Friday, January 06, 2017

Cruz pushes to move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Bill submitted to Congress calls to recognize Jerusalem Israel's eternal and undivided capital 

Republican Senator Ted Cruz submitted a bill proposal to the new US Congress on its very first day calling for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's eternal and undivided capital and to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Texan senator's bill, which was also sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Nevada Senator Dean Heller, includes an article that suggests Congress would delay the transfer of budgets to the State Department until the move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is done.

US Senator Ted Cruz (Photo: AP)
 US Senator Ted Cruz (Photo: AP)
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel...” ...
“Unfortunately, the Obama administration's vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth—let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel—is shocking in some circles..." ....
"But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel.”
The Republican majority in Congress and President-elect Trump's repeat promises to move the embassy make it likely the bill will pass.

But implementing it would be problematic, as the Palestinians have already threatened that if the embassy is moved to Jerusalem, it would lead to rioting and violence, while the PLO leadership will rescind its recognition of the State of Israel.

Congress Rejects Obama's Stab-in-the-back

The first session of the 115th US Congress passed the following resolution on 3 January 2017. 

  • 342  FOR (109 Democrats + 233 Republicans)
  • 80 AGAINST (76 Democrats + 4 Republicans)

Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes.
Whereas the United States has long supported a negotiated settlement leading to a sustainable two-state solution with the democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security;
Whereas since 1993, the United States has facilitated direct, bilateral negotiations between both parties toward achieving a two-state solution and ending all outstanding claims;
Whereas it is the long-standing policy of the United States that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only come through direct, bilateral negotiations between the two parties;
Whereas it is the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and, if necessary, veto United Nations Security Council resolutions dictating additional binding parameters on the peace process;
Whereas it is the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and, if necessary, veto one-sided or anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council;
Whereas the United States has stood in the minority internationally over successive Administrations in defending Israel in international forums, including vetoing one-sided resolutions in 2011, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1997, and 1995 before the United Nations Security Council;
Whereas the United States recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Israel regarding security assistance, consistent with longstanding support for Israel among successive Administrations and congresses and representing an important United States commitment toward Israel’s qualitative military edge;
Whereas on November 29, 2016, the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 165, expressing the sense of Congress and reaffirming longstanding United States policy in support of a direct bilaterally negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposition to United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing a solution to the conflict;
Whereas on December 23, 2016, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations disregarded House Concurrent Resolution 165 and departed from longstanding United States policy by abstaining and permitting United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to be adopted under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter;
Whereas the United States’ abstention on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 contradicts the Oslo Accords and its associated process that is predicated on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between the parties through direct negotiations;
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 claims 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 and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”;
Whereas by referring to the “4 June 1967 lines” as the basis for negotiations, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 effectively states that the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are “occupied territory” thereby equating these sites with outposts in the West Bank that the Israeli government has deemed illegal;
Whereas passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 effectively lends legitimacy to efforts by the Palestinian Authority to impose its own solution through international organizations and through unjustified boycotts or divestment campaigns against Israel by calling “upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”, and will require the United States and Israel to take effective action to counteract the potential harmful impact of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334;
Whereas UNSCR 2334 did not directly call upon Palestinian leadership to fulfill their obligations toward negotiations or mention that part of the eventual Palestinian state is currently controlled by Hamas, a designated terrorist organization; and
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 both sought to impose or unduly influence solutions to final status issues, and is biased against Israel: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That —
(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(A) the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement;

(B) the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermines the prospect of Israelis and Palestinians resuming productive, direct negotiations;

(C) the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 contributes to the politically motivated acts of boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel and represents a concerted effort to extract concessions from Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, which must be actively rejected;

(D) any future measures taken in international or outside organizations, including the United Nations Security Council or at the Paris conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict scheduled for January 15, 2017, to impose an agreement, or parameters for an agreement including the recognition of a Palestinian state, will set back the cause of peace, harm the security of Israel, run counter to the enduring partisan consensus on strengthening the United States-Israel relationship, and weaken support for such organizations;
(E) a durable and sustainable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will come only through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties resulting in a Jewish, democratic state living side-by-side next to a de-militarized Palestinian state in peace and security;

(F) the United States should work to facilitate serious, direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions toward a sustainable peace agreement; and

(G) the United States Government should oppose and veto future United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel; and

(2) the House of Representatives opposes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 and will work to strengthen the United States-Israel relationship, and calls for United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to be repealed or fundamentally altered so that—

(A) it is no longer one-sided and anti-Israel; and

(B) it allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Israel Should Exert Sovereignty Over Area C

From a Washington Post Interview with Naftali Bennet, Israel Minister of Education, 1 January 2017:

Naftali Bennet

...Bennett's vision is for a Palestinian state in Gaza, with ramped-up autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and full Israeli rule in areas where Jewish settlements are located -- territory designated Area C under the Oslo Accords.

