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%.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Palestine - Continuing Jew-hatred Must Exact A Heavy Price


[Published 20 November 2014]


The slaughter of four Rabbis with axes, knives and guns whilst praying in a synagogue along with the serious wounding of six other Jews caught in this horrific blood bath — and the murder of a Druze police officer who went to their rescue — is the end result of endemic Jew-hatred:
1. Begun in the 1920 Jerusalem riots
2. Embodied in the 1964 PLO Covenant, and
3. Reinforced in the 1987 Hamas Charter

Arab Jew-hatred has continued unabated for the last 90 years since the Jewish people’s right to self- determination was unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

Alarm bells warning of this week’s massacre should have sounded loud and clear when American Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel on 2 January following Israel releasing 26 long term Palestinian Arab prisoners convicted of murder and other serious criminal offences.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presciently told Kerry on that occasion:
“A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced [these] terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says — how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women — axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets — what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case — I stress, at least in one case — those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.”
Among those 26 prisoners released were:
1. Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud — convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.
2. Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal — convicted of the ambush and murder of Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbing him to death.
3. Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser — convicted for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri 65 — a former employer of Nasser who Nasser ambushed and stabbed in the back.
4. Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim — convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989.
5. Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin — convicted for the murder of Yigal Shahaf — shooting him in the head as he and his wife were walking through Jerusalem’s old city toward the Western Wall.
Netanyahu then told Kerry to his face:
“In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the state of Israel. This Palestinian Government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media — the government-controlled media — in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement, towards reconciliation and peace.”

Kerry failed to address this virulent Jew-hatred motivating Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews - ignored the adulation afforded these convicted murderers by Abbas and remained silent on the rampant incitement conducted on a daily basis against Israel.

Instead — Kerry — apparently languishing in a time warp—sought to provide some comforting reassurance for Netanyahu with these incredibly inane remarks:
“On a personal level, last month I travelled to Vietnam on my first visit there as Secretary of State. And the transformation in our relationship—I was a young soldier who fought there—the transformation in our relationship is proof that as painful as the past can be, through hard work of diplomacy history’s adversaries can actually become partners for a new day and history’s challenges can become opportunities for a new age.”

Kerry’s words have turned out to be a massive misjudgement.

It is surely time for America and the European Union especially - and for the rest of the international community generally - to take stock and make clear that:
1. no further financial aid will be given in either Gaza or the West Bank
2. Abbas and his Government will be regarded as persona non-grata
Until:
1. the insidious Jew-hating provisions in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter are repealed
2. Government-controlled media and schools excise all references denigrating and demeaning Jews.
3. The PLO is prepared to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people in any peace agreement signed by Israel and the PLO.
Failure to so act can only see the Jewish-Arab conflict spiralling out of control into a crisis of catastrophic proportions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Syria Hysteria Dooms Obama's Plan To Destroy ISIL


[Published 21 September 2014]


President Obama’s failed policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt and the West Bank do not bode well for the success of the President’s current plans to end the threat to world peace posed by the meteoric rise of both the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF).

That threat was articulated by UN Security Council Resolution 2701 - passed on 15 August - which expressed:
” its gravest concern that territory in parts of Iraq and Syria is under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF) “

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter—the Security Council strongly condemned:
“the indiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities, mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education, especially in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo and Idlib, in northern Iraq, especially in Tamim, Salaheddine and Niniveh Provinces;”

America has subsequently acted as though Resolution 2701 had never been passed.

In his speech to the American nation on 11 September Obama declared:
“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

The President is wrong on both counts.

Firstly — ISIL is Islamic — as its formal Declaration of Statehood on 29 June 2014 proclaims - and this following analysis asserts:
“The Islamic State is not only a terrorist group. It is an extremist, Islamist, political and military organization that holds a radical interpretation of Islam as a political philosophy and seeks to impose that worldview by force on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Expelled from al-Qaeda for being too extreme, the Islamic State claims to be the legitimate ruler of all Sunni Muslims worldwide. They have established what they regard as a state which includes large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, governed from Raqqa in Syria.

It advances a number of theological opinions to support its claims. Its adherents hold that they are merely practicing Islam fully, pronouncing those who disagree with them takfir (heretics).

This designation is used as religious justification for killing the Islamic State’s opponents”

Secondly - ISIL is a State - meeting the legal requirements of Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
(a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Thirdly - Obama’s claim that ISIL is recognized by no other government is irrelevant — as article 3 of the Montevideo Convention makes indisputably clear:
“The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states."

Obama’s false assumptions are a recipe for policy failure — as the goals enunciated by Obama in the same address clearly demonstrated:
“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
Destroying the UN condemned Al Nusrah Front did not rate a mention. A lukewarm response from 57 Islamic States to help defeat ISIL’s declared world threat to peace was not factored into Obama’s thinking.

Four days later an international conference held in Paris made it clear that Syria was not even part of the battleground where ISIL was to be confronted, degraded and destroyed.

Mouram Daoud—a member of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Syria — an internal opposition coalition — opined that ISIL cannot be defeated militarily without Syria and Turkey’s backing:
“The US administration should first pressure the Turkish partner to stop the flow of jihadists through its airports and stop buying oil from IS. According to [United Nations] Resolution 2170, the US will not be able to strike IS sites in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government, which is eagerly awaiting this type of cooperation to restore its international legitimacy. But the US will not include the Syrian government in this war, and will not recognize the government either. This means that the US will stick to its decision to only provide weapons to the Syrian [rebel] factions.”

Obama’s mantra - first delivered in August 2011 - remains unchanged:
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Not even 200000 deaths and the creation of millions of Syrian civilian refugees since 2011 have produced any momentum for rapprochement between Obama and Assad that would enable Assad to extend - and Obama to accept - any invitation to confront ISIL in occupied Syria.

Any expectation that Assad and his backers — Russia, Iran and Hezbollah — will help Obama by destroying ISIL in Syria - is a pipe dream.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Obama And Kerry Must Stop Playing Games With Israel's Future


[Published 9 September 2015]


Attempting to secure the Congressional vote required to confirm President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has necessitated Secretary for State John Kerry pledging Obama’s “rock solid” diplomatic support and increased military assistance for Israel — the bitterest opponent of Obama’s Iranian proposal.

Speaking at the National Constitution Center on 2 September—Kerry said:
"And diplomatically, our support for Israel also remains rock solid as we continue to oppose every effort to delegitimize the Jewish state, or to pass biased resolutions against it in international bodies."
Kerry continued:
"I take a back seat to no one in my commitment to the security of Israel, a commitment I demonstrated through my 28-plus years in the Senate. And as Secretary of State, I am fully conscious of the existential nature of the choice Israel must make…"
If Kerry is to be seriously believed then he must reassure Congress — irrespective of its vote on Iran - that the commitments made to Israel by President Bush in his letter dated 14 April 2004 supporting Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will be scrupulously adhered to by the current Obama administration.

Kerry unequivocally supported those Presidential commitments when interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press on 18 April 2004:
RUSSERT: On Thursday, President Bush broke with the tradition and policy of six predecessors when he said that Israel can keep part of the land seized in the 1967 Middle East War and asserted the Palestinian refugees cannot go back to their particular homes. Do you support President Bush?

KERRY: Yes.

RUSSERT: Completely?

KERRY: Yes.
Those commitments included:
1. Preventing any attempt to impose any plan other than President Bush’s Roadmap envisioned by him on 24 June 2002.
2. Being strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.
3. Understanding that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
4. Accepting as part of a final peace settlement that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
5. Acknowledging that in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,
Bush’s commitments were overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95-3 the next day (“the Bush/Congress Commitments”).

Obama attempted to water down these commitments in 2011 by suggesting possible Israeli land swaps be made for any territory Israel acquired in the West Bank.

