Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(+Video) Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”

...Mr. President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history.

UN Watch..
29 June '15..

Address of Colonel Richard Kemp to the United Nations Human Rights Council Debate on report of the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza Conflict - Geneva, 29 June 2015

Mr. President, I fought in combat zones around the world during 30 years’ service in the British Army. I was present as an observer throughout the conflict in Gaza.

Mr. President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history.

Hamas deliberately positioned its fighters and weapons in civilian areas, knowing that Israel would have no choice but to attack these targets, which were a clear and present threat to the lives of Israel’s own civilian population.

Col. Kemp's visit was hosted by UN Watch & NGO Monitor. He spoke on behalf of Amuta for NGO Responsibility. Video is copyright of UN Watch (c) 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuasVo6Dxu4

While the IDF made efforts, unprecedented in any other army, and exceeding the requirements of the laws of war, to save Palestinian civilian lives, including warning them to leave target zones, Hamas forced them to remain in those areas.

Unable to defeat Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among their own people in order to bring international condemnation against Israel, especially from the United Nations.

How the UN Human Rights Council report shot itself and human rights in the foot

...This latest UNHRC inquiry and report is only as reliable as its sources of information. When these are overwhelmingly unreliable political NGOs, as well as those who support and facilitate terrorism, any true champions of human rights cannot take its findings seriously.

It is unclear whether the Commission of Inquiry 
was aware of Gilbert’s views and was 
unconcerned by them, or whether it 
failed in its basic due diligence.
Gerald Steinberg..
i24 News..
30 June '15..

The report from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the 2014 Gaza conflict has no surprises: it is another pseudo-legal and immoral case of Israel-bashing. Like the discredited Goldstone Report and virtually every other UN “inquiry” on Israel, political NGOs (non-governmental organizations) provide the basis of the investigation and findings. In the UN report, NGOs appear on almost every page: B’Tselem is cited 69 times; Amnesty International, 53; Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), 50; and Human Rights Watch (HRW), 22. To anyone familiar with the political agendas of these NGOs, the UN’s latest “findings” – namely, condemnations of Israel – come as no surprise.

Like the NGO publications, the Commission of Inquiry report on the Gaza war is filled with unverifiable accusations based on the testimony of nameless witnesses. Although the Commission recognized that testimony from Gaza is unreliable, acknowledging “fears by Palestinian witnesses of reprisal by armed groups and local authorities,” in practice, the report relies extensively on such anonymous allegations. For instance, in the section discussing attacks on houses, witnesses are quoted on the most essential legal and moral questions, apparently without concern for intimidation or lying to prevent self-incrimination: “According to the witnesses, all of those killed were civilians”; “they insisted that there had been no military activity in the building.”

The latter claim is augmented by statements given by the same witness to PCHR, asserting “that no family member belongs to the ‘Palestinian resistance.’” Reading between the lines, we see that the eyewitnesses themselves were likely selected by NGOs, such as PCHR, and delivered to the UN investigators.

The NGOs cited by the UNHRC also lack expertise and access to crucial information. These shortcomings are exemplified by the “fact-finding mission” of the Israeli organization, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), produced in collaboration with the Palestinian NGOs Al-Mezan, Gaza Community Mental Health Program and the PCHR. The PHR-I investigators “did not have access to [relevant] UNRWA facilities…They could therefore investigate neither the public health impact of displacement in these facilities, nor the allegations made by the Israeli government regarding the abuse of such facilities for military purposes.” Similarly, they had “no access to evidence regarding the conduct of Palestinian armed combatants within Gaza.” Yet, the UNHRC deemed PHR-I’s investigation credible enough to cite its findings 16 times.

These and other unreliable claims are found throughout the report. But it is the prominence given to the notorious Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor solicited as an “expert” on Gaza health, which discredits the UNHRC on a deeper level. Gilbert has a well-documented history of abusing his position as doctor to promote hate and conspiracy theories, and is known to have blamed the 9/11 terror attacks on the “policy that the West has led during the last decades,” asserting that “the oppressed also have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with.”

Predicition: We’re not on the verge of war — yet

...I don’t see an immediate danger of war, although low-intensity conflict will continue and probably get worse. But then, the same could have been said in early 1914!

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
29 June '15..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2015/06/were-not-on-the-verge-of-war-yet/

Someone recently asked me if I thought we would be at war again soon. Not just Gaza, but the big one — Hizballah and Iran. As the West’s red lines crumble, it’s a forgone conclusion that Iran can have a bomb as soon as they wish; and with President Obama rushing to relieve sanctions and unfreeze Iranian assets, the regime will have all the money it needs to fund its aggression, nuclear and non-nuclear.

So what is Israel going to do about it? After all, I don’t think the traditional position of the Israeli government that it will not allow any of its regional enemies to obtain nuclear weapons has changed.

There are good reasons not to attack Iran today. Most of Iran’s deterrent rests with its expeditionary force, Hizballah in Lebanon. Although Israel would very much like to pull the fangs of this particular snake, Hizballah has entwined its rocket launchers and command centers deeply with the civilian infrastructure, and destroying it will destroy the homes and many of the lives of the population of southern Lebanon.

Israel would be completely justified in doing this. We aren’t obligated to commit suicide to protect civilians who have rocket launchers in their garages and cellars. This would be tragic for those people, but it’s a tragedy for which Iran and Hizballah would be fully responsible.

Israel too would suffer home front casualties, predicted to be worse than in any war since 1948.

Nevertheless, we know from the example of the recent war in Gaza — in which Gazan casualties were comparatively modest — what the reaction from US President Obama would be. We can expect an immediate embargo on weapons and ammunition, support for UN demands for a disadvantageous cease-fire, and who knows what other punitive measures. Paradoxically, the better our defensive systems perform and the fewer Israelis die, the greater will be the pressure on us to stop fighting.

Obama’s strategy is perplexing, because the initiative to tilt toward Iran against Israel and the conservative Sunni Arabs is not particularly in the interest of the US. The enemies of America are the radical Islamists of both streams, the Sunni IS and Iranian revolutionary Shiite regime. These are the forces that are metastasizing terrorism throughout the world in an attempt to put an end to Western hegemony. Allowing Iran to nuclearize in the hope that it will bring stability is a potentially disastrous policy. It also alienates former US allies like Egypt and the Jordanian and Saudi regimes, and of course Israel, whose aspirations do not include bringing down the West.

I think, however, that this policy is not being implemented out of a consideration of true long-term American interest. Rather it is based on the personal predilections of Barack Obama, his reverence for Islam and the post-colonialist ideology that characterized his mentors Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, etc. Michael Oren said that if you want to understand Obama, look at his Cairo address of 2012. Unfortunately, as we saw during the Gaza war last summer, this ideology is the opposite of pro-Israel.

Wondering Why Flotillas Sail to Gaza, Not Syria?

