Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Palestine - No Jews, Soon No Christians

[Published 11 January 2011]

“All these attacks prove that settlers are dangerous and that it’s impossible to live with them. If these settlers are allowed to stay, that would mean more friction and confrontation. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967” - Ahmed Qurei, Head of Palestinian Authority Negotiating Team, Jerusalem Post December 13, 2008.

This call to remove every Jew living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - 500,000 men, women and children - was accepted in total silence by the United Nations. No urgent meeting of the General Assembly or any of its Human Rights Committees was called to condemn this racial vilification of Jews by a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and its chief negotiator with Israel.

Qurei’s statement has now been endorsed by a number of Latin American countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador.

Chile’s “recognition” of a non-existent sovereign and independent Palestine has been more circumspect and cannot be said to have embraced this racist viewpoint.

What is particularly puzzling, however, is the silence of Brazil, Argentina , Ecuador and Bolivia on the plight - and flight - of Christians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Comprised themselves of overwhelmingly Christian populations - these Latin American countries remain apparently unconcerned as Christian Arabs are subjected to harassment and abuse that has seen a drastic diminution in their number living in that area of the West Bank exclusively occupied and controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

David Raab explains what has occurred:

“Historically, not only has Bethlehem been a Christian city governed primarily by Christians, but, with its sister towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahur, it has been the largest enclave of Christians in the West Bank.

Since assuming control in 1995, however, the PA has been Islamizing Bethlehem. The city’s municipal boundaries were changed to incorporate 30,000 Muslims from three neighboring refugee camps, severely tipping the demography. The city also added a few thousand Bedouins of the Ta’amra tribe, located east of Bethlehem, and encouraged Muslim immigration from Hebron to Bethlehem. The net result is that the area’s 23,000 Christians were reduced from a 60 percent majority in 1990 to a minority by 2001.”

The deteriorating situation for Christian Arabs since then has been ongoing.

Khaled Abu Tomeh wrote on 12 May 2009:

“Christian families have long been complaining of intimidation and land theft by Muslims, especially those working for the Palestinian Authority.

Many Christians in Bethlehem and the nearby [Christian] towns of Bet Sahour and Bet Jalla have repeatedly complained that Muslims have been seizing their lands either by force or through forged documents.

In recent years, not only has the number of Christians continued to dwindle, but Bethlehem and its surroundings also became hotbeds for Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters and members.

Moreover, several Christian women living in these areas have complained about verbal and sexual assaults by Muslim men.

Over the past few years, a number of Christian businessmen told me that they were forced to shut down their businesses because they could no longer afford to pay “protection” money to local Muslim gangs.

While it is true that the Palestinian Authority does not have an official policy of persecution against Christians, it is also true that this authority has not done enough to provide the Christian population with a sense of security and stability.

In addition, Christians continue to complain about discrimination when it comes to employment in the public sector. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority 15 years ago, for example, not a single Christian was ever appointed to a senior security post. Although Bethlehem has a Christian mayor, the governor, who is more senior than him, remains a Muslim.”

More recently - and in a very novel and pointed way that undermines Christian rights - T shirts are being manufactured in Jerusalem and Hebron reproducing the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without depicting the Cross.

This latest development has brought forth the following response from Samir Qumseih a journalist and director of the Catholic Television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem:

“I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products because the removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified.

In the Holy Land the emigration of Christians is growing, even if the authorities refuse to give precise numbers. Every day there are people who flee to other countries. As Christians, we live in a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty, and if you live in constant tension and pessimism you can not plan anything.”

Certainly Christian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would be feeling even more concerned as to their future following the recent outbreak of violence against Christians in Iraq and Egypt which saw:

1. 23 Coptic Christians die and 79 wounded on New Year’s Day when a car bomb was detonated outside a Church in Alexandria

2. 58 Christian Chaldeans killed and 76 wounded when Our Lady of Salvation Church was besieged in Baghdad last October

In an interview on Australia’s 7.30 Report on 21 December last Mr Qumseih expressed a further misgiving:

“I really fear that the Church of Nativity (in Bethlehem) and the holy sepulchre (in Jerusalem) will be called into museums, will be called into museums. And this is something that it worries me too much.“

During the same interview reporter Ben Knight said some 450 families had left Bethlehem in 2008 to live overseas.

Ironically whilst the Christian population continues to diminish in the West Bank, it continues to increase and flourish in Israel.

As documented in the Central Bureau of Statistics’ Statistical Abstract of Israel 2008 (Chart 2.2), Israel’s Christian population grew from 120,600 in 1995 to 151,600 in 2007, representing a growth rate of 25 percent. The current 2010 Christian population of Israel is estimated at 154350.

The future looks decidedly bleak for the Christian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

They are not helped by pronouncements from the Vatican last year seeking to attribute the blame to the failure to resolve the 130 years old conflict between Arabs and Jews - which conclusion now seems very hollow following the atrocities that have since been perpetrated on Christian communities in Iraq and Egypt.

Nor are the demonstrations of diplomatic support by the Latin American countries for the Palestinian Authority or their continuing silence in the face of the “T - Shirt War” likely to reverse the continuing exodus of Christians from Palestinian Authority controlled territory.

Is a Palestinian State cleansed of Jews and Christians the desired outcome that so many nations are prepared to tolerate?

They should all hang their heads in shame.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Palestine - Tea For Two And 242

[Published 5 January 2011]

“I’m discontented with homes that I’ve rented
So I have invented my own.”

The above lines from the refrain of the well known song “Tea for Two” could well have been sung by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Brazil’s outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as Abbas laid the cornerstone in Brasilia for his nation’s first embassy in the Western hemisphere.

Returning from rented premises in Tunis to live in rented digs in Ramallah has finally proved too much for Abbas to bear. He is now attempting to end his tenant status quo by unilaterally embarking on inventing his own nation of “Abbasstan” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - to the exclusion of Gaza and its Gazan Arab residents as well as the harassment of those Hamas supporters currently living in the West Bank.

Unable to bridge his irreconcilable differences with Hamas over control of Gaza and unwilling to resume direct negotiations with Israel - Abbas is travelling the world seeking nation states to recognize “Abbastan” - although he himself has yet to openly declare the creation of such a State for reasons only known to him.

The keystone comedy in Brasilia was conducted on President da Lula’s last day in office.

Perhaps Abbas and da Lula were fearful that da Lula’s successor might adopt a more cautious approach to the unseemly haste which followed da Lula’s surprise announcement just four weeks earlier recognizing a Palestinian State between Israel and Jordan within the area captured by Israel from Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967.

How da Lula could recognize a State within defined boundaries when such a state had not been declared by Abbas seems to have been of no concern to him.

Da Lula’s unilateral decision had been made without consulting Israel and Jordan whose 1994 Peace Treaty provides:

“The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a),is the permanent,secure and recognised international boundary between Israel and Jordan, without prejudice to the status of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967.”

Da Lula was also apparently unconcerned as to the fate of 500000 Jews currently living in the area proposed for Abbas’s new State - giving credence to Abbas’s oft repeated statements that they would have to pack up and leave their homes after decades of legal residence pursuant to the rights granted to them by the League of Nations Mandate and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Da Lula had also thrown caution to the wind in renouncing Security Council resolution 242 recognizing Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognized boundaries which were intended to replace the temporary 1949 armistice lines still existing between Jordan and Israel at the outbreak of the 1967 hostilities.

Brazil had been a member of the Security Council when resolution 242 had been passed. Reneging now on that resolution which binds all member States of the United Nations - seems an extraordinary act of foolhardiness and indicates total disregard for the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Da Lula had apparently thought Gaza was too hard to include in his serenading of Abbas - and with good reason. Abbas is persona non grata in Gaza and lacks any authority of any kind there.

Abbas is also the unelected and unconstitutional head of the Palestinian Authority. Like da Lula he is a feather duster. Unlike da Lula he stubbornly hangs on to power unwilling to hand over the reins by calling new elections.

Brazil could not possibly be happy with the assessment of Abbas contained in an editorial published in the Palestine Times on 3 January titled “Palestine being decapitated as PLO fiddles in Ramallah” - whilst the cement on the cornerstone in Brasilia was probably still drying.

