Hamas’ war crimes guilt

September 26th, 2009

24 September 2009

The Editor
Jerusalem Post

Jurisdiction in democratic countries generally consider the accomplice to a crime as substantially guilty of the crime itself. Thus the driver of the car which carries the bank robber is equally guilty of robbery. As he would be if the culprit was part of a shooting group returning to base after killing a particular or non-particular victim.

In the Gaza crimes investigated by Judge Richard Goldstone there were killers and accomplices. The accomplices were intended to provide civilian cover for the armed shooters. It has been suggested that not all the civilians were there of their own free will. That many, perhaps all, had been coerced.

Or none. For we should remind ourselves of the fact that almost all the dead were men (where were the women?) and there’s every likelihood that the males were jihadniks come to battle the Jewish enemy by providing “civilian” cover to the terrorists. They were true accomplices. Their reward was to be endless fun and games with 72 black-eyed waiting virgins.

To expect the Israeli military to be able to identify and separate the willing accomplices from the coerced is ridiculous. To expect Israel to give the killers a free pass on this account is equally ridiculous. Neither the US nor the British in similar operations has ever allowed civilian niceties to guide them in waging war. Nor will this be possible in the missile war to come.

This is not the first time Israelis have been at war with Arab terrorists in Lebanon. So it is common knowledge that their accomplices are equally at risk of their lives. To find Israel guilty of war crimes for this reason is ridiculous.

For clearly the terrorists who surrounded themselves with civilian “accomplices” are guilty of the war crimes, not Israel. But then Goldstone was only asked to consider Israel’s war crimes and so we have this peculiar result. As the saying goes “Ask a stupid question you get a stupid reply”.

Yours truly

Netanyahu’s Magnificent Speech to the United Nations

September 26th, 2009

Sep 24, 2009

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen…

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland. I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.

The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.

Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.

Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?

This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?

One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife`s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!

Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You`re wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.

In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.

The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.

Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.

What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.

But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.

That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world`s most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism? Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.

We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one. In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis. We didn`t get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.

You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent. Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country`s civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.

During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.

Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemys civilian population from harms way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!

Delegates of the United Nations, will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity. And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here`s why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.

What legitimacy? What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country – of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein. And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.

In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.

Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more.” These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city – in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.

As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity. But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don`t want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.

We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order. The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill`s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history — that we can prevent danger in time.

In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

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Israel’s Legal Territorial Rights

September 16th, 2009

By Eli E. Hertz

September 13, 2009

The U.S. Administration, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia are rewriting history by labeling the Territories ‘Occupied Territories’ and the Settlements as an ‘Obstacle to Peace’ and ‘Illegitimate’. It endows these Palestinian terms with an aura of false history and bogus statehood. Ban Ki-moon, Hillary Clinton and Javier Solana became victims to the ‘Occupation’ mantra which their own organizations have repeated time and again in speeches which favor the Arab position. The use of these dishonest loaded terms empowers and encourages the Palestinian Arabs to carry out their fanatical intention to substitute the Islamic state of Palestine for the Jewish state of Israel.

The Jewish People’s Right to the Land of Israel

The “Road Map” as well as continuous pressure from the “Quartet” (U.S., the European Union, the UN and Russia) to surrender parts of the Land of Israel are contrary to international law that clearly endorses Israel’s right to “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” It also binds both sides to ensure ” that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the government of any foreign power.”

Any attempt to negate the Jewish people’s right to Eretz Israel or to deny them access and control in the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations is therefore a serious infringement of international law.

International Law and the Mandate for Palestine

The Mandate for Palestine is an historical League of Nations document which lays down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, that area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement which endures in international law. On July 24, 1922 fifty-one member countries – the entire League of Nations – unanimously declared:

“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the Mandate for Palestine . . . “favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled” that the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.” [*Italics in the original.]

Note that the Arabs were such an unimportant community in 1922 they were not even mentioned by name.

Law of War and Arab Unlawful Acts of Aggression in 1948

Six months before Israel‘s War of Independence in 1948, Palestinian Arabs launched a series of riots, pillaging and bloodletting. Then came the invasion by troops of five Arab states intending to overthrow the new Jewish state just established by consent of the UN’s 1947 resolution to partition Palestine, a plan the Arabs rejected.