...Activists seek to go to Gaza, however, for one clear reason, and it has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns. Arabs who are engaged in conflicts with other Arabs don’t interest them no matter how many people are killed or how much suffering is caused. Even at the height of the fighting last year when hundreds of Palestinian civilians were unfortunately killed as they were caught in fighting provoked by Hamas, the casualties there were dwarfed by what is going on in Syria. But it is only when Jews are involved in defending their state that the human rights community discovers a crisis.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
29 June '15..

Today, the latest publicity stunt by pro-Palestinian activists ended harmlessly as the Israel Navy intercepted a ship off the coast of Gaza that was attempting to break the blockade of the strip in order to draw attention to what is passengers claim is a humanitarian crisis. But, like previous Gaza flotillas, the effort has little to do with the plight of the people of Gaza and everything to do with the long war being waged to end Israel’s existence. More to the point, the continued focus on Gaza by those calling themselves advocates for human rights at the very moment that a genuine human catastrophe is occurring inside Syria without much of response from the international community tells us all we need to know about the hypocrisy of Israel-bashers.

The fact that it was Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who today pointed out the fact that flotillas aren’t sailing to Syria doesn’t make it any less valid. Thousands of Syrians have been slaughtered by the Assad regime that is backed by Iran and Hezbollah terrorists with more being killed by its tacit ISIS allies. The carnage has created millions of refugees who are living in squalor inside the country or in camps in neighboring Jordan.

But as Netanyahu knows, there will be no peace activist flotilla to Syria to bring aid to people who really need it. Nor had those on the Swedish-registered Marianne that was diverted by the Israelis gotten lost on their way to help those truly in need. Instead, they were on the way to try and help the Hamas government of Gaza that has been rightly isolated by the international community since the bloody 2007 coup when the Islamist group seized power.

While the situation in Gaza isn’t pleasant, the popular notion of a humanitarian crisis there is a myth. That’s because there is no shortage of food or medicine in the strip since Israel allows daily convoys of such supplies into Gaza every day, including those when Hamas is shooting rockets over the border at cities and towns inside the Jewish state. It is true that there is a shortage of building materials inside Gaza. Given the scale of the destruction wrought by the war Hamas launched against Israel last year, that’s a problem. But the reason why such materials can’t be brought into the strip without restrictions was revealed anew when Hamas showcased a new terror tunnel that it claims reaches into Israel on Iranian TV on Sunday. Most of the concrete that is brought into Gaza is being used for such tunnels or for the construction of elaborate fortifications that will enable Hamas to shield its arsenal and other structures intended to make it harder for Israel to repress rocket fire aimed at civilians.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Realistically, What to Make of the UN's Special Commission Report on Gaza?

...What does one say about a report whose author forthrightly admits that, had she had real information, “it would have looked different”?

Benjamin Wittes/Yishai Schwartz..
24 June '15..

The UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Commission of Inquiry report on the 2014 Gaza war, released last Monday, is a bad piece of work—bad in almost entirely predictable and boring ways, but no less bad for being bad and predictable. It is also no less important for being boring. Even if one has no great interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the standards and approaches the UN is embracing will not remain confined to that conflict. Israel is, as always, the canary in the IHL (International humanitarian law) coal mine. Approaches that begin as a way of constraining Israeli military action quickly migrate to constraining U.S. military action. The effort by the Special Commission to find war crimes in civilian deaths in urban targeting situations in which non-uniformed fighters exploit civilians for combat cover is thus worth some attention.

Let’s start with a basic fact: the commission’s job here was impossible. It is impossible rigorously to analyze whether a given strike or set of strikes complies with IHL without a detailed investigation of what the operators and commanders in the moment knew and why they decided to act as they did. It is always tempting to look at large numbers of dead civilians and assume that the fact of the bodies implicates a targeting decision. But that’s rarely right. Without knowing who the target was, what calculations as to civilian deaths commanders made, and what the expected military advantage of the strike was, a rigorous investigation simply can’t be done.

It is thus not simply an inconvenience but a debilitation that the commission got no cooperation from Israel, got no access to Gaza from Israel or Egypt, and did not have key questions answered by Hamas. That the commission received cooperation from Palestinian authorities—who do not control Gaza, in fact—is not much help.

The instinct of both Hamas and the Israelis to decline the privilege of addressing the commission’s concerns is understandable, though for different reasons. Hamas, having an entire strategy built around violation of IHL, cannot answer questions about its conduct without implicating itself. Israel, meanwhile, has a deep and well-founded suspicion of UN activity, particularly activity of the Human Rights Council. And there was reason to expect this commission to be worse than earlier ones, not better. The result was that the commission was left making judgments based on a combination of the public record and interviews with victims about matters the merits of which centrally depend on the viewpoints of commanders and operators. There’s no way to do this well.

There are a lot of ways, however, to do it badly.

The Israeli calculation was wrong in one key respect. The report is not worse than prior UN efforts. It’s better. It actually lacks the overt bias of prior UN investigations. It makes some notional effort at evenhandedness, finding information “pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel and by Palestinian armed groups,” violations that “may amount to war crimes.” It criticizes the “inherently indiscriminate nature of most of the projectiles directed towards Israel by [these armed] groups and to the targeting of Israeli civilians.” And it spends a fair bit of space analyzing Palestinian conduct.

There are two major oddities, however, in the commission’s discussion of this conduct. The first is the degree to which the commission gives the benefit of the doubt to armed groups that made no secret about their intentional targeting of civilians. On page 18, for example, the commission introduces the subject of rocket attacks into Israel by describing Hamas’s military wing as focused chiefly on attacking military targets. “Security experts have noted that while the Al Qassam Brigades may have targeted civilians in the past as part of its military strategy, in 2014 its declared official policy was ‘to focus on military or semi-military targets and to avoid other targets, especially civilians.’”

If this does not sound like your memory of the Gaza war, we feel your pain. And It doesn’t take too many pages before the reality catches up with the wishful thinking. On page 21, for example, the commission notes a Qassam Brigades statement that it had launched rockets at the city of Dimona. Three pages later, it notes the announcement that the group had mortared Kibbutz Nirim and other communities. On page 25, the commission cites Israeli government statistics that 4,000 or 4,500 rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli cities, towns and communities, and about half of the rest landed in Gaza. Yet the commission keeps coming back to uncertainty as to Hamas’s targeting aims and practices, despite at the same time repeatedly citing statements by Hamas that they were targeting Israeli cities and civilians (see pp. 26-27, in particular).

They'll do anything except make peace

The latest pathetic, and tragically boring, effort by the Palestinians to abuse the International Criminal Court against Israel just shows how doggedly opposed they are to real peace. Only Western bigots and enemies of peace could support it

The Commentator..
24 June '15..

If, by now, after all these years, you really wanted to do it -- and some surely will -- you could easily make a point by point refutation of the latest forlorn effort by the Palestinian leadership to divert all attention from their unending efforts to avoid making peace with the State of Israel.

If you can suppress the yawns, it's all about "Palestine's" foray into the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague over alleged Israeli violations of international law, ranging from "colonisation" on the West Bank to "war crimes" in Gaza and elsewhere.

