Monday, October 17

Is it Moral to Oppose the Occupation?

A military checkpoint along the route of the f...
A military checkpoint along the route of the forthcoming West Bank Barrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is it moral to oppose the occupation? Yes! Is it practical? No!
The morality of ending the occupation is an unanimous “yes” which echoes from the world community. The raising of eyebrows on saying “no” to the practicality of ending the occupation is almost like a two-edged sword aiming at Israel’s heart.
Occupation of another people by a nation for the purpose of land grabs does not deserve support and is morally indefensible. It is colonizing another nation that have a right to be independent and elect the government they wish by democratic and transparent elections. Of course reasonable democrats agree with this and rightly so.
Does this apply to Israel? Of course it does, but there is one massive problem that prevents this from being achieved. I have written many articles on Israel’s establishment in 1948 not being recognized by its Arab neighbors. Israel’s establishment had been legalized by the UN on 29 November 1947 after the majority of member states had voted for partition. Within days of Israel’s establishment on 14 May 1948, wars were waged against Israel for the purpose of annihilating her.
There was never any desire by the Arab States to make peace with Israel and this of course includes the Palestinians. This was 20 years prior to the June 1967 War which Israel had won, resulting in occupying the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Prior to that there were no “occupied territories” and there were still attempts to declare war on Israel for the sole purpose of its annhilation, and “driving the Jews into the sea”. It is obvious to any objective observer that it is not the occupation that is the problem but Israel’s existence. The occupation of territory is a result of a war foisted onto Israel by Egypt in June !967 in order to destroy her. The capture of territory was a result of that war that Israel did not initiate or want. In this case the occupation may be viewed as fait accompli  because of that war. If Israel had lost there would have been mass genocide and “ethnic cleansing” of Jews living in Israel.
Israel’s greatest error was establishing settlements in the territories occupied, and populating it with many right wing, religious zealots amongst a hostile Palestinian population, rather than declaring the territories a closed military zone with a status still to be negotiated in a peace settlement that would guarantee its return to the Palestinians prior to the war. This in itself created tremendous friction between Israelis and Palestinians and complicated the situation even further.The expansion of existing settlements in the West Bank at the expense of expropriating Palestinian lands for that purpose is also not justified morally and weakens Israel's case.
Today we have players that are far more extremist on both sides not readily amenable to realistic negotiations.

