Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bibi's Indictment and the Future of Israeli Democracy - by Prof. Avi Bell

The Attorney General’s misguided decision to charge the Prime Minister with bribery and breach of trust may spell trouble for the future of Israeli democracy

Prof. Avi Bell..
Tablet Magazine..
28 February '19..

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s announcement to the media, 40 days before general elections, that he intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust in three different cases was political drama of the highest order. There’s no gainsaying the importance to Israel’s politics and the election. But more importantly, Mandelblit’s announcement heralds a crisis for Israel’s democracy and the public image of its legal system.

Mandelblit’s announcement inserts law enforcement officials into the political arena in an unprecedented way, and on a very shaky legal foundation. If the legal theories that the attorney general is introducing against Netanyahu become general law, a considerable part of the democratic life of Israel will have to pass through police interrogation rooms. If they remain restricted to Netanyahu, the partisanship will permanently damage public trust in the Israeli legal system.

To be sure, Mandelblit’s announcement is only an interim step in the legal drama. Any actual indictment will have to wait for hearings in the attorney general’s office in which Netanyahu’s lawyers will be afforded the opportunity to attempt to dissuade Mandelblit from his chosen course. The hearings will take place after the election, and only in a year or so will Mandelblit be in a position to request that the Knesset lift Netanyahu’s immunity or formally file an indictment. And the political fallout will not end with the opinion polls now being conducted. It is likely that Mandelblit’s announcement will influence not only the number of votes received by the parties on April 9, but the coalition negotiations to follow.

Yet, while the ultimate political fallout remains unclear, the danger in the novel legal theories introduced by Mandelblit is stark. The criminal charges against the prime minister lack legal substance, and they threaten both the rule of law in Israel and the health of its democracy. Professor Alan Dershowitz said as much in several op-eds and an open letter to Mandelblit in recent months, and he is absolutely right.

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Avi Bell is a Professor of Law at Bar Ilan University and the University of San Diego, a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Project on the Foundations of Private Law.

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. 
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Truth Be Told, UNRWA Has Absolutely No Basis For Creating Generations of Palestinian Arab Refugees - by Daled Amos

...If UNRWA really wants to base policy on UNHCR, it could take a look at Article 1, F of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. There, it touches on when not to apply refugee status: The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that: (a) he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;
Now that would be a good place to start.


Daled Amos..
Elder of Ziyon..
28 February '19..

One of the most controversial issues surrounding how UNRWA does business is its fast-and-loose definition of refugees, which has kept expanding over the years.

When UN General Assembly Resolution 393 was passed on December 2, 1950, endorsing UNRWA's purpose, it clearly stated:

[T]he reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential in preparation for the time when international assistance is no longer available, and for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area

UNRWA's job was to either repatriate refugees, where possible -- or to resettle them elsewhere, with the realization and acknowledgment that the money was not going to last forever.

But that goal was only good for about 10 years.

These days, UNRWA is no longer in the business of resettling refugees.

And they seem to think the money can, and should, keep flowing forever.

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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. 
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The Rise of Fatah, Fifty Years On - by Sean Durns

Fatah’s rise to power is one of the most important events in the modern Middle East, entrenching an authoritarian model of political rule for Palestinians and cementing the then-young PLO as its standard bearer. In the half-century since, only Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood derivative, has emerged to seriously challenge Fatah’s grip. Other leaders and movements have risen and fallen, but Fatah remains—despite its disasters and defeats.

Sean Durns..
CAMERA..
26 February '19..
Linkhttps://www.camera.org/article/camera-op-ed-the-rise-of-fatah-fifty-years-on/

February 4, 2019 marked an important, albeit unheralded, date: the fiftieth anniversary of the ascension of Fatah in Palestinian politics. On Feb. 4, 1969, the movement’s founder, the Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat, was appointed chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). For most of the half century since, Fatah has dominated Palestinian affairs—with fateful consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

Arafat, his biographer Barry Rubin wrote, “succeeded at creating and remaining the leader of the globe’s longest-running revolutionary movement.” Yet both he and Fatah would also lead “his people into more disasters and defeats than any counterpart.”

It was a swift, but uneven, rise for both.

Arafat and about fifteen others founded Fatah on Oct. 10, 1959 in a private home in Kuwait. At the time, Arafat was an engineer working for Kuwait’s Department of Public Works. Most of his compatriots were young Palestinian students or workers employed in the country, which was then experiencing an oil boom and economic growth. They called themselves Harakat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyya (Palestinian Liberation Movement), whose acronym reversed spells Fatah, which means “conquest.”