Among the accusations the editor makes are:

1. The PLO-PA leadership is behaving very much like Nero who was fiddling while Rome was on fire.

2. The PLO leadership is busy discussing a government reshuffle in Ramallah, as if the Ramallah regime, which depends completely on foreign handouts, were enjoying any semblance of authority, or sovereignty or even dignity.

3. Fully aware of the sheepish nature of his Fatah loyalists, Abbas is effectively abandoning Palestinian national constants one by one.

4. It is really lamentable that the Palestinian leadership, whose term in office has long expired, is behaving exactly like the other Arab dictatorships.

No doubt the Editor is a Hamas sympathiser. He would have been angered at the announcement by Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on the same day as his editorial was published - stating that Abbas’s security forces had detained 3000 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank in 2010 of whom:

1,404 had served time in Israeli jails,

49 were prominent Hamas leaders,

49 were Imams of mosques,

405 were university students

24 were professors

36 were journalists,

12 were businessmen,

5 pharmacists,

7 women and

12 school children,

Abbas’s invention of a homeland that excludes Gaza and makes life difficult for West Bank Hamas supporters should concern Brazil’s new President and Government. Abbas is similarly embarking on persuading other nations to do likewise. It is a high risk game that has the capacity to unravel very quickly.

Perhaps Brazil is starting to realise this danger following da Silva’s departure - which also sees the appointment of a new Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota in addition to a new President Dilma Rousseff.

In his first speech made on 2 January Patriota declared that priority would be given to :

“dialogue and diplomacy as a means to resolve tensions and disputes, advocating respect for international law, non-intervention and multilateralism”

He stated:

“Our President, Rousseff, is intellectual honesty, public spirit, fearlessness in the face of challenges of any size, sensitivity and humanism”

He pledged:

“To match the confidence placed in me by the President Rousseff will depend on collective efforts, which will necessarily involve the valuable contribution and dedication of all colleagues,diplomats and administration, the Secretary of State and posts abroad.”

Da Lula’s hasty embrace of Abbas seems set to be reviewed and hopefully will lead to Brazil committing once again to uphold Security Council Resolution 242 as the real cornerstone for resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Resolution 242 still remains the only internationally accepted building block for Middle East Peace since it was passed in 1967.

All else has proved useless blather and fictitious game playing.

If international law is to play any part in ending this 130 years old conflict then Security Council Resolution 242 must be given the primacy it deserves along with the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 the United Nations Charter.

It’s either that or the law of the jungle. Make your choice.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Palestine - Lawyers, Hot Air And No Clothes

[Published 29 December 2010]

John V Whitbeck - described as “an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team” - has recently written an article published in Al Jazeera pointing out that 106 members of the United Nations have now recognized the State of Palestine, whose independence was proclaimed on 15 November 1988.

Whitbeck also tells us that such recognition covers between 80-90% of the world’s population.

Behind these apparently impressive statistics and the conclusion that Whitbeck draws from them - the story is strikingly different.

Whitbeck’s claim of international recognition is pure window dressing bereft of any clothes. It amounts to hot air and nothing more.

What Whitbeck claims as fact is fiction, a state that exists in the mind rather than in reality, an ideal eagerly sought without any current prospect of being achieved.

The declaration of independence proclaimed on 15 November 1988 by Yasser Arafat was nothing more than a public relations stunt since the Palestine Liberation Organization then controlled not one single centimeter of former Palestine. Such declaration sought to be justified on the basis of the United Nations 1947 Partition Plan that had recommended division of Western Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab States. That recommendation had been unanimously rejected by the Arab League. Relying on it 41 years later seemed a hypocritical exercise in diplomatic peace making.

A large part of the world was however prepared to forget and forgive the Arab aggression that followed the rejection of the 1947 UN recommendation and grasp this 1988 lifeline in a further effort to bring about a resolution of the conflict between Jews and Arabs. It has proved to be a waste of time in achieving what the Declaration sought to supposedly accomplish.

Whitbeck further reveals the fantasy world in which he is living when he states:

“While still under foreign belligerent occupation, the State of Palestine possesses all the customary international law criteria for sovereign statehood. No portion of its territory is recognized by any other country (other than Israel) as any other country’s sovereign territory, and, indeed, Israel has only asserted sovereignty over a small portion of its territory, expanded East Jerusalem, leaving sovereignty over the rest both literally and legally uncontested.”

Whitbeck’s claim is a load of arrant nonsense.

The criteria for recognition of a state in customary international law were codified in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention signed on 26 December 1933 which provide as follows:

“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
(a) a permanent population;
(b) a defined territory;
(c) government; and
(d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

1. There is indeed a permanent Palestinian Arab population living in the West Bank and Gaza.

55% of the West Bank Arabs live in 17% of the West Bank under the exclusive administrative and security rule of the Palestinian Authority (known as Area A) and so could be said to exist within a defined territory. 100% of Gaza and its entire Arab population is under the administrative and security control of Hamas and so would also meet the first two criteria.

2. However such a State possesses no government.

Relations between Hamas as governing authority in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority as governing authority in the West Bank. are at rock bottom. Arab League efforts to effect a rapprochement continue to founder. Death, torture and false imprisonment continue to mark the three years long internecine struggle between the two governments to win the hearts and minds of the West Bank and Gazan Arab populations. Neither has the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Both of these criteria for statehood are non-existent and their fulfillment appears a hopeless dream.

Whitbeck’s claim of international recognition of the State of Palestine is therefore meaningless - other than to indicate this is a result the world would like to see.

But that was also the world view in 1947 when the Arabs then rejected an Arab State in an area much larger than the one contemplated by even the most optimistic of today‘s recognizing States.

Whether any such an option in any kind, shape or form is available in 2010 - given the new facts created by 500000 Jews now living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - appears increasingly to be fated to consignment once again to the garbage bin of history.

Any suggestion that the West Bank be entirely cleared of its Jewish population would be a preposterous notion that has no place in the current interpretation of international humanitarian law.

America. Russia, the European Union and the United Nations have been actively involved in trying to overcome these obstacles during the last seven years - but all to no avail. There is no prospect on the horizon that this situation will change.

Whitbeck’s claim that Israel has only asserted:

“sovereignty over a small portion of its territory, expanded East Jerusalem leaving sovereignty over the rest both literally and legally uncontested”

is another self-serving piece of propaganda and is completely removed from reality.

It completely ignores Israel’s legal right to establish the Jewish National Home in both the West Bank and Gaza under the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter. Sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza resides in neither Jews nor Arabs at the present time. Sovereignty in East Jerusalem has been claimed by Israel but not internationally recognized. Efforts extending over the last 17 years to determine sovereignty in all these territorial areas have been unsuccessful.

Israel’s claim as sovereign owner of the whole or part of West Bank and sovereign ruler of East Jerusalem cannot be summarily dismissed or written off by the pathetic bleating of a former adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team.

Indeed one could reasonably conclude that with advice such as this - it is no wonder that the Palestinian negotiating team have been indoctrinated into believing that they are entitled to continue to claim sovereignty in 100% of Gaza and the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem to the total exclusion of Israel’s claim.

As one saying goes - “I can only act on my lawyer’s advice”.

As another saying goes - “I think you better change lawyers because the advice being given to you by your current adviser seems to be way off the mark”

Whitbeck’s conclusions on the international recognition of the State of Palestine are not worth the paper they are written on.

Palestine - Hark The Herald Devil Sings

[Published 23 December 2010]

“The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia.”

Regrettably the Sydney Morning Herald seems to be going the way of a growing number of media outlets that publish factually inaccurate or misleading statements and analysis on the Jewish-Arab conflict - which still defies resolution after 130 years of trying.

In its recent editorial “Mid East Peace: a time to speak” the Herald has published inaccuracies, innuendo, amateur analysis and comment designed to mislead or misinform.

Take the following:

1. “The Obama administration’s effort to get the Israelis and Palestinians back into direct negotiations, helped with a bribe to Israel of new military gear in return for a 90-day freeze on settlements in the conquered territories, has foundered.”

The suggestion that a “bribe” was offered and accepted is scurrilous. There were negotiations between Secretary of State Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but President Obama nixed those negotiations by refusing to make any offers in writing when confirmation was demanded by Israel.