They're due to, "hand over a file running to hundreds of pages" to the ICC on Thursday, as the Guardian glowingly reports it.

With Barack Obama in the White House, they're probably hoping it might create something more than a headache for the world's one and only Jewish state. But even if they do, what would this nonsense ultimately mean for Israel, international diplomacy, and the geo-politics of the Middle East?

No-one who backs decency for Israel should ever get complacent, but Obama will be gone by January 2017 and if he ended up in any way shape or form supporting the Palestinians on this lunacy, it would be knocked straight out of the sky by the next administration as soon as it took office.

The real issue to bear in mind here is that this ruse is just the latest in a pattern of conduct going back to the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

(Read Full Post)

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. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

But it is not suicidal

...Israel did not ask for Operation Protective Edge as it did not desire any of the wars that have marked its history to date. But the Jewish state and the IDF can look in the mirror of morality without shame, because unlike those around us, in every IDF soldier there is a man reluctant to kill. On the other hand, Jewish morality does not dictate suicide or passivity in the face of aggression, and it does not judge acts according to the identity of the perpetrator but by an objective scale of moral values. It is strange to receive lessons from those who never practice what they preach at us.

Shraga Blum..
i24 News..
25 June '15..

With publication this week of the report on Operation Protective Edge, the UN Human Rights Council has reached new heights of hypocrisy and a new moral abyss. Put aside the anti-Israeli opinions of those who chaired this committee, the fact that it took at face value the claims of Hamas or pro-Palestinian Israeli NGOs but cast doubt on everything that emanated from official Israeli sources, and the whole composition of the Human Rights Council that turns it into a grotesque farce.

But one of the most serious aspects of this report is that it establishes an ethical equivalence between a democracy respectful of the rule of law and a terrorist organization that unscrupulously tramples humanitarian principles. Although the findings of this commission have no legal force, they will help fuel the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere created by the Palestinian Authority in its global war against Israel. To associate the words "Israel," "Hamas" and "war crimes" is a crime against truth and justice.

And something tells me that this report is the only one that will prevail in the international public and media arenas, not the one written by 11 international military experts who concluded that they "know no other army in the world that takes such great steps to avoid civilian casualties" and that "Israel goes further than most armies to remain faithful to international law and to protect civilians."

Israeli leaders - of the government and the Zionist opposition - soon realized where the main fault of this unjust report lies: the amoral and abject juxtaposition between Israel and Hamas, which could set a dangerous precedent with practical consequences in the fight of democracies against terrorism.

In its conclusions, the UN fact-finding commision officially erased the moral line that distinguishes the attacked from the attacker, the one who protects his people from the one who protects himself with his people, the one who regrets every death of an Arab child from the one who considers the death of a Jewish child a victory, the one who sanctifies life from the one who regularly proclaims that he "loves death as much as the Jews love life."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Terror: now you see it, now you don't

...True to Reuters policy, its editors manage to tell the story of Friday's massacre in the Kuwait mosque as well as the November 2014 massacre in the Jerusalem synagogue with no mention of terror in either case. So does this mean we are closer to a solution? Are we better off this way? Is there anything we can learn from this? Stay tuned.

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
28 June '15..

A killer, motivated by ideological passions, enters a house of worship and launches a frenzied attack that results in a great deal of spilled blood, numerous deaths of the faithful, and devastated families.

It's terrorism, right? Well, that depends on who's doing the editing.

Terror attacks in Kuwait, France and Tunisia echo Isis methods | The Guardian, June 26, 2015

Headline says it all.

Five Israelis killed in deadly attack on Jerusalem synagogue | The Guardian, November 18, 2014

The murders of unarmed Jewish worshipers are described as a "frenzied assault", the most lethal incident in the city (Jerusalem) in years. But the word 'terror' appears only when it's part of a direct quotation from comments made by two people: an eye-witness and the US Secretary of State.

Terrorist Attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait Kill Dozens | New York Times, June 26, 2015

Headline says it all

Israel Shaken by 5 Deaths in Synagogue Assault | New York Times, June 26, 2015

Terrorism not mentioned. The attackers are termed "assailants", the massacre is an "attack" and an "assault". The savagery is framed as part of "the rising religious dimension of the spate of violence, which has been attributed mainly to a struggle over the very site the victims were praying toward". Does the reporter see the victims as part of that "spate"? Were the men at prayer involved in a "struggle"? Are any Israelis to be considered outside that struggle?

(Read Full Post)

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. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

The making of an "accidental Zionist"

..."I found myself on one of my visits at Hadassah hospital [in Jerusalem]. I have visited many hospitals, but the most exciting thing was actually when we were in an elevator in Hadassah. I was with a very busy doctor, and I looked around the small, packed elevator. What I saw around me was a Muslim lady in an abaya and hijab, next to her a man who looked like he was from the 18th century with a striped jacket, white socks and a special hat, next to him was a man with payot. In front of me was the busy modern-Orthodox doctor, and I am the one who is the Muslim who looks like she is secular. "And I realized that all my worlds -- the people I used to treat in Saudi Arabia, the patients and doctors in New York, my modern-Orthodox friends, Israelis living in America -- all of my worlds collided in this elevator.

Dr. Qanta Ahmed
Photo Credit: Yonatan Shaul
Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
26 June '15..

These last few years, I have been toying with the idea of gathering an assembly of intellectuals, political leaders and public opinion leaders to discuss the perils and prospects of Western civilization. Men and women who understand Israel's role as a dam protecting the Western world from flooding and ultimate drowning. People of truth who would be decent enough to explore the complexity of the Israeli story, who would be prepared to stand courageously by Israel and defend its just cause.

One woman I would invite to this fantasy assembly is Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a scientist, intellectual, journalist, physician who specializes in sleep disorders, and a practicing Muslim. Ahmed is an expert on, and ardent opponent of, Muslim radicalization, and a great supporter of the State of Israel.

Ahmed was born in Britain to immigrants from Pakistan. She studied medicine and went to the United States to specialize. She spent time in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere as a physician and lecturer. She now lives in the United States, publishes articles in several journals and is a sought-after commentator in American and world media.

Ahmed arrived in Israel to receive an award from the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, "in esteem of her courageous and relentless fight for human rights in the Muslim world, and for her active and uncompromising opposition to radical Islam and anti-Semitism; and with a sense of gratitude for her friendship toward Israel and the Technion."

I met with her in Jerusalem, at the Begin Heritage Center, where the ancient city walls, seen from the balcony, served as a backdrop and subject for a fascinating conversation.


Q: You describe yourself as a religious person. You have a positive attitude toward religion and spirituality. In Jewish society there is a spectrum of attitudes toward religion. However, if we look at the Muslim world today, we see a kind of a reverse Renaissance, back to the seventh century, to the beginning of Islam.

