Sunday, December 21, 2014

Livni and Peres. No Class, But Also No Surprise

...The State Department has recently strongly suggested that the US would veto such a Palestinian resolution. Postponing the vote might well be against Israel’s interest, since it’s hard to predict what the US attitude will be in the future. But apparently Livni and Peres think it is in the interest of the Labor party. Because nothing is more urgent for the impotent Left than getting into power.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
21 December '14..

As you may remember, Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin carried on pre-Oslo agreement negotiations with the PLO behind the backs of Prime Ministers Shamir and Rabin, and then presented the deal as a fait accompli to Rabin. One doesn’t know how Rabin felt about it in his heart (although the look on his face when he shook hands with Arafat on the White House lawn might give us a clue), but publicly he had no choice but to embrace the initiative and do his best to minimize the damage.

Communicating with the PLO was still against the law in Israel in 1992, and while a Foreign Minister — as Peres became in Rabin’s administration — is certainly permitted to engage in secret diplomacy, to do so in such a sensitive context without notifying the PM is unethical and borders on treason.

But Peres got his Nobel prize (and Israel got the Second Intifada and more than a thousand fresh graves) as a result. And now he — along with one of the most cynical of Israeli politicians, the drooling-with-lust-for-power Tzipi Livni, he has apparently engaged yet again in private diplomacy.

Livni confirmed that she and Peres, now a private citizen, approached US Secretary of State John Kerry and suggested that he delay the UN Security Council vote on a PLO proposal to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria until after Israeli elections, because a vote now would help her opponents Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett. According to a report in Foreign Policy Magazine, Kerry told EU envoys at a recent meeting in that the US would indeed follow their advice.

The countdown to the next Gaza conflict may be shorter than many think.

...Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by past agreements. Of course, those would contravene Hamas's ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yaakov Lappin..
Gatestone Institute..
19 December '14..

More than three months have passed since the end of the fifty-day conflict between Hamas in Gaza and Israel this past summer, yet all of the catalysts that helped spark that war remain in place and are pushing the sides into their next clash.

Thousands of armed Hamas troops showed off their military hardware at a Dec. 14, 2014 parade in Gaza, marking the organization's 27th anniversary. (Image source: PressTV video screenshot)
One of the reasons Hamas launched a war in July this year was to try to end its strategic isolation, which became severe after the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in next-door Egypt. Hamas also sought to improve its crumbling economic situation as the ruler of the Gaza Strip; its dire situation was illustrated by Hamas's inability to pay 40,000 of its Gazan employees their monthly salaries.

Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These would include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements. Of course, those would contravene Hamas's ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today, however, the same problems that plagued Hamas prior to the summer war have become worse. Gaza is hemmed in to the south by a hostile Egypt under the rule of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Egypt is systematically cutting off the smuggling tunnels that linked Sinai to the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas is no longer easily able to smuggle either weapons or goods it can tax before they enter Gaza's market.

Israel's naval security blockade, designed to prevent the smuggling of arms or materiel that can be used to build weapons, remains in place, as does Israel's tight security control of its border crossings with the Gaza Strip. Israel has in recent months begun permitting the entry of construction materials to encourage Gaza's reconstruction efforts, and assisted in the export of Gazan agricultural goods to places such as the West Bank.

Most critically, however, Hamas's hopes for $5.4 billion of international aid money, pledged by donor states for Gaza's post-war recovery, remain unrealized. The money has barely begun to trickle in, due to an ongoing crisis with the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority [PA] in Ramallah.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A window into the systematic failures of EU’s foreign policy decision making

...while it may seem naively optimistic, perhaps the EGC ruling on Hamas and the EU terror list can become a trigger for the EU to undertake a major revision of its foreign policy making process. Although couched in terms of a “technical failure”, such failures are systematic and widespread. To begin repairing the system, the EEAS and other EU bodies will have to replace reliance on fringe ideological NGOs with real experts, familiar with the complexities that go beyond myths and slogans.

Gerald M. Steinberg..
The Times of Israel..
18 December '14..

The ruling of the European General Court to strike down the inclusion of Hamas and in the European Union’s list of terror organizations, was, we are told, due to a minor technical problem, and readily corrected. According to the court, the original decision in 2003 was not based on a careful study of the evidence, such as bus bombings and other acts of mass murder conducted by the Palestinian group. Rather, the EU Court ruled that “the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet.”