2. “International patience is fast running out. Brazil and Argentina have recognised a sovereign state of Palestine; the Europeans are threatening to follow.”

It might have helped readers if the Herald had added that Brazil and Argentina’s recognition involved a state of Palestine within the 1967 armistice lines - which means that 500000 Jews will have to leave their homes and businesses. Brazil and Argentina’s endorsement of this Nazi “Judenrein” policy was apparently thought not important enough to point out to its readers.
As for the Europeans - the following news item appeared one week before the Herald’s editorial:
“The EU will not recognise changes to pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than agreed by the parties. “This could include territorial swaps,” it says, without further comment in what a diplomat said was the first such reference by the EU.It also demands that a way be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem ” as the future capital of two states” and calls for a just solution to the refugee problem.'

What source did the Herald rely on for its claim?

3 ."..or Palestinians may give up on the idea of their own state, and insist on a two-nation, single state in the original Palestine mandate.”

The Herald infers the location of the their own State is agreed upon between the Palestinian Arabs - which is inaccurate. The Gazan Arabs want their own state to include Israel, whilst the West Bank Arabs want their own state to exclude Israel and also those 500000 Jews who currently live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The original Palestine mandate contained what is today called Jordan - which comprised 78% of the territory of “Palestine”. Is the Herald privy to information that the Palestinians have designs on Jordan as part of the location for its two-nation single state?

4. “The key blockage, for Israel’s Western friends, is its own politics. Hamas can be tackled further downstream”

What source does the Herald rely on to assert that Israel’s own politics - not the Palestinian Arabs split politics - is the key blockage for Israel‘s western friends?

The Palestinian Arabs do not have a unified Government that can negotiate a final agreement with Israel. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are unable to decide who should govern the Palestinian Arabs after 3 years of internecine struggle. Abbas remains the unelected and unconstitutional President of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Fayyad government of the PA is unelected. Hamas is a declared terrorist organization and has been duly elected to govern in Gaza.

Israel - on the other hand - has a democratically elected Government that can enter into and make binding commitments but has no corresponding entity on the other side that can do the same.

Why should Israel tackle Hamas downstream? Hamas has to be confronted and dealt with in the context of any final settlement or such purported settlement will not be an end to the conflict.

Doing nothing about Hamas now will lead to precisely the outcome the Herald referred to in this very editorial :
“a messy one and two half-states, Israel plus a rump Palestine on the West Bank and a Hamas-ruled Gaza propped up by Iran.”

Is the Herald serious that Israel commit this act of national suicide by dealing with the PA now and put Hamas off for another day?

5. “The debate in Washington is now about how tough to be with Israel, to try to force the mainstream into a consensus decision. A bit of tough support from a key ally might have helped the Americans. Instead, Rudd’s [Australia’s Foreign Minister] public appearances were a feel-good profession of Australian support for Israel.”

A sweeping statement on Washington with not one bit of evidence or analysis to support it.

On the other hand there is clear evidence that the PA and Hamas are unable to settle their differences and steadfastly refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home.

How can Washington - in being tough with Israel - bring any breakthroughs in these Palestinian Arab logjams?

If America is to get tough with anyone surely it would be with the Palestinian Arab side - to get their act together and acknowledge that the Jewish state is a reality and is here to stay.

Good on Rudd. If the Herald’s editorial writer is right on Washington’s current stance - then Australia would be foolish to be part of it.

6. “Rudd made a distasteful joke about Menachem Begin carrying out ‘‘some interior redesign’’ of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel - referring to a terrorist bombing in 1946 that killed 91 people." Has Rudd really has got [sic] it as a diplomat? Perhaps WikiLeaks will one day reveal that he made a more appropriate pitch in private.”

(i) The King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British Army - a legitimate target for attack.
(ii) Warnings were given to clear the hotel but were ignored by the British.
(iii) The attack was not a “terrorist bombing” since the civilian population was not deliberately targeted.

I would suggest the Herald not worry about Rudd and Wikileaks.

The Herald needs to worry about its journalists who write such nonsense as this skewed and inaccurate editorial.

Maybe in the spirit of openness and transparency being lately espoused by the Herald in its ongoing exclusive releases from Wikileaks - the Herald might tell us

(i) who wrote the editorial

(ii) the qualifications of the person writing the editorial

(iii) who checked the editorial for its accuracy before publication

At this festive time of goodwill and cheer the Herald has clearly displayed that this editorial is lacking in both.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Palestine - History Channel And BBC Bias Distort Debate

[Published 19 December 2010]

The BBC and the History Channel stand accused of denigrating Israel by the use of factually incorrect statements or misleading and deceptive statements that are factually correct but only tell half the story.

Take this gem from the BBC:

“Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war. It withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005.”

No mention is made of the fact that Israel also simultaneously evacuated all 8000 Jewish civilians who had been living in Gaza as well. Was the omission of the words “and 8000 Jewish civilians” due to space constraints?

The BBC did not have to mention that such evacuation was done unilaterally to advance the peace process, such evacuation was subsequently followed by a Hamas takeover of Gaza that threatens any further progress in peacefully ending the conflict and that the civilian population of Israel has been subjected to incessant and indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza ever since the evacuation was completed.

However - failing to mention those 8000 civilians in this news item as part of Israel’s pull out from Gaza can only be viewed as an attempt to downgrade the extent and significance of Israel’s withdrawal.

The History Channel’s release for one of its programmes illustrates a similar bias that is ugly in its contemplation.

Consider these statements:

1. “Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.”

No mention is made of the fact that the UN also voted for the creation of an independent Arab State.

Again, the inclusion of just nine words “and an independent Arab state which the Arabs rejected” would have clearly indicated that the UN had not only offered the Jews a state but also offered the Arabs one as well - which the Arabs rejected.

The failure to insert those missing words carries the innuendo that only the Jews were offered a state in 1947 but the Arabs missed out and begs the question - isn’t it time the UN now rectified that injustice in 2010?

2. “The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory.”

Actually the conflict had started about thirty years earlier - so that chunk of history is either unknown to the History Channel’s researchers or was deliberately overlooked.

The territory was not “British-controlled” until the conclusion of World War 1. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until then.

Pity the poor students who use this material in their projects - and their teachers - who rely on this material as being accurate and reliable.

3. “The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state”

Really? Are the history buffs at the History Channel unaware of the following facts?
“The three main political organizations in Palestine-the Arab Club, the Literary Club, and the Muslim-Christian Association (the lack of mention of Palestine in their names is revealing)—all worked for union with Syria. The first two went farthest, calling outright for rule by Prince Faysal. Amin al-Husayni was president of the Arab Club; the extremism which later made him notorious as the leader of Palestinian separatism (and an ally of Hitler) already showed itself in 1920, when he instigated riots for union with Syria. A member of the Arab Club, Kamil al-Budayri, co-edited from September 1919 the newspaper Suriya al-Janubiya (“Southern Syria”) which advocated Palestine’s incorporation into Greater Syria.
Even the Muslim-Christian Association, an organization of traditional leaders-men who expected to rule if Palestine became independent-demanded incorporation in Greater Syria. Its president insisted that “Palestine or Southern Syria-an integral part of the one and indivisible Syria-must not in any case or for any pretext be detached.” The Muslim-Christian Association held a Congress in early 1919 to draw up demands for the Paris Peace Conference. It declared that Palestine, a “part of Arab Syria,” is permanently connected to Syria through “national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic, and geographical bonds,” and resolved that “Southern Syria or Palestine should not be separated from the independent Arab Syrian government.” Musa Kazim al-Husayni, Head of the Jerusalem Town Council (in effect, mayor) told a Zionist interlocutor in October 1919: “We demand no separation from Syria.” The slogan heard everywhere in 1918-19 was “Unity, Unity, From the Taurus [Mountains in Turkey] to Rafah [in Gaza], Unity, Unity.”
4. “Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine”

Staggeringly the History Channel seems to be unaware of the 1920 riots which saw four Arabs and five Jews killed, while 216 Jews were wounded - 18 critically - and 23 Arabs wounded - one critically.
5. “Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine,”

Since when is fighting the armed forces of your adversary - not its civilians - described as “terrorism”? The History Channel’s biased slip is surely on display for all to see.
6. “At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause,"

The United States had taken up the Zionist cause on 30 June 1922 when both Houses of Congress unanimously endorsed the Mandate for Palestine.