...with a more sympathetic U.S. administration set to take charge, Bennett’s plan is getting renewed attention.

...The interview has been edited and condensed for space and clarity.

Question: How did you interpret the United Nations Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech?
The U.N. resolution will have a tangible impact in the sense that now no Palestinian leader will feel they can accept or demand less than the June 4, 1967, lines [the border that defined Israel upon its creation in 1948].
The irony here is that this resolution has put the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to bed, perhaps forever.
We must remind readers that the June 4, 1967, lines do not include the Western Wall, and there is no reasonable Israeli who will accept that. Nearly 100 percent of Israeli Jews oppose the terms of that resolution, so in a sense it is a self-defeating resolution.

Q: Israel does not appear to have friends on the Security Council that advocate the positions your government has taken. Does that give you pause?
Israel has been unclear for many years on what its vision is. On the one hand, prime ministers from left and right talk about founding a Palestinian state in the heart of our land; on the other hand, the policies do not support that vision. I think that is what is frustrating the world.
What I advocate is that Israel’s words and deeds support each other.

Q: What is your plan?
My vision is very clear and coherent, the words and deeds must support each other.
A Palestinian state in Gaza. This already exists, they have an effective government, recognized borders and a military.
Autonomy in Palestinian Authority areas. It is less than a state but it has a huge degree of self-governance.
Applying Israeli law on Area C. There are 500,000 Israelis living there and between 70,000 to 100,000 Palestinians. [The Palestinians] would be able to vote for the Knesset and they would represent a 1 percent addition to Israel’s population, which is negligible.
A Marshall Plan.

Q: How would a "Marshall Plan" work in the West Bank?
A land port in Jenin, allowing the Palestinian Authority to import goods through a designated terminal in Haifa, without going through Israel. A free tourist zone, where Christian tourists could go to Haifa, Nazareth, Nablus, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Tel Aviv without any security checks. Full freedom of movement for all Palestinians within Judea and Samaria. Massive commercial centers on the Green Line that could leverage the Palestinian and Israeli workforces.
I call it “the imperfect plan.” It’s imperfect because it’s not exactly what they want and not exactly what we want. It does not solve all the problems but allows us to drastically raise the quality of life for everyone in the region.

Q: Doesn’t your plan violate international law?
It does not violate international law because that would suggest that we occupy a state. We don’t. There was never a Palestinian state. The British conquered the land from the Turks, the Jordanians illegally conquered the West Bank from the British, and then we released it.
It is our homeland. Everyone is wishing the Jews a happy Hanukkah this week. Well, all the events from Hanukkah happened there. To come and say this is somehow occupied land does not make sense from a historical perspective and from a legal perspective. This is not one sovereign state occupying another sovereign state. According to international law, this is disputed area and we are the ones who have the claim to it.

Q: Do you think there is a chance the Israeli government will embrace your plan?
I think, looking at the alternatives, this is the only plan. Everyone who talks about a Palestinian state knows it will not happen. The Palestinians have already been offered everything and said “no.” For 23 years, we have been trying the same thing, and every time we are surprised when we get a new round of violence.
We need a new approach.
The Muslim and Arab world has profoundly changed, the notion of a nation state in the Arab world is disintegrating. The attempt to implement a Western vehicle called a nation state in a tribal and religious region does not work. Clans are stronger than the lines drawn by diplomats 100 years ago in the Sykes-Picot agreement.
The idea that we would take the calmest and quietest country in this crazy region and inject another failed state is ridiculous to any reasonable person.

Q: Do you think the incoming U.S. administration will support your vision?
I think the main focus should be on what Netanyahu will ask for. I think we are seeing an openness to fresh ideas from the incoming administration. Trump’s record shows that he is a bold and creative person, and he has made bold and creative moves to succeed. I think it’s time for creativity in the Middle East. I hope he embraces this plan.

