow the illegitimate monarchical regime in Amman. The King has recently adopted an antagonistic stance against Israel in order to strengthen his own standing at home, but this tactic is transparent and insufficient to sustain his regime.

The two-state solution is reasonable. It just has to move a short distance across the river. This political map will offer strategic equilibrium and deterrence between Israel and Palestine. A viable resolution of the conflict must deter and preempt its violation by removing incentives for any side to adopt a bellicose position, which is why stubbornly squeezing two competitive states in the 40-miles width of the country west of the river is an act of desperation and foolhardiness. How long will mindless folly insist on shoving a square peg into a round hole?

When a major crisis explodes, an innovative reality-based policy paradigm can offer new political direction to solve old problems. And the peace proposed by the new paradigm, in place of the imprudent Oslo plan, is a peace that Israel can live with.

Mordechai Nisan, lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University, has recently written Only Israel West of the River: A Jewish State and the Palestinian Question, available on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com.

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/09/15/a-paradigm-shift-on-the-palestinian-question/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Successful Palestine Statehood Vote Looms




by Joseph Klein

The New York Times ran a banner front page headline on September 14, 2011 titled “U.S. Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at U.N.”

The Times headline should have read, “The Obama Administration Scrambles to Avoid Its Own Self-Fulfilling Prophesy.”

Next week, the United Nations General Assembly will almost certainly approve an upgrade of the status of the Palestinian Authority from nonvoting “observer entity” to “observer state,” placing it on par with the Holy See. This will happen whether or not the Palestinians try for full UN member state status, which would first require approval by the Security Council.

President Obama has promised to veto such a Security Council resolution. However, the United States has only one vote in the General Assembly and cannot stop the General Assembly – packed with Palestinian supporters and Israel-bashers, including craven European countries – from granting observer state status to the Palestinians if they request it.

While a vote in the General Assembly alone would not confer full UN membership rights to a Palestinian state, it would open the door for the Palestinians to join various UN bodies and treaties. Of most concern to Israel, an observer state status might well allow the Palestinians to become a treaty member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and pursue claims there against Israel for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Although Israel is not itself a member of the ICC, the court could still take jurisdiction of such claims if they are alleged to have arisen within the territory of a Palestinian state that is an ICC member.

Outgoing U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell used the phrase “train wreck” in an interview last May to describe the upcoming UN vote.

Yet it was President Obama who helped set this train wreck in motion in a speech he delivered on September 23, 2010 to the UN General Assembly. In his speech, President Obama made a prediction that the Palestinians are now exploiting in support of their statehood bid. Obama declared to the UN General Assembly that “when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”

As Reuters reported on September 7, 2011, President Obama’s words are being used by the Palestinians to make international recognition of their statehood a reality. “If he said it, he must have meant it,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during a 36-second radio spot promoting the Palestinians’ upcoming statehood campaign at the United Nations. Although Obama administration officials have stressed that Obama was speaking aspirationally within the context of reaching a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Abbas has chosen to characterize Obama’s words to the General Assembly last year as an “Obama promise.”

“We are reminding [Obama] of what he said in the United Nations in 2010,” said Ahmad Zaki ElAreedi, director of Voice of Palestine radio.

President Obama’s terms for what he proclaimed in his 2010 UN speech would be “an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine” would jeopardize Israel’s security.

From virtually the very beginning of his presidency, President Barack Obama has gone out of his way to push Israel into making unreasonable unilateral concessions. He demanded a freeze on all settlement building, including expansions of existing settlements. He validated the Palestinians’ bogus claims to East Jerusalem. And he threw Israel under the bus earlier this year with his irresponsible proposal that Israel negotiate borders with a new Palestinian state based on the indefensible pre-1967 lines, with some unspecified mutual land swaps.

Egypt’s UN ambassador, Maged Abdelaziz, explicitly linked President Obama’s “peace” proposal with “the efforts by the Palestinian leadership to garner the most possible number of recognitions of the state of Palestine on the borders of 1967, with those swaps.”

While expecting Israel to essentially return to pre-1967 conditions, Obama did not demand that the Palestinians simultaneously give up their “right of return” claim for millions of Palestinian refugees to relocate to the pre-1967 Israel territory, which would extinguish Israel’s identity as the world’s only homeland for the Jewish people. At the same time as demanding the “right of return” for Palestinians to pre-1967 Israel cities and towns, along with their own independent state, the Palestinians hypocritically do not want any Jews living anywhere in their independent state, according to the Palestinians’ ambassador to the United States. “I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated,” he said, in a two-faced remark that ignored the contrary consequences of implementing the Palestinians’ “right of return” demand.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has only lightly criticized the Palestinians’ plans to set up a so-called “unity government” backed by both Palestinian President Abbas, whose authority now extends only to the West Bank territory, and by the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza and refuses to recognize Israel.