Kerry piggybacked Obama in 2013 - inducing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel with this letter:
Dear Mr. President

In response to your question regarding our position on the issue of borders, this letter is to confirm that the position set forth by President Obama in his May 2011 speeches, that Palestine’s borders with Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, still represents our position. As negotiations begin, I reiterate our commitment to this position. As you confirmed, this letter is and will remain private and confidential between you and me.”
Playing such furtive games with Abbas contrary to the Bush/Congress Commitments is now surely over following Kerry’s statement. Those commitments are set in concrete - binding all American administrations including Obama’s.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Iran - Is Obama Conning 340 Rabbis or 200 Generals?


[Published 3 September 2015]


The upcoming debate and vote in the US Congress to endorse the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran (JCPOA) has become even more critical now that President Obama has reportedly secured the necessary votes to veto any Congressional resolution of disapproval.

Congress has been flooded with petitions - ostensibly neither Democrat nor Republican - urging Congressmen to cast their votes by crossing political party lines.

340 Rabbis in their appeal to Congress dated 17 August — have made the following assertions:
1. The Obama administration has successfully brought together the major international powers to confront Iran over its nuclear ambitions. The broad international sanctions moved Iran to enter this historic agreement. Should this agreement be rejected by the U.S. Congress, those sanctions will end. There will be no new negotiations, as the other member countries are fully in favor of this agreement and have no desire to re-negotiate.

2. We understand that while this agreement blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb, we recognize it does not deal with Iran’s support for terror, but that was never the purpose of these talks.

On the other hand some 200 retired generals and admirals in their open letter to Congress dated 25 August — have counterclaimed:
1. As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect.

2. There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.

3. The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced. Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.

These claims are highly disturbing and require a reasoned and detailed rebuttal by President Obama prior to the Congress vote — especially since President Obama sought to assure America to the contrary in the following statement made by him on 15 July at his Press Conference:
"It [JCPOA] solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don’t have a bomb. And the point I’ve repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it’ll be a lot easier for us to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests if they don’t have the bomb."

The considered opinion of 200 retired generals and admirals cannot be brushed off with a deafening silence from President Obama — nor can those 340 Rabbis who call for support of the President on the basis of an “understanding”.

Before it votes - Congress should demand that President Obama provide it with written reasons substantiating that Iran cannot get the bomb under the terms of the concluded JCPOA.

Who has Obama conned - the Rabbis or the Generals? Congress—and the world - need to know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Palestine - Changed Narratives Need To Nurture New Negotiations


[Published 26 August 2015]


France is not expected to present its anticipated draft proposal for the declaration of a Palestinian State to the U.N. Security Council in September — having reportedly been criticized both by Israel - which does not want any external solution imposed on it - and by the PLO - which fears the Security Council will not meet its demands.

The Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap are dead and buried — even if the headstone is yet to be ceremoniously unveiled marking the actual date when the collective records, transcripts and secret minutes detailing fruitless negotiations conducted during the last 20 years between Israel and the now-disbanded Palestinian Authority were finally consigned to the graveyard of history.

It is now also becoming increasingly apparent that creating a 22nd independent Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt can:
1. ever peacefully eventuate without Israel, Jordan and Egypt’s express consent

2. be unilaterally imposed on Israel as a result of any resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council contrary to the express terms of its own Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
Filling this potentially explosive void will require the groundwork to first be meticulously prepared before any new negotiations can actually be undertaken to try and resolve competing Arab and Jewish claims to sovereignty in the remaining 6% of the territory of the former Mandate for Palestine — Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem and Gaza — where sovereignty still remains undetermined (“the disputed territories”).

Such groundwork will require the following factual narratives to have been commonly agreed on and adopted by the negotiating parties prior to commencing negotiations to resolve the conflict:
1. Two of Israel’s immediately adjoining neighbours — Jordan and Egypt — have recognised the existence of Israel as a sovereign State in peace treaties signed by them with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively. These peace treaties have been honoured and respected during difficult periods when they might have been abrogated. They stand as a tribute to the determination of all three sovereign States to maintain a state of peace and avoid a position of confrontation as differences were resolved. Jordan and Egypt are accordingly indispensable parties to any new negotiations with Israel — if Arab sovereignty is to be established in any parts of the disputed territories.

2. Two of Israel’s other immediately adjoining neighbours — the PLO and Hamas — have since 1964 and 1988 respectively maintained in their respective Charters that the Jews have no claims to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in any part of the territory of the Mandate for Palestine vested in the Jews by the unanimous vote of all 51 members of the League of Nations in 1922. Including either the PLO or Hamas in any new negotiations is pointless and meaningless whilst those Charters remain unrevoked.

3. The on-going conflict needs to be re-branded “the Jewish-Arab conflict” replacing “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The current conflict had its origins in the events that took place during World War 1 — well before the State of Israel was declared in 1948. Marginalising the ongoing conflict by avoiding any consideration of the events that occurred between 1915 and 1948 has operated to paper over any proper discussion of the many opportunities presented to and rejected by the Arabs in relation to gaining territorial sovereignty in the disputed territories during that time - and indeed after 1948. This could impact on the current Arab claims to sovereignty over any of the disputed territories which may have been jeopardised or prejudiced as a result.

4. Recognition that the territory of the Mandate for Palestine is currently under Jewish sovereignty in 17% (Israel), Arab sovereignty in 78% (Jordan) with the remaining 6% comprising the disputed territories.

5. Claims that the building of Jewish settlements in the disputed territory are illegal in international law — based on the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention - need to be reconsidered having regard to the following prior territory-specific piece of legislation — Article 6 of the 1922 Mandate for Palestine — legalising such Jewish settlement:
"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

Pursuant to this provision — preserved in 1945 by article 80 of the UN Charter - Jews have legally settled in the disputed territories between 1922 and 1947 - and since 1967.

6. The continued use of language referring to the disputed territories as being “occupied territory” or “Occupied Palestinian Territories” and the need for Israel to “end the occupation” fails to recognise that it was the Jews whose occupation in the disputed territories was first abruptly ended in 1948 — after every single Jew then living there was forcibly driven out by six invading Arab armies and not allowed to return until after the Six Day War in 1967.

Unless these narratives are changed, nurtured and mutually accepted by the parties before formal negotiations actually begin - one can confidently predict that any fanfare trumpeting yet another round of negotiations will be destined to see those negotiations inevitably end up in their own designated graveyard plot alongside the tomb housing the Oslo-Roadmap failed negotiations.

Negotiations based on shaky foundations without real substance can only guarantee their eventual death-throes.

Palestine - More Straight Talking - Less Doublespeak


[Published 13 August 2015]


The well-publicised “secret meeting” recently held in Jordan between Israel’s newest negotiations Minister Silvan Shalom and perennial PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is but the latest in a 20 years old meaningless talkfest that has seen little tangible signs of ending the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict — despite two offers made by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008 and rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

Talks have been conducted on Israel’s side within a framework comprising the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2003 Bush Roadmap (with 14 documented Israeli reservations.)

Mahmoud Abbas’s approach to those Israeli reservations should have sounded alarm bells from the start:
“They don’t interest me…

We do not accept each side picking and choosing only those specific elements that are convenient for them in the road map.

The map was prepared last December and we accepted it, despite our own comments and reservations. We wanted to give this initiative a chance, but it’s impossible to continue inventing comments and reservations after it was submitted.”

One of Israel’s reservations stated:
“In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel."

Abbas’s consistent refusal to accept these terms from the outset has seen the negotiations reduced to a farce.

Those proponents of the two-state solution who continue to allow Abbas to maintain this rejectionist stance are actively contributing to its demise.

The Roadmap further states unequivocally:
“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….”

Those do-gooders particularly in the European Union and the United States still supporting the “two-state solution” seem to have lost sight of this clearly agreed democratic destination.

Democracy in any projected Palestinian State has been shoved under the carpet and out of sight — without a whimper from the world’s democracies.

Any signs of democracy are noticeably absent in both the West Bank and Gaza — where elections for the President have not been held since 2005, parliamentary elections were last held in 2006 and no single government exercises authority in both areas.