"I would absolutely agree that there is a revivalism of really extreme practices, but to a degree that never existed in documented history. These are extreme manifestations purported to be a reconstruction of Islam. They were propagated right after the Iranian Revolution [in 1979] and have spread like a huge ripple from Iran to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, including to Pakistan, which underwent Islamization, and on to extreme brands of radical Islamism in al-Qaida and now in ISIS [Islamic State]. Its advocates love to claim that this is a revival of the original and authentic Islam but it is really a fictional construct.

"Even having lived in Saudi Arabia, a state that follows Shariah [Muslim law] without innovation, without modulation, still the kind of barbarity we see now passing in some of these Islamic groups exceeds even the harshest manifestations of Shariah law. So you are right that there is a reverse revivalism."

Q: So what is the difference that you see between the revival of Islam and the Islam in which you believe?

"Well, one example is that nowadays it is not unusual for women to be stoned to death in Iran or in other remote areas, as one can see in recruitment videos indoctrinating Pakistani or Afghani children into the service of radical Islam. This in contrast to the five centuries of documentation of Ottoman history in which there is only one stoning recorded. So even though there are passages in the Quran which might suggest that these kinds of punitive actions can be taken, even in the case of adultery, they did not occur at the level of ferocity and frequency which now we can record.

"That is a deliberate revival which was introduced by the nascent ayatollahs of Iran. They use a special directive called Tazir, which gives jurists the authority by Islamic law to pass a ruling not based on precedent, but rather gives them the freedom to manipulate laws. In the past, this freedom was given only in situations of dire instability, yet they now use this power to the disadvantage of innocent people and punish them in any way they see fit.

"A good example would be the outrageous punishment of Raif Badari, a Saudi blogger who received the punishment of 1,000 lashes for publishing something on the Internet. There could be no precedent for this. Where did they get the number 1,000? This is particularly problematic when a fundamental value of Islam is that you cannot be a real believer if you do not have free will to choose not to believe. What kind of maker would choose compulsion in belief? That would be a weak maker. So Tazir as a phenomenon has been intensely pursued since the 1970s, in a way that really has become a distortion of Shariah.

"I have difficulty with the generalization of 'the Muslim world.' Muslims exist on every inhabited continent. They number 1.62 billion people. In the United States alone there are 69 different nationalities of Muslims. Every year in Mecca, over 183 different nationalities participate in the Hajj. So to talk about the 'Muslim world' is almost like talking about one-fifth of the world's population."

Tying the West’s Hands, Fabricating Israeli War Crimes and Destroying International Law

...In short, it’s impossible for any country to comply with the laws of war when fighting terrorists, because it will be presumed guilty unless proven innocent, and the only evidence acceptable to prove its innocence is by definition unobtainable. And lest anyone miss the point – or labor under the delusion that this precedent won’t be applied to other countries as well – Davis underscored it in a subsequent interview with Haaretz. Asked what solution international law does offer “to a situation in which regular armies of democratic countries fight against terror organizations in the heart of populated areas,” she replied scornfully, “My job is not to tell them how to wage a war.”

Evelyn Gordon..
Commentary Magazine..
26 June '15..

In the four days since the UN Human Rights Council published its report on last summer’s war in Gaza, commentators have pointed out numerous ways in which it is bad for Israel, the Palestinians and the prospects of a two-state solution. But focusing solely on the local consequences obscures the fact that this report is part of a broader campaign with much more ambitious goals: depriving the entire West of any conceivable weapon – military or nonmilitary – against terrorist organizations and thereby leaving it no choice but capitulation. And though the UN report captured all the attention, the assault on nonmilitary means was also active this week.

On the military side, the goal was already clear last week, thanks to an interview by Israel’s Channel 2 television with international law expert William Schabas, who headed the HRC’s Gaza inquiry until being forced out in February over a conflict of interests. “It would be a very unusual war if only one side had committed violations of laws of war and the other had engaged perfectly,” he declared. “That would be an unusual situation and an unusual conclusion.”

In other words, it’s virtually impossible for any country fighting terrorists to avoid committing war crimes, however hard it tries, because as currently interpreted by experts like Schabas, the laws of war are impossible for any real-life army to comply with. Thus, a country that wants to avoid international prosecution for war crimes has no choice but to avoid all wars; its only option is capitulation to the terrorists attacking it.

The report ultimately issued by Mary McGowan Davis, who took over the inquiry after Schabas resigned, achieved his goal through a neat trick: replacing the presumption of innocence – the gold standard for ordinary criminal proceedings – with a presumption of guilt. As Benjamin Wittes and Yishai Schwartz noted in their scathing analysis for the Lawfare blog, despite admitting that Hamas routinely used civilian buildings for military purposes, the report nevertheless concluded that any attack on a civilian building is prima facie illegal absent solid proof that the building served military purposes.

But as the report itself admits in paragraph 215, in a quote attributed to “official Israeli sources,” such proof is virtually impossible to produce, because “forensic evidence that a particular site was used for military purposes is rarely available after an attack. Such evidence is usually destroyed in the attack or, if time allows, removed by the terrorist organisations who exploited the site in the first place.”

In short, it’s impossible for any country to comply with the laws of war when fighting terrorists, because it will be presumed guilty unless proven innocent, and the only evidence acceptable to prove its innocence is by definition unobtainable. And lest anyone miss the point – or labor under the delusion that this precedent won’t be applied to other countries as well – Davis underscored it in a subsequent interview with Haaretz. Asked what solution international law does offer “to a situation in which regular armies of democratic countries fight against terror organizations in the heart of populated areas,” she replied scornfully, “My job is not to tell them how to wage a war.” The claim that “international law needs to develop standards that more accurately deal with military operations” is unacceptable, she asserted; the only acceptable changes are “to make protection of civilians stronger” and thereby make waging war even more impossible.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The U.N.’s Gaza Report - Both Flawed and Dangerous

...The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare. That is hardly surprising. Judge Davis admitted, when I testified before her in February, that the commission, though investigating a war, had no military expertise. Perhaps that is why no attempt has been made to judge Israeli military operations against the practices of other armies. Without such international benchmarks, the report’s findings are meaningless....

Richard Kemp..
NY Times..
25 June '15..

LONDON — AS a British officer who had more than his share of fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, it pains me greatly to see words and actions from the United Nations that can only provoke further violence and loss of life. The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza, prepared by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, and published on Monday, will do just that.

The report starts by attributing responsibility for the conflict to Israel’s “protracted occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” as well as the blockade of Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza 10 years ago. In 2007 it imposed a selective blockade only in response to attacks by Hamas and the import of munitions and military matériel from Iran. The conflict last summer, which began with a dramatic escalation in rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians, was a continuation of Hamas’s war of aggression.

In an unusual concession, the report suggests that Hamas may have been guilty of war crimes, but it still legitimizes Hamas’s rocket and tunnel attacks and even sympathizes with the geographical challenges in launching rockets at Israeli civilians: “Gaza’s small size and its population density make it particularly difficult for armed groups always to comply” with the requirement not to launch attacks from civilian areas.