On the Palestinian side, there is the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, who is weak and ineffectual as well as lacking support from the Palestinian People. Hamas has far more support than Abbas and plays a very important role as it has more support in the West Bank than the PA. Hamas will never allow Abbas to sign a peace treaty with Israel, which would be the first step in ending the occupation of land since June 1967.
Hamas will never agree with any form of negotiations with Israel on a Two State Solution and an end to the occupation. It is dead set on Israel’s total destruction and a Palestinian State replacing Israel. The rhetoric of glee coming from the Palestinian leadership – Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority - after every terror attack, is further proof of the irreversible hate against Israelis and closes the door of any form of rapprochement.
“There is no chance Israeli society, of its own volition and without any help, will end the nightmare. Too many mechanisms insulate the violence we conduct in order to control the Palestinians.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because I am striving to be a human being. And human beings, when they take responsibility for an injustice against other human beings, have a moral obligation to take action.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because I am an Israeli. I have no other country. I have no other citizenship and no other future. I grew up here and will be buried here. I care about the fate of this place, the fate of its people and its political fate, which is my fate, too. And in light of all these ties, the occupation is a disaster.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because my colleagues at B’Tselem and I, after so many years of work, have reached several conclusions. Here’s one: The reality will not change if the world does not intervene. I suspect that our arrogant government also knows this, so it’s busy fear mongering against such an intervention.
Intervention by the world against the occupation is just as legitimate as any human-rights issue. It’s all the more so when it involves an issue like our ruling over another people. This is no internal Israeli matter. It is blatantly an international matter.
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Here’s another conclusion: There is no chance Israeli society, of its own volition and without any help, will end the nightmare. Too many mechanisms insulate the violence we conduct in order to take control of them. Too many excuses have accumulated. There have been too many fears and too much anger – on both sides – over the past 50 years. In the end, I’m sure, Israelis and Palestinians will end the occupation, but we won’t do it without the world’s help.
The United Nations is many things. Many of them are problematic; some of them are really foolish. I don’t agree with them. But the United Nations is also the organization that gave us a state in 1947, and that decision is the basis of the international legitimacy of our country, the one where I’m a citizen. And with every day of occupation, we not only chew away at Palestine with delight, we also destroy our country’s legitimacy.
I don’t understand what the government wants the Palestinians to do. We have ruled their lives for nearly 50 years, we have shredded their land to bits. We wield military and bureaucratic power with enormous success and get along just fine with ourselves and the world.
What are the Palestinians supposed to do? If they dare demonstrate, it’s popular terror. If they call for sanctions, it’s economic terror. If they pursue legal means, it’s judicial terror. If they turn to the United Nations, it’s diplomatic terror.
It turns out that anything a Palestinian does besides getting up in the morning and saying “Thank you, Rais” – "Thank you, master" – is terror. What does the government want, a letter of surrender or for the Palestinians to disappear? They won’t disappear.
We won’t disappear either, nor will we be silent. We must repeat it everywhere: The occupation is not the result of a democratic vote. Our decision to control their lives, as much as it suits us, is an expression of violence, not democracy. Israel has no legitimate option to continue this way. And the world has no option to continue treating us as it has so far – all talk and no action.
I spoke at the UN Security Council against the occupation because I am optimistic, because I am an Israeli, because I was born in Haifa and live in Jerusalem, and because I am no longer a young man and every day of my life has accompanied our control of them. And because it is impossible to carry on like this.
We must not carry on like this. I spoke at the UN Security Council against the occupation because I am striving to be a human being”.
After reading what he said in his address, I got the impression that he was morally correct but at the same time altruistic and unrealistic. Also his address was very naive and played into the hands of Israel’s enemies in the UN. However, from a practical point of view he was not correct. If there were no Palestinian terror attacks on innocent people, irrespective of their creed, Hagai El-Ad’s speech would be justified. By his speech, he has placed B’tzelem in the camp of Israel’s haters who are not human rights oriented, nor do they care about human dignity. Their collective silence on Jihadi movements in the Middle East, including their indifference to the widespread massacres in Syria is conspicuous by their silence. They are vociferous in supporting UN resolutions against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while at the same time they do not condemn the vilest Palestinian terrorist murders of innocent people.
The sickening double-standard, hypocritical justification of terror is viewed as a “legitimate fight by the Palestinian victims of the occupation against the cruel occupier - Israel”. They do not view Islamist or Palestinian terror as evil but rather as heroic deeds of bravery. B’tzelem, whose purpose is to monitor human rights abuses by the IDF in Israeli occupied territories, is a just and moral cause. However, fighting to end the occupation without any peace agreement that is watertight in ensuring Israel’s security and right to exist, is not a moral cause and deserves condemnation. Hagai El-Ad is playing into the hands of Hamas that also opposes Israel’s occupation which is synonymous to supporting Israel’s destruction and total replacement of Israel with a Palestinian state. Differentiation between the occupation and Israel’s total destruction is not on the Hamas agenda. Hamas is a factor that cannot be overlooked as it has more support than the PA by far.
The mantra of “ending the occupation” really means ending Israel’s existence. If this mindset is dominant then “ending the occupation” is no option. Mahmoud Abbas knows that he does not have the power or support of Hamas to sign a peace treaty with Israel to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel. If he does, his life will be endangered. This is a fact and negotiations with Abbas to end the occupation are an exercise in futility while Hamas has the strength and final say. As it is, Abbas is viewed as a traitor by the majority of Palestinians as well as an ally of Israel and the US. This also explains why no general elections have been held for many years.

Saturday, October 15

The UNESCO Jerusalem Vote and Ramifications

Temple Mount and Western Wall during Shabbat
Temple Mount and Western Wall during Shabbat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It would be a good idea to read the full text of the revised UNESCO Resolution on “Occupied Palestine” before arriving at conclusions that are at most not objective on both sides of the great divide between Israel and the Palestinians. Emotional hubris is not constructive to both sides and in order to be rational we must become more knowledgeable in what is involved.
Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, Israel.
Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. Set up for peaceful purposes to promote intercultural dialogue, has been misused for political purposes.
The tone of the plan is biased towards Israel, which is viewed as the “occupying power” and is not carrying out its obligations towards the maintenance of the “holy places” to which it claims to be a signatory. Israel. According to the resolution Israel is abusing its power as an “occupier” towards the Palestinian population by restricting the “occupied” Palestinians the rights to pray in the Al Aqsa Mosque. The resolution continues its claims of Israel’s abuse of power. This, of course, can be disputed, taking into consideration the increase of Palestinian terror against innocent people, who happen to be in the area. The resolution is far from balanced as it does not condemn Palestinian violence and terror, which has widespread support of the Palestinian Leadership, especially Hamas that has given verbal and written support to lone wolf stabbing attacks against innocent Israelis, non-Israelis as well as Arab Israelis.  