Tongue-tied Western democracies make no objection to this farcical state of affairs - guaranteeing continuing negotiations remain a diplomatic joke.

Another Israeli reservation consigned to the garbage bin by Abbas was allowed to pass without comment or objection by the Western democracies:
“The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel."

The Palestinian Authority no longer exists — having been disbanded on 3 January 2013.

By Decree number 1 for 2013 — Abbas unilaterally tore up the Oslo Accords:
“Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”

Negotiating parameters established between identified parties pursuant to Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap have been replaced by a set of fictitious propositions lacking negotiating partners.

Western democracies supporting this disingenuous state of affairs should hang their heads in shame. Unless they engage in more straight talking and less doublespeak — any negotiated two-state solution will remain pure fantasy.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Palestine - Chickens Coming Home To Roost For Turkey


[Published 7 August 2015]


Turkey’s championing of the Palestinian Arabs in their quest for an independent State has come back to bite Turkey with a vengeance - as Kurdish Statehood is once again firmly placed on the political agenda.

Turkey became the first country in the world with an ambassador to “Palestine” - after its envoy in Ramallah, ≈ûakir √ñzkan Torunlar, presented his Letter of Credence to “State of Palestine” President Mahmoud Abbas on 14 April 2013.

Incredibly this self-declared “State of Palestine” - admitted as a member State of UNESCO on 31 October 2011 and as a non-State observer to the United Nations on 29 November 2012 with Turkey’s active support — lacks the four following criteria required by the 1933 Montevideo Convention to qualify as a State:
1. a permanent population;

2. a defined territory;

3. a government; and

4. capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Turkey’s swift recognition of this illegally constituted state for the “Palestinians” — a people only created for the first time in 1964 by the PLO Charter — starkly contrasts with Turkey’s consistent refusal to grant its 15 million ancient Kurdish community — part of the largest stateless minority group in the world - the identical right to their own State in Northern Turkey for the last 90 years.

Tim Arango sums up the current situation:
"The Kurds - a population of roughly 30 million spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria - have historically been treated as second-class citizens by autocratic governments and have long dreamed of their own state. Their aspirations were thwarted by Western powers after World War I, when new borders were drawn that carved up the Kurdish communities. But slowly, during the upheaval of the Middle East, the Kurds are now reaching for self-determination.

The battle for Kobani last year in Syria, which ended in victory for the Kurds after a month long American-led air campaign, drew Kurdish fighters from around the world and fanned the flames of pan-Kurdish nationalism.

In Iraq, after the Islamic State swept across the north of the country last year and captured Mosul, Kurdish forces took charge of Kirkuk, a city long contested between Kurds and Arabs that sits on a sea of oil and is considered something of a spiritual homeland for the Kurds."

Gains by the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) in the last Turkish elections at the expense of Turkey’s President Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (A.K.P) have put added pressure on Kurdish demands for their own State.

Barham Salih - former prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region — has stated:
“I think this is a milestone for Kurdish people and for Turkish politics. Not long ago, Kurds were officially non-existent, at best identified as mountain Turks. After decades of denial and persecution, the time for the Kurds has arrived.”

Elif Safak - one of Turkey’s most famous novelists - wrote in Time magazine:
“It is one of the biggest ironies of Turkish political history that the Kurds — once belittled by the elites as a ‘backward culture’ — have become the major progressive force in the country.”

Turkey and the Kurds now appear to be hurtling toward renewing the all-out conflict that plagued Kurdish Statehood demands for decades - following a suicide attack that killed 32 people in the town of Suruc along the Syrian border.

Erdogan — robbed of his parliamentary majority by the Kurds - is in no mood to support Kurdish Statehood — a position he so enthusiastically embraced for the Palestinians.

Turkey seems set to pay a huge price for Erdogan’s hypocritical double standards.

The chickens are indeed coming home to roost.

Iran Deal Presages UN Military Action Against Islamic State


[Published 24 July 2015]


China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, America and the European Union (E3/EU+3) — the Septet — have shown a rare degree of international cooperation in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear horizons.

Such unanimity presages the possibility of a United Nations Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing military action against Islamic State — already declared a threat to international peace and security in Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2199.

The Security Council’s inability to commence military action to free vast tracts of Syria and Iraq and its captive civilian populations from Islamic State rule — has been frustrated by the following conflicting national interests of Septet members and Iran:
1. Russia and Iran backing the Assad regime in Syria

2. America, France, Germany and the United Kingdom forming part of the London 11 supporting rebels attempting to overthrow the Assad regime

3. China and Russia vetoing Security Council resolutions aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict.

4. Shiite Iran — backed by Russia - focusing on preserving its interests in Iraq - the first Arab country to be ruled by a Shia government since Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in Egypt in 1171.
Preserving these competing interests could explain the deliberate and extraordinary decision by the Septet to not demand changes in Iraq’s current aggressive and hostile behaviour — as President Obama’s remarks at a news conference hailing the JPCOA make clear:
“And my hope is that building on this deal, we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave. But we’re not counting on it."

So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. It’s not contingent on Iran suddenly operating like a liberal democracy. It solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don’t have a bomb. And the point I’ve repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it’ll be a lot easier for us to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests if they don’t have the bomb.

And — and so will they change their behavior? Will we seek to gain more cooperation from them in resolving issues like Syria or what’s happening in Iraq, to stop encouraging Houthis in Yemen, we’ll continue to engage with them.

Although keep in mind that unlike the Cuba situation, we’re not normalizing diplomatic relations here. So the contacts will continue to be limited, but will we try to encourage them to take a more constructive path? Of course. But we’re not betting on it. And in fact, having resolved the nuclear issue, we will be in a stronger position to work with Israel, work with the Gulf countries, work with our other partners, work with the Europeans to bring additional pressure to bear on Iran around those issues that remain of concern.”

Iran - diplomatically unscathed, emboldened and financially enriched once the current international sanctions omelette has been unscrambled — will not change its behaviour — nor will the Septet members have to abandon their perceived national interests.

Iran’s macabre dance with death will assuredly continue in the Middle East.

Obama could be betting this latest show of Septet-Iranian co-operation will finally procure Security Council approval to destroy their common enemy - Islamic State — which Obama’s American-led coalition of 62 States has spectacularly failed to accomplish.

Hopefully Obama’s giant gamble pays this huge dividend.

Abu Dhabi And Sydney - A Tale Of Two Cities


[Published 15 July 2015]


An Australian woman — Jodi Magi - has been arrested, jailed and deported from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after being found guilty of “writing bad words on social media about a person” — reportedly a cyber-crime in the United Arab Emirates.

Her crime?

Photographing a car in her apartment block that was parked across two disabled parking spaces without any disability stickers, blacking out the number plate, putting the photo on Facebook without any other identifiable detail and drawing attention to the seemingly selfish act.

Someone in the apartment block apparently complained to police and the case went to an Abu Dhabi court in June.

Ms Magi - who has lived in Abu Dhabi with her husband since 2012 - said she was forced to sign multiple documents in Arabic without any translation.

Two weeks after her conviction she was told she would be deported.

Last week Ms Magi tried to voluntarily deport herself and pay the approximately $3,600 fine - but Abu Dhabi authorities would not allow her to leave without presenting herself to the court.

When she did she was jailed - spending 53 hours in custody, shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, sleeping on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow, without toilet paper or eating utensils - before being deported.

Meanwhile in Sydney an on-line petition signed by hundreds of members of the Muslim community has successfully resulted in the cancellation of an Eid Dinner organised by the Australian Federal Police marking the end of Ramadan — whilst another similar dinner organised in Melbourne will proceed.

The petition - urging invited Muslim community leaders, Imams, representatives and prominent personalities to boycott the Eid Dinners — made the following charges (among others):
1. The Australian Government has over the last 12 months executed a concerted and prolonged campaign of anti-Muslim hysteria, pulling out all stops to demonise, marginalise and victimise the Muslim community. Under the pretext of international developments and a supposed impending domestic threat, many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation have been passed that ostensibly target Muslims specifically.