There is no such sympathy for Israel. Judge Davis accuses the Israel Defense Forces of “serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.” Yet no evidence is put forward to substantiate these accusations. It is as though the drafters of the report believe that any civilian death in war must be illegal.

Referring to cases in which Israeli attacks killed civilians in residential areas, Judge Davis says that in the absence of contrary information available to her commission, there are strong indications that the attacks were disproportionate, and therefore war crimes. But all we get is speculation and the presumption of guilt.

The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare. That is hardly surprising. Judge Davis admitted, when I testified before her in February, that the commission, though investigating a war, had no military expertise. Perhaps that is why no attempt has been made to judge Israeli military operations against the practices of other armies. Without such international benchmarks, the report’s findings are meaningless.

The commission could have listened to Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last November that the I.D.F. had taken extraordinary measures to try to limit civilian casualties. Or to a group of 11 senior military officers from seven nations, including the United States, Germany, Spain and Australia, who also investigated the Gaza conflict recently. I was a member of that group, and our report, made available to Judge Davis, said: “None of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the I.D.F. last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

Would the public of any country stand for its leaders adopting such a policy?

...Has any country actually adopted such a policy? Would the public of any country stand for its leaders adopting such a policy, exposing the country’s own population to attack while their own military stands down?

David Bernstein..
Washington Post/The Volokh Conspiracy..
23 June '15..

Mary McGowan Davis, who headed the U.N. commission that investigated last summer’s Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, tells Ha’aretz (paywall): “We wanted to make a strong stand that the whole use of explosive weapons in densely populated neighborhoods is problematic and that the policy needs to change…. Because it is not OK to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood.”

Of course, one shouldn’t gratuitously drop a one-ton bomb or any bomb in the middle of a neighborhood. But Davis’s critique doesn’t seem limited to gratuitous bombings, but includes the bombing of military targets located in civilian neighborhoods.

If the rule was “you may never bomb [use “explosive weapons”] in a residential neighborhood if civilian casualties may result, regardless of the value of the military target,” it’s pretty obvious what would happen — enemy forces would simply plant themselves in residential neighborhoods knowing they would be immune from attack.

So, for example, Hamas could launch all the missiles it wanted at Israel from the middle of Gaza City, and use apartment buildings, schools, etc. as staging grounds and headquarters, and Israel would be helpless to respond.

The Iranian-American nuclear project by Caroline Glick

...At the end of the day, what we now know about US collaboration with Iran brings home – yet again – the sad fact that the only chance Israel has ever had of preventing Iran from getting the bomb is to destroy the mullahs’ nuclear installations itself. If Israel can still conduct such an operation, it makes sense for it to be carried out before Iran’s nuclear program officially becomes the Iranian-American nuclear project.

Caroline Glick..
Column One/JPost..
25 June '15..

Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has implemetedicies toward Iran that are catastrophic for Israel specifically, for US Middle East allies more generally and for US national security itself.

Consider, first, the known details of the soon-to-be- concluded nuclear deal.

In an article published by The New York Times this week, Prof. Alan Kuperman explained that Obama’s central justification for the agreement – that it will lengthen Iran’s breakout time to the bomb from the current two months to 12 months – is a lie.

Based on nothing more than the number of centrifuges Iran will be allowed to possess and the amount of enriched uranium necessary to make a nuclear bomb, Kuperman demonstrated that far from prolonging Iran’s nuclear breakout time by 10 months, the deal will only prolong its breakout time by one month. In other words, the deal is worthless.

Actually it’s worse than worthless.

Wednesday, the Associated Press reported on the details of one of the agreement’s five secret annexes.

Titled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” the annex demonstrates that, far from merely failing to block Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, the deal will facilitate Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

The leaked secret annex has two central components.

The first involves the underground uranium- enrichment facility at Fordow. Built inside a mountain, the Fordow complex is considered resistant to air strikes.

According to the AP report, the Iranians have agreed to re-purpose the installation from uranium enrichment to isotope production. In turn, the six powers have agreed to provide the Iranians with next-generation centrifuges to operate it. Yet, as the AP report makes clear, “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium.”

In other words, the six powers will teach Iran how to operate advanced centrifuges capable of quickly enriching uranium in an installation that is protected from aerial bombardment.

The second section of the annex relates to the heavy-water reactor at Arak. The reactor, whose construction is near completion, will be capable of producing plutonium-based atomic bombs.

According to the AP report, the six powers have agreed to provide Iran with a light-water reactor that is less capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium.

Yet, as Omri Ceren from the Israel Project explains, a sufficient number of light-water reactors are capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium. Moreover, since the reactors are powered by uranium, the very existence of the light-water reactors provides Iran with justification for expanding its uranium-enrichment operations.

Then there are the US’s stated redlines in negotiations.

These have collapsed in significant ways over the past few weeks.

BDS Has Only One Effective Weapon

...Isolating Israel means turning it into pariah state that none will be willing to defend. As former UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote recently, “The ultimate aim, of course, is to leave Israel so isolated in the international arena that its enemies can seek its destruction, God forbid, without fear of significant reprisals other than from Israel itself.”

Alex Margolin..
Honest Reporting..
25 June '15..

The BDS movement is not about economic pressure on Israel, and it’s not about advancing the cause of human rights. It’s about turning world opinion against Israel, and that’s the only effective weapon in its arsenal.

As a leader of the South African branch of the BDS movement recently told the Jerusalem Post, the goal of BDS is to “isolate the apartheid state of Israel until it listens to international law.”

Isolating Israel means turning it into pariah state that none will be willing to defend. As former UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote recently, “The ultimate aim, of course, is to leave Israel so isolated in the international arena that its enemies can seek its destruction, God forbid, without fear of significant reprisals other than from Israel itself.”

If the BDS movement were concerned about the rights of Palestinians inside or outside of Israel, as it claims, it would focus awareness campaigns on issues and practices it seeks to change.

Instead, BDS campaigns aim to ban Israel from international sporting competitions, cultural events, and academic forums. BDS activists bully musicians and artists who plan to visit Israel. The message is blunt: Israel does not belong. And the only Israeli policy change that would effectively end the campaign would be to end its identity as a Jewish state.

The easiest place to see that BDS is about harming Israel’s image, not its economy, is in the spate of student-driven divestment votes on college campuses across the US. None of the divestment votes that have passed – a minority of the total – have resulted in actual divestment by the universities. Activists know that they are not campaigning for divestment. Still, they welcome the “symbolic” censure – and the opportunity to slander Israel – the votes provide.

Yet embattled little Israel didn’t cower by Sarah Honig

...If our knees don’t buckle, we won’t fall and won’t be swept away. If we survived the massive multinational onslaught on our bond to Jerusalem in our most vulnerable days, we can certainly survive the US Supreme Court’s sustenance for the stupidity of American statecraft.

Expelled Jews are shoved out of
 Zion Gate in the Old City of
Jerusalem after it was conquered
by the Arab Legion in contravention
 of the 1947 UN Partition Resolution
Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
25 June '15..