Having read the text of this UNESCO resolution, there is no evidence denying the Jewish Link to the Temple Mount or re-writing history of the Jewish link to the Western Wall.

“3. Affirming the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions, also affirming that nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem”.
“35. Reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in Al-Khalil/Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine;
36. Shares the conviction affirmed by the international community that the two sites are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam”. Does this negate the Jewish link to Jerusalem?
The use of Arabic names for the various sites rather than Jewish names is a bone of contention but certainly does not negate the link of these sites to Judaism. It is an attempt by the Netanyahu Government to make political capital over a matter that is non-existent.

Even on the Palestinian side there is a tendency to interpret this resolution incorrectly to suit their own narrative which is based on fantasies and not on history. After all each side has a narrative. Palestinian narratives do not correspond to historical facts. The narratives are based on justifying Palestinian political agendas. Scientific archeological finds and the correct methodology on interpreting historical facts does prove that the connection of Jews to Jerusalem is indisputable. The resolution passed does not dispute that at all.

The resolution was supported by 24 votes to 6, with 26 abstentions, in Paris on October 13, 2016.

Voting in favor were: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.
Voting against were: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.
Abstaining were: Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and Nevis, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Ukraine.
Absent were: Serbia and Turkmenistan.
The message of those voting in favor of this resolution, is not a denial of the Jewish religious connection to Jerusalem over centuries, but rather a vote condemning the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel since June 1967. This includes Israel determining who will be responsible for the non-Jewish holy places.

Of course, the UNESCO members have been manipulated by the Palestinian representatives in the UN, who are making political capital out of this resolution. The resolution does by innuendo allow Palestinians to carry on their violence and murderous deeds against innocent people by weakening Israel’s role in maintaining law and order on the Temple Mount.
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It is significant to note that UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova spoke out Friday 14th Oct 2016 in support of Israel and against the 24-6 vote of her organization’s Executive Board took the day before to approve a resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount and its Western Wall as a purely Muslim religious site.

The chair of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs, said Friday he was sorry about the resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites that was passed by UNESCO on Thursday and that is set to be approved by his executive board next week. “It’s very exceptional what happened yesterday, and I’m sorry for that,” Worbs told Israeli television. The fact that senior officials in UNESCO have expressed disapproval of these resolutions gives a much needed sense of balance to this political hubris.

Thursday, October 13

Palestinian Aspirations and PM Netanyahu’s 2016 UN Speech

We all heard the waffle of President Mahmoud Abbas’s address to the UN General Assembly could hardly be called a speech but rather a diatribe of fantasy, lies and frustration. Many years have passed and the UN members still do not wish to come to terms with the fact that Mahmoud Abbas does not represent the Palestinian People. He has no power base  and is a weak leader, who has been misleading rather than leading his people. There have been no Palestinian Elections since 2006. Like his counterparts in Hamas, he has amassed a great personal fortune under the occupation.

The Palestinian People have no leaders representing their aspirations apart from those expressing the eternal mantra of seeking Israel’s destruction. Both Hamas and the PA have done nothing to improve Palestinian infrastructures. Both parties are so involved in enriching themselves at their people’s expense as well as at the expense of many EU and other countries, who donate large sums of money to improve Palestinian quality of life, educational and health projects.  Instead of these goals, the money is used in hate for Israel propaganda, terrorist activity, including building of infiltrating, terrorist tunnels from Gaza into the south of Israel, and in filling the pockets of Hamas and PA leaders.

Yes, we all want a Two-State Solution and an end to the occupation. However with the various scenarios on the ground and the mindset of the Hamas-PA leadership, this is just not going to happen. Hamas will never recognize Israel’s right to exist as they have stated this ad nauseam. The occupation in their world view is Israel’s establishment since 1948. The most they are prepared to accept is a thadiya or temporary truce with Israel.  This means that once Hamas is able to gain enough strength it will break the truce and destroy Israel. We must remember that PA agreements (and Hamas agreements if that does occur by some miracle) are modeled after Muhammad's Treaty of Hudaybiyyah . It is very significant to bear this in mind in order to gain a greater understanding of the mindset of the present Palestinian Leadership towards peace with Israel and why peace with the Palestinians is unattainable, apart from their ulterior, corrupt motives of self-enrichment at their people’s expense. A “partner” dead set on Israel’s total destruction as a condition for a permanent peace can never be a partner.