2. Federal and State Government bodies such as their police forces (including the Australian Federal Police) and intelligence agencies (such as ASIO) have been a key strategic component in the Australian Government’s deliberate targeting of the Muslim community, used to execute phoney raids that have often amounted to nothing.

3. An Islamopbobic atmosphere is directly resulting from the actions of police and government agencies.
Regrettably the petition failed to note that the “many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation” were adopted with the support of the Opposition and after extensive consideration of amendments proposed by the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

Making this petition an attempted political “cause celebre” against the Australian Government will elicit no sympathy from the alternative Government.

The Muslim community in Australia has the perfect right to express any concerns it has with its alleged treatment. It however needs to document and substantiate the generalised allegations made in the petition if they are to have any credibility whatsoever.

That such a petition can appear on-line and its authors and signatories not be subjected to the kind of treatment visited on Ms Magi in Abu Dhabi is something they should seriously reflect on. So too should those Muslim community representatives who spurned the Australian Federal Police invitation — rather than attending the function and repudiating the statements expressed in the petition as representing the views of the Muslim community.

They should all dwell on Dickens' words in his “Tale of Two Cities”:
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Islamic State - Confusion, Delusion and Illusion


[Published 10 July 2015]


Australia’s Minister for Communications — Malcolm Turnbull — has sought to play down the threat Islamic State poses to world peace and security with these few throwaway unsubstantiated sentences during an address to the Sydney Institute on 7 July:
”... Da’esh is not Hitler’s Germany, Tojo’s Japan or Stalin’s Russia. Its leaders dream that they, like the Arab armies of the 7th and 8th century, will sweep across the Middle East into Europe itself.

They predict that before long they will be stabling their horses in the Vatican.

We should be careful not to say or do things which can be seen to add credibility to those delusions.”

Turnbull used the term “Daesh” — instead of Islamic State - on 16 occasions during his address.

This was in itself an indication of the confusion that he and other leading politicians around the world are experiencing - continuing to use an outdated Arab acronym from 2013 to identify an enemy whose original objectives have now extended far beyond Syria and Iraq — as its self-declaration of Statehood on 29 June 2014 makes clear:
“Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration.”

Turnbull ignored that Islamic State has since then seized control of an area of territory in Syria and Iraq larger than Great Britain — whilst 20 groups in Sudan, Philippines, India, Algeria, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and most notably Boko Haram in Nigeria have sworn allegiance to Islamic State.

Boko Haram has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and displacement of an estimated 1 million people in the past year and now reportedly controls an area about 52,000 square kilometres - roughly the size of Slovakia.

Regrettably delusions are the stuff wars are made of - as Hitler’s Germany demonstrated so horribly in World War 11. When fed with declarations of allegiance and support from others their delusional goals become an achievable reality in their warped minds.

Failing to immediately extinguish these Turnbull-identified Islamic State delusions ensures the continuation of the belligerent actions carried out by Islamic State as detailed in Security Council Resolutions 2170 dated 15 August 2014 and 2199 dated 12 February 2015:
1. the displacement of millions of people,

2.seizing control of oilfields, dams and power plants,

3. extortion, kidnap ransoms and stealing money from the territory it controls

4. abductions of women and children, their exploitation and abuse, including rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage,

Turnbull only mentioned in passing the prescription needed to end such continuing atrocities and the termination of such dangerous delusions:
“The… most important part of the Government’s response to Da’esh, is of course lending the support of our armed forces to defeating them in the field. The means of doing so are well beyond the scope of this speech, but the roll back and destruction of Da’esh in Iraq and Syria is critical to ending not just their barbaric rule in the Middle East, but their appeal beyond it, even, as we know, to a few of our own citizens.”

The illusion that Islamic State can be destroyed by the 62 nation coalition presently led by America — rather than by a United Nations force sanctioned under Article 42 of Chapter V11 of the United Nations Charter — represents a lack of genuine international will to stop Islamic State — and its threat to international peace and security - dead in its tracks.

The parallels with failing to stop Hitler’s Germany much earlier become clearer with each passing day.

State Of Palestine And Islamic State Highlight International Double Standards


[Published 2 July 2015]


UNESCO, the United Nations and just this week - the Vatican - have recognised that the “State of Palestine” exists — despite the fact that it lacks all four basic requirements laid down in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
a) a permanent population;
b) a defined territory;
c) government; and
d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”
Reverend Federico Lombardi — the Vatican spokesman — confirmed the Holy See’s stance:
“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists”

The Vatican is justifiably concerned to protect Christian communities in the Middle East against further ongoing death, dispersion and destruction of their churches as has occurred to Christian communities in Syria and Iraq during the last twelve months.

Easing the concerns of Christians in the West Bank would have certainly played a part in the Vatican’s decision.

Bethlehem’s Christian population has been reduced from 60% in the 1990’s - prior to coming under Palestinian Authority control in 1995 - to 15% Christian by 2013 - whilst 1,000 Christians are reported to be leaving every year.

However Christian population growth in Israel last year stood at 1.3%.

Risking a rift in its relations with Israel displays poor judgement by the Vatican given these realities.

Those 107 member States voting for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 did so in direct contravention of Article II (2) of the UNESCO Constitution which provides:
”...states not members of the United Nations Organization may be admitted to membership of the Organization….”

Voting to admit an entity into UNESCO that is not a lawful state is beyond understanding.

The UN General Assembly compounded UNESCO’s amazing decision when 138 UN member States voted to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” on 29 November 2012.

The rule of law was thrown out the window with these UNESCO and UN decisions.

The international response to Islamic State has been markedly different since its declaration on 29 June 2014.

In just one year Islamic State has pillaged, plundered, beheaded and murdered its way through Syria and Iraq - now governing the population and controlling state assets in an area larger than Great Britain. Pledges of allegiance have come from many terrorist groups including Boko Haram and Sinai Province.

Islamic State meets all four Montevideo Convention criteria.

Yet British Prime Minister David Cameron urges Islamic State’s existence not be recognised by simply not using its self-declared name — reportedly telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I wish the BBC would stop calling it ‘Islamic State’ because it is not an Islamic State. What it is, is an appalling barbarous regime ...it is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has an even whackier view:
“This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats’.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly used the term “death cult” 346 times since last September.

The Pope too seems reluctant to use the term “Islamic State”.

President Obama uses the acronym “ISIL” to deny it is Islamic or a State.

“Palestine” — not a State — is recognised as a State. “Islamic State” — a State —is not recognised as a State.

No wonder the world is in such a state of turmoil and confusion.

Palestine - European Union Risks "Jew-hater" Label


[Published 24 June 2015]


The European Union (EU) runs the risk of being labelled “Jew-hater” - should it proceed with its plans requiring supermarkets and other retailers to label products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) differently from those made by Jews in Israel.

No matter what spin the EU uses to justify any such discriminatory labelling — the EU will be seen to be actively supporting the 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — whose manifesto states:
“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel ... We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel ...”

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

The BDS campaign regards the ending of all trade and economic relations with Jews living in Judea and Samaria as just the “first step” in its campaign of racial vilification, denigration and delegitimisation designed to ultimately dismantle the Jewish State.

The EU appears to be readying itself to help the BDS campaign achieve this “first step” — as the foreign ministers of 16 of the EU’s 28 member states have urged EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to introduce the labelling regulations—stating in a letter dated 16 April that they:
“remain of the view that this is an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution. The continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.”

These foreign ministers conveniently ignore that:
1. The two-state solution — as contemplated by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap — is dead and buried after fruitless negotiations and rejected Israeli offers made during the past 20 years have all come to nought. Any hope of peacefully resolving the competing territorial claims of both Jews and Arabs to Judea and Samaria under these negotiating parameters is a figment of the EU’s imagination.

