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, July 30, 2015

Palestine - Merging Banks Can Reap Huge Dividends

[Published 19 October 2012]

Prince Hassan Bin Talal - Jordan’s former Crown Prince and the uncle of Jordan’s current ruler - King Abdullah - has floated a possible new diplomatic initiative by reminding the world that the West Bank was once part of Jordan.

Prince Hassan pointed out this very important historic and geographic fact whilst addressing a meeting of the Ebal charity organization in Nablus on 9 October.

That meeting had been organised by Jordanian Senate President Taher Al-Masri - indicating that the King in all likelihood would have been given advance notice and approved what Prince Hassan intended saying.

The Jordanian website reported that Prince Hassan told the meeting:
”the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which included both banks of the [Jordan] River”

The report added:
“The attendees understood that Prince [Hassan] is working to reunite both banks of the [Jordan] River, and commended him for it.”

The West Bank and Transjordan had existed as one territorial entity between 1950-1967 following Transjordan’s occupation of the West Bank in 1948 after the newly declared State of Israel had been attacked by six invading Arab armies.

Transjordan - as a result - changed its name to “Jordan” and named the territory west of the Jordan River as the “West Bank”. Until then - the West Bank had been known for thousands of years as “Judea and Samaria” - the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

These decisions were not taken in isolation by a victorious occupier against the wishes of a defeated and dispirited population - but at the request and urging of the exclusively Arab population living in Judea and Samaria. All the Jews who had been living there prior to the 1948 war had been dispossessed and forcefully driven from the area conquered by Transjordan.

A conference was held in Jericho on 1 December 1948 - attended by several thousand people including the mayors of the towns of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor General and military governors from districts in Judea and Samaria, and other notables.

The meeting resolved:
“Palestine Arabs desire unity between Transjordan and Arab Palestine and therefore make known their wish that Arab Palestine be annexed immediately to Transjordan. They also recognize Abdullah as their King and request him proclaim himself King of the new territory.”

Wells Stabler - America’s charge d’affaires in Transjordan - reported to the Acting Secretary for State in a confidential cable dated 4 December 1948 that following the meeting - a large delegation proceeded to the King’s winter quarters at Shuneh to present the resolution to the King and request his acceptance. The King had replied that the matter must be referred to his government and that he must also ascertain the views of other Arab states. Although usual jealousies and frictions had been apparent during the meeting, the King believed it to be of significance and might be regarded by him as his mandate from Palestine Arabs.

On 6 December 1948 Stabler sent a secret cable to the Acting Secretary for State in which he reported that UN Acting Mediator Ralph Bunche had met with the King - when the following matters had been discussed:
1. The King believed that annexation of Arab Palestine to Transjordan would be an “actual help” in reaching a final settlement.

2. Arab Palestine was then in a vacuum which needed to be filled and Transjordan was in best position to do it.

3. Basically any Palestine settlement rested with Egypt, Transjordan and Israel. Egypt and Transjordan could overcome any opposition from other Arab states.

4. Emir Abdel Majid Haidar, Transjordan observer at the United Nations General Assembly had held talks with Egyptians in Paris but without result.

5. Bunche had hinted to His Majesty that the annexation of Arab Palestine by Transjordan would probably be accepted as fait accompli in view of Transjordan’s present position in Arab Palestine.
The subsequent annexation of the West Bank by Transjordan two years later was only recognised by Great Britain and Pakistan. The failure of other members of the United Nations to recognise such annexation has prolonged a conflict that with a little bit of give and take could have been resolved more than 60 years ago by negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and renounced any claims to the West Bank in 1988.

After 19 years of fruitless negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization since 1993 - the settlement of competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank still remains undetermined.

Prince Hassan’s statement on 9 October clearly attempts to resuscitate Jordan’s territorial claim to the West Bank.

Writing in the 1982 Spring issue of the quarterly publication “Foreign Affairs” - Prince Hassan had asserted:
“We Jordanians must add that practically speaking a settlement must also take into account our perceptions. Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue”

Indeed the fate of Jordan and the West Bank has been tied together ever since both these areas of the former Ottoman Empire were included in the territory covered by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted.

The attempt over the last 19 years to divide Jordan and the West Bank into two independent Arab states for the first time ever in recorded history has proved an abject failure - leading Prince Hassan to observe that whilst he did not personally oppose the two state solution - that solution was irrelevant at this stage since:
“both sides, Arab and Israeli, no longer speak of a political solution to the Palestinian problem.”

The vacuum existing in 1948 has returned - and once again Jordan is the party that can fill it by opening negotiations with Israel to end the the Jewish-Arab conflict by reunifying the two banks of the Jordan River - taking into account the vastly changed circumstances to those existing 64 years ago.

The dividends could be immense including:
1. The return to Jordan of a very substantial part of the West Bank lost by Jordan in the Six Day War

2. No residents of the West Bank - either Jew or Arab - having to move from his present home

3. The restoration of Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab population

4. The resolution of the competing claims by both Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank

5. Placing a political solution to the Palestinian problem in the hands of the Arabs
Seizing this rare opportunity should not be missed.

Palestine - Suspending Disbelief Is An Unbelievable Hoax

[Published 10 March 2013]

Beware failed negotiators like Dennis Ross when they continue to pontificate on the possibility of the two-state solution.

Formerly the United States chief negotiator for the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1993 to 2001 and a special assistant to the president for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011 - Dennis Ross is now a distinguished fellow and counselor to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In his recent article in the New York Times entitled -“To Achieve Mideast Peace,Suspend Disbelief” - Mr Ross concludes that neither side believes the other side is committed to the two-state solution but that cannot be an argument for doing nothing.

He further states that if the two-state solution is discredited as an outcome - something and someone will fill the void.

Ross speculates that the Islamists of Hamas, with their rejection of two-states, seem primed to fill the void - when he says the conflict will be transformed from a nationalist into a religious one and at that point it may not be possible to resolve.

One can only shake one’s head in amazement that Mr Ross actually believes this is a nationalist conflict and not a religious conflict.

The continuing refusal by the PLO, Hamas and the Arab League to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home - first decreed with the unanimous consent of the League of Nations in 1922 and incorporated into the United Nations Charter under article 80 in 1945 - indicates that Mr Ross learnt nothing after 8 years in the hot seat as the United States chief negotiator.

Mr Ross asks - so what can be done?

His proposal is one taken right out of fairyland:
"I propose a 14-point agenda for discussions. Twelve of the points — six on the Israeli side and six on the Palestinian side — would be coordinated unilateral moves that each party would be willing to discuss and implement provided that the other side would do its part. The final points would be mutual steps taken concurrently by both sides. The goal would be to chip away at the sources of each side’s disbelief about the other’s commitment to a genuine two-state solution."

In a remarkably contrived display of evenhandedness - 6 discussion points apiece - Mr Ross has gone back to the failed formula of pressing Israel to make concrete commitments in return for PLO commitments that - apart from one - amount to nothing more than sheer hot air.

Israel six-point list is as follows:
1. Only build new housing in settlement blocks and in areas west of the security barrier. This means that Israel would build only in about 8 percent of the West Bank and no longer in the remaining 92 percent.

2. Offer compensation to any Jews to relocate to Israel or the designated blocks.

3. Consent to begin construction of housing within Israel or the designated blocks for all those settlers ready to relocate.

4. In “Area C,” which represents 60.1 percent of the West Bank’s territory and in which Israel retains civil and security responsibility, Palestinians would be permitted economic access, activity and ownership.

5. In “Area B,” which covers 21.7 percent of the West Bank and in which Palestinians have responsibility for civil affairs and for law and order — but not for dealing with terrorism — the presence of Palestinian police and security forces, and their duties, would be allowed to increase.

6. In “Area A,” which accounts for 18.2 percent of the West Bank’s territory and in which the Palestinians have civil and security responsibility, the I.D.F. could specify clear security criteria, which, if met by the Palestinian Authority, would end the incursions.

Mr Ross lists the following six agenda items for the Palestinian side to commit to:
1. Be willing to speak of two states for two peoples and to acknowledge there are two national movements and two national identities.

2. Pledge to put Israel on Palestinian maps

3. Make clear the commitment to building the state of Palestine, without encroaching on Israel, with a particular focus on the rule of law.