The Pretense of the Peace Process

From The American Interest, 28 Dec 2016:
...conditions are simply not right now for a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that it is delusional to argue otherwise. ... neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama had a real chance to negotiate an agreement. And ...the UN resolution on settlements isn’t worth the trouble of reading. 
...the peace process has been more of a diplomatic fig leaf than an actual movement towards any kind of possible agreement for many years now. That’s unfortunate for both Israelis and Palestinians, but it’s a reality.
...politicians refer to the peace process and do what they can to keep the idea of a two state solution alive. Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders and the United States all have something to gain from at least paying lip service to the idea. But the problem comes when somebody like John Kerry makes the mistake of thinking that he has the talent and the wisdom to achieve what others have failed at in the past. The amount of time and energy that American diplomacy wasted on futile and doomed efforts to get a peace that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians really want right now is mind-blowing—especially when one thinks of all the other world problems that got worse in the last four years.
...The pretense that the peace process has survived from the hopeful years of the early 90s is a form of self-delusion. In fact, the Palestinians rejected the possibility of peace in the 1990s just as they rejected much more favorable plans in the late 1940s and the 1930s. Over and over again the solution that one generation contemptuously rejects becomes the utopia that its children long for. Those who say that the possibility for the two-state solution is fading are not all wrong; Israel is getting stronger and the Palestinians keep getting weaker, and as that happens their bargaining position grows worse.
For security reasons, nationalistic reasons, and religious reasons, many Israelis want the settlement process to continue. The Palestinians are powerless to stop it, and it gets harder every year for the Palestinians and their allies to slow it down. Facts on the ground are being created day by day, and those facts will inevitably play a role in future negotiations. What the Palestinians desperately need is to reach the best agreement they still can, and the terms will be worse ten years from now than they are today.
The odds are that the Palestinians will be unable to pull themselves together in this crisis just as they have so often failed in the past. For more than 100 years [we've seen the] political incompetence of Palestinian leadership and the unorganized, fractured state of Palestinian society ... That remains the case today.

Reason to cheer that Kerry’s address was his last

From Algemeiner, 30 December 2016, by Mitchell Bard:

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, July 2015. Photo: US State Department via Wikimedia Commons.
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, July 2015. Photo: US State Department via Wikimedia Commons.
In perhaps the most disgraceful performance by a secretary of state in recent history, John Kerry devoted his last foreign policy address to assailing America’s closest ally in the Middle East. For more than an hour of his scarce time, Kerry engaged in an undiplomatic attack on Israel — yet he didn’t have five minutes to denounce Iran, Russia and the Assad regime for genocide.

Kerry apparently is counting on the biased media (the New York Times immediately praised his speech) to back his rewriting of Middle East history. 
He simply ignored the fact 
  • that there has never been a Palestinian state in recorded history, 
  • that the Palestinians’ claims to the West Bank are no better (actually they’re weaker) than those of the Israelis, and 
  • that the Palestinians have rejected opportunities for statehood in 1937, 1939, 1947, 1949-1967 (when Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip), 1979, 1993, 2000, and 2008. 
  • Kerry also failed to acknowledge that settlements have never been the reason for Palestinian rejection and that settlement construction would have come to a halt if the Palestinians had taken advantage of any of these previous opportunities.