Banning political parties in Israel and the true test of democracy - by Jonathan S. Tobin

Is the Israeli Supreme Court really prepared to say that racist and undemocratic parties are out of the question unless they are ethnically Arab in character?

Jonathan S. Tobin..
JNS.org..
26 February '19

If the parties of the left had their way prior to last week, it would have spared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a lot of the trouble he got into over the deal to merge two right-wing parties. By helping to bring together the Jewish Home Party with the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) Party, which is led by followers of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, he may have increased his chances of winning the next Knesset election on April 9. But by making it also likely that a Kahanist-like Otzma leader Michael Ben-Ari makes it into the Knesset, he stood accused of enabling racism.

Yet according to the Labor and Meretz parties, Otzma shouldn’t be allowed to run at all, whether with its new partner or on its own. The two left-wing parties have filed petitions with the Central Elections Committee seeking to get Otzma off the ballot on the grounds that it is racist and opposes the basic democratic principles of the state. Some have also raised the question of Otzma receiving funding from a yeshivah founded by Kahane that is considered by the U.S. State Department to be part of a terrorist organization.

It’s far from clear if the committee will look favorably on their petition or if an activist Israeli Supreme Court will intervene if they have the chance to oust Otzma. But it calls to mind the original effort to ban Kahane from the Knesset and raises the question of whether this exercise is a defense of democracy or, in fact, undermines it.

(Continue to Full Column)

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. 
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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Understanding the What and Why of the Gaza Blockade - by Pesach Benson

...The Hamas coup set off alarm bells in both Israel and Egypt and the two countries established a blockade of the Strip. Jerusalem was worried because Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Cairo’s concerns, however, aren’t as fully understood in the West but are a critical part of the Gaza blockade’s background.

Pesach Benson..
Honest Reporting..
26 February '19..

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized control of the Strip in 2007.

Often overlooked, forgotten or taken for granted in media coverage and public discussion is the reason for the blockade: the threat of Hamas weapons smuggling.

Egypt captured Gaza during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. The Strip would remain under Egyptian military occupation until the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel’s administration allowed Jews to settle in the Strip. (The Jewish Virtual Library expands on historical Jewish ties to Gaza). When Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, 8,000 settlers were evacuated from 21 settlements. The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority managed Gaza’s affairs until 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Strip, killing and expelling Fatah personnel.

The Hamas takeover destroyed international agreements between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt over Gaza’s border crossings. PA personnel and European monitors manning the crossings fled the violence.

Since Hamas seized power, Israel has fought three wars in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014). The IDF has foiled a number of attempts to smuggle Iranian arms to Gaza. Egypt has also has also periodically moved against Gaza-Sinai smuggling tunnels. Hamas has an up-and-down relationship with jihadist insurgents in the Sinai fighting the Egyptian military.

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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. 
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Matti Friedman Interview: Spies of No Country. Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel

People still tell the story of Israel as: When the Jews of the Islamic world moved to Israel they joined the story of the Ashkenazim – so the story of Israel is the story of the Jews of Europe. But having thought about this, and having lived here for 23 years, it is clear to me that what actually happened is much closer to the opposite. The remnants of the Jews of Europe come to the Middle East and inserted themselves into the story of the Jews of the Islamic world. The State of Israel is shaped by our contact with Islam and Jews who have lived here for centuries. The dominant narrative of the European Jews is wrong. Looking ahead, telling Israel’s story in the 21st century will have a lot less to do with the Warsaw Ghetto than it will with Kurdistan and Aleppo.

Matti Friedman..
Fathom Journal..
February '19..
H/T to Point of No Return

FRAMING A 21ST CENTURY ZIONIST STORY

Calev Ben-Dor (CB-D): Your new book Spies of No Country tells the story of four young Jewish men from the Arab world who form the beginnings of Israel’s spy network. What drove you to focus on this?

Matti Friedman (MF): The book follows four of Israel’s first spies through the 1948 War of Independence. The main characters are young men on the margins of the Zionist project who are recruited by a small, ad-hoc intelligence outfit within the Palmach called the Arab Section, which encourages Arabic-speaking Jews to cross enemy lines and gather intelligence in the Arab world. They actually don’t call themselves agents, but Mistarvim, which means ‘ones who become like Arabs’ and it’s a term used today, made famous by the TV hit Fauda. At its height at the onset of the war, the section was no more than 20 agents, only half of whom survive. Their mission expanded to attempted assassinations of Arab leaders, and in Haifa they carried out a pre-emptive attack on a garage where the Arab militia was preparing a car bomb in the spring of 1948. And then when Haifa fell to the Haganah in 1948 and the Arabs begun to flee, the people in charge of the Arab Section realised that they have an opportunity to insert their agents into the Arab world by disguising them as refugees. They ran away to Lebanon and spent the first two years of Israel’s existence as Palestinian refugees, so the way they experienced the birth of the state is radically different to most of the stories people have heard about at that time.

