Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Is there some reason that US policy fails to understand the Hamas factor?

...We have to assume Kerry and his advisers know all of this. They presumably also know how much Hamas has lost - on all fronts - as a result of the overthrow of its ideological cousins, the Moslem Brotherhood, in Egypt. And yet the US continues to press Israel as if coming to an understanding with Abbas and his PA is the Holy Grail. Odd, no?

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
31 December '13..

With US Secretary of State John Kerry due back in Jerusalem in two days time, and Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority flush with the sense of having achieved something important by getting 26 more of their convicted killers out of jail and back in the villages, it's an appropriate time to take a moment to reflect about the Islamist terrorist group, Hamas.

What role does it play in the relentless peace process?

Jonathan D. Halevi, an analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has just come out with a paper whose title gives the conclusion away: "Hamas: Abbas Does Not Represent the Palestinians in Negotiations". He reminds us that Hamas does not recognize Abbas as a legitimate president. Abbas, in fact, does not have Hamas' permission to even visit their turf, Gaza.

Some excerpts:

The Hamas movement, which in the last elections (2006) won an overwhelming majority in the Palestinian Parliament, uncompromisingly opposes any negotiations with Israel, does not accept the PA as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and has reiterated its firm stance that any agreement reached with Israel will be worthless and will not represent the position of the Palestinian people.

American policy regarding the peace process is based on the premise that it is possible to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians represented by the PLO-Palestinian Authority (PA) under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

However, the PA does not represent all of the components of the Palestinian people, nor does it have a mandate to make decisions on the core political issues in the name of the Palestinian people.


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

Suffering, Crocodile Tears And Protests About Palestinians

...This is not “new news,” of course; it has long been obvious that most of the tears about the suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are crocodile tears. But the events this week certainly drive the point home: more attention is paid, more protests are lodged, when Israel issues a press release than when Syria starves Palestinians to death.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
31 December '13..

There were protests this week about some construction notices issued by the Government of Israel. In tandem with the release of murderers from Israeli prisons–something the United States has indefensibly pushed–the Netanyahu government has sought to appease complaints within Israel by announcing new construction in settlements. Mind you, whether the construction will actually take place, or when, is unclear; the protests come nevertheless.

The New York Times reported that

Palestinian leaders threatened that any new settlement activity could lead them to seek membership and sue Israel in the International Criminal Court, a move they had promised not to take during peace talks that started this summer. European diplomats warned the Israelis in a series of high-level meetings over the past week against pairing the prisoner release with a construction announcement, as was done twice before.

The Jerusalem Post reported that

The European Union will strongly object to any new announcements of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, a senior EU diplomat told Channel 10….The unnamed diplomat said “there will be very little understanding from the European governments” if Israel plans to announce further construction beyond the Green Line next week following the release of a third group of Palestinian security prisoners. ”Israel needs expect a harsh reaction from the European governments if it intends to go in that direction,” the official said.

What makes these threats and protests noteworthy is the context. For the Daily Star of Beirut reported this today:

A Notable Quotable: PLO Leader Zahir Muhsein

...According to Mr. Muhsein, "the Palestinian people does not exist." Who are we to argue? Nonetheless, if the very point of "Palestinian" people-hood was something other then trying to rob the Jewish people of our homeland after persecuting us for 13 centuries, I would be more than happy to welcome them into the greater family of nations.

Michael Lumish..
Israel Thrives..
30 December '13..

Zahir Muhsein told the following to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in a 1977 interview:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa. While as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

The fact of the matter is that "Palestinian" is neither an ethnicity, nor a nationality. Palestine was never an Arab-Muslim country, but merely a region within the greater Ottoman Empire.

More and more I am convinced that the biggest mistake that Israel ever made was in acknowledging the "Palestinians" as a separate and distinct people. They aren't. They are a small part of the much larger Arab-Muslim nation that controls well over 99 percent of the Middle East, the landmass that they conquered following the death of Muhammad in the 7th century.

The Arab conquerors of that part of the world placed Christians and Jews into positions of submission as "protected" peoples and kept us that way from the 7th until the 20th centuries. The alleged emergence of a brand-spanking new people, the so-called "Palestinians," came about not out of any genuine national aspirations, but in order to present a competing claim to the 3,500 year old historical Jewish homeland. This emergence of the so-called "Palestinians" was not an organic process, but derived from conscious political decisions from PLO and Soviet leadership.

According to Mr. Muhsein, "the Palestinian people does not exist."

Who are we to argue?

Nonetheless, if the very point of "Palestinian" people-hood was something other then trying to rob the Jewish people of our homeland after persecuting us for 13 centuries, I would be more than happy to welcome them into the greater family of nations. However, since the "Palestinians" only emerged as a group for the purpose of doing the Jewish people terrible harm, within living memory of the Holocaust, I see no reason whatsoever in acknowledging them as a distinct ethnicity or nation, particularly given the fact that they are not a distinct ethnicity or nation. Nations do not come into existence for the sole purpose of destroying other nations and even if they sometimes did, those whom they seek to destroy are under no moral or ethical obligation to assist them by recognizing them.

Israel should cease undermining its own well-being by dealing with these people. Mahmoud Abbas should be entirely persona non grata, as should the PLO, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, on the other hand, should be destroyed by any means necessary.

We have absolutely got to awaken to the fact that there will be no negotiated conclusion of hostilities for the very simple reason that this is not what the "Palestinians" want. If they had wanted peace with a state of their own they could have had one many decades ago, but they refused every single offer since 1937. This can only mean that statehood in peace next to Israel is not the goal.