The memory of many UN Palestinian pundit members is short or at best very selective. Prior to the 1967 June War, there was no Israeli occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and Golan Heights; it was Palestine that was occupied by Israel in 1948, including Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa and Acre. This is the true occupation in their world view. The 1967 occupation is just the cherry on top of the “occupation cake” that has become a mantra.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an excellent speech at the September  22 2016 UN General Assembly Circus. I am not a supporter of PM Netanyahu and his coalition partners, but he said what had to be said very well. It is not the “illegal settlements” that is an obstacle to peace. Israel’s very existence and history has proved that since Israel’s establishment.

The hatred for Israel and Jews is so engraved in the minds of young Palestinians by the education system as Netanyahu had expressed so vividly in his speech whether it is social media, culture, Islam (according to their view) and the school system.

There is no Palestinian Leadership that is democratic, human rights- oriented as well as being transparent. A leadership that is corrupt and wealthy at the expensive of their people can never be a liberation movement when lining their pockets is top priority. Does the UN fail to see that?

Palestinian pundits claim that so much is being said that is destructive from the Israeli side discouraging solutions to this tragic conflict by not ending the occupation.

The question is whether anything is coming from the Palestinian side that is constructive?  The suicide bombings, lone stabbing attacks on innocent people, ramming cars into pedestrians, as well as shooting of innocent people from passing cars, education aimed at brainwashing young Palestinians in the social media as well as educational projects encouraging shuhada  (martyrs or martyrdom)) by killing Jews, are what  we witness on an almost daily basis for many years now.

The solution, apart from Israel’s destruction and a replacement by Hamas or a Caliphate ISIS-Style is all what we hear from Palestinian street. Surely with a Palestinian mindset like this there is no hope of achieving peace for many years to come.

Thursday, September 8

The Occupation suits the Palestinian Leadership no less than Israel

The time has come for everybody to cease the hypocrisy over the two-state solution. Both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership are against the Two-State Solution, (despite their statements to the contrary) for different reasons, yet the lowest common denominator is there - stalemate and no progress for a solution.

Settlement expansion and building in the West Bank occupied since the 1967 Six Day War is part of the right wing government coalition policy. Apart from cosmetic halting of settlements in certain areas, building and expanding existing settlements continues. This suits the present Israeli Government and its settlement enterprise. It also suits the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It gives them something to cry about as their coffers fill up with more Palestinian pundit donations. Their propaganda machine against the settlements as well as Israel’s existence is very successful in international forums such as the UN and the disintegrating EU. These various bodies contribute billions of dollars to the ever-suffering Palestinians as their leadership uses this as an excuse to receive millions of dollars for funding. Nobody talks about transparency concerning these funds reaching projects to rehabilitate Gaza, or improve infrastructure and quality of life for Palestinians in the West Bank.

The reality is different. The financial donations go to terrorist projects of various kinds and the enrichment of the Palestinian leadership, who siphon the money into their own pockets. President Mahmoud Abbas’s net worth is over a $100 million, while his predecessor, Yasser Arafat had amassed $1 billion. Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas, personal assets is $2.6 billion, while in exile in Qatar living the good life. The rest of the leaders of the Palestinians are multi-millionaires. If the occupation ends so will their millions. If a Palestinian state by some miracle is declared, law and order as well as transparency will be part of the deal for it to be viable. The crocodile-tears shed by these corrupt leaders over the occupation bring them more money to enrich themselves. These false tears drops onto the hearts of human rights Palestinian pundits, who quickly blame Israel for Palestinian suffering under the occupation but do not care a damn for Palestinians in Yarmouk Camp, who are slaughtered like flies by Arab Islamist groups. They also do not care a damn for victims of ISIS terror in the Middle East or terrorist acts they commit in France, Belgium and Germany. Knifings of innocent Israelis have their full backing as well as the backing of Israel’s Daesh – Hamas!

Transparency, democracy, human rights, women’s rights and dignity is not part of the Palestinian Leadership’s lexicon whether the PA or Hamas. Absence of these values is a guarantee for the Palestinian leadership to remain corrupt and unaccountable to the Palestinian People they claim to represent. Distribution of wealth does not exist.

Wealth will remain in the hands of the Palestinian leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as long as the occupation remains. They know it as well. All their mantras of Israel’s destruction and Palestinian suffering – imagined and otherwise, are the best insurance for these leaders to maintain their incredible wealth.

