Questions for John Kerry and the international community:
- Why are 400,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace but 1.4 million Muslims in Israel not an obstacle to peace?
- If the “occupation” is the reason for the conflict, why was there no peace in 1966? And what was the reason for Palestinian terror against Jews before 1967, even decades before the State of Israel was established?
- Is the size of Jewish territory, 0.0001% of the Arab & Muslim world, really the core reason for the conflict?
- If territory is the reason for the conflict, why did the Palestinian leadership reject territory for peace 7 times?
These are of course all rhetorical questions. The reason for the conflict is simple – the hatred of Jews.
This morning 13 year old Israeli Hallel Yaffe Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while she was asleep in her own bed at home.
This is a direct result of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) anti-Semitic incitement campaign. In all public spheres the PA spreads anti-Semitic propaganda and encourages terrorism: in schools, in the media, by naming streets after known terrorists, and by paying salaries to convicted and released terrorists, just to name a few examples.
Only a few days ago an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas stated in the media: “Wherever you see an Israeli, slit his throat.”
This incitement must end and all Western countries who give aid to the PA must make that aid conditional on the PA stopping this anti-Semitic incitement. Enough is enough.
By the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office (June 27):
In announcing the agreement with Turkey on Monday in Rome, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
- “Israel has reached an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel, for security, for regional stability and for the Israeli economy….The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region….Israel and Turkey are two major powers in the region and the break between us is not good for our vital interests.”
- “The first thing in this agreement is protection for IDF commanders and soldiers from criminal and civil claims, both those being prosecuted now and those that might be prosecuted in the future….The agreement…stipulates that the Turkish parliament will pass a law cancelling all of these processes in Turkey.”
- “The second thing that this agreement gives is maintaining the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip….This interest is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas….Of course, we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip.”
- “The third thing that this agreement does, along with maintaining the security arrangement, is to allow for dealing with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, subject to Israel’s security procedures and considerations….Beyond the humanitarian consideration, this is also an outstanding interest of Israel’s, especially in two areas – water and electricity.”
- “An additional thing that the agreement gives is a commitment to prevent all terrorist or military activity against Israel from Turkish soil, including collecting funds for these purposes.”
- “This agreement opens the way to cooperation on economic and energy matters, including the gas issue…creating markets for the gas that we are extracting from the sea….[Israel’s] Leviathan [gas field] could supply both the Egyptian market that we intend to work with and also the Turkish market, as well as the supply of gas through Turkey to Europe.”
Click here for Netanyahu’s full statement.
By Efraim Karsh for the Jerusalem Post (June 21):
- The declaration of principles (DOP, or Oslo I) signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 by the PLO and the Israeli government provided for Palestinian self-rule in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- On September 28, 1995, despite the PA’s abysmal failure to clamp down on terrorist activities in the territories under its control, the two parties signed an interim agreement, and by the end of the year Israeli forces had been withdrawn from the West Bank’s populated areas with the exception of Hebron (where redeployment was completed in early 1997).
- On January 20, 1996, elections to the Palestinian Council were held, and shortly afterward both the Israeli Civil Administration and military government were dissolved.
- Israel relinquished control over virtually all of the West Bank’s 1.4 million residents. Since that time, nearly 60% of them have lived entirely under Palestinian jurisdiction (Area A). Another 40% live in towns where the PA exercises civil authority but Israel has “overriding responsibility for security” (Area B). Some 2% of Palestinians continue to live in areas where Israel has complete control, but even there the PA maintains “functional jurisdiction”(Area C).
- In short, since the beginning of 1996, and certainly following the completion of the redeployment from Hebron in January 1997, 99% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has not lived under Israeli occupation. As the virulent anti-Israel and anti-Jewish media, school system and religious incitement can attest to, during these years, any presence of a foreign occupation has been virtually non-existent.
- This means that the presentation of terrorism as a natural response to the “occupation” is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth.
The writer is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at Kings College London, and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University.
Click here for full article.
By David Harris for the Huffington Post (June 3):
- 49 years ago this month, the Six-Day War broke out. In June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn’t exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.
- The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem, and they desecrated and destroyed many of those sites.
- Meanwhile, Gaza was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule. And the Golan Heights, which belonged to Syria, were regularly used to shell Israeli communities below.
- The Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza any day of the week. They didn’t. There wasn’t even discussion about it. And Arab leaders, who today profess such attachment to eastern Jerusalem, rarely, if ever, visited. It was viewed as an Arab backwater.
- The 1967 boundary at the time of the war was an armistice line dating back to 1949 – known as the Green Line. That’s after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948 with the aim of destroying the Jewish state.
- In the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. 22 years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews. The record is well-documented.