On 21 September 1922 President Warren Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine

7. “The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine…,

It is a pity the History Channel could not have added:
“more than 70% of which was the arid and sparsely populated Negev Desert”

8. “The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces”

Strange that the History Channel should be unaware that these “volunteers” comprised the “Arab Liberation Army” set up in Damascus under the command of Fawzi Kaukji. Seven of these detachments with a strength of about 5000 had made their way into Palestine by March 1948. They were divided into four commands.

9. “The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.”

Oops - the History Channel forgot to include Saudi Arabia - a small oversight.

The History Channel then has the gall to state at the end of this outrageous release:
“Fact Check. We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!"

Creating myth instead of stating fact is one of the greatest impediments to securing a resolution of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews.

The next time you watch the History Channel (if you ever do so again) - don’t take what you hear and see as the truth. There are apparently a lot of dunderheads employed there or - perhaps more insidiously - persons deliberately bent on misleading the public.

Palestine, Brazil And Argentina - Outing The Jew Haters

[Published 13 December 2010]

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas openly espouses Jew-hating qualities under the three hats he currently wears.

1. As President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) - Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home.

2. As Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) - Abbas is sworn to enforce the provisions of its Charter which prescribes:
“Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong."

3. As Chairman of Fatah - the largest faction in the PLO - Abbas presided over a meeting of its Revolutionary Council on 27 November which resolved:
“The Council stresses the revolutionary rejection of the so-called ‘Jewish state’ and any formula [that] can be considered in future contribution to achieving this end, and renew this rejection of any attempt by a racist state based on religion, in accordance with international law and human rights charters…”

Abbas has gone even further and persuaded Brazil to out itself as a Jew-hating State by calling for the recognition of a Palestinian Arab State between Jordan, Egypt and Israel “on 1967 borders”.

There were no “1967 borders“ - as Brazil must surely know - only 1949 demarcation lines that had been established between

1. Israel and Egypt on 24 January 1949 and

2. Israel and Transjordan (now called Jordan) on 3 April 1949

- to designate the armistice lines where hostilities had ceased between the nascent State of Israel and the six Arab armies that had invaded it in May 1948.

Brazil’s recognition signifies that 500000 Jews presently living on the Arab side of those demarcation lines in the areas called the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and East Jerusalem - will either have to voluntarily leave or be forcibly removed from their homes and businesses.

Brazil’s decision - which smacks of the infamous Nazi “Judenrein” policy that called for the mass deportation of Jews from their homes and businesses before and during World War 11 - is in breach of existing international law specifically:

1. Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine - which recognized the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in precisely the area that Brazil now wants to see cleared of Jews - which Brazil itself agreed to when the Mandate was unanimously approved by the League of Nations in 1922

2. Article 80 of the United Nations Charter - which reserved the rights of Jewish settlement granted by the Mandate - which had also been endorsed by Brazil when the UN Charter came into being.

Argentina has been quick to follow Brazil’s headlong rush into identifying itself as a fellow Jew-hating state. Expectations are that they will be soon joined by Uruguay and some other South American countries.

Both Argentina and Uruguay were also - like Brazil - consenting signatories to the Mandate and Article 80.

One cannot stop people or States being Jew-haters but on the other hand they need to be identified and exposed.

Racism and vilification of this kind have no place in humankind.

In the case of those States which choose to follow Brazil and Argentina - one would hope to see their citizens protesting loudly at such a decision. Standing by and doing nothing will only stigmatize the citizens of those States as Jew-haters.

Neither Brazil nor Argentina have made any call on the PA to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home in return for the recognition they have now extended to the PA.

Brazil and Uruguay supported the creation of a Jewish State proposed by the UN in 1947. Argentina abstained.

All three countries became places of refuge for fleeing Nazis at the conclusion of World War 11. Their shadowy past seems to be coming back to haunt them.

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay never recognized the attempted annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Transjordan in 1950.

Israel’s position on the status of these areas was explained by Israel’s then Foreign Affairs Minister - Moshe Sharett - in Israel‘s Parliament on 3 May 1950 as follows:

“The Government Spokesman issued the following statement, in the Government’s name: “The decision to annex the Arab areas west of the River Jordan to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a unilateral step to which Israel is not a party in any way. We are connected with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan through the Armistice Agreement, which we will uphold rigorously. This agreement does not include any final political settlement, however, and no such settlement is possible without negotiations and a peace treaty between the sides. It must be evident, therefore, that the question of the status of the Arab areas west of the River Jordan remains open as far as we are concerned.”

This position holds true today - with the exception that the areas cannot be described as “Arab areas” since they are now inhabited by 500000 Jews as well. Many of the Jews returning to live there after 1967 had been forced to leave their homes and businesses following Jordan’s conquest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1948.

Announcements by countries such as Brazil and Argentina signifying their assent to the wholesale deportation of this Jewish population once again sends a dangerous message of support to the 21 Jew-hating States comprised in the Arab League - which have unanimously endorsed the Saudi Peace Plan in 2002 calling for precisely such an outcome.

This call should be contrasted with the view expressed by President Bush to Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004:

“In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

Brazil and Argentina - and any other States that are attracted to follow them - have some serious explaining to do to justify their decision in endorsing an outcome in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that requires both areas to be completely cleared of Jews.

Palestine - Double-crossing Obama Signals Problems For Abbas

[Published 7 December 2010]

President Obama has been double-crossed by the extraordinary behaviour of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in seeking Brazil’s recognition of a Palestinian State “within the 1967 borders”.

A succeeding announcement by Argentina also recognizes a Palestinian state “within the 1967 borders” . Uruguay could be set to shortly follow suit.

In initially approaching Brazil for such recognition without advising Obama - Abbas could well have scuttled Obama’s further involvement in getting Israel and the PA to resume their stalled negotiations.

Abbas’s intemperate action could see the parties left to go their own ways after 17 years of failed American diplomacy to get even the most basic of understandings between Israel and the PA.

Argentina’s subsequent recognition is set to further exacerbate the growing crisis between America and the PA as a result of Abbas apparently deciding to abandon the American brokered negotiations..

Abbas’s letter to Brazil’s President Lula da Silva was written on 24 November - at precisely the time Obama was mulling over the incentives he was prepared to offer Israel to induce it to announce a three month building freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - thus enabling the PA to return to the negotiating table following its withdrawal from negotiations with Israel on 26 September.

Abbas made it clear in his letter to da Silva that the PA was not going to give Obama any further leeway the get the stalled negotiations resumed when he stated:

“The current situation in the Palestinian Territories shows a major escalation of Israeli actions. The Government of Israel refuses to stop its activities in the settlements. …Israel still defies the world and insists its colonization activities. This position hinders any possibility of reaching an agreement through negotiations and also creates a new reality on the ground, which prevents the two-state solution“

This statement amounted to a clear repudiation of any intention by the PA to give President Obama any more time to defuse the very issue that Abbas claimed was preventing his return to the negotiating table.

Abbas’s request to da Silva in such circumstances was clear and unambiguous:

“ .. we hope, our dear friend, that you will decide to take the initiative recognize the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders.”

Da Silva apparently was prepared to go even further and advised Abbas on 3 December:

“Brazil, through this letter, recognizes a Palestinian state on 1967 borders.“

There certainly is a great difference between the words “on” and “within”. But irrespective of which term was used by da Silva - Abbas’s request was a blatant attempt to undermine and influence the outcome of any eventual resumption of the stalled negotiations between the PA and Israel.

The border to be drawn between Israel and the new Arab state was critical to the successful conclusion of any such negotiations, Abbas in his letter to da Silva had indicated he was not prepared to move one meter from the position that had been maintained by the Palestine Liberation Organization for the last 43 years.

Abbas was perfectly entitled to jettison Obama and seek diplomatic support elsewhere. But it appears that in doing so he has shot himself in the foot. Any trust between Abbas and Obama must be severely undermined as a result of Abbas’s action in unilaterally seeking Brazilian and Argentinean recognition.