The goal, of course, is the elimination of the State of Israel and returning the Jews to their traditional role as an abused minority under Arab-Muslim domination.

That's the goal and we need to stop pretending otherwise.

Link: http://israel-thrives.blogspot.co.il/2013/12/quote-of-note-plo-leader-zahir-muhsein.html

Israel Thrives is a non-partisan political blog for people who care about Israel and want an end to the Arab-Muslim war against the Jews in the Middle East. Mike Lumish, PhD, editor. - mike.lumish@gmail.com - Doodad, Geoffff, Jay in Philadelphia, Oldschooltwentysix, and Empress Trudy, contributors.

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

Closer to peace this morning or further away? Is it reality check time yet?

...Did anyone, even John Kerry, imagine we would hear the PA's minister for convicted murderers say the release makes them happy because it's a step towards making peace? Is anyone paying attention to what Karak did say? He has just articulated his side's main goal: they are doing what they are doing so that their "prisoners", convicted felons and many of them cold-blooded murdering savages, can walk free. That's their program. And it's succeeding.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
31 December '13..

A handful of observations here in the wake of the dismaying freeing of 26 convicted Palestinian Arab murderers in the dark of the night just ended.

From a piece by Maher Abukhater in the Los Angeles Times [source]:

"Right-wing Israelis who consider the prisoners terrorists staged a sit-in outside the Old City residence of one of the Jerusalem prisoners"

Abukhater and the LA Times editors evidently take the same view as the US Secretary of State whose Deputy Spokesperson told a media briefing that the question of whether the convicted killers being freed under intense US pressure by Israel are political prisoners, freedom fighters or terrorists was a toughie and that further enquiries would have to be carried out in the office. (Check this if you don't believe us: transcript, video, the whole thing.)

The man from the LA Times doesn't feel obliged to take a position on this either; it's enough to brand those Israeli outraged by the injustice of criminals being freed by politicians as "right-wing". We happen to know many of the people who are outraged by what the freeing of convicted felons stands for. Calling them right-wing is prejudicial, inaccurate and cheap.


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

The Moral Incoherence of the Academic Freedom for Me, But Not for Thee

“People we used to think of as harmless drudges pursuing mouldy futilities,” observed Edward Alexander, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, in speaking about a professoriate that has lost its intellectual compass, “are now revealing to us the explosive power of boredom, a power that may well frighten us.”

Richard L. Cravatts..
27 December '13..

Seeming to give credence to Orwell’s wry observation that “there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them,” the fatuous members of the American Studies Association (ASA) passed a December 15th resolution to institute an academic boycott against Israeli universities. Admitting that the organization consciously made the decision to ignore the academic transgressions of universities in any number of other totalitarian, oppressive countries which stifle dissent and imprison errant professors, and which might actually deserve to be censured, ASA president Curtis Marez, a University of California at San Diego associate professor of ethnic studies, said “that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human-rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable.” Nevertheless, he contended, his tendentious organization would focus solely on Israeli institutions, since, as he stated quite tellingly and disingenuously, “One has to start somewhere.”

It was a comment that has garnered universal obloquy, primarily because to accept that the ASA was starting with Israel and would then subsequently call for boycotts elsewhere one would have to believe that this Left-leaning group, academics who Professor Bruce Thornton of California State Fresno has characterized as a “motley crew of Marxists, squishy leftists, radical feminists, deconstructionists, social constructionists, multiculturalists, and other postmodern warriors against patriarchal corporate hegemony,” would of course call for boycotts against other errant university systems in other countries. But Professor Marez hinted that was unlikely, that Israel would be the sole target for boycott, since while “the current resolution answers the call of Palestinian civil society, to my knowledge there has never been a similar call for boycott from the civil society in another country.”

That may well be true, but one has to wonder exactly what was so compelling about Palestinian “civil” society that motivated an academic association to call for an academic boycott—something which such reputable groups as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), for example, have pointedly and historically denounced as anathematic to higher education.

Those Palestinian students who the ASA pretends to care for so deeply, together with “the Israeli system of occupation, colonization and apartheid that daily violates Palestinian academic and other freedoms,” something ASA members evidently believe to be solely the fault of Israel’s, what circumstances of those students’ current conditions are the direct result of the culture and ideology of the Palestinian Arabs themselves? Is any part of the Palestinians’ lives their own responsibility, or is all of their existence defined by Jewish occupation, dispossession, and brutality, that banality of evil ASA apparently can see in no other state on earth than in Israel?

The ASA has obviously overlooked the pathologies of Palestinian society, crystallized and made more malevolent by the rule of Hamas itself, in which Palestinian children are inculcated, nearly from birth, with seething, blind, unrelenting, and obsessive hatred of Jews, so that kindergartners graduate with blood-soaked hands while toting plastic AK 47s and dedicate their lives to jihad, and older children and college students are recruited to hide explosives on their bodies to transform themselves into shahids—a new generation of kindling for radical Islam’s cult of death.

Parents of these children the ASA cares so much about, in fact, glorify death and martyrdom and seek the death of their children if they distinguish themselves by murdering Jewish civilians. Hamas also broadcasts children’s TV shows with animal characters who repeat hateful propaganda about Israel, and who encourage children to attack and kill Jews, behaviour the ASA, of course, never mentions and fails to condemn.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Can you imagine? New York Times dictates new course for Hillel

...What is highly questionable is a Jewish campus organization lending credibility to anti-Israel divestment and boycott campaigns whose objective is to undermine the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Let them get a platform somewhere else. As, for example, in the pages of the New York Times

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
30 December '13..