Some have argued that it is no big deal if the Palestinians succeed in obtaining General Assembly recognition of observer state status, since they still will not be a full-fledged member state in the United Nations as a whole. The European Union is reportedly trying to broker a compromise to avoid a showdown at the Security Council that would force the U.S. to exercise its veto of a resolution recommending full UN member state status. The thinking is to start with the baby step of observer state status and come back after the U.S. 2012 presidential election (which the Palestinians, Arab countries and Europe hope will lead to Obama’s re-election) for a full UN membership bid.

In the meantime, those arguing for a General Assembly observer state vote now believe that it could be just the jolt that is needed to push the parties towards a final resolution of their differences. This may well be how the Obama administration tries to spin the General Assembly vote after the fact.

The problem with such specious reasoning – aside from the potential complications of opening the door to ICC involvement in a political territorial dispute – is that it puts the cart before the horse. A General Assembly vote recognizing Palestinian statehood will be on the Palestinians’ terms. It would ratify all of the Palestinians’ claims regarding the reversion to pre-1967 borders, East Jerusalem and the so-called “right of return.”

Instead of begging the Palestinians not to go forward with their plans for a UN vote on Palestinian statehood, the Obama administration should have been resolute from the beginning in pointing out publicly and repeatedly that the General Assembly cannot supplant the authority of the Security Council on the issue of recognizing a Palestinian state for any purpose. Security Council Resolution 242, which is still in force, calls on the parties to the conflict to negotiate a solution to create “secure and recognized boundaries.”

Article XII of the United Nations Charter clearly states that while the Security Council is “exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.”

Security Council Resolution 242 sets forth how the path to resolution of the territorial dispute, which is a pre-requisite to Palestinian statehood, is to proceed.

Eugene V. Rostow (distinguished fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and former US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs), who was involved first-hand in the drafting of Resolution 242, explained the intent of the Security Council resolution this way:

Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved.

In other words, international recognition of Palestinian statehood must come only after there is a “just and lasting” negotiated resolution between the parties of the territorial boundaries issue, not before it. Recognition of a Palestinian state with a government comprised of Hamas terrorists, who refuse to recognize Israel and call for it to be destroyed and replaced by an Islamic state covering all of historic “Palestine,” flies in the face of Security Council Resolution 242.

The General Assembly does not get to pre-empt the process the Security Council laid down pursuant to the Security Council’s powers under the UN Charter. The General Assembly has no legal authority to confer recognition of Palestinian statehood for any purpose based on the Palestinian definition of what the borders with Israel should be, unless first requested to do so by the Security Council.

President Obama will be coming to New York next week to address the UN General Assembly once again. Instead of repeating his bromides about peace and understanding that the Palestinians regularly ignore in practice, and instead of reiterating his call for more unilateral Israeli concessions, it would be so nice if the president told the General Assembly what they can do with their vote to recognize Palestinian statehood status. Obama, once the president of the Harvard Law Review and a law professor in Chicago, should reach into his legalese toolbox and tell the General Assembly unequivocally that their vote upgrading the Palestinians’ status to an observer state is void ab initio.

President Obama should also follow the lead of those in the U.S. Congress, who want to curtail aid to the Palestinian Authority if it presses forward with the statehood bid at the UN and cut funding to any UN agency that admits the Palestinians as a state with full voting privileges in that agency. Funding for General Assembly projects that target Israel should also be curtailed, including any funding that supports next week’s Durban III anti-Semitic “anti-racism” conference.

Of course, that is not likely to happen. Instead, expect to be treated to more of President Barack Obama’s empty rhetoric and continued pressure on Israel to make more concessions for a non-peace.

If President Obama is re-elected and no longer feels constrained by political considerations to worry about what Jewish voters will think of his stance towards Israel, we can also expect that by 2013, Palestine will be admitted as a full-fledged member state of the United Nations, with all rights and privileges, irrespective of the status of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. A Security Council resolution, approved by the United States, requiring Israel to abandon all West Bank territory and East Jerusalem or face potential economic and military consequences, will be likely to follow.