For many years, I have had the feeling that the stories we tell about Israel no longer explain the country; nor are they useful as a map for navigating the country in 2019. Israel has always told its story in a very European way, about socialism, Theodor Herzl, the Holocaust, the Kibbutzim. That is very important if you want to understand how the country was founded, but it doesn’t explain the society that we live in. So I was looking for other stories that would explain the state of now, particularly from the Middle Eastern perspective, which reflects the fact that half of Israelis today actually come from the Islamic world rather than from Europe. In 2011 I met a 90-year-old former spy, Isaac Shoshan, who lives in a small working class suburb of Tel Aviv with whom I had a series of fascinating conversations. Isaac told me a story about the founding of the state that I hadn’t heard before. He experienced 1948 as a Palestinian refugee, which was his job as part of the very small, embryonic intelligence outfit that as part of the Jewish military underground and that story struck me as worth telling.

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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. 
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Indy journalist again falsely accuses Israeli politician of “glorifying” Palestinian civilian deaths - by Adam Levick

...But, of course, no analysis on the prospects that Palestinian society may move to the centre will be offered by Trew, as her reporting follows the MSM pattern of denying Palestinians agency, thus preventing any real reporting on, for instance, the injurious impact to the peace process of their high levels of support for violence, extremism and antisemitism.

Adam Levick..
UK Media Watch..
26 February '19..

An op-ed by Independent Mid-East correspondent Bel Trew on the electoral hopes of Benny Gantz and his Blue and White Party expresses skepticism that the former IDF Chief-of-Staff truly holds a more centrist view on the Palestinian issue. The central argument of her piece (Centrism is finally returning to Israeli politics, but there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned) is found in these paragraphs:

[Gantz’s] new party is expected to win 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, according to polls by Israel’s Channel 12 and 13 news. The two networks predicted Netanyahu’s Likud party would secure just 30 and 26 respectively.

There were discussions of Israel finally embracing a centrist agenda. The word progressive was even bandied about.

It is true that Netanyahu, his party and his people were quick to scaremonger the largely right-wing Israeli electorate, criticising Gantz-Lapid for being “left wing” and “pro-Arab”.

But how much of this is actually the case?

While it is unlikely the pair will peddle the same fervent nationalist and populist line that Bibi has sculpted into his own brand, don’t expect a major break from the norm.

Lt Gen Gantz’s first campaign video was a disturbing rolling body count of the Palestinians killed by his soldiers during the 2014 war on Gaza that he oversaw. The advert, layered over footage of funerals and destroyed civilian neighbourhoods, concluded by saying that Gantz was responsible for killing 1,364 Gaza militants in the seven-week military campaign. The problem is that this militant body count is even higher than Israel’s agreed numbers and nearly double the United Nations’ figures.

The video effectively glorifies the killing of civilians.

However, as we’ve demonstrated previously in response to the same claim in another article by Trew, the allegation that Gantz’s video “glorifies the killing of civilians” is not accurate.

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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. 
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Is This Clear Enough? There is "No Place for the Zionist Entity in Palestine" - by Bassam Tawil

This is what members of the US administration needs to ask themselves: What will happen the day after a Palestinian state is established? The answer, according to Hamas and Islamic Jihad (and other Palestinians) is that the Palestinians will use this state to continue the "armed struggle" until the liberation of the occupied cities of Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Tiberias, Jaffa and Haifa...Any land that is given to Abbas and his Palestinian Authority in the West Bank will be used in the future by Hamas and Islamic Jihad as a base for launching rockets and missiles into Israeli cities. Then, the terror groups will not need accurate, long-range rockets to achieve their plan to destroy Israel's population centers: they will be sitting right across the street from them.

Bassam Tawil..
Gatestone Institute..
26 February '19..

A Palestinian terror group says that its engineers have developed "accurate and destructive" missiles that can reach the "occupied" cities of Tel Aviv, Netanya and Jerusalem. Abu Hamza, spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad organization in the Gaza Strip, threatened that his group's "rocket unit" would turn Israeli cities into "hell."

"There is no place for the Zionist enemy on the land of Palestine," Abu Hamza said. "Either they leave this blessed land, or they will be dealt one painful strike after the other."

Islamic Jihad is the second-largest Palestinian terror group in the Gaza Strip, after Hamas. Neither group recognizes Israel's right to exist. Both say they are committed to the "armed struggle until the liberation of all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River."