Obama has tried for his entire term to get the Palestinians to sit down with the Israelis, and failed to do so. In fact, Kerry’s hypothesis that settlements are the problem was disproven in Obama’s first year when Israel agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze and the Palestinians still refused to negotiate. It has been a major embarrassment that the world’s greatest superpower has been defied by a Palestinian leader so powerless that he is afraid to visit the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.
The reason the disreputable anti-Israel UN resolution — which passed a Security Council vote on Friday as a result of US abstention– became an issue in the first place is that Kerry and his predecessor allowed the Palestinians to believe they could circumvent negotiations by asking the international community to impose their terms on the Israelis. Instead of supporting Israel’s repeated calls for face-to-face talks, Kerry has now endorsed the Palestinian end run and invigorated their campaign to convince the world to bring Israel to heel.
The vote at the UN and Kerry’s comments also kept alive the Palestinian hope of dividing Jerusalem and establishing their capital in the city. Kerry’s suggestion that this was a continuation of existing policy was a lie. The US Congress has made clear that it believes Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel. Furthermore, by labeling East Jerusalem “occupied,” Kerry disputes the right of Israelis, and the Jewish people, to their holy places. This reinforces Palestinian demands to control the Temple Mount, which is supported by the Western Wall — the two holiest places in Judaism. Kerry’s position made Trump’s promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem more urgent to disabuse the Palestinians of this idea.
Kerry claimed that the Palestinians’ rights are being infringed on by Israel. First, all Arab citizens of Israel enjoy equal rights with non-Arabs. Second, Israel has no obligation to treat Palestinians who are not citizens the same way (though in many cases, such as employment, they do). Third, the Palestinian Authority governs more than 90% of the Palestinians in the territories and it is their leaders who deny them freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, women’s rights and gay rights. Kerry had nothing to say about the denial of these rights by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Furthermore, while Kerry heaps scorn on Israeli democracy, he is silent while Mahmoud Abbas cancels elections and arrests, exiles or kills his opponents.
Kerry’s position is a continuation of the discredited views of officials in the State Department who are referred to as “Arabists.” These officials first tried to prevent the creation of Israel, then sought to undo its establishment, and now maintain the fiction that Israeli policy is the root of all problems in the Middle East. Israelis did not have the good sense to allow the Arabs to drive them into the sea, but the Arabists, led by Kerry, argue that they should now capitulate to Palestinian demands so that they will once again become vulnerable and cease to be an irritant in Western relations with Arab states.
One Arabist mantra repeated by Kerry is that America has to save Israel from itself. He believes that he knows what is best for Israel; the Israeli people are too stupid to know themselves, as evident by their ill-advised election of a prime minister that he doesn’t like.
What impertinence and disrespect for democracy.
Kerry’s timing is particularly ironic given that the disastrous policies of his administration have alienated our Arab allies, who now find far more in common with Israel than the United States. Kerry acknowledged that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood but not the fact that he has made it far more perilous by, among other things, the failure to enforce Obama’s red line in Syria, and his catastrophic negotiations with Iran.
It is no surprise that Kerry is unable to work up the same disgust for the Iranians as they flout the nuclear agreement, expand their sponsorship of world terror, slaughter civilians in Syria and Yemen and threaten US military personnel and American interests in the region. The Iranians are holding Kerry hostage by promising to renege on the nuclear deal — supposedly Obama’s one foreign policy achievement — if he does anything to upset them. Consequently, we do nothing to interfere with Iran’s hegemonic designs; worse, we facilitate them by providing billions of dollars for Tehran to use to advance its nefarious goals.
The shared concern about Iran has brought Israel and several Arab states closer together. Rather than take advantage of this opportunity and encourage more formal relations, Kerry seeks to do just the opposite. He regurgitates the Arabist lines about the Arab states all being so concerned about the Palestinians that they won’t improve relations with Israel unless the Palestinians get a state. Even Jimmy Carter proved this was a lie when he wrote in his memoirs that the Arab leaders he met didn’t care about Palestinian statehood. The Arab states care about their own survival, not the Palestinians, as evident by the lack of support they give the Palestinians beyond trivial amounts of aid and rhetorical expressions of concern. The Arab states look down on Palestinians and treat them with disdain (e.g., they were expelled from Kuwait and are persecuted in Lebanon and Syria).
... Israel has proven time and again that it is prepared to make territorial sacrifices, including uprooting Jewish communities, in the interest of peace. Jews were evacuated from Sinai for peace with Egypt and from Gaza in the hope of peace with the Palestinians. In the first case, Egypt kept the peace. In the second, the Palestinians bombarded Israel with more than 10,000 rockets.
It is yet another sign of his naiveté that Kerry fails to see that Israelis are not prepared to make the same mistake in the West Bank. The Palestinians have to prove they are committed to peace. Instead, they continue to engage in terrorism and incitement, educate their youth to believe Israel has no right to exist and refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or acknowledge that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination in their homeland.
Just this week, as Kerry was preparing to flog Israel, the ruling Fatah party celebrated on its Facebook page the “most outstanding” 20 terror attacks this year, which killed 78 adult civilians, 16 soldiers, and 22 children. Israelis see things as they are, not as Kerry wishes they could be, and that is why they elected Netanyahu.
Kerry’s myopia toward radical Islam — words he cannot even utter — also illustrates his misreading of the situation. The conflict was never just about two people fighting over one land. That is why the seemingly  logical solution – the creation of two states — has failed. Kerry doesn’t understand that the conflict has never simply been a matter of demography and geography; it has always had historical, psychological and, especially, religious dimensions. Today, the religious factor has become the dominant one as Palestinians have adopted the radical Islamic views championed by Hamas, which hold that Jews have no place on Islamic territory, except as a persecuted minority, similar to their status during the Muslim Empire,. These convictions, not Israeli settlements, are the true obstacle to a two-state solution.
The Obama Administration’s failure to admit that radical Islam is a threat, and to confront it, has endangered the entire world. Kerry can huff and puff at Israel, which is far easier than facing the real problem, but it will not bring peace any closer. In fact, the policies of the last eight years have made the chances for peace more remote than ever, which is .