4. Commit to ending incitement; stop glorifying as martyrs those who kill Israelis; stop blaming Israel for every evil; stop denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

5. Prepare the Palestinian public for peace.

6. Build permanent housing in refugee camps and allow those families who wish to move out of the camps to be permitted to do so

Apart from the last item on the agenda - and since the PLO has shown itself incapable of bringing about these changes of attitude during the last 20 years of failed negotiations - there is little point in including them.

Perhaps it is time for Mr Ross and others in the international community to consider the principle of reciprocity in negotiations.

To induce Israel to accept Mr Ross’s six point agenda - he needs to propose something far more concrete on the Arab side - something along the lines of the following:
1. The Arab League is to nominate two more of its members to recognise Israel and open embassies between their respective countries.

2. The Arab League and the PLO agree to recognise Israel in its final agreed-upon designated borders as the reconstituted Jewish National Home in accordance with international law

3. Offer compensation to Arabs willing to relocate from Area C to Area A or Area B

4. Consent to begin construction of housing in Area A and Area B to house those Arabs willing to relocate from Area C

5. Hold free and fair elections in the West Bank and Gaza within twelve months irrespective of the state of the negotiations

6. Build permanent housing in existing refugee camps

In the words of Mr Ross:
"These 12 points represent an agenda for discussion that could lead to coordinated actions and change the dynamic between Israelis and Palestinians — and maybe, by restoring hope, show that the government of Mr. Abbas still offers a pathway for Palestinian national aspirations.

These points could, for once, create a virtuous cycle. Such progress is vital if there is to be any hope that the two sides will actually address the core issues of the conflict.

We don’t need more dead ends. It is time to show Israelis and Palestinians that something is possible other than stalemate. Otherwise disbelief and failure will become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Mr Ross - despite your best efforts - your proposal does nothing to reverse the generally held belief that the two-state solution is terminal and has been dead and buried for more than eighteen months.

To propose that your 12 point agenda can suspend that belief by proposing yet another talkfest based on vague intangible commitments by the Arabs is quite frankly unbelievable.

Palestine - Backtracking Begins As Democracy Dies

[Published 22 February 2013]

Arab attempts to undermine and trash the Bush Roadmap and end any hopes of a negotiated peace between Israel and the PLO were flagged with some remarkable comments made by James Zogby in his article published this week headlined “Putting the Blame on Palestine’s Democratic Deficit”

James Zogby’s opinions need to be taken seriously - because what he says has clout - given the powerful position he holds.

Dr. Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community

In his article Dr Zogby makes this amazing claim:
"The rather bizarre notion that the Palestinians must first build a “practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty” before they can have a state was first articulated by George W. Bush in June of 2002. Back then, with Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a high point, the world waited for two months while Bush was framing his approach to restoring peace-making efforts. A speech had been written by State Department Middle East experts, but at the last minute the White House inserted its “democracy first” demand which, instead of restarting the peace process, proved to be the “nail in its coffin.”

Dr Zogby then discloses who managed to get the “democratic demand” slipped into the President’s speech at the last moment - effectively guaranteeing that the peace process would eventually be scuttled - as has now become so apparent in 2013.
"State Department officials who had worked on the initial drafts of the speech were floored by the Bush insertions, which we later learned had come directly from the President after he had read a treatise on democracy by Natan Sharansky. Sharansky, the famed Soviet refusenik, had left the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986."

A Jewish Zionist - Natan Sharansky - had been able to influence an American President to take a decision that had floored the experts at the State Department.

How accurate are Dr Zogby’s revelations and the inferences he wants readers to draw?

Firstly Sharansky had not merely “left the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986”

Wikipedia tells his story in more detail:
"Sharansky was denied an exit visa to Israel in 1973. The reason given for denial of the visa was that he had been given access, at some point in his career, to information vital to Soviet national security and could not now be allowed to leave. After that Sharansky became a human rights activist and spokesperson for the Moscow Helsinki Group. Sharansky was one of the founders of the Refusenik movement in Moscow.

In 1977 Sharansky was arrested on charges of spying for the United States and treason and sentenced to 13 years of forced labor in Perm 35, a Siberian labor camp (Gulag)."

How did Sharansky leave the Soviet Union for Israel in 1986?
"As a result of an international campaign led by his wife, Avital Sharansky (including assistance from East German lawyer Wolfgang Vogel, New York Congressman Benjamin Gilman and Rabbi Ronald Greenwald) Sharansky and three low-level Western spies (Czech citizen Jaroslav Javorsk√Ĺ and West German citizens Wolf-Georg Frohn and Dietrich Nistroy) were exchanged for Czech spies Karl Koecher and Hana Koecher held in the USA, Soviet spy Yevgeni Zemlyakov, Polish spy Jerzy Kaczmarek and East German spy Detlef Scharfenorth (the latter three held in West Germany) in 1986 on Glienicke Bridge. Sharansky was released in February 1986"

Sharansky was indeed well qualified to write a treatise on the virtues of democracy as opposed to totalitarian regimes.

But President Bush as head of the world’s leading democracy needed no treatise on democracy to make his democracy demand an essential plank of his peace plan.

Do Dr Zogby’s claims have any relevance apart from telling us the State Department spat the proverbial dummy and had a hissy fit of somewhat monumental proportions because the President did not like what they had drafted?

Consider what President Bush actually said on 24 June 2002:
“I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.”

The President’s statement was the basis for the actual text of the Roadmap presented nine months later on 30 April 2003 to Palestinian and Israeli mediators by Quartet mediators - the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia.

The other members of the Quartet were well aware that the text they all approved contained this statement:
“A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.”

Clearly an international consensus had emerged on what was essential to end the long running Arab-Jewish conflict.

Whilst Israel had expressed 14 reservations in accepting the Roadmap - the PLO accepted it without amendment as PLO leader made clear on 30 April 2003:
“Israel is attempting to alter the road map as we know it by entering into complicated negotiations and imposing its own interpretation.We will not negotiate the road map. The road map must be implemented.”

Dr Zogby seeks to blame Israel’s settlement policies for the lack of democratic reforms in the areas of the West Bank under full Arab administrative control.

It is time to end the blame game whilst perennially claiming victimhood status.

It is time to face up to the reality that only the fundamentals of a democratic state - free and fair elections, freedom of expression and the media - can lead to a negotiated end to this long running conflict.

The sooner elections are held to end the seven year drought since the last election was held - the sooner the hope of peace will become a flickering light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Dr Zogby has done the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza a grave disservice by dashing the hope of democracy ever coming to change their lives - as it changed the lives of Sharansky and the million Soviet Jews who eventually made it to Israel.

Jew haters and Israel bashers must be salivating at Dr Zogby’s “disclosures”.

Such is the manner by which the Arab narrative has been created out of nothing - to a story that soon assumes a momentum of its own.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Palestine - Tongue-tied and Terrified

[Published 15 February 2013]

“The State of Palestine” is not a place that encourages or tolerates freedom of speech - if recent events are any guide.

David Keyes has made this very clear in an article written by him in the New York Times:
“Last week, a 26-year-old Palestinian activist, Anas Awwad, was sentenced in absentia by a court in Nablus, the West Bank, to one year in prison for "extending his tongue” against the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Facebook.Thousands have joined a Facebook group to show their solidarity with Mr. Awwad, but the damage has been done. Free speech has been set back, and a chill sent throughout Palestinian society.”

Awwad had uploaded a photo of Abbas on Facebook dubbing it with the caption “the new striker in “Real Madrid”. Perhaps he might have got a lighter sentence had the caption read “the new striker in Unreal Palestine“

Awwad’s “crime” appears to have been committed in the context of the PLO’s ongoing six year struggle for political dominance over its bitter rival Hamas.

In all likelihood Awwad is a Hamas-supporter and has become the latest victim among hundreds of Palestinians who are exposed to detention because of their political opinions.

The law used to convict Awwad was a 50-year-old Jordanian law still operative in the West Bank. The law became applicable in the West Bank when it was unified with Transjordan to form a new territorial entity called Jordan in 1950.

The law was intended to punish critics of Jordan’s monarchy.

Applying that law now to send someone to prison for criticising an unelected and unconstitutional President overstaying his term of office four years after his term has expired indicates the ingenious legal thinking that has permeated the legal system of the “State of Palestine”

The sentence highlights the questionable democratic credentials Mr. Abbas claims to possess when meeting Western leaders.