However, far from a minor and irrelevant technical glitch, as claimed by EU officials, the Hamas court case provided a long overdue window into the systematic failures of European Union’s foreign policy decision making, particularly regarding complex Israeli-Arab issues. Even a cursory examination of these EU policies exposes the degree to which slogans and myths, as repeated by journalists and officials of non-govermental organizations (NGOs), form the basis for decisions on crucial issues of war and peace. And the NGO input is, in turn, recycled through ready to print press releases, and quoted by the government officials. The result is an EU echo chamber, easily manipulated and cut off from the real world.

For example, last year, the foreign ministers of the EU, acting upon recommendations from their delegates in Brussels, and led by officials of the European Union External Action Service with their own agendas, adopted a policy of “guidelines” or a form of economic sanctions on Israel. This is part of a wider campaign to force israel back to the 1949 cease fire lines (mistakenly labeled the “pre-1967 borders”), and, in theory, impose an agreement without any change in the Palestinian narrative and incitement.

In taking this far-reaching political action, the EU did not create a task force, hold public hearings, or summon expert witnesses with differing perspectives. Instead, the molders of policy making on Israel in the bureaucracy of the EEAS outsourced the process, adopting the claims, biases, and problematic analyses of powerful NGOs, many of which are, in turn, funded by the EU. The steady diet of NGO publications was packaged in EU Heads of Missions reports (HoMs) for easy digestion.

The failure of the EU to dedicate serious resources to the independent collection of data and analysis is endemic across many issues. Many of the EU’s policies regarding Israel and the conflict are made by cutting and pasting the publications and tracts of political advocacy groups, including on such complex and sensitive isues as Jerusalem, borders, human rights, Bedouin land claims in the Negev, and the status of other Israeli minority groups. The claims of these groups, in turn, are usually based on hearsay (“Palestinian eyewitness testimony), and, as in the case of the Hamas decision in 2001, media reports and “the internet”.

Hamas Rebuilds Tunnels With International Aid As Israel’s Critics Say ...

...By acquiescing to a situation in which a criminal terrorist group not only continues to rule over a captive population and threaten war against a neighboring sovereign state but also standing by silently as Hamas creates the conditions for another terror war, the West is demonstrating its moral bankruptcy on the Middle East.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
19 December '14..

Five months ago Hamas rained down rockets on Israeli cities and attempted to use a tunnel network to infiltrate into the Jewish state and kidnap and kill as many Jews as they could. But predictably most of the world’s attention was focused on Israeli counter-attacks to suppress the missile fire and take out the tunnels and it came under severe criticism, even from its American ally, for the toll of civilian deaths that were caused by Hamas using the population of Gaza as human shields. But those who deplored the 50-day war as a tragedy for the Palestinian people now need to ask themselves whether they are really interested in watching another such round of fighting in the future. The same international community that blasted Israel for having the temerity to defend itself now needs to address the fact that the aid that is pouring into the strip for the purpose of rebuilding homes destroyed in the fighting, is actually being used to rebuild the terror tunnels. If they don’t, they’ll have no right to criticize Israel when it is once again forced to act to defend itself.

As the Times of Israel writes, the Israel media is reporting that:

Some of the cement and other materials being delivered to the coastal Palestinian territory, as part of an international rebuilding effort, has been diverted to the tunnels.

The story goes on to detail some things that can’t come as a surprise. Even as it rebuilds its terror tunnels, Hamas is replenishing its supply of missiles and rockets. Given that the group has just kissed and made up with Iran, the flow of money and munitions into the strip by one means or another is bound to increase.

Though expected, this does increase Hamas’s leverage over the Palestinian Authority, which isn’t interested in making peace with Israel but will certainly never do so while it remains under threat from its erstwhile unity partner. Though many in Israel and elsewhere assumed Hamas would emerge weakened from a war in which Gaza was flattened and little material damage was done to the Jewish state, it is more popular than ever (especially in the West Bank which did not suffer much from the terror group’s murderous policies) and may soon be as much of a threat to Israel as it was before the fighting started. Indeed, if, as reports indicate, Hamas is working on ways to defeat Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system succeed, the danger will be far worse the next time the terrorists decide they wish to try their luck.