2.The Palestinian Authority—Israel’s negotiating partner under Oslo and the Roadmap - no longer exists — having been disbanded by decree of Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January 2013.

3.Earlier two-state solutions were rejected by the Arabs:
(i) when that result could have been achieved with the stroke of an Arab League pen at any time between 1948-1967 or

(ii) when previously proposed by:
(a) Britain in 1923
(b) the Peel Commission in 1937
(c) the United Nations in 1947
Jews are residing legally in Judea and Samaria pursuant to the rights vested in the Jewish people under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The EU labelling diktat — if it proceeds — will have very little economic effect.

Such EU action will however align the EU squarely with those BDS racists and Jew-haters who continue to drool at the prospect of Israel being replaced by another Arab and Islamic State.

The EU will indeed merit the “Jew-hater” tag - should its ill-considered and misconceived labelling action proceed.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

BDS - Sinister Hoax With Genocidal Intent


[Published 18 June 2015]


The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) instituted in 2005 by “Palestinian civil Society” against Israel and its civil society continues to attract people from all around the world—including Jews and Israeli Arabs - who support the campaign without realising its genocidal objective.

The BDS manifesto makes clear that its punitive measures are to be pursued until Israel ends:
“its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands”

These are code words effectively calling for Israel’s destruction since:
1. According to the PLO: "Israel is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab home land, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation."

2. According to Hamas: "Israel is an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."

Those who have:
1. boycotted theatre performances by Israeli groups in Barcelona,
2. stripped supermarket shelves of Israeli food products in London,
3. marched in South Africa to protest Woolworths stocking Israeli made goods or
4. protested outside Max Brenner outlets in Sydney

are actually supporting a racist campaign that calls for the total elimination of the Jewish State.

However the European Union (EU) — mindful of the Jew-hatred endemic in the BDS campaign - yet anxious to appease its Arab trading partners and burgeoning Arab populations within its member countries — has targeted only the West Bank — presently working to enact measures requiring Israel to label products coming from Jewish settlements there - following guidelines established on 18 July 2013.

These EU policy initiatives are ostensibly based on the 1980 Venice Declaration — which stressed that:
1. Israel needed to end its territorial occupation of the West Bank
2. Israeli settlements constituted a serious obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East.
3. Jewish settlements established there - as well as modifications in population and property — were illegal under international law.

The EU position on the illegality of those Jewish settlements has now been totally discredited following the recent decision by Norway’s largest pension fund — KPL - to sell its shareholdings in Heidelberg Cement AG and Cemex SAB de SV - whose two Israeli subsidiaries are currently operating quarries established after 1967 in Area C of the West Bank.

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords Israel has sole civil and security control in Area C — comprising 60% of the West Bank where no more than 4% of the West Bank’s Arab population currently lives.

KPL first sought advice on the legal situation pertaining in the West Bank from the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) - an independent institute focusing on good governance, peace and conflict, and international law.

The advice completely refutes the EU’s long held position.

Senior ILPI Partner Gro Nyusten — former Norwegian Foreign Affairs staffer, former Associate Professor of International Humanitarian Law/the Law on Armed Conflict at the University of Oslo, from 2008 Associate Professor at the Defence Staff University College in Oslo and former chair of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global — advised KPL that:
1. international law does not provide “unambiguous answers”

2. it was “highly probable” that the operation under Israeli licence of the subject quarries was inconsistent with the requirements of the law of belligerent occupation

3. a case on quarrying activities in Area C went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court - but was rejected because the court concluded that it raised issues that could only be resolved through political channels and not through the court

4. Occupation law did not prohibit Israel from making use of real property - but Israel’s role was restricted to that of a caretaker that must restore such property to the “occupied power” once the conflict has ended. Significantly Ms Nyusten failed to identify that the “occupied power” was Jordan - whose annexation of the West Bank in 1950 was declared illegal by every country except Great Britain and Pakistan.

5. The issue of whether Israel was entitled to open new quarries which did not exist before 1967 — was “controversial”.

6. The 1995 Oslo Accords (Oslo II) “presume” the ultimate transfer of Area C from Israeli to Palestinian control through so-called final status negotiations. Ms Nyusten however did not point to any provision in the Oslo Accords that supports this “presumption”.

Ms Nyusten’s legal opinion also failed to consider two territory-specific provisions in international law sanctioning the right of Jews to live in the West Bank for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home there — article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

In the end KPL — faced with no definitive international law to justify its decision to disinvest - concluded:
“that the ethical arguments carry the heaviest weight in this case”.

Ethics are not law.

EU decisions supposedly based on judicially determined principles of international law were exposed as myths that can no longer be legally or politically sustained.

The BDS hoax is set to swallow many more well-intended people into its Jew-hating vortex.

The EU could suffer a similar fate with the introduction of its labelling policies — no longer being able to rely on non-existent international law to camouflage that decision — whilst opening itself to the charge it is supporting a genocidal campaign designed to dismantle the Jewish State.

Common sense will hopefully prevail.

Beating The BDS Jew-haters


[Published 11 June 2015]


Recently, a group of 52 Harvard students - of all backgrounds and faiths - visited Israel for 10 days during the Harvard Israel Trek 2015

Sometimes the impact of such a trip cannot be expressed in prose - but can only be captured in poetry.

What follows is a poem - posted on the Harvard trek blog by Oliver Marjot - a British PhD candidate studying Medieval Latin at Harvard - that reflects his transformative experience.

Oliver expected that the Trek would confirm his reasonable European certainty of Israel’s arrogant oppression. That’s not quite the way things turned out.

Oliver’s Poem eloquently answers those who continue their vicious attempts to denigrate and delegitimize Israel by exhorting the boycott and isolation of Israel, its people, products, commercial enterprises, medical breakthroughs, academics and artists:
“To my newfound Love,

I came to you, Israel, wanting to hate you. To be confirmed in my reasonable European certainty of your arrogant oppression, lounging along the mediterranean coast, facing West in your vast carelessness and American wealth. I wanted to appreciate your history, but tut over the arrogant folly of your present. I wanted to cross my arms smugly, and shake my head over you, and then leave you to fight your unjust wars.

I wanted to take from you. To steal away some spiritual satisfaction, and sigh and pray, and shake my head over your spiritual folly as well. To see the sad spectacle of the Western wall, and bitterly laugh at your backward-looking notion that God sits high on Moriah Mount, distant and approachable. I wanted to smirk in my Protestant confidence, knowing that God is with me, even if you refuse to turn to him, standing instead starting blankly at a wall of cold stone, pushing scribbled slips of paper into the Holy mountain, not daring to raise your face, and ask with words.

I wanted to see your sights, to bask in your sun, to tramp my feet over your soil, to swim in your seas, to eat the fruit of your fields. I wanted to be amazed, to be interested, to be engaged. I wanted.

I didn’t realise you were broken as well as wealthy, fragile as well as strong. I didn’t realise that you suffer from a thousand voices clamouring in your head, and that some of those voices care about justice and democracy, and that some of them love their neighbours. I didn’t realise that a thousand enemies press on your borders, hoarding instruments of death, as chaos and darkness and madness consume the world every way you look. I didn’t realise that you care about your past - that some of those voices of yours treasure the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob every bit as much as I do. I didn’t realise. Nobody told me. Or maybe they did, and I refused to listen

I didn’t expect to fall in love with you. Your beauty caught me like a hook. Seeing you, I see what Solomon saw when he wrote about his Beloved. I see that homeland that Jesus loved. The lush green of your Galilee, the stark strength of your desert, the bare whiteness of your Judean hills. I love the Hebrew you speak, the churches your wear like flowers in your hair, the proud golden dome that crowns your head. I love the strength of your soldiers, the warmth of your sun, the joy of your songs, the peace of your kibbutzim.

This cold Boston air is a mockery of your spring warmth, and in this vast sprawl of concrete and red brick it’s no exaggeration to say that I yearn for your troubled horizons, your ancient hills. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love you.