The PA. Brazil and Argentina are engaging on a flight of fantasy because there are no “1967 borders”. There currently exists what Israeli Cabinet Minister Benny Begin describes as

“the totally artificial line of aggression which is expressed in the 1949 armistice demarcation line. It’s nothing more than that. It signified at the time the line of battle fatigue. That’s all.”

To define such armistice line as a “border” continues the fiction that has been regularly repeated by Abbas and by United Nations General Assembly resolutions. That does not make it a border. It never has been - and in the view of the United States - can never become a border for obvious reasons - 500000 Jews now live beyond those armistice lines where none lived in 1967 after all the Jews then living there had been driven out by six invading Arab armies in 1948.

Even more bizarre is the recognition which Brazil - and now Argentina - has afforded to

1. A PA President whose term of office has long expired

2. A PA Government which is un-elected after having ousted a Government that was elected

3. An area of territory that is neither under the administrative or security control of the PA but is currently controlled by Israel or Hamas

4.Two different territorial areas that are not contiguous and are ruled by two different Arab Governments each claiming to represent the people seeking independence.

Both Brazil and Argentina have by their perverse decisions given new meaning to the terms “Brazil Nuts” and "Argentinean Ants”.

Those countries which may be persuaded to follow these unprecedented acts of “recognition” - which run completely contrary to the requirements of international law - should think carefully before jumping into the diplomatic quicksand that such decisions will inevitably create as precedents for others claiming “recognition” such as the Kurds, the Basques.the Tibetans and the Corsicans.

What Abbas hoped to achieve by slapping Obama in the face in this manner is difficult to grasp. Certainly such acts of recognition will get headlines - but effectively such “recognition” in practice and in law means nothing.

Thumbing your nose at an American President and causing him considerable loss of face as Abbas has chosen to do - is not bound to go unnoticed or unpunished by Obama.

It would be no surprise if Obama now decided to disengage from any further effort to bring Israel and the PA back to the negotiating table.

The distinct impression has already been created that Obama could never come up with a letter that would induce Israel to freeze building activity in the West bank and East Jerusalem. Two weeks of trying to draft it has apparently eluded the State Department and its host of diplomats. Abbas has ensured that the letter will now be a much longer time in coming - if ever at all.

Abbas will only have himself to blame. Like so many of his predecessors he has once again proved the adage eloquently expressed by former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jewish Rights Undermined By Media Indulgence

[Published 1 December 2010]

The Sunday Observer describes itself as “Sri Lanka’s English Newspaper with the largest circulation”. If its shoddy editorial policy is anything to go by it could soon be relegated to having that circulation drastically reduced.

Take the recent publication of an article headlined : “Palestine: The Holy Land is shrinking and vanishing”.

That headline immediately caught the eye - arousing many intriguing thoughts.

Was a Sri Lankan newspaper privy to some information that suggested a land mass which had existed unchanged for thousands of years since Biblical times was disappearing? Could this herald an end to the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs and leave them both lamenting for having failed to settle their differences before this looming catastrophe occurred?

Alternatively was this an expose of Moslem attempts to diminish Jewish and Christian reverence for sites in the Holy Land such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Rachel’s Tomb, Joseph’s Tomb and the Kotel not to mention Jerusalem?

An entirely different message was however conveyed in the body of the article.

It was written by Dr T Jayasinghe - the Founder General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine and the Representative for Sri Lanka in Palestine.

Dr Jayasinghe is what I term - “a Jewish Underminer” - a person who seeks to undermine the rights of the Jewish people to pursue their inalienable right in international law to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in former Palestine pursuant to the rights granted to them by League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the United Nations Charter.

Such undermining occurs when statements are made relating to the conflict between Jews and Arabs that are factually wrong, deceptive or misleading and serve to undermine or denigrate Jewish rights. They are usually made in ignorance by well intended but misguided persons relying on factually inaccurate or deliberately misleading Arab propaganda.

Consider these statements appearing in Dr Jayasinghe’s article:

1. “Ironically it was the United Nations General Assembly in 1947 that passed the resolution 181 (partition plan) to create Israel. Unfortunately it is from that day onwards that an Israeli - Palestinian conflict came into being.”

The UN Resolution did not create Israel. It recommended the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab State. Its recommendation was accepted by the Jews and refused by the Arabs. The conflict did not start in 1947. It had been ongoing since about 1880. The Arabs had refused a similar proposal to divide the territory of Mandated Palestine between Jews and Arabs in 1937 and had already received 78% as an independent Arab State in 1946. Arab riots in 1920, 1929 and between 1937-1939 are further evidence to rebut Dr Jayasinghe’s statement.

2. “This conflict is considered the main explosive issue in Middle East that drag on with no sign of a solution"

The conflict could have been resolved at any time between 1948-1967 when Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza when any negotiations with the Jews was unnecessary. Trying to rectify in 2010 what was available for 19 years and was passed up more than 50 years ago is impossible to achieve.

3. “With the partition plan Palestinians were allocated an area called the West Bank and also the Gaza Strip with no connection by land to the West Bank.”

There is no mention of “Palestinians” in the Partition Plan - only “Arabs”. The Arabs were allocated an area much larger than the West Bank and Gaza in the Partition Plan. These two areas were connected to each other.

4. “…the main issue where the negotiations resolve round is the question of settlements that are being established by Israel in West Bank that was allocated to Palestinians.“

The West Bank was allocated to the Arabs in 1947 but they rejected that proposal. How does a rejected offer become an entrenched right 63 years later?

5. “These settlements occupy 43% of the land in West Bank.”

They only occupy 1% of the West Bank

6. “Many settlements have been built on confiscated Palestinian privately owned land”
The majority of the land in the West Bank was not privately owned but was State land and waste lands that had become vested in Israel as the successor to Jordan which lost control of the land to Israel in the Six Day War in 1967.

Under Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine close settlement by Jews on such land was encouraged. This right had been exercised by the Jews prior to 1948 until they were all driven out by the invading Jordanian army. Jewish rights to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank are preserved by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

7. “Their struggle is for a free State within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital.”

This state could have been achieved at any time between 1948-1967. That missed opportunity can only now be possible in part - but not all - of the territory. There were no 1967 borders - only armistice lines that had been agreed between Israel and Jordan in 1949.

8.“As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, since 1970, it has become a consistent supporter of Palestine and with the establishment of Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine November 29 every year is marked with a suitable public event to educate the masses"

If this article is part of the program to educate the masses then they are being poorly informed and indeed misled.

Dr Jayasinghe is perfectly entitled to support the creation of a Palestinian State. However in doing so he makes it apparent that his view has been formed on the basis of a serious misunderstanding of the facts of the conflict.

Perhaps his view might still be the same when these errors are brought to his attention. That is fine. But in recanting these statements he will at least be seen to not be falsely undermining the rights of the other side to the conflict.

The Sunday Observer in allowing these inaccuracies to be printed has placed its own editorial policy under a cloud.

One cannot expect every error in a story to be detected. But when an article like this is replete with so many errors - one must seriously question the paper’s policy in failing to adequately edit submissions so as to ensure the article is factually correct and not misleading.

Jewish underminers and their errant media publishers will not go away. They need to be constantly monitored and exposed to prevent the reader being misled or deceived as to the facts of what is a very difficult and complicated conflict.

Palestine - European Union Hustles In Brussels

[Published 24 November 2010]

The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union is just one of many organizations and political institutions that have been caught up in the rhetoric of their own statements leading them to repeat ad infinitum the false claim that Israeli settlements established in the West Bank during the last 43 years are illegal in international law and an obstacle to peace.

Catherine Ashton - the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy recalled for the benefit of some 30 Foreign Ministers or Foreign Ministry officials over lunch on 22 November that the:

“the settlements are illegal under international law, are an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

The minutes of that luncheon indicate not one of those enjoying the gastronomic treats provided for them took the slightest exception to Ms Ashton’s statement. It appears that her remarks were consumed with relish along with the wine and other goodies savoured on this occasion.

Her spurious claims need to be rejected in the most clear and unambiguous terms for the following reasons:

1. Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter subject to the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities living there not being prejudiced.