- Today, there are those who wish to rewrite history. They want the world to believe the 1967 war was a bellicose act by Israel. It was an act of self-defense in the face of blood-curdling threats to vanquish the Jewish state, not to mention the maritime blockade of the Straits of Tiran, the abrupt withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces, and the redeployment of Egyptian and Syrian troops. The aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated.
The writer has led the American Jewish Committee since 1990.
Click here for full article.
Yossi Melman for the Jerusalem Post (May 26):
- To Israel’s north on the Lebanese border, which will soon mark the tenth anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah is deterred. True, it has accumulated a huge arsenal of rockets capable of hitting almost any strategic and military site in Israel. Hizbullah also has gained impressive battlefield experience in Syria, but it is bogged down in the killing fields there.
- In the Golan Heights, al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists on the Syrian side of the border have learned to live in co-existence with their Israeli neighbors. The terrorists have not changed their ideology or softened their hatred toward Jews and Israelis. But, like Hizbullah, they are preoccupied fighting other enemies more important to them and are deterred knowing that Israel would harshly retaliate.
- To the east, Israeli-Jordanian relations have never been better, with improved security ties and intelligence cooperation.
- In the south, the same is true of Egyptian-Israeli relations. The intelligence communities and militaries of the two countries cooperate in the war against the terrorists in Sinai who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Cairo and Jerusalem also see eye-to-eye with regard to how to deal with Hamas in Gaza.
- Unlike in the past, Israel doesn’t face any threat or danger from Arab armies because of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and because the armies of Iraq and Syria have disintegrated.
- While Iran has a strong military force and missiles capable of reaching Israel, Iran’s Sunni Arab enemies have turned to Israel, which is reaching out with secret military and intelligence deals to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The writer was a senior correspondent for 27 years on national security, intelligence and strategic issues at the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.
Click here for full article.
By Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, for Israel Hayom (May 13):
- For 68 years Israelis have fought again and again to defend their independence against enemies who would subjugate their country. No other nation has struggled so long and so hard, surrounded by such unyielding hostility.
- Israel’s right to exist is not to be sanctioned by the peoples of the Middle East or by the leaders of the Western world. It is to be determined only by the Jewish people who, down the millennia, have fought, suffered and died for that inalienable right.
- It means that Israel is not to have its borders imposed by international bodies or by foreign states, no matter how powerful they might be. It means that Israelis are not to be dictated to about where they can and cannot settle in their land.
- It means that Israel is not to be told how it may or may not defend the lives of its people under the sovereign independence of the law. It means that Israel is not to be lectured or scolded about human rights by those that have no glimmer of understanding of what human rights truly are.
- The civilized world has an obligation to respect this independence just as it respects the independence of other free, democratic nations.
- Israel has shown mankind how a besieged nation – against all odds – can survive and flourish, decide its own destiny and unwaveringly retain its honor, its decency, its dignity, its integrity and its compassion.
Click here for full article.
Happy 68th birthday Israel!
As Israel today celebrates its 68th Independence Day, I cannot help but think of its miraculous transformation from a third world desert on the brink of destruction to a diverse, modern, and prosperous high-tech society.
Israel has the greatest number of startups per capita in the world, and is second only to China in the number of foreign companies listed on NASDAQ.
The Israeli society is the true face of diversity in a region where little diversity exists. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has increased over the past 50 years. 80% of Israeli Arabs do not want to live in any other country and Israel’s LGBT community is the 7th happiest in the world. Today there are more women who serve in Israel’s Parliament than in more than half of the Parliaments in Europe.
Besides overcoming unprecedented internal and external challenges, Israel has shown a longtime eagerness to help other countries by providing technological know-how and disaster relief.
If people would challenge themselves to look beyond the biased media and immoral politicians they would discover Israel for what she really is: a beacon of hope demonstrating that freedom and democracy cannot only survive but flourish in the most hostile environments.
Am Yisrael Chai!
By Steve Postal for the American Thinker (May 6):
Main arguments discussed in the article:
- Israel has a Stronger Claim to the Golan than Syria
- The Great Strategic Value of the Golan…
- …Has Only Appreciated Given Current Threats
- Water Remains a Vital Concern
- The Golan is now an Integral Part of the Israeli Economy
- Israel is the Protector of the Golan’s Rich Archaeological Sites
- To Whom Would Israel Give the Golan Back?
Summary of the article:
On April 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights, stating that the “time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan Heights will remain under Israel’s sovereignty permanently.” He spoke these words from Ma’aleh Gamla, next to the ruins of historic Gamla, a Jewish city to which the Romans laid siege in 67 CE during the Great Revolt. His statement followed reports that the U.S. and Russia were working on a draft resolution to the Syrian civil war that would label the entire Golan Heights as Syrian territory.