The bottom-line truth is that the decision of the US Supreme Court to uphold official Washington’s pig-headed disconnect between Jerusalem and Israel doesn’t mean diddly-squat. It signifies zilch, zippo, nada, gurnisht, bubkes.

This is quite apart from of the fact that the court technically only dealt with American constitutional hairsplitting on who’s empowered to recognize what abroad. Such pedantry may perturb American jurists but for us Israelis it absolutely doesn’t change a thing.

We simply shouldn’t care if they say we aren’t who we know we are.

What any American higher-up in whatever bureaucracy in whichever branch of government finds it expedient to opine cannot factually alter our identity. It’s as straightforward as that and is in essence what 12-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky understood.

His battle against federal obduracy reached all the way to the highest US court but Menachem lost his appeal to have his American passport register his birth as having occurred in Israel rather than in an undefined Jerusalem.

The fussy legalistic quibbling that led to his defeat cannot obviate the fact that, irrespective of what shenanigans the justices subscribe to, Menachem did come into the world in sovereign Israel. The boy isn’t confused: “I am an Israeli and I want people to know that I am glad that I am an Israeli.”

What he said goes for us all. It doesn’t matter if by some screwy foreign diktats Menachem’s birthplace, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center (situated in West Jerusalem, well inside the unaccountably sanctified Green Line) is declared to be in Outer Mongolia. The hospital (whose name ironically translates into Gates of Justice) is still in Israel and always was.

It isn’t even in remotely disputed territory, wasn’t wrested from anyone and never belonged to another state or entity. Nothing anyone overseas says to the contrary will affect reality as it is here. Finicky interpretive nitpicking in Washington doesn’t impact facts on the ground in faraway Jerusalem.

The White House and its Department of State keep on pretending – against the elementary laws of physics – that time stood still in November 1947.

It’s no jest: by Washington’s arcane logic, all clocks came to a halt 68.5 years ago and there has been no movement since. All tribulations and transformations in the ensuing decades are figments of our willful Israeli imagination. Ongoing Israeli waywardness rankles the DoS‘s diplomatic wizards and earns Israel no brownie points in Obama’s halls of omniscient power.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One very special family reunion - When Manasseh's children visited Joseph's Tomb

...This very special family reunion, which brought the Bnei Menashe together with their forefathers, served also as a tangible sign that the return of the Jewish people to our Land has the ability to unite even the most disparate segments of our nation. Whatever the distinctions in dress, the differences in custom, and the dissimilarities in accent, there is something far greater that unites us all: the bond forged by Jewish history and the collective belief in Jewish destiny.

Michael Freund..
25 June '15..

It was after midnight one night earlier this month that I found myself in an armored convoy on the streets of Palestinian-occupied Shechem (Nablus) on the way to a remarkable family reunion of historic proportions. More than 2,700 years after their ancestors had been exiled from the Land of Israel, a group of recent immigrants from the Bnei Menashe, or Sons of Manasseh, were set to visit their forefather Joseph's tomb, the first rendezvous of its kind.

For these 100 descendants of a lost tribe of Israel, who came on aliya from India last November through Shavei Israel, the organization I chair, it was an emotional outing, one that would provide them with a unique opportunity to reconnect with their roots in a very tangible way.

Escorted by the military, our armored convoy wound its way slowly through the dark and rock-strewn streets of the largely hostile city. The IDF jeep in front of us suddenly slammed to a halt. To our left, a shadowy figure hurled something toward the lead vehicle, prompting a number of soldiers to take off in pursuit before returning empty-handed. Undeterred by the attempt at intimidation, a few short minutes later we found ourselves at the small compound housing the burial site of the revered biblical figure.

It was nearly 15 years ago, in October 2000, that Joseph's Tomb captured headlines around the world.

Armed Palestinian policemen and Fatah terrorists had launched a coordinated assault on the Israeli soldiers guarding the site. After then-prime minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to withdraw, the Palestinians went on a rampage and demolished the tomb with sledgehammers and iron bars. In subsequent years, after the structure was repaired, the IDF began permitting Jewish worshipers to visit the site once a month for just a few hours, and only under cover of darkness.

But all the difficulties involved in organizing the visit earlier this month only served to add to the special atmosphere that prevailed when it finally took place.

United Nations Report on Gaza Scores Points for Barbarism

...The report, though, will probably be ratified by the Human Rights Council and, later, by the UN General Assembly, and increase the general atmosphere of recrimination toward Israel. It represents then, another win for barbarism, with the West again cooperating in the war against its own values.

P. David Hornik..
24 June '15..

In the 21st century, barbarism has gained ground at the expense of civilization. Democracy has been in sharp decline. Terrorism increased by 35 percent in 2014. ISIS’s latest video is the most horrific yet.

If civilization can still prevail, it first has to be able to distinguish between civilization and barbarism. Civilization has had a notoriously hard time doing that. It signed a peace agreement with Herr Hitler and declared “peace in our time.” It may be on the verge of signing an agreement with Iran that leaves its nuclear program intact and ensures it will get—for starters—$150 billion worth of sanctions relief.

The inability to morally distinguish between Israel and its barbaric enemies is, of course, a key part of the malaise. The UN Human Rights Council’s report on last summer’s war in Gaza, released this week, is a further symptom of a disease that appears incurable.

The 47 members of the council, based in Geneva, include human rights stalwarts like Algeria, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Not surprisingly, with such a membership, the council’s overriding purpose is to vilify Israel: 80 percent of its resolutions condemn it. As Benjamin Netanyahu noted on Tuesday, the council

has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined. In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel than against all the countries of the world combined.

Yet democratic countries sit on the council, too—France, Japan, the Netherlands, the United States, and others; they participate in its votes and never threaten to leave it en masse unless it stops being a blatant Israel-defaming kangaroo court. The current “fact-finding mission” on the Gaza war was first headed by a Canadian academic, William Schabas; and now, Schabas having stepped down when it turned out he had been in the Palestinians’ pay, by U.S. jurist Mary McGowan Davis.

If this latest report is somewhat less extreme than one of its predecessors, the infamous 2009 Goldstone Report on the 2008 war in Gaza, it’s because it puts Israel on the same moral footing as Hamas—unlike in the Goldstone Report where Israel was a ruthless killer and Hamas almost irrelevant. It’s hardly comforting, of course, when Israel is portrayed—at best—as equivalent to Hamas instead of much worse.

What exactly do the Druze want? by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

...The Druze position is terribly complicated. They are torn between conflicting loyalties, afraid of all the protagonists in the conflict because they are not Moslems and because they are concentrated in three areas that it is easy to cut off by surrounding them. Willingness to accept aid from Israel will leave them open to the revenge of the regime and the Jihadists, refusal may leave them unprotected. They do not have a unified leadership capable of presenting one stand, and it is hard to believe media pronouncements made by one leader or another.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar..
24 June '15..