A suit and tie do not maketh the man.

Abbas has pledged to move Palestine towards a practising democracy as the final destination for creating the two-state solution.

Depriving his constituents of their right to freedom of expression and to hold political views contrary to him is the very antithesis of democracy.

The respected Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has made it clear that this assault on individuals is also happening to journalists in both the West Bank and Gaza
“Over the past few weeks, several Palestinian journalists have been arrested in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for reportedly criticizing the policies and leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas."

But this most recent assault on freedom of expression does not seem to bother the Western countries that fund the Palestinian Authority or Hamas supporters from all around the world.

As far as many Western governments and journalists are concerned, physical assaults on Palestinian reporters in the Gaza Strip are fine as long as they are not perpetrated by Israel.

The Palestinian Authority crackdown on Palestinian journalists in the West Bank is also fine as long as Israel is not involved.

Most of the assaults against journalists took place in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas continues to display zero tolerance towards critics or anyone who dares to say something “controversial.”

In the past few weeks, at least 16 journalists from the Gaza Strip were arrested or summoned for interrogation by Hamas authorities in the context of a campaign aimed at intimidating the local media.

Some of the journalists were released only after Hamas forced them to sign a document stating that they would refrain from attending press conferences or covering various activities unless they obtained permission in advance.”

Jillian Yorke- the director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation has noted that this not the first time Jordanian law has been used to prosecute online speech in the West Bank.
“In 2010, Walid Hasayin was arrested in Qalqiliya and accused of violating Article 273 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which deals with insults to “religious feelings of other persons or their religious faith”. And in 2011, another man was arrested under the same article."

Yorke further points out:
“... growing internet penetration has raised the spectre of unbridled freedom for the Palestinian Authority (PA) - (now defunct - ed).With nearly a quarter of the West Bank population on Facebook, new opportunities for online organising and sharing of news have arisen over the past few years… just the recipe to threaten an insecure government.

In 2012, at least 10 individuals were arrested for public criticism of the PA, online or off. In April, two journalists and a lecturer were arrested for comments on Facebook deemed critical of the PA, coinciding with the PA’s awarding of a press freedom prize to American journalist Helen Thomas. The arrests were condemned by watchdog groups, including the International Press Institute and the Committee to Protect Journalists. And Palestinian groups, such as the Independent Commission for Human Rights, have called for greater press freedom.”

One of the targeted journalists, Tariq Khamis, told the Electronic Intifada:
“The regime is very similar to other Arab regimes. If the Palestinian Authority had trust in themselves, they would let journalists get on with their work. But because of their mistakes and corruption, they fear the work of journalists.”

In April 2012 blogger Jamal Abu Rihan was arrested for launching a Facebook campaign demanding an end to corruption. Columnist Jihad Harb was later sentenced to two months in prison on charges of libel and slander for raising questions about cronyism within Abbas’ office.

Last year - according to Yorke:
” Ma’an News uncovered evidence of website blocking, a practice otherwise largely unheard of in the West Bank. The eight blocked websites were all news sites critical of President Abbas and were eventually unblocked after Communications Minister Mashour Abu Daka spoke out against the blocking as being “against the public interest”, resulting in the resignation of Attorney General Ahmad al-Mughni”

The PLO and Hamas are entitled to do whatever they like in their “State” to repress free speech, ban Facebook or Twitter and even harass and arrest journalists or individuals who dare to speak out or criticise those who govern them.

If they want to pursue self-extermination at the expense of self-determination - then that should be their prerogative.

That does not mean that the European Union and America should continue pouring billions of euros and dollars into trying to create a State in their own image that shows no sign of emerging after 20 years of extraordinary financial generosity and political support.

Hopefully those whose tongues are now tied can try throwing their shoes instead.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Palestine - Great Expectations That Founder On Fiction

[Published 11 October 2012]

Israeli novelist David Grossman is working with Algerian writer Boualem Sansal to launch a writers’ drive for world peace at the World Forum For Democracy in Strasbourg this week.

Their initiative is reportedly supported by some of the most respected names in literature including Claudio Magris, Antonio Lobo Antunes and Liao Yiwu.

The Forum brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges which affect societies today.

The writers - in their quest to end conflict and bring peace to the world - have naturally included the resolution of the “Israel - Palestine conflict” within their purview.

However the views they express are indeed surprising - parroting Arab propaganda rather than relying on careful research - the indispensable tool normally used by writers of such distinction and undoubted repute.

They begin by stating :
"Israel maintains the Palestinians under occupation for more than 45 years, and this inhuman and immoral situation must stop."

All the Palestinian Arabs residing in Gaza are under the total administrative and security control of a Hamas dominated Government following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Our well intended authors are also apparently unaware that pursuant to arrangements mutually negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the 1993 Oslo Accords - 55% of the Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank are under the total administative and security control of the PA Government - whilst another 41% are under the total administrative control of the PA Government and joint security control of the PA and Israel.

Elections in the West Bank and Gaza were last held in 2006. Since then Hamas and the PA have been at each other’s jugulars. President Abbas’s use by date as PA president expired in 2009. Democracy is nowhere to be seen.

Suggesting Israel’s occupation is “inhuman and immoral” in the light of these facts is pure fiction

The statement continues:
Both sides are putting unrealistic conditions to resume negotiations ...

Are they serious? Israel has been offering to return to negotiations with the PA without any preconditions. It is the PA that is refusing to negotiate unless Israel stops building in the West Bank.

Grossman and Sansal continue:
"It is urgent that the international community intervenes firmly to bring the Iranian nuclear programme under control and steadily commits to the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, pushing the parties to immediately establish a true direct dialogue, leading as soon as possible to the creation of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel, both with secure borders, on the basis of painful compromises for both parts though necessary for peace, as the abandonment of settlements or their exchange against land, the renouncement to the right of return of the 1948 refugees, the sharing of Jerusalem. This is still – but maybe not for long - a possible solution and there are men and women on both sides capable of achieving it. Let us help them do so."

Our well-meaning authors seem to be ignorant of the fact that Israel in 2001 and 2008 offered to cede its claims to more than 90% of the West Bank and agreed to a part of Jerusalem becoming the capitol of a Palestinian Arab State - but such offers were rejected. Even land swaps were broached in the latter offer.

They seem oblivious to the fact that no one in the PA or Hamas has the power to renounce any right of return of the 1948 refugees and expect to be alive the next day.

They also seem to overlook that what the Palestinian Arabs demand today could have been theirs - plus more - at any time between 1948-1967 with the single stroke of an Arab League pen - after all the Jews living there had been driven out.

Why the need for a state now when one was not demanded during those 19 years - and indeed rejected in 1937 when recommended by the Peel Commission or in 1947 when proposed by the United Nations?

Who are the men and women on both sides that are capable of doing what has not been able to be achieved for the last 19 years in trying to create a new Arab State between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history? Naming them would have been great - even if it embarrassed those highly experienced negotiators from Israel the PA, and the Quartet - the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and America - who have tired endlessly for the last eight years to resolve the conflict but have got absolutely nowhere

Grossman and Sansal conclude:
"Writers have their part in this fight and we hereby express our determination to take it firmly and objectively. We urge all writers in the world to join us. Together, we can influence decision makers and public opinion and thereby also the course of events, ensuring that the values of peace are strengthened throughout the world. Our methods in this fight are literature, debate and vigilance. Maybe it is not much, but it is our way of maintaining our dignity in a world of violence and cynism."

They have been less than objective and their ability to influence decision makers and public opinion with their planned initiative is fanciful.

Samir El-youssef - a Palestinian writer - has succinctly summed up the Grossman/Sansal proposal:
"Rather than maintaining hope for peace, I see here nothing but a further attempt to renew the old failed approach to deal with the Arabic and Islamic world."

The old failed approach has certainly been an unmitigated disaster.

It is indeed time for a new approach in dealing with the Arabic and Islamic world in trying to resolve the 130 years old Arab - Jewish conflict.

Might I suggest negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem - to be held under the chairmanship of the Secretary General of the United Nations with the approval of the Quartet, the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Co- Operation.

Writers of the world - are you prepared to sign up to such an initiative?