I’m sorry I had to leave you. I know I have no right to love you. What’s ten days compared to a year, a childhood, a lifetime? Or the five-thousand year lifetime of a people? I know that you won’t remember me, that you probably barely even registered my short time with you. I’m sure my love means nothing to you amid the whispers of a million other lovers, and you’re so very far away.

But I will come back to you. I will. I’ll leave these busy, harried, Western shores, and come to you, to the East. I’ll learn your Hebrew, I’ll share your troubles, I’ll breath your air, I’ll walk in your fields again.

I will. I will.

Until then, Israel, mon amour, my love. Until then, shalom.”

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) started in 2005 by “Palestinian Civil Society” falsely claims that Israel is persistently violating international law — whilst that Society’s Government — the Palestine Liberation Organisation — continues to reject substantive segments of international law formulated over the last 95 years legalizing Jewish self-determination:
”The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

The European Union — threatening to join these racist-inspired, Jew-hating BDS campaigners — is being well and truly conned.

Think again Europe. A Harvard student has — so should you.

Russia Demands American Capitulation To Help Eradicate Islamic State


[Published 4 June 2015]


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on America to end its attempt to remove Syria’s President Assad from power in return for Russia’s co-operation to militarily confront Islamic State.

Lavrov reportedly told Bloomberg on 2 June 2015 :
“The U.S.’s “obsession” with [Syria’s President] Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State…

People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go “very far” unless stopped, and air strikes alone “are not going to do the trick

If people continue to acquiesce with what is going on and continue to acquiesce with those who categorically refuse to start the political process until Bashar Assad disappears, then I’m not very optimistic for the future of this region…”

America is part of the Friends of Syria core group known as the London Eleven that has been assisting rebel forces in Syria attempting to overthrow Assad.

Assad – backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah – has rebuffed such attempts during four years of horrendous conflict that has so far seen over 220000 Syrians die, four million citizens made refugees and another 7.6 million internally displaced.

A report published by the UN in March 2015 estimated the total economic loss since the start of the conflict was $202bn and that four in every five Syrians were now living in poverty - 30% of them in abject poverty. Syria’s education, health and social welfare systems are also in a state of collapse.

America apparently intends to ignore Lavrov’s sage advice and continue to pursue its Syrian policy to oust Assad.

Marie Harf - a U.S. State Department spokeswoman told reporters in Washington that:
"we’re certainly not going to coordinate with a brutal dictator who’s massacred so many of his own citizens.”

“That’s just an absurd proposition. That’s certainly not going to happen.”

Lavrov’s comments come at a time when Islamic State - already controlling a large part of Syria and Iraq covering an area greater than the United Kingdom - continues to make further advances – recently seizing the city of Ramadi 110 kilometers west of the Iraqi capital – Baghdad - and capturing the strategic northern Syrian city of Palmyra – a World Heritage listed site containing the monumental ruins of one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.

Islamic State reportedly controls up to 80 per cent of oil fields in Syria and has destroyed and also sold looted antiquities in Hatra, Nimrod and Mosul to acquire a major source of its funding - sometimes for seven figure sums.

The American led coalition of some 62 States – meeting in Paris this week - has proved totally unable to stem the advance of Islamic State in its stated objective of restoring the Islamic Caliphate and Sharia law wherever it seizes territory.

Graeme Wood – a contributing editor at The Atlantic – sums up Islamic State’s vulnerability:
"If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding.”

Only a UN sanctioned military force can hope to achieve this objective.

Obama and Putin need to urgently do a deal that sees:
1. A UN led process on the political future of Syria being undertaken without first removing Assad

2. UN Security Council Chapter VII Resolution passed under Article 42 of the UN Charter authorising military action against Islamic State.

Senseless head-butting needs to give way to sensible brain-storming.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Palestine - Netanyahu Goes For Gold In Shoot-Off With Obama


[Published 28 May 2015]


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s appointment of former United Nations ambassador Dore Gold to head up Israel’s Foreign Ministry - ensures that Israel will be confronting President Obama as he continues attempting to deviate from the commitments made to Israel by his predecessor President Bush in a letter dated 14 April 2004 to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Bush Commitments).

The Bush Commitments acknowledged the risks involved in Israel unilaterally disengaging from Gaza and evacuating the 8000 Jews who had established 21 settlements there over the preceding 35 years whilst additionally agreeing to remove another four settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

President Bush assured Israel of the following:
1. the United States remained committed to President Bush’s vision and to its implementation as described in the roadmap.

2.The United States would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.

3. Palestinians would have to undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that included a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.

4. The United States reiterated its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.

5. The United States was strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.

6.It seemed clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

7. As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.

8. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It was realistic to expect that any final status agreement would only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
President Obama has attempted to subvert the Bush Commitments by proposing Israel withdraw from part of the West Bank and cede part of its own sovereign territory to the Palestine Liberation Organisation in exchange for the area of the West Bank to be retained by Israel - as announced by President Obama in May 2011:
”... the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps - so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

President Obama seems to have given up on the strong parliamentary democracy demanded by President Bush being established in the West Bank and Gaza - having failed to back up a recent call by another former American President - Jimmy Carter - for such elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza - which would be the first held there since 2005.

Until such a democracy is established America should not expect any negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation to lead to anywhere but the dustbin of history.

Dore Gold well appreciates the significance of these Bush Commitments and the obligation of Obama to remain bound by them - stating in debriefing.org on 9 June 2009 -
“For example, it still needs to be clarified whether the Obama administration feels bound by the April 14, 2004, Bush letter to Sharon on defensible borders and settlement blocs, which was subsequently ratified by large bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate (95-3) and the House of Representatives (407-9) on June 23-24, 2004. Disturbingly, on June 1, 2009, the State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, refused to answer repeated questions about whether the Obama administration viewed itself as legally bound by the Bush letter. It would be better to obtain earlier clarification of that point, rather than having both countries expend their energies over an issue that may not be the real underlying source of their dispute.”

Writing in Jewish Current Issues on 3 June 2009 Rick Richman noted that the State Department had refused to confirm the Bush Commitments on 21 occasions during the previous week.

Richman then asserted:
“Since Israel met its obligations under the disengagement deal, the U.S. can no more rescind its agreement and commitment than it can restore the lost world of Gush Katif, or the lost security of southern Israel, or the lives that thousands of rockets traumatized, or the property that was destroyed.

Israel ended up having to fight a war in Gaza because of the disengagement. The least the United States can do is meet its own obligations.”

Michael Oren - former Israeli Ambassador in Washington and now a newly elected member of Israel’s governing coalition - called for the resuscitation of these Bush Commitments during his election campaign in January.

The Obama administration needs to clear the air and remove any doubts or concerns that it is trying to surreptitiously vary the Bush Commitments.

Let the shoot-off with the reluctant and recalcitrant Obama administration begin.

Europe Rapidly Becoming Fertile Recruiting Field For Islamic State


[Published 14 May 2015]


Islamic State now has the potential to break out of Syria and Iraq and into the heart of Europe without a shot being fired in anger by the Europeans to repel Islamic State’s stated aims of re-establishing the Caliphate and with it the supremacy of Islam world-wide.

This previously dismissed possibility has become an emerging reality with the record flow of hundreds of thousands of Moslems into Europe by boat in 2014 - seeking asylum as their homes and lives in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan,Yemen and Lebanon have been reduced to rubble by ongoing and continuing conflict over the past four years.

Ironically - and alarmingly - the possibility of some of these asylum seekers already being Islamic State believers - whilst others become potential recruits in pursuing these Islamic State goals - comes at the same time as Europe is actively seeking to restrain its own already radicalised Moslem citizens from leaving its shores to join Islamic State forces in its ongoing campaign of territorial conquest throughout much of the Arab world.

