For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
For those new to these posts: the Hebrew "balagan" means confusion, or a muddle.
Oh, there's news of sorts these days. But one news report contradicts another and there is confusion all about. Difficult, then, to track what is happening or to make meaningful sense out of it. I'm not sure it's possible to find "meaningful sense" in the midst of all this.
And so, my friends, have I not posted in the last couple of days. And so, too, will I be likely to post less frequently than is my norm in the next few days -- for I am also doing some research on UNRWA.
Having said this, I now take a look at what is happening with the PA and the UN. Much ado about it, and much misunderstanding, still, with regard to the role of the UN.
The latest take on this comes from Haaretz, which just today carried an article stating that the PA might give up its bid to seek recognition in the Security Council -- because of the reasonable certainty that the US would veto there -- and go straight to the General Assembly.
The Palestinian Arabs understand, says this article, that they would not be able to get full membership in the UN via this route, because that process goes through the SC. Well, true enough as far as it goes -- the bid for UN membership does have to be approved by the SC. But the SC only considers a bid for membership by an already extant state. The SC doesn't create the state and then give it membership. And I have yet to see official declaration of the PA as a state -- nor am I convinced it would meet the internationally accepted criteria for a state.
At any rate, according to this piece:
"A vote at the General Assembly is expected to end with a Palestinian victory and a large majority, as some 140 member states are expected to support recognition of a Palestinian state. Even though a General Assembly resolution is 'weaker' than one by the Security Council, the Palestinians are comparing such a decision to Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, in which the General Assembly approved the plan to partition Palestine.
"Senior Palestinian officials say that without the decision on dividing Palestine in 1947, Israel would not have had the international legitimacy to declare independence in May 1948."
"'The decision of the General Assembly was a very important step on the way to independence,' senior Palestinian officials noted. "Even though the situation on the ground will not change the day after, it will bring us significantly closer to the establishment of a Palestinian state.'"
But the General Assembly-- unless it goes for some convoluted gambit and breaks its own rules -- doesn't "recognize" states either. So it's unclear what they'd be voting for, 140 member states in favor or not. Joshua Mitnick, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, suggests that the UN might make a symbolic declaration or upgrade the PA's observer status.
Looks like we may have to wait until September and see for ourselves.
However, the parallel that the PA leaders draw between a possible GA vote for a Palestinian state now, and the 1947 GA vote for partition of Palestine, which gave the Jews the legitimacy to declare the independence of Israel thereafter, is fallacious. Let's be clear on the history, which is not broadly understood:
The parallel to what the Palestinian Arabs want to do would have been if the Jews had gone to the General Assembly in 1947 and asked that the legitimacy of their state be recognized. But that's not what happened.
In 1922, the League of Nations assigned the Mandate for Palestine -- which called for a Jewish homeland between the river and the sea -- to Britain. Largely because of Arab unrest and violence, the British felt themselves incapable of fulfilling that mandate and chose to surrender it. By that time, the United Nations had supplanted the League of Nations, and assumed all of its legal commitments.
Britain went to the General Assembly with the declaration of intent to turn back the mandate, and asked that body for a recommendation as to what should be done. The partition plan was that recommendation, which came out of UN jurisdiction with regard to the mandate and thus carried a unique significance.
By no stretch of the imagination does the General Assembly have such jurisdiction with regard to the appropriate disposal of the land of Judea and Samaria today.
What I will concede is that if there is some sort of GA vote that somehow, however symbolically, endorses the idea of a Palestinian state, it has potential to enhance the legitimacy of the PA venture. This, for all its legal blather, is what the PA is after.
And for that very reason, it is imperative that Israel make its case clearly and unequivocally within the international community in the week ahead.
There is also a sense of balagan with regard to the new Anti-Boycott Law, which has passed in the Knesset and is being challenged in the High Court.
There are serious analysts who speculate that certain clauses in the legislation might be problematic. But there is a difference between a concern for precise wording to insure full legality or the suggestion that other approaches might be more effective against boycotts, and the frontal attack on the very concept of the legislation that has been unleashed by certain left-wing groups.
Please see the NGO-Monitor analysis of this situation for details:
"NGO Monitor does not see this legislation as the appropriate means to combat the BDS movement. However, numerous NGOs have released misleading and false statements about the new law, including the New Israel Fund, which wrongly claimed that the bill 'criminalizes freedom of speech,' and Gush Shalom, which says the law is 'a death sentence for the right to freedom of expression.'"
Today there was a major fire -- believed to be arson because it started in several places at once -- in the Jerusalem Forest. It spread dangerously close to Yad Vashem, which had to be evacuated, and proved exceedingly difficult to put out because of its location in a valley. Fifty firefighters from 33 units, utilizing six planes, battled the flames with the assistance of IDF troops assigned to the area.
One French pleasure boat, the "Dignity al-Karama," which was originally part of the flotilla that never made it, has successfully left Crete and is said to be headed towards Gaza, purely to make a political statement. Its 16 passengers include activists from France, Sweden and Canada.
Best I can figure, it was released by Greek authorities because it says its port of destination is Alexandria, Egypt, and not Gaza. There is no claim of a need to dock in Gaza directly since it is not carrying any purported aid. It would suit this boat's purposes simply to sail into the waters near Gaza.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"