With your active support this proposal could become a best seller in a very short space of time. It is not fiction. It is based on history, geography, demography and international law - unlike the fairy tales that form the basis for the “two-state” solution.

Maintaining your dignity in a world of violence and cynicism will certainly be heightened by supporting this proposal.

If you hesitate to get involved - exercise your undoubted writing skills to tell me why.

But please this time round - facts not fiction

Palestine - Bring On The Elections

[Published 7 February 2013]

Democracy continues to be seen nowhere in “the State of Palestine” - whilst Israel’s choice for next Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - is engaged in the usual machinations involved in putting a coalition together to govern Israel for the next four years.

Such political comings and goings are being eagerly followed by a free press commenting with gay abandon on every twist and turn in the daily developments - as their avid readership devours the opinions of dozens of different commentators in newspapers and on radio, television and the internet with very different political viewpoints.

The 2003 Bush Roadmap For Peace - supposedly still the basis on which the long -stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (defunct since 3 January 2013) were being conducted - was uncompromising in its final destination:
“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below.”

Any attempt by the “Palestinian people” to have any say in electing a leadership that will act decisively against terror and ending violence and terrorism has been silenced since 25 January 2006 - when their votes elected Hamas as winner of the elections with 74 seats to Fatah’s 45 - providing Hamas with the majority of the 132 available seats and the ability to form a majority government of its own.

The people chose the wrong horse if they expected violence and terrorism would end - but then they have to live with their choice until they get another chance to change their minds.

That is surely the essence of democracy - that there is an “out” - the ability of the people to regularly express their confidence or otherwise in the people they have elected.

However the people have not been given this opportunity since 2006.

The elected Prime Minister - Ismail Haniya - was unceremoniously dumped by Palestinian Authority President - Mahmoud Abbas - on 15 June 2007 on the basis of “national emergency”.

This has resulted in bitter internecine strife between Hamas and Fatah ever since - that has seen the human rights of hundreds of thousands of the electorate abused in an orgy of violence, killing and detention without trial.

Frequent attempts to effect a reconciliation have failed - and will continue to fail - as both pursue very different political goals and objectives.

The people need to be the circuit breakers in this long running dispute - but indications are they will not be allowed to have their say.

Meantime - President Mahmoud Abbas continues to hold the reins of power as an unelected and unconstitutional President - whose term expired on 9 January 2009.

Due to the conflict he had created by dismissing Haniya in 2007 - Abbas unilaterally extended his term for another year and still continues in office in 2013 even after that second deadline expired.

As a result - Hamas announced that it would not recognise the extension or view Abbas as rightful president.

Yet Abbas is still given the full Presidential treatment internationally wherever he travels.

Following Abbas’s election as President on 9 January 2005 - David Carroll, acting director of the Democracy Program and an active member of the Carter Center -NDI observer delegation to that election - discussed the election process, its outcome and the wider implications for Middle East Peace.

He was asked the following question and gave the following response
"What does this election mean to democracy in the region?"

Carroll: "Many people see the Jan. 9 presidential election as an opportunity for a new leader to recommit to the peace process and make real progress in negotiations with Israel. In addition, however, the election sets an important example for the Arab world; it shows Arab peoples and leaders that citizens’ yearnings for democracy can and should be met, and that democratic renewal strengthens political legitimacy. Further, like the recent elections in Indonesia, the Palestinian election is a reminder that Islam and democracy are not incompatible"

Carroll may indeed be proved right if events of the past few years in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Syria are indicators.

The real test of democracy however is not the first election - it is the second election.

Sadly - any such moves to allow citizen yearnings for democracy continue to be denied in the one Islamic area where it is essential they be allowed - the West Bank and Gaza.

Whilst this sorry state of affairs continues the following words of the Bush Road Map remain meaningless:
"A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours."

Those non-democratic states supporting a fictitious “State of Palestine” - headed by an unconstitutional President, an unelected Government with an unelected Prime Minister and a far from free press - will certainly be unable to grasp the importance of elections to allow the people to have their say after seven years of enforced silence.

The world’s democracies should know better.

“Bring on the elections” should be their unified and rallying demand.

Perhaps President Obama should whisper such words in Abbas’s ear when he meets with him next month.

Whilst the democracies remain silent - Jews and Arabs will continue to bear the scars of war and conflict.

Palestine - Jews Will Not Be Played For Suckers Anymore

[Published 1 February 2013]

Amos Oz represents the perfect example of a writer of stories and tales who should stick to writing and not trade on his unrivalled excellence and international recognition in that field to try and influence the course of Israeli politics.

This becomes embarrassingly evident when considering his political opinions disclosed in an article written for the New York Times by Roger Cohen on 28 January.

His introductory remarks to Cohen are indeed promising:
“Most Israelis would wave goodbye to the West Bank but they don’t want to be suckers, they don’t want the Gaza scenario to repeat itself”

Israelis were really taken for suckers after unilaterally evacuating Gaza in 2005 - receiving in return the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian population centres as thank you presents since then.

Israelis will not be suckered into suffering a repeat performance of such war crimes emanating from any areas of the West Bank ceded by them to the Arabs.

Oz maintains that there is:
“a silent consensus that the occupied territories do not matter that much. Israelis are no longer interested. They vote with their feet. They don’t go there, except for the settlers and right-wing extremists. This means that if Israelis can be reassured that by renouncing the West Bank they are not going to get a lousy deal - they are quietly ready to do it.”

Israel offered to renounce its claims to more than 90% of the West Bank in 2000/2001 and 2008 - but the Palestinian Authority insisted that millions of Arabs be given the right to emigrate to Israel and that any newly created state not be demilitarised.

This was the kind of lousy deal that Oz must have had in mind when talking to Cohen.

Oz insisted that at the end of the day some 70 percent on both sides — kicking and screaming and crying injustice — were ready for two states.
“If I may use a metaphor - I would say that the patient, Israeli and Palestinian, is unhappily ready for surgery, while the doctors are cowards.”

The Palestinian patient seems strangely disinterested in submitting to such surgery - still insisting after 20 years of negotiations that such surgery requires cutting up the Israeli patient for spare parts.

Oz is quite prepared to brand Israel’s recently elected Prime Minister a coward.
“Yes I think Netanyahu is a coward,” he declared. But the victory of the center in the election could alter the equation. “It means,” Oz said, “that there will be more pressure on Netanyahu from the dovish side in Israel and from the outside world, so that his cowardice may work the other way.”

Since the dovish side in Israel managed to gain only 21 out of 120 seats in Israel’s next Parliament - Oz’s hopes seem more like fiction than fact.

Oz makes no mention of the Palestinian cowards who have refused to hold elections in the West Bank and Gaza since 2007.

Oz then turns his attention to:
“a political novice, the telegenic Yair Lapid, a mystery wrapped in good looks at the head of a party with a reassuring-disquieting name: There Is A Future”

”I don’t know if Lapid has ideas and I’m not sure he knows. What Lapid will do is a mystery not just to me — it is probably a mystery to him!”

Obviously - according to the wizardry of Oz - it must also be a mystery to 549000 Israelis who voted for Lapid as well. This political slap in the face to their supposed lack of intelligence is insulting.

Oz’s political credo is very outdated:
“There cannot be one state because Israelis and Palestinians cannot become one happy family (“they are not one and they are not happy.”) So “the only solution is turning the house into two smaller apartments.” Two states, absolutely, are the only answer.”

The Peel Report had the same credo in 1937 - as did the United Nations in 1947. This credo was rejected by the Palestinian Arabs on both occasions.

That credo was spurned by the Palestinian Arabs between 1948-1967 when not a Jew lived in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem after six invading Arab armies had driven them from their homes - choosing instead to unify the West Bank with Jordan and not take the opportunity afforded to them in those 19 years to create the independent state they now so fervently call for.

Israelis will not now be suckered into doing what the Palestinian Arabs and their Arab brethren have so clearly rejected during the past 75 years. Twenty years of being played for suckers since 1993 has taken its toll on Israelis.

And what of Hamas?
“At least what we can do is solve the conflict with the Palestine Liberation Organization and reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an Israel-Gaza conflict. This will be a big step forward. Then we will see. Hamas may change as the P.L.O. did. The Palestinian Authority is ready for a state in the West Bank, unhappy about it, sure, but ready. They will go on dreaming of Haifa and Jaffa just as we will dream of Hebron and Nablus. There is no censorship on dreams.”