2. 96% of the non-Jewish communities living in the West Bank have their civil and legal rights administered and regulated by the Palestinian Authority - not Israel.

3. The absence of any Jewish settlements in the West Bank between 1948-1967 - after Jews previously living there had been driven out of their homes in 1947 by the Jordanian army - did not lead to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

4. Offers to cede Jewish claims to more than 90% of the West Bank made by Israel in 2001 and 2008 in order to achieve the European Union’s desired two-state solution - the creation of a new Arab state between Israel and Jordan - were rebuffed by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League.

5. The European Union two-state solution could have been achieved at any time between 1948 - 1967 by the stroke of an Arab League pen. Seeking 40 years later what was rejected during that 19 year period - amounts in effect to a legal estoppel - which Israel cannot be held responsible to rectify in 2010.

6. A different kind of two-state solution to that being pushed by the European Union is and can be achieved very easily by Israel and Jordan simply redrawing the international boundary that currently separates them so as to restore as far as is now possible the status quo that existed at 5 June 1967.

Ms Ashton also jogged the munching participants’ memories of the “Council’s December 2009 conclusions” - which contained the following similar statement:

“The Council reiterates that settlements, the separation barrier where built on occupied land, demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible“

Again the Council seemed to have then conveniently overlooked the following further facts:

1. The West Bank is not “occupied land”. It is “no man’s land” in international law. Sovereignty still remains to be allocated there in accordance with the terms of the Mandate for Palestine and the United Nations Charter which preserves the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank and to close settlement by Jews on State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

2. Whilst construction of the settlement barrier within the West Bank has been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in an advisory opinion - such opinion is binding on no-one. That decision was also made without the Court even considering the legal import of Article 6 of the Mandate and article 80 of the UN Charter. Indeed the United Nations when seeking that advisory opinion failed to include any mention of the Mandate or the provisions of its own Charter in the documents it submitted to the Court to rule on. The European Union needs to take careful note of the following view expressed by Justice El-Araby in that case:

“The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain"

Proceeding to make policy decisions not based on this starting point has led the European Union into a whirlpool of distortion and self-deception.

3. Demolition of homes - where they have occurred - has been due to illegal unauthorised construction or in consequence of proven connection with terrorist attacks in accordance with the existing Mandate laws still operative in the West Bank at the time of its loss by Jordan to Israel in 1967.

4. Evictions - where they have occurred - have been taken after Court declarations finding such occupation to have been illegal.

The Foreign Affairs Council appears to be totally lacking in any basic understanding of the above facts that have resulted in the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs still remaining unresolved .

The Council has gone off on a tangent of its own sowing the seeds of confusion and giving oxygen to enable the conflict to be maintained by the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority in an increasingly intransigent and confrontational manner.

One can only hope that a more reasoned and fairer stance will be adopted by the European Union to enable it to become an impartial and influential player in seeking an end to the conflict.

Until that occurs one can only conclude that the European Union will continue to give a new meaning to the term “Brussels sprout” as being “the continued spreading of false and misleading information regarding the facts surrounding the conflict in the Middle East and the means by which it can be resolved.”

Palestine - Obama Should Quit While He's Ahead

[Published 17 November 2010]

President Obama has now shown his hand on what he believes is possible in order for a new Palestinian Arab state to be created between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

It is a losing hand. He should throw in the cards now before he ends up yet another failed President of the United States who like all his predecessors believed he could achieve a lasting peace to end a conflict that has gone on unresolved for the last 130 years.

President Obama’s ideas are contained in a Joint Statement of the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and The Office of the Secretary of State of The United States publicly released on 11 November.

That Statement declares:

“the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

President Obama has apparently given up on this new State being “democratic” - a declared feature of President Bush’s Roadmap which stated:

“Such a settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors”

The element of “maximum territorial contiguity” expressed in the Bush Roadmap has also disappeared in this latest Statement indicating that President Obama sees the new State being created without Gaza figuring in the equation.

This is not surprising given the virtual state of warfare between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas.

However, the President’s belief that the PA will agree to abandon Gaza is hardly likely to be accepted by the PA in any renewed negotiations between them - if indeed they are ever resumed, which at the moment hangs in the balance.

The reference to “land swaps” in the Statement does supposedly reflect a possible compromise discussed in the context of earlier negotiations between Israel’s then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

However an offer made by Israel to the PA at that time was rejected and there is no certainty the current Israeli Government is in a mood to consider land swaps now.

Israel would be comforted in rejecting land swaps having regard to the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242 - which did not require any such concession being made by Israel from its sovereign territory when its final borders between the West Bank and Gaza were ultimately determined.

President Obama’s belief that the PA will accept and recognize that Israel is a Jewish State as part of a final settlement flies in the face of everything that has been said by the Arab League, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PA, Hamas and Hezbollah for the last 63 years.

Any Arab spokesman suggesting such a possibility would be dead the next day.

President Obama’s belief that the PA would accept that Israel’s secure and recognized boundaries will reflect subsequent developments (presumably that have occurred in the West Bank since 1967) - acknowledges that some Israeli settlements will become part of the State of Israel following the conclusion of a peace treaty with the PA.

That may be his belief. It is certainly not the belief of the Arabs.

The Arab call for the West Bank to be ethnically cleansed of all Jewish settlement or recognition of Jews having any rights there at all was starkly revealed in an explanatory note sent to UNESCO on 19 March 2010 by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia.

That explanatory note declared:

“Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory is inherently temporary and does not give the occupying power (Israel) sovereignty or title over the occupied territory."

The 2002 Saudi Peace Plan calls for Israel to withdraw to the armistice lines existing at 5 June 1967. This would now entail 500000 Jews voluntarily moving or being removed from their existing homes and businesses.

If President Obama believes these demands are going to be dropped by the PA in any resumed negotiations with Israel - then he is engaging on a flight of fancy.

Pushing the “two-state solution” in the belief it will pan out in the form suggested in the Joint Statement is to fly in the face of everything that has occurred in negotiations over the last 17 years.

President Obama needs to realize that at best any arrangement between the Jews and Arabs on a territorial division of the West Bank will not result in enduring peace between the Jews and the Arabs.

He needs to focus on bringing back Jordan into the negotiations to restore as far as possible the territorial status quo that existed in the West Bank at 5 June 1967. That remains the only way forward.

The President needs to focus on Jordan and leave the PA to its inevitable demise.

The sooner the President recognizes this fact the sooner he will be able to extricate himself from the quicksand of the two-state solution into which he is steadily sinking.

This proposed solution has so far claimed too many American Presidents.

President Obama should quit while he is still ahead.

Palestine, UNESCO And Legal Realities

[Published 9 November 2010]

The cynical Arab use of UNESCO to pass resolutions concerning two Jewish sacred and biblical sites —the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem - is part of an ongoing Arab obsession to deny any Jewish claims to sovereignty in any part of the West Bank.

Their latest attempt to hijack UNESCO also flouts UN Security Council Resolution 242 passed on 22 November 1967. That resolution recognized that there would be a termination of all states of belligerency and that the armistice lines existing at the conclusion of hostilities between the nascent Jewish State of Israel and six invading Arab armies in 1948 would be replaced by secure and recognized boundaries between Israel and its neighbours, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

Israel and Egypt achieved this in 1979 - as did Jordan and Israel in 1994 - when they concluded peace treaties and established full diplomatic relations.

However there was one little glitch contained in both treaties. The permanent boundaries so established were without prejudice to the determination of the final status of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

This still remains the legal position in 2010.

However the Arabs have made it abundantly clear for the last 43 years that they are determined to have sovereignty in the West Bank resolved completely in their favour to the total exclusion of Jewish claims to sovereignty in these areas.

Their pursuit of this objective was made abundantly clear with the recent decision of UNESCO’s Executive Board resolving that the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb

“are an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories”

This resolution represents one more insidious attempt by the Arabs to determine the final status of the West Bank as exclusively Arab territory and to deny the Jews the legal rights vested in them to settle there for the declared purpose of reconstituting their national home in accordance with Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

In arriving at its decision on 21 October - UNESCO’s Executive Board had in its possession an explanatory note presented on 19 March by 7 of its 58 member States - Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia - supporting their request to have the Board place the issue of the two sacred Jewish sites on the Board’s agenda for consideration.