What was thought to be fantasy just twelve months ago has been turned on its head with the recent publication of the following statistics by Eurostat - the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg - whose task is to provide the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions within the European Union (EU):
1. Asylum seekers from Syria seeking refuge in the 28 EU countries rose from 49980 in 2013 to 122115 in 2014 - which equated to 20 % of the total of asylum seekers from all non-member EU countries.

2. In the same period asylum seekers from Iraq jumped from 10740 to 21310 whilst Afghani asylum seekers rose sharply from 26125 to 41370.

3. Of the 68400 Syrians actually granted protection status in the EU - more than 60% were recorded in two Member States: Germany (25700) and Sweden (16800).

Many of these desperate asylum seekers become possible candidates for being persuaded that their lives have been turned upside down by Europe’s failed policies in Syria and Iraq and that their hopes for real salvation rest in actively supporting the objectives of Islamic State.

Europe’s failure to prevent more than 200000 deaths that have occurred in Syria and Iraq alone in the past four years with the destruction of many towns and villages into heaps of rubble and the consequent displacement of millions of Syrians and Iraqis - both internally and externally - is an easily told story that will gain much sympathy with many of these asylum seekers - even as they are being welcomed and absorbed into their European host countries.

France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom are part of a group called the London 11 - whose other members are Egypt, Jordan,Qatar,Saudi Arabia, Turkey,United Arab Emirates and America.

The London 11 has since 2012 expressed its support for the Syrian opposition in its attempt to rid Syria of President Assad. Supplying arms and financial support has clearly proved insufficient to halt the carnage.

On 10 November 2014 Senior Officials of the London 11 met with Syrian National Coalition Leader Hadi al- Bahra.

The best the London 11 could do was:
“demonstrate collective and united support for the moderate opposition led by the National Coalition, as they fight a two-front war resisting the brutality of the Assad regime and fighting extremists including Daesh (Islamic State)”

Many European countries form part of the American led coalition which has also failed to effectively halt the progress of Islamic State.

Europe remains a sitting duck whilst it passively sits on the sidelines uttering pious platitudes.

Carter Causes Consternation With Election Call For Palestinian Arabs


[Published 7 May 2015]


Former US president Jimmy Carter has created a stir with his call for Palestinian Arabs to hold elections to end the internecine struggle between Hamas and the PLO in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza.

Speaking at a joint news conference with PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah - after cancelling his stop in Gaza where he was supposed to meet Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – Carter – now a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders - declared:.
“We hope that sometime we’ll see elections all over the Palestinian area and east Jerusalem and Gaza and also in the West Bank,”

No Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections have been held in over a decade - even though Abbas’s term in office as President expired in January 2009 – a position he continues to fill without any constitutional authority to do so.

In 2006 - a year after Abbas was elected as President - Hamas overwhelmingly won the one and only election ever held in Judea and Samaria. The PLO refused to accept its electoral defeat and a year afterwards Hamas violently ousted Abbas’s Fatah faction from Gaza and seized control there.

Carter’s call can be seen as timely – given the current stalemate in the negotiations between Israel and the PLO and the distinct likelihood they will not be resumed.

Indeed one could see Carter’s election call as the most constructive contribution he has made to peace in the Middle East since his following statement in Time Magazine on 11 October 1982 concerning Jordan and Jordan’s late monarch - King Hussein:
“Hussein is personally courageous but an extremely timid man in political matters. That timidity derives almost inevitably from the inherent weakness of Jordan. As a nation it is a contrivance, arbitrarily devised by a few strokes of the pen”

This viewpoint would be just as applicable in 2015 to Jordan’s current monarch - King Abdullah – who is trying to distance himself from any involvement in the future of Judea and Samaria even though Jordan was the last Arab country to occupy those territories between 1948-1967..

Elections would enable the long-suffering Arab populations in Gaza, Judea and Samaria to have a say in their future after having been under the tyrannical dictatorships of Hamas and the PLO for almost ten years.

Ironically there are those who argue against holding such elections because they are worried that Hamas will again be triumphant – resulting in greater upheaval and unrest than currently exists.

Respected commentator Khaled Abu Toameh puts it thus:
“Free and democratic elections are the last thing the Palestinians need now. Such elections would only pave the way for a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority and plunge the region into chaos and violence. As long as Abbas’s Fatah faction is not seen as a better alternative to Hamas, it would be too risky to ask Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes.”

Toameh presumes that only Hamas and the PLO will contest any such new elections.

Given their woeful performances over the last ten years - any such new elections would hopefully spawn the emergence of political parties other than Hamas and the PLO with markedly differing viewpoints and policies – perhaps even parties calling for Jordan to enter into negotiations with Israel to allocate sovereignty of Judea and Samaria and even Gaza between their respective States.

Keeping people in a perpetual state of silence by denying them any say in their future is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

When people vote – they bear the consequences of the Government they elect.

Carter the Elder has spoken. What says Obama the Younger?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Palestine - Sharon's Ghost Returns To Haunt Obama


[Published 29 April 2015]


Michael Oren – one of seven members of the recently formed Kulanu party elected to Israel’s new Parliament – seems destined to play a pivotal role in torpedoing President Obama’s proposals for a two-state solution aimed at resolving the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.

Agreement has reportedly been reached between Israel’s Prime Minister elect Benjamin Netanyahu and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon for Kahlon to be appointed Finance Minister. Fellow Kulanu members - Yoav Galant and Eli Alalouf - will serve respectively as Housing Minister and Environmental Protection Minister.

Still unannounced is the replacement for Tzipi Livni - who headed the Israeli team in peace talks with the PLO - but who now seems destined to enter into Opposition. These peace talks have remained in a state of suspended animation since April 2014 – despite intensive American efforts to have them resumed.

President Obama’s proposals – first enunciated in 2011 – were re-stated as recently as July 2014 by White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region Philip Gordon at the Ha’aretz Israel Conference for Peace:
“A lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. While the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel.

Negotiations should therefore result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. Any peace agreement will require robust security provisions that safeguard Israel’s security. And the Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in an independent, sovereign and contiguous state.”

The idea that Israel should be required to make mutually agreed land swaps for territory it retains in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) was never stipulated or mentioned in the letter given by President Bush to Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 – whose terms were overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95-3 the next day. (“American Written Commitments”)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had declared at the Annapolis International Conference convened by President Bush on 27 November 2007 that any resumed negotiations:
“will be based on previous agreements between us, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Roadmap and the April 14th 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.”
Michael Oren – Kulanu’s diplomatic voice and former Israeli Ambassador to Washington between 2009 and 2013 - recently called for these 2004 American Written Commitments to be resuscitated:
“A decade ago, in April 2004, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received a letter from American president George Bush, Jr. recognizing Israel’s right to build in long-standing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem like Talpiyot-East and Ramot. Furthermore, Israel was now allowed to build in settlement blocs crucial for Israel’s security, and in which some 80% of Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria reside […] According to the Bush-Sharon letter, these areas will remain within Israel’s borders in any arrangement arrived at with the Palestinians […] it’s time to revive the Bush-Sharon letter and act according to it.”

Obama is going to find it impossible to impose his land swap proposals – if Oren has any say.

Sharon’s ghost has tantalisingly returned to haunt Obama.

Islamic State Morphing Into Global Gehenna


[Published 13 April 2015]


Growing support for - and pledges of allegiance to - Islamic State by diverse Islamic terrorist groups world-wide are now creating horrific humanitarian problems for Christian communities in many countries—some far removed from the Middle East.