Trouble is there is no longer any Palestinian Authority. It was decreed out of existence by “President” Mahmoud Abbas and buried on 3 January 2013 alongside the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

Will Israelis be suckered into believing that Hamas may change - that Hamas will never end up taking over the West Bank as happened in Gaza in 2007?

Conquering Haifa and Jaffa by getting rid of the Jews living there is a very different dream to occupying Hebron and Nablus by living alongside the Arabs - as currently occurs in Haifa and Jaffa.

And the Palestinian right of return?
"The right of return is a euphemism for the liquidation of Israel. Even for a dove like myself this is out of the question. Refugees must be resettled in the future state of Palestine, not Israel.”

This plea will continue to fall on deaf ears.

Cohen was obviously impressed by what he heard from Oz - concluding
“Sit down with Oz. That is my advice to the next Israeli government — and to all the deluded absolutists, Arab and Jew, of this unnecessary conflict whose unhappy but peaceful ending is not beyond the scope of open-ended human imagination.”

Cohen must have had the title of one of Oz’s books in mind - The Hill of Evil Counsel - when penning this gem of gratuitous advice.

Stick to writing fiction, Amos.

This latest effort could be the basis for another best seller.

Palestine - Morsi Minces Two-State Solution

[Published 24 January 2013]

Any hope of a negotiated two-state solution being achieved under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map has been blown away following the publication of statements made by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in September 2010 - which have recently surfaced and come back to haunt him in January 2013.

President Obama must rue the day he made the following reported comment in the New York Times after the Gaza ceasefire on November 21:
“Mr.Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence .. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”

To the contrary - Morsi’s 2010 statements reveal a great deal of ideology concerning the two-state solution and Jews.

Morsi’s scathing and dismissive comments were made on 23 September 2010 (as reported by MEMRI - the Middle East Media Research Institute)
“These futile [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations are a waste of time and opportunities. The Zionists buy time and gain more opportunities, as the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims lose time and opportunities, and they get nothing out of it. We can see how this dream has dissipated. This dream has always been an illusion… This [Palestinian] Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests."

He added for good measure
“No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."

This tirade had been preceded by the following statements made by Morsi on Al-Quds TV (Lebanon) March 20, 2010:
“The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine. There is no place for them on the land of Palestine. What they took before 1947-8 constitutes plundering, and what they are doing now is a continuation of this plundering. By no means do we recognize their Green Line. The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists

We must confront this Zionist entity. All ties of all kinds must be severed with this plundering criminal entity, which is supported by America and its weapons, as well as by its own nuclear weapons, the existence of which is well known…

We want a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine, on the basis of [Palestinian] citizenship. All the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion, which the Arabs have been chasing for a long time now. They will not get from the Zionists anything but this illusion.”

The publication of these remarks elicited the following mealy mouthed response from the White House
“We strongly condemn the remark that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010. The language that we have seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This discourse–this is a broader point–this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long and it’s counter to the goal of peace. President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt. Since taking office President Morsi has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its peace treaty with Israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us towards shared objectives including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year. These commitments are essential to our bi-lateral relations with Egypt as well as for stability in the region.”

Morsi has so far not obliged the White House.

Why should he? The negotiations have failed - despite offers by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008.

Morsi’s prescription for curing such failure is a recipe for disaster.

Pursuing a proposal so vigorously opposed by Egypt seems to be the height of stupidity. It cannot and will not eventuate in the face of such opposition.

Unphased by this development - the following statement was made last week following a meeting in Perth of AUKMIN - the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations attended by Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, the Australian Minister for Defence – Stephen Smith- and the UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries, William Hague and Philip Hammond.
“The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective”

The obstacle to engaging in such negotiations is pretty basic – the PA is dead and buried since it was decreed out of existence by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January.

Compounding their gaffe the Ministers continued:
” We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums.”

The PA has vanished into thin air – no longer able to cause or avoid provocative actions and will no longer be seen at international forums.

This inescapable fact and the revelation of the Morsi statements seem to be of no consequence to these Ministers.

They are in good company with President Obama - whose spokesman Jay Carney had this to say on 23 January:
“We believe that what needs to take place is direct negotiations between the two parties that address the final-status issues and that result in a two-state solution that provides the sovereignty that the Palestinian people deserve and the security that the Israeli people and Israel deserves”

The expectation that Israel could give the Palestinian Arabs what they themselves were never prepared to accept between 1948-1967 - has proved impossible to achieve

The restoration of the status quo that existed at 5 June 1967 - so far as can now occur given the changed circumstances on the ground - remains the last hope.

This will involve negotiations between Israel, Jordan and Egypt to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between their respective States and the abandonment of the two-state solution.

Given Morsi’s extreme views - the time for any negotiations involving Egypt might need to be put on hold - whilst negotiations with Jordan on the return of the major part of the West Bank to its last Arab occupier are attempted.

One thing is certain - a change of course is urgently required - or we will all suffer from the ensuing shipwreck that is staring us in the face.

Flogging a dead horse is not a good idea since the stench emanating from the decomposing body will soon become too overpowering.

Palestine - Trojan Horse Exposes Duplicitous Doublecross

[Published 16 January 2013]

Any doubt that the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map are dead and buried has been put to final rest by John V Whitbeck - an international lawyer who has served as an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

Writing in the Cyprus Mail on 13 January Whitbeck reveals that the Palestinian Authority “has been absorbed and replaced by the State of Palestine” in a decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January and signed by him acting in his capacities as president of the State of Palestine and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Whitbeck’s confirmation of the demise of the Palestinian Authority signals the definite end to any further negotiations under the Oslo Accords and the Road Map being conducted between Israel and the Palestinian Authority - the designated parties to both agreements.

To make sure the message was fully understood - Whitbeck states unequivocally:
“The Trojan horse called the “Palestinian Authority” in accordance with the Oslo interim agreements and the “Palestinian National Authority” by Palestinians, having served its purpose by introducing the institutions of the State of Palestine on the soil of Palestine, has now ceased to exist.”
The sordid truth and fraudulent intentions of the PLO in this long running duplicitous doublecross over the last 20 years have now been well and truly exposed by Whitbeck for all to see.

The Palestinian Authority never intended to negotiate in good faith to bring about the two-state solution prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road map. It was a Trojan horse fronting for the PLO whose objective was to procure recognition of a Palestinian State without giving up or compromising any of the PLO’s claims and demands.

This latest loss of the opportunity offered by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map to realise the two-state solution matches the two opportunities thrown away by the PLO in 2000/1 and 2008

Three strikes - and the PLO has been definitely outed.

The reaction of the international community will be followed with interest.

Whitbeck continues:
“In his correspondence, Yasser Arafat used to list all three of his titles under his signature - president of the State of Palestine, chairman of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and president of the Palestinian National Authority (in that order of precedence). It is both legally and politically noteworthy that, in signing this decree, Mahmoud Abbas has listed only the first two titles… There is no further need for a Palestinian leader to be three-headed or three-hatted.”

But two hatted and two-faced Abbas must remain - because as Whitbeck explains:
“While the Palestine Liberation Organisation will continue to represent all Palestinians everywhere, those Palestinians who live in the State of Palestine (whose territory is defined by the November 29 General Assembly Resolution as “the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967”) or who, living elsewhere, will be the proud holders of new State of Palestine passports will now also be represented by the State of Palestine.”

The fact that Hamas is not a member of the PLO and that its constituency running into millions is engaged in an internecine struggle with the PLO seems to have escaped Whitbeck’s notice.

Whitbeck must have been reading the wrong wire services to draw the following conclusions:
“Perhaps due, at least in part, to the low-key manner in which this change has been effected, it has attracted remarkably little attention from the international media or reaction from other governments, even the Israeli and American governments. This is not necessarily disappointing, since passive acceptance is clearly preferable to furious rejection. The relatively few and brief media reports of the change have tended to characterise it as “symbolic”. It could - and should - be much more than that. If the Palestinian leadership plays its cards wisely, it could - and should - represent a turning point toward a better future.”

He obviously has missed the many articles critical of Abbas being forced to tip toe through the minefield that his unilateral actions have created.

More repercussions are yet to come as a disappointed international community comes to appreciate how this Trojan horse has pulled the wool over their collective eyes.