Below is an article by Amira Hass of Haaretz about Palestinian corruption under occupation:

Palestinians don’t need the Panama Papers to expose what they see as corruption in the ranks of their leaders — there is visible concrete evidence of it everywhere.
The Palestinians are the last to be surprised over the recent Panama Papers revelations that indicate a connection between money and power among their leadership or, what in popular parlance, falls under the broad heading of “corruption.” There is nearly no daily conversation where allegations of corruption are not expressed, whether referring explicitly to individuals by name (cabinet ministers, senior members of the ruling Fatah party or NGO directors) or their institutions.
In conversations with Palestinians, they speak of a broad range of corruption that they believe is present at top levels of society: Outright theft of public funds, receiving of bribes and other favors in return for services, hugely inflated salaries and favors paid to senior NGO officials and high-level political interference in the replacement of senior civil servants.
Then there are the allegations of partnership interests of senior figures from the ruling party and government ministries in private businesses, the provision of public land to senior officials and the payment of huge sums from the political organization level for construction of homes, for medical care or to attend conferences abroad. There are allegations of relatives being appointed to government ministries (and one of the most common allegations is that every minister fills his ministry with locals from his own home region). People speak of officials drawing two salaries at the same time (for example, a senior official in a political organization, a former legislator). And this is just a partial list of allegations that render almost every senior figure or public official into a corrupt suspect, who is therefore untrustworthy.
The animosity raging between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan also includes regular mutual recriminations of corruption. Last year a court in Ramallah dropped an indictment filed by the Palestinian prosecution against Dahlan over major embezzlement charges and ruled that the stripping of the immunity from prosecution that Dahlan had enjoyed as a legislator was not carried out according to the law.
Dahlan’s associates regularly mention Abbas’ sons’ global business interests. They probably would have welcomed the Haaretz Panama Papers reporting by Uri Blau and Daniel Dolev regarding Abbas’ son Tareq and his hefty interests in a private company with links to the Palestinian Authority, but they would certainly not have been surprised.

In a shtetl-like society, which the Palestinian one is, namely small and with extended families whose members are at almost every rung of the social ladder, everyone is exposed to some kind of incriminating morsel of information, in his own view, about senior people or what would fit the popular definition of corruption.And in contrast to the sparsity of written documents that may be exposed to bolster the allegations, there is other visible, concrete evidence of what is perceived as corruption: the ornate large private home or second home purchased by someone who is not known to hail from a wealthy family (meaning where the source of wealth is no longer questioned); the snazzy new car; the time spent at fancy clubs; and the use of official vehicles for personal purposes.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research regularly asks if people think there is corruption at the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. In the most recent poll, published at the beginning of the month, 79 percent answered that there is, and this response has been more or less constant for years.
In the interest of fair disclosure, in this writer’s opinion, the occupation (including the allocation of land on both sides of the Green Line to Jews alone) is the mother of all corruption, but that should not let the Palestinians off the hook easily. On the contrary, as part of a people fighting a despotic and fraudulent foreign occupation, the Palestinian leadership (the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah and Hamas as well) is more highly obligated than anyone else to act with integrity. And they are failing the test.
Under circumstances of occupation, it is natural the definition of corruption would be wide. When the newly-minted head of Israel’s Civil Administration in the territories, Munir Amar, was killed in a plane crash, several senior Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials, including political associates of Abbas, went to pay a condolence call. The Civil Administration is not a neutral Israeli entity. It should be remembered that it is the operational arm of a policy of land theft, water theft, home demolition, settlement, etc. Are their narrow personal interests (currying the favor of the overlords who issue the travel permits) the reason for the typical disregard that they have demonstrated towards their own people?
The senior Palestinian Authority officials continue to securely remain in their posts, not as representatives of the people but rather under the auspices of international support for continued negotiations with Israel in advance of the “establishment of a Palestinian state.” That means continued support for a lie: the status quo of Israeli domination, accelerated colonization, a stable security situation that is undermined from time to time and pockets of Palestinian self-rule.
In these pockets, one finds many senior officials and those linked to them who owe their personal and family wellbeing to that same status quo. In other words, they are incapable of turning the tables and imagining and developing a new and inclusive form of struggle (that does not necessarily require arms) against Israeli domination since that is liable to harm their economic status and that of those around them. And this is corruption.

This is an incredible admittance of Amira Hass concerning Palestinian leadership corruption. She is very sympathetic to Palestinian issues. 

The ‘human rights” Palestinian pundits and BDS activists will continue in their hypocritic fight against Israel’s existence using the occupation to justify their cause. These “human rights” Palestinian pundit xenophobes (anti-Semites) and their ilk, including BDS wish to replace Israel with a totalitarian Palestinian State oblivious of human rights and dignity, based on sharia law that must be Judenrein (free of Jews).

Ending the occupation is against the interests of the Palestinian Leadership.