Israel’s citizens understood that defeat meant the end of their Jewish state before it could even get off the ground. Fortunately, Israel prevailed against all odds and also came into possession of new areas of land. But over 6,000 Israelis died as a result of that war, in a population of just over 600,000. One percent of the Jewish population was gone. In American terms at that time, this was equivalent to 1.5 million American civilians and soldiers killed.

That Israel’s War of Independence was lawful is reflected in UN cresolutions naming Israel a “peace loving State” when it applied for membership at the United Nations. Both the Security Council (4 March, 1949, S/RES/69) and the UN General Assembly (11 May, 1949, (A/RES/273 (III)) declared:

“[Security Council] Decides in its judgment that Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter …”

Unlawful Acts of Arab Aggression in 1967

In June 1967, the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel with the clear purpose expressed by Egypt’s President: “Destruction of Israel.” At the end of what is now known as the Six-Day War, Israel was victorious and in possession of the territories of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], Sinai and the Golan Heights.

International law makes a clear distinction between defensive wars and wars of aggression. More than half a century after the 1948 War, and more than four decades since the 1967 Six-Day War, it is hard to imagine the dire circumstances Israel faced and the price it paid.

Who Starts Wars Does Matter

Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, past President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) states the following facts:

“The facts of the June 1967 ‘Six Day War’ demonstrate that Israel reacted defensively against the threat and use of force against her by her Arab neighbors. This is indicated by the fact that Israel responded to Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, its proclamation of a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the manifest threat of the UAR’s [The state formed by the union of the republics of Egypt and Syria in 1958] use of force inherent in its massing of troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of UNEF.

“It is indicated by the fact that, upon Israeli responsive action against the UAR, Jordan initiated hostilities against Israel. It is suggested as well by the fact that, despite the most intense efforts by the Arab States and their supporters, led by the Premier of the Soviet Union, to gain condemnation of Israel as an aggressor by the hospitable organs of the United Nations, those efforts were decisively defeated. “The conclusion to which these facts lead is that the Israeli conquest of Arab and Arab-held territory was defensive rather than aggressive conquest.”

Judge Sir Elihu Lauterpacht wrote in 1968, one year after the 1967 Six-Day War: “On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem. There was no question of this Jordanian action being a reaction to any Israeli attack. It took place notwithstanding explicit Israeli assurances, conveyed to King Hussein through the U.N. Commander, that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan.

“Although the charge of aggression is freely made against Israel in relation to the Six-Days War the fact remains that the two attempts made in the General Assembly in June-July 1967 to secure the condemnation of Israel as an aggressor failed. A clear and striking majority of the members of the U.N. voted against the proposition that Israel was an aggressor.”

Israel Has the Better Title to the Territory to What Was Palestine, Including the whole of Jerusalem

International law makes it clear: all of Israel’s wars with its Arab neighbors were in self-defense.

Professor, Judge Schwebel, wrote in What Weight to Conquest:

“(a) a state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense; “(b) as a condition of its withdrawal from such territory, that State may require the institution of security measures reasonably designed to ensure that that territory shall not again be used to mount a threat or use of force against it of such a nature as to justify exercise of self-defense; “(c) Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title. “… as between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”

“No Legal Right Shall Spring from a Wrong”

Professor Schwebel explains that the principle of “acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible” Must be read together with other principles:

“… namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”

Simply stated: Arab illegal aggression against the territorial integrity and political independence of Israel, cannot and should not be rewarded.

Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, stated:

“Territorial Rights Under International Law…. By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel’s territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article.”

Thus, under international law Israel acted lawfully by exercising its right to self-defense when it redeemed and legally reoccupied Judea and Samaria, known also as the West Bank.

Legalities aside, before 1967 there were no Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and for the first ten years of so-called occupation there were almost no Jewish settlers in the West Bank yet still there was no peace with the Palestinian Arabs. The notion that Jewish communities pose an obstacle to peace is a red herring designed to blame Israel for lack of progress in the ‘Peace Process’ and enable Palestinian leadership to continue to reject any form of compromise and reconciliation with Israel as a Jewish state.

Facts Are Unimportant When They Contradict Our Preconceived Opinions

September 12th, 2009

September 12, 2009

by Maurice Ostroff

Is non-payment of rent grounds for eviction? What if the tenant is a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem?

A Google search for Israel evictions yields 195,000 results, almost all condemning Israel because two families were evicted from homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on August 2, implying that this was done by the government solely for political reasons. All reports ignored the fact that the action was not initiated by the present Israel government and that it was not a plot hatched by the new government.