Hillel is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. As such, it gives students a link to the wider Jewish world, its history and values, including celebration of Israel as a thriving democracy in the Middle East.

But that's not exactly how the New York Times sees it in an article n its Dec. 29 edition with the headline: "Members of Jewish Student Group Test Permissible Discussion on Israel." To give it maximum reader exposure, there's a front-page box, titled "Jewish Student Group Rebels" that reads "The Hillel at Swarthmore says it will not abide by its parent group's guidelines against collaborative efforts with anyone unsupportive of Israel. Page 21."

The article, by Laurie Goldstein, focuses on a "rebellion" by Swarthmore Hillel, which has rejected guidelines against working with groups that oppose Israel's right to exist. Unfortunately, Goldstein leaves an unfortunate and incorrect impression that the Swarthmore brouhaha somehow infringes on students' rights to free speech and their political leanings. It does no such thing. Goldstein's piece is way overblown in suggesting that Hillel somehow cracks the whip into getting Hillel affiliates to follow a strict and narrowly defined pro-Israel course.

Kerry’s V.A.T. on Peace: Murders or Houses

...Of course, the way the narrative of the peace process is structured, Israel should not be surprised at the pay-to-play. And for this situation, the tireless proponents of “peace” bear primary responsibility. If, as the left argues, Israel needs peace more than the Palestinians need it, no wonder the Palestinians will charge Israel heavily for the privilege of giving them a state.

Eugene Kontorovich..
Commentary Magazine..
30 December '13..

The release of unrepentant Jew-killers from Israeli prisons to keep the engine of the peace process running has left many, even those sympathetic with the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, angrily wondering why Prime Minister Netanyahu did not accept a settlement freeze instead. There is a good reason, even for those not generally sympathetic to the Jewish presence: unlike the other concessions, a settlement freeze implicitly concedes Israel’s chief negotiating positions before even sitting down at the table.

The first thing to say is that the position Israel was put in by Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinians was fundamentally unjust. Israel is forced to make sacrifices even for the “privilege” of participating in peace negotiations to whose ultimate goal is “painful sacrifices” by Israel. In Israel, politicians talk about paying “the price” for peace. Kerry has put a price on paying the price: a value-added tax on peace.

Moreover, if the occupation were so terrible (or real) one would think Abbas would be in a hurry to get to the bargaining table without any preliminaries. This suggests Abbas is not in such a hurry to get an “end of the occupation” so much as particular tactical wins. Moreover, the fact that a top priority for Abbas is the release of mass murders so they can be feted and remunerated shows that “peace” is not vaguely on the horizon, regardless of whether a Kerry diplomatic achievement is. If Bibi partied down with Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein, it would be the end of his career.

Still, why did Bibi take this option, of all the bad ones presented to him? We know he is not a slave of the settlers: he has imposed a construction freeze before, for 10 months, simply to entice Abbas to the table. It did not work, Abbas ran down the clock, and demanded an extension. So that has been tried.

But aren’t houses less important than justice for the murdered? Of course. However, unlike the release of terrorists, a construction freeze is fundamentally related to the substance of the negotiations themselves. That is, of all the proposed “gestures,” the freeze would not only be problematic in itself, but would have Israel start negotiations on its back foot.

Where stunted and distorted theological pretensions praise evil, condemning the innocents

...Sadly, we know from experience that people who will spend untold amounts of money and months of effort in creating a stunt like St James's neither listen nor understand. Trying to share the complexity of the situation with them is like talking to a wall. So too is reminding them of the life of our daughter, Malki, ended so brutally by the thuggish Hamas murderers with whom the worshippers of St James's have so articulately expressed their solidarity

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
30 December '13..

From a distance, events in our part of the world can appear to be oh-so-simple, particularly to those for whom the most complex of narratives reduce down to strong and bad versus weak and good.

Irresponsible dumbing-down of that kind lies behind the embrace by Europeans and Americans of vile and racist terrorism, jihadism and religion-driven violence. And it's behind the infuriatingly dishonest stunt just executed by the management of a prominent London church in honour of this holiday season.

In the courtyard of St James's Church in Piccadilly, London, as part of what they have disingenuously labelled “Bethlehem Unwrapped”, the church celebrated their holidays this year via the pricey construction of a wall. It's 26 foot replica of the security barrier erected by Israel in the past decade as an entirely non-lethal response to the relentless, utterly lethal attacks by Islamist terrorists on ordinary Israelis, an expression of hatred and war.

The St James's leadership have pretty much adopted the same jihadist strategy, using their wall as a focus for a campaign of vilification and hatred against Israelis and projecting anti-Israel propaganda onto it.

But there is a different and much more positive sort of message that the St James's wall has evoked, without meaning to. An article entitled "Why Israel’s security barrier matters: a harrowing story often forgotten", by Raheem Kassam of TrendingCentral.com points out what the stunted and distorted theological pretensions of that Piccadilly church seeks to hide.


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

A reality check might be in order concerning "The Palestinian Refugees" (part 2)

...Misinformation and disinformation have dominated the diplomatic discourse on the Palestinian issue, misleading Western policymakers and public opinion molders, thus radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, fueling terrorism and minimizing the prospects of peace.

Yoram Ettinger..
Israel Hayom..
29 December '13..