That explanatory note falsely purported to represent the legal position existing in the West Bank in the following terms:

“Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory is inherently temporary and does not give the occupying power (Israel) sovereignty or title over the occupied territory. The seminal principle in international law is reflected in Article 43 of the Hague Regulations which requires the occupying power to re-establish and maintain public order and civil life for the benefit of the occupied population, and to respect existing laws and institutions in the occupied territory.”

Apart from describing the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” whilst its legal status still remains undetermined —the Arab position on the applicability and interpretation of Article 43 was totally misconceived and indeed deceptive and misleading.

Article 43 states:

“The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”

Article 43 could not possibly have any applicability to the West Bank or the interpretation attributed to it by its Arab proponents in UNESCO for the following reasons:

1. There was no legitimate power in the West Bank in 1967. Jordan’s attempt to annex the West Bank in 1950 had only been recognized by Great Britain and Pakistan and this position remained unchanged until its loss to Israel in 1967.
Jordan may have been an occupying power. It certainly was not a legitimate power.

2. The West Bank was not a “country” or recognized as part of a country in 1967. Its legal status then was — and still is—part of the 6% of land contained in the Mandate for Palestine still remaining unallocated pursuant to the provisions of the Mandate and the UN Charter.

3. Article 43 does not mention — nor can it be reasonably interpreted as including — any obligation to “re-establish and maintain civil life for the benefit of the occupied population”

4. Any cursory examination of the Arabs legal claim by UNESCO’s secretariat should have resulted in an instant rebuttal of their position. That UNESCO unquestioningly swallowed such claim indicates the gullibility and lack of scrutiny of those who administer its proceedings.

Representatives from the Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic States, the African Union and the Organization of American States comprise 35 of the current 58 Board members. The passage of any anti-Israel resolution at the Board is virtually guaranteed.

This latest attempt to twist and misinterpret international law has become part of the relentless Arab effort to delegitimize Israel and deny any Jewish rights to live in the West Bank - its biblical, ancestral and legally recognized patrimony - in accordance with the unanimous decision of the League of Nations made in 1920.

Arab efforts designed to create the impression that Jewish towns and villages established in the West Bank since 1967 pursuant to such vested rights are illegal in international law is but another example of the lengths the Arabs are prepared to go in their desire to misrepresent the legal position in the West Bank and claim Arab sovereignty to the exclusion of Jewish claims.

Relying supposedly on international law to support such claims - the Arabs have no qualms in rejecting the binding legal validity of the Mandate for Palestine, the United Nations Charter and Resolution 242 as the determining pieces of international law to settle the final status of the West Bank.

The latest attempt to pull the wool over UNESCO’s eyes remains an important reminder to closely examine any purported legal claims made by the Arabs — which cannot ever be taken or accepted at face value.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Palestine - Obama's White House Showing Settlement Cracks

[Published 27 October 2010]

With the mid term Congressional elections only a week away - President Obama is struggling to gain Israel’s agreement to some form of freeze to stop Jews who wish to live in the West Bank or East Jerusalem from building houses there.

The President desperately needs such an Israeli concession to help stem the threatened annihilation of the Democrats prospects in such elections.

The West Bank and East Jerusalem constitute the biblical and ancient homeland of the Jews. Together they form part of the land in which Jews were given the legal right to settle in international law for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home pursuant to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922 and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Uniquely sovereignty in such territory still remains undetermined or recognized by the international community. It still remains “no man’s land” in the truest sense of that phrase and with the exception of the Antarctic the only place on earth where such a situation prevails.

The legal right to settle and build vested in the Jews has not been – and cannot be – unilaterally abrogated without Israel’s express consent and agreement.

President Obama’s attempt to do so dates back to a press conference given by him jointly with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 18 May 2009 when in answer to a question the President stated:

“Now, Israel is going to have to take some difficult steps as well, and I shared with the Prime Minister the fact that under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements. Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That’s a difficult issue. I recognize that, but it’s an important one and it has to be addressed.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to reinforce the President’s remarks when she confirmed – following a meeting with Egypt’s Foreign Minister just a few days later:

“With respect to settlements, the president was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is the best interests of the effort we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease.”

Bowing to such Presidential pressure Israel agreed to a limited freeze on residential construction in the West Bank (but not East Jerusalem) for ten months - which was to expire on 26 September 2010 - to enable the PA to resume negotiations with Israel.

Secretary of State Clinton was forced to retreat from her earlier position for a total freeze and pronounce such limited freeze as “unprecedented” – which it certainly was.

Jumping on the bandwagon the PA waited till the death knell to resume negotiations with Israel on 2 September 2010. Emboldened by President Obama’s position the PA are now refusing to directly negotiate with Israel until a new freeze acceptable to the PA is announced by Israel following the expiry of the original freeze.

It is a pity to see the President of reputedly the most powerful nation on earth scrambling to get some new freeze agreed by Israel to get those negotiations resumed whilst also helping his own political fortunes in the United States that have plummeted since his call on the Jews to stop building was made just 18 months ago.

Like the last four Presidents before him – President Obama has had an inflated notion of believing he can solve the Arab-Jewish conflict where the best international efforts over the last 70 years have failed to do so. He is now reaping the results of his own attempt to do so.

Giving comfort and encouragement to the Arab side of the conflict by seeking to stop Jews building on land that presently belongs to no one now must seem a stupid and irrational thing to have done. The President is now paying the price for his off the cuff remark made at a press conference.

If the President wanted to be serious and evenhanded he should have also called for Arabs to stop building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem whilst negotiations were proceeding between Israel and the PA.

It is farcical that Arabs can build with gay abandon in the West Bank but Jews can’t.

Perhaps in seeking a way out of the current impasse President Obama could speak to the President of the PA – Mahmoud Abbas – to seek a reciprocal freeze on building activity corresponding to that he is now requesting from Israel.

If Abbas refuses such a request then Obama should draw the conclusion that the Arabs are not really serious about resuming negotiations with Israel.

Netanyahu has always insisted on reciprocity in the negotiations .

The current frantic Presidential attempt to once again stop only Jews building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is a good example of how the principle of reciprocity is being subverted at great cost to the White House.

Much has been written about the illegality of Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many United Nation General Assembly resolutions have been passed expressing the same viewpoint. All are without foundation or legal basis and completely unsustainable having regard to the clear terms of the Mandate and the United Nations Charter.

The demand that Jews stop building in those areas whilst negotiations are in train to settle Jewish and Arab claims to sovereignty there - is certainly open to discussion. But so is Arab building construction. To deny one and allow the other is to make a determination in favour of one of the claimants to sovereignty in those areas to the detriment of negotiations designed to solve that very issue.

As President Obama struggles to get out of the quicksand into which he has stumbled he should reflect on calling for a mutually agreed building freeze by both Israel and the PA in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for a period to enable negotiations to be resumed and finalized.

No doubt the President now rues his intemperate remarks on 18 May 2009. He will need to call on the Arab League to get him out of his present predicament and agree to an Arab freeze on building in the West Bank and Jerusalem - or be subjected to making significant concessions to Israel to persuade it to maintain the President’s prestige and influence once again.

What is good for the goose must surely be good for the gander.

Palestine - Mandela's Elders Malign And Vilify Jews And Israel

[Published 18 October 2010]

The Elders - an independent group of eminent global leaders founded in 2007 by airline mogul Sir Richard Branson and co-founder of Genesis Peter Gabriel - has sent four of its members - including Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter - on its second visit to the Middle East this week.

As The Elders web site explains:

“Inspired by the role that elders play in traditional societies, as a source of advice, wisdom and experience, they [Branson and Gabriel] took the idea to Nelson Mandela and were thrilled when he agreed to help bring a group of ‘global elders’ together… The Elders comprises ten visionary leaders including Graça Machel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and President Carter. They work both publicly and behind the scenes, collectively and individually, in areas of conflict such as; Kenya, Cyprus, Darfur and Zimbabwe and also work on a number of global issues, such as health and gender equality."

No mention is made of The Elders becoming involved in the Arab-Jewish conflict which still remains unresolved after 130 years of bitter confrontation.