New Zealand has its own settlement problem, Israel doesn't

From Tablet magazine, by Liel Leibovitz:

A Colonialist state founded on the theft of Maori land blames Israel for its own crimes 

Last Friday, New Zealand introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council that pronounced “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” to be illegal, a definition that includes the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and other historically-recognized parts of the Jewish State. While the United States made headlines by abstaining from the 14-0 vote, less attention was paid to the resolution’s sponsor—and to the dark history that lies behind a small South Pacific nation’s passionate feelings about a property dispute in the Middle East.

New Zealanders are no strangers to settlements—or to the cavalier denial of the rights of an indigenous people in their historic homeland. Coincidentally or not, this December marks the 153rd anniversary of The New Zealand Settlements Act, which shows that the denial of indigenous rights, and the deliberate destruction of a two-state solution in favor of an illegal land grab, are the bedrock on which the modern state of New Zealand was founded. Given that history, and the current realities of New Zealand’s treatment of its indigenous Maori population, the country’s steering of a UN Security Council resolution pronouncing the Jewish connection to our historic homeland to be illegal passes well into the territory of historical denialism.

The story of New Zealand’s continuing illegal occupation of Maori land is best told by numbers: in 1831, there were fewer than 1,000 Europeans living in New Zealand, a population dwarfed by that of the local Maori tribes. By 1881, that number had mushroomed to 500,000, largely the result of British policy that shipped off settlers to the new continent and encouraged them to stay. It goes without saying that these Europeans had neither historical attachment nor any legal claim to the land. While the Maoris were happy at first to trade with the newcomers, they eventually realized that the Pākehā, their name for the white settlers, would not be satisfied until they seized all of the land and eliminated the Maori way of life. Wars broke out, and treaties were signed, which finally divided sovereignty in the land between the European colonialists and the aboriginal inhabitants.

But dividing the land in half between the Maori and the European colonialists wasn’t enough to satisfy the ancestors of today’s New Zealanders. In 1863, the colonial government ordered all Maori to lay down their arms. Those who did not, according to the newly passed land confiscation clauses contained in the New Zealand Settlements Act, would “forfeit the right to possession of their lands.” Four million acres of Maori lands were subsequently seized by the government in Wellington without the slightest pretense of due process and handed out as prizes to European colonialists, and Maori sovereignty in their ancestral homeland was effectively eliminated.

If you wish to study the effect of New Zealand’s particularly crass brand of colonialism on the Maori population, you needn’t do much more than observe their descendants today: According to a UN report earlier this year, for example, 300,000 Maori children—a whopping one-third of New Zealand’s child population—now live under the poverty line, a rise of 45,000 in just one year. Nearly half of Maori youth drop out of secondary school. Health disparities are rampant as well: The cancer gap, for example, between Maori and other New Zealanders is higher than it is among any other indigenous population in Western countries, especially with cancers easily preventable by decent medical care, which Maoris are denied by a public health policy that verges on the genocidal.

With their UN vote, then, New Zealand has accurately identified the problem of what happens when an occupying force illegally and wantonly deprives a local population of its inalienable right for self-determination in its historic homeland. For some strange reason, though, New Zealand has chosen to project its own historical and moral failings on the aboriginal population of the Jewish State, while continuing to ignore the effects of its historical and well-documented crimes at home.