Israel has a stronger claim to the Golan than Syria does, the Golan is of essential strategic value to Israel, and given the increased threats, that value has only appreciated. Syria gained independence in 1945. Before that, the Golan was part of the French Empire (1923-1945), and before that for approximately 400 years, part of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire. So, Syria had control of the Israeli-administered part of the Golan for 22 years (1945-1967), while Israel has had it for 49 years.
Moreover, giving up the Golan would most likely result in it being controlled by forces hostile to Israel and the West. The Islamic State and other jihadist groups, in addition to forces aligned with the Syrian government (including Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards), are all vying for territory adjacent to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. On April 22, the Islamic State captured the Salam al Jawlan Dam, 17 miles from Gamla. This victory puts the Islamic State closer to Israel than Tijuana, Mexico, is to San Diego, California.
Click here for full article.
By Yoav Limor for Israel Hayom:
- According to four key Military Intelligence officers, tunnels in Gaza, a wave of terrorism across the West Bank, Islamic State attacks in Sinai, the Syrian civil war, Hizbullah’s improved arsenal, the future of Iran’s nuclear program and the stability of the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes are only a few of the challenges facing the Middle East, and Israel within it.
- Gaza has never been quieter. Still, Hamas is pursuing a steadily intensifying armament effort, as evident by the terror tunnel recently discovered under the Israel-Gaza border. Egypt has turned its back on Hamas and now sees it as no better than Islamic State, and its Saudi and other Arab patrons have more urgent matters that require funding. Iran remains Hamas’ main sponsor.
- In the West Bank, Abbas’ regime is fraying at the seams. With no apparent successor, a complex succession battle is almost certain. Hamas may try to seize the strategic opportunity presented by the leadership vacuum and seize control of the West Bank.
- International efforts to end the fighting in Syria have led to a change in Israeli intelligence assessments. Instead of the prospect of prolonged bloodshed with no end in sight, there may be tangible chances of a diplomatic agreement that will end the fighting in a way that would make Syria a functioning nation again.
- Any arrangement in Syria will have to include Russia as the keeper of Alawite, Iranian and Hizbullah interests, as well as its own. There are currently over 10,000 Shiite militia operatives fighting alongside the Syrian army, as well as 1,500 Iranian soldiers, thousands of Hizbullah operatives, and significant Russian forces.
- While it is clear Islamic State will not be overrunning Syria, Iran will not be tightening its grip on it, either. Any future deal will include an Israeli demand to curtail the delivery of Iranian weapons to Hizbullah via Syria, delay the rehabilitation of the Syrian military, and devise a mechanism that would ensure calm on the Golan Heights.
- The Syrian civil war has exacted a heavy toll from Hizbullah, with over 1,300 operatives killed and nearly 10,000 injured. Some 7,000 of its operatives are currently fighting in Syria. Nevertheless, Hizbullah is investing considerable resources in acquiring long-range missiles that could wreak havoc on Israel.
Click here for full article.
I received this comment in response to another blog post:
“Seriously, if you can’t make a distinction between having a negative opinion of Israel (the state and their policies) and having an anti-Semitic opinion, how do you expect to be taken seriously?”
Let me give you three quick points.
1. Israel, a liberal democracy, is always found at the top of the most negatively viewed countries in the world. In a BBC survey of 22 countries, only Iran and Pakistan are viewed worse than Israel, with North Korea tying Israel in 3rd place.
2. Journalists and politicans often justify this view by saying that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the world’s most dangerous conflict. However, when you rank the number of fatalities since 1950 (the modern State of Israel was established in 1948), the Arab-Israeli conflict is found in 49th place.
3. Moreover, at the UN, 40% of the Human Rights Council resolutions are against one country: Israel. That must mean Israel is the most evil country in the world, right? Well, if you compare the number of condemnations to the number of deaths caused by a country; Israel gets several thousand percent more condemnations than she should. For example, North Korea has killed 2.25 million people, but has only received 10 condemnations. Israel has caused 46,000 deaths, but has received 223 condemnations. Go to 1:10 in the video below to see more examples.
What is the common thread? Why is Israel judged so unfairly? You guessed it, anti-Semitism.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman for BESA Center-Bar-Ilan University (Dec 27):
Click here for full article.
Haaretz — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday it is time for the international community to understand that it is the Palestinian Authority, and not Israel, who is at fault for the diplomatic stalemate. Netanyahu’s remarks follow criticism of his government’s policies by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry published in the issue of the New Yorker magazine the day before.
“We are besieged with repeated polls in the Palestinian Authority that about 75 percent of this population rejects the solution of two states for two peoples and about 80 percent are in favor of continued stabbings,” Netanyahu said in the course of a visit to the Israeli army’s southern command headquarters.
Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for stirring up animosity towards Israel. In reacting to the polling data, Netanyahu made reference to Abbas’ repeated claims in recent months that Israel is attempting to violate the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – a charge that the Israeli government vigorously denies – and that Israel’s killing of stabbing suspects amounts to extra-judicial executions.
“That’s not surprising because Abu Mazen [Abbas] is continuing constantly to stir things up with false propaganda about Al-Aqsa, false propaganda about executions and by rejecting any genuine attempt at coming to negotiations,” he said.
Click here for full article.
Arab World for Research & Development in Ramallah (Dec 14) — An online study of Palestinians age 16-35 by Arab World for Research & Development in Ramallah, conducted Dec. 1-7, asked:
Do you believe that the current protests represent a popular intifada (with wide participation) or are they being carried out by a small number of participants? Popular intifada – 26%; Small number of participants – 70%.
Do you support or oppose the continuation of the protests as is? Support – 57%; Oppose – 28%.
Do you support or oppose attacks against Israeli civilians inside the Green Line? Support – 49%; Oppose – 36%.
Which of the following methods do you personally support to end the occupation? Armed struggle – 53%; International advocacy – 16%; Non-violent protest – 11%; Negotiations – 8%.
Click here for full survey.
Report by international High Level Military Group blasts UN commission, says Israel set a standard no other army could match
Times of Israel (Dec 14) — Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during last summer’s Gaza campaign, a group of former military and defense leaders from nine countries claim in a new report released Friday.
- Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign, a group of former military and defense leaders from nine countries said in a new report released Friday.
- The High Level Military Group (HLMG) – made up of retired generals and defense officials from Germany, Colombia, India, Spain, Australia, the U.S., France, the UK and Italy – found that Israel not only abided by the laws of armed conflict, but far surpassed their requirements.
- The report found that the UN accepted Hamas’ figures for combatant vs. civilian casualties, while the HLMG found Hamas’ numbers to be rife with inconsistencies, such as the “inclusion of duplicate names, incorrect ages, combat-related deaths caused by Hamas or its affiliate organizations, such as in the case of misfired rockets, and deaths not related to the hostilities but classified as such.”
- Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said that commissions investigating the conflict should have looked to see that everything feasibly was done to avoid the deaths of non-combatants, and that the standard of zero civilian deaths is an impossible one.
- The HLMG laid the blame for the vast majority of civilian casualties at the feet of Hamas, which instituted a deliberate policy to cause as many Palestinian civilian deaths as possible in order to wage a PR war against Israel. The report noted that Israel tried multiple times to end the conflict through diplomatic means, only to be rebuffed by Hamas at every turn.
See also Text: An Assessment of the 2014 Gaza Conflict – High Level Military Group (Friends of Israel Initiative)
See also The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted – Hirsh Goodman and Dore Gold, eds. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Click here for full article.
By Khaled Abu Toameh for the Gatestone Institute (Dec 12):
- It was recently reported that the commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in Sinai held talks in the Gaza Strip with leaders of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezaddin al-Qassam Brigades, about expanding their cooperation.
- President Abbas does not seem to care whether the Palestinians of Gaza are turned into hostages and prisoners. He is probably hoping that the crisis will drive Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime, paving the way for his PA to return to the Gaza Strip.
- Instead of trying to solve the Gaza crisis, Abbas is too busy waging a diplomatic war against Israel. He wants to file “war crimes” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court — ignoring the fact that he and Hamas are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
- The Palestinians ignore the fact that their biggest tragedy over the past few decades has been (and remains) their failed and corrupt leadership that is willing to sacrifice them for its own interests.
Left: The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Right: A Gazan man works in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, which was flooded by the Egyptian army.
Since June 2013, the Rafah border crossing, the sole crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, has been closed for most of the time.
Since the beginning of 2015, the Egyptian authorities have opened the Rafah terminal for a total of only 21 days.
Last week, the Egyptians opened the border crossing for two days, allowing a few hundred Palestinians to cross in both directions.
Last year, by contrast, the terminal was open for a total of 123 days, and in 2013 for 263 days.
These figures indicate that the Egyptians have stepped up security measures along their shared border with the Gaza Strip over the past few years.
In addition to the continued closure of the Rafah terminal, the Egyptian army continues to destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. In recent weeks, the Egyptians have been pumping seawater into the tunnels, causing most of them to collapse.
The Egyptians have good reason to be concerned about the smuggling tunnels — especially in light of increased Islamist terror attacks against Egyptian soldiers and civilians in the Sinai Peninsula. Reports about cooperation between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Islamist terror groups in Sinai, have also prompted the Egyptians to keep the Rafah terminal shut for most of the time.
Click here for full article.