The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad see Israel as one big settlement to be uprooted from the Middle East.

For them, there is no difference between a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and any other city inside Israel. As far as they are concerned, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Haifa and Nazareth are all "occupied" cities. Palestinian weather forecast bulletins often publish names of cities inside Israel on a map that does not mention the word Israel.

The Palestinian leaders say that the conflict with Israel will end only when Israel is annihilated.

"We won't give upon one inch of the land of Palestine," said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. "We will continue to fight until all the refugees return to their homes" -- meaning areas in Israel within the "green line" 1949 armistice borders.

In 2017, Hamas published a document of "General Principles and Policies," in which it claimed that it was ready to accept a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines (West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem) -- but without Hamas recognizing Israel's right to exist or Hamas "giving up all of Palestine."

In other words, Hamas is saying that it would not oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem; it would use these territories as a launching pad to "liberate the rest of Palestine."

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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. 
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Israel Supporter? Time to Go on the Offensive! - by Elder of Ziyon

Sure, Israel needs to do a better job in describing its side of the story. But defense only gets you so far. Giving the haters free reign over social media to throw mud until something sticks makes the onlookers think there is something to their arguments.

Elder of Ziyon..
25 February '19..

Lately, I have been spending some time reading the Twitter accounts of the ultra-Left haters of Israel.

They live in a bubble, of course. When they get into discussions with a Zionist they will make sure that the entire frame of reference is their accusations against Israel, and Zionists are put on the defensive. One mistake in their argument and the haters claim victory. And if the Zionists point out that other countries do worse things, they are accused of "whataboutism."

It's time to change the script.

Forget defense - go after these guys. Point out how hypocritical and immoral their positions are. Put them on the defensive and make them explain why Palestinians have rejected multiple peace offers, or why ethnic cleansing of Jews is not only permitted but encouraged by these so-called "progressives."

I've changed a lot of my Twitter habits over the past few days to push things in that direction as well:

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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. 
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Abbas’s soaring popularity alters Israel’s political landscape - by Joanthan S. Tobin

Israeli voters will keep rejecting peace plans as long as Palestinian keep cheering for terrorists and their paymasters.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
JNS.org..
25 February '19..

It was a rough week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He saw his main opponents join forces and the Blue and White Party that resulted from this merger surpassed Netanyahu’s Likud Party in the polls. If that wasn’t enough, Netanyahu’s decision to encourage one of his coalition partners to take in a party whose leaders are followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane set off a storm of criticism from Jews who felt he was wrong to help legitimize an extremist group.

But while Netanyahu has been taking it on the chin, the man that much of the world still imagines is Israel’s peace partner seems to have had a very good week. And the explanation for that unexpected development is the reason why Netanyahu’s prospects for holding on to his office are not quite as gloomy as his detractors may think.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is currently serving the 15th year of the four-year term as president of the P.A., to which he was elected in January 2005. He is widely reviled by most of those whom he pretends to serve. The same is true for his steadfast refusal to negotiate peace with Israel. The kleptocracy over which the 83-year-old presides is a disgrace. He refuses to make peace with Israel, but is also dependent on security cooperation with the Jewish state.

But Abbas’s popularity is suddenly soaring. In the last year, both the United States and Israel have enacted measures to cut back on cash flowing to his regime in order to force him to end the practice of rewarding those who attack, wound and kill Israelis, Jews and Americans with salaries and pensions.

(Continue to Full Column)

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. 
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Monday, February 25, 2019

So why do left-wing parties in Israel claim that they are in the center? - by Alex Traiman

Despite Blue and White branding hype, the newly aligned parties do not form the center of the Israeli political spectrum. The center of Israeli politics is Likud.

Alex Traiman..
JNS.org..
25 February '19..

Political newcomer and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz announced the technical merger of his newly formed Israel Resilience party last week, together with the Yesh Atid Party founded in 2013 by then-political newcomer and television personality Yair Lapid. Scenario polls had indicated that combining the parties would give them a chance to garner more electoral votes than Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party.

The parties and most of the Israeli media have labeled the merger as a “centrist alliance” aimed at defeating the prime minister. The purpose of this label is to make Gantz and Lapid appear like the responsible middle of Israeli politics, distinct from the smaller and presently less relevant Labor and Meretz parties, and the ruling Likud, which has sat together in the past government with religious and pro-settlement parties to its right.

Yet despite the spin, the newly aligned parties do not form the center of the Israeli political spectrum. For the last 10 years, the center of Israeli politics has belonged to the ruling Likud Party and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the decade since Netanyahu has served as prime minister, he has formed governments together with every single party in the entire political spectrum (that survived more than one election cycle) with the exception of the far-left Meretz and Arab parties.