Because Israel prides itself as being a light unto the nations, it is not too late for Jerusalem to help correct a historical injustice, and to help its friends in Wellington heal. Israeli Jews know all about struggling to maintain connections to a historical homeland in the face of international indifference and regional hostilities, and the long, hard slog that it takes to form a truly effective national liberation movement that is capable of attaining national self-awareness and gaining international support for its own political autonomy.

The suffering of the Maori at the hands of European colonialists is not a joke. As a Zionist, it is hard to escape the sense that Jews have long—and mistakenly—downgraded our association with other indigenous national groups like the Maori in New Zealand, Tibetans in China, Catalans in Spain, Scots in Great Britain, the Native Peoples of Canada, Georgians and Ukrainians held captive by Russia, and many others, in favor of what we imagined was our seat at the grown-up table. In doing so, the State of Israel may have bowed to diplomatic necessity, but it has also diminished the strength of our historical and legal claim to our national homeland, guaranteed to us by the San Remo Conference, the Treaty of Sevres, and a League of Nations Mandate, but is now under sustained attack at the UN. Indigenous peoples whose histories and attachments to their own land are not unlike our own might well benefit from the technology, organizational capacity and experience of the Jewish State, which may serve as a model for their own future moments of national liberation. As the ultimate indigenous survivors, Israelis should be proud to celebrate our aboriginal rights in our national homeland, and help others to do the same.

Given the brute ugliness of its colonial past, New Zealand seems like an excellent place for the diplomats in Israel’s Foreign Ministry to try out a new model that puts solidarity with other indigenous peoples on an equal footing with traditional government-to-government relations. Israel might start by sending some of the money it cut from the aid budget to Senegal—which joined New Zealand in sponsoring the anti-Israel vote at the UN—to help the impoverished Maoris build the capacity to organize themselves politically against centuries of dispossession. In doing so, Israeli legal experts and others will hopefully help the Maori to erect a framework for negotiations that addresses the continuing European occupation of 4 million acres of Maori land that was seized by force in 1863, in defiance of legal treaty obligations. Israel might also do well to receive a Maori ambassador alongside the ambassador from Wellington, to represent Maori interests to Jerusalem.

... Solving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute may have just gotten harder because of New Zealand’s exercise in national self-denial at the UN, but helping New Zealanders address the open sore of their own history is a relatively simple matter of enforcing existing agreements. ... Jews can stand proudly on the right side of history, while helping to buttress our own legal claims to our homeland, which have been unjustly put in doubt.

Ignoring the Ethnic Cleansing of Jews

From Honest Reporting, 1 Jan 2017:

In its article, “7 Things To Know About Israeli Settlements,” National Public Radio manages to demonstrate just how little its writers know about settlements, Israel and how to practice journalism.
Our critique of this article is not about settlements, but about basic journalistic standards.

Reporters Greg Myre and Larry Kaplow begin by claiming:
When Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, no Israeli citizens lived in the territory.
This stunning lack of context ignores that Jews had indeed lived in Hebron, Bethlehem and many other towns in the land historically called “Judea and Samaria,” until 19 years earlier – when Jordanian forces (with the help of local Palestinians) expelled or killed all of the indigenous Jews, and then re-named the entire area “The West Bank.”
The only reason the population of the West Bank was entirely Palestinian by 1967 was because they expelled the indigenous Jews in 1948.
Doesn’t the ethnic cleansing of an entire indigenous Jewish population deserve a mention from NPR?

Kaplow and Myre further distort history in the very same sentence by saying “Israel captured the West Bank…” yet covering up the reason why: Jordan had turned those lands into a launching point for a massive assault against Israel, with the intent to destroy the entire country.

Israel was forced to capture the West Bank in order to prevent Jordan’s advance, save Israel’s very existence, and save all the Jews in Israel from the same fate suffered by those Jews referenced above: total and complete ethnic cleansing.
Again, not even a mention?

Jewish family: Hebron, 1928.

Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem

In an encore of ignorance, Kaplow and Myre claim:
Shortly after the 1967 war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank and had a population that was then entirely Palestinian.
First of all, there was never any such entity as “East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was one united city for several thousand years until Jordan invaded its eastern part in 1948. At that point, Jordan’s military (with the assistance of local Palestinians) expelled or killed all the Jews living in the areas it captured. Again: total and complete ethnic cleansing.