Certainly passive acceptance - instead of furious rejection - of Israel’s demands that any Palestinian Arab State be demilitarised and that Israel be recognised as the Jewish State - would have helped the two-state solution possibly come to fruition.

The reasons for such furious rejection by the Trojan horse have now been revealed.

The Trojan Horse fooled everyone. The negotiations were only a cover to grab what the PLO could get on the way to claiming their ultimate prize - the elimination of the state of Israel.

Whitbeck repeats the mantra of self delusion expressed by the PLO leadership:
“The State of Palestine now exists on the soil of Palestine - albeit still, in varying degrees and circumstances, under belligerent occupation by the State of Israel.”

The soil of Palestine includes the soil of Israel and the soil of Jordan.

Whitbeck was circumspect in not bringing up that darker side of the PLO Covenant which regards Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza as one indivisible territorial unit.

The Trojan horse is clearly biding its time to take over Jordan.

In what must amount to one of the greatest tongue in cheek pronouncements ever issued over the course of the 130 years old conflict between Arabs and Jews - Whitbeck concludes:
“The members of the international community must now show their determination not simply in words but also in deeds and actions. In a world which professes to take human rights and international law, including the UN Charter, seriously, the perpetual belligerent occupation of one state by another state is inconceivable. The fact that the Israeli occupation of Palestine has been permitted to endure, expand and entrench itself for more than 45 years represents an appalling black mark against mankind. This occupation must now end.”

The democratic world does not like wiping egg off its collective face - and neither does Israel.

With the Palestinian Authority now defunct - the only two possibilities for negotiations now remaining are those between:
1. Israel, Jordan and Egypt - to allocate sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza between them in accordance with the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter or
2. Israel and all the Arab states - to negotiate an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242.
You can lead a Trojan horse to water but you can’t make it drink - or think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Palestine - Abbas, Attitude and Annexation

[Published 10 January 2013]

Annexation of large areas of the West Bank by Israel has now become a distinct possibility with the unilateral decision this week to scrap any trace of the existence of the Palestinian Authority by its President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a “Presidential decree” Abbas has called for all official documents - including passports, drivers’ licenses, postage stamps and car number plates - to now bear the name ‘State of Palestine’, instead of the generally used ‘Palestinian National Authority’.

Abbas has also ordered foreign ministries and embassies around the world to start using the title.

Abbas’s decree comes just a few days after he had reportedly told an Israeli politician that if there was no progress in the peace talks:
“I will take the phone and call Netanyahu and tell him: ‘Sit in the chair instead of me; take the keys and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.”

His remark prompted this angry response from senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk, in a posting on Facebook:
“Why does Abbas want to hand the keys over to Netanyahu? Why not hand it over to Hamas?”

Abu Marzouk - who turned 62 on January 9 and is slated to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas - said it would have been:
“better and more effective had Abbas threatened to hand the West Bank to Hamas.”

In a fearless riposte - Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, said the Palestinians should first hold presidential and legislative elections to choose their leaders:
“Whoever wins in the elections will be handed the keys of the entire Palestinian Authority, be it Hamas or Fatah or any other Palestinian faction,”

Now it seems the keys to control of the entire Palestinian Authority have been thrown down the drain by its own President just days later - as have any hopes of negotiating a two-state solution as prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

This solution has simply vanished into thin air after being flavour of the month for the last twenty years - with one of the two principal negotiating parties having gone missing in action.

We are now being subjected to the following delusional garbage being spouted on Al - Jazzera on 8 January by the now defunct chief negotiator of the now defunct Palestinian Authority - Saeb Erekat:
“Palestine is a country under occupation. What was Norway, Finland, Holland, France, Korea, Philippines between 1939 and 1945 - nation states under occupation. Today, the state of Palestine is officially a state under occupation. It has 192 member countries that recognise this and a nation state, Israel, which is the occupying power; these are the new realities.”

The comparison is totally fictitious and Erekat’s arrogance is unbounded.

Comparing States that had existed for centuries to a State that has never existed in recorded history whilst claiming statehood in an area it has never controlled is mind blowing.

Demonstrably all 192 “member countries” in the United Nations do not recognise Erekat’s outrageous statement.

Purporting to draw many of those countries into what is increasingly appearing to be a continuation of the Fatah-Hamas rivalry for control of the hearts and minds of the long suffering Palestinian Arabs is political madness.

Certainly 50 of those countries did nothing of the sort - 9 rejecting and 41 abstaining from supporting the General Assembly resolution on 29 November last granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer State at its meetings.

Abbas and Erekat should have heeded the explanations given by Singapore and Germany for abstaining - before embarking on their new flight into unreality

A summary of these two countries views was issued in a release from the United Nations Department of Public Information News and Media Division

Germany’s vote against the Resolution was summarised as follows:
“The delegate of Germany said his nation firmed believed in “two States for two peoples” and shared the goal of a Palestinian State. However, such status must be achieved only through direct negotiations. There was doubt that today’s action would be helpful for the peace process at this point in time. “It might lead to further hardening of positions instead of improving chances of a two-State solution through direct negotiations,” he said. He explicitly welcomed that today’s resolution called for a two-State solution and, hence, recognized the right of Israel to exist in peace. However, Israel’s legitimate security concern had to be addressed in a credible manner.”

To say Germany was spot on in its predictions would be an understatement.

Singapore was even more circumspect in its sober assessment made against the baying cries from those 138 states who could not see the wood for the trees.
“The representative of Singapore said that his delegation supported the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland and had, in the past, supported relevant Assembly resolutions. However, his country had abstained from today’s vote because only a negotiated settlement, consistent with Security Council resolution 242 (1967), could provide the basis for a viable, long-term solution. Both sides had legitimate rights and shared responsibilities and must be prepared to make compromises to achieve the larger good of a lasting peace. Because of those interlinked rights and responsibilities, no unilateral move could result in a just and durable outcome.”

The preparadness of especially the democratic states to vote for the General Assembly Resolution on 29 November and abandon Security Council Resolution 242 - the only internationally accepted United Nations resolution binding both Jews and Arabs to ending their conflict - was shameful.

Those democracies must now rue the day that their votes could be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the state of utter confusion that now exists following Abbas’s Presidential decree and Erekat’s involvement of them in his latest statement.

Israel will hold elections on 22 January.

A new political party - Bayit Hayehudi - the Jewish homeland party - could possibly end up exercising a controlling vote in the next Parliament.

It’s leader Naftali Bennett has already made clear that he will be calling for Israel to annex at least 60% of the West Bank - adding in an interview in Haaretz on 28 December:
“And in the end, Jordan will be Palestine. There is no chance that, between the river and the sea, a Palestinian state will arise. The two-state solution is dead. There is no need to bury the two-state solution because it is already buried.”

Abbas has helped advance this possible outcome because of his inane Presidential decree consigning the Palestinian Authority to the dustbin of history.

Ave atque vale - Palestinian Authority.

Others less charitable might say - “good riddance”.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Palestine - Creative Compromises Can Conquer Conflict

[Published 4 January 2013]

t has taken less than a month for the euphoria generated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution conferring non-member observer status on the “State of Palestine” to dissolve into a farcical denouement.

Mahmoud Abbas’s folly in unilaterally approaching the United Nations in breach of the Oslo Accords has been neatly summed up by CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk in her article “Is Palestine now a State?”
“In the end, the Resolution does not change the Palestinians lives on the ground, and it does not “recognize” Palestine as a state.”

UN Special Rapporteur for the West Bank - Professor Richard Falk - offered his own prognosis on 2 January on his blog page:
” At this point, I do not believe that the two-state consensus can be implemented, nor is the one-state alternative politically feasible.”

Demise of the two-state solution is confirmed by the following recent developments:

Firstly - Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, has reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that Hamas is conducting secret negotiations in an Arab country to reach agreement with Israel over the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

Muheisen has claimed that the negotiations were being held under the auspices of the US claiming that:
“Hamas is seeking to establish its own emirate while leaving the West Bank as cantons that are separated by settlements. Hamas’s goal is to foil the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”

Secondly - The 2003 United States Roadmap proposing a two- state solution has disappeared off the radar with State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland only being able to offer this vision:
“As we turn the calendar to 2013… now is the time for leaders on both sides to display real leadership, to focus on the work that’s necessary to return to direct negotiations,”
That option is unlikely to happen.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not held direct high level talks since September 2010 - at the tail end of a 10- month Israeli settlement freeze to which Abbas failed to respond until the freeze had nearly expired.