As such, Likud has ruled at the center of governments with nearly every party to both its left and right.

(Continue to Full Column)

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. 
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It is curious that the U.S. Green Party has chosen to concentrate most of its efforts on hounding Israel - by Amb. Alan Baker

In a world that is plagued by environmental and ecological catastrophes and that faces continuing and ongoing moral and humanitarian crises such as willful bombing and wholesale killing of civilians, mass murders, mass expulsions, denial of basic social, cultural and religious rights and freedoms, assaults on immigrants and others, it is curious that the U.S. Green Party has chosen to concentrate most of its efforts on hounding Israel.

Amb. Alan Baker..
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs..
25 February '19..

Anyone who cursorily peruses the website of the U.S. Green Party or any component of the global Green movement would naturally expect to read about the worthy and noble aims of a movement devoted to such key values as ecological wisdom and environment protection.

We naturally expect that such basic, natural, and literally “green” issues would be of interest and concern to the entire spectrum of humanity, crossing all political, social and demographic lines.

Such issues touch upon the very sustainability and integrity of our existence on the planet and should logically override partisan, political issues, whether internal or external.

They touch all of us.

In the interest of wide public support, any serious, self-respecting, and genuine Green movement should choose to steer clear of divisive, partisan political issues that could prejudice the bonafides and integrity of the movement and pollute its overall world vision and aims by introducing elements of bias and double standards.

A self-respecting Green movement, in seeking to protect the world’s environment from pollution and destruction, should avoid “taking sides” in current political conflicts that are, by definition, replete with conflicting, partisan, national, economic and legal interests.

A Green movement should prefer to leave such issues to the respective governmental agencies involved in such issues, as well as those international political bodies such as the United Nations and its specialized agencies whose purpose is to deal with them.

In a world that is plagued by environmental and ecological catastrophes and that faces continuing and ongoing moral and humanitarian crises such as willful bombing and wholesale killing of civilians, mass murders, mass expulsions, denial of basic social, cultural and religious rights and freedoms, assaults on immigrants and others, it is curious that the U.S. Green Party has chosen to concentrate most of its efforts on hounding Israel.

This is even more astounding because Israel is one of the only states that excels in the very values treasured by the Green movement – innovative ways to protect the environment, reduce pollution, purify wastewater, desalinate seawater, reforest, and protect natural resources.

(Continue to Full Article)

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. 
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Former security officials preconceived political views masquerade as impartial professional prognoses - by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

In the public debate on Israel’s national security in general and a desirable Israeli-Palestinian settlement in particular, the dividing line between “political” and “professional” has been drawn by old elites and interest groups. Proponents of concessions and withdrawals are traditionally cast as guided entirely by professional considerations, while opponents of such ideas are dismissed as driven by ulterior motives and political agendas. This presentation is not only false but the inverse of the truth.

Stifling the National Security Debate:
A Response to Shabtai Shavit
Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen..
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,095..
24 February '19..
Link: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/stifling-the-national-security-debate-a-response-to-shabtai-shavit/

Former Mossad Director Shabtai Shavit dismisses my opinion piece “Benny Gantz’s Dangerous Ambiguity on West Bank Disengagement” as a political treatise undeserving of publication by an academic research institute. He derides the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, which published the paper and where I serve as a senior research associate, as “painted since its foundation by political colors in line with the number of its skullcap-wearing associates.” Had Shavit done his due diligence, he would have quickly learned that even by the parameters of his perverse logic, the BESA Center should be painted by quite different “political colors” given that over 80% of its research associates are not “skullcap-wearers.”

This mindboggling stigmatization notwithstanding, it is not the first time I have been accused of subordinating professional considerations to a political agenda. In a 2005 war game at the IDF’s General Staff, contemplating possible military responses to rocket/missile attacks from the Gaza Strip after the looming unilateral disengagement, I argued that the IDF’s operational maneuverability would be severely constrained and that decisions on operating in Palestinian territory across the border fence would be complex and difficult to make. I further maintained that the IDF would find it exceedingly difficult to respond effectively to Hamas missile attacks launched from densely populated areas. I was immediately accused of speaking “politically” rather than “professionally.” The same occurred three years later, when I told my fellow General Staff officers of my doubts about the IDF’s ability to defend Israel in the event of total withdrawal from the Golan Heights. The formula is clear: officers who downplay the security risks of territorial withdrawals do so on “professional” grounds; those who underscore the dangers attending such withdrawals are driven by “political” considerations.