The Palestinian refugee issue has been dramatically misrepresented, distorting circumstances and numbers, in order to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The root cause then and now

According to the German Middle East expert, Fritz Grobba ("Men and Powers in the Orient"), the 1948 Palestinian leadership, headed by Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini, wanted to apply Nazi methods to massacre Jews throughout the Middle East. In 1941, the mufti drafted a proposal requesting that Germany and Italy acknowledge the Arab right to settle "the Jewish problem" in Palestine and the Arab countries in accordance with national and racial Arab interests, similar to the practice employed to solve "the Jewish problem" in Germany and Italy. On Nov. 24, 1947, Acting Chairman of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee Jamal Al-Husseini threatened: "Palestine shall be consumed with fire and blood," if the Jews get any part of it. On April 16, 1948, Jamal Husseini told the U.N. Security Council: "The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight."

On January 9, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas pledged allegiance to the Grand Mufti, who collaborated intimately with the Nazi leadership, particularly with Himmler, Hitler's most ruthless right hand man: "On the anniversary of Fatah, we renew the pledge to our fortunate martyrs. ... We pledge to continue on the path of the martyrs. ... Here we must remember the pioneers -- the grand mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al-Husseini."

Who is responsible?

PLO Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas admitted that "Arab armies forced Palestinians to leave their homes" (Filastin A-Thawra, March 1976). On May 13, 2008, Al Ayyam, the second largest pro-Abbas Palestinian daily, claimed: "[In 1948] the Arab Liberation Army (ALA) told Palestinians to leave their houses and villages, and return a few days later, so the ALA can fulfill its mission."

The head of Britain's Middle East Office in Cairo, John Troutbeck, reported in June 1949: "Arab refugees speak with utmost bitterness of Egypt and other Arab states. They know who their enemies are. Their Arab brothers persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes." Sir Alan Cunningham, the last British high commissioner in Palestine, wrote on April 28, 1948 that the total evacuation was urged on the Haifa Arabs from higher Arab quarters. The U.S. consul-general in Haifa telegraphed on April 25, 1948 that "reportedly, Arab Higher Committee is ordering all Arabs to leave."

The secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, told the Lebanese daily Al Hoda on June 8, 1951: "In 1948, we were assured that Palestine's occupation would be a military promenade. ... Brotherly advice to Arabs in Palestine was to leave their homes temporarily." The London Economist wrote on Oct. 2, 1948: "The most potent of the factors [triggering the Arab flight] were the announcements by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit. ... It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades." Syrian Prime Minister Khaled al-Azam admitted in his 1973 memoirs that "we brought destruction upon the refugees, by calling on them to leave their homes."

According to the first U.S. ambassador to Israel, James G. McDonald ("My Mission in Israel"): "These Arabs ... fled from Palestine as the result of mass panic when the wealthy Arabs, almost to a man, began running away in Nov. 1947. ... The flight was provoked by lurid tales of Jewish sadism issued by the Mufti and his followers. ... Superstitious and uneducated, the Arab masses succumbed to the panic and fled. ... The refugees were on [Arab leaders'] hands as the result of a war, which they had begun and lost."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Abbas’ reversed and warped world, ‘Tis the season to bash Israel

Abbas has invented a Palestinian Christ persecuted by Israel, thereby arrogating Jesus for Palestinian propaganda. Unfortunately, Abbas’ perversity is in keeping with the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing denial of Jewish history and rights in the historic Land of Israel. It doesn’t augur well for the peace process.

David M. Weinberg..
A Citadel Defending Zion..
27 December '13..

On the most important week of the year for Christian faith, you would think that churches around the world and the Western media would bear witness to the accelerated persecution of Christians in Arab lands by the forces of Islam. You would think that the de rigueur bashing of Israel might be put aside for a moment of Christian self-defense and solidarity.

Think again.

Much of Western media devoted its Christmas ink, and many Christian NGOs dedicated their Christmas appeals, to purveying the false impression that Christians are under assault by Israelis; and worse still, that Jews are crucifying Christians smack in the heart of Bethlehem.

The singular, outstanding exception to this was Christa Case Bryant of the Christian Science Monitor, who published a finely-researched, 3,700-word article detailing the Muslim assault on Christians across the Middle East, often with government encouragement and support.

Bryant reveals that Iraq has lost at least half of its Christians over the past decade, and Egypt is wracked by the “worst spate of anti-Christian violence in 700 years.” In Syria, jihadists are killing Christians and burying them in mass graves. More than 600,000 Syrian Christians have been displaced or fled Syria since the rebellion began, according to Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

In Gaza, Muslim militants have bombed churches, killed prominent Christians, and forced others to convert to Islam. In the West Bank, Arab Christians are better off than many in parts of the region, but only an estimated 50,000 live there – about 2 percent of the population, down from 10 percent in 1920. Christians now make up only 5 percent of the population of the Middle East, down from 20 percent a century ago.

But you wouldn’t know any of this from most media reports. Instead, most foreign correspondents produced the usual bash-Israel-for-Christmas articles, ignoring the dire plight of Christians across the region. Last year, for example, CBS’s Bob Simon produced a masterpiece of mistruth on “60 Minutes” in which he indicted Israel’s “occupation” for the decline of the Christian population in the entire West Bank. And the slam-Israel doozey of the year was published by Harriet Sherwood in The Observer, who wickedly evoked Biblical and Christian imagery to savage Israeli settlement in and around Jerusalem.

Sherwood painted a picture of a pastoral “Christian biblical landscape” with “gnarled olive trees,” “bleating sheep and goats,” and “vine covered terraces,” “near the site where angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds in a field” – all tended to with love by Bethlehem’s remaining Christian heroes. She then contrasted this with the evil Israeli security fence – “8 meter high concrete slabs casting a deep shadow, both literally and metaphorically, snaking around most of Bethlehem,” along with the monster “cranes, bulldozers, and concrete apartment blocks” – all of which are “strangulating” the city.