One would have thought that was a wise decision - given that an established negotiating process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority - the Roadmap - sponsored by America, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union has been ongoing for the last seven years.

Yet the Elders have been unable to resist the temptation to interfere. Their website separately claims that The Elders also wish to promote

“a just and secure peace for all that embraces human rights principles under international law,and guarantees the right to live in equality, dignity and security to all Palestinians and Israelis."

In failing to recognize that the conflict is one between “Arabs” and “Jews” - not “Palestinians” and “Israelis“ - this group of sage elders has found itself unable to rise above Arab propaganda - which seeks to deny the Jewish people the right to their own independent State in their ancient and biblical homeland as legally envisioned for them by the League of Nations and the United Nations.

Mary Robinson herself told the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 5 December 2001:

“Each of us knows that it is a difficult time, and that words matter and will be noted."

Words do matter - especially in the Arab-Jewish conflict which has been turned on its head from being an existential struggle for Jewish independence and survival to one represented as a dispute between two groups of people - Palestinians and Israelis - competing for the same piece of land.

As they embark on their latest visit - statements emanating from The Elders have already invoked memories of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion - the most notorious and widely distributed anti-semitic publication of modern times. Its lies about Jews, which have been repeatedly discredited, continue to circulate today, especially on the Internet and can be freely purchased in many Arab capitals.

In 1921, the London Times presented conclusive proof that the Protocols was a “clumsy plagiarism.” The Times confirmed that the Protocols had been copied in large part from a French political satire that never mentioned Jews — Maurice Joly’s Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (1864). Other investigations revealed that one chapter of a Prussian novel, Hermann Goedsche’s Biarritz (1868), also “inspired” the Protocols.

The current Elders are not anti-Semites.

However, their statements need to be critically analyzed and carefully scrutinized since the weight they carry has the power to materially influence public opinion at a time when campaigns to delegitimize Israel and threats to eradicate the Jewish State are on the rise.

Jimmy Carter was interviewed prior to setting out on his current tour and the following exchange appeared in an article written by Akiva Eldar in Ha’Aretz on 15 October:

QUESTION: Did you ever encounter an Israeli demand that the Arabs recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people?

ANSWER: This demand is completely new. The first time I heard of it, I was in East Jerusalem after Obama’s Cairo speech [on 4 June 2009], to which Netanyahu responded with a call for the Arabs and Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state - which was a move probably initiated by Lieberman and his party. I don’t see how it’s possible - there are 1.5 million Arab citizens in Israel, and 320,000 who are neither Jews nor Muslims - so I don’t know if it will be possible. For the Arabs to acknowledge that the Arabs who live in Israel are Jewish will be very difficult.

Granted, Jimmy Carter is now 86.

However is he so ill-informed that he is unaware that Israel’s demand is not “completely new” - that:

1. Israel raised this demand in the Reservations it raised to the Roadmap on 27 May 2003 stating “declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state”

2. America made the following written commitment to Israel on 14 April 2004:

“The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state”

3. Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated this demand as the basis for further negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in a speech to the international community assembled in Annapolis on 27 November 2007.

If Mr Carter is that uninformed or seeks to claim memory loss for his otherwise inexplicable lapse then he should retire gracefully rather than making misleading statements that have the capacity to persuade public opinion that the Jews are attempting to subvert the negotiating process by raising belated demands.

Mary Robinson is no better. After visiting Gaza on 16 October, she declared:

“It is unconscionable and unacceptable that Israel and the international community have not lifted the blockade fully to allow Gazans to rebuild their lives and be part of the interconnected world that we take for granted.”

The blockade is also being imposed by Egypt.

Why would Mary Robinson fail to mention that salient fact? How many readers will be quick to blame the Jews alone for imposing the blockade and exonerate Egypt from any similar criticism?

If The Elders are to make any worthwhile contribution to resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict they need to quickly disavow themselves of such irresponsible and highly inflammatory statements or become known as the purveyors of canards and falsehoods whose effect is to malign and vilify the Jewish people.

Yes - Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter - words do certainly count.

Just make sure you use them in a manner that is not unfair, deceptive or misleading.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Palestine - Change Israel's Name And Change The Game

[Published 13 October 2011]

Israel’s plea to be recognised as the Jewish State in return for the implementation of a new building freeze in the West Bank very quickly got the thumbs down from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - was surely clutching at straws in expecting a positive response when he told Israel’s Parliament on 10 October:

“If the Palestinian leadership will say unequivocally to its people that it recognizes Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and request a further suspension,”

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that such a demand could never be accepted. He was only repeating what he has said over and over again for many years. Erekat has been consistent during this period in his unrelenting objection to the Jews having a country where they will always constitute the majority.

America - however - made it perfectly clear that Israel’s request to be recognized by the Palestinian Authority as the homeland of the Jewish people was non-negotiable when State Department spokesman P J Crowley declared:

“I’m not making any news here, We have recognized the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well. But this is the aspiration of the – what Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, the – a core demand of the Israeli government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region, acceptance by the region of the existence of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People and that is what they want to see through this negotiation.”

What then is the purpose of continuing the façade of negotiations in the face of this irreconcilable impasse between Jewish expectations and a continuing Arab state of denial?

Israel needs to introduce a circuit breaker - one that places the ball firmly in the Arab court. The Arabs can then decide whether to negotiate with the Jews or not on the final allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and the acceptance of each other‘s right to exist.

Such a result can be swiftly and effectively achieved by Israel renaming itself officially as “THE DEMOCRATIC JEWISH REPUBLIC OF ISRAEL" - or some other suitable name.

This would in one fell swoop create the appropriate description of what the Jewish State actually is and what it actually represents in the eyes of the world and its own citizens.

Ironically Israel’s bitterest Arab enemies and some of its Arab treaty partners have no problems in so describing the character of their own States in their official titles.

Some examples of those countries and their official names are:

1. Libya - “The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”

2. Jordan - “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”

3 Syria - “The Syrian Arab Republic”

4. Egypt - “The Arab Republic of Egypt”

5. Iran - “The Islamic Republic of Iran”

6. Emirates - “The United Arab Emirates”

Had Israel’s founding fathers been influenced to go beyond the bland title of “The State of Israel” perhaps the political situation would have been entirely different today.

David Ben Gurion - then the representative of the Jewish Agency - had made an impassioned appeal to the United Nations Special Committee On Palestine on 4 July 1947 when he stated:

“And here we are, not only we the Jews of Palestine, but the Jews throughout the world the small remnant of European Jewry and Jews in other countries. We claim our rightful place under the sun as human beings and as a people, the same right as other human beings and peoples possess, the right to security, freedom, equality, statehood and membership in the United Nations. No individual Jew can be really free, secure and equal anywhere in the world as long as the Jewish people as a people is not again rooted in its own country as an equal and independent nation.

An international undertaking was given to the Jewish people some thirty years ago in the Balfour Declaration and in the Mandate for Palestine, to reconstitute our national home in our ancient homeland. This undertaking originated with the British people and the British Government. It was supported and confirmed by 52 nations and embodied in an international instrument known as the Mandate for Palestine. The Charter of the United Nations seeks to maintain “justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law.” Is it too presumptuous on our part to expect that the United Nations will see that obligations to the Jewish people too are respected and faithfully carried out in the spirit and the letter? “

The United Nations indeed heeded this appeal when recommending the partition of western Palestine into an “Arab” state and a “Jewish” state. The Arabs rejected Ben Gurion’s plea and their view still remains unchanged in 2010.

Rejection of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine is writ large in the Covenant of the Palestine Liberation Organization whose current Chairman is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

However, the same Mr. Abbas also gave his blessing to Israel changing its name when he said on 27 April 2009 in Ramallah - in response to Mr Netanyahu then calling on the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as the Jewish State:

“I do not accept it. It is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic — it is none of my business,”

Israel should now take up Mr Abbas’s suggestion and gauge the Palestinian Authority’s reaction to such a re-branding.

Playing the name game - or the shame game - will surely end the current standoff in the stalled negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority can continue to negotiate with Israel - but in the knowledge that in signing any agreements it will be doing so with the Democratic Jewish State of Israel.

Abbas has said he can live with such a proposal. He should now be asked to rise to the challenge or be put out to pasture if he fails to do so.