Joseph Klein

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/09/15/successful-palestine-statehood-vote-looms/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Two Faces of the New Israel Fund


by by Isi Leibler










It is a somber reflection on the naivety of well-intended Jewish philanthropists that they continue donating vast amounts of money to Israel’s largest NGO, the New Israel Fund (NIF). They do so despite repeated documented exposures demonstrating that this body is sponsoring anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and post- Zionist organizations, committed to undermining the Jewish state and promoting the narrative of the Palestinians as victims and Israelis as oppressors.

Many of the donors are liberal Jews genuinely committed to Israel who blindly accept at face value statements from NIF officials who obfuscate the truth.

Recently, yet another bombshell discrediting this organization was revealed by Wikileaks. A confidential cable quoted a conversation between officials at the Tel Aviv US embassy and NIF associate director Hedva Radanovitz, who until last year controlled the NIF distribution of grants to 350 NGOs totaling $18 million per annum. She told embassy personnel that “she believed that in 100 years, Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of the Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”

Radanovitz was in fact, rationalizing why the NIF has and continues to provide millions of dollars to groups supporting the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

In response to media coverage of these bizarre remarks, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch stated that Radanovitz was at the time “not optimistic about Israeli support for human rights and democracy” and that her views were not supported by his organization.

He also stressed that she was now no longer employed by the NIF. However, Sokatch and other NIF leaders failed to explain why many other senior NIF officers share an ideological view of Israel as a Jewish state which most Israelis would bitterly oppose.

When communicating to the public, NIF spokesmen stress that whilst being “a big tent organization” they unquestionably support Israel as a democratic Jewish state and promote freedom, justice and equality for all citizens. They purport to be opposed to anti-Israeli “lawfare” and BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions).

They continuously dismiss critics as being “extreme right wing” and accuse them of McCarthyism.

SINCE ITS inception in 1979, NIF has dispersed more than $200 million to more than 800 Israeli organizations.

The majority of the recipients are indeed worthy institutions engaged in social welfare and developmental projects that all Israelis would endorse.

When NIF spokesmen address the public, they speak exclusively of the bona fide social organizations they fund. They fail to disclose that they are also providing vast funds to organizations that by no stretch of the imagination could qualify for inclusion in that category. Even after their recent adamant assurance to the public and donors that organizations opposed to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state would no longer be sponsored, last year they still directed over a quarter of their funding ($4.3 million) to groups engaged in delegitimization and other forms of anti-Israeli activity.

Here are a few examples of NIF allotments last year to organizations for political advocacy that are deeply engaged in anti-Israeli campaigns.

Nearly $500,000 was provided to Adalah, a group which contributed to and campaigned for the Goldstone report, urged foreign governments to “reevaluate their relationship with Israel,” described Israel as “a colonial enterprise promoting apartheid,” called for implementing the Palestinian right of return to Israel, provided affidavits to Spanish courts in order to charge Israeli officials with war crimes, and defended Hizbullah spy Amir Makhoul as a “human rights defender.” It would surely be difficult to visualize any Zionist or remotely pro-Israeli body providing funds to an organization committed to such objectives.

Mada al-Carmel, another recipient of NIF funds, engages in anti-Israeli agitation and openly repudiates the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

NIF continued to fund the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a leader of the campaign expressly promoting global “boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.” CWP also organizes events for Israel apartheid week.

In 2010, NIF tripled the funding for “Breaking the Silence,” another organization which paved the way for the Goldstone report by making unsubstantiated claims of war crimes by the IDF. During the Goldstone committee inquiry “Breaking the Silence,” in conjunction with B’tselem and other NIF-funded NGOs, accused Israel of war crimes and provided “evidence” to the Goldstone Commission to substantiate their biased and defamatory report.

The sordidness of these virulently anti-Israeli, NIF-funded NGOs is heightened by the fact that many are primarily funded by foreign foundations, in particular European governments, promoting campaigns against Israel and engaged in bolstering far Left Israeli fringe groups. Tens of millions of euros are allegedly provided to such groups by overseas governments suggesting that the are not indigenous to Israeli society. One could not visualize any European state tolerating such interference in its domestic affairs by foreign countries or organizations seeking to subvert the democratically elected government under the cloak of promoting human rights.

INDEED, WITHOUT the perseverance and determined investigative analysis of Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, the public would be totally unaware that such vast sums are provided to anti-Israeli organizations.