Sherwood capped-off her tiresome slam by telling us lovingly about a Beit Jala parish priest who “leads open-air prayers under olive trees at sunset every Friday” to protest the route of the security fence: “a vast concrete and steel barrier with a long steel-caged corridor with multiple turnstiles” that chokes off the main exit for Palestinians who want to go to Jerusalem.

Similarly blowing-off all pretensions of journalistic respectability, Ben White of Middle East Monitor published a filthy piece entitled “Bethlehem Bantustan 2013: Have Yourself an Apartheid Christmas.” White says that Bethlehem is “a microcosm of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine.” The refugee camps are home to those expelled from their villages in the “ethnic cleansing” that enabled a majority Jewish citizenry; camps where “Israeli soldiers snatch residents and deploy lethal force” against youth raised in the shadow of the “apartheid, choking wall.”

Which is the Bigger Threat to Peace? Houses, Terror or Kerry?

...By threatening Israel with another intifada if it does not make more concessions to the Palestinians, Kerry has set in motion a train of events in which Palestinian rejectionists feel justified, indeed encouraged, in engaging in violence. A U.S. policy that treats houses as more of a threat to peace than terrorism is one that is not only bound to fail but is also likely to make the situation worse.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
27 December '13..

The news that Israel is preparing to announce permissions for new housing starts in Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement blocs is causing predictable consternation in the international community. The Palestinian Authority is claiming the building of these homes threatens the peace process. European nations are expressing their unhappiness with rumblings about a “harsh response” that may go beyond their previous efforts to restrict economic cooperation with the Jewish state so as to exclude anything to do with the settlements. Prime Minister Netanyahu can also expect U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to be upset since he has gone on record as branding the Jewish presence beyond the cease-fire lines of June 4, 1967 as “illegitimate.”

Why is Netanyahu doing it? The consensus answer is domestic politics. Having agreed to release more convicted Palestinian terrorists next month, he is hoping to keep his coalition together by throwing a bone to his right-wing supporters in the form of housing starts. But even settlement movement supporters are no more thrilled with a policy that somehow equates building homes with sending unrepentant murderers of Jews back to a hero’s welcome than is the PA about an announcement of new houses within existing settlements. Considering that it is unlikely that these homes will be built any time soon, if ever, the announcement seems to be a lose-lose proposition for the prime minister and his government. But before you join in the chorus of critics lambasting his decision, it is worthwhile to re-examine the question of what is and what is not an obstacle to Middle East peace.

This is a moment when terrorism against the Jewish state is on the rise. Rockets are flying from Gaza into southern Israel. And Israel’s supposed peace partners continue to say they will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Yet the world is about to pounce on Israel for having the temerity to state its intention to build houses. If that doesn’t tell you all you have to know about the skewed moral compass of Israel’s critics and the lopsided morality of Middle East peace processing, nothing will.

When Abbas raises their hands and cheers their heroic deeds

...Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser, arrested December 20, 1993, for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri. Nasser, a former employee of Edri, 65, ambushed Edri and stabbed him in the back. After he was apprehended, he said he had carried out the murder to prove that he was worthy of joining Hamas.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
29 December '13..

The people at Times of Israel have published a list of the 26 killers being freed tomorrow in the third installment of the appalling transaction brokered by the US State Department (the Hebrew source document from the Israel Prison Service is here). Elsewhere, we have details of the sentences from which they are being released; if we can find the time, we will add those details to this list later.

It's a depressing certainty that these men are going to be feted and celebrated in the same way the previous 52 were. We think it says a great deal about the culture and ethical standing of a people who place thugs like those described below at the pinnacle of their achievements. It also has huge bearing on the prospects of making peace, as does their endless internal blood-letting and scheming.

What their unwarranted freedom, extorted in the name of an illusory "peace" process, says about the diplomats and politicians in Washington is a different matter.

These are the killers who are about to walk:


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

The shameful and shabby checkmating of Israel at the 2013 World Youth Chess Championships

...Did those contributing funds understand that the Israeli delegation would be treated in this shabby manner and that apparently the Israeli Chess Federation would roll over and allow the children to be compelled to play under the cover of anonymity?

David Singer..
29 December '13..

The 2013 World Youth Chess Championships just held in Abu Dhabi have been marred by the scandalous behaviour of the 120 national Chess Federations that agreed to compete against Israeli players as an unidentified group under the banner of FIDE – the World Chess Federation.

WorldChess The United Arab Emirates (UAE) like most Arab countries, does not recognize Israel. In 2009, the country denied Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er a visa to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships, garnering widespread condemnation.

The invitation to compete was clear and unambiguous:

“The UAE Chess Federation and Al Ain Chess Club, under the auspices of FIDE, have the honor to invite all FIDE member federations to participate in the World Youth Chess Championships 2013 (Under 8, 10,12, 14, 16 and 18 years old – open and girls) scheduled 17 (arrival) – 29 (departure) December 2013 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.”

Somewhere thereafter the World Chess Federation became a willing player in excluding Israeli children aged 8-18 playing under their national flag and national identity.

Palestine – a member state of UNESCO whilst still claiming to be stateless – has been calling for inane and senseless academic and economic boycotts to be instituted against Israel in support of Palestinian statehood.
Yet Palestine is a member of the World Chess Federation and was represented by two players whose country was designated as “Palestine”.