The saga began as long ago as 1972. The eviction resulted from a Supreme Court ruling in a protracted legal battle over ownership of properties in the area. The applicants claimed to own the property occupied by the Ghawi and Hanun families and sought to evict them on the grounds of rent delinquency. The defendants claimed the Jewish appellants had forged their ownership documents, but after examining all the evidence, the Supreme Court ruled that it was in fact the Arab documents which had been forged while the Jewish deeds were legitimate.

Even Israel’s fiercest critics acknowledge the high judicial standard of the Israel Supreme Court, which is often accused of erring on the liberal side. It has frequently ruled against the government in favor of Arab residents and Palestinians and it authorized the demolition of Jewish settlements in Gaza. It also halted the destruction of a suicide bomber’s house and its judgment in this matter too, can safely be regarded as based on the merits of the case.

Not only did the media reports distort the story by ignoring the above facts, they failed to mention that of the 28 families who occupied the premises, only two were evacuated for the valid reason of refusing to pay rent. While the Israeli court accepted the appellant’s claim of ownership over the property, it nevertheless recognized the Palestinian residents’ status as “protected tenants” who could not be ejected as long as they continued to pay the rent in terms of Israel’s Protected Tenant Law. Most of the 28 families continued to do so and eviction orders were issued only against the two families that refused. All those journalists and politicians who immediately condemned Israel, ignored this essential fact.

Nor did the facts on the ground deter international politicos from grabbing this opportunity to shoot from the hip. A headline in The Telegraph summed up the knee-jerk international reaction. It screamed, “Israel provokes international anger over eviction of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, “Israel’s Evictions in East Jerusalem Provocative.”

Pakistan Times UN Special Correspondent reported, “UN envoy speaks out against Israel’s ‘unacceptable’ evictions of Palestinians.”

And the following aggressive statement from the British Consulate in Jerusalem, caps it all. “We are appalled by the evictions in East Jerusalem. Israel’s claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighborhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is unacceptable. Their actions are incompatible with Israel’s desire for peace. We urge Israel not to allow extremists to set the Agenda.”

The Consulate’s declaration that the judgments of the Israel courts are “unacceptable” is all the more troubling because in every country, except Israel, Britain urges obedience to local laws, even those it considers unreasonable like child marriage and slavery. In fact the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises expatriates to respect local laws and religions at all times. For example, it exhorts obedience to Saudi Arabian laws, including prohibition of public practice of any form of religion other than Islam and the death penalty for homosexuality.

Would the British consulate in Saudi Arabia dare to declare that any of these Saudi laws are “unacceptable”?

In view of the hysterical condemnation of the eviction of two families in Jerusalem for non-payment of rent, one must ask whether the politicos and journalists who so freely express strong opinions about Israel, are unconcerned about, or are plainly ignorant of evictions that are happening daily around the world. Do they not care about the more than 15,000 people who have been made homeless in recent forced evictions in Angola to make way for condominiums and shopping centers? Many of those affected claim they have documents signed by the municipal administrator giving them rights to the land. But according to the provincial government of Luanda, the families were occupying the area unlawfully and therefore will not be provided with alternative accommodation.

Do they not care about the Botswana Government’s forced eviction of the Gana and Gwi tribes (better known as “Bushmen”) from the ancestral lands they inhabited for more than 20,000 years and forced into grim resettlement camps they call “places of death”?

Are they too focused on demonizing Israel to pay some attention to the 52,000 huts that have been bulldozed in Mumbai where, YUVA, the Youth for Unity & Voluntary Action, reports that millions of people have been thrown out of their houses at the peak of the winter season and are living around the demolished site without shelter, food, livelihood or basic amenities.

A Collective Arab Rasberry

September 11th, 2009

September 11, 2009

The Editor

Jerusalem Post

Dear Sir

Last July, according to your report yesterday, (“Israel will continue to build schools in the West Bank Sa’ar tells British MPs”) Gordon Brown, then Britain’s Prime Minister, backed the settlement freeze because he felt “there would be a response in the Arab world”.

Less than a fortnight ago Vice President Hillary Clinton reiterated the same feelings. But why ask Israel to halt its perfectly legal right to build in Judea and Samaria, when a quick whip round by his Foreign Minister would have produced a 100 per cent Arab raspberry?