There lies the crux of the matter. In the debate on Israel’s national security in general and a desirable Israeli-Palestinian settlement in particular, the dividing line between the “political” and the “professional” has been drawn by old elites and interest groups that exert overwhelming influence on the public discourse. Thus, proponents of concessions and withdrawals have long been cast as guided exclusively by professional considerations, while their opponents have been dismissed as driven by ulterior motives and political agendas. It is no coincidence that the piece that attracted Shavit’s mudslinging – free of rebuttal of a single fact or assertion – has been translated and thoroughly discussed by the influential Palestinian newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Waqf and Jordan continue chipping away at the Temple Mount status quo - by Nadav Shragai

Jerusalem got the message but it seems as if it's too late. The new waqf council and Hamas are spreading lies about Israel planning to build a synagogue at the Golden Gate. They are determined to annex the area to the Muslim prayer area of the Mount, which is constantly being expanded. The first battle, which took place on Friday, went to them. We can expect another round.


Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
24 February '19..
Link: http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/chipping-away-at-the-status-quo

Palestinians in Jerusalem achieved the victory they had been longing for on Friday: Muslim worshippers crowding into the Golden Gate area of the Temple Mount, which has been under a closure order since 2003 because of Hamas activity there.

The police, who accepted the reality in order to avoid widespread, violent clashes, did carry out dozens of arrests, but unless something happens to reverse the narrative, the Palestinian gambit comprises another step in their years long campaign to chip away at the status quo on the Temple Mount, mostly for the benefit of the Palestinians and to the detriment of the Jews. Two new mosques have been built at Solomon's Stables and at the site of the ancient Al-Aqsa mosque; restrictions on when and where Jews are allowed to visit the Mount; and almost no enforcement of planning and construction and antiquities laws for years. Now they have focused on the Golden Gate.

The latest calculated move was initiated by the waqf council in its new, more radical makeup, which now includes Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, a former mufti of Jerusalem and now a Muslim Brotherhood member and an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan and Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement. Other than Sabri, the new expanded council includes a number of officials from the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority.


H/T Avi Abelow


The U.S. is now calling for Israel to apologize to Poland for Katz’s statement. And Washington is right. - by Caroline Glick

...Hopefully, someday, Poland will reconcile itself with the historical truth of its people’s dubious and decidedly mixed record of behavior towards the Jews during the Holocaust. And Israel cannot accept revision of the historic record. But Israel also has important interests in the world. Those interests are best advanced by working with like-minded countries. And in issues that matter, along a wide spectrum of areas, Poland is a like-minded country. Israel should treat it accordingly.

Caroline Glick..
Breitbart..
22 February '19..

Israel is in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with Poland, one of its best friends in Europe. The regrettable events that led to a breach in the burgeoning alliance, based on a shared perception of interests, owe mainly to the inexperience of Israel’s Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz.

On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s Defense Minister, announced that he was appointing Katz to serve as acting foreign minister. Netanyahu had held the portfolio until then. He appointed Katz in response to a petition to the Supreme Court asking Israel’s activist justices to order Netanyahu to give at least one of the senior ministries to someone else, in light of their critical importance.

At the height of an election season, appointing Katz, a heavyweight in Netanyahu’s Likud Party made sense. Katz, the long serving transportation minister, placed second in the Likud’s party primaries, and promoting him was a sure win among the party faithful.

Unfortunately, Katz apparently didn’t understand that diplomacy requires different skills than highway maintenance.

Katz walked into his new job just as the latest brushfire with Poland was being extinguished.

(Continue to Full Column)

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. 
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Can You Imagine? NY Times Pushes Claim That Settlers Are to Blame for Europe’s Anti-Israel Stance - by Ira Stoll

...It could be that what really antagonizes the European Union most about Israel is expansion of West Bank settlements. But there are also other possible explanations. Perhaps the European Union is antagonized because Israel is an obstacle to trade with Iran. That trade is craved by European companies such as Total, the French oil and gas company that had a $4.8 billion deal with Tehran, a deal that a French court found Total bribed Iranian officials to obtain. Perhaps the European Union would be increasingly hostile to Israel regardless of the West Bank settlements, in part because Europe has a large, restive Muslim population that is hostile to Israel and that might be placated by Israel-bashing. Perhaps...

Ira Stoll..
Algemeiner..
22 February '19..

A New York Times news article about Israel’s relations with Poland concludes with a quote from an Israeli politician who — well, you can read the Times paragraphs for yourself:

While Mr. Netanyahu’s challengers in the coming election were quick to seize on his latest troubles, other critics took a longer view, saying they regretted his inability to curtail what antagonizes the European Union most about Israel: its steady expansion of settlements on the West Bank.