The ultimate insult to individual Israeli competitors was the failure to list their country as “Israel” in the players’ biographies. Instead they were identified as citizens of “FIDE” – a place with no Capitol, area or population.

Palestinian competitors fared slightly better – players at least having their country identified as “Palestine” in their biographies – although that country too is listed without a Capitol, area or population.

One would be hard put to find a more blatant case of discrimination, racism and apartheid – - played out against children to boot.

What mindless morons representing Chess Federations in competing countries like America, Australia, England, Norway, Sweden, Canada and France allowed this farce to be perpetrated?

What have their Governments had to say about this pernicious and underhanded behaviour?

(+Video) A Viable Alternative for the Future of Israel - The Independent Palestinian Emirates

Israel faces three immediate threats today: the possibility of a nuclear Iran, well over 100,000 rockets and mortars poised from three directions (Iran, Lebanon, Gaza plus terrorists in Syria and Egypt) and the Two State Solution. The first two threats seem obvious, but why do we think that the Two State Solution could lead to the demise of our beloved Israel? After all, it's been the mainstay policy thrust upon Israel with various international initiatives and roadmaps to peace. But in reality it would bring about the opposite result.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar..

The creation of an artificial Palestinian state requiring the uprooting of Jewish families where no Arab population currently exists would lead to indefensible borders for the Jewish homeland. The more moderate PA and Fatah want a Palestinian state as a precursor for the ultimate demise of Israel. Hamas remains opposed to any agreement which establishes a border recognizing the Israeli state. Any proposed re-unification between Hamas and Fatah is an obvious ploy that further threatens the survival of Israel and the Jewish people. The recent attacks against Israel by Hamas are now coordinated with the militant pro-Syrian, Iran-backed Islamic Jihad. Plus the Popular Resistance Committee is yet another terrorist group operating from Gaza.

The Arab Spring has brought about a much less stable region. Israel can no longer allow the rest of the world to dictate policy that makes it more difficult for the Jewish nation to survive. Israel must declare it’s own independent solution with regards to the so-called Palestinian movement and militant jihadism that appears to be on the accendancy. Doing nothing only invites intervention from abroad.

Prior to statehood in 1948 the larger territory was known as the British Mandate of Palestine. The Jewish people, who have been on this land continuously for 3,286 years, were often referred to as the Palestinians from the early 1920's until statehood in 1948. Here are just two examples that prove this important distinction. The Palestine Post was founded by an American Jew in December 1932 in the Mandate of Palestine and supported the struggle for a Jewish Homeland. In 1950, two years after the State of Israel was declared, the paper was renamed The Jerusalem Post. And what started as the Palestine Symphony Orchestra is known today as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Arabs who emigrated to the territory in the late 1800's and early 1900's to live and prosper among the Jews never wanted to be recognized as the Palestinians until it became a convenient tool in their opposition to the Jewish Homeland. In 1964 the PLO was formed which finally transformed the mantle of Palestinian from the pre-statehood Jews to the post-statehood Arabs.

Historically there never existed an Arab or Islamic state of Palestine with a capital in Jerusalem. The capital of "Jund Falastin" ("The District of Palestine") under the Islamic 7th century occupation was the city of Ramle, 30 kilometers to the west of Jerusalem. It is very important that this historical truth be recognized as a basis for peace.

There is no Occupied territory west of the Jordan River. There is Disputed territory as a result of wars thrust upon Israel by jealous Arab neighbors. Today Arabs live within the State of Israel and in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. These Arab population centers are not going away and neither is the State of Israel.

Neither peace nor plan, yet the outrageous release of still more killers is 48 hours away

...The news report refers, not for the first time, to "a legally mandated 48-hour period during which opponents can appeal the release of individual prisoners". But this too is not what it seems.

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
28 December '13..

We're two days away from the release of the third tranche of convicted killers - the third of four imposed on Israel by the US administration (which denies this and says it's 'an entirely Israeli matter') as part of a process defined in the media as Secretary of State John Kerry's peace plan.

We are among those who see neither peace nor plan in what has been done. We are bitterly opposed to releasing the convicted killers. Our principal reason is that this is unjust - a wrongful, poorly conceived interference by politicians in Israel and in the United States in the judicial process that sent these murderers to lengthy and thoroughly just prison terms for what were, in most cases, monstrous crimes.


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Because they know exactly where in the Middle East there is freedom

All illegal migrants claim that they are political refugees, whether they migrate to Western Europe, to North America or to Israel. But why is Israel expected to be more lenient than Europe toward these illegals?

Dr. Emmauel Navon..
26 December '13..

Here is a question for those who accuse Israel of apartheid: Why would an apartheid country attract massive illegal immigration from Africa, and why would Africans put up a huge fight to stay in an apartheid regime? ​As opposed to Eyad El Sarraj, a Palestinian BDS activist who boycotted Israel and yet was treated in Israeli hospitals for his leukemia, those illegal African immigrants did not trespass Israel’s southern border for medical treatment. ​They came to Israel because they know exactly where in the Middle East there is freedom. They know what their fate would be in Arab countries whose language uses the same word (“Abed”) for “slave” and “African” – a reminder of the Arab slave trade in Africa.

The phenomenon of mass illegal immigration from Africa to Israel started reaching large-scale proportions in 2007. Most illegal immigrants came from Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. By 2012, there were an estimated 60,000 illegal African migrants in Israel (nearly one percent of its total population). Israel managed to put an end to this flood by building a physical barrier on the Egyptian border, but it still has to find a solution for those already here, most of whom live in southern Tel Aviv and in the Red Sea port city of Eilat. The level of crime in those cities has increased exponentially, with residents complaining that their daily life has become an ordeal.