Sincerely

Jock L. Falkson

Evidence of Iran’s nuclear intentions

September 7th, 2009

September 8, 2009

The Editor

Jerusalem Post

Dear Sir

Re: “The IAEA’s credibility is at stake” yesterday by Ephraim Asculai, I am amazed this auspicious UN committee has not simply asked to see the building going up – or its architectural plans – intended to house its nuclear electricity generating plant. Surely this is evidence enough?

Sincerely

Jock L. Falkson

Palestinians need autonomy

September 2nd, 2009

August 30, 2009

The Editor

Jerusalem Post

Sir,

Israel has every reason to believe in the continuation of the general de facto peace with the neighboring Arab states which, with the exception of Jordan and Egypt, are still technically at war with us.

I refer to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon which declared war on Israel in 1947 and never entered into a peace treaty thereafter. Not one of these states except Iraq is governed by representatives of their people and that took a full scale war to bring about. Clearly, when left to themselves the Arabs prefer government by self-appointed chiefs to representatives of the people.

The same applies to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for although terrorists among them have also caused some of us grief their numbers too are small.

The US led Quartet keeps urging Israel to accept a Palestinian state yet neither the Hamas nor Fatah terrorist organizations are interested in this solution because they neither have the desire nor the ability to govern themselves. In addition, the pickings at the top make any other form of government strictly undesirable to the present rulers.

Since Israel will not establish relations with a state which will not recognize the Jewish State, their best solution is still autonomy, as Begin once offered. That’s the solution Obama should be peddling!

Sincerely,

Jock L. Falkson

“OCCUPATION” IS STILL A LIE

August 1st, 2009

by Prof. Louis Rene Beres

Today, as always, words matter. Over the years, a notably durable Arab patience in building “Palestine” upon whole mountains of Jewish corpses has drawn directly upon a prior linguistic victory. Yet, the still generally unchallenged language referring provocatively to an Israeli “occupation” always overlooks the pertinent and logically incontestable history of West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza.

Perhaps the most evident omission still concerns the precise and unwitting manner in which these “territories” fell into Israel’s hands in the first place. Here it is — simply and widely disregarded — that “occupation” followed the multistate Arab state aggression of 1967. This aggression, of course, was never disguised by Egypt,

A sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967 or 1948. Nor was a state of Palestine ever promised by UN Security Council Resolution 242. Contrary to popular understanding, a state of Palestine has never existed. Never.

Even as a nonstate legal entity, “Palestine” ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence (a war of survival fought because the entire Arab world had rejected the authoritative United Nations resolution creating a Jewish State), West Bank and Gaza came under flagrantly illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the effective prevention, sui generis, of a state of “Palestine.”

Let us return to an earlier history. From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918-1948), the land — named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines — was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. Significantly, however, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I, at the San Remo Peace Conference of April 1920. There, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over “Palestine” (the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks since 1516) to prepare it to become the “national home for the Jewish People.” Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including West Bank and Gaza. Present day Israel comprises only twenty-two percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference.

In 1922, Great Britain unilaterally — and without any lawful authority — split off 78 percent of the lands promised to the Jews — all of Palestine east of the Jordan River — and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name “Transjordan,’ which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan. From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement — a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law. On July 20, 1951, a “Palestinian” Arab assassinated King Abdullah for the latter’s hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan’s “moderate” King Hussein — 19 years later, during September 1970 — brutally murdered thousands of defenseless Palestinians under his jurisdiction.

In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah’s killing, the newly formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Curiously, because this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders accepted the painful judgment. As readers of The Jewish Press already know all too well, the Arab states did not accept it. On May 15, 1948, exactly 24 hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.”

This unambiguous declaration of genocide has been at the core of all subsequent Arab orientations toward Israel, including those of “moderate” Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst has remained patently annihilatory. For some reason, this persistence has repeatedly been made to appear benign. But President Obama and Senator Mitchell now have a clear obligation to look behind these propagandistic appearances.

In 1967, almost 20 years after Israel’s entry into the community of states, the Jewish state, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is properly codified in the UN Charter, there existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could be “returned.” Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly cruel control since the Arab-initiated war of “extermination” in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian “self-determination” had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War, and — significantly — had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967.

For their part, the Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it….” The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.” Exactly what was it, therefore, that the PLO sought to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967? This critical question should now be considered by Barack Obama’s special envoy to the region, Senator George Mitchell.