“If he were less beholden to the settlers,” said Einat Wilf, a former Israeli lawmaker from the Labor Party, “maybe he could get a few countries on our side that are not looking to be paid for in glossing over their World War II records.”

Far be it from me to disagree with Einat Wilf, who, unlike me, actually lives in Israel.

But this sure appears to be a fine example of the Times subtly shaping a story by choosing to give the final word to someone expressing a point of view that matches the newspaper’s own preconceptions, or at least those of its left-wing readers.

It could be that what really antagonizes the European Union most about Israel is expansion of West Bank settlements. But there are also other possible explanations.

(Continue to Full Column)

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. 
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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Is There Only One Street in Hebron? One Street? Really, BBC? One Street? - by Sheri Oz

...The Palestinian Arabs, aided by their anti-Israel accomplices, complain that in their largest city in Judea & Samaria, their most prosperous city by far, they are in danger of extinction because of the Jews. As long as one Jew remains to breath Arab air they will complain and cry foul. And their Jewish stooges, such as those in Breaking the Silence, will remain ready and willing to do their heavy lifting for them.

Sheri Oz..
Israel Diaries..
23 February '19..

The BBC produced a beautiful website promoting anti-Israeli Breaking-the-Silence propaganda on a sleek enviable platform. They called it: “Hebron: One Street, two sides“. Take a look at it; this is the quality of material Israel should be producing. Here, I want to contest the very title they gave this work. At the end, I will tell you what we can understand from the obsession with this one street.

Hebron: One Street?

Yes, there is one street everyone talks about. But is Hebron made up of only one street? Hardly. But that one street is great for propaganda purposes. To the Arabs, that street is Shuhada (Martyrs) Street and to Jewish Israelis it is King David Street. It has been labeled a “ghost town” by anti-Zionist activists.

(Continue to 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. 
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Friday, February 22, 2019

The absolute absurdity of land swaps - by Victor Rosenthal

The next time someone tells you that the “West Bank” is “Arab land,” ask them how nineteen years of illegal Jordanian occupation made it so.

Victor Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
22 February '19..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2019/02/the-absurdity-of-land-swaps/

Recent hints about what might be in Donald Trump’s deal of deals indicate that it includes Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria containing major settlement blocks, in return for “land swaps” in which a Palestinian entity would receive land that is presently within the Green Line.

I am not sure where the idea first surfaced, but it was included in the Clinton Parameters, the offer made at the 2000 Camp David summit, which was rejected by the PLO.

Let’s consider the history.

Prior to 1948, all of the land from the river to the sea was a single entity, the British Mandate for Palestine, established in 1922 and intended to constitute or contain a “national home for the Jewish people.” In 1947, Britain had had enough rioting and terrorism from both Jews and Arabs in the territory of the Mandate, and wanted to be done with its obligation. Over the years, they had lost interest in the Jewish national home, and felt that their interests would best be served by Arab control of the area. But others supported the establishment of a Jewish state, for various reasons.

There was the worldwide Zionist movement, and of course the Yishuv, the Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael itself, which had already put into place the structure of a shadow state. There were Christian Zionists, who believed that the establishment of such a state would be a fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. There were elements in the US who thought that the Jews deserved recompense after the Holocaust. There were those who saw a Jewish state as a convenient destination for millions of Jewish refugees that nobody wanted. And there was Stalin, who saw in the socialist leanings of the leadership of the Yishuv a possible ally in a very strategic neighborhood.

So the UN proposed a compromise and recommended a partition of the area of the Mandate into a Jewish and an Arab state. The Jewish Agency, happy to get any kind of state no matter how attenuated, accepted it, although both Begin and Ben-Gurion were apprehensive, correctly expecting war. The Arabs – both those who lived in the Mandate and the Arab nations – rejected it. Why should the Jews get anything at all? The nonbinding recommendation (UNGA 181) of the General Assembly was never implemented. It’s important to understand that it was only a recommendation, with no legal force. Both Jews who say “the UN gave us a state” and Mahmoud Abbas, who in 2016 called for the implementation of the partition on its original lines, are wrong.

In May 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed without specifying borders (although an agent of the “provisional government” wrote to US President Truman that the state was declared “within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly… in [Resolution 181],” it’s not clear if this had any legal significance). It has been persuasively argued by Eugene Kontorovich that Israel inherited the borders of the Mandate, since there was no other entity that could have a claim on it.

Surprised That BBC Distorts Reality of Life in Hebron? - by Emanuel Miller

Why did the BBC give a platform to a political lobby such as Breaking the Silence, without subjecting their claims to even the most basic of fact-checking? Why was an unsubstantiated and seemingly false statement allowed to pass without any examination or comment?