The fate of the Druze in Syria has been occupying the minds of Israel's decision-makers for a while now. The issue became a hot topic in the media recently as a result of several events, foremost among them the attack on an IDF ambulance bringing Syrian wounded to Israel for treatment. There were two separate incidents in which Druze young men attacked these ambulances, claiming that the wounded are Jabhat al-Nusra fighters, that is, members of an Islamist rebel organization affiliated with the Syrian al Qaeda which threatens to murder the Druze for being heretics.

Israel does not officially support Jabhat al-Nusra, and the government explained that for humanitarian reasons, it treats those wounded who are brought to the border without checking their affiliations. Not all the Druze accept this explanation and have been strongly criticizing the medical care afforded rebel fighters. Israel may actually be helping the organization that most threatens Assad's regime, although it seems as though Israel would be happy to be rid of Assad, the main ally of Iran in the region, an outcome which would also significantly weaken Hezbollah.

That said, attacking an ambulance carrying injured passengers is out of the pale, and these two incidents caused the leaders of Israel's Druze, including those in the Golan Heights, to meet this week to condemn the small group of hotheads who attacked the wounded men, one of whom was killed. They called on their brothers to obey the laws of Israel and under no circumstances to engage in actions that defy the law and the rules of humanitarian aid in Israel. The leaders realize that the Israeli Druze cannot fight wars that go against government policy, unless they want to find themselves in direct confrontation with the state and its institutions.

The Druze are well aware that the medical care given Jabhat al-Nusra fighters allows Israel to set limits on the organization's activities and demand that it refrain from attacking the Druze in Syria. This, however, is not foolproof, because there have already been several incidents in which the rebel group attacked Druze in the Khader enclave on the slopes of the Hermon Mountains, and near Idlib in northern Syria, killing tens of them.

Still, the government is paying attention to the Israeli Druze and will, perhaps, find a less obvious way to aid the Jabhat al-Nusra wounded, especially since those of them hospitalized in Israel have announced, before the cameras, that if they meet a Druze or Shiite they intend to murder him. It turns out that even receiving dedicated medical care in Israel does not affect a Jihadist's stand on heretics. What is their opinon ofJews? One can well imagine. And there are reports that the Druze are photographing the jihadists in their hospital beds so as to identify them when it is time to settle the score.

The Druze of Syria

The Druze in Israel fear, and rightly, for the fate of their brothers in Syria, especially in light of the world's silence as genocide is being wreaked on the Yazidis, their men butchered or forcibly converted to Islam, their daughters sold as slaves on the open market. The Druze know that their fate will be identical if Islamic State has its way. That is the reason the Druze support Assad with all their might, remaining loyal even though his power is waning everywhere.

They hear the voices in Israel calling for a safe haven for Druze in Sweida, a mainly Druze city in southern Syria, and for a safe passage connecting it with Jordan or Israel. These voices worry the leaders of the Syrian Druze, because they paint a picture which makes it seem as if they are not loyal to the regime, or have become loyal to Israel. This will turn Assad's soldiers against them on the one hand, and the rebel Jihadists on the other, since neither group is particularly Zionist.

Actually, It's Not France, But an Obama Diktat That Israel Fears

...Under the circumstances, Netanyahu’s warning to Fabius that Israel will never accept a “diktat” on matters that concern its security was entirely justified. In response, Fabius said diktat wasn’t a word that was part of his French vocabulary. But it’s not a French initiative that worries Netanyahu but the very real possibility of an Obama diktat that lurks behind it. Though President Obama may not speak German, Netanyahu is right to fear that the lame duck in the White House understands the word all too well.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
23 June '15..

With Western nations concentrating on finalizing a nuclear deal with Iran this month, efforts to restart the Israel-Palestinian peace talks have been relegated to the diplomatic back burner. Even President Obama, who made the creation of a Palestinian state a priority from his first moment in office appears to have accepted that further efforts on that front will have to wait until after his cherished new entente with Tehran is safely signed and then ratified by Congress (or saved by a presidential veto). But Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister was in the Middle East this past weekend giving Israelis a sneak preview of what they can expect once appeasement of Iran is checked off on the West’s to-do-list. Once the dust settles on Iran, France is expected to propose a resolution in the United Nations Security Council that would seek to impose a framework on future negotiations with the Palestinians. Such a framework would likely make the 1967 lines the basis of talks and treat Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem a foregone conclusion making it unlikely that the Palestinians would budge an inch on any vital issue. Israel would not have greeted this news happily under any circumstances, but it so happened that Fabius arrived just after a series of terror attacks on Jews that illustrated just how dangerous any such unilateral concessions on Israel’s part would be.

On Friday, one Israeli was killed and another wounded in a shooting attack in the West Bank applauded by Hamas. On Sunday, a West Bank Palestinian stabbed an Israeli policeman in Jerusalem in another of what are actually fairly routine incidents of terror. Though the Netanyahu has recently relaxed security measures intended to forestall such attacks, Palestinian assaults on Israelis are so commonplace that U.S. newspapers like the New York Times mention them only in passing and sometimes not all.

While a two-state solution would be ideal and is favored, at least in principle, by most Israelis, terror incidents highlight why large majorities regard the prospect of a complete withdrawal from the West Bank or a partition of Jerusalem are seen as madness. It’s not just that the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly shown that it has no intention of ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Nor that Hamas, though it might endorse a continuation of the cease-fire along the Gaza border is utterly committed to war to destroy Israel. It’s also that both the PA and its Hamas rivals routinely broadcast hate and sympathy for terrorists who slaughter Jews. It is that culture of violence and rejection of coexistence still governs Palestinian politics making a two-state solution impossible even if their leaders were prepared to try to make peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New York Times Plays 'Fair' in Mideast Reportage

“It is unrealistic to expect Hamas, which the United States and other countries consider a terrorist group, to comply with international law or police itself. But Israel has a duty and should have the desire, to adjust its military policies to avoid civilian casualties and hold those who failed to do so accountable.” The same editorial writer before and during World War II probably would have put greater onus on Churchill than on Hitler in being held responsible for protecting civilians. After all, it would have been “unrealistic” to expect the Nazis to “comply with international law.”

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
24 June '15..

The headline tells it all when it comes to New York Times coverage of the UN Human Rights Council report on the 2014 Gaza war (“Both Sides In Gaza War Are Faulted by U.N. Panel” June 23, page A4.)

For every Hamas terrorist action, Times correspondents Jodi Rudoren and Somini Sengupta are quick to juxtapose some malfeasance on Israel’s part.

How much fairer can you get?

Answer: Plenty.

By putting equivalence above everything else, the Times and the UN report fail to give readers the real crux of what actually happened. They ignore the fact that it was Hamas, not Israel, that triggered the 50-day summer war with incessant rocket barrages on civilian populations in Israel. Had Hamas desisted, there would have been no war.

The Times’ coverage of the Gaza War, with its repeated stretches to treat each party equally, is as if the Allies in World War II had been as culpable as the Japanese and the Germans.