This has been a very brief account of essential historic reasons why the so-called “Palestinian Territories” are not occupied by Israel. Several other equally valid reasons stem from Israel’s intrinsic legal right to security and self-defense. As I have said so often in this column, international law is not a suicide pact. Because a Palestinian state would severely threaten the very existence of Israel — a fact that remains altogether unhidden even in Arab media and governments — the Jewish State is under no binding obligation to end a falsely alleged “occupation.” No state, not even a Jewish one, can ever be required to accept complicity in its own dismemberment.

No doubt, both President Obama and Senator Mitchell want to be fair and evenhanded in their developing plans for the Middle East. To meet this obligation, however, it is essential that they first build all pertinent negotiations upon a firm foundation of historical accuracy and ethical truth. This means, at a minimum, that the aspiring U.S. peacemakers familiarize themselves with correct history, and not simply allow themselves to be swallowed up with their many predecessors in ritualistic dogma and empty platitudes.

SCHOLARLY REFERENCES DEALING WITH THE “OCCUPATION” ISSUE

Date 02-27-09

  1. The Question of the Applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention on Occupation to Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Part One) by Howard Grief

  2. Toss the Travaux? Application of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Middle East Conflict by David John Ball

  3. The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law by Howard Grief [Preview is available on the MAZO Publishers website; purchase the book on Amazon]

  4. Which Came First — Terrorism or “Occupation”? by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  5. The Origin of the Occupation Myth by Howard Grief (Israel’s Borders and Legal Right to Eretz Israel) Date 03:03, 03-16, 09

Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with military affairs and international law. He is a Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

This appeared in the Jewish Press, February 27, 2009.


Palestinian testimony: Arab leaders responsible for refugees

July 26th, 2009

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik Palestine Media Watch

“The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: ‘Get away from the battle lines. It’s a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we’ll bring you back to Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem].’ And we said to ourselves, ‘That’s a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That’s a lot!’ That’s what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by.” [PATV, July 7, 2009]

With these words an Arab resident of a refugee camp recounts the reason why his family left Israel in 1948, in an interview broadcast on PA TV this month.

Click here to view the interview on PA TV

Furthermore, the fact that this information has been openly discussed by public figures and refugees in the Palestinian Authority media itself suggests that awareness of this responsibility may be widespread – even though Palestinian leaders continue to blame Israel for “the expulsion” for propaganda purposes.

The following statements in the PA media shed significant light on the events of 1948 and counter the attempts by the Palestinian Authority to hide this part of history.
Click here to view the Palestinian testimonies on PMW’s new web site.

1. Arab resident of refugee camp:

“This picture was taken a week before we left Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem] in June 1948, in front of our house. The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: ‘Get away from the battle lines. It’s a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we’ll bring you back to Ein-Kerem.’ And we said to ourselves, ‘That’s a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That’s a lot!’ That’s what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by.” [PATV, July 7, 2009]

Click here to view the interview on PA TV

2. Jawad Al-Bashiti, Palestinian journalist in Jordan:

“Remind me of one real cause from all the factors that have caused the ‘Palestinian Catastrophe’ [the establishment of Israel and the creation of the refugee problem], and I will remind you that it still exists… The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our Catastrophes today.

During the Little Catastrophe, meaning the Palestinian Catastrophe, the following happened: the first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the ‘Arab Salvation Army’ came and told the Palestinians: ‘We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission (destroy Israel) in the best way and so you won’t be hurt.’ It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states (against Israel) was a big illusion. The Arabs fought as if intending to cause the ‘Palestinian Catastrophe’.” [Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008]

3. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian journalist in PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:

“The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the ‘Catastrophe’ in 1948 that the duration of the exile would not be long, and that it would not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees would return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those “Orkubian” promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events…” [The term “Orkubian” invokes Orkub, a figure from Arab tradition who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies.] [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 13, 2006]

4. Asmaa Jabir Balasimah, woman who fled Israel in 1948:

“We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the ‘Catastrophe’ [1948]. They [Arab leaders] told us: The Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us [those who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours.” [Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]

5. Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel:

An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father, saying that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave Palestine or be labeled traitors. In response, Ibrahim Sarsur, now Arab Member of Israeli Parliament Knesset, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, cursed those Arab leaders, thus acknowledging Israel’s historical record.