Steinberg has also been instrumental in promoting Knesset legislation which now requires NGOs to be transparent and disclose their sources of foreign funding, based on the model of the US Foreign Agent Registration ACT (FARA). This requirement will enable Israelis to appreciate the extent of foreign initiatives designed to fund anti-government “political activity.”

NIF is a public charity and should thus be obliged to introduce greater transparency and implement accountability with checks and balances. Although we are told that Radanovitz is no longer employed by the NIF, we know nothing about her replacement, or whether the numerous organizations still promoting the dismemberment of Israel as a Jewish state last year have been excluded from 2011 grants. NIF should be obliged to publish this information immediately.

Clearly, in these difficult times there is a need for drastic change in the personnel managing this organization and an end to the secrecy under which they operate in order to ensure that funds raised for the welfare of Israel are not diverted to organizations committed to undermining the Jewish state.

by Isi Leibler

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

Source: http://wordfromjerusalem.com/?p=3461

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Jewish Civil Rights Group Warns Columbia University President Over Illegality of Planned Banquet for Iranian Leader


by IMRA

(New York) Jewish civil rights group Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center has sent a warning letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger advising him that Columbia’s plan to host a banquet for visiting Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad runs afoul of U.S. anti-terror laws and will subject the university and its officials to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism in Israel or elsewhere. The letter explains that Iran has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States (22 U.S.C 2656f) and that the provision of any support by U.S. persons, including the planned banquet for Ahmadinejad, is considered unlawful provision of aid to the outlawed regime. The Law Center stated that victims of Iranian terrorism will file civil actions and hold Columbia liable for their injuries.

The letter, signed by New York attorney Robert Tolchin and Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, notes that the Law Center represents individuals and families who have been victims of Iranian-sponsored terror groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in legal actions around the world.

The attorneys cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which held that it is illegal to provide any support to a terrorist organization even if appears to be innocuous, as well as pending actions seeking civil and criminal penalties against those who provide support to designated state sponsors of terrorism.

The letter accuses Ahmadinejad of personally directing Iran’s terrorist and nuclear proliferation activities and human rights abuse as well as calling for genocide against the Jewish people. It notes Iran’s massive support for Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas, which have killed thousands of American citizens.

As the letter to President Bollinger states: “Hosting Ahmadinejad at a banquet is not merely mg:\israel\politics\blog\hard_nl OUT.txtorally repulsive: it is illegal and likely to render Columbia University and its officers both criminally and civilly liable. Iran is official designated under U.S. law as a state sponsor of terrorism, as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and as a perpetrator of human rights abuses. Ahmadinejad is Iran’s chief executive and personally directs Iran’s terrorist and nuclear proliferation activities and human rights abuse . . . While for Columbia University and certain of its officers hosting Ahmadinejad at a banquet might appear to be nothing more than a harmless Radical Chic parlor game such conduct is in fact very serious business that can and will have severe, real-world criminal and civil consequences for Columbia and its officers.”

According to Shurat HaDin director Darshan-Leitner: “It is shocking that President Bollinger and Columbia University would once again seek to honor this infamous terrorist leader and bolster his efforts at legitimacy. The law in the United States is clear that providing this type of support to the leader of a designated state sponsor will render the University and its officials both criminally and civilly liable. For the thousands of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism we intend to ensure that Columbia either cancels the terror banquet or faces both criminal and civil prosecution.”

For a copy of the warning letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger click here: http://israellawcenter.org/uploadimages/image/Letter%20to%20Columbia%20U%20re%20adjd.pdf

IMRA

Source: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=53725

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Where is the Palestinian Ben-Gurion?



by Efraim Karsh

Sixty-four years after partitioning Palestine into two independent states – one Jewish, the other Arab – the UN General Assembly is set again to vote on the same issue. While this time around Palestinian leaders appear to be preaching compromise, closer scrutiny reveals this to be a tactical rather than a strategic change of heart, stemming from the different circumstances of the two votes and aimed at disguising their lingering unwillingness (or perhaps inability) to live with a two-state solution.

In 1947, prior to the first UN General Assembly vote, Palestinian leaders rejected any form of Jewish self-determination in Palestine. Hajj Amin Husseini, their most prominent leader from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, upheld that "there is no place in Palestine for two races." All areas conquered by the Arabs during the 1948 war were cleansed of Jews.

These days the Palestinians can hardly ask the UN to dismantle one of its longest standing member states and to expel its citizens.