The Palestinian Authority still demands that settlement construction stop once again before they engage in talks - which they have said should pick up where they left off with Israel’s then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.

These demands will certainly not be met by Israel in the aftermath of November’s General Assembly Resolution.

Abbas has now become firmly stuck on his high horse with no way to get down without considerable loss of face and prestige.

Thirdly - Attempting to salvage something from the wreck - Abbas has let it be known that he would be prepared to consider a confederation with Jordan once a Palestinian State was recognised in the territory lost by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

If the creation of such a state has not reached first base after twenty years of tortuous negotiations - then it certainly will not do so after Abbas’s foray at the United Nations.

Creative compromises are now urgently needed to determine the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza that do not involve the creation of a State between Jordan, Israel and Egypt for the first time in recorded history.

Seeds for some such compromises appear to be sprouting from two different sources.

Firstly - Reports emanating from Gaza suggest that discussions are underway with Egypt to supply electricity and natural gas to Gaza to reduce its dependency on Israel.

Egypt has also been permitting freer access and egress to and from the Gaza Strip.

Such moves would materially assist in restoring the close relationship Egypt had with Gaza when it occupied and administered Gaza from 1948-1967.

If this relationship can be creatively nurtured to enable Egypt to provide a sphere of influence that persuades Gaza to look to Egypt for its salvation - rather than targeting Israel in continuing conflict - then the prospects for an improved relationship between Israel and Gaza could well be the end result.

Secondly - Reunification of the West Bank with Jordan as existed between 1950-1967 has now been raised as a possibility by the well respected and well connected Palestinian Arab commentator Daoud Kuttab in his article published in the Atlantic on 26 December - “Are the Palestinians ready to share a State with Jordan?”

Kuttab recalls his exclusive interview in 1993 with Israel’s then Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin - the first ever given to a reporter working for a leading Palestinian newspaper.

Kuttab writes:
“I asked Rabin for his vision as to the ultimate political status of the West Bank and Gaza in 15 or 20 years. Rabin, who at the time, we later discovered, had approved the Oslo back-channel, took a puff at a cigarette given to him by one of his aides, and answered that he envisions it being part of an entity with Jordan.”

Kuttab has also dismissed the confederation idea proposed by Abbas:
“Confederations are political systems that include two independent countries. For some time in the 1980s, this was the most talked-about term in the region. The late Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyyad), the former head of intelligence for the PLO, was quoted as saying that what Palestinians wanted was five minutes of independence and then they would happily agree to a confederation with Jordan. However, the issue became politically poisonous as soon as the late King Hussein of Jordan said publicly that he doesn’t want anyone to ever utter the term “confederation.” And so it has been for the past two decades.”

And so it will apparently continue - no matter what Abbas says.

Kuttab concludes:
“While it is unclear if Jordan will ever end up having any sovereign role in the West Bank, support for a greater role for Jordan in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will no doubt increase in the coming months and years if the current decline of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority continues. The one determining factor in all of the discussions will have to come from the Israeli side, which has yet to decide whether it will relinquish sovereignty over the areas occupied in 1967 to any Arab party, whether it be Palestinian or Jordanian.”

Israel has already agreed to cede its claims to sovereignty in more than 90% of those areas in 2000 and 2008 and only needs a willing Arab partner to close the deal.

Jordan is rapidly readying itself to fill that role.

Creative compromises can indeed conquer conflict as a means of resolving even the most intractable and long running disputes.

Palestine - Violating Vatican Vows

[Published 27 December 2012]

Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican are set to considerably cool following the Pope granting a private audience to Mahmoud Abbas on 17 December.

Their meeting came at a time of growing political crisis engendered by the passage of the UN General Assembly resolution on 29 November that reaffirmed
“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967;"

The Pope seemingly overlooked any discussion of the implications of this integral part of the resolution that also recognised the State of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the General Assembly - a view confirmed by the following communique issued by the Vatican
“The cordial discussions made reference to the recent Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations by which Palestine was recognised as a Non-member Observer State of the aforementioned Organisation. It is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming the negotiations between the Parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both.”

The Pope was apparently unaware that the only matter left to be negotiated between the parties as a result of “this initiative ” was the timing of the eviction of 600000 Jews currently living in this ” State of Palestine” as defined by the General Assembly.

Abbas had made this racist view very clear on 28 July 2010 when Wafa - the official Palestinian news agency - reported the following remark by Abbas in Cairo:
“I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as Nato forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the Nato forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”

Could the Pope have failed to understand that the Resolution also left no room for negotiating the boundaries of this “State of Palestine” - that the General Assembly had preemptively determined that it should comprise 100% of the territory won from Jordan by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War?

Would cordial discussions have occurred had the Pope taken the opportunity to urge Abbas to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home and offer Palestinian citizenship to those Jews who did not want to leave their current homes?

Resumption of negotiations by “the Parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both” in such circumstances is a pure pipe dream.

The Abbas audience was a papal faux pas for several reasons.

Firstly - the Pope should not have blessed the audience with overt political significance by accepting from Abbas the gift of a mosaic of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem bearing the inscription that it was presented to him by “the President of the State of Palestine” - a farcical nomenclature that had only been sanctioned that very day by the Chief of Protocol at the UN - Yeocheol Yoon.

Secondly - the Pope was clearly violating clause 11(2) of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See And The State Of Israel which provides:
“The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders.”

Remaining a stranger to this temporal conflict would have allowed the Pope to escape any criticism as a result of this inappropriate audience.

Thirdly - Article 2.2 of the Fundamental Agreement further avers:
“The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution and all other manifestations of antisemitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone”

Failing to condemn the “President of the State of Palestine” during the audience for his known manifestations of anti-semitism makes a mockery of the Fundamental Agreement.

Fourthly - The Pope’s political foray no doubt inspired his own appointed nominee as the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land - the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal - to also make a political statement in his annual pre-Christmas homily.

Archbishop Twal told his followers at his headquarters in Jerusalem’s Old City that this year’s festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating:
“the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine. The path (to statehood) remains long, and will require a united effort,”

Archbishop Twal - who was born in Jordan - had told Vatican Radio on 21 June 2008:
“The majority of our priests, nuns, schools families are in Jordan. We need a link to Jordan…,”

That link will certainly not come from the State of Palestine designated by the UN General Assembly - since its realisation is simply not going to eventuate.

Archbishop Twal also told in an interview on 22 June 2008:
“If you want to touch Jews, Muslims, Christians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Cypriots, Europeans all together ..then you have to consider every comma”

The Archbishop would have done well to have remembered this sage advice before uttering his Christmas Eve message - understanding that what he said would not touch at least 600000 Jews - but cause them immeasurable hurt.

Indeed those who are playing charades with the newly crowned President of the State of Palestine are engaging in a world of make believe - where the words and commas in the Mandate for Palestine, the Montevideo Convention, Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap - are apparently no longer worth the paper they are written on.

One can now add the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel to these discarded international agreements.

This does not bode well for any possible peaceful resolution of the long running conflict between Jews and Arabs.

The last Pope to bear Pope Benedict’s name - Benedict XV - enthusiastically endorsed the Jews’ right to reconstitute their national home in what was then Palestine when he told Zionist leader Nahum Sokolov at an audience in 1917 :
“Nineteen hundred years ago Rome destroyed your homeland and when you seek to rebuild it, you seek a path which leads via Rome…Yes this is the will of Divine Providence, this is what the Almighty desires.”

Violating Vatican vows this time round is certainly not going to entice Israel to beat a path to Rome as it continues to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its ancient, biblical and internationally sanctioned homeland.

Palestine - Reunification Trumps Confederation

[Published 20 December 2012]

Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan - as existed between 1948-1967 - has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict.

This follows revelations in the London- based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - has asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian State and Jordan.

Abbas has reportedly instructed his advisors to provide him with detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan to revive the confederation plan - first discussed in 1988 under very different political circumstances to those now existing.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, has told the Jerusalem Post (“Abbas mulls forming confederation with Jordan” - December 13) that the confederation idea would be discussed with Jordan - but only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef has also told the Jerusalem Post that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines “because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan.”