Emanuel Miller..
Honest Reporting..
21 February '19..

A flashy new feature on the BBC website entitled “Hebron: One street, two sides,” takes one of the most complex places in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and creates a spectacularly misleading and one-sided narrative.

The feature, which seems to be heavily influenced by the Breaking the Silence organization and Palestinian talking points, repeatedly allows the Palestinian subjects to make unsubstantiated claims unopposed while under-representing the Israeli side of the story.

The presentation starts with a screen describing Hebron as “the only Jewish settlement… in the middle of a Palestinian urban centre.” This is only half the story. In reality, Hebron has a Jewish history dating back millennia. Despite facing centuries of persecution, discrimination and massacres in the city under Islamic and Christian control, the Jewish community has always come back and re-established itself.

The text continues, telling readers that “There have been 128 attacks carried out by Palestinians in Hebron and its surroundings 2015-18,” without making clear that many of these attacks included murders and attempted murders of civilians, with one particularly gruesome attack on a 13 year-old Israeli child sleeping in her bed, for example.

(Continue to 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. 
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Going to the moon has been a lifelong dream, and now, eight weeks of white nights - by Yariv Bash

The Israeli flag will be the fourth to be raised on the moon. Being so small, this fills us with pride and humility that is still difficult to process. This achievement is already bigger than any one of us, and yet we all have a part in it, and we should see the mission's success as a first step to a better future for us all.

Yariv Bash..
Israel Hayom..
21 February '19..
Link: http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/eight-weeks-of-white-nights/

We have a long night ahead of us. In fact, for the past two months, every night has been long, gazing at the moon, preparing our baby for its journey there.

Although it seems we've already achieved our goal, we are only just beginning the journey to landing on the moon. These will be eight weeks of bated breath, suspense ahead of every new stage of progress, and crossed fingers that our spacecraft fares well. We will wake up every morning and hope the spacecraft is communicating and functioning properly as it travels to the moon – similar to waking up and listening to the breaths of a newborn, just to be sure that everything is okay.

Going to the moon has been a lifelong dream, and although time has flown, the months turning to years, we can say after 70 years that we're in the home stretch and can almost touch the finish line.

When we began, with typical Israeli chutzpah, we didn't fully appreciate the complexity of the mission - the need to delve into the tiniest of details so we could build a spacecraft capable of withstanding the arduous flight; thoroughly inspect and test every last component to create a dependable communications system; and ensure we had enough fuel to perform the necessary landing maneuvers.



As Expected, Breaking the Silence’s Discredited Spokesman Slanders the IDF Again - by Simon Plosker

Ultimately, Dean Issacharoff’s opinion piece isn’t meant to improve the behavior of IDF soldiers or to help the IDF deal with abuses if and when they occur. The only reason for publishing an article in an Irish media outlet is to defame the IDF and drag Israel’s name through the mud. The Journal.ie has given a platform for a discredited spokesman from a discredited organization.


Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
20 February '19..

The Journal.ie, an Irish media outlet published an opinion piece by Dean Issacharoff, the spokesperson for Breaking the Silence, a highly politicized organization that collects anonymous testimonies of Israeli soldiers of alleged and most often unsubstantiated misdemeanors or “war crimes” that it presents to a mainly foreign audience as a means of fighting Israel’s “occupation.”




As journalist Jake Wallis Simons recounted back in 2013 when he conducted interviews with BtS staff:

It was only a hunch at first. But later, the bias of the organisation became clearer. During a break between interviews, I asked Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of the organisation, how the group is funded. It was with some surprise that I learned that 45 per cent of it is donated by European countries, including Norway and Spain, and the European Union. Other donors include UNICEF, Christian Aid and Oxfam GB. To me this seemed potentially problematic.

As is the case in all democracies, the IDF is an organ of the state, not a political decision-maker. If the goal of Breaking the Silence was simply to clean up the Israeli military, it wouldn’t be such a problem. Instead, the aim is to “end the occupation”, and on this basis it secured its funding.

It appeared, therefore, that these former soldiers, some of whom draw salaries from Breaking the Silence, were motivated by financial and political concerns to further a pro-Palestinian agenda. They weren’t merely telling the truth about their experiences. They were under pressure to perform.

Indeed, I later discovered that there have been many allegations in the past that members of the organisation either fabricated or exaggerated their testimonies.

Issacharoff himself was found to have fabricated his own testimony in 2017 after an Israeli legal investigation concluded that his claims that he assaulted a Palestinian man during his military service were false.

Issacharoff’s fellow IDF soldiers and commanders also called out his claims.

(Continue to 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. 
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