Viewer: “Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]: I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the ‘Catastrophe’ [in 1948], our District Officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon – southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor.” Ibrahim Sarsur, now MK, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel: “The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day.” [PA TV April 30, 1999]

Click here to view this interview on PA TV

6. Fuad Abu Hajla, senior Palestinian journalist:

Fuad Abu Hajla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, criticizing Arab leaders. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders had “forced” them to leave Israel in 1948.

“I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:

To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents: Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians… So what will your summit do now?” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2001]

Douglas Bloomfield’s Boo-Boo Corrected

July 24th, 2009

July 25, 2009

The Editor
Jerusalem Post

Sir,

In “Barack Obama, gird thy loins” 24.07.09, Douglas Bloomfield writes: “One of the risks of getting $3billion a year from American taxpayers is you can’t tell your benefactor to just shut up and send more money”.

I regret your erudite contributor has this aspect completely wrong for that is exactly what Egypt, which gets half a billion a year less than Israel, has been doing for years. Egypt invariably votes against the US in the United Nations and has never publicly, nor I imagine privately, been intimidated for doing so. Netanyahu should have stood up to Obama’s building restrictions. Nothing would have happened to Israel’s $3billion if he did. The US appreciates that other nations too have interests to look after. Besides which they need to support their militatry industry and this is the ruse used by a nation with a capitalist philosophy.

Sincerely,

Genocidal War Aims of Arab States

July 5th, 2009

There is an entrenched belief in the minds of most Israelis that if an Islamic Hitler were to have a nuclear arsenal of several atom bombs at his disposal he would more than likely unleash it against Israel. The fact that such an action would not only consume both the Jewish and Arab population would not deter this Hitler. The fervent objective of fanatical Islamists like Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map is regarded by Israelis as too extreme a possibility to be ignored. Leading to the conclusion that Iran must be prevented from acquiring this weapon of mass destruction.

Theoretically Israel should have nothing to worry about since the US went to war against Iraq when their intelligence became convinced Saddam had weapons of mass destruction at his disposal. This danger was more than the US could stomach politically and militarily and President Bush won a majority in Congress and the Senate for making war on Iraq.

But times change and the new man in the White House is himself a man of change who has made it clear he will not follow in his predecessor’s footsteps. Witness his obstinate insistence that Israel must not lay another brick to build a new home in existing Jewish towns and villages on the West Bank. Moreover, where Bush clearly stated that the US would regard a nuclear attack on Israel as an attack on the US, Obama has ominously avoided repeating this promise in his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo recently.

I doubt very much whether the world will one day be the least surprised to hear that Israel has wiped out an Iranian nuclear weapon facility. The US will surely stand by Israel if and when this happens – Obama will not need to read the story in the morning papers. Whether Israel will be able to bring this off is another matter. For it is certain that Iran has taken every step money can buy to ensure that her atomic installation is impregnable to a conventional attack.

Why Israel will frustrate Iran’s intentions if deemed essential is explained in the unanimous desire on the part of our Arab neighbors to exterminate us in previous wars. Their intention could not be clearer as evidenced by their furious threats. The world, Jews included, did not believe Hitler and were proved fatally wrong. Jews more that any other nationality cannot gamble on being wrong a second time.

Here’s how our Arab neighbors expressed their genocidal intentions in 1948 and 1967. Egypt was unable to repeat earlier threats in 1973 having internalized the advantage of surprise.

1. “. . . the surviving Jews would be helped to return to their native countries, but my estimation is that none will survive”. 1947 Shuqeiri, leader Palestinian Liberation Organization

2. “We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.” 1947. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said

3. “We will murder, wreck and ruin everything standing in our way, be it English, American or Jewish.” 1947. Fawzi al-Qawukji Commander Palestine Liberation Army

4. “Palestine shall be consumed with fire and blood if the Jews get any part of it.” November 11, 1947. Jamal Al-Husseini, acting Chairman of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee

5. “If the Zionists dare establish a state, the massacres we would unleash will dwarf anything which Genghis Khan and Hitler perpetrated.” May 1, 1948. Arab League secretary-general Azzam Pasha

6. “. . . would continue fighting until the Zionists were annihilated and the whole of Palestine became a purely Arab state.” 27 May 1948. Jamal al-Husseini Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

7. “. . . undertake the liberation battle that will tear the hearts from the bodies of the hateful Jews and trample them in the dust”. June 2 1948. Damascus Radio