Friday, December 19, 2014

We can’t satisfy Europe, but Israel will survive

...We can’t satisfy the PLO and this is now apparently true of the EU as well. So be it. It may be difficult, but Israel will survive. I wonder if a non-Muslim Europe will?

The EU Parliament votes yesterday that it “supports
in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and
the two-state solution, and believes these should
go hand in hand with the development of
peace talks, which should be advanced.”
Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
18 December '14..

I admit it. I read Ha’aretz (but I don’t pay for it). How else would I know what Israel’s extreme Left is thinking? So I am used to reading that time is running out, we’d better “end the occupation” before the Europeans decide to make us a “pariah nation” and Obama forgets to veto something in the Security Council.

For example, here’s Barak Ravid today:

Netanyahu doesn’t understand Europe. His approach to the diplomatic crisis with France, Britain, Germany and others is simplistic. He believes the moves in Europe are motivated by European leaders’ eagerness to obtain the votes of the growing Muslim minority by advancing a pro-Palestinian agenda. In addition, he feels Europe’s attitude toward Israel is based on deep-seated anti-Semitic sentiments.

I had hoped Ravid would continue and explain what he thinks does motivate European anti-Zionism if not the things he mentions, but he didn’t. I suppose if asked he would talk about how “The Occupation” is immoral and building across the Green Line ‘frustrates’ the Europeans and the Obama Administration because it supposedly creates facts on the ground which prejudge the outcome of negotiations.

But assuming that the architects of colonialism and perpetrators of the Holocaust* have suddenly acquired a moral sensibility is a stretch.

The Arabs of Judea and Samaria are better off economically and more secure physically than those in neighboring countries. Objectively their biggest problem is the criminal and corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA). Surely someone motivated by moral concerns would be more interested in ending the depravity and horrific violence of Da’esh (ISIS) and Assad than in satisfying the desire of the Palestinian Arabs for statehood.

This would be the case even if the PLO’s demands were not transparently designed to create a platform to replace Israel with an Arab state, and if it weren’t 100% clear that an IDF withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would bring a base for terrorism (probably under Hamas control) within a couple of miles of Israel’s population centers and airport. This isn’t rocket science (pun intended). Do you think they don’t understand this?

Dear Amnesty International: Mrs. Arafat Has Something You Should Listen To

....Amnesty International and other well-meaning charity groups did not have to engage in “extensive research” to understand the Hamas objective. They surely must have read the analysis of Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat reported in the Italian paper La Republicca on November 12, 2014. Unlike Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor who accused Israel of committing “genocide,” Suha accused Hamas of perpetrating “genocide” in the Gaza Strip, and denounced the group for making the Strip an Islamic state and for holding its inhabitants “hostage."

Michael Curtis..
American Thinker..
18 December '14..

What can explain the distressing ailment of tone deafness on Middle Eastern affairs suffered by Amnesty International and well-meaning Human Rights Groups and Charity Organizations?

Except for rabid anti-Semites and those zealous bigots who reject the right of the Jewish People to self-determination, every rational observer favors peace, if not mutual affection, between Israel and the Arab people, including the Palestinians. Sincere advocates of a peace proceess recognize that one-sided attacks and condemnations of the State of Israel will not lead to that desired objective.

The pursuit of that objective is not helped by a new publication, a Report by Amnesty International, issued in November 2014, that ignores or minimizes the provocative militancy of the terrorist group Hamas in its continual and persisting attacks on the State of Israel and its citizens.

The Report, ignoring the provocation of the constant rocket and missile attacks – amounting to several thousand -- by Hamas on Israel, lacks impartiality by its concentration on casualties caused by Israel in Gaza. Its very title provides the clue to its thrust and purpose: "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Families under the Rubble: Israeli attacks on Inhabited Homes". The report focuses specifically on eight incidents during which residential family homes in Gaza were attacked by Israeli forces during the fifty-day Operation Protective Edge, July 8 to August 26, 2014. More generally, it stresses what it calls the pattern of Israeli attacks intended to level civilian homes.