Like every sovereign state, Israel has the right to accept or decline immigration applications, and it has the right to deport illegal migrants. So why doesn’t it do just that?

Shavit's Distorted Vision vs. Jabotinsky's Clarity

...The Zionist leadership did what was necessary to create the state, and despite what anti-Zionist revisionist historians say, did not engage in mass murder (as Arabs did whenever possible)....And we do not “owe them” a state. In fact, because a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria is simply incompatible with the continued existence of the Jewish state — a result of military realities and Arab and Muslim intentions — we are obligated to oppose such a state.

28 December '13..

Yesterday Ha’aretz reporter Ari Shavit was interviewed on NPR about his new book. Let me start by saying that Shavit is not a foaming anti-Zionist like his colleagues Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and (formerly) Akiva Eldar. And I have to admit that I haven’t read his book. But the interview reveals a certain mindset that is disturbingly common among the supposedly sane Left in Israel.

For example, Shavit said,

It was part of the Ottoman [Empire] – and the entire region was, like, chaotic and tribal. So one has to remember, they did not conquer a well-established state, but those other people were there. And my great grandfather did not see them. Now, that’s the source of the tragedy, because on the one hand, you have this amazing triumph that is a result of the brilliant insight [of Zionism]. On the other hand, you have this ongoing tragedy of a 100-year war – more than that – that is the result of that basic flaw, that we did not see the Palestinians and the Palestinians would not see us, and…

This isn’t true, at least for those Zionists with decent eyesight. It was clear to Vladimir Jabotinsky as early as 1923, that as much as some of the more tender-minded Zionists believed that it would be possible to share sovereignty over the land with the Arabs, the Arabs would never willingly agree to it. Zionism does not require expulsion or expropriation of the Arabs, he believed, but it does require Jewish sovereignty, a Jewish state, and he was certain that this couldn’t come about through a voluntary agreement.

The collision of Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel was bound to have a winner and a loser, and Jabotinsky was convinced that a Jewish victory was not immoral, any more than an Arab victory — which history has shown us would have been far bloodier — would have been. Zionism was moral because there was no alternative for the Jews, while there were many for Arabs. But that doesn’t mean the Arabs have to be happy about it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sderot has finally got its own railway station – the first rocket-proof station in the world, but...

...The peace train might have set out according to Kerry’s timetable, but I wonder how it is going to safely reach its destination. My idea of normal is being able to invest in growth and prosperity for the benefit of all, without having to sidetrack funds to fortify railway stations and hospitals.

Liat Collins..
My Word/JPost..
27 December '13..

Sometimes putting a positive spin on things can leave you reeling. For instance, this week the media in Israel reported that Sderot, whose name has become the symbol of the missile-prone communities of the South, has finally got its own railway station – the first rocket-proof station in the world.

As achievements go, it’s the equivalent of a backhanded compliment. Surely Sderot residents would rather go down in history for something more momentous than an attempt to get on with their lives – to keep the trains running on time literally and figuratively – even in times of tension, terror and war.

Visitors to Sderot are often shown the collection of Kassam missile shells that have been turned into metal sculptures and, even more poignantly, the bombproof playground where local children can safely do what kids do – run, jump, climb and slide – regardless of what is thrown at them from across the nearby border with Gaza.

I’m sure that the citizens of the small, close-knit town would prefer to be known as a cultural center in the Negev desert with a cinematheque and a very decent annual film festival.

Or perhaps they’re waiting for an outstanding graduate of Sapir Academic College to put them on the map for something that can make them proud.

Farmers from kibbutzim and moshavim bordering Gaza can also boast, if they want, the world’s first armored tractors, although the country on the whole prefers to be known for its tremendous successes in agriculture, from creating different strains of fruit and vegetables to pioneering drip irrigation and desert- farming techniques.

The newly inaugurated railway means that Sderot is now about an hour away from Tel Aviv by train. Missiles, as we saw in last November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, reach the country’s commercial capital much faster – as those who opposed the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 warned they would; it’s one of those cases in which being able to say “Told you so!” is not satisfying.

Israel has other achievements that we wish we did not need – including missile-proof emergency rooms. Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, for instance, celebrating its 75th anniversary this week, is the largest and most advanced hospital in the North. Its doctors, researchers and staff have saved countless patients – it has treated Syrian patients who were victims of the civil war, and I once met an Iranian who told me his baby sister survived only because she underwent cardiac surgery at Rambam, in the days of the shah.

But, inevitably, the medical center has a footnote in the history books as the first hospital to be fully equipped with a missile-proof emergency unit, a need recognized after the 2006 Second Lebanon War when the city took a beating from missiles courtesy of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah.

Sorry, "Maybe a state for Jews, but not a Jewish state." doesn't pass go

...On our side there are those who have raised an eyebrow and inquired, either innocently or with intent to butt heads, "Why is Netanyahu insisting so much on receiving recognition from the Palestinians?" Those who make this argument are ignoring the point or do not understand the real reasons behind the all-out war being waged by the Palestinians on this issue.

Zalman Shoval..
Israel Hayom..
26 December '13..

With every passing day that brings us closer to January, when the Americans intend to unveil their "framework agreement," we see increased Palestinian efforts to sabotage and postpone the negotiation process.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched a diplomatic message to U.S. President Barack Obama that included the Palestinians' traditionally extremist positions, along with an attempt to grasp onto security understandings allegedly reached during negotiations with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ("understandings" that have long passed their expiration date and which were irrelevant and discarded even at the time).