Kaplow and Myre also cover up from their readers that the area they call “East Jerusalem” includes the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism) along with its famous Western Wall, the Old City, and Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish Quarter.

Yet all the authors have to say is “…a population that was then entirely Palestinian.”
HonestReporting interviewed Jewish refugees from the Jordanian invasion of Jerusalem, in order to paint a more complete picture of Jerusalem’s recent history.

Journalistic Failures

Kaplow and Myre indulge in a number of other misleading falsehoods, such as the claim:
While the Israelis tend to speak of East Jerusalem and the West Bank as two separate entities, the Palestinians regard them as a single body — the occupied West Bank.
In fact, Palestinians do not typically use the term “occupied West Bank,” but rather “occupied Palestine,” which they clearly define as being all of Israel.

When discussing Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza NPR selectively omitted the thousands of rockets fired at Israel from the Strip. Kaplow and Myre also criticize Israel’s military presence in the West Bank but fail to acknowledge that Palestinian terrorism forces Israel to maintain that military presence.

A journalist may explore complex topics and present varying viewpoints, but journalistic ethics do not allow the omission of critical context nor the distortion of objective historical facts, as Kaplow and Myre have done here.

NPR has covered up the massive scale ethnic cleansing of Jews in their own historic homeland. The result is not only offensive to the Israeli victims of these attacks and misleading to NPR readers, but also an embarrassment to the very profession of journalism.

Monday, January 02, 2017

This Is the Moment for an Israeli Victory

From National Review, 31 Dec 2016, by Daniel Pipes:

It’s time to shake up the stagnant status quo in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. 

The U.S.-sponsored Israeli–Palestinian “peace process” began in December 1988, when Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat met American conditions and “accepted United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel’s right to exist and renounced terrorism” (actually, given Arafat’s heavily accented English, it sounded like he “renounced tourism”).

That peace process screeched to an end in December 2016, when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334. 

Khaled Abu Toameh, perhaps the best-informed analyst of Palestinian politics, interprets the resolution as telling the Palestinians: “Forget about negotiating with Israel. Just pressure the international community to force Israel to comply with the resolution and surrender up all that you demand.”

As 28 years of frustration and futility clang to a sullen close, the time is nigh to ask, “What comes next?” 

I propose an Israeli victory and a Palestinian defeat. That is to say, Washington should encourage Israelis to take steps that cause Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashal, Saed Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi, and the rest of that crew to realize that the gig is up, that no matter how many U.N. resolutions are passed, their foul dream of eliminating the Jewish state is defunct, that Israel is permanent, strong, and tough. 

After the leadership recognizes this reality, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict. Palestinians will gain by finally being released from a cult of death to focus instead on building their own policy, society, economy, and culture. 

While the incoming Trump administration’s Middle East policies remain obscure, President-elect Trump himself vociferously opposed Resolution 2334 and has signaled (for example, by his choice of David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel) that he is open to a dramatically new approach to the conflict, one far more favorable to Israel than Barack Obama’s.

With his lifelong pursuit of winning (“We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning”), Trump would probably be drawn to an approach that has our side win and the other side lose.

Victory also suits the current mood of Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. He’s not just furious at being abandoned in the United Nations, he has an ambitious vision of Israel’s global importance. Further, his being photographed recently carrying a copy of historian John David Lewis’s Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History signals that he is explicitly thinking in terms of victory in war: Lewis in his book looks at six case studies, concluding that in each of them “the tide of war turned when one side tasted defeat and its will to continue, rather than stiffening, collapsed.”

Finally, the moment is right in terms of the larger trends of regional politics. That the Obama administration effectively became an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran scared Sunni Arab states, Saudi Arabia at the fore, into being far more realistic than ever before; needing Israel for the first time, the “Palestine” issue has lost some of its salience, and Arab conceits about Israel as the arch enemy have been to some extent abandoned, creating an unprecedented potential flexibility.

For these four reasons 

  • Security Council Resolution 2334, 
  • Trump, 
  • Netanyahu, and 
  • Iran 
the moment is right to meet the new year and the new administration with a revamped Middle East policy, one aiming for the Palestinians to “taste defeat.”