No doubt mistakes were made, and have been acknowledged, by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in its firing and that in the course of the fighting in Gaza unanticipated Palestinian civilian deaths occurred. But this is a far cry from the heated rhetoric of Amnesty International’s director of Middle East Programs, Philip Luther, who referred to Israeli forces having “brazenly flouted the rules of war… displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused.” He considered that the “large scale destruction (by Israel) was carried out deliberately and with no military justification.” He held that there must be accountability for any violations of international humanitarian law that have been committed. But for Luther, the accountability is one-sided because it is the Israeli authorities, not those who first fired on Israeli citizens, that must provide answers.

The hypocrisy of Amnesty International (AI) knows no limit. AI does acknowledge in its Report that in some incidents Hamas and Palestinian armed groups used civilian buildings for storing munitions. Yet, despite what it calls “extensive research,” it claims it has no evidence the Hamas or Palestinian armed groups were using the buildings mentioned in the Report for military purposes at the time of their attack. One wonders who conducts “research” at AI. The organization ignores the reality that in September 2014 Hamas officials themselves confessed that it used residential areas from which to launch missiles. It equally ignores the clear evidence that some of the schools of UNRWA were used for military purposes.

The four ‘controversial’ words banned at Ireland’s Holocaust event

...HETI’s efforts to break the link between the commemoration of the greatest crime against the Jewish people and the Jewish state are truly shameful, and we again call on the trustees responsible to resign.

Adam Levick..
CiF Watch..
18 December '14..

Further to our post on December 15th about the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland’s (HETI) Holocaust Commemoration event being forbidden to say the word ‘Israel’ or the phrase ‘the Jewish State’, we now have the closing part of 2014 MC Yanky Fachler’s draft speech which evidently so upset HETI trustees.

It seems that (according to our sources) objections were raised over Fachler saying “And we owe it to the victims, to the survivors, and to ourselves, to prevent the memory of the Holocaust being cynically distorted and hijacked by a vicious campaign that denies the Jewish people and the Jewish state – our past and our future.”

Fachler gave in and omitted the phrase “and the Jewish State” because he did not want to cause trouble. Hence the letter – signed by HETI Chair Peter Cassells – dated October 7th to Fachler, saying that in future, MCs would not be allowed to mention ‘Israel’ or ‘the Jewish State’.


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Has Hamas just been whitewashed by Europe?

...Naturally, this being Europe, neither clarity nor moral decisiveness come into the matter, as those who follow European acrobatics know too well. Bottom line: this is a political move, and will be followed by more. A work in progress, demonstrating (depressingly) again what can be expected from Europe's best and brightest.

Terrorists? Who, little us?
[Image Source: 
AP/Hatem Moussa
Gaza February 3, 2006)
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
17 December '14..

Hamas, whose constitution commits it legally to the belief that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it" is designated for good and extremely painful reasons as a terrorist organization by the following countries:

Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all designate the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades division of Hamas a terrorist organization.

Canadian law terms Hamas a terrorist group.

Egypt bans Hamas, calling it a terrorist organization.

Japan froze the assets of nearly five hundred terrorist organizations in 2005, one of them being Hamas.

Legally, Jordan banned Hamas in 1999, but is extremely flexible in the way it carries out the ban.

The United States has Hamas on its Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

Saudi Arabia "banned the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014 and branded it a terrorist organization. While Hamas is not specifically listed, a non-official Saudi source stated that the decision also encompasses its branches in other countries, including Hamas." [source]

The European Union was on this list until this morning. The news today is filled with reports about a change of European heart on Hamas. But the dry and technical reality is more nuanced than that.


Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

Turning Back the Clock to Pre-1948 is the Real Endgame

...UN rules state that cultural activities seeking a UN platform must "promote dialogue among civilizations" and "be compatible with the values, purposes and principles of the United Nations." Apparently, a direct attack on the legitimacy of the UN member state of Israel is now interpreted in UN circles as consistent with the principles of the United Nations. Maybe, so long as those principles have nothing to do with truth, equality, and justice. The silence of UN members on this abomination is deafening.

Anne Bayefsky..
Human Rights Voices..
17 December '14..

Incitement against the Jewish state is directly related to the stabbings, raping and killing of Jews inside and outside of Israel. But doing something to stop it requires confronting a very troubling fact: the global epicenter for incitement is the "human rights" leviathan, the United Nations.