8. “He pointed out that they were already on the frontiers and that all the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw the Jews into the Mediterranean . . .” June 8, 1951 Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League

9. “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand. We shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.” March 8, 1965 President Nasser

10. “Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.” November 18, 1965 President Nasser

11. “We want a full scale, popular war of liberation… to destroy the Zionist enemy” 1967 Syrian President Dr. Nureddin al-Attasi

12. “We challenge you, Eshkol, to try all your weapons. Put them to the test; they will spell Israel’s death and annihilation.” May 1967 Cairo Radio

13. “As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.” May 18, 1967 President Nasser

14. “This is our chance Arabs, to deal Israel a mortal blow of annihilation, to blot out its entire presence in our holy land.” May 19, 1967 Cairo Radio

15. “The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel”. May 26 1967 President Nasser

16. “The Arab people is firmly resolved to wipe Israel off the map.” May 22, 1967 Cairo Radio

17. “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.” May 31, 1967. Iraqi President Abdel Rahman Aref
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End game?

June 26th, 2009

By Prof. Jack Cohen
jackc@ekmd.huji.ac.il
Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Jerusalem
June 25, 2009

There seems to be a common misperception that a “peace process” will end in “the two state solution,” with a Palestinian State, that will then bring an end to the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs. This is pure pie in the sky, wishful thinking of the first order. For the Palestinians this will merely be a stage in their strategy to destroy the Jewish State. This is why PM Netanyahu is insisting that any such State be demilitarized and not be able to make pacts with other enemy states such as Iran and Syria.

In Kfar Etzion, one of the two Jewish settlements that were captured by the Arabs in 1948, they destroyed the whole place down to the foundations and even uprooted all the trees. This is the pattern of Palestinian reaction if it gets its hands on any Jewish/Israeli facility. Many people assumed that when Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, that would usher in a period of peaceful coexistence.

A group of wealthy liberal American Jews, believing this nonsense, actually spent $14m to buy the facilities of the Jewish settlers in order to hand them over to the Palestinians so that they could have factories and jobs (after all the Jews managed to make a good living there). But, what happened, the Palestinians smashed everything in sight, including the glasshouses that could have been growing produce to feed themselves and sell exports. What a waste! I am not making this up, it is a matter of record, it is irrational and self-defeating, but they always manage to shoot themselves in the foot.

During WWI and WWII Britain had a blockade of Germany, and in WWII the US had a blockade of Japan, this is common in war. Yet, many liberals, Jews and non-Jews, think Israel should supply Gaza with essential goods (food, medicine, oil, etc.) even though Hamas considers itself at war with us. The only reason that the entry of supplies to Gaza is stopped is when they periodically attack our forces guarding the terminals that feed them. Except for now, when a group of private citizens formed a “Save Gilad Shalit” Committee, and are preventing trucks from entering the three main crossings into Gaza. And who is clearing the blockade, the IDF. Now isn’t that illogical.

Other examples of anti-Israel violence are the joint industrial sites built between Gaza and Israel (Erez) and the West Bank and Israel (Kalandia), where Palestinians were employed. During the intifada they attacked and destroyed most of these facilities, and killed several of the Israelis working there. There is an inescapable conclusion that the Palestinians are motivated by an irrational hatred of Jews and Israel, and this has nothing to do with what the Israelis have done to them, or the so-called “occupation,” witness the massacres of Jews in Hebron in 1929 and in Jerusalem in 1948.

One assumption of the “two state solution” is that the PA is led by “moderates” such as Pres Abbas, who are ready to make peace with Israel. Both Pres. Mubarak of Egypt and Quartet emissary Tony Blair last week stated optimistically that a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians could be signed “in a year (or two).” However, this is false optimism purely for political purposes. Pres. Abbas controls the Mukata Compound in Ramallah, and practically nothing beyond that. The US, UK and EU, with Israeli approval, is helping the PA to develop a police force to “pacify” the cities that are within the PA. But, in fact, the PA’s control over these forces is nominal, they only operate during daytime and they have never come up against armed Hamas or even Fatah terrorist gangs. If they ever do they will desert or be decimated. It is illusory for Israel to make any kind of agreement with Abbas, it would not be worth the paper it is printed on.

So whichever way you look at it, there will be no real peace process and no agreement, not in one year and not in ten years, at least not until the hatred that the Palestinians have for the Jews is dissipated. There is no “end game” in sight.

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