Yet by seeking international recognition of their statehood and pressure for a complete Israeli withdrawal without a peace agreement, or, indeed, any quid pro quo, they are continuing their predecessors' rejection of a negotiated settlement and laying the diplomatic groundwork for the renewal of the assault on the Jewish state.

The PLO's hallowed National Covenant envisages the permanent departure of most Jews from Israel. PLO chairman Yasser Arafat's phased strategy of June 1974, which was never disowned, stipulates that any territory gained through diplomacy would merely be a springboard for the "complete liberation of Palestine." At the negotiating table during the Oslo years, the PLO's most adamant demand was for the subversion of Israel's demographic composition by forcing it to accept the so-called "right of return" and allow refugees of the 1948 war, and their descendants, to return to territory that is now part of the state of Israel. At the moment Jews presently constitute about 80 percent of Israel's seven million strong population; by 2020, nearly one in four Israelis will be Arab, owing to this sector's far higher birth rate. Were millions of Palestinians to be resettled within Israel, it would soon cease to be a majority Jewish state and everybody knows it.

TO PRESENT the "right of return" as a nonnegotiable demand is not to negotiate at all, particularly when Palestinian leaders themselves refuse to accept alien minorities as part of a peace settlement: In June, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League that the future Palestinian state should be free of Israelis (that is Jews, since virtually no other Israelis live in the West Bank). He reiterated this vision of a Judenrein Palestine last month, telling a delegation of visiting members of Congress that "I am seeking a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital, empty of settlements."

Like Husseini, Arafat was far more interested in destroying the Jewish national cause than in leading his own people to statehood. As far back as 1978, he told his close friend and collaborator, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the traditions, unity and discipline to have a successful state. He was right. It was the Palestinians' lack of communal solidarity – the willingness to subordinate personal interest to the collective good – that accounted for their collapse and dispersion during the 1948 war. The subsequent physical separation of the various parts of the Palestinian Diaspora and longstanding cleavages between West Bankers and Gazans prevented the crystallization of a cohesive national identity.

Sadly, Arafat had no intention of redressing this predicament. Given control of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza as part of the Oslo process, he made his bleak prognosis a self-fulfilling prophecy, establishing an oppressive and corrupt regime in the worst tradition of Arab dictatorships, while launching the most destructive confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war.

In the process, he destroyed the fragile civil society and relatively productive economy that had developed in the interim.

Two years ago, in a bold departure from this destructive path, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad embarked on the first state-building effort in Palestinian history, one that has had some successes. However, while he recently pronounced his initiative a mission accomplished amid the diplomatic buildup to the UN vote, he knows better. Abbas's presidency, and by extension Fayyad's own premiership, remain unconstitutional. Not only because Abbas defied Hamas's landslide victory in the January 2006 parliamentary elections by establishing an alternative government headed by Fayyad, but also because his own presidency expired in January 2009.

Fayyad barely challenged the corrupt and dysfunctional system established by Arafat.

The two groups dominating Palestinian life, the PLO and Hamas, remain armed groups (and active practitioners of terrorism) rather than political parties – an assured recipe for a failed state. (The Oslo Accords charged the PA with dismantling all armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza, but Arafat never bothered to comply.) Even if Abbas were to genuinely commit himself to reform after the attainment of statehood, his tenuous authority would continue to be defied by Hamas, which has not only transformed the Gaza Strip into a an Islamist micro-state but also wields considerable power and influence in the West Bank.

WHATEVER THE UN vote may achieve, it will not be a step toward Palestinian statehood.

Contrary to the received wisdom, Israel was established not by a UN General Assembly resolution but through the unwavering determination of the Zionist leadership, or rather David Ben-Gurion, shortly to become Israel's first prime minister, in the face of mounting international skepticism regarding partition (in March 1948 the US administration effectively backed down from the idea) and doubts about the new state's ability to fend off both Palestinian violence and a pan-Arab attempt to abort it at birth.

In doing so, Ben-Gurion could rely on an extraordinarily resilient and vibrant national community, armed with an unwavering sense of purpose and an extensive network of political, social and economic institutions built over decades of pre-state national development.

In this respect, eighteen years after being given the chance to establish their own state free of Israel's occupation, and despite the billions of dollars in international aid poured into this effort, the Palestinians have barely made it out of the gate. One can only hope that the international community will at long last pressure Palestinian leaders to own up to their obligations and opt for a true build-up of civil society that will ensure their constituents a decent and peaceful existence, rather than seek illusionary shortcuts and intensified conflict with Israel.