Within this context, we should pay attention to comments made by Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh, formerly a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, one of the leaders of the Fatah movement and considered to be a close confidant of Abbas, at a press conference last week. Without any attempt at disguise his words, Shtayyeh expressed what Abbas himself and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat prefer to not say aloud at this stage, as it pertains to recognizing Israel "as the Jewish national homeland" or as "the Jewish state."

Meanwhile, even though the Palestinians are not showing any clear signs of flexibility on the other issues (refugees, Jerusalem, borders, security, etc.), it seems that the matter of recognition, or more precisely the lack of recognition, is playing an increasing role in how they conduct themselves.

On our side there are those who have raised an eyebrow and inquired, either innocently or with intent to butt heads, "Why is Netanyahu insisting so much on receiving recognition from the Palestinians?" Those who make this argument are ignoring the point or do not understand the real reasons behind the all-out war being waged by the Palestinians on this issue. Outwardly they list reasons such as the claim that defining Israel as a Jewish state could threaten the status, even the existence of non-Jews living in Israel -- a demagogic argument largely aimed at slandering Israel.

This year's award for ‘UK paper blaming Israel for ruining Christmas in Bethlehem’ ...

...Indeed, the fact that the only nation in the Middle East where Christians are flourishing just happens to be the sole place where radical Islam is not a serious threat is essential to understanding the fate of Christianity in that part of the world – vital context about contrasting values of tolerance in the region which Catherine Philp fails to provide.

Adam Levick..
CiF Watch..
24 December '13..

Surprisingly, this year the award does NOT go to the Guardian.

It goes to The Times for a story by Catherine Philp which is riddled with errors and distortions. (See our previous posts on Philp here and here.)

Israeli settlements surround Bethlehem?


From a barren hill, the settlers look down on snowy Bethlehem. “Just look at all this nature,” rhapsodises Yehuda Nesha as he turns from the fabled biblical town towards the Judean hills. Should the settlers get their way, though, nature will soon be banished from this hill, replaced by the red roofs and golden stone walls of hundreds of new homes, the latest links in a chain of Jewish settlements encircling the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.

However, as this map by B’tselem demonstrates, Israeli settlements do NOT encircle Bethlehem.


Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

Hmmmm.... Quiet for Quiet Enables Hamas To Prepare Massive Rocket Attack

...Under "quiet for quiet" the Gazans can manufacture any and all weapons without interference from Israel. The production facilities can be on Israel's "target bank", but that means that they are only at risk of being hit within the framework of a "tit for tat" with the Jewish State and while production facilities have been hit from time to time, the Gaza military industry is for the most part unaffected as it continues to grow under the protection of "quiet for quiet."

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
26 December '13..

Haaretz military correspondent and defense analyst, Amos Harel, notes in today's edition that while Israel was able to open Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 with an attack that destroyed most of the mid-range Iranian rockets held by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that since then Hamas has more than replaced these rockets with domestically produced ones.

Under "quiet for quiet" the Gazans can manufacture any and all weapons without interference from Israel. The production facilities can be on Israel's "target bank", but that means that they are only at risk of being hit within the framework of a "tit for tat" with the Jewish State and while production facilities have been hit from time to time, the Gaza military industry is for the most part unaffected as it continues to grow under the protection of "quiet for quiet."

Harel points out that the rockets being manufactured in Gaza are constantly being improved, in particular in terms of their range.

"Israel must take into account that in the next conflict, if and when it breaks out, Hamas will present a more significant ability to hit the Greater Tel Aviv Area, even if it is still marginal as compared to the abilities of Hizbullah in Lebanon," warns Harel.

Link: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62679

Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. 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. Check-it out! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What is an appropriate "campaign of deterrence"? Defeat the enemy

...The more than one hundred terror incidents in Judea and Samaria each month are definitive proof that even when we choose the path of reconciliation and compromise, there remains on the ground an ongoing extremist ideological belief among the Palestinians against our right to live here. The Palestinian Authority, with which we conduct negotiations about coexistence, does not have the desire or capability to deal with extremism among its people. If that is the case, we must complete the job of defeating terrorism in Judea and Samaria.

Zvika Fogel..
Israel Hayom..
26 December '13..

The Arab world, especially its radical Islamic component, is taking advantage of Western political weakness. Almost every Western leader is currently choosing to avoid making the tough decisions necessary to combat radical Islam, which is threatening the free world. Fears of short-term political losses at home are preventing Western leaders from exhibiting the courage to ensure normal life in their countries in the long run.

Israel finds itself in the eye of the Islamic storm, surrounded by Arab countries going through revolutions and internal strife. Neighboring countries have become fertile ground for terrorist groups that seek to conduct attacks against the Jews, the enemies of Islam. Moreover, at the same time, Arab leaders, fearful of Islamization at home, are pressuring Israel to refrain from exerting the full military and diplomatic force required to defend its citizens and borders.

This is how Israel's "campaign of deterrence" took shape in recent times. The nature of this campaign is that every few years, or, in the worst-scenarios, months, Israel is forced to conduct a new military operation.

We are in the midst of a battle between wars. This period is characterized by military operations to restore
deterrence, rather than achieve victory. The Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defense -- all of these were designed to strengthen Israel's deterrence, rather than defeat the enemy. The immediate implications of this are the need to preserve the deterrence achieved and examine the responses of the enemy. Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south did not wait long to invest all of their energy in acquiring and developing long-range rockets and building underground cities and tunnels that lead terrorists to the rear of the military deployed on the border and inside Israeli communities in the Gaza area.