Rocket sirens are heard across S. Israel Tuesday night... and almost nowhere else

...But occasionally, there will be a hit, and perhaps even some injured or dead on the Israeli side. And then the rocket men are hailed as heroes. some headlines are published along with some Hamas insiders being interviewed, their bogus "resistance" is back in the news and it's all worth it. Meanwhile, a metaphysical question: if a rocket was fired into Israel and no one was hurt, and no news channel outside Israel reported it, what are the ways in which Israel brought this upon itself, and how ought the Israeli side to be condemned for whatever response the IDF now carries out?

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
23 June '15..

Yet another Gazan rocket was despatched in the customary Palestinian Arab manner in the past hour. Meaning it was fired off entirely indiscriminately in the general direction of anything Israeli, Did it crash into a school bus? A cow shed? A busy shopping mall? Did it drop short and explode on top of a Gazan Arab home and the children living inside?

The men who did the firing certainly don't care. Nor do the vast majority of the reporters who cover the Middle East conflict beat. A story that focuses on the malevolence of the fighting forces under the Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad banner? Not worth an editor's time. And anyway, news consumers long ago learned to assume the Arab side are capable of any outrage so why bother getting worked up about it?

So who does care? Israelis. It's our side that holds its collective breath as the Tzeva Adom (Color Red) incoming rocket alert system's warning siren is heard. It's our side that has created well-functioning communities, farms, towns, cities, roads, schools, malls, hospitals, homes - and the shelters that are inseparable part of all of them. Because on our side, every injury, every death (Heaven forbid), every disruption to normal, constructive lives counts, matters, has a measurable impact.

(Read Full Post)

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Getting Down to Brass Tacks

...The small bit of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is Israel, the Land of the Jews, and has been for thousands of years. ...Just because western-left racists politically join with bigoted anti-Jewish Arabs does not make it otherwise.

Michael Lumish..
Israel Thrives..
23 June '15..

For some reason within the American idiom the term "brass tacks" means down to basics.

I am not certain that the term is used much any more, but there was a time when people would sometimes say, in the midst of a dispute, something like, "OK, let's get down to brass tacks."

Here is a brass tack for you:

The small bit of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is Israel, the Land of the Jews, and has been for thousands of years.

Just because western-left racists politically join with bigoted anti-Jewish Arabs does not make it otherwise.

There are no people on this planet - unless someone can drag up a Jebusite - who have greater objective and moral claims to their own home than do the Jews of that small part of the Middle East.

As the Elder notes, Jews are from Judea and Arabs are from Arabia.

Period. End of story.

Just because Muslims stomped out of their enormous peninsula in the seventh century, conquered the entirety of the Middle East, and almost conquered Europe, does not mean that they have some Allah-given right to the tiny Jewish home.

All of Israel, small as it is, is the land of the Jews and former conquerors gain no special dispensation due to their previous aggression and imperial rule.

In Our Region the Weak Get No Breaks by Sarah Honig

...Given the Palestinian daily diet of hate dished out liberally in the school system, the mosques, the press and the broadcast media, our weakness foremost boosts the belligerence of predator wolves – even of the conjectured lone variety. The Israeli public can afford no delusions about what Abbas willfully encourages against us.

Cops at Damascus Gate soon
after the recent stabbing
Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
23 June '15..

Presumably all Israelis are expected to take heart from officialdom’s line that the recent spate of terror attacks comprises nothing but unforeseeable products of “personal initiative.” Presumably the accumulation of deadly and near-deadly terror outrages is nothing but an apparently incidental buildup without a guiding hand pulling strings behind the scenes.

Presumably such learned opinions – both from the top brass and self-appointed experts – are supposed to calm our anxieties.

But those with longer memories will quickly note that such was also the soothing conventional wisdom when the first intifada was at its height and when the second erupted. Indeed, it is always individuals who carry out attacks, except in the case of bombings – suicide or otherwise – where clearly group collusion is required.

“Lone-wolf” reassurances are therefore spurious and geared more than anything else to provide pretexts both for military and law-enforcement higher-ups and for commentators who fail to see what is palpable for the common-man.

The notion that before us are nothing more than sporadic isolated undertakings by assorted psychos helps deflect accountability. Talk about containment rather than active deterrence further helps to avoid responsibility. More than all else, the lone wolf theory is self-serving.

It keeps from public attention the ominous context in which these acts are perpetrated. For instance, thousands of Arabs demonstrated on the occasion of the first Friday of Ramadan at the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem several days before the stabbing there of a border policeman. They hoisted placards with photos of “martyrs” and imprisoned terrorists. Israel’s media barely reported this as it systematically ignores disturbances without casualties.

No sooner did the stabbed officer shoot his assailant then screams of support for the terrorist filled the air. Constant prayer vigils are since held at the site for the stabber’s recovery. He has been elevated to the rank of a national hero.

The broad and enthusiastic succor that the purported lone wolves receive in their society reveals them to be anything but lone wolves. The entrenched infrastructure of incitement throughout Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority jurisdiction in itself commissions onslaughts by glorifying and emboldening the perpetrators.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When an Israeli MK sets out to join a flotilla of illusions

...Rather than improve Gazans' quality of life, Hamas constructed a grid of murderous terror tunnels meant to kill Israelis, including children in Tel Aviv. It never occurred to Ghattas, not for one minute, to condemn that situation. For that matter, in never occurred to Joint Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi either, as she found Hamas' defeat in Operation Protective Edge very disappointing.

Dr. Reuven Berko..
Israel Hayom..
23 June '15..

Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, who plans to join the next Gaza Strip-bound flotilla, made a big to-do Monday about not disclosing exactly where he was, telling Israel Radio's Arabic station he was "somewhere in Greece."

Asked about the nature of the sail Ghattas declined to answer, sounding as if he were taking part in a top-secret mission whose details must be kept from the hostile agents of Israel's intelligence community -- the very country in whose parliament he serves.

"So you are taking part in a flotilla whose details you know nothing about?" the interviewer insisted, alluding to the ill-fated journey by the Mavi Marmara in 2010. At this point, Ghattas reverted to savvy politician mode, saying the current flotilla was on a mission of peace, and that he had personally informed authorities in Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of his intention to join the sail.

The interview attempted to focus on recent security events and the phenomenon of Israeli Arab individuals who join the Islamic State group, but Ghattas was mostly interested in expressing his disappointment over the fact he was the only Arab MK to join the flotilla.

Already trying to capitalize on the move, which will surely affect his future ranking within the Joint Arab List, Ghattas reiterated how we should all be grateful for his determined initiative, as all he seeks to do is "breach the Israeli siege on Gaza."

Ghattas' hearing out as sea must have been impaired somehow, as the "peaceful sailor"-turned-naval commando apparently found it impossible to hear the harsh questions leveled at him by Israeli media outlets, which asserted that Hamas is a hostile entity seeking to destroy Israel, and that given that the land crossings to the Gaza Strip are open and allow the steady delivery of supplies -- including cement, which Hamas is using to build terror tunnels -- Gaza is not under siege.