Efraim Karsh is researle East Forum (Philadelphia ) and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.

Source: http://www.meforum.org/3042/palestinian-ben-gurion

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Israel's Predicament



by Bret Stephens

What is Israel's predicament? It is this: It is surrounded on nearly all sides by enemies who are aggressively committed to its destruction. And too many people who call themselves its friends are only ambivalently committed to its security.

Consider the month that Israel has just had:

• On Aug. 18, eight Israelis were killed in a sophisticated cross-border ambush near the frontier with Egypt.

• From Aug. 18-24, some 200 large-caliber, factory-made rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza.

• On Sept. 1, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency announced that it was moving the bulk of its enrichment facilities to a heavily fortified site near the city of Qom.

• On Sept. 2, the United Nations released a report on the May 2010 Turkish flotilla incident, which defended Israel's right to enforce a naval blockade on Gaza and noted that Israeli commandos faced "organized and violent resistance." The Turkish government responded by yanking its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelling Israel's from Ankara.

• On Sept. 4, the U.S. made a final appeal to the Palestinian Authority to drop its bid to seek statehood recognition at the U.N., a bid that sends to the rubbish bin decades of international agreements that a Palestinian state can be established only on the basis of negotiations. The PA rebuffed the American entreaties.

• On Sept. 8, Turkey's prime minister announced that Turkish warships would escort future Gaza-bound flotillas.

• On Sept. 9, thousands of hooligans stormed and nearly sacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Israel evacuated nearly its entire diplomatic mission from Egypt the following morning.

gloview0913

Egyptian hooligans storm Israel's embassy in Cairo, Sept. 9.

One other item: On Sept. 5, an organization called NGO Monitor reported that an associate director of the New Israel Fund, cited in a February 2011 State Department cable released by Wikileaks, said that "the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic." The NIF describes itself as a group "dedicated to a vision of Israel as both the Jewish homeland and a shared society at peace with itself and its neighbors."

Maybe the case of the (now former) NIF official is a relatively rare one. Or maybe it's just rare to have such off-the-record candor find its way into the public domain.

Not rare, however, is the idea that Israel's legitimacy is a function of its moral performance, and that judgment of its performance lies in the hands of its foreign critics and their designated Israeli scolds. Should the legitimacy of Pakistan or Zimbabwe be called into doubt on account of the wretched mess they have made of their existence as self-governing states? Nobody says this. Nor do many people say that the Palestinian Authority—half of which is ruled by a terrorist group and the other half by a president whose elected term in office expired more than two years ago—hasn't quite earned the moral right to statehood.

Only Israel is on perpetual trial. Only Israel, by way of this or that policy, is routinely held to moral account for the terrorist outrages committed against it. Only the Jews, as Eric Hoffer put it in 1968, are expected to be "the only real Christians in the world."

But then the argument is made that Israel is occupying somebody else's country. And risking its own future as a Jewish democracy, on account of well-known demographic trends. And all of this is corrosive, so it is often said, to Israel's soul.

Yet the purported concern for Israel's soul would be more convincing if it were joined by some decent respect for Israel's mind. Israel today labors under the invidious stereotype that it is too clever to blunder militarily or politically—and therefore that any such blunders are, in fact, acts of malice aforethought. But Israel also labors under the stereotype that it is too stupid or shortsighted to recognize its own strategic interest in coming to terms with a Palestinian state.

Will it some day dawn on Israel's so-called friends that 18 years of abortive efforts to come to terms with the Palestinians—the spurned statehood offers in 2000 and 2008, the withdrawal of the settlers from Gaza in 2005, the experience of what a "liberated" Gaza soon became—has soured Israelis on the idea of a Palestinian state? Or that the long-term demographic threat is worth risking in the face of the immediate threats of a near-nuclear Iran, a newly hostile Egypt, and a still-irredentist Palestinian leadership? Or that a professed commitment to Israeli democracy means, among other things, some regard to the conclusions Israelis have drawn about the prospects of peace by way of their electoral choices?

No democracy in the world today lies under a darker shadow of existential dread than Israel. And the events of the past month ought to demonstrate that Israel's dread is not of shadows only. Israel's efforts to allay the enmity of its enemies or mollify the scorn of its critics have failed. But is it too much to ask its friends for support—this time, for once, without cavil or reservation?

Bret Stephens

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904265504576566431045060822.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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