The creation of such a state will not occur.

Jordan appears to have been positioning itself to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel’s negotiating partner - as indicated by the following recent events:
1. King Abdullah’s uncle - Prince Hassan - stated in October that the West Bank was part of Jordan.

2. PLO heavyweight Farouk Kaddumi followed by pointing to the advantages that could follow Jordan’s return to the West Bank.

3. The Jordanian Education Department produced a map in a text book not showing the West Bank as a separate territorial entity.

4. Prince Hassan gave a public address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at a gala black tie affair in London seven days before Abbas took to the podium at the United Nations on 29 November.

Jordan’s return to centre stage has been further strengthened by Abbas’s decision to proceed with unilateral action to have the “State of Palestine” admitted as a non-observer State at the United Nations with its claim to sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank being recognised at the same time.

Abbas has already paid dearly for his precipitate action in abandoning negotiations with Israel and going it alone to the United Nations - unleashing the following consequences:
1. Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal defiantly opposing a Palestinian State being created anywhere but on the ashes of Israel.

2. Four hundred million dollars in taxation revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority being withheld over the next four months to meet unpaid water and electricity bills owed by the PA to Israeli utility companies.

3. Israel announcing plans to revive building another 3000 housing units - kept on hold since 2004 to placate and induce the PA to continue negotiations with Israel

4. Abbas being forced to go cap in hand to Arab countries begging to be helped out to the tune of One hundred million dollars a month to stay afloat

Many of those 138 Nations that voted to admit the State of Palestine as a non-observer state must now be shaking their heads in amazement at the latest announcement by Abbas of a possible confederation of that state with Jordan once statehood has been achieved.

It makes a mockery of their decision to grant non-observer status to a state whose chief proponent has now admitted still does not exist.

Even worse Abbas is now flagging that this State - when it achieves its independence - will immediately be prepared to surrender that independence and enter into a confederation with Jordan.

The two-state solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict proposed under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap is rapidly turning out to be nothing but a chimera

Abbas’s confederation proposal is unlikely to resonate with Jordan - which is well aware of the provision in the PLO Charter proclaiming that Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is “an indivisible territorial unit”. Confederation would give the PLO a foothold and possible opportunity to repeat its 1970 attempt to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in pursuit of this stated objective.

The King would also be cognisant of the following resolution supporting reunification of the West Bank and Jordan passed at the 8th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in February- March 1971:
“Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…”

This resolution - unlike the November 29 General Assembly resolution - still has relevance and meaning 41 years later for both Jordan and the PLO.

King Abdullah could do worse than reaffirm his agreement with this resolution and rebuff any attempts at confederation - making it clear at the same time that he is prepared to enter into negotiations with Israel to reunify the West Bank with Jordan and restore the status quo so far as is now possible since Jordan occupied the West Bank 45 years ago.

The Hashemites by their astute and diplomatic rule in Jordan for the last 93 years have preserved 78% of former Palestine as an exclusive Arab State in an area originally proposed by the League of Nations for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 has survived intact despite, many occasions when Jordan may have been tempted to end it.This peace treaty already contains negotiating parameters for dealing with such thorny issues in the West Bank as water, refugees and Jerusalem.

Hopefully Israel and Jordan could successfully conclude negotiations where no one - Jew or Arab - would have to leave his present home or business in the West Bank.

Abbas’s provocation of both Israel and Hamas in approaching the United Nations has clearly backfired and his proposal to confederate with Jordan can only have further embarrassed and disaffected many countries that supported him.

In the upcoming diplomatic manoeuvring that is now being undertaken regarding the future of the West Bank there is no doubt that reunification with Jordan certainly trumps confederation.

Palestine - Democracies In Diplomatic Disarray

[Published 13 December 2012]

It has only taken 10 days for 22 of the top 25 leading democratic nations listed in the Democracy Index 2011 to fall into abject diplomatic disarray.

Their acute discomfort follows the rush by 17 of them to vote to admit Palestine as a non-observer state at the UN General Assembly on November 29 - whilst the other 5 abstained.

Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Malta, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Mauritius and Spain - should have all joined the remaining three - Canada, United States and the Czech Republic - who cast a ” NO” vote.

Instead they swallowed the following assuring statement by PLO Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to the vote:
“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.”

It mattered not to their democratic sensitivities that President Abbas was a lapsed President whose term of office had expired in January 2009 - a situation that would never be tolerated in their countries.

It mattered even less that Abbas was purporting to speak on behalf of a territorial entity he did not control - even as a tyrannical despot.

It was of no consequence that Abbas claimed to represent a population that was hopelessly split in its allegiances between the PLO and its arch rival Hamas.

It was irrelevant that no elections had been held for the last six years to give the people any say on which one of these protagonists - or anyone else who might want to throw his hat into the ring - should represent them.

Foolishly they gave Abbas their vote supporting:
“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”

Their votes were cast in the full knowledge that they were adding their voices to those who saw nothing dishonourable in jettisoning the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap to the political scrap heap by endorsing the PLO’s unilateral approach to the United Nations in breach of those internationally negotiated agreements.

These democracies were happy to undermine any need for further negotiations to determine the future sovereignty of the territory in dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority - effectively limiting any negotiations to when and on what terms 600000 Jews would leave their homes in which they had lived for the last 40 years.

Indignation and shock horror greeted the news that Israel should have the temerity - just three days after their vote - to announce its intention to revive its stalled plans to build 3000 housing units in part of the disputed territory bearing the amorphous title E1 - which these democracies had just determined should be vested in the Palestinian Authority.

This was the catalyst for all diplomatic hell to burst forth.

These democracies did what all good democracies do to show their displeasure at those who treat their decisions with contempt.

Britain, Spain, Sweden and Denmark called in Israel’s Ambassadors and gave them a diplomatic dressing down.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement that the E1 project was a serious violation that threatened the two-state solution.

Speaking from Papua New Guinea, Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Carr said the Australian Government had made clear its call to all sides not to exploit or overreact to the vote and called in Israel’s Ambassador to deliver the message.

Senator Carr had reportedly railroaded the wishes of Australia’s Prime Minister who had wanted to cast a “No” vote - forcing its replacement with an abstention after threatening the Cabinet might demand a “Yes” vote if his recommendation was not accepted.
“I am extremely disappointed with these reported Israeli decisions.

Australia has long opposed all settlement activity. Such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel. Israel’s reported decision to unfreeze planning of the area known as E1 is especially counter-productive. Australia has also conveyed these concerns to the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. The Australian Government urges both sides to return urgently to the negotiation table in good faith,”

Good faith? Surely the prospect of any such negotiations had already gone out the window when most of the world’s 104 democracies had voted as they did.

Three days later these democracies received their come uppance when Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made a triumphant first visit to Gaza.

Addressing a crowd estimated at hundreds of thousands who braved the rain to hear him - Meshaal declared:
“We will never recognize Israel’s occupation of legitimate Palestinian lands, and we will not recognize Israel… Palestine is our land from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, and we will never give away an inch of it… As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of it ..There is no legitimacy for occupation. Hence, there is no legitimacy for Israel, however long time lasts.”

The centrepiece of the rally was a huge replica of a type of rocket terrorists from Gaza fired indiscriminately into Israel’s civilian population reaching as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv just a few weeks before the General Assembly vote.

The crowd responded enthusiastically:
“We swear by the name of almighty God and his great Prophet to renew our pledge of allegiance and loyalty to Hamas.”

Have any Palestinian diplomats been called into any foreign capitals and given a dressing down? There are plenty of them working in democratic states representing this Mickey Mouse United Nations “state”.

Has there been any revulsion expressed at the statements made during this rally or any indication that the the flow of billions of dollars into Gaza to assist its baying-for -blood population will cease?

Has Mahmoud Abbas been asked to express his disgust at the rejection by Meshall of the two-state solution laid out by Abbas at the General Assembly just 8 days earlier?

These 22 democracies and the other democracies who joined them in voting as they did have done untold harm to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict. Their subsequent inability to take concerted action following Meshaal’s visit to Gaza is appalling.

And that is just 10 days into the life of this infamous Resolution.

Foreign Minister Carr and the other 21 Foreign Ministers - where are you hiding, when will you wake up and wipe the egg off your collective faces?