From November 24, 2014 until December 5, 2014, UN human rights headquarters in Geneva mounted a public exhibit that was pure incitement. UN-driven antisemitism that takes the form of seeking to demonize, disable and ultimately destroy the Jewish state.

The exhibit was entitled: "La Nakba: Exode et Expulsion des Palestiniens en 1948" — or "The Nakba: Exodus and Expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948." The occasion was the annual UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Solidarity Day marks the adoption by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947 of the resolution that approved the partitioning of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state.

Introductory Poster, UN Nakba Exhibit, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 2014

The partition resolution was rejected by Arab states and celebrated by the Jewish people. Thus the Arab war to deny Israel's right to exist began.

But in 2014, the UN overtly jettisoned the usual diplomatic lie that the 1967 occupation is the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The exhibit focused on the alleged crime of creating a Jewish state in 1948 and openly justified the rejection of the partition resolution.

The display was located in the UN's Palais des Nations just outside the home room of the UN Human Rights Council. It consisted of 13 panels in French and an accompanying catalogue with English reproductions of each item. The catalogue was distributed by UN conference services.

Reception beside the UN Nakba Exhibit, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Nov. 26, 2014

UN Nakba Exhibit, Exhibition Gallery, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Nov.-Dec. 2014

It turns out that the highly controversial exhibit has been circulating in churches and community centers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since April 2008. Sought-after hosts like the City of Dusseldorf and the city library in Freiburg have refused the exhibit, which has also been formally criticized by the Mayor of Cologne.

Europe’s Moral Bankruptcy and the Exoneration of Hamas

...And so on the same day that the European Parliament voted in favor of Palestinian statehood and Switzerland convened the signatories of the Geneva Convention to pass judgment on Israel’s activities in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem, let it also be remembered that the General Court of the European Union ruled that Hamas should be removed from the union’s terror list. Europe’s moral bankruptcy has never been clearer.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
17 December '14..

Considering the amount of time that European Union politicians and diplomats channel into obsessing about Israel, one would assume that Europe has no problems of its own. After all, today, in addition to the European Parliament voting in favor of Palestinian statehood there have been reports that the Europeans and Palestinians have now agreed upon a joint resolution to take to the UN Security Council. But perhaps the most glaringly reprehensible decision to have come out of the EU today is the ruling by the union’s General Court that Hamas must be struck from Brussels’s terror blacklist.

The EU’s foreign ministry has reportedly asked the Israeli government not to cause a storm over this ruling and at the moment the official line from Brussels is that they will be appealing the court’s decision. And yet given that at the time of the signing of the short-lived Hamas-Fatah unity deal the EU’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton welcomed the move, or the huge amount of funding that the EU channels into Hamas-controlled Gaza, one wonders where exactly EU officials really stand on condemning Hamas. After all, during Israel’s war with the terror group this summer, the EU was particularly vocal in its support for imposing a ceasefire that would leave Hamas in control of Gaza and grant many of Hamas’s key demands in return for more paper promises about ending the rocket fire.

The timing of this ruling also seems more than a little coincidental. Not only is there the expectation of an imminent Palestinian UN statehood bid, but it also coincides with today’s Geneva Convention conference, which among other things is expected to cover issues of international law and alleged war crimes in Gaza. Removing Hamas from the terror list at this time only gives added weight to the arguments of those looking to exonerate Gaza’s Islamist rulers while wishing to have Israel indicted as the key aggressor. And of course, Hamas and its supporters worldwide are hailing the decision as a great breakthrough and victory.

But if there is no politics at work here then it is still far from clear why this ruling came about now, or indeed at all. After all, Europe’s classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization has been good since to 2001. Apparently, the change in designation only comes after a petition to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the designation of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers as terrorists. It seems that the case of the Tamil militants has then been used to springboard this subsequent ruling on Hamas. Indeed, the court’s reasons for annulling the Council of the European Union’s 2001 decision appears incredibly feeble. The court’s grounds for suddenly ruling that the initial classification was invalid simply rests on the claim that the earlier decision was based on evidence that had come from “the press and Internet” and as such must now be deemed insufficient.