30 such groups have so far been identified:
al-I’tisam of the Quran and Sunnah [Sudan]—Aug. 1, 2014 — Support
Abu Sayyaf Group [Philippines]—June 25, 2014 — Support
Ansar al-Khilafah [Philippines]—Aug. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
Ansar al-Tawhid in India [India]—Oct. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) [Phillipines] — Aug. 13, 2014 — Support
Bangsmoro Justice Movement (BJM) [Phillipines] — Sept. 11, 2014 — Support
al-Huda Battalion in Maghreb of Islam [Algeria] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
Heroes of Islam Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] — Sept. 30, 2014 — Allegiance
The Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria [Algeria] — 30 Sep. 2014 — Allegiance
Jundullah [Pakistan]—Nov. 17, 2014 — Support
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [Pakistan] Statement —Sept. 24, dated Sept. 12, 2014 — Support
Islamic Youth Shura Council [Libya] — June 22, 2014 — Support
Jaish al-Sahabah in the Levant [Syria] — July 1, 2014 — Allegiance
Faction of Katibat al-Imam Bukhari [Syria] — Oct. 29, 2014 - Allegiance
Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis [Egypt] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
Jund al-Khilafah in Egypt [Egypt] — Sept. 23, 2014 — Allegiance
Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek [Lebanon] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
Islamic State Libya (Darnah) [Libya] — Nov. 9, 2014 — Allegiance
Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah [Libya] —Oct. 6, 2014 — Allegiance
Mujahedeen Indonesia Timor (MIT) [Indonesia] — July 1, 2014 — Allegiance
Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSCJ) [Egypt] — Oct. 1, 2014 — Support
Tehreek-e-Khilafat [Pakistan] — July 9, 2014 — Allegiance
Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion [Tunisia] — Sept. 20 2014 — Support
Mujahedeen of Yemen [Yemen] — Nov. 10, 2014 — Allegiance
Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen [Yemen] — Sept. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] — Sept. 23, 2014 — Allegiance
Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia] —Dec. 2, 2014 — Support
Ansar al-Islam [Iraq] — Jan. 8, 2015 — Allegiance
Leaders of the Mujahed in Khorasan (10 former TTP commanders) [Pakistan] — Jan. 10, 2015 — Allegiance
Boko Haram [Nigeria]— March 7, 2015 — Allegiance

71 Chadian soldiers have reportedly been killed and 416 wounded in less than three months of fighting to crush Boko Haram. Chad has sent about 5,000 troops to fight alongside soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon against Boko Haram whose Nigeria-based insurgency has increasingly spilled-over into neighbouring nations.

Some 13,000 Nigerians have been killed and 1.5 million have fled their homes since 2009.

Other Islamic terrorist groups can be expected to join their ranks.

President Obama’s pledge to degrade and destroy Islamic State heading an international coalition of 62 like-minded nations - is looking increasingly ineffectual as Islamic State rapidly morphs into a global Gehenna.

President Obama declared on 23 September 2013:
“The United States will continue to work with the entire continent of Africa and around the world to make sure that we are dismantling these networks of destruction.”

A Chapter VII Security Council Resolution is urgently required authorising the use of a UN military force to eradicate these “networks of destruction” that are now uniting into a ruthless killing machine dedicated to restoring the Islamic Caliphate.

Only an internationally-sanctioned force replacing Obama’s coalition can stem the tide.

President Obama needs to get that Security Council Resolution rolling.

Nuclear Knockout Not Nearly Nailed


[Published 8 April 2015]


President Obama seems to have been unduly optimistic in triumphantly proclaiming the success of the P5+1 talks with Iran in Lausanne.

Speaking from the White House President Obama announced:
“Today, the United States — together with our allies and partners — has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

There was only “an understanding” — not even a piece of paper initialed by representatives of all the parties to the long and complex negotiations - that President Obama could wave to the waiting media setting out what that “understanding” was.

It did not take long to discover the reason explaining the absence of such an initialled document.

It turns out there are in fact two pieces of paper — one prepared by each side — but neither signed or agreed to by the other:

1. Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program

2. Iranian Fact Sheet on the Nuclear Negotiations which was only published in Farsi — but has been subsequently translated into English - for which there does not appear to be an official Iranian Government translation.
The first and simplest question one needs to ask is — in what language will the final authorised version of the agreement be actually framed?

Will it be English or Farsi or both?

Can the nuances of language be properly translated from one language into another language so that the meaning of the words is absolutely identical in both versions?

Was this very basic issue even addressed at the Lausanne negotiations? No mention of it appears in either of the above documents.

Who is going to draft the agreement — supposed to be ready for signing on 30 June — the P5+1 or Iran?

The appearance of these above two documents supposedly recording their “understanding” have already revealed wide gaps in each party’s understanding of their understanding.

It can be reasonably concluded that the parties were indeed miles apart and that there is a lot more negotiating to do before a draft agreement can even be produced for discussion purposes — let alone signed in final form.

The differences between the two documents are stark on issues of major importance — as the Wall Street Journal points out:

On sanctions:
“The U.S. says sanctions relief will be phased, suspended, and tied to Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal. Iran says the sanctions, once the final agreement is sealed, will end more quickly.”

On stockpiles:
“Iran says it will limit enrichment and its stockpile for 10 years, the U.S. says 15.”

On inspections:
“U.S.: The IAEA will have regular access to Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran: The fact sheet doesn’t specifically mention access to facilities or inspections, but does say Iran would, on a voluntary and temporary basis, implement an “additional protocol” on access to nuclear facilities, “for the sake of transparency and confidence building.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly held marathon negotiations through the night that ended after 6 a.m. on the morning of April 2, as they tried to overcome final gaps for a political accord on an Iran nuclear deal.

The result — two very different documents presenting two very different perspectives of what each side has taken away from the negotiations.

President Obama expressed his thanks:
“to our tireless — and I mean tireless — Secretary of State John Kerry and our entire negotiating team. They have worked so hard to make this progress.”

Progress?

The President must be joking.

Palestine - Obama Admits Defeat On Renewed Negotiations For Two-State Solution


[Published 2 April 2015]


President Obama has finally admitted the death of any renewed negotiations for a two-state solution between Israel and the PLO for the next several years - telling the media on 24 March:
“there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework established that would lead to a Palestinian state even if there were a whole range of conditions and security requirements that might be phased in over a long period of time — which was always the presumption.”

President Obama has apparently accepted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s contention that such negotiations are not possible whilst conflicts involving radical Islam rage in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

President Obama had until now placed his faith in such negotiations:
“Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties.”

The rise of Islamic State in June 2014 has created a new ballgame and new dynamic.

Islamic State’s possible spill-over into Gaza and the West Bank cannot be ignored by Obama when Israel is being requested by Obama to withdraw from part of the West Bank and cede part of its own sovereign territory to the PLO in accordance with President Obama’s vision enunciated in May 2011:
”.. the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps - so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Abandoning territory as Israel did in Gaza in 2005 — will require ironclad security guarantees.

President Obama’s pledge to degrade and destroy Islamic State is a work in progress that could take up to three years — as Secretary of State John Kerry openly admitted last September at a NATO Summit attended by President Obama and himself.

Six months later Kerry’s assessment has been thrown into serious doubt by Syria’s President Assad — who in a rare interview with 60 Minutes on 30 March declared:
"Actually ISIS [Islamic State] has expanded since the beginning of strikes — not like some Americans want to sugar coat the situation - to say that it is getting better, ISIS [Islamic State] is being defeated and so-on. Actually No — they have more recruits. Suggested estimates say they have 1000 recruits every month in Syria and Iraq. They are expanding in Libya and many Al-Qaeda affiliated organisations have announced their allegiance to ISIS.”

Israel cannot possibly be expected in these circumstances to negotiate with the PLO on establishing secure and recognized borders as stipulated by President Obama and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 — until Islamic State is finally degraded and destroyed.

President Obama has announced he is going back to the drawing board.
“the evaluation that’s taking place is specific to what happens between the Israelis and Palestinians going forward. We’ll continue to engage the Israeli government as well as the Palestinians, and ask them where they are interested in going and how do they see this issue being resolved. But what we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility of something that’s not there. And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years.”

President Obama should — in such evaluation process - seriously explore the possibility of first demanding that President Mahmoud Abbas call Presidential and parliamentary elections in Gaza and the West Bank — last held in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Let democracy replace these repressive dictatorships.